I’ll be honest. I’ve never really been interested in world affairs or politics. The only time I would be interested in either one of those, is if I haI’ll be honest. I’ve never really been interested in world affairs or politics. The only time I would be interested in either one of those, is if I happened to be having an affair with a politician. But that wasn’t the case. A friend of mine told me that I needed to buy the book and spread the word. I promised that I would. And because it seemed to mean something to him, I told myself that I would read it front to back, regardless of how painful it might be.
The fact that after having completed the prologue, I was actually interested in reading the first chapter was a shocker to me. But the talented Aram Roston does such a delightful job at creating a vivid picture of twisted characters and scandals that I wanted to see more. I kept reading and thinking, “Wow. I might actually read a good story, learn something new…and like it!”
The whole subject is new to me, so it’s difficult to give a detailed review in anything other than a lay persona terms…and I do mean lay. In a very abbreviated nutshell, here’s my hazy ADD style skinny on the story:
This Iraqi teen goes through some crazy drama. Traumatized, indeed, but he is also smart. When he gets older, he goes into academia. He can’t stick with it, though, so he does the thing that his family wanted him to do and goes into banking. There, he loses a lot of peoples money, yet still manages to live like a king. He screws a lot of people over and somehow manages to always get away with it every time. Then America becomes interested in him and gives him some money to work with the FBI. Because of his power and experience, politicians take an interest in him and he somehow magically began to woo and influence congress. Then September 11th happened and some crazy business went down, which ultimately leads to the questions, is Ahmad Chalabi responsible for Americas involvement with the current war in Iraq? It’s up to you to decide. And through the compilation of interviews and facts that Roston dug up, you will have sufficient material to form an educated opinion. It’s exciting, really. It’s a story of extravagance, travel, terror, money, the FBI, the CIA, The UN, money, mistresses, business, lies, money, vivid characters, mystery, revenge, money, scandal, death, manipulation…oh… and money.
In addition to the fact that it’s just a good, educational story that can entertain even politically unsavvy readers, this book just makes you feel more desirable by simply carrying it around. It actually worked as both a fantastic conversation piece and an unexpected pick up tool. Wear pumps and be seen reading this book. Smart men everywhere will ogle you in a way that you have never been ogled before. They will actually approach you in a respectable manner and ask you about your thoughts on literature and the state of world affairs. It has been a most unusual and refreshing experience. It’s also good for chasing the dumb and undesirable away. When seen holding this book, you will actually intimidate them.
**Hint: take this book to a car wash near an affluent neighborhood. This has been proven effective. Also consider reading this at your doctor’s office while your waiting to be attended to, especially if the doctor is cute and single.
In summary, this is simply just an awesome book. It’s expanded my interests in things that happen outside of the little sphere I usually hide myself in, and it’s given me a new sort of knowledge and confidence.
If you want to learn more, or say, get an actual review of the book, a good place to do this is at: www.aramroston.com.
A lateral structure and simple dialogue make this story an easy read, but the creative plotline, factual information and observatio**spoiler alert**
A lateral structure and simple dialogue make this story an easy read, but the creative plotline, factual information and observations of human nature keep it interesting. While I have read children’s books that better suit my personal preferences, I still found this story charming and could see myself renting the movie. The obsessions of the characters (primarily Damien’s fascination with Saints and “being excellent” and secondarily, Anthony’s obsession with money and getting things from people when he tells them his mom is dead) provided humor, character and even tidbits of education. While I believe the author to be an excellent storyteller, I was taken back by some of the qualities found in the book. Frank Cottrell Boyce, a British screenwriter, is the author of this story. It’s possible that there are different standards in writing in the UK, but as an American who read children’s books for the first time around in the late 80’s, I was shocked at some of the language and scenery some of his characters presented. For instance, the father of the boys can often be found saying “Where in the bloody hell…?” or “What the hell…?” Scenes with characters smoking and playing with fire also came at a bit of a surprise. It’s not that this offended me. I actually appreciated that these things made the book very “real”. I was, however, thrown for a loop that these things would be published in a book aimed for an audience as young as 9. I enjoyed the details that Damien (the narrator and main character) provide about his mother and I found it cute that he was so proud of her, remembering her to be prettier and have better skin than the other mothers and that she smelled like the Clinique counter where she worked when she was alive. It’s a story geared towards boys, but details like that, as well as the fact that it’s a playful and well-written story, should keep it from alienating a female audience. The characters deal with some very adult issues, which I think is a good thing for young readers to be exposed to. However, the main issue brought up by the book, as the title suggests, is the effects of money. Without preaching to the readers, the situation and dialogue suggest that money can cause just as many problems as it can create good, and that perhaps the best way to make it flourish and bring goodness to human kind is to use it in a way that is selfless. Over all, Millions is a delightful and thoughtful story and one that I’d be likely to pick up again or recommend to either an older child or grown reader who appreciates the messages in children’s books that we often forget as adults.
“This may look like a tiny ladder to you, but to a hedgehog, it’s a lifeline.“
“Cash Jenga is a great game if you can afford it.”
“The nice thing about being rich is that you don’t have to make up your mind.”
Because I typically fall asleep or become distracted after a few pages of reading, short stories are ideal for me. In addition to that, a well-read frBecause I typically fall asleep or become distracted after a few pages of reading, short stories are ideal for me. In addition to that, a well-read friend of mine recommended this book to me, so I was really looking forward to exploring it. My excitement did not last long, however. I've read about four of her stories now, and I'm still wondering when things are supposed to become interesting. The book has been given plenty of awards and good reviews, but I can't quite seem to figure out why. Nothing, so far, has been compelling to me in the least. These stories are simply bland. I don't think I'll be reading the rest of them, unless the pills alone aren't enough, and I find I need some additional assistance in passing out quickly. Then again, perhaps I'll just pass it along to granny. ...more
**spoiler alert** Mark Kurlansky is currently a New Yorker who worked for several years as a doc worker and as a cook and pastry chef. His degree was**spoiler alert** Mark Kurlansky is currently a New Yorker who worked for several years as a doc worker and as a cook and pastry chef. His degree was in theater, but he turned to journalism not long after graduating. His journalistic resume boasts of a number of different books, magazine contributions and articles published around the world. He’s received numerous rewards for his exceptional narration, philosophical substance and tongue-in-cheek observations of the global evolution of fishing. I agree with one of these things; he does, in fact, talk about the global evolution of fishing. Any fish enthusiast around the world could easily find their attachment to Mr. Kurlansky’s book. Included in his number of geographical mentions are New England and the US in general, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Canada in general, Latin America and the Americas in general, Iceland, Norway, Denmark, Germany, Holland and the Netherlands in general, Scotland and Britain in general, France, Belgium, Portugal and Spain, West Africa, Japan and Asia in general. Almost anyone, regardless of their country of origin, could find a connection with this book-so long as they are really, really, really a die hard, relentless fan of…cod. And who of us isn’t? Mr. Kurlansky knows his literature, music, newspaper headlines and extremely old school cookbooks, as he takes quotes and recipes from these sources and makes them the introduction to every chapter. Occasionally, he throws a fish ball or fish head recipe (or three) in the middle of the chapter, just in case we were bored of reading his endless facts about fish and the progressive methods in which they’ve been caught. This is not your typical book. There is no love affair, no resolution, and no story line. While Kurlansky does attempt to walk you through the history of fishing, he occasionally jumps years, so it’s difficult to say that the book even follows a strict chronological order. While you can predict that you will be taken from early 1900’s to late 1900’s, there’s nothing that stops him from taking you from 1960 back to 1940 and on to 1980. Instead of a story, this book is 276 pages of facts. The only tale that is spoken of here is the kind that gets thrown in bouillabaisse. However, if you are preparing to be a contender on Jeopardy, this is definitely a helpful piece to familiarize yourself with. For a history buff, particularly one who has an interest in maritime and or the discovery of new countries, this is a great book. It’s also a great book for anyone who has ever been curious about the method of trawling, or what vegetable should be served with fish tongue. Since I often lie in bed awake at night pondering the correlation between fish and the French and Indian war or why I always have to ask for the mysteriously fluctuating “market price” when I’m considering seafood for dinner, the fishy facts that I have learned from reading “Cod” have helped me sleep better at night. For those who have not had a chance to read this, I’ve decided to condense the part two of this uniquely structured book from page 112-125. With the exception of small words and repetitive sentences this is what a reader can expect to hear.
There are harsh conditions of icy water. Fishermen commonly lose fingers from frostbite, line snags or machinery. A fisherman is forced into retirement when he looses too many fingers. Fishermen have a sense of the elite brotherhood “like combat veterans.” No Social benefits go to fisherman; as they are self-employed and struggle economically. The max age for fisherman is typically 50. The number of Gloucester fisherman lost at sea between 1830 an 1900 was 3,800. That number is 70% grater than all American casualties in the war of 1812. Many vessels are lost by high winds and large waves. Fishermen have the highest fatal accident rate of any type of worker in North Atlantic countries. The Canadian and French have an agenda to get government to financially support their fishing industry. Once frozen food idea came along, the entire nature of commercial fishing would change. Environmental tragedy and impending sense of doom due to the evolution of industry and nations at war for over-fished cod is the tone that the book ended on. For instance, Kurlansky tells of the financial hardship of his former industry. “In 1989, a study by the UN food and Agricultural organization estimated that it costs $92b to operate global fishing. Revenue was only $72b.” Kurlansky also tells us that out of work fisherman resort to becoming the skippers of tourism. This is apparently a huge insult that requires much swallowing of pride to the men who once risked their lives at sea. These statements are meant to evoke sympathy for these men and their line of work in the reader. While it is difficult to see anyone have to take what they consider a downward move in their career, I imagine these moves are typical in any industry and it’s difficult for me to sympathize more with these characters than with anyone else who has ever been demoted or lost their job. The best summary of this book is probably given in the quote Kurlansky uses on page 158 of his tribute to Cod. It is simply a quote from 20th century Icelandic novelist Halldor Laxness, who states, “ Life is saltfish.“ Fin. ...more
Tracy Quan's story was fun and entertaining, although not as satisfying as I was hoping for, much like many men I've known. I'm unsure if the fluffy qTracy Quan's story was fun and entertaining, although not as satisfying as I was hoping for, much like many men I've known. I'm unsure if the fluffy quality of the story was due to Tracy's personal experience in the industry, or due to her publishers demands. Either way, it's worth a read.
In the beginning, I found it highly amusing that Catherine Millet spoke so candidly about very detailed, raunchy sexual escapades while still maintainIn the beginning, I found it highly amusing that Catherine Millet spoke so candidly about very detailed, raunchy sexual escapades while still maintaining a very proper voice. In fact, when I began the story, I read it next next to a man who had his own book to read. Heavily into war and politics, his reading material was something about the situation of world affairs, but every time I looked over, I noticed that his eyes were on the pages of my book! It was unfortunate that Millet's voice so quickly lost its novelty. I tired of her overt, trashy fuck-speak half way through and did not bother finishing the book, which I don't believe actually contained a story, with the exception that she caught and spread an awful lot of infections and diseases during her time participating in indiscretionary orgies. I was expecting erotica, got and eyeful of filthy, gonzo 70's porn, instead. Just terrible.