2010 Reading Record Comments

The internet was important this year. I put Kindle software on my Laptop computer and read some eBooks from Gutenberg.org. I read some books using Audible.com- it comes in handy when you're bored. I also assembled a Science Fiction book list. I didn't get very far, but I did finish re-reading the Delany books I wanted. Suzanne wanted to start a reading blog. I set that up. Cold Read is the name of our book review blog. It is more timely than this once-a-year record I suggest you check it out.

Authors I read more than once: Jane Austen (2), Edgar Rice Burroughs (3), Lee Child (11), Samuel R. Delany (2), Arthur Conan Doyle (3), Neil Gaiman (2), Stephen King (2), Jeff Shaara (3).

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)

Idlewild Idlewild
by: Sagan, Nick 85/275 - I gave up on this book. I was put off by the 'fantasy' crutch of 'Virtual Reality'. The writting wasn't bad- it was easy to read, but I didn't care for the characters. I might have finished this book as it is short but there are two sequels. 0 pages 0.0 1/5/10 FPL
King Dork King Dork
by: Portman, Frank A twisted look at High School as seen through the eyes of a low status loser forced to read "Catcher In The Rye". A black comedy with lots of subplots and twist. Very enjoyable read. Listed as young adult with emphisis on adult- there is a lot of oral sex in the book- a lot of projection by the author about high school. 344 pages 7.0 1/11/10 FPL
Pride And Prejudice And Zombies Pride And Prejudice And Zombies
by: Austen, Jane and Grahame-Smith, Seth 36/317 - ha ha zombies in a Jane Austen book, but once you get over that one joke it doesn't seem to go anywhere. The zombies just get in the way. 0 pages 3.0 1/12/10 FPL
Rising Tide, The Rising Tide, The
A Novel Of World War II, Part 1
by: Shaara, Jeff I enjoy military history, World War II, and Jeff Shaara's previous books but this one left me a little cold. I still enjoyed it and it was quite readable, but I thought the characterizations felt a little off. Maybe Shaara read some Eisenhower personal papers and had insights that I didn't have but I couldn't picture Ike talking I like that. Patton seemed to have the oposite problem. 536 pages 5.0 1/31/10 Suzanne
Ford County Ford County
by: Grisham, John A collection of short stories that are the equal to his better novels. I particularly enjoyed "Blood Drive" and "Casino". The only story I thought fell flat was "Michael's Room", which I felt was farfetched and cruel. B+ Blood Drive C+ Fetching Raymond B Fish Files A- Casino C- Michael's Room B+ Quiet Haven B Funny Boy 308 pages 7.8 2/2/10 Victor
Opus Opus
25 Years Of His Sunday Best
by: Breathed, Berkeley Bloom County and Outland were two of my favorite comic strips and rereading the color Sunday Funnies is still amusing but they haven't aged as well one would hope. 224 pages 4.0 2/6/10 Craig
On The Road On The Road
The Original Scroll
by: Kerouac, Jack I wanted to re-read some of Kerouac's books. What could be better than the 50th anniversary of his most famous book. What could be better than the unedited original: written in three weeks (April 1951) on a 120-foot scroll? It could be the 22-years since I read it last but I didn't recognize having read this book. "On The Road" and to a lesser extent "Visions of Cody" were both base on this scroll so in some ways the scroll is a third version of events between Jack Kerouac and Neil Cassady. This is probably the best version as it is unfiltered and the names weren't changed. I'm almost 50 myself and the story strikes me as sad. I feel sorry for both of them, but mostly for friends and family of the 'Beat' pair. There are four bonus essays. Mouratidis' essay is good, Cunnell's isn't bad. Vlagopoulos' is ponderous, and Kupetz's essay is unreadable. On page 72 Kerouac is quoted as saying about the book, "two guys who journey in search of something they don't really find." from the same journal entry he says "Shit on the Russians, shit on the Americans, shit on them all. I'm going to live life my own 'lazy-no-good' way, that's what I'm going to do." This was Neil and Jack in a nutshell, and sorry to say I see elements of myself there as well. Probably a good chunk of Americans young and old do as well, which is why the book resonates to this day. 408 pages 5.0 2/14/10 FPL
Quantico Quantico
by: Bear, Greg A suspense thriller that has elements of science fiction. The bio-terror element is a little futuristic. The characters are sketchy and the writing could be better but the plot is is cool. 326 pages 5.2 2/15/10 FPL
Sandworms Of Dune Sandworms Of Dune
by: Herbert, Brian and Anderson, Kevin J "Sandworms Of Dune" is a long book but it goes pretty quickly. Thankfully it hasn't been too long since I read "Chapterhouse Dune" and "Hunters Of Dune" as this book is a continuation of Herbert's old Dune sequels. It seems like I've been reading Dune forever. I didn't connect as strongly with the characters this time around- partically because they're clones and not the original characters. The story started off slow but built to a satisfying conclusion. 494 pages 6.0 2/26/10 Suzanne
Pride And Prejudice Pride And Prejudice
by: Austen, Jane I'm glad I got the Audible version as the voicing (Jenny Agutter) brought an extra level of detail to the characters. Austen writes well and the plot is interesting. The theme is in the title so there isn't much to think about. I found the stroy to be like second rate Dickens. 480 pages 6.0 2/28/10 Audible
Eating The Dinosaur Eating The Dinosaur
by: Klosterman, Chuck A collection of essays. I always hold out the hope he will be as funny as the Michael Damron story in the Forum but he rarely is. There are some interesting articles: Time Travel, Football, and Abba- but rest of the articles are rather odd and made my eyes glaze over. 229 pages 3.0 3/3/10 FPL
Without Fail Without Fail
Jack Reacher #6
by: Child, Lee Jack Reacher is tasked with testing the protection detail on the Vice President. Of course nothing is ever that simple for Jack. 560 pages 6.2 3/3/10 FPL
The Hard Way The Hard Way
Jack Reacher #10
by: Child, Lee Jack Reacher gets involved in another kidnapping. The one is very convoluted involving a troop of mercenaries. It also takes place in New York City. It seems like Child's better books take place in an urban setting. I enjoyed reading it and figuring out the mystery. 384 pages 6.7 3/10/10 MSUM
Steel Wave, The Steel Wave, The
A Novel Of World War II (#2)
by: Shaara, Jeff The story is excellent, but the characterization could use some work. It seemed like the characters were the same person. They behaved the same and even spoke the same. It didn't matter if they were Privates, Sergeant, Lieutenants, Generals, Field Marshals, or Prime Ministers. 521 pages 4.0 3/17/10 Suzanne
No Less Than Victory No Less Than Victory
A Novel Of World War II (#3)
by: Shaara, Jeff "No Less Than Victory" begins with The Battle of the Bulge in December 1944 and ends with the German surrender in May 1945. This was the best book of the trilogy because of the Benson story and General George Patton has a larger role. 449 pages 5.5 3/23/10 Suzanne
Guilty Guilty
Liberal Victims and Their Assault on America
by: Colter, Ann I like her biting satire, but this book was depressing. Ann didn't attack liberals (the Media) so much as hoist them by their own petard. Also depressing, knowing conservatives would never fight fire with fire, but instead act like cowards and run away from the fight. Odd because Ann is the only conservative that really seems to go on the offensive by being offensive (like the left) and yet the Media and Liberal believe all conservatives act this way. 264 pages 5.0 3/30/10 Suzanne
Maybe A Miracle Maybe A Miracle
by: Strause, Brian I enjoyed the story and the main character Monroe is well written. "Maybe A Miracle" is similar in nature to 'Catcher In The Rye', 'King Dork', and 'The Highest Tide' - a fictional adolescent has to deal with a world gone crazy. Suzanne had issues with how the Catholic Church was portraited. Because the church is seen through Monroe's eyes, I thought it was fine, it is fiction after all. My only minor complaint was it has a great ending (at the DQ) but then goes on for 20 more pages. 364 pages 7.8 4/1/10 Suzanne
One Shot One Shot
Jack Reacher #9
by: Child, Lee One Shot is an exciting story that builds until the final gun battle. I doesn't pay to think too hard about the plot is because it falls apart pretty fast. Instead just let it play in your mind like a movie. The evil Russian goes to a lot of trouble for a city concrete contract. 376 pages 7.5 4/2/10 FPL
Running Blind Running Blind
Jack Reacher #4
by: Child, Lee Very good plot. I congratulate myself from identifying the perp early in the book. There were some holes in the plot but nothing that interfered with my enjoyment of the story. The characters are interesting: I liked the dynamics between Jack Reacher his girlfriend Jodi and the FBI agent Hannah. 486 pages 7.3 4/15/10 FPL
Three Cups Of Tea Three Cups Of Tea
One Man's Mission To Promote Peace... One School At A Time
by: Mortenson, Greg and Relin, David Oliver I know people think Greg Mortenson is a saint but in the book he comes across as regular guy- maybe more focused on his 'job' than most of us, but he would be the first to say he didn't do it alone. The most important lesson should be to illustrate how effective Private aid is compared to Government aid- a little goes a long way. 337 pages 6.9 4/20/10 FPL
Science Of Liberty, The Science Of Liberty, The
Democracy, Reason, And The Laws Of Nature
by: Ferris, Timothy The Science Of Liberty is one of the bests books I've ever read. The book clearly shows the natural relationship between science and liberty. The writing is crisp and light. It doesn't weight you down while reading but is inspirational. Often I found myself stopping at the end of a sentence or a paragraph to savor what I just read. I see myself in this book. Although I often struggle with practical solutions to political problems, I want to be a man of Reason and a supporter of Liberty. Ferris does a good job of showing the weaknesses of competing political philosophies: Progressive, Conservative, and Totalitarian. He also has a chapter on 'Academic Antiscience' which seemed counter intuitive but makes sense once put in a historical context. bottom 246, 258. 269, 290 A counter-revolutionary extreme right a a revolutionary extreme left, pitted against each other, emphasized the respective values of authority and equality at the expense of liberty... Each coalition was kept together, not by positive agreement on a program, but by the fear inspired by the other extreme. -Charles A. Micaud (page 246) 291 pages 8.8 4/25/10 FPL
Echo Burning Echo Burning
Jack Reacher #5
by: Child, Lee Jack Reacher finds himself near Pecos Texas, helping out a Mexican America lady get out from under a bad marriage. But nothing is ever that easy. Echo Burning is a good title as heat of the Texas dessert comes across on almost every page. 412 pages 7.4 5/3/10 MSUM
Persuader Persuader
Jack Reacher #7
by: Child, Lee Jack Reacher gets involved in an off-the-books DEA investigation. This is the most violent Reacher book I've read so far and it also stretches my suspension of disbelief the furthest. And yet I enjoyed it because it was hard hitting and for Child's use of parallel story lines. 465 pages 7.6 5/7/10 MSUM
Guard Of Honor Guard Of Honor
by: Cozzens, James Gould "Guard Of Honor" takes place at a Florida Army Air Base during three days in September of 1943. The book won the Pulitzer Prize in 1949 but doesn't deserve it. The writing is dense with complex sentence structures with multiple completing plot threads. By page 180 of 631 I decide to stop torturing myself. I did find the characters interesting. The book works as a slice of life, but that's not what I'm looking for in a WWII novel. I don't recommend this book, and looking at the dates on the check out card one can see it fell out of fashion: 1950, 1951, 1954, 1954, 1954, 1957, 1959, 1959, 1961, 1963, 1966, 1966, 1968, 1986, 2010 (me). I wonder if it won the Pulitzer due to post war patriotism or did Cozzen impress the judges with his complex sentences? 0 pages 3.0 5/12/10 MSUM
Complexity Complexity
Life At The Edge Of Chaos
by: Lewin, Roger The first time I read "Complexity" in 1998 I was confused. I thought I was reading about Chaos Theory but the first chapter was about anthropology; namely what happened to the advanced Indian settlements in the Southwest. The book continues on with a look at Biology and whether the new theories of Complexity could/should replace, support, or augment the theory of Evolution. Because the book wasn't what I thought it was I gave it a B- at the time. But something happened to me shortly after reading this book. I started seeing Complexity and the broader implications of Chaos Theory everywhere. This book had the strongest impact on me of any non-fiction book I've ever read. Everywhere- I can't state this enough. Chaos theory seems to have a satisfactory explanation for every complex system. In the ten years since originally reading "Complexity" and twenty years since reading James Gleik's "Chaos" I've read more on the subject and have satisfied myself that this is the start of a new branch of science. Steve Wolfram makes the case in "A New Kind Of Science". [This is the same Wolfram who created Mathematica and WolframAlpha.com] Wolfram was one of the first scientists to find complexity at the edge of chaos- a behavior where complexity begins: complex systems such as life. For obvious reasons Life is the most interesting dynamic system to study. In the book, Roger Lewin, interviews many biologist and looks at problems Complexity causes and solves with Evolutionary theory. Because of the way Complexity works, one can argue there are a limited number of possible species and not an infinite number as one might suppose if Natural Selection is the only mechanism for Evolution. Species need to be examined in the Dynamic System they live in. Another complex biological system is consciousness. There is an interesting chapter on the subject of what consciousness is and how complexity might explain it. Lewin goes on to study whether machines can become conscious. Another chapter deals with selfÂ-organization and the Second law of Thermodynamics. By the end of the book you see how this could be the theory of everything. Note: the use of the Gaia in the book is not some hippy term but a description of the dynamic system of life on the planet Earth. The book ends where it began, with a look at why those advanced Southwestern communities collapsed. The book concludes with a word of warning about our own civilization. I highly recommend this book, however I'm not sure how one should come to it. Whether you need to read something like "Chaos" first or just read "Complexity" and look up any concepts you don't understand on Wikipedia. I can tell you it takes some time to wrap your head around this new science. 200 pages 7.5 5/19/10 MSUM
Die Trying Die Trying
Jack Reacher #2
by: Child, Lee Jack Reacher accidentally gets kidnapped along with a FBI agent in a plot to bring down the government by a right-wing militia group in Montana. The plot is obviously far-fetched and the characterizations are weak. The book doesn't work as well as other in the series, but the writing is crisp. 422 pages 4.5 5/24/10 MSUM
Nothing To Lose Nothing To Lose
Jack Reacher #12
by: Child, Lee Jack Reacher slowly uncovers a mystery in the town of Despair, Colorado. He finds a girlfriend in Hope, Colorado and loses this reader somewhere in between. I don't know if I'm losing my enthusiasm for Lee Child's writing or have the last couple of plots have been weak. Jack Reacher is an interesting character but he is also an overly violent busybody. At the end of this book he does something, which I find beyond the pale. If this was the real world he would find himself in Gitmo or in front of a firing squad. 407 pages 4.7 6/2/10 FPL
Lost Symbol, The Lost Symbol, The
Robert Langdon #3
by: Brown, Dan The Lost Symbol starts slow, then picks up tremendous speed. Finally it glides to a gentle stop. While Robert Langdon is racing around Washington DC trying to solve a mystery, Dan Brown throws in lots of facts and trivia in an effort to inspire the readers imagination. Often it is just distracting. In Brown's next book I hope he spends more time on the plot because I found this one unsatisfying. Chao ab Ordo (Chaos from order) 509 pages 5.2 6/12/10 MSUM
On Writing On Writing
by: King, Stephen I have a strong desire to read "On Writing" again. This is the first time I've finished a book and want to read it again right away. Some of this is due to having the Audible version- King reads the book and this gives it a richness the print version won't have. It is also three books in one: an autobiography; a look back at his novels and short stories; and a how-to book on the art and business of writing. If you're interested in any of these three subjects you'll enjoy this book. Last Paragraph: Writing isn't about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid or making friends. In the end, it's about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life as well. It's about getting up, getting well, and getting over. Getting happy- okay? Getting Happy. Some of this book, perhaps too much, has been about how I learned to do it. Much has been about how you can do it better. The rest of it and perhaps the best of it is a permission slip. You can, you should, and if you're brave enough to start, you will. Writing is magic. As much the water of life as any other creative art. The water is free so drink. Drink and be filled up. 320 pages 7.7 6/12/10 Audible
Enemy, The Enemy, The
Jack Reacher #8
by: Child, Lee Lee Child goes back in time to New Years Day, 1990 and we meet Jack Reacher. A MP Major in the US Army who finds himself investigating the murder of a General. We finally get to see Reacher in his natural environment, one that is only hinted at in the other Reacher books. Child creates an interesting story and there is lots of action. The book spends plenty of time showing a criminal investigation, which was interesting, although I don't know how accurate it was. 464 pages 6.7 6/15/10 MSUM
Original Intent Original Intent
The Courts, The Constitution, & Religion
by: Barton, David Although "Original Intent" deals with the First Amendment and 'The Separation of Church and State' the arguments in the book apply to the entire U.S. Constitution. David Barton's theme is the Constitution has been twisted beyond recognition and we are all poorer for it. Barton does a good job of laying out his arguments and providing support for his points using the founding father's own words. As a read, this makes for a dense, often frustrating book, but it is intellectually stimulating. Reading the book, I found myself getting angry. Liberal judges have been stealing my birthright since before I was born. I don't want to return to 1776, but no one is advocating returning to those days. However the Constitution was set up carefully, there is process to amend the Constitution, and there is a reason the founding fathers were worried about taking 'short cuts' around that process. There is flaw in thinking that social justice can be achieved by giving up freedom (liberty). My opinion is social justice flows from freedom, and far from gaining social justice; our country is actually losing more and more social justice along with our freedoms. In Chapter 3: "The Misleading Metaphor". Barton makes the case regarding Jefferson's letter where he uses the phrase 'Separation of Church and State.' Rather than looking at just the eight-word phrase he examines Jefferson's entire letter. It is clear the First Amendment was designed ".. not to limit religious activities in the public; rather they were to limit the power of government to prohibit or interfere with those expressions." (page 52) The exact opposite of how it is interpreted today. I don't understand how abridging everyone's first amendment rights with regard to religion can make anyone feel better, even the atheist. Even if religion isn't important in one's life how can losing religious liberty be a good thing? Setting aside religion, we're being robbed of our cultural heritage. The United States of America is a Christian Nation and there is a long history which is being subverted in the name of 'Separation'. For example when I grew up in the late 1960s, and early 1970s - there were Christmas plays in public school, which included Christian based carols. No more. Great, my culture is banned from the public arena- thanks to shortsighted judges and a willing blindness to what the Constitution clearly was meant to protect. Chapter 5: The Historical Evidence, which is overwhelming- our founding fathers were Christians and had no reservations about it. They had no wish to ban religion from the public sphere or even from government, only that the FEDERAL government be prevented from choosing a denomination for us. Patrick Henry's quote still stirs my blood, ".. Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!" Barton relates the story of Rev. John Peter Muhlenberg on January 21, 1776. His sermon finished, he offered the benediction, and then deliberately disrobed in front of the congregation, revealing the uniform of a military officer beneath his clerical robes. He descended from the pulpit, marched to the back door of the church, and ordered the drums beat for recruits. Three hundred men joined him, and they became the Eighth Virginia Regiment. (pages 110, 111) Chapter 6: The Religious Nature Of The Founding Fathers, page 140, "The Founding Fathers simply were not atheist - not even one of them." Barton proceeds with quote after quote to illustrate this 'shocking' statement. Even the least religious founder, Thomas Paine, believed in God. Appendix C features a short biographical sketch of all the founding fathers. One is struck that almost all would qualify as religious men. Chapter 10: The Court's Selective Use Of History. The trouble started in 1947 (Everson v. Board Education) with a bad interpretation of the 14th Amendment. A liberal court decided this Amendment gave the Federal Government power to trump State Government in First Amendment religious issues. Once this bad precedence was set the liberal courts refused to look at the clear wording of the First again and had no interest in what the founding father wrote about the subject. They took 'Separation of Church and State' out of context and ran with it. "The documentation of the intent of the Bill of Rights as well as the intent of the Fourteenth Amendment was clear. Yet, the documentation on both of these Amendments has been not only ignored, but even rejected by the Court. Further, what makes the Court's coupling of the Fourteenth and the First even more reprehensible is the fact that those who framed and ratified the Fourteenth made clear that it was not to be applied to the First." (page 207) Chapter 11: Establishing The American Philosophy of Government, the chart on page 220 shows where our Constitution came from. Suffice to say it was not just slapped together, but was well thought out and debated. 3,154 quotations from 15,000 writings were researched. The top four political authorities, in order, are: Baron Charles Secondat de Montesquieu, Sir William Blackstone, John Locke, and David Hume. Chapter 14: Identifying the Spirit of the Constitution. Elena Kagan has trouble with Natural Rights. This puts her at odds with our rich history and brings into question her suitability for the Court. "The Constitution cannot be properly interpreted nor correctly applied apart from the principles set forth in the Declaration; the two documents must be used together. Furthermore, under America's government as originally established, a violation of the principles of the Declaration was just a serious as a violation of the provisions of the Constitution. (page 257, proceeded by a similar quote from the U.S. Supreme Court in 1897)" Chapter 15: Maintaining Constitutional Integrity. Although Judicial review was not unanimous it was approved the Constitutional Convention. "Yet, within judicial review, there were specific things which the Judiciary could not do. For example, laws were to be judged only against the specific self-evident wording of the Constitution and nothing further. In other words, judicial review had a limited field of inquiry. Hamilton confirmed this in Federalist #81: "There is not a syllable in the plan which directly empowers the national courts to construe the laws according to the spirit of the Constitution." According to Hamilton... this would "enable the court to mold them into whatever shape it may think proper" which was "as unprecedented as it was dangerous." (pages 264, 265) The founding fathers saw 'legislating from the bench' as dangerous and did every thing in their power to stop it. ".. The courts have so thoroughly rewritten the intent of the Constitution that legal scholars now describe the contemporary Supreme Court as a 'continuing Constitutional Convention.'" (page 269) Chapter 17: Religion and Morality There are three points of doctrine the belief of which forms the foundation of all morality. The first is the existence of God; the second is the immortality of the human soul; and the third is a future state of rewards and punishments. Suppose it possible for a man to disbelieve either of these three articles of faith and that man will have no conscience, he will have no other law than that of the tiger or the shark. The laws of man may bind him in chains or may put him to death, but they never can make him wise, virtuous, or happy. (Source: John Quincy Adams, Letters of John Quincy Adams to His Son on the Bible and Its Teachings (Auburn: James M. Alden, 1850), pp. 22-23.) This was the only chapter I had issues with. The book starts strong, then weakens, gets good again and finally falls apart. Chapter 18: Returning To Original Intent. This is the weakest chapter. I was hoping there would be some practical ideas that citizens would use to focus the Court's attention back to the original wording of the Constitution and the 'Original Intent' of the founding fathers. Other than education, Barton had no concrete suggestions. With our current educational system the outlooks seems hopeless. Our founding fathers must weep for us. "But if we and our posterity reject religious institutions and authority, violate the rules of eternal justice, trifle with the injunctions of morality, and recklessly destroy the political constitution which holds us together, no man can tell how sudden a catastrophe may overwhelm us that shall bury all our glory in profound obscurity." (Daniel Webster, page 353.) "Let us take care of our rights and we therein take care of our prosperity. Slavery is ever preceded by sleep." (John Dickinson, page 353) Table of Contents Foreword Editor's Notes Acknowledgments 1 Religion and the Courts 2 Religion and the Constitution 3 The Misleading Metaphor 4 The Judicial Evidence 5 The Historical Evidence 6 The Religious Nature of the Founding Fathers 7 Safeguarding Original Intent 8 Rewriting Original Intent 9 Ignoring Original Intent 10 The Court's Selective Use of History 11 Establishing the American Philosophy of Government 12 A Changing Standard - Toward a New Constitution? 13 A Constitution in a State of Flux 14 Identifying the Spirit of the Constitution 15 Maintaining Constitutional Integrity 16 Revisionism: A Willing Accomplice 17 Religion and Morality: The Indispensable Supports 18 Returning to Original Intent Appendix A The Declaration of Independence Appendix B The Constitution of the United States Appendix C Biographical Sketches of Select Individuals Referenced in Original Intent Appendix D Endnotes Appendix E List of Cases Cited Appendix F Bibliography Appendix G Index 438 pages 5.0 7/8/10 Suzanne
Hunting Eichmann Hunting Eichmann
How A Band Of Survivors And A Young Spy Agency Chased Down The World's Most Notorious Nazi
by: Bascomb, Neal If they make of movie of "Hunting Eichmann" I hope they cut down the cast of characters. (They should stick with Malkin's story.) The story is interesting but it is slow in spots. There were too many threads to follow. People would appear and then never return. Eichmann does not come across as any kind genius or mastermind. He was careful, methodical, and had help from sympathetic Nazis and Neo-Nazis. This was enough to hide for 15 years. At no point did Eichmann consider himself guilty of anything. He knew why he was being pursued but thought his defense was sound, 'I did not personally kill any Jews and was only following orders.' The trial was more important than the hunt. It showed the world the banal face of evil. Unfortunately the Jewish Holocaust was not the first, the worst, or the last. Every generation needs to learn how easy it becomes for Governments to kill their own citizens. 327 pages 4.7 7/13/10 MSUM
New York New York
The Novel
by: Rutherfurd, Edward It has been years since I read the last Edward Rutherfurd book, but I feel 'New York: The Novel' is his best, or maybe I was just in the mood for a Historical Fiction novel. It was obviously a labor of love to write. It was definitely a joy to read. The story was interesting throughout and finished strong. The book wasn't perfect, there were historical errors and a couple instances where Juan's brother became Juan? But these are minor quibbles in what I thought was an outstanding book. "Imagine Freedom Always" (page 860) 862 pages 8.5 7/19/10 Suzanne
Sharing Good Times Sharing Good Times
by: Carter, Jimmy I really enjoyed "An Hour Before Daylight" but this book reads like a poorly written Christmas Letter. I get that the former President went to many exotic places and has many interesting hobbies, but he does a poor job of making me interested in what he's seen or what he's done. It makes me think the 'Daylight' book was ghostwritten. Jimmy's Theme is "Sharing Good Times" make them better. Sure. Who doesn't think that. The book shows evolution from a very self-centered young man to a generous older man- again no news there. 166 pages 2.7 7/25/10 FPL
IWoz IWoz
How I Invented The Personal Computer, Co-founded Apple, And Had Fun Doin It
by: Wozniak, Steve and Gina Smith Steve Wozniak is an interesting guy who was at the right place at the right time. Along with Steve Jobs, friends, and some business partners they formed Apple Computers and got Woz's Apple I and Apple II computers in the hands of millions of people. In addition Woz pulled many pranks and generally had a good time. In the autobiography Woz comes across as a little braggadocios but this is just the nerd in him trying to express himself. He doesn't mean to be rude; Woz is quite generous with his praise. I'm glad I've heard him on technology Podcasts because his voice really comes through in the book. Steve Wozniak's secret to life, "..to find a way to be happy and satisfied with your life and also to make other people happy and satisfied with their lives." (page 76) "In my head, the guy who'd rather laugh than control things is going to be the one who has the happier life." (page 148) "an important lesson about government, authority, even the police. You couldn't trust them to do the right thing." (page 79) "I didn't realize it at the time, but that day, Sunday, June 29, 1975, was pivotal. It was the first time in history anyone had typed a character on a keyboard and seen it show up on the screen right in front of them. (page 166) A little hyperbole there. One month later I was CDC in Minneapolis learning FORTRAN and working on a terminal. I think Woz is referring to a stand alone personal computer. Odd to think I was doing the same sort of things computer wise only from the top down rather the bottom up. It turned out different for me of course. 313 pages 5.9 7/27/10 FPL
101 Theory Drive 101 Theory Drive
A Neuroscientist's Quest For Memory
by: McDermott, Terry "101 Theory Drive" is about Gary Lynch and his Neurobiology lab located at 101 Theory Drive in Irvine California. Gary is an interesting character. In the book Gary comes across as abrasive, driven, and someone I could see myself working for. Sort of like Steve Jobs without the ego. The story follows research in the lab about a process called LTP or long-term potentiation. Over the decades Lynch and team realize they have found the holy grail of Neurobiology, the process by which memory is encoded! If this book is true (and I don't see why it wouldn't be) It should be headline news! The treatments that follow from this research would be worth billions and give relief to almost anyone with brain or memory issues. Isn't that all of us? 267 pages 7.7 8/3/10 Craig
Gone Tomorrow Gone Tomorrow
Jack Reacher #13
by: Child, Lee By this time we know Jack Reacher pretty well; so Lee Child focuses on the action. He weaves quite the tale. Al Qaeda is on the loose in New York and only one man can stop them. Sure it is far fetched but the plot moves so fast you don't have time to contemplate the holes. 421 pages 7.2 8/4/10 FPL
Churchill Churchill
by: Johnson, Paul Paul Johnson, my favorite historian, has written a short biography of "Churchill" one of the seminal figures of the twentieth century. It's a short book with large print, wide margins and almost double spaced but it does cover all the highlights of Winston's life. If one is interested in Winston Churchill but doesn't have the time or inclination to read even this short book, you should read its 6 page Epilogue at your local book store. On the other hand if you're really interest in Churchill I highly recommend reading the books Churchill wrote especially about the war. (It won the 1953 Nobel Prize for Literature and sold six million copies in England alone.) My favorite chapter was "Glorious Twilight" which explained how his multi-volume "War Memoirs" was written. "Words are the only things that last for ever." - Churchill 1938 168 pages 7.7 8/6/10 Craig
The Age Of Wonder The Age Of Wonder
The Romantic Generation and the Discovery of the Beauty and Terror of Science
by: Holmes, Richard This book deals with the history of Science in Great Britain from 1769-1840 as seen through the eyes of the scientist of the Royal Society. The three primary subjects are: Joseph Banks (Biology), William Herchel (Astronomy), and Humphry Davy (Chemistry). The theme is the rise and fall of the Romantic age. Not only were these men scientists but often poets. The poets of the age also wrote poems about science. One chapter reviews 'Frankenstein' a book that dealt with many themes including science as it was understood at the time. I felt Holmes should have stuck with his three principle characters: Banks, Herchel, and Davy. The chapters on Ballooning and Mungo Park seemed like distractions. There wasn't a lot of science in this book. During the Romantic Age, science made great strides but Banks and Davy don't appear to do much of anything. The book deals with relationships: personal and professional far more than the science of the time. 483 pages 5.3 8/23/10 Craig
Bold Fresh Piece Of Humanity, A Bold Fresh Piece Of Humanity, A
by: O'Reilly, Bill I enjoyed reading this book. I like biographies, and I was in the mode for something funny or amusing. This autobiography wasn't all that amusing but I appreciate that O'Reilly tried to make it so. What little I knew of Bill O'Reilly painted a picture of an intellectual Conservative. But I see a classic American Independent. Bill was a hell raiser in his young and a football player. Add in his taciturn father, a Catholic education with an aversion to authority and you get a television newsman, who delights in picking fights with those he thinks are wrong/evil. I enjoyed reading about his exploits teaching at Pace High School in Miami in 1972- the hell raising student becomes the disciplinarian instructor. 256 pages 4.2 8/23/10 Suzanne
Running With Oil Running With Oil
by: Forum Communications This isn't a book but a 8-day series written and photographed by the North Dakota newspapers owned by Forum Communications. (http://www.runningwithoil.com/) North Dakota has become the fourth largest producer of Oil in the US. The reasons are many: A new estimate for the quantity of oil in the Bakken Formation, high energy prices, and a strong partnership between the state and the energy companies that drill in western North Dakota. This oil fuel boom has also created problems: there is no place to put the needed workers, shortages of water, destruction of the roads, and environmental concerns. The money is there to address these problems but there is also a history of boom-bust in the ND oil industry so no one wants to get carried away building an infrastructure that may be unneeded before it's paid for. Rep. Bob Skarphol (Tioga) makes in interesting point about oil vs alternative energy, "The state puts a 'pretty heavy burden' on the oil industry in taxes, while other industries get tax breaks." This points out the fact Oil will be with us a long time. Any energy policy that doesn't include lots of oil is doomed for failure. The reporters and photographers did an excellent job on this series. It is highly readable and very interesting. The Forum should be congratulated on this series and think about doing other long form series rather than recycling AP stories. 48 pages 7.5 8/23/10 Craig
First Family First Family
Sean King #4
by: Baldacci, David I love reading Baldacci's books, they are well written and loaded with action. One notable take away was how sympathetic the bad guy was. Even though he kidnapped the President's niece and killed his sister-in-law, the guy still seems like a real person and not a cartoon character. This the fourth book to featuring former Secret Service agents Sean King and Michelle Maxwell. 449 pages 8.2 8/27/10 MSUM
61 Hours 61 Hours
Jack Reacher #14
by: Child, Lee Jack Reacher finds himself trapped in small town in South Dakota thanks to a blizzard. He finds himself involved in an international drug ring, murder investigation, prison riot, and protection detail. What is interesting about this fourteenth novel is Reacher doesn't punch anyone until almost the end of the book. I can't wait for the next book as this one ends with a cliff hanger. I like the plot and pacing in this story. 383 pages 7.8 8/31/10 FPL
The Art of Racing in the Rain The Art of Racing in the Rain
by: Stein, Garth A philosophical dog narrates a fairy tale about a race car driver. The book Garth wrote is pretty good with a classic hero story arc. Letting the dog Enzo tell the story is a cute story device, that I had to ignore to enjoy the book. It would make a good movie if you let the camera (and not the dog) tell the story. 321 pages 7.6 9/4/10 Suzanne
Helen Of Troy Helen Of Troy
by: George, Margaret It is an odd feeling to be reading a book and thinking about something else. It is a trick and not a very good one as one doesn't remember anything one has read. This happened while reading Helen Of Troy. I put the book down. I would try again later. It happened three times and I have officially given up on the book. There doesn't seem to be anything odd about the book. It reads fine, the characters are developed, and the story should be interesting. I've read two other Margaret George books so I've enjoyed her fiction in the past. There are plenty other books to read no sense forcing myself into this one. 30/606 0 pages 0.0 9/6/10 Suzanne
The Trouble With Tribbles The Trouble With Tribbles
Birth, Sale, And Final Production Of One Episode
by: Gerrold, David Interesting look at how a kid fresh out of college managed to write and sell a Star Trek episode. The short answer is David was a big fan of Science Fiction, he was a fast writer and he took criticism very well. There are some cute behind the scenes stories but for the most part the story is one of many rewrites. When I finished the book, I played the episode. It was fun to see some of the small almost unnoticeable details on screen that loomed so large in writing the script. 290 pages 3.5 9/15/10 Craig
Princess Of Mars, A Princess Of Mars, A
Martian Tales #1
by: Burroughs, Edgar Rice Imaginative and Kinetic... It has been thirty years since I read it last and a lifetime since I read it for the first time as a kid. It holds up as a tale of adventure but sadly doesn't pack the punch I remember. Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote this book in 1911, his first, and went on to write Tarzan and over a hundred other exciting books. Most of his works are old enough to pass into the public domain. I read this book on my laptop using Kindle software and a Kindle file from the Gutenberg project. 179 pages 5.2 9/22/10 Craig
The Eternal Moment The Eternal Moment
And Other Stories
by: Forster, E.M. I don't know anything about Forster but from this collection of short stories I wouldn't be surprised if he was mentally ill, because world his characters inhabit seems odd if not dreamlike. The Machine Stops - Written in 1909 as an answer to HG Wells' utopian visions. The story is notable for visualizing an end to technological transformations that hadn't even begun yet. The Point Of It- living life, heaven, hell, and the afterlife. Mr Andrews- floating up to heaven, getting anything you want and then rejecting it. Co-ordination- Ministration up in heaven. The Story Of The Siren- weird tale about seeing the siren in the sea. The Eternal Moment- author returns to a small village she made famous. Trying to repair some damage, she makes things much worse. 112 pages 2.0 9/23/10 MSUM
First Lady From Plains First Lady From Plains
by: Carter, Rosalynn Rosalynn writes in a plain but clear style that reads well. The subject of her life before Jimmy Carter, and her life with Jimmy is very interesting. She is a strong willed woman but also very devoted, which I found attractive- Jimmy is a lucky man. The highlight of the book is Chapter 9 "Summit at Camp David", which puts you into the nerve wracking days negotiating the peace between Egypt and Israel. Rosalynn makes the case for the Carter administration. She does a good job, but she leaves out the state of economy or chalks it up uncontrollable external forces. She doesn't image people might have the same goals but wish a different approach. She was cognizant that President Carter tried to do too much and didn't spend enough time preparing the ground. Hence once he was turned out of office his programs were rolled back or allowed to languish. One of the reasons I wanted to read this book, was to determine if she wrote Jimmy Carter's "An Hour Before Sunrise". I think not, the prose is too different. 357 pages 6.6 9/27/10 FPL
Under The Dome Under The Dome
by: King, Stephen This was fine story- think an adult version of "Lord of the Flies"; similar in length and style as King's "The Stand". Because it was so long and only one credit I bought the Audible version. As I started to listen to the book, I thought I might had made a mistake as there are 67 characters in the book. Raul Esparza reads the book using voicings to differentiate the characters- they may not be that good but they do keep the characters straight. I printed out a list of the Characters, which I found on a forum. (Most lists spoil the story, this list does not.) Amazon.com has a nice little map to illustrate the town of Chester Mills, Maine. On the forums there is some discussion regarding the ending. I found it to be pretty good. Not as weak as some reviewers made it out to be. The only issue I had, were the citizens of Chester Mills seemed unusually stupid. I felt if King had made them smarter it would have made the story stronger, but also would have been more work on Kings part. 1074 pages 7.4 9/29/10 Audible
Early Cars Early Cars
Discoveries And Inventors
by: Dale, Rodney A look at the invention of the automobile and the technologies required to make it happen. Many inventors tried to motorize carriages, but only those who realized the internal combustion engine required dropping the 'horseless carriage' for a new paradigm succeeded. With the exception of Henry Ford, Dale keeps his focus on Britain, France, and Germany. It is interesting, England may have had the lead in designing the modern automobile but rules and regulations killed the industry just as it was about to take off. 62 pages 4.3 10/1/10 Dad
A Fire Upon The Deep A Fire Upon The Deep
by: Vinge, Vernor The story takes place in the Milky Way Galaxy. As a plot device our galaxy has zones, which determine the type of life and science found there. As you approach the denser center, technology slows, and then stops working. As life forms evolve they find their technologies work better in 'The Beyond' and so they move out to the suburbs. It is an interesting plot device because it keeps the advanced civilizations from interfering with the primitives. Humans are just one of thousands of civilizations. Early in the book humans find remnants of an old extinct technology. Unfortunately it kills most of the humans, and looks to take over the entire galaxy. It is powerful enough to kill 'The One Ones' so every civilization is scared. Some blame the humans and destroy the remaining human planets. One ship escapes the 'Blight' and crashes on planet deep into the 'Slow Zone' of the galaxy. There is a race between the 'Blight' and a rescue ship. The crashed space ship contains the key to stopping the 'Blight'. On the planet is a civilization of pack-creatures (described as long necked dogs). They have little intelligence individually, but once in a tight pack (4-6) they gain a human like intelligence using a high pitched vocabulary. Unfortunately they can't evolve much further as the packs need to stay some distance from each other to prevent 'thought' interference. 613 pages 7.7 10/16/10 MSUM
Driftglass Driftglass
by: Delany, Samuel R. A fine collection of early Delany short stories. Science Fiction but not as much science as atmosphere. His writing styles resonates in my imagination, so I enjoy his writing more than I should. Some of the stories are vague like impressionist paintings. Delany uses elements from his travels and illustrates the seamy underbelly of a Laissez-faire future. 278 pages 4.2 10/26/10 Craig
Edison's Conquest of Mars Edison's Conquest of Mars
by: Garrett Putnam Serviss A truly awful book but fun to read because it is so dated. The Edison of the title is Thomas Edison and he is on a mission to avenge Earth after the disaster of "War of the Worlds" (H.G. Wells). In Serviss' 1897 story Edison surveys the remains of the Martian war machines and creates some improvements. By the end of the book Edison's fleet has killed most of the Martians, rescued a female slave, violated every law of Physics and violated every element of plot. As bad as the book is, I found it amusing. This was written pre-Radio so all communication is by signal lamps- this includes the Martians with their million year old civilization. Edison must be quite the genius because he invented instruments of war that the million year old Warlike Martians never dreamed of. Another element in favor of the book is the number of science fiction conventions- many must be the first ever seen in print: alien abductions, spacesuits, aliens building the Pyramids, space battles, oxygen pills and disintegrator rays. Not surprising H.G. Wells hated this book, while Thomas Edison approved of it. 218 pages 1.7 10/26/10 Gutenberg
Distant Stars Distant Stars
by: Delany, Samuel R. is a grab bag of short stories and novellas. "Of Doubts And Dreams" starts off the collection. Delany explains some of his theories on writing. The first from Theodore Sturgeon, don't overwrite. 2. from Thomas Disch, Don't let your writing become thin or superficial. 3. from Delany, don't indulge cliches. "Prismatica" is a long story that surprisingly for Delany reads like a childrens fairy tale. "Corona" (good), "Time Considered.." (good), and "We.." (very good) are found in the Driftglass collection. "Empire Star" is the long story about time travel where the characters are constantly meeting each other at different spots in the time line. "Omegahelm" is some sort of futuristic spy exit interview, which I found weird. "Ruins" is a nice little Gothic horror story. The book is heavily illustrated, and except for the cover I don't think it was worth the trouble. I would rather had another story. 352 pages 4.7 11/2/10 Craig
Gods of Mars, The  Gods of Mars, The
John Carter #2
by: Burroughs, Edgar Rice The mysterious force returns John Carter to Mars. Carter has to fight his was way from Heaven (more like hell) to Helium and back only to lose his beloved princess: Dejah Thoris in a cliff-hanger again. There are so many coincidences in the story one has to wonder if Carter isn't transported into his dreams rather than Mars (Barsoom in the story). 190 pages 4.7 11/5/10 Gutenberg
Warlord of Mars Warlord of Mars
John Carter #3
by: Burroughs, Edgar Rice In 'Warlord Of Mars' John Carter fights the Black men of the south pole and fights the Yellow men of the north pole, and fights green, white, and red men in between. Carter manages to kill hundreds if not thousands of Martians while chasing his wife Dejah Thoris (Princess of Helium). In the end everyone he kills was an evil despot or stooge of an evil despot, so Carter manages to free most of Mars. The rebel leaders are very happy with the outcome. 158 pages 4.5 11/26/10 Gutenberg
A Study In Scarlet A Study In Scarlet
by: Doyle, Arthur Conan I enjoyed the recent modern retelling of this tale on the BBC's Masterpiece Theater. I was never a fan of mystery novels, and had only read Doyle's "Lost World". The time is ripe to read the four novels and some of the short stories. This is the first novel. It was particularly delightful comparing how the BBC was able to keep many of the elements of this story even though 'Sherlock' takes place in 2010. 106 pages 6.6 11/30/10 Gutenberg
Memoirs Memoirs
by: Maas, Ron I love reading about life on Walt's Farm. After all it is where my dad met my mother. Reading these rememberances, makes me wonder how they managed to survive into adulthood. I feel blessed being born when I was. I'm old enough to remember the farm and young enough to be there when everything changed. 10 pages 7.5 12/1/10 Craig
Harlequin Valentine Harlequin Valentine
by: Gaiman, Neil and John Bolton A macabre story about a spirit who falls in love with a girl. He gives her his heart and she... You'll have to read it yourself. The story is good and I enjoy learning about the history of Harlenquinade.The blurb about Neil and John is pretty entertaining too. I'm not quite as sold on the artwork but it was servicable. Oh, Missy, shall I sing the body and the blood of you, the lips and the eyes? A thousand hearts I would give you, as your valentine. page 9 40 pages 6.0 12/1/10 Judy
Adventures In The Dream Trade Adventures In The Dream Trade
by: Gaiman, Neil is a reprint of Gaiman's blog about selling American Gods. On paper this should be pretty good, but due to time constraints Neil didn't have time to blog about the more interesting aspects of the Dream Trade. As a book, he should have fleshed out the entries, instead he filled the book with with miscellaneous crap like bad poetry and flowery introductions to books I have no interest in reading. This could have been a funny and interesting look behind the scenes of American publishing, but instead it just hints at it. 286 pages 2.4 12/4/10 Judy
The Sign Of Four The Sign Of Four
by: Doyle, Arthur Conan is the second Sherlock Holmes book. Sherlock Holmes is called upon to solve a mystery. This leads to murder for Holmes and love for Watson. There's a one-legged man who stole a treasure while stationed in India. Now he wants it back. When this was written in 1890 I'm sure no one thought twice about returning the treasure to it's rightful owner, but it left me a little cold, as Holmes has no problem handing it over to a young lady with no legitimite claim. I also thought the affect drugs had on Sherlock rang false - we know better now. 102 pages 4.5 12/5/10 Gutenberg
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
by: Doyle, Arthur Conan Sherlock Holmes solves or attempts to solve twelve mysteries. More odd occurances rather than crimes. I found my interest flagging. I got the feeling Doyle wrote these stories in a hurry. A Scandal in Bohemia The Red-Headed League A Case of Identity The Boscombe Valley Mystery The Five Orange Pips The Man with the Twisted Lip The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle The Adventure of the Speckled Band The Adventure of the Engineer's Thumb The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet The Adventure of the Copper Beeches 320 pages 3.6 12/20/10 Gutenberg
  63 Books / 20,229 Total Pages