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Book Review: The Day That Never Comes

January 22, 2021 Leave a comment
 
The Day That Never Comes (The Dublin Trilogy Book 2) by [Caimh McDonnell]
 
There is always trepidation when you start the sequel to a great first novel, A Man with One of Those Faces, book 1 of a 4-part “trilogy.” But Caimh McDonnell definitely pulls it off. Paul and Bridget are back, running a private investigation firm that is swirling the drain. Of course, it doesn’t help that they’re not speaking to one another. Bunny is strangely M.I.A., but he’s been replaced with Maggie, an incorrigible police dog. Great characters and loads of laughs along the way. Now on to Part 3. (5 of 5 Stars)
 

 

Categories: What I've Read

Book Review: This Kind of War

January 15, 2021 Leave a comment
 
 
Now, I can find Korea on the map, but not much more. And here we have a book about the Korean War without any maps —or photos or graphic illustrations—whatsoever (in the Kindle version anyway), which made understanding the narrative of the battles difficult.  Sometimes Fehrenbach gets lost in the “fog of war” as he writes quite a bit about foxhole-level fighting. While important, it distracted from getting the big picture of the war.  Some of the author’s opinions were insightful and some left me scratching my head…again to the detriment of understanding history. (3 of 5 Stars)
 

 

Categories: What I've Read

Book Reviews in Review: 2020

January 8, 2021 Leave a comment

Here are my favorite five of the books I reviewed in 2020:

 
It seems pretty simple, but I’m kind of a simple guy:
 
  1. Acknowledge the “Resistance” and fight it: every day, all the time, without fail.
  2. Be a professional…and all that it means.
  3. Honor the sacred mystery of the creative process — whether it is a muse, an angel  or gravity.
And yet in all the writers groups in all the world, there are so, so, so many books that have yet to be written. I wonder why…
 
You can fight it if you want, but Pressfield has laid it all out pretty clearly. 
 
Like I said, I’m a simple guy. (5 of 5 Stars)
 
 
“Why don’t I write a children’s story about how people really are, about how people actually behave?” asked the author of Lord of the Flies.
 
Indeed…
 
William Golding’s chronicle of the descent of Ralph, Jack and their minions into tribalism and savagery is only so horrific because deep down—without the guardrails of civilization—we know that it is true.
 
And here and now, watching the unrelenting rage of young protesters as they attack the icons and foundations of society, it gives me pause to wonder what kind of islands those “safe spaces” of academia actually are. (5 of 5 Stars)
 

The most famous American fighter pilot I never heard of–not Rickenbacker, Bong, Boyington, Yeager, McConnell, Olds–but the one who re-rewrote the book on tactics; developed the engineering models that led to the F-15, F-16, F-18 & the A-10; and he was the one who developed the OODA Loop (Observe-Orient-Decide-Act)–not some psychologist, but a damned fighter pilot. Probably not much of a surprise that he was hated by the guys with stars on their shoulders. Good. Ornery guys getting their way can be prickly–especially when they are right. (5 of 5 Stars)

Link to Boyd on Amazon (Paid Link)

 
You gotta love it when the whole Animal House Delta Tau Chi vs “The Establishment”  thing works out in real life again! Give a lowly Lt. Commander 6 months and spare change to fix the whole air warfare mess over North Vietnam and what do you get?  Topgun and a 22:1 U.S. Navy kill ratio.  A great saga by Dan Pederson of his Naval Aviation career.  My favorite part was the “Fight Club” in Whiskey 291 off San Clemente Island.  Compare this story to Boyd: The Fighter Pilot Who Changed the Art of War. Definitely a “Golden Era of Jet Aviation.” (5 of 5 Stars)
 
 
 

Hmmm…and what would you have a couple of Navy SEALs write about in a book on leadership? The Ramadi war stories are to the point and engaging. Real world stuff there.  Principals learned and applications to business situations might seem a bit repetitive, but it’s classic PowerPoint format:   Tell me what you are going to tell me; Tell me; Summarize what I just told you. Remember, it is a business book.

As for those who claim the information is simply what everybody already knows about:  “There is nothing more uncommon than common sense.” ~Frank Lloyd Wright   (4 of 5 Stars)

 

 

Categories: What I've Read

Book Review: Gravity’s Rainbow

December 11, 2020 Leave a comment
 
And here I thought this would be an interesting and engaging book with World War II and V-2s and stuff…not so much. The first fifty pages were basically word salad, so I gave up and moved on. If I really need a Gravity’s Rainbow Companion to understand a novel—yeah, well, life is just too short. (No Rating)
 

Categories: What I've Read

Book Review: Topgun: An American Story

December 4, 2020 Leave a comment
 
You gotta love it when the whole Animal House Delta Tau Chi vs “The Establishment”  thing works out in real life again! Give a lowly Lt. Commander 6 months and spare change to fix the whole air warfare mess over North Vietnam and what do you get?  Topgun and a 22:1 U.S. Navy kill ratio.  A great saga by Dan Pederson of his Naval Aviation career.  My favorite part was the “Fight Club” in Whiskey 291 off San Clemente Island.  Compare this story to Boyd: The Fighter Pilot Who Changed the Art of War. Definitely a “Golden Era of Jet Aviation.” (5 of 5 Stars)
 

 

Categories: What I've Read

Book Review: Squeeze Me

November 20, 2020 Leave a comment
 
Carl Hiaasen has been one of my favorite authors ever since I finished Tourist Season. I’ve read all of his books and they’ve been pretty much 4 or 5-star ratings. Until now…I know he’s got a big political target down there in West Palm and if he wants to do a political comedy, no problem. But Squeeze Me was just so…lame. Worst of all it was a waste of Skink. (2 of 5 Stars)
 

 

Categories: What I've Read

Book Review: Pulp

October 16, 2020 Leave a comment
 
I’m not sure what “good old Bukowski stuff” really is, but Pulp smacks on a couple of good themes for me:  a good old fashion noir detective tale (“A dick without a gat is like a tomcat with a rubber”) and the dark undercurrents of Lady Death, Celine (the writer, not the singer) and the fate of the Red Sparrow: “Sometimes I looked at my hands and realized that I could have been a great pianist or something. But what have my hands done? Scratched my balls, written checks, tied shoes, pushed toilet levers, etc. I have wasted my hands. And my mind.” (4 of 5 Stars)
 

 

Categories: What I've Read

Book Review: In the Distance

October 2, 2020 Leave a comment
In the Distance by [Hernan Diaz]
 
 Wow! So many Editorial Reviews listed on Amazon. I kind of fell for the one that said In the Distance was “…something like Huckleberry Finn written by Cormac McCarthy…”  Too much like The Road and not enough Mark Twain.  Most of the “adventures” were kind of boring and my mind tended to wander off on its own trying to follow all of Hakan’s wanderings. (3 of 5 Stars)
 

Categories: What I've Read

Book Review: White Noise

September 18, 2020 Leave a comment
 
I tried, but I just couldn’t finish this.  I got a hundred pages in, but I guess I missed the “brilliant satire of mass culture and the numbing effects of technology.” Maybe the Hitler Studies professor was funnier in the last millennium.  (Unrated)
 

Categories: What I've Read

Book Review: Dead Wood

August 21, 2020 Leave a comment
Dead Wood (A Hardboiled Private Investigator Mystery Series): John Rockne Mysteries 1 by [Dan Ames]
 
Private Eye John Rochne has got a snarky enough noir attitude about him (“The perfect lunch spot for two guys who thought arugula was an island somewhere near the Caribbean”) that sucked me in big time. His investigation into the murder of a local Grosse Point guitar maker hooked me in as well. Some of the situations pressed the willing suspension of my disbelief, but it was a good mystery read. (4 of 5 Stars)
 

Categories: What I've Read
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