2007 Reading Record Comments
  Another light reading year for me. Fargo decided they needed a new library. They didn't but that's another story. So they knocked down the one they had, and moved into a shoebook sized hole in the wall downtown. Most of the books aren't even in circulation anymore. I started hitting Suzanne up for books to read. She has plenty but they're usually books I won't read myself. I also renewed my account at the MSU library. (Now Minnesota State University Moohead). The theme this year was 'A look back'. I'm either reading books about History, or books/authors I've read before. The links below go to Amazon.com (click the title or the book image)
Page Count Grade 0-9 Date I finished Source (FPL: Fargo Public Library)
U2 By U2 U2 By U2
by: McCormick, Neil and Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton, Larry Mullen Jr., Paul McGuinness I really enjoyed this book. Although it's just a collection of interviews with the band and their manager, Paul McGuinness, I found it very intersting on so many levels: business, music, band dynamics, political, religion. It even does a good job of illustrating Chaos Theory as the band faced many obsticles that either being to rich or too poor would have caused the band to fail. Almost the entire history of the band was a like the Goldilocks story: just right. 345 pages 8.0 1/4/07 Craig
Life And Times Of The Thunderbold Kid, The Life And Times Of The Thunderbold Kid, The
A Memoir
by: Bryson, Bill I enjoyed reading this books because it was well written and funny. (I laughed out loud in a dozen spots.) It also could have been about me. Sure Bill was born in 1951, but Fargo in the 60s wasn't much different than Des Moise was in the 50s. While I was reading it, I could change the names of the people, places, etc that I knew. It also reminds me of www.lileks.com, James Lilek was two years old and grew up a couple blocks from me, he often writes about Fargo in his blog, often in the style or flavor of Bryson. 268 pages 7.6 1/17/07 Craig
Strange & Amazing Football Stories Strange & Amazing Football Stories
Sports Illustrated
by: Gutman, Bill Sort of a light hearted look at the history of football. It wasn't written that well and I wonder if it was written for kids. 115 pages 2.6 1/29/07 Victor
Hot Super Bowl Battles Hot Super Bowl Battles
Sports Illustrated
by: Resciniti, Angelo An overview of the first 22 Superbowls, but written in reverse order, so I read the book backwards. I thought it was dry. May be written for kids but they deserve better. 203 pages 2.0 1/29/07 Victor
True History Of The Kelly Gang True History Of The Kelly Gang
A Novel
by: Carey, Peter An enjoyable read about Ned Kelly in Australia in mid to late 1800s. Sort of their version of Jesse James. Written in the form of an autobiography it's pretty interesting. It starts off slow but ends in a bang. Carey makes all the characters believable. I also found it fun to figure out what the deleted words were. 368 pages 7.2 2/3/07 Suzanne
Napoleon Napoleon
by: Johnson, Paul Short, but well writen as always. Bonaparte was in the right place at the right time or more correctly the wrong place at the wrong time. He caused millions of deaths, and didn't seem the least bit bothered by it. A precourser to Hitler, Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot. Also another example of the folly of Revolution vs. Evolution. 187 pages 7.0 2/27/07 Suzanne
On The Wealth Of Nations On The Wealth Of Nations
Books That Changed the World
by: O'Rourke, P.J. P.J. Tries to explain Adam Smith and his two books "Wealth Of Nations" and "The Theory Of Moral Sentiments". He seems to loose his sense of humor doing it. The subject is interesting but the approach mirrors Adam Smith's writing style: lots of prepositional phrases and odd word order. Although I enjoyed reading it, I don't feel I know any more about Adam Smith, "Wealth of Nations" or PJ O'Rourke. I think PJ's talents were wasted on this project. 217 pages 5.0 3/5/07 Suzanne
French Lieutenant's Woman, The French Lieutenant's Woman, The
by: Fowles, John I'm a John Fowles fan and have always wanted to read this book but was turned off by the title and subject matter. The writing was excellent. I found myself arguing with the charactors- they were written so well that they came alive. The subject was sort of chick-lit but it also dealt with the mores and manors of the time and the inablity of the charactor's to evolve. Sarah, the French Lieutenant's Woman, was an enigma. I think she represents a modern woman tossed into the pass with a touch of mental illness. Either that or Fowles is messing with the reader again. 467 pages 7.2 3/17/07 Suzanne
Innocent Man, The Innocent Man, The
Murder And Injustice In A Small Town
by: Grisham, John Well written by Grisham about two guys (amoungst others) who get railroaded into a murder charge in Ada OK. They even got the death penalty- eventhough there was nothing but circumstantial evidence against them and some petty good evidence they didn't do it. It took years and years on death row, and some consiensious individuals in the appeals department to find and free them. Interesting how their views changed - at one point they argued for the death penalty with the inmates while they were on death row themselves- a position which did not make them popular. My own position on the death penalty hasn't changed. But I would like to see some oversite or something to educate juries so they don't just rubberstamp bad police work. 360 pages 6.5 3/18/07 Victor
Wrong About Japan Wrong About Japan
by: Carey, Peter This book was suppose to be about Mang and Anime, but is more about a trip to Japan with his son. The interviews he has with the artists don't go well. He doesn't have any adventures, but theme does seem to be his interaction with a moody son. Chapter 5 (p75) is a rememberence by Mr. Yazaki about the fire bombing of Japan during WWII- it's the only interesting section of the book. I personally don't like Japanese Manga (drawings) or Anime (Animation), but I do acknowledge that as a style it has expanded outside of Japan and can be found in comic art everywhere. There are some technical elements of Manga I find useful but the subject matter leaves me cold even though it is Science Fiction. 158 pages 3.5 4/18/07 Judy
Collected Short Stories Collected Short Stories
Volume 4
by: Maugham, W. Somerset I like Maugham's writing and his short stories are interesting even if they don't end like a movie or television show- they're more true to life- the issues aren't resolved, the endings aren't happy, but neither are they always disasterous. Most of the stories in this collection take place in the Malaysia Federated States and are simple charactor studies. I got it in my head to use Google Maps to track all the place names. I only got 55 pages. I did complete one short story: Mabel that came out pretty good. 464 pages 6.1 5/11/07 MSU
Flowers In The Dustbin Flowers In The Dustbin
The Rise Of Rock And Roll 1947-1977
by: Miller, James Miller worked for Rolling Stone during the magazines peak. This book is a look at the early days of Rock n' Roll. Although it deals with the artist, it has more to say about what was going on behind the scenes whether it was society, the music business, or even the technology of Rock. It mirrors some of my own feelings about the history of Rock- that much of it is luck and new recording and playback technologies. Miller added some elements I didn't think about such as business, promotion and societal shifts. It was kind of depressing. Near the end of the book you could feel Miller losing his love for the music. I know that feeling and it's hard not to be depressed. There is still some good new music but nothing like the 60s, 70s, and even 80s (althought Miller didn't go that far.) 400 pages 5.5 5/16/07 MSU
Final Judgement, The Final Judgement, The
by: Patterson, Richard North More than just a summer read, it was an interesting charactor study. It did seem to slow the story down when RNP would jump back in time, but it did flesh out the characters. 437 pages 5.0 5/21/07 MSU
Hooking Up Hooking Up
by: Wolfe, Tom A collection of short stories, some fiction, some non-fiction, some editorial in nature. I enjoyed the Novella "Ambush At Fort Bragg" the most and "The New Yorker Affair" the least. 293 pages 6.0 5/24/07 MSU
Uncle Fred Flits By Uncle Fred Flits By
I Couldn't Help Laughing
by: Wodehouse, PG and Nash, Ogden I wanted to read "Uncle Fred in the Springtime" but this was as close as I could get a: a collection of short stories in the Curriculum library at MSU. It was a funny story that I read while I was at the library. I enjoyed the story and wouldn't mind reading more but I have a feeling one is enough. 28 pages 6.7 6/11/07 MSU
Town And The City, The Town And The City, The
by: Kerouac, Jack A story of the Martin family just before and during WWII. It's a large family 5 boys and 2 girls, but not all the charactor's are fleshed out. Those that are, are Jack himself: Joe, Peter, and Francis. The charactors seem to be his take on member's of his family and friends- a model that Kerouac will use in rest of his novels. The writing style is similar to his later books. The description of Time Square has a long run on sentence. And there are other Kerouac type features, but he doesn't seem to have the confidence yet- the style doesn't seem to come as easy. Still it's pretty good for his first book. 499 pages 5.0 6/13/07 MSU
Confederate General General From Big Sur Confederate General General From Big Sur
by: Brautigan, Richard I decided I might reread some or all of Brautigan this summer. This was his first book and it's an amusing tale about a charactor called Lee Mellon, some girls, alligators, frogs and some earth huts in Big Sur, California told as a loose allegory of a psuedo general of the Confederate Army. 159 pages 5.0 6/15/07 MSU
I Am Charlotte Simmons I Am Charlotte Simmons
by: Wolfe, Tom This was a good book, a black comedy that made me mad more than it made me laugh. But the story drew me into the book and the charactors and their universe (A large Duke like University) are mostly exaggerated for effect. A feature than most reviewers seem to miss. You can't take this a face value and enjoy it. 676 pages 6.0 6/20/07 MSU
Trout Fishing In America Trout Fishing In America
by: Brautigan, Richard Rereading this book I was disappointed. "Trout Fishing In America" was used as a pronoun. Sometimes it was him, or a friend, or a concept, or nothing at all. The stories were rambling and weren't particularly humorous. Based on his ramblings and love of fishing, time hasn't been good to this book. 182 pages 2.7 7/2/07 MSU
Revenge Of The Lawn Revenge Of The Lawn
by: Brautigan, Richard A collection of musings; each one less than two pages long. Either odd incidents or dreamlike thought. Sort of funny but not really. 174 pages 4.5 7/9/07 MSU
Absolutely American Absolutely American
Four Years At West Point
by: Lipsky, David I got this book from my aunt Judy who know a West Point cadet. Althought the cadet isn't mentioned in the book, he attended turning this time period. The books if fascinating. While covering a four year term at West Point, Lipsky gives you a good feel for the kind of young men and women that make up our best and brightest. But it also raises questions about education, training, the Army, the future of fighting, and the role of government. I found the book to be very thought provoking. 337 pages 7.0 7/14/07 Judy
Prince Prince
A Documentary
by: Nilsen, Per and Uptown Magazine A very detailed chronological look at Prince Roger Nelson for the time he was a kid until he changed his name to the weird symbol. There's not much behind the scenes reporting. Mostly it is a list of live performances and studio records. Similar in form to The Who's "Concert Files". Still it's interesting. I was suprised by the about of concerts Prince would perform in each city. He seemed to shy away from statiums and outdoor venues. 141 pages 5.5 7/16/07 Judy
Carry On, Jeeves Carry On, Jeeves
by: Wodehouse, PG The humor is old fashion, comedy of maners, but this collection of Jeeves stories (1925) is still pretty good. Except for one story as told by Jeeves (The man servant), they are told by Bertram Wooster a gentleman from London. He appears to have money but no job nor immdiate family, just a string of colorful aunts and uncles. While traveling 'Bertie' runs into difficulties usually involve his lay-about friends, which require Jeeves to come up with unique solutions to solve. 207 pages 4.5 8/2/07 MSU
Willard And His Bowling Trophies Willard And His Bowling Trophies
by: Brautigan, Richard This book was surprising the first time I read it but this time I was simply amusing in a NC17 sort of way. I expected the prose to be better. It's good but it's not excellent. There are three story lines that interesect violently on the last page. 167 pages 5.0 8/6/07 MSU
American Prometheus American Prometheus
The Triumph And Tragedy Of J. Robert Oppenheimer
by: Bird, Kai and Sherwin, Martin J. Well written, well researched book. It won a Pulitzer Prize and rightly so. It doesn't have much (or any) Physics so it shouldn't scare anyone off. It deals with a number of topics, as Oppenheimer was a complex man. Some topics: How to raise a polymath, The fine line between genius and madness, how new fields of science develop, the history of the communist party in america, developing the atomic bomb, morality and the bomb, the red scare and character assassination. 599 pages 7.7 8/8/07 Craig
Einstein Einstein
His Life And Universe
by: Isacson, Walter Albert Einstein was pretty much what you saw: a genius who was able to understand the hidden nature of the universe. A guy that have problems with some people but was generally a very nice guy, and someone who marched to his own drummer. He was a little politically nieve but not as much as everyone else at the time. He was one of the few people to recognize extremists on both sides whether fascists or communists. 551 pages 6.0 9/18/07 Craig
Glass Castle, The Glass Castle, The
A Memoir
by: Walls, Jeannette I couldn't put it down. Their family was brilliant (in their own way) but a disaster of with an alcholic father and a mentally ill mother. The mother is interesting because her flaws are hidding by the father's drinking and inablity to hold a job. At first I questioned whether anyone in this family was 'actually' as smart as they claims, but Jeannette got good grade and aclaim from her teachers- so I'll take that at face value. It also seemed like the family did better on the road like gypsies. Although the mother turned out to have the resources to care for her family I wonder if she knew they would probably distroy the family if used? Although it was similar to "Angela's Ashes" it didn't read like a black comedy. 288 pages 7.4 9/24/07 Suzanne
Kite Runner, The Kite Runner, The
A Novel
by: Hosseini, Khaled The book is well written and the story is good. This is a very good book but not a great book. One of the reasons the book is easy to read was the simple vocabulary and simple sentence structure- maybe this mirrors the actual dialog, but it's something I 'noticed' while reading so it couldn't have been too realistic. Amir at age 11 had too much going on internally no matter how smart or 'old-for-his-age' it rang untrue, but this can be forgiven by letting the author project feelings and thoughts back onto his younger self. The story would make a good movie. It gave a quick view of Afghani life and culture for the last 25 years. 371 pages 6.7 9/25/07 Suzanne
Lost Continent, The Lost Continent, The
Travels In Small Town America
by: Bryson, Bill Bill decides to drive across most of America. Stopping at small towns along the way- the sort of town his parents took him too on vacation. His humor comes across as a little mean spirited and odd. One minute he'll complain about how hooky something is then he'll gush over something that's worse. He complains that restaurants, motels, stores of his youth are gone- true but people have voted with their feet (and pocketbooks)- sure it would nice to recreated those events of our youth, but the past is gone. He leaves home town Iowa complaining about it as he goes, but when he returns he has changed his mind. 299 pages 3.7 10/8/07 Suzanne
Never Let Me Go Never Let Me Go
A Novel
by: Ishiguro, Kazuo I was drawn to the begining because Ishiguro doesn't tell us what is going on behind this boarding school, we're left to guess. This reminded me of a short story I wrote. I worried because I didn't say what happened, well neither did he and it all works. There is a lot of interpersonl interaction between Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy. The Sci-Fi part of the story seems to take a back seat to the human aspects for the life of these clones. They don't seem very concerned that they're being chopped up for parts. 288 pages 6.0 10/13/07 Suzanne
Gateway To The Northern Plains Gateway To The Northern Plains
Railroads And The Birth Of Fargo And Moorhead
by: Engelhardt, Carroll As a Fargo native I found this early history of Fargo-Moorhead (roughly 1870-1900) interesting. Railroads don't appear to be the primary theme of this book, but that's okay. History is made by people more than technology. Even so there is more space devoted to churchs than railroads in this book. I also attended three classes (6-hours) taught by the author using this book. I don't have too many complains about the book. It could have used more and better editing. I would have put more photos and would have created some maps to help illustrate locations. Notes are always nice but they could have been moved to a web site. It's a complaint I have with most non-fiction books: they should use the web more. 290 pages 3.7 11/2/07 Craig
Monstrous Regiment Monstrous Regiment
by: Pratchett, Terry An amusing story about a fictional country always at war with their neighbors. They're not very good either and the last regiment in the army is made up of women, Igors, Trolls and Vampires. I don't think there was a point to the story but it was a pleasant read. 353 pages 6.0 11/9/07 Suzanne
Golden Boy Golden Boy
Memories Of A Hong Kong Childhood
by: Booth, Martin A well written book giving a boy's eye view of Hong Kong in 1952. How the family of a simple military clerk lived like kings at the end of the British Empire. Martin was precoious thanks to his mother. He father comes across as a borish drunk. In some ways the charactors take a back seat to the city itself. 337 pages 7.2 11/18/07 Suzanne
All Over But The Shouting All Over But The Shouting
An Oral History
by: Walsh, Jim This books says more about hardcore Replacement fans and Westerberg fans, than about the Replacements or Westerberg. This is the book's weakness and also it's strength. An 'oral history' made up of paragraph length rememberances doesn't do the band justice. The books seemed to spend more energy on the band's live show, which from what I can tell was overwelmingly bad, and giving short shift to their albums and Westerberg who did most of the work there and is the crown jewel of their years together. The relationship between the bandmembers and their fans makes Westerberg out as a drunk asshole- he probably was. Hard to read your heroes have clay feet, but even harder to say this to the interviewer, so the best passages are when the fans wrap themselves in knots to excuse Westerberg and the band. 267 pages 6.0 11/25/07 Judy
Forever Forever
by: Hamill, Pete Well written and entertaining tale of an Irish boy who flees to America after taking revenge on his family's killer. He gets involved helping some black slaves- one of gives him immortality. The second half the book is a look at NYC over the ages through the eyes of Cormac O'Connor. The books was finished 9/10/2001. He should have left it finished because the next day Hamill decides he has to weave 9/11 in and does it kind of ham handed. 608 pages 7.0 12/4/07 Suzanne
Petal Pusher Petal Pusher
A Rock And Roll Cinderella Story
by: Lindeen, Laurie It's a Cinderella story only so much as her prince charming (Paul Westerberg) rescued her from Rock 'n' Roll. Her band Zuzu's Petals, had just enough success to tour but not enough to make a living. The members in the band were slowly disengrating on the road. The story was interesting. She's not good enough as a writer to jump around in the story. The jumps were distracting and I couldn't always tell what they were suppose to illustrate? She also glossed over the band's break up, which seems like it would pretty important. 316 pages 4.7 12/7/07 Judy
Code Of The Woosters, The Code Of The Woosters, The
by: Wodehouse, Pelham Grenville Humorous tale of Bertie Wooster and his man Jeeves. Getting into trouble is Bertie's forte and getting out is Jeeves. Not laugh out loud funny but still a pleasant read. 216 pages 5.0 12/10/07 MSU
102 Minutes 102 Minutes
The Untold Story Of The Fight To Survive Inside The Twin Towers
by: Dwyer, Jim and Flynn, Kevin I wanted to read this book but put it off for a long time. 911 still freaks me out. I finally decided enough time has gone buy. The book sticks to the people in the World Trade Center. The police and fire departments are usually seen as heroes but in this disaster it was too large for them to have much effect. Also their lack of communication was something of disaster in itself. The people in the World Trade Center generally rescued themselves. The only regrets I see from reading the book was not letting people know that Stairwell A in the South Tower was open, and not trying something- anything to access the roof. 263 pages 7.0 12/16/07 MSU
Mac Os X Tiger Edition Mac Os X Tiger Edition
The Missing Manual: The Book That Should Have Been In The Box
by: Pogue, David A good introduction to my new Mac Mini. It was written at the right level for me. Having used the old operating system from 1984-2007, I knew what he was talking about. But because OS X is a new operating system Pogue filled me in on where every thing went and how to use the new features. I was hoping for a little more detail and more hidden features. 822 pages 5.8 12/19/07 MSU
Greatest Generation, The Greatest Generation, The
by: Brokaw, Tom The stories were good but they don't really illustrate Brokaw's thesis. In fact I could write the exact opposite and use the same stories with the same effect. It also appeared Brokaw did no journalism- no investigation. He just collected stories from people he knew. I don't think he actually interviewed them. Tom just let them talk; often making no point at all. 390 pages 4.7 12/31/07 Suzanne
  40 Books / 13,110 Total Pages