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Book Blog

April 7, 2013

Guns, Germs, and Steel (Review)

Jared Diamond got a lot of flak for Collapse, and I got a Dale Carnegie pen for it. That’s the way the world works. For Guns, Germs, and Steel, he got a Pulitzer. So, the basics of the book: mankind spreads outwards from Africa. One wave goes east, along the coasts of India, up the long Russian coast, over the Bering Strait and spilling over the Americas (like Sherwin Williams covers the earth). The other wave moves north and west, settling Europe (as if religious wars, strife and a crushing feudal system can be termed “settling”). In the process, we […]
March 31, 2013

Fall of Giants / Winter of the World (Guest review)

Another guest review by my dear ol’ da. I’m stuck in the second book of the Thrones (why do I keep reading gigantic monster books?) So I’ll keep bringing in guests (and writing about old favorites) until I can get caught up. But anyway, here’s another book review for you… The first two books of a planned trilogy that covers the first half of the 20th century. This twofer follows the members of five separate families (English, Welsh, Russian, German, and American)  as they experience love, wars, depression, revolution, and all the political currents that ran through this period. I […]
March 23, 2013

Twenty Years After (Review)

d‘Artagnan puts it best- “Ah, my friends, it is not civil wars which disunite us; it is that we are all twenty years older. The loyal outbursts of youth have gone, and given place to the din of interests, the breath of ambition, and the counsels of egotism.” It”s been twenty years since the events of The Three Musketeers and time has not suited the famous friends. d’Artagnan is still a lieutenant in the musketeers. Porthos has gained a country estate but not the respect his neighbors. Aramis has taken the cloth and pines for his adventurous youth. And Athos, […]
March 17, 2013

Moby Dick – a counterpoint (Guest Review)

Mike Krzos is an old buddy of mine – we car-pooled to our rocket-scientist jobs for about two years. You get a lot of time to know someone, an hour each way. One of our biggest (and standing) arguments was about the novel Moby Dick. I reviewed it HERE. Now it’s Mike’s turn… Moby Dick. Every person claims to know the story. An obsessive madman, a madman with one leg, possessed by his obsession to the ends of sanity and, presumably, the end of his life. Moby Dick is not a story however, it is a work of art. Just […]
March 10, 2013

In Sunlight and in Shadow (Guest Review)

Captain James Raymond is a retired naval officer and voracious reader – he’s also my Pop. Given his burn rate on books, it’s a natural to ask him to stand in for me while I saw through Twenty Years After. Watch for future reviews by him. A beautiful novel set in New York City during the early post WW2 years. Henry, a young paratrooper returns from war and attempts to reestablish his family leather business. His wartime experiences leading his squad into Normandy on D-day and during the battle of the bulge establishes his character using flashbacks.  Love at first […]
March 3, 2013

The Club Dumas (Review)

The Club Dumas, by Arturo Perez-Reverte, is the second of my 3M reviews. Last week, if you’ll remember, we looked at the original, The Three Musketeers. Now we look at this author’s amazing spin on it. I remember watching The Maltese Falcon and being shocked (and delighted) at what a cad Sam Spade (a.k.a Humphrey Bogart) was (including having the sign painter scrape his partner’s name off their practice’s door before his body was even cold). But Lucas Corso goes above and beyond. He’s a ratty book-obtainer, some one you might employ if you wanted a hard-to-get copy of a […]
February 24, 2013

The Three Musketeers (Review)

This is the perfect story. It’s a foundation to the storytelling we know, crafting it so well that most stories of our era still don’t come close. Our tale begins in the classic sense; the young boy comes to town (in this case, Paris) to win fame, fortune and position. He’s young, he’s brash, and he’s mounted on a remarkable yellow nag. And he’s already encountered a dark stranger on the road (that sinister Man from Meung) who buffeted him, abused him, broke his father’s sword and stole his letter of introduction. And that sinister agent was in the company […]
February 16, 2013

Aircraft of World War 1 (Review)

This is not so much a review of a book as much as a review of a sliver of my life. When I was a kid, I had a full-freaking-infatuation with World War One aircraft. I drew them. I hung the models from my ceilings. I bought all the toys. I read the comic book Enemy Ace. I played Dogfight and, later, Richthofen’s War to death. I saw the play Billy Bishop goes to War. And I read every pulp novel I could find about the fliers, the planes, and their war. Sometime in the middle of all that, my […]
February 10, 2013

Mirror to the Sky (Review)

This book put me to sleep. I liked it, but it just knocked me out. I don’t know why – the writing was good. The story was good. The idea was new. But I’d read it and my eyes would flutter and then I’d be in zonkland. So aliens come, ostensibly to be our buddies, but mostly to search out a threat they’ve perceived. To show us their good intentions, they display cultural art, paintings they’ve done, ones so important that every fleet that goes out carries exact duplicates of them. But their art is disturbing. When one looks at […]
February 3, 2013

Thy Kingdom Come (Review)

Thy Kingdom Come is a collection of short stories, no, two collections of short stories, all taking place fifteen minutes into the future. Or, more correctly, a horrible new century that I’m just as happy I don’t live in. One set involves young Martin Sorenson, a boy growing up in the heartland of the USA. His father has just been asked to join the “Reconstruction” party, a grass-roots right-wing organization that is just getting its start. And in that formulative first story, Dublin’s just had a nuke detonate in it. The second set, named “Armageddon” and interspersed between the “Plainview” […]