I don't read much in the mystery genre. But the reviews I had read about this story of a dying Vietnam War vet, convicted of the rape and murder of aI don't read much in the mystery genre. But the reviews I had read about this story of a dying Vietnam War vet, convicted of the rape and murder of a 14-year old more than 30 years before, intrigued me and convinced me to give this mystery a shot. I'm glad I did. It was a very well-written book with a well-thought-out plot. It had no glaring plot holes and was only mildly predictable (I had guessed the real murderer long before the author intended).
So, even with its (very minor) flaws, I really enjoyed reading this. I read the 300 pages in just 4 days, which, for me, is probably a record. The story, the characters, and the suspense really pulled me in and kept me turning the pages.
A very eye-opening and insightful memoir by a young man who, against all odds, rose above the circumstances into which he was born and raised. AuthorA very eye-opening and insightful memoir by a young man who, against all odds, rose above the circumstances into which he was born and raised. Author J.D. Vance has no qualms about referring to himself, his family, and his friends and neighbors as hillbillies -- the white working poor from the hill country of Appalachia.
As one of them himself and having learned the art of fine writing, he clearly illuminates to the reader the experience of growing up in the hillbilly culture -- with its serious problems of poverty, unemployment, inadequate education, addiction, hopelessness, and unstable families that frequently lack reliable father figures.
I really appreciate stories and books about real people with whom, at first, I seem to have little in common. As I learn about them I frequently come to understand that, in truth, simply by being human, we actually tend to share many common beliefs and aspirations. This book performed that magic exceptionally well. ...more
More than thirty-six years after living for a couple of years in Latin America and becoming fairly fluent in spanish, I am now currently trying to bruMore than thirty-six years after living for a couple of years in Latin America and becoming fairly fluent in spanish, I am now currently trying to brush up on my sorely-neglected spanish skills. My hope is to travel to South America for 1-2 months starting about a year from now. I bought this book based on reviews and because it seemed like it would be good for the kind of practice that I need.
Overall, it met my expectations and was very helpful. It consists of 8 short stories, all of which are written fairly simply, similar to what a second or third grader would probably read for school reading assignments. The stories were mostly pretty lame, but I was okay with that as long as I felt like I was improving my spanish as I read them. Boldfaced words and phrases within the story meant that the word's definition appears at the end of the chapter. This part was kind of annoying because many of the boldface words were very simple and didn't need an english description, while several other words were not boldface but should have been (at least in my opinion), which meant that I had to keep my spanish-english dictionary nearby. Also, in more than a few cases, words that appeared in boldface were not to be found in the definition section at all.
Still, it was a good investment, and I will read through it several more times as I work toward my goal....more
What a great book! It has everything I like: the frontier, history, native Americans, conflict, adventure. It's just the right length at a little overWhat a great book! It has everything I like: the frontier, history, native Americans, conflict, adventure. It's just the right length at a little over 200 pages. Its prose is both delightful and comprehensible. The good characters are likable and relatable and realistic. The bad characters are believable -- not personifications of evil as many authors try to make them.
News of the World is the story of an older man who travels the frontier area of Texas in 1870 reading and commenting on the news to paying audiences. At a stop in Wichita Falls he is obliged to take temporary custody of a 10-year-old girl, recently "rescued" after four years of captivity/adoption among the Kiowa. She has lost all memory of her former culture and language, but now she must be thrust back into the care of her closest relatives, an aunt and uncle, several hundred miles away near San Antonio.
Adventure and danger follow them throughout their journey. Difficulties of communication and cultural collisions challenge them everywhere, as do the hot tempers of so many of the citizens living in the reconstruction-era South, where the politics of recrimination constantly hover over them.
Really a great story from beginning to end. I want to give this five stars, but I may have exceeded my quota for the year. I will re-evaluate my rating in a few weeks. If it's a true five-star book it will become better with time. ...more
We must make our choice. We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both. – Louis Brandeis (Su
We must make our choice. We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both. – Louis Brandeis (Supreme Court Justice, 1916 – 1939).
The results of the past few elections make clear that in the U.S. we have already made our choice. A valiant battle was waged, but as Warren Buffett put it, “There's class warfare all right. But it's my class, the rich class, that's making war, and we're winning.”
I would say that Mr. Buffett's class (which he, admirably, criticizes for its greed) has already won. This book describes in great detail how this war was won. It appears that the outcome was never really in question.
Author Jane Mayer is thorough in her research in tracking the massive amount of money that a few billionaires have invested into transforming this country into their version of Utopia -- a place in which they are safely ensconced at the top while deluding themselves into devoutly believing that their efforts all are also in the very best interest of everyone. The hallmark of their success is the fact that they have even convinced a majority of those upon whose backs they ride that they are their champions and that were it not for the meddling of godless liberals, they too would be in the billionaire (or at least millionaire) club.
A more apt subtitle for this book might be: The death of Democracy in America:How a small number of extraordinarily rich, selfish, arrogant, mean, morally bankrupt, old white men exploit the power of their wealth by buying political influence and promoting social indoctrination in order to shape the country's laws to favor them in their quest to augment their wealth even more dramatically at the expense of everyone else.
The most depressing non-fiction book I have ever read, it is also the one I most wish I could convince everyone to read.
A fast-paced and exciting science-fiction mystery. A young man discovers a remarkable device clasped in the skeletal hand of a long-dead World War IIA fast-paced and exciting science-fiction mystery. A young man discovers a remarkable device clasped in the skeletal hand of a long-dead World War II veteran. Through experimentation he learns some of the capabilities of the device, which he then uses to thwart the efforts of the thugs who are after him because of his checkered past and shadowy others who seem to know about the device and will stop at nothing to take it from him.
The plot thickens in many ways, some of them expected, but others which turn out to be complete surprises. The ending was very satisfactory to me -- thrilling and intense, but leaving several questions and outcomes unanswered and open to each reader's own imagination....more
Nothing superlative or enchanting should be easily accessible.
I admire and respect Wallace Stegner for his literary g
Sagebrush is an acquired taste.
Nothing superlative or enchanting should be easily accessible.
I admire and respect Wallace Stegner for his literary genius and for his life as a teacher of writing who has influenced many other great writers, among them one of my all time favorites, Edward Abbey. But more than that, I respect him for his devotion and activism to protect what remains of the wilderness and wild places of the western United States.
A very good collection of essays about living and writing in the West, some of them better than others, as will always be the case for a collection such as this....more
As a grade schooler in the 1960's I clearly remember the ominous fallout shelter signs that seemed to prominently adorn all public schools and many otAs a grade schooler in the 1960's I clearly remember the ominous fallout shelter signs that seemed to prominently adorn all public schools and many other public and private buildings.
When I asked my mother about what the signs meant I got an unexpected shocking revelation about the insidious threat of nuclear war. I don't think those signs are seen anywhere anymore. Even as a young child with a crude understanding of atomic bombs and its resultant fallout, I was able to surmise that these shelters would not protect us. Today maybe we aren't so easily deluded.
Learning the truth about "the bomb" was, understandably, disturbing and frightening. But by the time I was a teenager and had seen the classic Kubrick film Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb I had learned to relax and take it all in stride -- not really. The truth is I have never stopped worrying. The threat of nuclear war and nuclear accidents is going to be with mankind for the entire foreseeable future.
Alas, Babylon is considered a classic in the dystopian genre. It was published the year I was born, 1959, so it is quite dated in a lot of ways, which did not bother me too much -- except for a few sexist and racist passages that left me annoyed. But on the other hand, it made me realize and appreciate how much progress we have made.
As hauntingly as the world of Alas, Babylon is portrayed, I felt that it is nowhere near as awful as an actual post atomic war world would really be. For one thing, the concept and science of a nuclear winter was not understood or even known about at the time this book was written. Surviving in such a world would be dramatically more difficult and violent than the relative ease the survivors in this book encounter.
Overall, the depiction of nuclear war and its aftermath in a small outlying community was well done, but the characters and the unfolding of the story never really grabbed my attention as I had hoped....more