In his novel, Age of Intolerance, the author, Peyman Pejman, describes the plots and counterplots revolving around Iran attempting to improve its econIn his novel, Age of Intolerance, the author, Peyman Pejman, describes the plots and counterplots revolving around Iran attempting to improve its economy through imperialism. One of the main characters is an Iranian woman named Sadie. As unlikely as it may seem, Sadie, a Muslim woman, is one of the chief advisers to the King of Iran. She is a pragmatist who develops plans to overtake other countries, starting with hiccups but gradually spreading to all out nuclear war. Her foil is a man named Charlie who grew up in Iran but has forsaken the country of his birth to become a patriotic American citizen. Charlie works as a journalist but is eventually recruited by the United States for espionage. The author obviously knows a lot about the history, politics, and philosophy of the Middle East. I thought the book could have been better if there was more character development. It was an interesting yarn, but not as much of a political thriller as I would have enjoyed. ...more
I loved this book, especially since I am familiar with the story. I met the main character, Luma, once and could tell right away she has a profound imI loved this book, especially since I am familiar with the story. I met the main character, Luma, once and could tell right away she has a profound impact on the refugees she works with. Luma is from an aristocratic family in Jordan. She came to the USA for college. After she graduated from Smith college, she decided she wanted to stay. Her parents were very upset (her father disowned her) but later those wounds were healed. Fate brought Luma to Clarkston, Georgia, a small southern town outside of Atlanta which is home to many refugees. I taught at Clarkston High School so I know the character of the refugee children. They were always so polite, so studious, and so much more respectful of teachers than the American children. The kids were flown to Atlanta from war torn countries such as the Congo, Irag, Afghanistan, Somalia, the Sudan. etc. One young boy from Sudan who I knew came here when he was 10 years old and had never had formal education. (That was typical.) One of the teachers at Clarkston High School offered night classes to the refugee families where he taught things like -- how to use a refrigerator and what goes into a refrigator. Luma was very taken by the refugee families and started a soccer team. This wasn't an ordinary soccer team -- Luma helped her team members adjust to their new country, taught them discipline, provided tutoring for their school work, and became involved with the families. This was her passion. She started a small school for the refugees and is currently involved in fundraising to expand the school. I thought the author, (a reporter for the New York Times, who came to Clarkston to write an article and instead stayed a year and wrote this book), did a good job of explaining the past and present culture of the refugees . I thought he was particulary adeptin explaining the motives behind so many people in the book, including Luma herself, Tracy, Clarkson's mayor, sheriff, and even the local grocer. A good read. ...more
I enjoyed this novel of intrique and espionage, but it was not the kind of thriller that I enjoy the most. It was good, but not a page turner, can't-pI enjoyed this novel of intrique and espionage, but it was not the kind of thriller that I enjoy the most. It was good, but not a page turner, can't-put-the-book-down thriller that will keep me up at night....more
This summer marked the 75th anniversary of the publication of Gone with the Wind and I suspect that's what got me interested in all things Civil War.This summer marked the 75th anniversary of the publication of Gone with the Wind and I suspect that's what got me interested in all things Civil War. Andersonville, the Pultizer Prize winning work of historical fiction written by MacKinlay Kantor, seemed a natural choice for my new interest in that period of American History. Having visited the Andersonville Prisoner of War Camp in South Georgia years ago, I already knoew a little about the horrors the Union soldiers suffered there.
Open for only 18 months, 52,000 Yankees were "housed" (although not my idea of housing) at this notorious POW camp known as Ft. Sumter and 13,000 of the soldiers died there. The 27 acre camp was surrounded by a stockade made of pine logs with a small creek that ran through the center. The residents had no shelter, except for makeshift tents for those who had the resources. This meant the prisoners had to suffer through intense heat in the Georgia summer, rain, and the cold of Georgia winter's with no defense. The creek became a combination of bathing, toileting, drinking, and disease. The men were given little or no fresh meat or vegetables and scant food in general. They suffered scurvy, gangrene, diarrhea, dysentery and various other life threating/ending diseases.
The author begins the book describing the account (fictitious) of the residents who live in this sleepy Southern town. Soon follows the building of the POW camp. After that, the author devotes each chapter to describing the residents of the POW camp. He begins the chapter with a background of the residents and brings each to their current condition in the camp. Some of his characters are based on fact as some soldiers left behind diaries. At the end of the book, as a reference, the author writes about some of the true characters, which I referred to as I was reading the book. He writes with such imagination and description of the characters and I found this stunning.
After reading this book, I'm sure to take another visit to the Andersonville POW camp....more
I read the Accidental Billionaire a few months ago and even though I thought it was almost a tabloid sort of book about the founding of Facebook, I waI read the Accidental Billionaire a few months ago and even though I thought it was almost a tabloid sort of book about the founding of Facebook, I was still completely captivated to learn how Facebook was started. I was so intriqued by the founding of Facebook that I wanted to learn more. Did Zuckerberg steal the Facebook idea from the Winklevoss twins? Did he swindle his friend Eduardo out of the company? How much is Facebook worth in real dollars? The Facebook Effect, written by a technology expert, touches on the events of the founding of Facebook, but does not dwell on the controversies that surrounded its beginnings. Mark Zuckerberg would not collaborate on the Accidental Billionaire, however, he did collaborate with the author of The Facebook Effect. David Kirkpatrick, the author, dwells on the relevance of Facebook and how it is affecting society, privacy, culture, and global communications. Mark Zuckerberg's founding of Facebook and his vision for the company is an extraordinary story and one that all can be inspired by. Anything is possible. ...more
T. P. introduced me to this author years ago. I enjoyed her mysteries in the past, although I hadn't read anything by her in many years. Fortunately fT. P. introduced me to this author years ago. I enjoyed her mysteries in the past, although I hadn't read anything by her in many years. Fortunately for me, I rented her latest compelling novel from the library. Set in England, as I think most of Elizabeth Geroge's novels are (she's an American author) this one is a real page turner. Although it is almost 700 pages long, George managed to keep me interested and engaged through every page. With 2 interesting stories in the book, I was intriqued to learn the outcome of both. Besides the obvious bad guys in this novel, there was another character who I never particularly liked, although I won't say who that was as I would risk spoiling any of the plot. In fact, I won't say too much about the novel because I would hope that the reader, like me, will begin the reading without any hints of the outcome of the plot. This is a very good book, particularly for anyone who enjoys a good mystery. ...more
I was so intrigued to read this mystery by Scott Turow because it is a sequel to his book, written in 1987, Presumed Innocent. I always enjoy a legalI was so intrigued to read this mystery by Scott Turow because it is a sequel to his book, written in 1987, Presumed Innocent. I always enjoy a legal thriller, with the exception of any of John Grisham's novels. In Innocent, we have Rusty Sabich, his wife and son returning 20 years after Rusty was acquitted of his lover's murder. This book involves the mystery of his wife's death -- did she die by natural causes, by murder, by suicide? The book is a real page turner with plenty of plot twists to keep the reader involved. Like Presumed Innocent, this novel shows the darkness of some of the main characters who are desperate to find happiness and contentment in their lives. I thought the movie, Presumed Innocent, really showed that darkness and I am curious to see how the movie to this novel will be portrayed. Overall: a good read ...more
I enjoyed this nonfiction book about the inner workings of President Obama's first year as president. I gave it a 3 star rating only because I felt thI enjoyed this nonfiction book about the inner workings of President Obama's first year as president. I gave it a 3 star rating only because I felt the author was biased in favor of President Obama. So, if you do not like President Obama, you probably wouldn't enjoy this book. ...more
I began reading this book as The Girl Who Was Sad This is Stieg Larsson's Last Novel. I have rated all 3 books of the series with a 5 star rating, howI began reading this book as The Girl Who Was Sad This is Stieg Larsson's Last Novel. I have rated all 3 books of the series with a 5 star rating, however, I preferred the 1st and this (the 3rd novel) the best. The first novel started out, I thought, as a whodunit and I was surprised when it turned into a thriller. By the second novel I was prepared for a thriller, but I wasn't prepared for all of the action. The second novel was an ax yielding, foot shooting, buried alive action thriller. I missed the oddly familiar relationships that the author developed in his first novel. In this novel, those dysfunctional, but endearing relationships were prominent once again. This novel is a political thriller -- more of a cerebral thriller than an action thriller as the 2nd novel was, although there was action in the 3rd novel as well. I liked that. I also enjoyed the trial in the 3rd novel. I like all of the detail that Larsson puts into his books. He makes me feel like I am actually living the story which is probably why I stay up late and cancel everything else in my life to finish the novel. He certainly showed how much all of the main characters grew by the end of the trilogy -- that's all I can say without spoiling the ending. Alot of things were resolved by the end of the story and so, rather than feel sad there would not be another novel in the series, I became The Girl Who Knew the Story Ended. ...more
Of all of the financial crisis books I've read, The End of Wall Street by Roger Lowenstein was by far the most comprehensive and informative. LowensteOf all of the financial crisis books I've read, The End of Wall Street by Roger Lowenstein was by far the most comprehensive and informative. Lowenstein went in to just about every single aspect of the financial crisis including credit rating agencies, Fannie and Freddie, Lehman, leverage, capitalization, Bear Stearns, credit default swaps, deriviatives, CEOs, subprime mortgages, Wall St bonuses, politics, Geithner, Paulson, Bernanke, Greenspan, Congress, Citigroup, the TARP and on and on. This was the 5th book I've read about the financial meltdown and it the one that gave me the best run down of the crisis. I loved the book Too Big to Fail, but that read like a thriller and included all of the juicy gossip and scandals of the meltdown. 13 Bankers was way over my head as I felt I needed a finance class to understand it. The End of Wall Street put everything in an easy (well, pretty easy) to understand way. It also filled in the gaps for me about some parts of the financial crisis that I hadn't read about. Lowenstein reveals mistakes that people made but he doesn't dwell on the mistakes. As you read you will notice by the end how everyone has made serious errors on predicting and preventing the crisis. The author does this so that by the end the reader discovers that nobody had this right -- although some had it right some of the time. He did such a good job at this that he does not inflame the populist rage or take political sides. Lowenstein told the story of the financial crisis in a way that spoke "it is what it is," rather than being inflammatory. He did explain what he thought was an error of the TARP at the beginning, that is, that Paulson et al used the TARP to give liquidity to the banks, when Paulson and his team should have used the TARP to give capital to the banks. (Paulson and his team later did use the TARP to infuse capital into the banks.) As Lowenstein was describing how the market, or the capitalists who plied it were smart and developed many brilliant products, they had forgetton one thing: "Capitalism requires capital. No amount of leverage, not even record quantities of liquidity from the Federal Reserve, can obviate this need."...more
Although I found this book could get tedious at times, I also found the author's perspective of the Obama presidential election very interesting. TheAlthough I found this book could get tedious at times, I also found the author's perspective of the Obama presidential election very interesting. The author wrote in great detail about the struggles and successes of the Civil Rights movement and discussed how those travails pathed the way for the election of an African American president. ...more
My interest was certainly piqued for this book when my friend Renee told me it is her all time favorite book. This novel of historical fiction deals wMy interest was certainly piqued for this book when my friend Renee told me it is her all time favorite book. This novel of historical fiction deals with the monarchy in the 12th and 13th century in England, Wales, and France. The author stays true to the history of that period with such remarkable description that while reading, I felt I was actually taken back to that period. This novel surely delights anyone with an interest in royalty (and also with romance.) And talk about dysfunctional families, there's nothing like the dysfunctional royalty of those times who kill their siblings, imprison their children, and betray their parents in the name of power. I think I'll stick with democracy....more