December 22nd, 2010

Dead Dog Cat

(no subject)

Yesterday, I finished a library copy of Generation Kill: Devil Dogs, Iceman, Captain America and the New Face of American War by Evan Wright, who was a reporter imbedded with the First Marine Recon Battalion in the Iraqi Invasion. He's not the best writer I've ever read, but he does a fairly good job of reporting the events of the first month or so. Apparently, HBO made a mini-series based on this book, which I'll have to seek out.
  • slickmc

Books 92 - 96 / 100

92. Ghosts - Henrik Ibsen
            This was, like everything I've read by Ibsen, an amazing play.  It took a little bit for me to get into it; Act one kind of dragged with setting the scene and giving some backstory on the characters.  The end was killer though (no pun intended).
93. Why Did They Kill: Cambodia in the Shadow of Genocide - Alexander Laban Hinton
                  An anthropological study of Cambodia's culture and how it led to and affected the events of the genocide.  There was a slow chapter in the middle which dragged as the author detailed each and every arrest related to this one guy, but for the most part it was fascinating.  I would love to read this sort of book about every culture in which genocide has occured.   

94. The Walking Dead: Volume One: Days Gone Bye - Robert Kirkman and Tony Moore
                  The graphic novel on which the amazing AMC show is based.  Sadly, not nearly as good as the show.  This volume's plot is very similar to that of the first few episodes of the show, but the minor changes in the show only make it more suspenseful and surprising.

95.  The Walking Dead: Volume Two: Miles Behind Us - Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard, and Cliff Rathburn
                     The graphic novel is good enough to keep reading, and I'll probably finish it just to be consistent.  It seems like the rest of season one of the show veers dramatically from the story.

96. A Journey North: One Woman's Story of Hiking the Appalachian Trail - Adrienne Hall
              The title is a little misleading, since the author spends very few pages talking about her hike, and more about nature, politics, and the history of the trail.  Not that it wasn't good to learn about those things (even though I fell asleep on the train) but I was more interested in hearing about the author's experiences.  Those were the parts I liked best, although she does make it sounds like a completely miserable time, what with pain, bugs, hypothermia, and constant tears.
El Corazon

247. John Huston: Interviews

John Huston: Interviews
edited by Robert Emmet Long

Started: December 21, 2010
Finished: December 22, 2010

This book consisting of various interviews with Huston from 1952 to 1985 is full of fascinating tidbits. It made me wish I could have met Huston. He comes across as an interesting and very genuine person. My only gripe is that because the interviews come from so many different sources that a lot of Huston's best stories get told over and over again. 180 pages. Grade: B
Total # of Books Read in 2010: 247
Total # of Pages Read in 2010: 61,449

  • krinek

20. The Speed of Dark by Elizabeth Moon

Title: The Speed of Dark
Author: Elizabeth Moon
Year: 2005
# of pages: 369
Date read: 3/10/2010
Rating: 3*/5 = good


"Thoughtful, poignant, and unforgettable, The Speed of Dark is a gripping exploration into the world of Lou Arrendale, an autistic man who is offered a chance to try an experimental "cure" for his condition. Now Lou must decide if he should submit to a surgery that may change the way he views the world -- and the very essence of who he is." -- from the back cover

My thoughts:

This was a very good book about autism and how different people react to it. I liked how Lou could explain to his friends how he viewed the world. I also liked the way he learned more about himself in making his decision.


20 / 100 books. 20% done!

6237 / 30000 pages. 21% done!
  • krinek

21. The List of Seven by Mark Frost

Title: The List of Seven
Author: Mark Frost
Year: 1994
# of pages: 426
Date read: 3/10/2010
Rating: 3*/5 = good


"Christmas Day, 1884: a letter is slid under the door of a struggling young doctor and aspiring novelist, begging him to come to the aid of a mysterious woman, a victim of the black spiritual arts. . .

From the foggy streets of Victorian London to the wind-swept moors of Yorkshire, a demonic conspiracy begins to unfold. The List of Seven, a sinister brotherhood sworn to serve the Dark Lord, have conceived a diabolical plot that threatens not only the Royal Crown, but the very fabric of modern society.

Only two men stand in their way: the young Doctor Arthur Conan Doyle, and Jack Sparks, Queen Victoria's Special Agent, a man of formidable intellect and lethal skills. . ." -- from the back cover

My thoughts:

This was a good mix of mystery, historical fiction and the supernatural. I liked how the characteristics of Holmes and Watson were displayed in Sparks and Doyle, respectively. While some scenes did get a bit clichéd, I enjoyed the book and look forward to the next book in the series, The Six Messiahs.

Book 138: Hearts and Minds by Amanda Craig.

Book 138: Hearts and Minds.
Author: Amanda Craig, 2009.
Genre: Contemporary. Current Events. Mystery.
Other Details: Paperback. 422 pages.

Hearts and Minds opens with the dumping of a murdered woman's body in an isolated pond on Hampstead Heath. The thread of this mystery runs through Amanda Craig's vivid portrait of present day London and the lives of a diverse group of characters, some British and others who have come to live here from abroad, either legally or illegally. It is very much an ensemble piece and each short chapter revolves around the experiences of one of five main characters in a merry-go-round style.

The main five characters are as follows: Polly is a human rights lawyer, a divorced mother of two, who turns a blind eye to the legal status of her Russian nanny. Job, a former school teacher from Zimbabwe who fled from persecution, is living in the UK illegally. He scrapes a living by driving a taxi. Anna is a 15-year old girl from the Ukrainian, who finds herself forced into sexual slavery. Ian is a white South African seeking to gain his teaching certificate by working in a sink school in Inner London. Finally, there is Katie, a young American working for The Rambler, a long established conservative magazine. These lives soon begin to intersect in various ways.

Aside from these individual stories, the novel looks at the great swirling mass of humanity that makes up London. Though referring to contemporary events such as 9/11 and 7/7 there is a sense that London has from its beginning has always been home to a diversity of cultural influences. The novel was very reminiscent of Charles Dickens' works, both in its interweaving of lives and its acute social awareness. Craig tackles the controversial subject of illegal immigration and asylum seekers with insight and sensitivity.

Having lived in London for a number of years I was impressed with her ability to bring the city with its lights and shadows alive. A superb, highly readable and topical novel.

Amanda Craig's Page on 'Hearts and Minds'.