This was a new release when I started reading it, and I am still categorizing it as such. The triviality of the two months it took me to read and reviThis was a new release when I started reading it, and I am still categorizing it as such. The triviality of the two months it took me to read and review it has no bearing on the subject matter or the presentation; Thomas Jefferson is fascinating, and Jon Meacham could win another Pulitzer Prize for Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power. In it another aspect of Jefferson is brought to light: “He dreamed big but understood that dreams become reality only when their champions are strong enough and wily enough to bend history to their purposes.” Jefferson was a philosopher, but that did not make him an ideologue. He was pragmatic, both in his personal affairs and his public service. He learned how to acquire and wield power early in his career and put those lessons into practice. It takes power to withstand tyranny, and Jefferson was a champion of democracy. Jefferson was narrowly elected president, but his principles guided four of the five presidents who succeeded him. “And so began the Age of Jefferson, a political achievement without parallel in American life,” Meacham writes. Would that it were so to this day, sir....more
I've given this a lot of thought, resulting in the loss of a star in my rating. It was disappointing on many levels. Somehow the professional writingI've given this a lot of thought, resulting in the loss of a star in my rating. It was disappointing on many levels. Somehow the professional writing that was so evident in the beginning went missing at the end. It tainted my view of the entire series, frankly....more
I liked the story development better than the first installment (the foment of the rebellion in particular), although the cliffhanger endings could beI liked the story development better than the first installment (the foment of the rebellion in particular), although the cliffhanger endings could be scaled back....more
Another war novel, albeit from an entirely different theater. The Profession is set in 2032, when strife in Iraq and neighboring nations has given risAnother war novel, albeit from an entirely different theater. The Profession is set in 2032, when strife in Iraq and neighboring nations has given rise to professional mercenaries. Highly trained and privately funded, these mercenary forces are able to respond to terrorist threats employing methods that no national military would ever approve. There is no holding back; retribution is swift and total. Terror is combated with terror. The American republic cannot condone these actions, but the American public is content to sit back and watch their enemies get a taste of their own medicine. When the mercenary commander and his coalition of backers set their sights on rivals foreign and domestic, it’s up to one of his most loyal lieutenants to draw a line in the sand.
There are a number of parallels that can be drawn between this novel and my novel-in-progress - the year 2032, the wars in Iraq, the unrest in the U.S. that foments political upheaval – which is the reason I read it. Pressfield takes an entirely different approach than I have, and it was worth seeing the issues from a former Marine’s perspective....more
Thoroughly read and thoroughly enjoyed; an excellent way to while away National Poetry Month! I had already determined that Marianne Moore would be thThoroughly read and thoroughly enjoyed; an excellent way to while away National Poetry Month! I had already determined that Marianne Moore would be the favorite poet of a character in my novel-in-progress, so I read this for research in addition to edification. Moore's exquisite poem "What Are Years" is an integral fit for the themes of Grandpa Art.
WHAT ARE YEARS
What is our innocence, what is our guilt? All are naked, none is safe. And whence is courage: the unanswered question, the resolute doubt – dumbly calling, deafly listening – that is misfortune, even death, encourages others and in its defeat, stirs
the soul to be strong? He sees deep and is glad, who accedes to mortality and in his imprisonment rises upon himself as the sea in a chasm, struggling to be free and unable to be, in its surrendering finds its continuing.
So he who strongly feels, behaves. The very bird, grown taller as he sings, steels his form straight up. Though he is captive, his mighty singing says, satisfaction is a lowly thing, how pure a thing is joy. This is mortality, this is eternity.
Riveting? Yes, and more. Devastating? Yes, and more. Profound.
Reading this book made me question my faith in the nature of book requirements and recomRiveting? Yes, and more. Devastating? Yes, and more. Profound.
Reading this book made me question my faith in the nature of book requirements and recommendations (why hadn't I encountered it before?), but it also reconciled my doubts, as I was led to it precisely when it would have the greatest impact on me. Truly a monumental read, which I will be contemplating for quite some time....more
I don't typically delve into noir, but where Kelly Justice and Dennis Danvers lead in Richmond, I will follow! Even if that means skulking down the alI don't typically delve into noir, but where Kelly Justice and Dennis Danvers lead in Richmond, I will follow! Even if that means skulking down the alleys "colored with seamy urban romance and suave big-city vice, the twin elements most responsible for the seductive throb at the murky heart of noir," as described in the foreword by Tom Robbins (an author I've been meaning to read). Edited by Andrew Blossom, Brian Castleberry, and Tom De Haven (who also contributed the story "Playing with DaBlonde"), Richmond Noir takes a street-level view of a city steeped in mystery as well as history. Richmond is a pivotal setting in my novel-in-progress Grandpa Art, and I was grateful for this glimpse at the underside of the various regions of this great city. My characters will likely hail from the suburban counties mentioned by the editors in the insightful introduction rather than the city proper, but overlooking this aspect of the city's complex character would rob my story of a much-needed local flavor!...more
April 20th is the perfect day to review The Watch by Dennis Danvers, a book very much concerned with dates and times. This particular date in 1999 figApril 20th is the perfect day to review The Watch by Dennis Danvers, a book very much concerned with dates and times. This particular date in 1999 figures prominently in the story. Ten years later The Watch, though no longer in print, ought to figure more prominently in the ongoing conversation. I came to this book by way of a recommendation from Kelly Justice, owner of The Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia. I mentioned on my blog that I was having some difficulty locating a copy but I would continue searching. My search didn’t take long: the author found that post, left a comment, and sent me a signed copy! So I thank Kelly Justice for her recommendation and Dennis Danvers for his generosity and ingenuity!
The Watch is narrated by Peter Kropotkin, a Russian anarchist from the 19th century. On his deathbed he is approached by a mysterious figure from the future named Anchee who offers to restore him to life and health if he will do Anchee’s bidding. Kropotkin accepts without questioning Anchee’s intentions, which he comes to regret and resent. Kropotkin is restored in the future, when all of his acquaintances are no more, and sent to the foreign city of Richmond, Virginia aboard the foreign conveyance of an airplane. He arrives with no money, no contacts, and no instructions from Anchee. He has already lived as an exile however, so he does speak English and has moderate survival skills. Between his abilities, his charisma, and the intervention of some generous residents of Richmond (like Danvers!) he gets along rather well. Until he learns that all of these interventions, right down to seemingly chance meetings, have been orchestrated by Anchee, not chance at all. He has become the subject of an experiment. If everything he desires (love, anarchy, equality) is arranged for him but not by him, will it still be desirable?
I enjoyed this read on many levels. As a History and Russian major, I appreciated the treatment of the narrator’s background as well as the setting. As a U2 fan it made me think of the lines “She said “Time is irrelevant, it’s not linear”/Then she put her tongue in my ear” from the song “No Line On The Horizon.” As an author working on a book that takes place in Virginia, specifically in Richmond, I gained a crucial perspective of the city that I was lacking. I haven’t met anyone from the future, but finding this book was so fortuitous it almost seems prearranged by some meddling traveler!...more
Absolutely vital information for the novel I am currently writing entitled Grandpa Art. It also gave me a new perspective on my friend Ryan's experienAbsolutely vital information for the novel I am currently writing entitled Grandpa Art. It also gave me a new perspective on my friend Ryan's experience as a lieutenant in the Navy....more