Saturday, December 27, 2014

The Noble Hustle--#77 finished

Writer Colson Whitehead gets offered entry into the World Series of Poker in exchange for some magazine articles and takes them up.  He is just a house game player so the book is about what he did to get ready and tangents off into trip after college took him to Vegas and just about stuff in his life in general.  I have read a couple of his books and generally liked them.  I have a couple more in my book room that I haven't been able to start on yet too.  I really liked this book because it was easy to place myself in his shoes as in getting ready for the WSOP if the offer happened to me.  Also interesting at end hearing about his coaches and their advice.  Not much heavy poker info, if that is what you are looking for but just a good read with lots of insights into poker and the author. 

I don't think I will be keeping the book but might give it some more thought--it is a good read and would be good for anyone thinking about trying out professional poker.  I got it from PBS and there are around 30 or maybe 40 WL for it so have plenty of time to decide on keeping or not.  

This will probably be my last read/finished book of 2014.  I will probably look to do a recap on 2014 in the next week or so.

Swimsuit--#76 finished

This is a James Patterson book with a co author Maxine Paetro.  I really didn't like the book.  Got to know the people and liked them before a serial killer kills most everyone.  Just a lot of killing going on. I didn't really buy into the idea of the peepers, real wealthy people that pay to see killings and or rapes, etc.  In the end the peepers are arrested but serial killer gets away and writer that exposed it goes in hiding with wife and soon to be child.  Just really didn't like it.  It had short chapters and quick reading so those are the reasons I stuck with it.  Also my copy is all beaten up so figured taking it along on vacation wouldn't harm it at all.

There are many copies on PBS & one I have is an Advanced Reader Copy so cannot send through PBS anyway.  I got it as part of a deal I think--just a throw in book and figured a Patterson read would be good--now I will be more wary.  I will be giving it away somewhere, no reason at all to keep.

Saga--#75 finished

This is a sort of continuation of a book I read a few years ago, Epic, a sic-fi book about a New Earth planet where people live as usual but also hook into a video game.  Well, a video game developed a couple thousand years before this moves into area and hooks up with planet.  The video game is basically it's own life--people live and die in the game with only a select few, down to 2 at this time, that are immortal and run the game.  Well a player or two from the first book get involved but are not main characters--more of supporting roles.  An okay story but just too confusing about the Saga game and just kind of weird happenings.  I thought Epic was a really good story from what I can remember, unfortunately Saga is not close to that.  Some interesting characters but overall just not that good.

I will be posting it on PBS at some point, I think there are 2 WL for it so will probably do so kind of soon.  I did finish this a few days ago when I was out of town for Christmas so just playing a little catch up now.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Calvin Coolidge--#74 finished

A short quick read about Calvin Coolidge.  He seems to be an interesting person in that he is more complex than what is figured on first glance.  I guess that is probably the case for most of us though too but I guess I had never gotten beyond the first glance of Coolidge before.  A small government, simple life kind of person but also made friends with big time businessmen and supporters that helped him gain the Vice Presidency under Harding and then ascend to the Presidency after Harding's death.  A very almost unspoken way about him but then also used the new media--radio & movies to reach out to people in ways never done before.  And the radio & movies were all very handled in the sense they were done to get a certain message across to the people, kind of bypassing the newspapers & congress in a sense.  Was hand's off on policy in that he depended on his cabinet for carrying out the details of what he wanted done.  Had to fight both Democrats and sides of his own party on issues too.  Then in personal life had lost his mother & sister when he was a teenager and then as President lost one of his sons.  These deaths certainly affected him and certainly his son's death his Presidency.

I good read and interesting to learn somethings about him.  He is kind of a forgotten President being before the Great Depression and New Deal politics and happening after WWI and Wilson's Presidency.

I will be posting it at some point on PBS, there are 3 WL for it so it should mail off right away once I do.  Still reading Saga and Swimsuit by Patterson, will add a 3rd and maybe 4th today or this weekend.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Aftermath--#73 finished

I was very surprised at how good this book was discussing leftover armaments.  The first chapter talked about large areas in France that were gated off from the public because there were too many unexploded bombs in the area.  Also many when dropped went into the ground & eventually work their way to the top in fields all through the country.  Surprising for me at least, was that most were WWI bombs than WWII because of the much less time fighting in WWII in France and also because the better bombs in WWII fewer were duds.  It moved from there to the dead around Stalingrad as well as bombs there too.  Then to around Nevada where the US did atomic weapons testing and how the ground there is saturated with radiation and won't be used for thousands of years.  Then Vietnam again with bombs and land mines.  Then Kuwait, this book was written in mid 1990s before the 2nd Iraq war, and the clearing of land mines there.  Finally, the end talked about the US trying to find a safe way to burn the stored weapon chemicals from the '50s & '60s.

I really thought this was eye opening.  I hadn't given much thought to what life was like after a war--the devastated land almost as bad as the job of trying to rebuild destroyed areas.

I am not sure if I will post it or hand it off to someone that also enjoys history.  There is 1 WL for it so could mail off if I want too & may just do that.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Jock Itch--#72 finished

This is kind of a memoir by an actress Rosa Blasi.  I don't think I have ever watched a show she was in unless by accident--she was in Married with Children but not like a star I think, one of those one or two episode actresses.  The title Jock Itch:  The Misadventures of a Retired Jersey Chaser and the picture of a very cute lady on front grabbed my attention.  It was kind of funny and really pretty pathetic at times. It is sad that people making that much money--actresses/actors and especially professional athletes waste so much money on stupid stuff.  Of course it is easy for me to say from my humble position here that I wouldn't do that but I really really hope I wouldn't.  Good thing for me though it is very unlikely I will be in their position anytime soon.  Overall kind of funny, sort of interesting and really kind of surprising at times what she does open up and talk about.

I have posted it on PBS and it is the only copy on system so I am sure it will get shipped off at some point--if for no other reason than the opens that I ordered it.

Monday, December 1, 2014

College Football--#71 finished

I good read about the history of college football.  Lots of stuff in here about the early years and how the sport was founded and the controversies and changes it went through.  Kind of funny but football has had to keep evolving into the sport that it needs to be for that time period it seems.  The book was published in 2000 so in college football terms there has been changes & I would guess the author would say not changes for the better.  Especially the continued professionalization of the college game. At the end he mentions that at some point colleges may have to get away from football, especially the big time colleges because it no longer has any real connection to the college.  Players are fed classes to keep them eligible, spend more time practicing football than studying and continue to get better accommodations than the average student--the football teams really should just become the minor league teams they are in most ways already.   The obscene pay of coaches is another reality.  Of course in the last year the Northwestern players talking about unionizing and NCAA talking about paying players are the next changes coming.  There is also the injuries and concussion issues that have hit the NFL, that are probably a few short steps from hitting the colleges as well.  These are all too new so not in the book but I couldn't help but wonder what the author would say and what direction they are pulling college football.

I will be posting this book on PBS at some point, I think there are 3 WL for it.  Since it is the Christmas season and the post offices are busy, I generally try to avoid mailing many books at this time of the year but since my credit had run low recently, I did mail some off.  If that happens again, this one could be getting moved sooner.