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ARCHIVE > JIMMY'S (from Chichester) 50 BOOKS READ IN 2015

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message 1: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Feb 23, 2015 07:34AM) (new)

Bentley | 44328 comments Mod
Jimmy (from Chichester), here is your new thread in 2015. Happy reading in the new year.

Our Required Format:


1. My Early Life, 1874-1904 by Winston S. Churchill by Winston S. Churchill Winston S. Churchill
Finish date: January 2015
Genre: (whatever genre the book happens to be)
Rating: A
Review: You can add text from a review you have written but no links to any review elsewhere even goodreads. And that is about it. Just make sure to number consecutively and just add the months.

message 2: by Jimmy (last edited Feb 24, 2015 05:42AM) (new)

Jimmy | 177 comments JANUARY

1. Flashbacks On Returning to Vietnam by Morley Safer by Morley Safer Morley Safer
Finish date: January 2015
Genre: Vietnam War; Memoir
Rating: B+
Review: Safer wrote this book back in 1989 when he visited Vietnam, 14 years after the fall of Saigon. As he says, "Not until I returned to Vietnam . . . did I really begin to understand the grip the place had maintained on me." I second that statement.

Interview with Bui Tin, Colonel of the People's Army, retired: Kissinger believed if Americans weren't winning, they were losing. The NVA believed if they weren't losing, they were winning.///Soldiers would march on the Ho Chi Minh trail for 12 hours at a time, then dig in for 2 hours. A man could lose 200 grams of blood a day from leeches. Many men bled to death. They once shot an elephant and ate meat for 5 days.///Men drowned, fell off cliffs, died of malaria and snakebite.///He was puzzled by the one year tour of duty for American soldiers. Six months for learning, three for fighting, and the last three trying to stay alive and make it home. Such a policy made no sense to him. It was actually Westmoreland's idea. By spreading out the duty, he seemed unaware that he was exposing more Americans to disenchantment and a sense of uselessness. And fragging had begun. At the other extreme was General Giap's mercilessness about sending his troops to their deaths.///He thought the B-52 raids were the worst thing he had to deal with.///The worst part of the War was the time after the 1968 Tet offensive. It was a huge price but "worth it" for the change it caused in America. For me, that's just a lack of sensitivity to what actually happened.///When Safer talks about all the NVA wounded he sees, Bui Tin brags about independence. Such bullshit.//He has actually visited the War Memorial Wall in Washington. He thinks it is important to remember.

Westmoreland believed Asians had a different attitude towards death. "They don't think about death the way we do. They accept it very fatalistically." Pardon me while I vomit. I have heard those types of beliefs many times during the War. Once again, however, we must mention that the other side wasn't much better. They treated ARVN soldiers like they were "only puppets."

Safer remembers Long Binh and all the amenities, such as swimming pools, the soldiers had there.

He tells the story of how once an old Vietnamese farmer was shot with a grenade launcher by a nervous guard. It did not explode, but was stuck in him. He walked 15 miles to Saigon for help. A team of American doctors, protected by sandbags, removed the missile. He then hopped off the cot and walked back home.

Dr. Hoa was a pediatrician who was a spy for the VC. In 1979, she left the party, disillusioned.///She feels no bitterness that ARVN soldiers killed her brother. In the context of war, she finds it logical. Smart woman.///She feels the leaders now cannot function in peace. All they know is war and indoctrination. They have become corrupt with their new power.///And ARVN soldiers have endured four years of reeducation camps. Those poor guys were always treated like the bottom rung of a ladder.///Many veterans abuse their wives and children. They have no jobs, no money. They feel abandoned.///She feels nobody won this war.///One of her workers is a former ARVN officer. She was the only one willing to help him. He spent four years in reeducation camps. It was slave labor. Only enough food to barely stay alive.

Safer attends a group meeting of former NVA soldiers and American veterans. The Communist host rattles on about defeating imperialism and other such nonsense. Finally, Safer breaks the rule of interference and urges the man politely to shut the fuck up. Which he does. Then the soldiers finally talk about their experiences in the War.

Colonel Hoa describes finding a woman whose legs had been cut off by shrapnel. Beyond pain, she knew she was going to die. She asks the Colonel to kiss her before she dies. He does just that.

I can never forgive Monsanto and Dow for Agent Orange and napalm. The area around Quang Tri is a poisoned land.

In August 1965, Safer reported on the burning of the hamlet of Cam Ne by marines. Following the broadcast, Safer carried a weapon for the first time, fearing for his life. The story was broadcast over and over again around the world. Marines had taken fire from there every time they went by. This causes a rage that seeks revenge. The hootches are being set on fire. There are voices in one. Terrified people and a baby crying. A lieutenant orders a private to torch it. A Vietnamese reporter asks them to wait. He talks a woman and her baby to come out. After the report on CBS, the marines felt they were stabbed in the back. Officials lied about what happened. In fact, Cam Ne was part of the fortified hamlet program that the US had urged the Diem government to start. It turns out, the operation was requested by the province chief for nonpayment of taxes. A reported 150 houses were destroyed. Four prisoners were old men; five wounded were women. No guns, no captured soldiers. CBS was called the Communist Broadcast System. One marine said, "They are enemy until proven innocent. . . . I feel no remorse. . . . You can't do your job and feel pity for these people."

The worst reaction to the Cam Ne affair came from the White House. President Johnson threatened to expose Safer's "communist ties." Even more dismaying for me was the inclusion of Bill Moyers in all of this. He is a man I admire. I guess it just shows what the times were like.

The Cham people lived long ago. The relics of the Champa Empire are stolen and sold on the black market. One man hired Vietnamese infantry to foray deep into VC territory to pillage a Cham temple.

Even chaplains mugged for the cameras. Safer saw one cover his face with mud when he saw cameras approaching. Their goal was probably to convert soldiers and to make a mark for themselves later.

Some famous people got special treatment. Like the novelist John Steinbeck who was thought to be favorable to the war. The hawkish Joseph Alsop could be counted on to write favorable columns. Walter Cronkite was a bit harder to win over. LBJ was supposed to have said, "If we've lost Cronkite, we've lost the war" after the 1968 Tet Offensive.

Hundreds of homeless people in Ho Chi Minh City. Some are ex-ARVN soldiers. They desperately pass notes trying to reach long-gone Americans who might be able to help them.

Interview with Pham Van Thuong, who used to be in the Mike forces. They were mainly Cambodian, Montagnard, and Nung tribesmen. Commanded by 12-man teams of US special forces. Mike means "Mobile Strike Forces." Among the best-trained and most reliable soldiers. Were well-fed, well-led, and well-paid. Also among the most cruel. Some Nung mercenaries filled mason jars with ears they cut off from dead enemy soldiers. Ethnic minorities hated the Vietnamese. Once the Nung and the Vietnamese started to fight each other. Cutting off ears may have started with the VC but nobody knows for sure.///Thoung was sought after when Saigon fell. The VC smashed out his teeth. He went to reeducation camp for ten years, ARVN officers went for about 5 or 6.///Thuong wants Safer to meet his wife.

Pham Xuan An was a correspondent for Time magazine, but he was also a spy for the North Vietnamese. Even he was sent to reeducation camp because he was corrupted by being with the westerners.

Van Le describes killing an American. Now it starts to bother him, looking back on it. He wrote this poem:

There's an American soldier
Who returns to northern Cu Chi.
He bends his back to the tunnels.
What does he see? What does he think?

There's a Vietnamese hero
Now a grandfather.
He asks the American to share wine
Outside the tunnel.

Each man is silent
As he looks into the other's eyes.
Something is rising like a deep pain.

The war was terrible
All that time past.
The dead lost their bodies.
The living lost their homes.

How many American soldiers
Died in this land?
How many Vietnamese
Lie buried under trees and grass?

The pain still lingers.
Why should we remember it?
We are old, our era past.
Our mistakes belong to bygone days.

Now the wineglass joins friends in peace.
The old men lift their glasses.
Tears run down their cheeks.

Safer is approached by two men: Duong The Tu and Tran Duc Suu. They worked for CBS and now 14 years later are looking for $3,000 apiece that is owed them because they are desperately poor. Safer promises to relay their message. He takes their pictures to prove who they are. A year later, they will be sent the money. They tell Safer they will work for CBS again in the future if needed.

Boat People suffered horrible indignities trying to leave the country. Under pressure from world nations, Vietnam set up Orderly Departure Plan. But it is corrupt and slow. Perhaps half the nation lives with bags packed hoping to leave.

message 3: by Jimmy (last edited Mar 02, 2015 06:38AM) (new)

Jimmy | 177 comments 2. Caught One Man's Maniacal Pursuit of a Sixty Pound Striped Bass and His Experiences with the Black Market Fishing Industry by Jeff Nichols by Jeff Nichols Jeff Nichols
Finish date: January 2015
Genre: Environment; Striped Bass Fishing
Rating: B-
Review: Jeff Nichols writes about his addiction to fishing for striped bass and the underground market that is helping to once again push the species into decline. If our national symbol was a fish rather than a bird, it would be a striped bass.

Restaurants accept illegal fish rather than pay wholesale prices. That in turn hurts the commercial fishing industry. Criminals use submerged gillnets to catch tons of stripers that goes to unknown destinations.

The bass are collecting PCBs as they travel up the Hudson River to spawn. Not healthy to eat more than a few servings a month.

Once Nichols was showing off a big striper when a man walking by told him he should have tossed it back. Big bass are all females. They lay about 2 million eggs. Now Nichols realizes he was wrong. Maybe this book can convince a few other fishermen the same thing.

Charter boats aren't making much money any more. People aren't going fishing like that as much.

Now many people catch and release. Trophy fishing is just vanity. Maybe that can help by a form of shaming.

But catch and release can be a problem as well. Releasing in warm water kills them. Weighing them and playing around with them can kill them.

Cutting Coast Guard budgets has hurt. Regulation and enforcement is needed.

When limits were set, boats could have hundreds of fish on deck waiting for the biggest and then throwing the rest over. Dead. This is called culling or "upgrading."

Humans destroy the shoreline. Septic tanks overflow into the water. Pesticides and fertilizers enter the water. Algae blooms are created. Why be obsessed with a green lawn? If you are such a person, Gentle Reader, consider changing. Dandelions won't kill you. In fact, they are good for bees.

The book might make a good gift for someone who could use a little nudge to improve their environmental consciousness.

message 4: by Jimmy (last edited Mar 02, 2015 06:38AM) (new)

Jimmy | 177 comments 3. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern by Erin Morgenstern Erin Morgenstern
Finish date: January 2015
Genre: Fiction; Fantasy; Magic
Rating: C
Review: I love magic. I wanted this to be the great magic circus book I have never read. Alas, it was not to be. A lot of effort dealing with the jumps in time and keeping up with the different characters. But not much in return.

message 5: by Jimmy (last edited Mar 02, 2015 06:39AM) (new)

Jimmy | 177 comments 4. The Conversation A Revolutionary Plan for End-of-Life Care by Angelo Volandes by Angelo Volandes (No photo.)
Finish date: January 2015
Genre: Medical; Death
Rating: A-
Review: I received this book as part of the Goodreads first reads program.

We all talk about living a good life, but what does it mean to have a good death? It's time we discussed this concept more than we do with those we love and with our political and religious leaders.

"Strive in regards to disease two things, to do good or not to do harm."--Hippocrates. A great quote, but does it sometimes promote more harm than good? Is not helping someone in pain to die doing them any good?

Fifty years ago people died at home surrounded by family. Today, most deaths occur in health care institutions with the patient surrounded by strangers. The result has been disastrous. When the Affordable Care Act was being discussed, death was taken off the table by such voices as Sarah Palin who spoke of "pulling the plug on grandma." And there are still those who speak of "death panels." So we sweep the topic under the rug.

Researchers at Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston have found that end-of-life discussions do not cause emotional distress or psychiatric illness. In fact, the opposite was true. Those patients who did not have those discussions had a lesser quality of life. The same went for the relatives of the patients.

Dr. Volandes remembers his first patient, by the name of Taras, who dealt with end-of-life issues. Taras had a tube or catheter in almost part of his body in order to keep his body alive for just 48 more hours. He had a total of 8 lines, including in his rectum, bladder, lungs, veins, heart, and stomach. To what end? For what purpose? At what expense? At what suffering? Who is responsible for this system? What political party? What religion? What organization? How have they achieved such power over our deaths?

"Americans experience some of the worst deaths in the developed world. . . . The primary reason we experience such horrible deaths is doctors' failure to openly discuss medical care with seriously ill patients."

With Taras, no doctor takes the time to ask about his wishes concerning end-of-life care. It's just not usually something that they do. A change is needed there. The focus in training is on technology, not on talking. However, much is beginning to change in some places. More medical schools should offer philosophy, rhetoric, communication, and other "soft" classes.

Families suffer as well as the patients with a bad death.

Take the case of Nonna. She has advnced Alzheimer's. Her family had a feeding tube inserted in her. That went along with a breathing machine. Advanced Alzheimer's is terminal. There is no cure.//Then the family fought over who would be in charge. None of them had spoken with Nonna about what she might want.//The family are "good Catholics." They want "everything" possible done. They pray and cross themselves. None of it changes anything. They refuse to allow the doctor to remove the feeding tube.//The doctor wonders what Nonna herself would have wanted if she could see herself now.//After three weeks of misery, the family finally said enough.

Choose a proxy wisely: 1. Be sure they understand your values. 2. Separate his or her feelings from yours. 3. Be a strong advocate for you, even in the face of relatives. 4. Lives near you.

Living wills are often too vague. You also need a proxy. And talk about it with everyone you possibly can. While you can.

Children and spouses often make decisions out of guilt and denial.

TV shows often show CPR as successful. The true success rate is between 8 and 18%.

Dr. Volandes decided to show a patient the Intensive Care Unit. It helped everyone to make a better decision. Actually, comfort-oriented care seems to work better. People live longer that way when it is done early with hospice, instead of waiting.

So the Doctor decided to create videos to show patients and their families. That really is the key to his new plan. Let them see what will happen to them if they go on like this. He compares it to Khan Academy.

Senator Ted Kennedy died eating ice cream and watching his favorite James Bond movie with his family. And other patients without those resources can die the same way with hospice.

Lesson #1: Have the Conversation
1. What kind of things are most important to you? What makes you happy?
2. What fears do you have about getting sick or needing medical care?
3. If you were very sick, are there any specific medical treatments that might be too much for you?
4. Do you have any beliefs that guide you when you make medical decisions?
5. How do you value quality vs. quantity of life? How important is it to you that you live as long as possible even if it means pain and suffering?
6. Which is more important to you: length of life or quality of life?
7. Is there a special occasion coming up that you want to be around for?
8. Would you want to avoid pain at all costs even if it meant you could not interact with others?
9. How important is it to you to be at home when you die?

Lesson #2: Let Your Loved Ones Know Your Choices

Lesson #3: Talk to Your Doctor and Know Your Options

Start now for yourself and for those you love.

message 6: by Skeetor (new)

Skeetor Interesting book!

message 7: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) Great job, Jimmy. Just one little problem. If the author does not have a photo, do not use the avatar; just the author link followed by (no photo). Example:

The Conversation A Revolutionary Plan for End-of-Life Care by Angelo Volandes by Angelo Volandes(no photo)

message 8: by Radiah (new)

Radiah | 375 comments I'm now looking for a copy of the Vietnam war memoir, great review.

message 9: by Jimmy (last edited Mar 02, 2015 06:39AM) (new)

Jimmy | 177 comments 5. Driving Backwards by Jessica Lander by Jessica Lander (No photo.)
Finish date: January 2015
Genre: Non-fiction; small town life; Gilmanton NH
Rating: B
Review: This is a book about small town life in Gilmanton, New Hampshire. For example, one of the best chapters is about the author learning about milking cows. Two famous people were born there: Herman Webster Mudgett and Grace Metalious.


Herman Webster Mudgett adopted the alias H. H. Holmes and moved to Chicago where he became a well-to-do doctor. During the course of the 1893 Chicago World's Fair, he became America's first serial killer. He never returned to Gilmanton and was executed in Pennsylvania. Read Erik Larson's Devil in the White City to find out more.


She collected stories she heard around town and added some of her own imagination to write Peyton Place. In the 1950s it was a blockbuster novel considered scandalous. Gilmanton does not brag about the book, but the town in Maine where it was filmed still pushes it. The library hid the book. The librarian is afraid it might be stolen and burned.


Bet you ten dollars you never knew this fact. The Model T Fords had gas tanks that were gravity fed. Thus if you were low on gas, you had to drive up a hill backwards. Send the ten dollars to me. I accept cash and stamps.

Peyton Place by Grace Metalious by Grace Metalious Grace Metalious

The Devil in the White City Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson by Erik Larson Erik Larson

message 10: by Bryan (last edited Jan 14, 2015 06:28AM) (new)

Bryan Craig Great, Jimmy. If a book cover does not show up in your first search, click on "other editions" under the add button just to see if there is one:

Driving Backwards by Jessica Lander by Jessica Lander (no photo)

message 11: by Jill (last edited Jan 13, 2015 01:36PM) (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) Jimmy, you are on your way with the citations but let me remind you that if you mention a book or author in your text, they must be cited at the end of your post. This only applies to books/authors other than the one you are reviewing since you have cited it at the beginning.

The Devil in the White City Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson by Erik Larson Erik Larson

Peyton Place by Grace Metalious by Grace Metalious Grace Metalious

message 12: by Jimmy (last edited Mar 02, 2015 06:40AM) (new)

Jimmy | 177 comments 6. Moyers on America A Journalist and His Times by Bill Moyers by Bill Moyers Bill Moyers
Finish date: January 2015
Rating: A
Genre: American politics
Review: I was sad to see the last episode of Bill Moyers Journal on PBS in December 2014. I think maybe he ruffled too many feathers with the truth. This book is from 2005. It contains essays from the 1970s to the early 2000s.

The great tsunami that occurred several years ago was helped along by the destruction of coral and mangrove trees that served as natural barriers to water. We are a world heading toward failure.

President George W. Bush worked at eliminating taxes on capital gains, dividends, estates, and interest. What's left? Workers.

Contributors paid 1 million dollars to be wined and dined by his campaign. Across the street, wounded Iraq veterans paid for their own calls home.

The pro-business magazine The Economist said inequality was increasing more than upward mobility. The income gap continues to increase to this day.

Privatization has led to an abandonment for all public services: water, police, schools, social security.

Tuition at an elite private school reached $26,000. Across the city line, a 97% black student body school had 90% qualify for free lunch, 10% living in homeless shelters, and no Langston Hughes books in the library.

When Moyers was 16, a group of privileged housewives in Texas protested having to pay social security for their maids and housecleaners. They hired Martin Dies, Jr., best known as being head of the House Un-American Activities Committee. Fortunately, they lost their case. How did those women expect those hired workers to face old age?

One politician said about Texas politicians: "If you think these guys are bad, you should see their constituents."

It was Mark Hanna at the turn of the century who backed William McKinley and became who may have been the first person to unabashedly believe in corporate power running the country.

"If Congress were true to the principles of democracy, it would be the people's lobby."--spoken by Tom Johnson, the Progressive mayor of Cleveland in the early 1900s.

The descendants of Jefferson and Sally Hemings divided themselves as those who thought they were "white" and those who thought they were "black."

"I do not do what I want to--and what I detest I do."--Saul of Tarsus speaking of the difficulty of doing good in this world.

In the Mel Gibson movie The Patriot, Americans vote to free the slaves who fought for the colonies. That never happened. The British offered slaves freedom.

He speaks of campaign finance reform. Little did Moyers know at the time that the Republican Supreme Court would strike it down so that money is even more influential.

"If we had wished, we could have made you one people, but as it is, we have made you many. Therefore, vie among yourselves in good works."--The Koran.

"There's practically no religion I know of that sees other people in a way that affirms the others' choice."--Elaine Pagels.

"There are two things that are important in politics. The first is money and I can't remember what the second one is."--Mark Hanna. He helped McKinley defeat William Jennings Bryan, the Populist candidate, with tons of money. Money has now robbed the middle class and working poor of their fair representation.

"I think money is a bit more than a vote."--Roger Tamraz, oilman. He worked hard to get sweetheart deals on taxes for the wealthiest Americans.

September 3, 1991, in Hamlet, North Carolina, a fire started in poultry plants. Out of 90 employees, 25 died. No sprinkler system, no evacuation plan, one fire extinguisher. And the front doors were locked from the outside. Why? To prevent theft of chicken parts.

More than 10,000 working people a year in the US die on the job. Other industrial nations have regulations to prevent such happenings. Nothing has changed. In fact, the effort is to make fewer regulations. That's the stated goal now of the Republican party.

Even Plutarch described how money destroyed the Roman republic.

While working on a documentary about pesticide effect on children, Moyers found misleading information had been sent everywhere to discredit the show before it ever went on the air. Even from the American Cancer Society needed money from the chemical companies.

"It is a funny think about life: if you refuse to accept anything but the best, you very often get it."--W. Somerset Maugham.

Cleanth Brooks referred to the three "bastard muses": Propaganda, Sentimentality, and Pornography.

Violence in entertainment permeates American life.

"Media" is not a good word because it lumps in disparate sources into one conglomerate.

The days of great documentaries on network news are gone because of relentless bullying by the Republican National Committee.

All liberties depend on the ability to speak freely.

In 1967, 75% of all Americans over 65 had no medical insurance and 1/3 lived in poverty. More than 90% of black adults in the South were not registered to vote. Medicare, food stamps, and social security increases have helped all of this.

message 13: by Ann D (new)

Ann D Thanks, Jimmy for these quotations. They make you think.

message 14: by Jimmy (last edited Jan 16, 2015 08:00AM) (new)

Jimmy | 177 comments Sorry, Bentley, but when you said I only had to put the month at the top of the first review, I misread that to mean month at the top was enough and deleted my finish dates. I went back and corrected.

message 15: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Jan 16, 2015 08:45AM) (new)

Bentley | 44328 comments Mod
Thanks Jimmy - I actually thought that might have been the case - also I am surprised none of us noticed it. It is funny when your brain assumes something is there and you do not see that it is not (lol)

message 16: by Jimmy (last edited Mar 02, 2015 06:40AM) (new)

Jimmy | 177 comments 7. Prisoner of War Six Years in Hanoi by John M. McGrath by John M. McGrath (No photo.)
Finish date: January 2015
Rating: B
Genre: Vietnam War; POW
Review: John McGrath became a prisoner of war in 1967. He was released six years later. In this book he describes his treatment and the conditions he survived under. He includes a picture on the right side with a paragraph or two on the left side. He made his own drawings.

It is a pretty horrible story. He lived in miserable conditions and was tortured badly. His left shoulder is permanently jutting upward from the twisting. He tried and begged for help in straightening it out, but the authorities refused to help.

One point that discouraged me was that he tells no stories of helpful guards. I realize that prison guards have one of the worst jobs in the world, but I have heard other POWs speak of kind guards, some of whom were religious in secret.

A change comes in 1970 when the North Vietnamese government realizes that these men are a great bargaining chip, so the treatment improves.

I loved the stories about communication. Prisoners can become quite creative. They even made their own alphabet with their hands.

message 17: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44328 comments Mod
That sounds like a very informative book - your review is excellent.

message 18: by Jimmy (last edited Mar 02, 2015 06:41AM) (new)

Jimmy | 177 comments 8. Starting from San Francisco by Lawrence Ferlinghetti by Lawrence Ferlinghetti Lawrence Ferlinghetti
Finish date: January 2015
Rating: C
Genre: American Poetry; Beat Generation
Review: There was a time when I loved the poetry of Lawrence Ferlinghetti and all the beat poets. But it's a bit outdated now. This book seems more of a historical look at a different time that no longer holds up to scrutiny.

message 19: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44328 comments Mod
Sorry it seems to have lost its touch. I often wonder if what happens is that the reader changes too so the outlook doesn't connect like it once did.

message 20: by Jimmy (last edited Mar 02, 2015 06:41AM) (new)

Jimmy | 177 comments 9. Dock Ellis in the Country of Baseball by Donald Hall by Donald Hall Donald Hall
Finish date: January 2015
Rating: A
Genre: Nonfiction; Baseball; Biography of Dock Ellis
Review: Baseball is life. Or as Donald Hall describes it: "Baseball is a country all to itself."

Hall is a great New Hampshire poet and Red Sox fan. In the 1970s, he decided to write a book about baseball by being granted time with the Pittsburgh Pirates. There he met Dock Ellis and a friendship ensued.

Most poets make very little money. Hall spoke at colleges for money. A college will pay him $1,000 to speak, but the library cannot afford to buy his book.

This book is about the life of Dock Ellis, race relations, and behind the scenes of a baseball team.

Dock pitched his no-hitter high on LSD.

When I spoke to Mr. Hall, he recommended a documentary to me: "No-No: A Dockumentary." Here is a link: It can be viewed on You Tube.

message 21: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44328 comments Mod
I am a life long Red Sox fan so I understand (smile) - sounds like this is a work of love for the author.

message 22: by Jimmy (new)

Jimmy | 177 comments Same for me on both of your points.

message 23: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) Being a huge baseball fan, that book looks good enough for my TBR. Unfortunately, my team is the Pittsburgh Pirates....not exactly a giant in the game but I love them anyway, win or lose (usually lose!!)

message 24: by Jimmy (last edited Mar 02, 2015 06:41AM) (new)

Jimmy | 177 comments 10. Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce A Poem by Robert Penn Warren by Robert Penn Warren Robert Penn Warren
Finish date: January 2015
Rating: C
Genre: American Poetry; Narrative about Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce
Review: One long narrative poem about Chief Joseph interspersed with quotes from documents and some of the players. The quotes were the best part of the book.

How do you write a poem better than this quote from the great Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce:

Tell General Howard I know his heart. What he told me before, I have in my heart. I am tired of fighting. Our chiefs are killed. Looking Glass is dead. The old men are killed. It is the young men who say yes or no. Ollokot, who led the young men, is dead. It is cold and we have no blankets. Our little children are freezing to death. I want time to look for my children and see how many of them I may find. Maybe I shall find them among the dead. Hear me, my chiefs, I am tired. My heart is sick and sad. From where the sun now stands, I will fight no more forever. Then Joseph drew his blanket over his head.

That's better than the whole poem put together.

There were generals and others who tried to do the right thing. Then there were the exterminators like William Tecumseh Sherman who wanted to destroy them all.

message 25: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44328 comments Mod
Good add but it does not seem that you liked it as much.

message 26: by Jimmy (new)

Jimmy | 177 comments I did not like the poem, just the interspersed quotes.

message 27: by Jimmy (last edited Mar 02, 2015 06:41AM) (new)

Jimmy | 177 comments 11. Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett by Samuel Beckett Samuel Beckett
Finish date: January 2015
Rating: A+
Genre: Drama; Nobel Prize Winning Author; Theater of the Absurd.
Review: One of the absolutely greatest masterpieces of world literature. It's a book that I have gone back to many times. It is, however, not for everyone since it is theater of the absurd. Most people are still waiting for Godot and do not want anyone telling them that he just ain't comin'.

There was a production in the 80s with Steve Martin and Robin Williams playing the roles of Vladimir and Estragon. I'd give anything to watch a tape of that production. Can't find any record of it, just photographs. It would be a shame if no permanent video were made of that performance. I can't help but wonder if Mr. Williams thought of that play before he hung himself. Hanging is a central motif.

message 28: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44328 comments Mod
Jimmy wrote: "I did not like the poem, just the interspersed quotes."

I understand - good to know

message 29: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Jan 23, 2015 08:04AM) (new)

Bentley | 44328 comments Mod
I remember seeing O'Neill's The Iceman Cometh in its last production with Jason Robards in the lead at the Lunt-Fontaine. That O'Neil play when it originally was written (1939) and published (1946) preceded Waiting for Godot. I had seen other productions of Waiting for Godot as well.

Odd connection between the play and Williams - you have to wonder.

The Iceman Cometh by Eugene O'Neill by Eugene O'Neill Eugene O'Neill

Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett by Samuel Beckett Samuel Beckett

message 30: by Jimmy (new)

Jimmy | 177 comments That's a good point, Bentley. Nothing comes from a vacuum. Literature develops and evolves over time, but that usually means combining some new ideas and forming an even newer one.

message 31: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44328 comments Mod
Then I think that the Iceman Cometh strongly influenced Beckett (smile)

The Iceman Cometh by Eugene O'Neill by Eugene O'Neill Eugene O'Neill

Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett by Samuel Beckett Samuel Beckett

message 32: by Bryan (new)

Bryan Craig Wow, Robards in Ice Man Cometh. I love O'Neill's works.

Eugene O'Neill Eugene O'Neill

message 33: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44328 comments Mod
You would have loved that Broadway performance - epic for that role

message 34: by Jimmy (last edited Mar 02, 2015 06:42AM) (new)

Jimmy | 177 comments FEBRUARY

12. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer by Mary Ann Shaffer Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows Annie Barrows
Finish date: February 2015
Rating: C
Genre: Fiction; epistolary novel.
Review: I'm not a fan of epistolary novels. Someone else reading this may have enjoyed it more. The reviews show that. I found it difficult to keep the characters separate. Other than the main character, the others blended together. The book works better on tape where you can hear the different voices.

The story behind the book is more interesting than the book itself. Mary Ann Shaffer wrote it. But she became ill and asked her niece Annie Barrows for help. Shaffer died before the book became popular. It would be Barrows who would do the final draft and enjoy the fame and fortune.

The book is partially about the German occupation of a few British islands in the English Channel. I liked that the German soldiers were treated like human beings in the book. Not typical of most movies for example. Many of them were starving but were not allowed to take from the villagers. One killed a stray cat and ate it. Problem for me is not knowing if this is based on fact or not. That's why I would have preferred non-fiction.

message 35: by Jimmy (last edited Mar 02, 2015 06:42AM) (new)

Jimmy | 177 comments 13. Nietzsche and Postmodernism by Dave Robinson by Dave Robinson (No photo).
Finish date: February 2015
Rating: A
Genre: Philosophy
Review: Nietzsche believed that 2,000 years of Christian beliefs were coming to an end. Nearly all of the key ideas in Western thought were just "metaphysics." He wanted to confront this honestly. He said, "At last the horizon appears free again to us, even granted that it's not bright, at last our ships may venture out again. . . . the sea, our sea lied open again; perhaps there never has been such an 'open sea.'"

Nietzsche seemed to know he was a prophet. In photographs, he has a ridiculous walrus moustache and wild staring eyes. He believed he was writing for an appreciative future audience. He described himself as a "posthumous" philosopher.

For Nietzsche, the only real "truth" about us and the world was the irrepressible "Will to power." Human beings only create "truths" for themselves that help them to survive as a species. "Knowledge" and "Truth" are concepts that human beings invent.

He agreed with Heraclitus that the universe is always in chaos. Any attempt at finding convention is only invented by ourselves to impose order on this chaos. Even mathematics and logical deduction are contrivances or "presuppositions with which nothing in the real world corresponds."

Metaphysical truths simply do not exist. Language is "metaphorical." Thus, language enables human self-deception. Words can simplify and "freeze" the chaos. But that is all. The chaos is still there. For example, language encourages us to believe that we are separate entities with a transcendent "ego" or "I."

Christian values originated among subject peoples, many of whom were slaves. Thus it is a slave morality. They are values born out of resentment and repression. They are the result of a projected hostility. Christianity is a "herd morality" that produces people that are timid and pessimistic. Nietzsche wanted a more superior individual. He did not want to suppress the instincts and thwart creative energy. It produces dull, static, and conformist societies that dampen human potential and achievement. Societies built on such doctrines merely answer the needs of the weak and insecure.

Nietzsche was convinced that Christianity would eventually self-destruct. Even science is only a limited method of examining natural phenomena. Science cannot create a new set of coherent values. Eventually, the modern world will find itself with deep feelings of disillusionment and pessimistic nihilism.

Part of the problem in reading Nietzsche is that it all depends on which bit you read, just like with the Bible or the Qur'an. Sometimes he is hostile to science and at other times he is full of admiration for its achievements. Maybe all we can do with his writings is to celebrate the many paradoxes it produces.

Ultimately, everything comes down to "the Will to Power." But that is never clearly defined.

The Ubermensch can be translated as either Superman or Overman. Overmen are powerful, strong, and healthy individuals. They live an earthly and sensuous life. They are free from the belief in some transcendent reality and the restrictions of a herd morality. This idea would influence existentialism. We would have to create ourselves. Who we are is decided by the choices we make and the acts we perform. We become artists of ourselves.

Human beings seem to have a craving for eternal transcendent truths. As a result they deceive themselves with fantasies. They give themselves a teleological value.

message 36: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44328 comments Mod
I was thinking of reading message 40 and now I am rethinking that idea.

message 37: by Jimmy (new)

Jimmy | 177 comments I read #40 for my book club group. We just talked about it. Some members liked it a lot. But I would have preferred a non-fiction story. Do you know of any books out there about what German soldiers went through? Maybe samples of letters home or journals?

message 38: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44328 comments Mod
There are a few which do that. I have not read these however.

Frontsoldaten The German Soldier in World War II by Stephen G. Fritz by Stephen G. Fritz Stephen G. Fritz

The Forgotten Soldier by Guy Sajer by Guy Sajer (no photo) - somewhat of a classic

message 39: by Jimmy (last edited Mar 02, 2015 06:43AM) (new)

Jimmy | 177 comments 14. The Imaginary Poets by Alan Michael Parker edited by Alan Michael Parker Alan Michael Parker
Finish date: February 2015
Rating: B-
Genre: Poetry anthology.
Review: Definitely an A for the idea here: Create an imaginary poet, Write a poem by him or her, Write a biography, and finally Write an essay about the poem and poet. Most of the poems are "translated." The result was spotty at best for me. Somehow knowing it wasn't a real person detracted from the effort. Many examples seemed like a creative writing assignment.

There was quite a range of "poets." For example, Judith Hall created JII, one of the writers of Genesis. Some of you may know that one of the real authors of Genesis is called J. In another example, Anna Rabinowitz created the ancient Egyptian poet Hekenus who wrote in hieroglyphics.

My favorite was Annie Finch's creation of Rose Elbow Souris (1864-1969). Souris was a Bulgarian influenced by Turkish ghazal singers. Later she became involved with Dada poets. She would have three abortions before a mental breakdown. Sounds drastic, but eventually you see that the creator is going to punk you with ridiculous comments. Souris became interested in sounds. She has a poem in French translated into English. It's all sounds and phrases. But when you look closer the French and English are just not matching up. For example, "Wokowanawonda" translates into "Basowindefun." It took a while for me to get some of the jokes. Once I did, I was impressed by the droll humor.

In another poem supposedly written in a lost language, the author apologizes if her translations don't match up. But no one knows the language.

message 40: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Feb 15, 2015 05:02AM) (new)

Bentley | 44328 comments Mod
Interesting Jimmy - I did not hear that one of the authors is called J - I heard it interpreted differently - personally I had thought this was authored by Moses. But then again - the J has been explained this way as a variation of the word for god.

How did it get the name "J"?

The J source gets its name because it uses the divine name "Yahweh." In the stories about Abraham, for instance, God is called Yahweh. The German word for Yahweh is spelled with a J instead of a Y. And the German scholars who initially worked on the Documentary Hypothesis called the source "J."

Source: Nova

Full article on Nova:

message 41: by Jimmy (new)

Jimmy | 177 comments There are at least two other writers: E and P. Here's a link:

Biblical scholars usually don't believe that anyone named Moses wrote Genesis. They are not even sure if he is real.

message 42: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Feb 15, 2015 07:07AM) (new)

Bentley | 44328 comments Mod
Yes, I know that - but what has been explained is that the letters refer how God is referred to in these segments- the full article explains that and here is another. But it is not the author's name that begins with the letter J for example - that is the point I was making. The according to Moses appears quite a bit subsequently so whoever wrote the rendition was referring to him. The Bible itself states that Moses was the author - how that oral tradition was conveyed could be another. But the letters themselves are not the names of the authors. I think your second paragraph is confusing - that's all from my viewpoint.

The Nova presentation is fairly accurate (JMHO):

message 43: by Jimmy (new)

Jimmy | 177 comments The problem I have with Mr. Coogan's information in the NOVA article is that he never discusses the historicity of Moses. He just uses the name as if he were a real person. I know of no historical information that validates his existence.

That author is referred to as J. I understand why. I have studied this before. There is also The Book of J by Harold Bloom:

The Book of J by Harold Bloom by Harold Bloom Harold Bloom

message 44: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Feb 15, 2015 01:56PM) (new)

Bentley | 44328 comments Mod
Jimmy this may be a difference of opinion and based upon the sources one selects.

Aside from Moses - leaving that out of the equation just for now - I do not feel that J is the author of anything. In terms of what I have read the segment that is referred to as J is because of the German scholars who initially worked on the Documentary Hypothesis.

I believe this statement to be true:

God is called Yahweh. The German word for Yahweh is spelled with a J instead of a Y. And the German scholars who initially worked on the Documentary Hypothesis called the source "J."

I could find 20 sources backing Nova's assessment - let us just move forward Jimmy - I just respectfully disagree and let us just leave it at that. Also many folks felt that Bloom was quite speculative. Whoever was the so called editor for this section - the person who obviously documented the oral history - their name was not J in any case -obviously Yahweh is just spelled differently in German - hence the J.

I think there is a lot of speculation. And of course this really has nothing to do with book 14 at all really but it was a nice exchange and maybe some folks never realized that any of this was up to conjecture or speculation so that is good too.

message 45: by Jimmy (new)

Jimmy | 177 comments I guess I don't understand what we are disagreeing about. I understand where the letter J came from. That person is referred to as J. He could just as easily have been called Y. Another person is referred to as E because he used the name Elohim for God. Another has the letter P for Priest. Then there is D for the Deuteronomist. That there is not a single author of Genesis or the entire Pentateuch is the conclusion based on the facts as we have them today. That's what history is all about.

message 46: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44328 comments Mod
Very true (smile) Y or J would have been indicative of what they called God in that segment depending upon the scholars.

I suspect that the stories could have been written down by others. They do seem to reference "according to Moses" so who scribed these stories is another thing.

message 47: by Jimmy (last edited Mar 02, 2015 06:43AM) (new)

Jimmy | 177 comments 15. The Happy Prince and Other Stories by Oscar Wilde by Oscar Wilde Oscar Wilde
Finish date: February 2015
Rating: D
Genre: Fantasy; Children's Literature.
Review: I thought the stories were dreadful and not appropriate for young children. Their only value is part of understanding Oscar Wilde.

This book is a facsimile of the original 1913 edition. Wilde himself died in 1900. The paintings by Charles Robinson are superb.

The publication of this book in 1988 was his first critical success. Wilde was a devoted father to his two sons, Vyvyan and Cyral. Vyvyan speaks of him "going down on all fours on the nursery floor, being in turn a lion, a wolf, a horse, caring nothing for his usual immaculate appearance." That's probably a view most readers are not familiar with.

message 48: by Bryan (last edited Feb 23, 2015 07:29AM) (new)

Bryan Craig Good, Jimmy, you got most of the template elements here.

What number book is this one? Add the finish date and no spaces between elements.

Finish Date:

Thanks for working on this.

message 49: by Jimmy (new)

Jimmy | 177 comments You are too quick, Bryan. I need a few seconds to edit.

message 50: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Feb 23, 2015 07:34AM) (new)

Bentley | 44328 comments Mod
Remember Finish date: - you got derailed on that one awhile back. Also we try to cut down on blank spacing because we want the folder to load fast. Take out the blank lines below the citation and between any of the segments, Finish date: Genre:, Rating and Review - no skipped blank lines - you can skip between paragraphs in your Review however. I totally missed these things Jimmy.

Our Required Format:


1. My Early Life, 1874-1904 by Winston S. Churchill by Winston S. Churchill Winston S. Churchill
Finish date: January 2015
Genre: (whatever genre the book happens to be)
Rating: A
Review: You can add text from a review you have written but no links to any review elsewhere even goodreads. And that is about it. Just make sure to number consecutively and just add the months.

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