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Monthly "Reads" > Shomeret's Feb Reads 2/2

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message 1: by Shomeret (new)

Shomeret | 1345 comments 6)The Invisible Hook: The Hidden Economics of Pirates by Peter Leeson (history) 210 pages. Source: Library Started: 2/15 Finished: 2/16

Why Read: I'm very interested in the history of pirates and this is an unusual slant. It deals with the economics of pirating which I think will get into topics that aren't usually approached.

Comments: As a free enterprise economist Peter Leeson is able to make sense of the economic motivations of pirates. I was surprised to learn how many pirates were free former slaves. Leeson's explanation of why they had to be free was an eye opener. So was the reason why conditions were better for sailors on pirate ships. I was also impressed to learn about the how pirates dealt with abusive military and merchant captains. The author made the odd choice of repeating the content of each chapter in summary. I have seen this in textbooks. Perhaps Leeson has only written textbooks and did this as a matter of habit. The summaries did make it easier for me to write comments about this book on the Odyssey Board, but when I was reading the book the summaries felt annoying. Other GR reviewers had the same attitude toward them. I think there's very little chance that this book will ever be a textbook unless Leeson requires it for one of his own courses. Rating A-

7) Messenger of Truth by Jacqueline Winspear (historical mystery) Source: PBS Started: 2/17 Finished: 2/19

Why Read: So many have praised the Maisie Dobbs series, so I got the one that sounded most interesting to me. My problem is that I don't find this period particularly interesting. But this book deals with the art community.

Comments: What I loved most is the resolution. It demonstrates the power of great art and defines what is truly great in art. I appreciated the characterization depth as well as the themes dealt with. I have Pardonable Lies in my closet, but I have no idea when I'll get to it. My library TBR is pretty overwhelming considering that I have some school work to do. But the rating on this one is definitely an A.

8)
Assassins' Rage by Charles O'Brien (historical mystery) 244 pages. Source: PBS Started: 2/19 Finished: 2/21

Why Read: This takes place at the beginning of the French Revolution. It deals with the lynching of a baker. There were lots of people being strung up on street lamps during this time period, so why investigate this death? This looks really good to me. I'm fascinated with the French Revolution.

Comments: When you consider the horrors in store for France after the events of this book, it resolved as well as it could. We find out who was responsible for inflaming the crowd that lynched the baker and there is a bit of justice. I've been influenced by Jefferson and other radicals of the period who wanted to think that the French Revolution could have been more like the American Revolution, but it went wrong. I think that seeing how it started made me realize that it was wrong from its inception. There was never any possibility that France was going in the direction of the United States. I'm rating this A for changing my view of the French Revolution.

9)Mistress of the Undergroundby Lisa Chids (paranormal romance) 273 pages. Source: Drug Store Started: 2/21 Finished: 2/21

Why Read: The hero is a healer of supernaturals which sounds interesting. Unfortunately, the heroine doesn't sound interesting at all. She runs a night club, but is completely clueless about her supernatural clientele.

Comments: This book is the wrong length. It should either be shorter because there isn't enough plot for a novel or it should be longer to fill in missing background. So there's either too much or too little. Rating C

10)Cezanne's Quarryby Barbara Carrado Pope (historical mystery) 364 pages. Source: Library Started: 2/21 Finished: 2/24

Why Read: I found out about this mystery through Author Buzz and put it on hold last year. It took a while to come in. The artist Cezanne is a murder suspect.

Comments: There are two interesting women in this novel--the victim and a minor character. There was also some interesting background and speculation about Cezanne. But what this novel isn't is a book about ideas as the promotional material claimed. It was more about a love triangle. The mystery resolved well, but it didn't make a strong enough impression with me to give it a higher rating than B.

11)Church of Cheese by Carol Miller (anthropology) 228 pages. Source: Independent Bookstore Started: 2/25 Finished: 2/26

Why Read: I wouldn't normally read a book with a title like this one. It sounds flippant. The subtitle "Gypsy Ritual In The American Heyday" grabbed me. I'm fascinated by gypsies. They are one of my numerous obsessions.

Comments: I learned a great deal from this book about the tribe of gypsies that is most common in California and about gypsies in general. It caused me to speculate about the historical origins of the gypsies. It would be a terrific subject for historical fiction. Rating A

12)Alphabet of Dreams by Susan Fletcher (YA Biblical fiction) 294 pages. Source: Library Started: 2/27 Finished: 2/28

Why Read: I discovered this on GR. It's about a brother and sister in ancient Persia. The brother Babak can find out someone's dreams by sleeping with an object belonging to that person.

Comments: This would actually be an appropriate Christmas read. It deals with the Three Magi from an unusual perspective. It has good period atmosphere and characterization. Rating B+

I got more read than I expected because my professors this semester are very reasonable. I was able to balance school work and recreation very nicely. My courses are gearing up with assignments now, so I don't expect to read as much in March, but we'll see.


message 2: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 13901 comments Shomeret:
i am glad you enjoyed your first Maisie Dobbs book!

Shomeret wrote: "I got more read than I expected because my professors this semester are very reasonable. I was able to balance school work and recreation very nicely. My courses are gearing up with assignments now, so I don't expect to read as much in March, but we'll see. ."


message 3: by Carol/Bonadie (new)

Carol/Bonadie (bonadie) | 7589 comments Ann wrote: "Shomeret:
i am glad you enjoyed your first Maisie Dobbs book!

..."


Ditto. I am languishing mid-way through the first in the series Maisie Dobbs, I think in part because of the zipping around between past and present, which takes us away from the initial presenting mystery, and in part because I don't have a good feeling about the resolution of one of the plot developments.


message 4: by Ann (last edited Mar 06, 2010 10:28AM) (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 13901 comments Carol:
I really like this series (Maisie Dobbs) -- I hope you will be able to get past the changes in time frame to enjoy it too!

Carol/Bonadie wrote: "Ann wrote: "Shomeret:
i am glad you enjoyed your first Maisie Dobbs book! ..."
Ditto. I am languishing mid-way through the first in the series Maisie Dobbs, I think in part becaus..."



message 5: by Susie (new)

Susie Fevella (susieinks) | 1562 comments Thanks Shomeret for working so hard on your reviews! Your vast variety always astounds me ;)


message 6: by Melodie (new)

Melodie (melodieco) | 3565 comments I'm always interested in seeing what you've read because you read things I'd never think about!


message 7: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 13901 comments Shomeret:
Ditto what Melodie said -- and I appreciate how you take the time to record why you read a book and what you learned. I wish I did more of that. I think those thoughts while reading most of the time, but don't record that sort of thing so tend to forget.

Melodie wrote: "I'm always interested in seeing what you've read because you read things I'd never think about!"


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