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Book Review: Chaos Monkeys – Obscene Fortune and Random Failure in Silicon Valley

March 15, 2019 Leave a comment

This is a book of two tales.  The first one, the adventure of a Silicon Valley entrepreneur-buccaneer’s no-holds-barred battle to survive and cash out, was  fascinating.   The second, about life as a Facebook corporate drone…not so much.  The Zuckerberg brand of palace intrigue is, really, not so unique and special in the annals of American Corporate Manifest Destiny. I have to say, though, that the author’s Afterward—an update written after Antonio’s “departure” from Facebook and the original publication of Chaos Monkeys—is a great essay on current events involving the social media giant.  (4 of 5 stars for the first half; 3 of 5 stars for the second half; 5 of 5 stars for the update)

Link to A Man with One of Those Faces on Amazon

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Categories: What I've Read

Book Review: A Man with One of Those Faces

March 8, 2019 Leave a comment

It was as if I opened a Carl Hiaasen novel and fell through a space-time continuum portal to the Emerald Isle where Skink & Company all suddenly have an Irish brogue. As an aficionado of wacky Florida misadventures since Tourist Season, this was a good thing—a very good thing. Parts 2, 3 & 4 of the Dublin Trilogy are definitely in my reading queue. (5 of 5 Stars)

Link to A Man with One of Those Faces on Amazon

Categories: What I've Read

Book Review: Orphan X, A Novel

March 1, 2019 Leave a comment

Decent premise. Fast-paced story. All the necessary accouterments for a top-shelf high tech thriller. Orphan X is definitely not a bad book, but…I did not walk away craving more. Perhaps the plot was just a bit overcooked and the characters a tad on the raw and unseasoned side, for my taste. (3 of 5 Stars)

Link to Orphan X on Amazon

Categories: What I've Read

Book Review: An American Saga – Juan Trippe and His Pan Am Empire

February 15, 2019 Leave a comment

This biography was such a long read, it felt like passage on the Pan Am China Clipper. But the story of Juan Trippe was worth the ride. Here is a man whose career in aviation spanned the years between the World War I rag wing Curtiss JN-4 “Jenny” to being instrumental in the development of the Boeing 747 as the launch customer. An American Saga is a fascinating read on the commercialization of airplanes, so often overshadowed by war stories. (4 of 5 Stars)
Categories: What I've Read

Book Review: Fate Fell Short

February 1, 2019 Leave a comment

Threading together songs with flash fiction riffs and verse in a collection of improvisational literary jazz is a great concept. It gets to the heart of the osmosis of music into our memories. This Petri dish experiment was definitely a success. The one problem I had with this book:  it was too short.  I wanted more. (5 of 5 Stars)

Link to Fate Fell Short on Amazon

Categories: What I've Read

Book Reviews in Review: 2018

January 11, 2019 1 comment

Here are my favorite five of the books I reviewed in 2018—Man, there is a lot of good stuff out there:

 

About halfway through Noir, sweat started pouring out of me like beer at a Delta House toga party and my gut wrenched hard as if a Mike Tyson body shot found home.  I was afraid. I’d been here before. Like yesterday’s déjà vu redux.

I didn’t want to believe a book could be so cruel, like a dame, leading you on and leading you on, then leaving footprints on your stomach as she walks out of your heart.  Heels. Always in heels.

I was having a good time. What if it ended with a hard fall just like that? I shook it off and read on into the night. I had to…

As I closed my Kindle app and the glow of my iPad faded off into the foggy night, I took a long last look back…It was done. And it was good. Very good.

“You. Yeah, you. Author Guy. We’ll meet again, we will.  Soon.”

(5 of 5 Stars)

Link to Noir on Amazon

 

For me, The Dog Stars pushed quite a few personal buttons. Set on the Colorado Front Range. Check–lived there for ten years. Main character is a pilot. Check,–I am a Commercial Pilot & CFI. Has a dog named Jasper. Check–mine was a Siberian Husky. Influenza infused post-apocalyptic horror/fantasy. Check–who hasn’t read The Stand? (Hmmm, which also ends up in Boulder, Colorado…) Heller’s story has its own showdown between good and evil, but his story is much more personal than epic. The narrative style takes some getting used to at first, but craftily fits Hig’s tale perfectly, so stick with it. The awards won by the book were well-deserved. (5 of 5 Stars)

The Dog Stars on Amazon.com

12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos by [Peterson, Jordan B.]

Pretty presumptuous, eh, to write a book telling people how to live their lives…what with rules, for Christ’s sakes. Especially nowadays. And to use religious mythology to boot!

Peterson’s core premise is that stories which have survived for thousands and thousands and thousands of years with themes common across many different religions and cultures might actually have some value to human beings as guideposts for understanding life and making the best of it.  His lectures seem to be an earnest and forthright exploration of that observation.  12 Rules for Life attempts to put the results of his inquiries into practical action for individuals.

Whether or not you agree with Peterson’s musings, conclusions and prescriptions, a fair and open-minded reading of his book will yield thought provoking insights. (5 of 5 Stars)

Link to 12 Rules for Life  on Amazon

 

Fowl Play by [Spencer Green, Jay]

You know you’re reading “on the edge” when poultry meat processing has become a team sport rivaling the NFL and FIFA.  But, personally, that’s what I like about self proclaimed ne’re-do-well Green’s forays where no satirist has gone before. His plunderous bounty of crazy characters, turbulent plot twists and scalpel sharp barbs is a just reward.

As always, make sure your seat belt is snuggly fastened and your seat backs and tray tables are in their full, upright and locked position.  In the event of rapid decompression, place your oxygen mask on first–but, then again, there really shouldn’t be any children along on this ride. (5 of 5 Stars)

Link to Fowl Play on Amazon

 

I first met Dr. Brown in the Tin Goose Diner at the Port Clinton airport, when he came over to our table  to compliment our ride — the RV-7A built by my student’s dad in their garage. Since then, I’ve seen him speak a number of times and tell many of the tales recounted in this book.  He’s a great story-teller and Keep Your Airspeed Up is as close as you can get to being in the room with him.  What more can you ask of an autobiography?

Meeting someone who made history, as Dr. Brown did being one of the Tuskegee Airmen, is an amazing experience — heightened even more by our mutual passion for aviation.  We shared the boyhood dream of becoming a pilot.  What we did not share were the unfair headwinds of a racism that is nearly unimaginable now, more than fifty years downstream from the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Keep Your Airspeed Up brought home the realities of that period of history to me in a way that no other book, movie or even Dr. Brown’s own “hangar talks” ever have before. But that was just the beginning of his long career in the Air Force and later in education.

Having shaken history’s hand, this book really is the next best thing to being there.  (5 of 5 Stars)

Link to Keep Your Airspeed Up on Amazon

 

 

 

Categories: What I've Read

Book Review: Darkly Dreaming Dexter

November 30, 2018 Leave a comment

Again with the series firsts—an occupational hazard. Dexter is such a great character creation, so I savored the entire book…right up to the epilogue, which was quite untidy by Dexter (and Harry) standards. A thriller shouldn’t leave you thinking, “Huh?”— even after you re-read the ending. Too much of a head-scratcher than cliff hanger for me to want to pick up the next one in the series. (4 of 5 Stars)

Link to Darkly Dreaming Dexter on Amazon

Categories: What I've Read
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