Books – 3-Star

The Boston Girl Anita Diamant Fiction *** I have loved Diamant’s previous books, which were heavier on the Historical than the Fiction. This one, while interesting, didn’t provide the same level of satisfaction for me. A Jewish woman is being interviewed by her granddaughter for a school project and the interview covers her life in Boston from the early 1900’s until the 1980’s. There is more emphasis on her family life as a Jewish immigrant than on actual historical events, but it is a quick and easy read – intersting but not great. 2015-07
Hotel at the corner of Bitter and Sweet Jamie Ford Historical Fiction *** Henry Lee is a Chinese-American. The story begins in 1986 with the death of Henry’s wife. It then alternates between the 1980’s and the 1940’s, when Henry met a Japanese girl at school. His parents hated the Japanese and Henry could not disclose his friendship to them. As the friendship grows into something more, Keiko and her family are sent to an internment camp and Henry eventually loses touch until the 1980’s when an old hotel is being restored and belongings of some Japanes families are discovered in the basement. It was an interesting book, providing some historical context for the animosity towards the Japanese by both Americans and Chinese, while also highlighting the challenges of all immigrants who become American. 2015-04
The Furies John Jakes Historical Fiction *** Fourth book in the Kent Family Chronicles, this one begins with the Alamo and continues through the California gold rush and the increasing divisiness over the issue of slavery. Many historical events and people are woven together into a good story. A great way to review the country’s history. 2015-04
Gray Mountain John Grisham Fiction *** A young New York lawyer is laid off in the aftermath of an economic downturn. She is told she can have her job back when the economy recovers if she agrees to an internship at a non-profit group. She accepts a job as a legal aid lawyer in Southwest Virginia and soon finds herself helping real people with real problems. But of course, the evil Big Coal companies are a worthy nemesis and soon she is pitted against them. A fine story with plenty of the author’s personal biases incorporated. 2015-04
The Burning Room Michael Connelly Fiction *** Lastest in the Harry Bosch detective series. An aging Harry, now working in the Open-Unsolved unit, gets an interesting cse. A man shot 9 years earlier, paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair with a bullet lodged in his spine, finally dies. The bullet is removed and is evidence in what is now a murder investigation. Bosch is teamed with a young Latina partner and together they work to solve the case. Perhaps not the best of the series, but still a good read. 2015-04
The Silkworm Robert Galbraith Fiction *** This is the second Cormoan Strike book, a series written under J. K. Rowling pseudonym. I found it very enjoyable, though perhaps a but longer than it needed to be. The characters are well developed and believable. Cormoran and his assistant, Robin, are retained by the wife of a novelist who has disappeared. This leads to a complex series of events which in the end is of course solved. But the ride along the way is fun. 2015-04
Hope for Wildlife – True Stories of Animal Rescue Ray Macleod Non-Fiction *** (Bradley) This book will appeal to the animal lovers among us.  Ray put together a series of short stories from Hope for Wildlife, a Nova Scotia wildlife rehabilitation center, with experiences over the past 16 years of its existence.  Hope was founded and continues to be run by Hope Swinimer, a certified veterinary practice manager, who also works a full time job at as administrator of the Dartmouth Veterinary Hospital.  Ray has included magnificent color photographs and some very interesting background on the each rescue animal whose story he tells. I most warn you, not all the stories have perfect endings, but he does provide some insight into the challenges of rescuing wild animals, rehabilitating them and releasing back into the wild.  The only aspect of this story I felt Ray missed was some serious discussion regarding the underling ethical questions and economic challenges associated with these types of organizations. 2014-10
Sex on the Moon Ben Mezrich Non-Fiction *** (Bradley) This is a fascinating story of one of the most audacious heists in history.  In 2003 an extremely gifted, overly confident Student Intern at the NASA Space Center Houston, pulled off an amazing theft of moon rocks from NASA.  This is the true story of how Thad Roberts went from high potential NASA Employee, maybe even Astronaut, to the Federal Penitentiary.  Ben does a very good job of keeping the suspense up, even though you know the outcome from the beginning of the book.  This was written with deep cooperation of Thad Roberts and is a very interesting read.  This is a classic example how to much confidence can sink the ship.  Very quick and easy read. 2014-10
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind William Kamkwamba & Bryan Mealer Non-Fiction *** (Bradley) This is a wonderful story about hope and what can actually be done in Africa to help the continent develop.  Very much worth ones time to read and appreciate all the good will of those who are trying to give back some of their business success in a positive fashion 2014-10
The Murder of the Century Paul Collins Non-Fiction *** If this story wasn’t true, it would be hard to believe. In 1897, a series of grisly discoveries of dismembered human remains begins the unraveling of a murder mystery. At the same time, newspaperment William Randolph Hurst and Joseph Pulitzer are battling for supremacy in their field. This is perhaps the first time the press figured prominently in not only reporting, but in interfering with and spinning the events. It’s a well told story, well documented and very interesting. 2014-10
Betrayal of Trust J. A. Jance Fiction *** This is the 19th book in the JP Beumont series. Another muder mystery begins when a snuff video is found on a cell phone, setting in motion a whole series of puzzling events. I continue to enjoy this character and the stories. Fun, mindless entertainment. 2014-10
Casual Vacancy J. K. Rowling Fiction *** J.K. Rowlings first novel aimed at adults is pretty good but not great. The death of a local politician causes a “casual vacancy” which requires a special election to fill. Various people in the small town have ambitions of filling the seat. The book looks into the lives of several local families. It’s a bit of a soap opera, but the characters are interesting and the story reasonable. A bit longer than it should have been but I enjoyed it, though I much preferred The Cuckoo’s Calling which she wrote under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. 2014-10
Fire and Ice J. A. Jance Fiction *** Arizona Sheriff Joanna Brady and Seattle Detective JP Beaumont team up in this murder mystery. Investigating separate cases, there turns out to be a link which brings the two together. As a reader of both series, I enjoyed this one. 2014-10
Six Years Harlan Cobam Fiction *** I accidentally bought the abridged version of this book from Audible so wasn’t sure how that would work out. Turns out is was just fine. It’s a fun mystery – a professor meets a woman and they fall madly in love, but then she inexplicably dumps him to marry an old flame. Six years later the old flame is murdered and it turns out he was married – to someone else. The story unfolds and makes for easy entertainment. Hard to imagine what was cut from the originial – I enjoyed this version. 2014-10
Sycamore Row John Grisham Fiction *** When a wealthy man dying of cancer leaves his estate to his black housekeeper, the family takes the matter to court. Local lawyer Jake Brigance receives a letter from the man written before he died asking him to defend his wishes. It’s a typical Grisham legal thriller with lots of side stories. Fun and easy read. 2014-10
The Black Box Michael Connelly Fiction *** The latest in the Harry Bosch series, this involves an old case from 1992 when the young Harry was the first on the scene to the murder of a white woman during the race riots in LA. With many other crimes occurring, the case was left to linger but is now resurrected. Harry has his typical run-ins with incomeptent beaurocrats but manages to find the “Black Box” – the crucial clue that leads to solving the case. A good story and easy read 2014-10
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks Non-Fiction Rebecca Skloot *** A well researched and detailed account of Henrietta Lacks, a poor black woman whose cervical cancer cells were the first human cells to be successfully grown in a laboratory and subsequently revolutionized medical research. It is also a sad story of Henrietta’s family, who were never told the truth about the cells and the lack or privacy and regulation over patients rights during that time. The book is a bit tedious at times, but overall a very well done story. 2014-04
Boy Alone Non-Fiction Karl Taro Greenfield *** The authors story of growing up with a severely autistic brother. It is a heart wrenching personal tale of the toll that this special needs child brings on the whole family and especially the impact it has on the author, who at once loves his brother but also longs to have a brother who he interact and share his life with. The book takes an unexpected twist which will have you on a bit of a roller coaster. I highly recommend this book for anyone wanting to learn more about autism or about the realities of caring for a severely disabled child. 2014-04
Dressed for Death Fiction Donna Leon *** Set in Italy, a detective is assigned to investigate the death of a transvestite. Refusing to believe the obvious conclusions, he becomes obsessed with finding the truth. A nice change from the standard US murder mystery as this introduces a different culture but with some great characters. 2014-04
Into the Light Non-Fiction Dave & Jaja Martin *** (Bradley) As a sailor and adventurer, I enjoyed Dave & Jaja’s exploits.  It is a well written and fun book to read, especially for anyone interested in northern latitude sailing.  It also provides those who do not seek adventure offshore, an accurate look at some of the challenges faced.   Yes, their boat may have been a little on the small side and less complex to operate than the average ocean cruising boat, but we have met people who crossed both the Atlantic and Pacific on even a smaller boat with a 3 to 6 year old.  I can also say, that while some people might unfairly be critical because they did all of this with 3 children, I have yet to meet any boat children who are not light years ahead of their peers in intelligence, maturity and personality, while still being children appropriate to their age.   My only criticism is that in this day and age, there were not a few more pictures or at least a valid link to current website.  This book is worth your time to read if you enjoy real life adventure. 2014-04
The Last Refuge Fiction Chris Knopf *** A reclusive and cynical resident of a small town is thrust into an investigation when his neighbor dies and he assumes responsibility for administering her estate. Good characters and well told story. An enjoyable read. 2014-04
The Sandcastle Girls Historical Fiction Chris Bohjalian *** Beautifully written historical fiction novel covering the story of several people in Armenia during the genocide in 1915 and the granddaughter of two of those people who knew little of the events of that time until she began researching her family history. Somewhat autobiographical, this is an engaging story set in a very real and brutal time. Well worth a read. 2014-04
A First Rate Madness: Uncovering the Links Between Leadership and Mental Illness Nassir Hhaemi Non-Fiction *** The author, a psychiatrist, theorizes that sane or mentally healthy individuals do not function as leaders in times of crisis as well as individuals with a history of depression or bipolar disorder. He uses a number of examples, including Lincoln, Sherman, JFK, FDR, Churchill and others. His premise is that these men, who all suffered some form of mental illness, developed certain traits such as empathy and resilience, which enhanced their ability to provide leadership during times of crisis. While it is a fascinating book and the author makes a good case, I’m not sure I completely buy into the conclusions. There are likely hundreds of other examples 2013-12
And the Mountains Echoed Khaled Hosseini Fiction *** From the author of the Kite Runner, this is another wonderful novel set in Afghanistan. This one centers around love, family, and difficult choices. Though there is little violence or mention of war, the novel is gripping and moves along at a good pace. Beginning with a bit of folklore about a man forced to give up one of his children to an ogre, the story continues with a poor family forced to make difficult decisions. 2013-12
Me Before You Jojo Moyes Fiction *** A waitress finds herself unemployed and is convinced to take a job caring for a young quadriplegic man injured in an accident. Initially not liking one another, they evolve to a deep friendship and help each other to grow and change in many ways. A book about humanity and personal growth it also focuses on the rights of individuals to make their own choices about how and when to exit with dignity. A very good book. 2013-12
The Cuckoo’s Calling Robert Gabraith (aka JK Rowling) Fiction *** A down and out private investigator is engaged to look into a supposed suicide. His assistant ,by way of a temp agency, turns out to have a knack for the business. An interesting and entertaining book, though a bit long in parts. This was clearly meant to test the waters for a new series – I would read more if there is are sequels. 2013-12
The Gods of Guilt Michael Connelley Fiction *** Another in the Lincoln Lawyer series, Mickey Haller is again defending a client accused of murder. The victim is also a former client and Haller works to untangle a web o f past and present deceit. He races against time to convince the jury – the Gods of Guilt – that his client is innocent. 2013-12
The Wind Up Bird Chronicle Fiction *** A wide ranging novel, this story focuses on an average Japanese man whose wife leaves him. In the process of searching for her and evaluating his life, he meets a variety of interesting characters, including a mysterious teenage girl, veterans of WWI who provide great and sometimes gory details of events of the war, and a pair of pseudo-supernatural sisters who have unusual powers. An international best-seller, this is a pleasant change from the average English language novel. Though I would have preferred it to be a bit shorter and to have a more neatly packaged ending/conclusion, I found it very entertaining and enjoyable. 2013-12
South with the Sun: Roald Amundsen, His Polar Explorations, and the Quest for Discovery Lynne Cox Non-Fiction *** The book’s author is a cold-water, long distance swimmer who has a keen interest in polar regions. This book combines the story of Amundsen’s explorations to the North and South poles with author Cox’s quest to swim in the coldest waters of the world as she retraces some of Amundsen’s routes. The subtitle is a bit misleading as the book is at least half about the authors exploits rather than Amundsen’s. It is also a book written by a great swimmer, so not necessary a literary masterpiece. With those caveats, however, I found it a very interesting book, especially her first hand accounts of swimming in below freezing water. Really makes me feel like a wimp! 2013-08
You Don’t Look Like Anyone I Know Heather Sellers Non-Fiction *** The author suffers from a condition know as face-blindness (prosopagnosia), which makes it impossible for her to recognize people based on their facial features. The book eventually gets around to this subject, and offers some personal and scientific insight on this rare condition. I was curious about this subject as I read Crashing Through many years ago where a blind man’s vision was restored, yet he was also unable to distinguish people based on facial features. This book does discuss how otherwise normal people can suffer from this phenonmemon. However, the author spends a lot of time talking about her dysfunctional family and possibly schizophrenic mother – somewhat like Running with Scissors but not as good. Though that part was of some interest, I found myself wanting her to get around to the face blindess and would have preferred more time spent on that and less on her childhood. 2013-08
Copperhead Bernard Cornwell Historical Fiction *** Second in the Starbuck series on the Civil War, this book begins with a story of Oliver Wendell Holmes, the future Supreme Court justice, and his wounding at the battle of Ball’s Bluff. Holmes was a first cousin of my grandmother and I grew up hearing stories about him, including his participation in the war, so I knew this to be an accurate historical description. Again, the primary fictional characters are interesting, and serve to provide a framework for the artfully described events and battles. Though I’m a little weary of war books for now, I will resume this series at a future date. 2013-08
Rebel Bernard Cornwell Historical Fiction *** First book in the Starbuck historical fiction series about the US Civil War. The main character, Nathaniel Starbuck, comes from a Boston family but ends up in Virginia where he fights for the Confederate states. The characters are a good backdrop for realistic and accurate descriptions of battles, events, and historical figures. This book culminates with the first major battle of the war Manassas/Bull Run. Recommended for anyone interested in US History and the Civil War. 2013-08
Guilt Jonathan Kellerman Fiction *** I’ve long been a fan of the Alex Delaware series and found that I had missed a few of them over the years so I’ve been filling in the holes. This story centers around the discovery of an infant buried in back yard many years ago, followed by some new murders that send Alex and Milo off on a typical investigation/adventure. A solid effort in this series 2013-08
Mystery Jonathan Kellerman Fiction *** In this one, Alex and girlfriend Robin visit a favorite hotel that is about to close. There they notice a beautiful young woman, apparently waiting for someone  who never arrives. Later the girl turns up dead and Delaware investigates the case with friend Detective Milo Sturgis. A typical Alex Delaware novel, good for this type of book. 2013-08
Still Life Louise Penny Fiction *** A rare murder in a small Canadian town brings in Inspecter Gamache, a Quebec detective, and his team to unravel the truth. A good story line, great characters, and artful description of this small town make it a very enjoyable read. Looking forward to others in this series. 2013-08
The Kill Artist Daniel Silva Fiction *** (Bradley) This is highly unusual for me, as I have not read a straight fiction book in years.  Silva does a good job of keeping one on the edge of their seat, while not making the story too implausible.   It is a quick and easy read that does have some suspenful twists.  The real question here is just how much of this book is really fiction.  Enjoy. 2013-08
The Man in the Rockefeller Suit: The Astonishing Rise and Spectacular Fall of a Serial Imposter Mark Seal Non-Fiction *** The true story of a Catch Me If You Can caliber con man – a German born man who moves to the US and assumes a variety of identities which nobody ever questions. His last is that of Clark Rockefeller and everyone who knows him, including his wife, believes he is a member of the wealthy family. The author seemed to develop an obsession with the story, but does a good job of piecing together the sequences of events. Interesting read, though there’s a bit of “so what” to it. 2013-01
Horse of a Different Color James D. Squires Non-Fiction *** (Bradley’s review) Written by the ex-publisher of the Chicago Tribune, Squires brings wit, honesty, and insight to the horse racing industry.  After leaving publishing he and his wife “the dominate one” decide to pursue their passion for horse breeding, after a land investment turns sour, by starting a breeding farm.  Of course, the goal is breed a winner of the world’s most important race – the Kentucky Derby.  In spite of the fact that very early in the book you know the outcome, this is a very revealing look at horseracing, with all its blemishes and accomplishments.  Other than providing a little too much detail about which horses are related, kind of like trying to follow your brothers’ second cousin on his mother’s side once removed, it is a very quick and worthwhile read. 2012-11
Murder in the High Himalaya Jonathan Green Non-Fiction *** True story of a group of British climbers in 2006 who witnessed the murder by Chinese troops of a 17 year old Tibetan nun. The author researched the story of the nun as well as the climbers to provide a factual account of real events that will leave you saddened and angry. Anyone who thinks the Chinese think and act like we do should read this book. 2012-11
Day After Night Anita Diamante Historical Fiction *** A fictionalized account of three women who are held in the Atlit camp in the Middle East following the end of WWII. Atlit, located near Haifa, was a British facility and many Jews who fled after the world were “displaced persons” with nowhere to go. Many of them ended up going from concentration camps during the war to holding facilities after the war. Although the characters are not real, the backdrop is, including the finale where the “inmates” are rescued and sent to various kibbutzes. I confess to having very little knowledge of the events in this book beforehand and found it quite educational and well-written. Highly recommended. 2012-11
The Racketeer John Grisham Fiction *** Good Grisham thriller. A small town lawyer is unfairly convicted of money landering on behalf of his client and sent to a minimum security prison. When a federal judge is murdered, he trades knowledge of his crime for his release, resulting in an interesting series of events that take many twists and turns and should leave you satisfied at the end. 2012-11
The Drop Michael Connelly Fiction *** The latest in the Harry Bosch detective series, this is again an entertaining and easy read. Bosch is working on cold cases and gets a hit on some DNA from an old case. Soon he gets another case – an apparent suicide of the son of his nemesis. Or is it suicide? Good story, credible plot, Connelly is always a sure thing for a quick, easy, entertaining read. 2012-09
My Korean Deli Ben Ryder Howe Non-Fiction *** The author, a literary editor for the Paris Review, is married to a Korean-American and they decide to buy a deli in New York for his mother-in-law. An entertaining memoir, it weaves the story of the deli with that of George Plimpton, editor of the Paris Review, life in the big city, and being part of a Korean family. Easy read – entertaining and fun 2012-07
The Ninth Man Brad Crowther Historical Fiction *** A novel centered around the mysterious diary of a supposed Union spy who was among the crew of the Hunley, the first submarine credited with sinking a ship during the Civil War. Nice writing with a story that weaves some history into a reasonable plot. 2012-07
The Program Greg Hurwitz Fiction *** Former US Marshall Tim Rackley is called back into action to rescue a girl who has joined a mind-control cult. Well crafted story, fast moving and fun. Good entertaining read. This is part of a series featuring the hero and I will probably read more of them 2012-07
Demon Fish Juliet Elperin Non-Fiction *** (By Bradley)Very interesting topic (sharks), but the story was a little too slow in parts.  It was almost a cross between a research document and a good story.  Yes, the book has a several agendas, but you do not have to agree with them to enjoy learning about Sharks.  As a diver, spear fisherman (no not sharks) and a cruiser I found much of the story very interesting, but with a little to much detail.  A good read for those interested in why world needs to start thinking with it brain over emotions, if we want to save the sea. 2012-06
The Wave Susan Casey Non-Fiction *** People who live on boats typically try to avoid big waves. This book is about people who seek them out. The author follows some of the most extreme surfers in the world who engage in a practice called tow-surfing – riding waves so big the only way to catch them is to be towed to them via jet-ski and launched at 40mph. The author also provides some scientific insight into waves and weaves in other stories about shipwrecks, tsunamis, and other results of large waves. A book I couldn’t put down! 2012-05
On, Off Colleen McCullough Fiction *** I love Colleen McCullough and was looking for a change from the murder mystery genre which I’ve read far too many of. Looking forward to a typical Colleen McCullough historical fiction novel, I soon learned it was – A Murder Mystery!! But still enjoyable and well written. Enjoyable but a real departure from what I expected! 2012-05
In the Garden of Beasts Erik Larson Non-Fiction *** In 1933, nobody wanted the job of ambassador to Germany so Roosevelt tapped William Dodd, a professor from Chicago. Dodd and his family, including his young adult daughter, moved to Germany where they experienced first-hand the rise of Hitler and the troubling changes taking place. Dodd’s daughter had an active social life, placing her at the center of many interesting situations. Dodd was concerned about things happening in Germany but lacked credibility with his superiors and those in Washington. A well-written and intriguing book by the author of Devil in the White City and Thunderstruck. Well worth a read! 2012-02
The Poet Michael Connelley Fiction *** I have enjoyed Connelley’s Harry Bosch and Lincoln Laywer series. This is a series featuring a crime reporter, Jack McEvoy, who looks into his cop brother’s suicide, only to discover a pattern of cop suicides that leads to an intriguing discovery. As in other series, a good plot with great characters. I’ll read more of this series. 2012-02
One Thousand White Women Jim Fergus Historical Fiction *** In 1875, a Cheyenne Chief asked President Grant for 1000 white women to marry their warriors. In their culture, tribal associations are passed through the women, so this would result in a generation of children who would pave the way for assimilation into the white man’s culture. Though that request was never actually granted, this book presumes that it did and is the fictional account of one of the brides, May Dodd, who is released from an insane asylum for her promise to marry and bear a child. Very well written, the book provides an excellent sense of the difference between the cultures and life in the wild west. Parts of it are a bit of a stretch, but it is engaging and gripping throughout. 2012-01
The 19th Wife David Ebershoff Historical Fiction *** This book inter-weaves a fictional story of a murder in a polygamyst cult with the story of Ann Eliza Young, Brigham Young’s 19th wife who divorced the prophet and became an outspoken opponent of polygamy. There certainly is real history of the Mormon church, including the advent and later abolishment of polygamy. What I liked about this book is that it compelled me to do additional research on my own – the book is a work of fiction but has a lot of real history and it was intriguing to try to separate which was which. 2012-01
Fighter Pilot – The Memores of Legendary Ace Robin Olds Robin Olds & Chritina Olds Non-fiction *** (Bradley) Robin Olds is a West Point Graduate, accelerated class of 43, who goes on to become an ace in both World War II and the Vietnam war.   He offers some very interesting and accurate insights into the challenges we face with our Militrary.  Many of his comments could be applied to the problems we have faced in recent wars.  More importantly his story offers insights into the challanges faced by those who grew up in a militrary family in the 50’s & 60’s.  I highly recomend Fighter Pilot and would have given it 4 stars except for some excessive detail on actual dogfights, which does not translate well into visual images for non-pilots. 2011-12
The Fifth Witness Michael Connelley Fiction *** The fourth in the Lincoln Lawyer series, Mickey Haller defends a client accused of murder. Though the basis of the accusation seems thin from the start, it leads to an entertaining trial with plenty of intrigue. A good ending with a couple of surprises too! 2011-12
Blink Malcolm Gladwell Non-Fiction *** This book deals with the judgements and decisions we make in the blink of an eye – the first seconds when we encounter something. Interesting and thought provoking, the book ranges from the Coke-Pepsi taste wars through police officers instant judgements of people, to music and art critics. Thought provoking and sure to make you think about your own biases. 2011-11
The Fall of Giants Ken Follett Historical Fiction *** Another epic from Ken Follett, this one takes place in the years before during and after WWI and the Russian Revolution. Characters include British Lords and working class, Americans, Germans, and Russians, whose lives intertwine throughout. Filled with real historic events, the book provides a great understanding of these momentous events. A great read, though personally I did not enjoy it quite as much as Pillars of the Earth, one of my all-time favorites! 2011-11
Cutting for Stone Abraham Verghese Fiction *** Well written story of brothers in Ethiopia who follow their biological father and adoptive parents into medicine. The author is a doctor and brings a great deal of insight into that area. The book is quite interesting and gripping and gives some glimpses into Ethiopia including events leading to the overthrow of Emperor Haile Selasse. While I wasn’t wild about the story surrounding the mysterious biological father, there were many aspects of the book that I did enjoy. 2011-11
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest Steig Larsson Fiction *** I greatly enjoyed the first two books in this trilogy and “saved” this one for over a year, knowing it was the last. That was a mistake as this book is more of a continuation of the second one than a story unto itself. As I had forgotten many of the details of book 2, it took quite a while to get back into it. I also found the story not nearly as compelling as in the first two book. Nevertheless, it was still a cut above many of the fictional novels out there. 2011-11
Priceless Bob Wittman Non-Fiction *** Retired FBI agent Whittman recounts his career as an undercover agent specializing in recovering stolen art. Good stories and a great view into how many cases, large and small, were solved 2011-10
The Comeback Gary Shapiro Non-Fiction *** Gary, who is a friend of mine, has never been shy about voicing his opinion on policy issues that affect the technology industry and US economy. He has now laid out those views in a well written book. You may not agree with all of Gary’s thoughts, but his book is sure to get you thinking and is a great catalyst for discussion. Let’s just hope that enough people in Washington read it so they can have the debates and make the decisions that are in the best interest of the country! Great job Gary and I look forward to the sequel! 2011-07
A Few Seconds of Panic Stephen Fatsis Non-fiction *** In the tradition of George Plimpton and Paper Tiger, the author, a former soccer player, joins the Denver Broncos (and coach Mike Shanahan) for a pre-season as a kicker. A real inside look at training camp and the NFL, will appeal to football fans and those who want to know more about the Redskins new coach! 2011-04
After the Fire Robin Gaby Fischer Non-fiction *** True story of two roomates badly burned in a fire in a dorm at Seton Hall University in 2000. The book details their recovery and friendship during a difficult time for them and their families. Some of the details are a bit gruesome, but a good book that includes a lot of good info about treatment for burns. 2011-04
American on Purpose Craig Ferguson Non-fiction *** Comedian Craig Ferguson’s humorous memoir about his journey from Scotland to becoming an American citizen. A fun read. 2011-04
Crazy Pete Early Non-fiction *** When his son is diagnosed with bi-polar disorder following several serious incidents, this Washington Post reporter researches this country’s mental health systems. Full of interviews and research with mentally ill subjects, it’s a fascinating look at the problems faced by those with mental illnesses and the families and friends who try to help them. Will definitely improve your understanding. 2011-04
The Family that  Couldn’t Sleep D.T. Max Non-fiction *** A science/medical thriller – tracing the research and origins of a mysterious disease called Fatal Familial Insomnia, which affects a family in Italy, causing the inability to sleep and ultimately death. It has things in common with mad cow disease and others and the author weaves together a fascinating story. Well worth a read, though a bit technical at times. 2011-04
The Sex Lives of Cannibals Maarten Troost Non-fiction *** The author follows his girlfriend to the remote atoll of Kiribata in the South Pacific. The book is a humorous tale of life in primitive conditions and excruciating heat. Quite entertaining and will be of interest to anyone who loves travel. 2011-04
This Time Together Carol Burnett Non-Fiction *** A memoir by Carol Burnett. Not laugh out loud funny, but humorous and warm. Well worth the read if you are a Carol Burnett fan, and maybe even if you’re not! Makes you want to go back and watch her show! 2011-04
Thunderstruck Erik Larson Non-fiction *** From the author of Devil in the White City, this book also tracks the simultaneous lives of two people – Marconi during his inventions of the wireless and Dr. Hawley Crippen, who seemingly murders his wife. Both are interesting tales, though not very related except that they overlapped timewise. A gripping, fun true-life tale of science and murder. 2011-04
Trust the Dog Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation Non-fiction *** Written by the foundation that trains guide dogs, the book is nevertheless a good story about what these amazing dogs do and the dramatic effect they have on those they serve. Great book for all dog lovers, but also for anyone who liks inspirational stories. 2011-04
Personal Injuries Scott Turow Fiction *** Legal thriller with some great characters. This is really a book about the various characters; though there is a story and a plot, the real achievement is the creation of complex and interesting personalities, often at odds with each other and leaving the reader not sure which ones he is rooting for. A fun and clever book 2011-04
1776 David McCullough Non-Fiction *** The focus is on George Washington and his army in the first year of the revolution against the British. Well researched with many actual accounts from the time, it gives a look at Washington unlike any other you’ve seen. A must for history buffs and good 2010 or Before
A Burglar’s Life Mark Jeffrey Non-Fiction *** (Bradley’s review) Written in 1893, by an English Burglar who was sentenced to Transportation, ( the English term used to mean exported to Australia).  A very light and quick read that provides some good insights to life as a prisoner in Tasmania, Australia, circa 1850 to 1870’s.  (Kathy’s review – agree with Bradley) 2010 or Before
Antietam James McPherson Non-Fiction *** Good, quick reading book about the battle of Antietam and its effect on the outcome of the Civil War. Really makes you wonder what would have happened had certain events just gone a different way at a different time. 2010 or Before
As Wide as the Waters Benson Bobrick Non-Fiction *** Story of the translation of the Bible into English and all the obstacles that entailed. A fascinating story. At times a tough read but worth the effort. 2010 or Before
Ballad of the Whiskey Robber Julian Rubinstein Non-Fiction *** True story of a bank robber in Romania in the 1990’s who became a folk hero (al la Ned Kelly in Australia). The subject is currently serving a jail sentence and the author did extensive research and interviews with the “hero”, his partners and hocky teammates, as well as various law enforcement personnel who tracked him for years through dozens of “gentlemanly” robberies. Though it’s a true story, it reads more like a novel. Mostly humorous, but with some sad overtones – it also gives a good picture of the eastern bloc after the fall of communism. Well worth a read. 2010 or Before
Billions and Billions Carl Sagan Non-Fiction *** Sagan’s last book, completed just before he died. This is really a collection of essays, some interesting, other less so. Sagan clearly has a gift for simplifying science for the average person. His essays on the greenhouse effect and global warming prese 2010 or Before
Biography of Bejamin Franklin Benjamin Franklin Non-Fiction *** Very interesting account of his own life written by Franklin. Unfortunately, though he was in his 70’s when he wrote it, it stops when he’s 50 (in 1757). 2010 or Before
Catch Me if You Can Frank Abagnale Non-Fiction *** (From Bradley)This is a wonderfully entertaining and fun story based on Frank’s six years of being a pilot, a doctor, a Lawyer and other professions with no formal training.  Not only did Frank pass the Alabama Bar, but he also evaded capture in many coun 2010 or Before
Charlie Wilson’s War George Crile Non-Fiction *** (Bradley’s review) Charlie Wilson was a congressman from Texas, who for many well explained reasons in the text elected to spend most of his time in congress championing the Afghan mujahideen after the Russians invaded Afghanistan in 1979.  What unfolds i 2010 or Before
Chosen By A Horse Susan Richards Non-Fiction *** A woman with a difficult past – abusive family and abusive ex – agrees to adopt an abused horse that has been rescued from a large farm. Though she already has two horses, this new addition has a dramatic impact on the author’s life, enabling her to confront some of her difficult past and make some tough decisions about her future. Though I found it hard at times to identify with the author, I enjoyed the story and applaud her for writing it. 2010 or before
Dark Summit Nick Heil Non-Fiction *** In 2006 a British climber lay dying on the route to the summit while 40 others passed him by, including a disabled climber whose feat was tarnished by this incident. The same year, ten others died in their summit attempts. This books explores many of the reasons leading to these incidents and provides great insight into the difficulties and moral dilemmas facing anyone who sets out on this journey. The style is more of a documantary  than other Everest books such as Into Thin Air but is still fascinating and worth reading. 2010 or before
Dogs Never Lie About Love Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson Non-Fiction *** The author has a PhD in Sakskrit and had no pets when he decided to write this book. So he went out and got three dogs and got to know them while he was doing research. The resulting book is a delightful blend of dog stories from history and personal insi 2010 or Before
Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight Alexandra Fuller Non-Fiction *** Memoir of a young woman who grew up in Africa when most countries were controlled by white governments. A good look at what life was like. Well written and entertaining, with a style that will immerse you in the author’s childhood. 2010 or Before
Dragon Sea Frank Pope Non-Fiction *** A true story of ocean archeology and treasure hunting off the coast of Vietnam. This is an interesting story about the conflicts between those who view shipwrecks as historical artifacts and those who believe that whoever finds a wreck has the right to pillage it for commercial gain. This book tells the story of an expedition that attempts to balance those interests – archeologists accompany divers who collect valuable porcelain under the funding of a commercial venture. The author is an archeologist who provides a first hand view of the dangers involved in long-term, deep diving, the excitement of recovering the cargo and attempting to identify and date the vessel, the time pressure of beating others to the prize, and the difficulty of valuing the cargo for public sale. 2010 or before
Dreams from My Father Barack Obama Non-Fiction *** Presidential hopeful Obama’s book about his early life growing up as the son of a white mother and African father who he never knew. The book is very personal and well written and provides some good insight about racial identity, the differece in racial cultures in America today, and the difficulty of those stuck in the middle. A worthwhile read. 2010 or before
Duel with the Devil: The True Story of How Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr Teamed Up to Take on America’s First Sensational Murder Mystery Spike Walker Non-Fiction *** True story of fishing for Alaska King Crab – one of the most dangerous professions in the world 2010 or before
E=MC2 David Bodanus Non-Fiction *** (Bradley’s review) David does an excellent job of weaving both history and an explanation of
Albert Einstein’s famous equation and it meaning in to a fascinating story.
Truly worth a read to better understand just how much political events can
influence s
2010 or Before
E=MC2 A Biography of the World’s Most Famous Equation David Bodanus Non-Fiction *** A really fun book that will give you a simple overview of many fundamental principles of physics, introduce you to many fascinating scientists throughout history, delve into the life of Einstein, and above all, help you understand the equation! Don’t worr 2010 or Before
Every Second Counts Lance Armstrong Non-Fiction *** A sequel to Lance’s first book (It’s Not About the Bike) this picks up after his first Tour de France Victory and covers his next four wins. It details the changes in his life during that time, including the birth of his children, his rise to celebrity status, his ongoing commitment to his cancer foundation, and the toll it takes on his personal life. An easy read (half a day), it’s not great literature but is worth the time. 2010 or before
Fatal Storm Rob Mundle Non-Fiction *** Story of the 1998 Sydney-Hobart yacht race that was hit by a freak storm. Good stories of the participants and the ensuing search and rescuse missions 2010 or Before
Flight: My Life in Mission Control Chris Kraft Non-Fiction *** The story of Nasa and the space race written by the leader of the ground crew. Gives a great inside look at sending men to the moon. 2010 or Before
Following Seas Beth Leonard Non-Fiction *** We met the author while cruising Tasmania. This book tells the story of Beth and her partner Evans’ first circumnavigation aboard their sailboat Silk. As a novice sailor, Beth soon gained a passion for sailing and this book tells the story of her transformation into a new way of life. A very well written book, it is recommended for anyone who really wants to know what the cruising life is really like. 2010 or before
From Baghdad with Love Jay Kopelman Non-Fiction *** An American Marine Lt. Col serving in Iraq finds and adopts a puppy during a mission. Adopting or feeding domestic animals is against the rules so the puppy has to be constantly hidden and shuffled around to ensure its safety. Unable to bear leaving his companion behind, the soldier begins a long process to try to find a way to bring him home. A short but wonderful story of the horrors of war, yet how the love for a puppy can overcome those horros. It’s a quick read and one you’ll enjoy. 2010 or before
Galileo’s Daughter Dava Sobel Non-Fiction *** A story of Galileo’s life highlighted with letters from his daughter who lived in a convent by wrote frequently. Great insight into the man and what the times were like in his day. 2010 or Before
Godforsaken Sea Derek Lundy Non-Fiction *** Great account of the 1996-97 Vendee Globe single handed yacht race. Makes you wonder why anyone would do this! 2010 or Before
Havana Nocturne T.J. English Non-Fiction *** The story of Lucky Luciano and other gangsters who controlled Havana’s casinos, entertainment, and prostitution industries prior to the revolution which brough Castro to power. Well researched and intersesting, the book provides great insight into the world of many famous mobsters and provides some background on the things going on in Cuba that led to the revolution in 1959. 2010 or before
Hope and Honor Sid Shachnow Non-Fiction *** Autobiography of a Lithuanian born Jew who survived a Nazi concentration camp, eventually emigrated to the US and had a terrific career in the US Army, attaining the rank of General and participating in the early days of defining the special forces units. A bit self-serving, it’s a good read with a great first hand account of life in the camps. 2010 or Before
Hungry Ocean Linda Greenlaw Non-Fiction *** Linda Greenlaw was a successful swordfishing boat captain and the only woman in the fleet. She and her boat survived “The Perfect Storm”. This is her story about swordfishing and the storm. A perfect follow read to The Perfect Storm. 2010 or Before
Into Thin Air Jon Krakaur Non-Fiction *** First hand account of the 1996 Mount Everest expedition that encountered a killer storm that left eight people dead. 2010 or Before
Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes G. Edward White Non-Fiction *** Oliver Wendell Holmes was a cousin of my grandmother so I’ve always wanted to learn more about him. This is a very comprehensive book that reveals his personal life as well as his legal decisions. The book is very well researched but gets quite technical and academic at times. It would be most appreciated by those interested in the law as it gives some great legal history. 2010 or Before
Knockdown Martin Dugard Non-Fiction *** Yet another book about the 1998 Sydney-Hobart yacht race. Good, but not as good as the other two. 2010 or Before
Last Train to Paradise Les Standiford Non-Fiction *** The true story of the building of the railroad from Miami to Key West Florida by Henry Flagler. Flagler, parnter of Rockefeller in Standard Oil, was one of the richest men in America. He became fascinated with Florida and had a vision for a railroad to connect the Keys with the mainland. It was an incredible engineering feat which many said could not be done. The railroad was completed and operated for nearly 30 years before being destroyed by a hurricane in 1935. It became the basis for the highway that still exists today. An interesting story well worth a read. 2010 or Before
Mayflower Nathaniel Philbrick Non-Fiction *** Well researched and well written book about the voyage of the Mayflower and the journey of the Pilgrims and their descendents over the next 100 years. I great read for anyone with a remote interest in US History. Philbrick is also the author of In the Heart of the Sea and again proves to be an excellent non-fiction writer. 2010 or before
Michelangelo and the Pope’s Ceiling Ross King Non-Fiction *** A good historical account of Michelangelo’s four year odyssey painting the Sistene Chapel. A very good story of Michelangelo, Pope Julius, and rival artist Rafael, the book explores the various events that led to some of the world’s greatest artistic achi 2010 or Before
Minus 148 Art Davidson Non-Fiction *** Tale of the first winter ascent of Denali (Mt McKinley) and the extremes faced by the expedition. 2010 or Before
Mountains Beyond Mountains Tracy Kidder Non-Fiction *** True story of Paul Farmer, a Boston doctor who dedicates a huge effort to fighting Tuberculosis and AIDS in Haiti and South America. Quite an education about conditions in third world countries, the state of health care in those countries, and the insiprational story of one man who made a significant difference not only in the lives of his patients but also in the way these diseases are treated and managed. 2010 or Before
Nathaniel’s Nutmeg Giles Milton Non-Fiction *** True story of the spice wars between the Dutch and the English and the little island called Run which was eventually traded for New York. Interesting book. 2010 or before
Playing the Moldovans at Tennis Tony Hawks Non-Fiction *** Great humorous book about the English author challenging the Moldovan soccer team to play tennis to win a bet. 2010 or Before
Reading Lolita in Tehran Azar Nafisi Non-Fiction *** True story of a professor in Tehran who, after she is fired, convenes a book club for women that meets weekly in her home. They read western books that are banned by the government. The author provides a great deal of insight into the politics of Iran and 2010 or Before
Rescue in the Pacific Tony Farrington Non-Fiction *** Story of a group of sailboats that are caught in a major storm after leaving from New Zealand in 1998. A good search and rescue story. 2010 or Before
Round Ireland with a Fridge Tony Hakws Non-Fiction *** Author hitchhikes around Ireland with a small refrigerator to win a bet. Great funny book 2010 or Before
Sailor: My Journey Across the Atlantic Ocean on the Tall Ship The Pride of Baltimore II Chip Raymond Non-Fiction *** My friend and Shear Madness veteran Chip Raymond secured a crew position aboard a tall ship for a great adventure across the Atlantic. When Chip sailed with us to New Caledonia, we did not have the smoothest passage and after reading his account of the At 2010 or before
Slaves in The Family Edward Ball Non-Fiction *** Author tracks down descendants of slaves his family owned. An excellent read. 2010 or Before
The Art of the Steal Frank Abignale Non-Fiction *** Written by the con man of Catch Me if You Can fame, this is a book that details dozens of scams and how they work. The intent is to educate us so that we are not so susceptible to some ingenious as well as downright silly ploys that rake in millions  every year. You’ll be fascinated at the creativity of some of the scams! Even if you consider yourself quite sophisticated, I guarantee you will learn a lot and will likely make some changes to how you guard your privacy based on this book – I sure did! 2010 or Before
The Avengers Rich Cohen Non-Fiction *** True story of a small group of WWII Jews who fought as renegades in the forests and later as part of the Israeli military. 2010 or Before
The Boat Who Wouldn’t Float Farley Mowat Non-Fiction *** Story of a Canadian who has a dream of going sailing. He and a partner buy a low-budget boat and he embarks on series of misadventures. Though well written and entertaining, the book is at times disturbing because it glorifies people who have made a choice to go to sea without any experience, in an unseaworthy boat, and without the proper equipment to ensure the safety of themselves, their crew, and others in their path. Though they survive the adventures and live to laugh about them, this could easily have been a tragedy about people entering lightly into a situation that can often turn life-threatening. 2010 or Before
The Boys of Pointe Du Hoc Douglas Brinkley Non-Fiction *** (from Bradley)I listened to this book on my Ipod – one of my favorite ways to read while hiking.  It was written and read by Douglas Brinkley and it is the story of the 2nd Ranger Battalion.  This is a fascinating story that uses Reagan’s celebration of 40th anniversary commemorations of D-Day to turn around Patriotism in the US after the Vietnam.  This story traces the founding and exploits of the 2nd Ranger Battalion, particularly their extremely successful landing on D-Day at Pointe Du Hoc in France. It also gives some interesting insights into speech writing during the Reagan administration.   However its most important insights are how Reagan’s personal history and views so strongly influenced his years as President.  It is a great read for over a holiday or vacation offering both some wonderful views of history and a nice story line that is an easy read (listen). 2010 or Before
The Boys of Pointe Du Hoc Douglas Brinkley Non-Fiction *** (from Bradley)I listened to this book on my Ipod – one of my favorite ways to read while hiking.  It was written and read by Douglas Brinkley and it is the story of the 2nd Ranger Battalion.  This is a fascinating story that uses Reagan’s celebration of 40th anniversary commemorations of D-Day to turn around Patriotism in the US after the Vietnam.  This story traces the founding and exploits of the 2nd Ranger Battalion, particularly their extremely successful landing on D-Day at Pointe Du Hoc in France. It also gives some interesting insights into speech writing during the Reagan administration.   However its most important insights are how Reagan’s personal history and views so strongly influenced his years as President.  It is a great read for over a holiday or vacation offering both some wonderful views of history and a nice story line that is an easy read (listen). 2010 or Before
The Catholic Church – A Short History Hans Kung Non-Fiction *** “Short” is the key word in this title. This is an excellent summary of the origins and evolution of the Catholic Church. The author is doctor of theology and also an ordained priest, but in this book he provides an objective, honest, and often critical look at the church. The book is fairly scholarly (translated from German with lots of big words) but short enough so as not to be too intimidating. Recommended for anyone who has an interest in the origin of religion and especially the Catholic Church. 2010 or Before
The Climb Anatoli Boukreev Non-Fiction *** Another first hand account of the 1996 Mount Everest expedition by a professional guide. 2010 or Before
The Color of Water James McBride Non-Fiction *** Subtitled “A Black Man’s Tribute to his White Mother”, this is the story of a white Jewish woman who married a black man and her struggle to raise her children. A very insightful book well worth reading. 2010 or Before
The Daily Coyote Shreve Stockton Non-Fiction *** The author, who is from New York, moves to a remote town in Colorado where she lives in a small, rustic cabin. She begins a relationship with a man who kills coyotes for the US government in an effort to control their population and protect farm stock. For some reason, he saves a coyote cub which he gives the author and the book is about their first two years together. Sometimes funny, sometimes sobering, it highlights the pros and cons of raising a wild animal, especially one that can be dangerous.While it ultimately has a happy ending – at least so far – there are many points where the potential for tragedy are apparent. Well written and interesting – should be enjoyable for all animal lovers. 2010 or before
The Dig Tree Sarah Murgatroyd Non-Fiction *** Interesting true story of the first European expedition to cross the Australian continent. Good recounting of how the expedition was assembled, the problems with logistics and leadership, and the tragic consequences. Worth a read if you are into Aussie hi 2010 or Before
The Dogs of Bedlam Farm Jon Katz Non-Fiction *** A book about how dogs helped the author become a better person. I didn’t care much for the author, but some of the stories about the dogs are good. He has three border collies and buys a small farm where he can have some sheep and teach the dogs to heard. 2010 or Before
The Ghost Map Steven Johnson Non-Fiction *** The true story of a cholera epidemic in 19th century England and the efforts of a determined scientist to discover the cause, which he eventually does – contaminated water. Before this, nobody knew how cholera was transmitted, though even in the face of compelling evidence, the conclusions were not readily accepted. The book is a well-written and gripping look at life in one of the world’s largest cities, where logistical challenges were great (ie, waste disposal was a huge challenge) and people were vulnerable to outbreaks of communicable diseases which often spread rapidly with deadly consequences. It traces the efforts of one man who doggedly pursues the evidence left by the many dead to determine how they became infected. A good scientific thriller. 2010 or before
The Land of White Death Valerian Albanov Non-Fiction *** Russian explorers stranded in the Antarctic in 1912. The true story of their survival written by the expedition’s navigator in 1917 and only recently translated to English. A fascinating story. 2010 or Before
The Map That Changed the World Simon Winchester Non-Fiction *** The story of William Smith, the Father of English geology who published the world’s first geological map of England and is credited with creating the field of geology. In typical English fashion, after his accomplishment he ends up  in debtors prison and it is many years before his contribution is appreciated. As interesting as geology can be made! 2010 or Before
The Nine Jeffrey Toobin Non-Fiction *** An in-depth look at the Supreme Court from Earl Warren through John Roberts. Provides wonderful insight into how the court works, how current justices came to be there, and how their decisions affect us. Highly recommended. 2010 or before
The Prize of All the Oceans Glyn Williams Non-Fiction *** Details the voyage of English Captain Anson from England to China in 1740-44. A terrific depiction of the conditions and a real tale of courage and survival (and maybe a little stupidity too). 2010 or Before
The Proving Ground G. Bruce Knecht Non-Fiction *** Another story of the 1998 Sydney to Hobart yacht race – gripping and well written 2010 or Before
The Race Tim Zimmerman Non-Fiction *** (Reviewed by Bradley) A well written book about the Millenium sailboat race, a no holds barred around the world race with only one rule – the boats had to pass between the two islands of New Zealand. Zimmerman does an excellent job of chronicling the history of extreme sailing from the 19th century to today’s high tech marvels to set up The Race. He brings you right inside the boats as they battle the sea and each other, flying along blind at 30 knots with icebergs and huge waves just waiting for you to make a mistake. Highly recommended for those who want an understanding of what it takes to race the new Super Cats around the world. 2010 or Before
The Remarkable Life of William Beebe Carol Grant Gould Non-Fiction *** A biography of an early 20th century naturalist and marine biologist who undertook amazing field research and was able to bring science to the masses through his extraordinary writing. A well researched and well written book, it brings his fieldwork and adventures to life. 2010 or Before
The Way of the World Ron Suskind Non-Fiction *** The author is obviously not a fan of GW Bush or his policies. The book provide an account of US intelligence up through and including the Iraq war while at the same time providing in-depth personal stories about a number of people affected – an exhange student from Afghanistan, a man detained at Guantanamo, a Iraqi-American living and working here. The claims made in the book are very disturbing – it’s just hard to know how much is real fact and how much is spin – such is the nature of politics and espionage! 2010 or before
The World From Islam George Negus Non-Fiction *** Australia journalist George Negus draws on his many years of experience in the mid-east and visits with a variety of Muslim friends to try to understand the world of Islam. His conclusion is basically that not all Muslims are terrorists and we should all 2010 or Before
The World is Flat Thomas Friedman Non-Fiction *** A well researched and well presented book that details all the barriers to competition that have fallen in the past 20 years to create a level playing field for people and countries around the globe. Some of the information is obvious, some of it is thought provoking. Most of it is presented in interesting ways that are designed to make you think about the impact these changes will have on you or your business. 2010 or Before
Too Far From Home Chris Jones Non-Fiction *** The last space shuttle mission before Columbia was lost delivered a 3-man crew to the International Space Station. They were due to be returned by the next shuttle after Columbia. With the loss of that shuttle and the resulting grounding of the fleet, this crew was forced to extend their stay until a Russian ship was readied to bring them home. While everyone knows the tragedy of Columbia, this book provides a good factual account of the events before and after, and provides stories and historical anecdotes of the space program. A good story and an enjoyable read. 2010 or Before
Two Years Before the Mast Richard Henry Dana Non-Fiction *** (Bradley’s review) A very interesting and informative read regarding life on the high seas as a common sailor on a commercial trading ship circa 1835/36.  It does give one some good insights into the founding of California prior to our taking it from Mexi 2010 or Before
Up Till Now William Shatner Non-Fiction *** Fans of Star Trek, Boston Legal, or William Shatner will enjoy this book. It’s an autobiography which does nothing to dispell whatever you might think about Shatner! Self-serving – of course! It is about Shatner after all. But entertaining and fun, even is Star Trek is only a small piece of it 2010 or before
Call Each River Jordan Owen Parry Historical Fiction *** Civil War historical fiction. This is the third book in the series (I missed the second one). Well written and good characters, but the story is not as strong as the first one. The hero is a Welsh immigrant and former soldier who is now a detective. In this book he is sent to the south to investigate some troubling murders. 2010 or Before
Chesapeake James Michener Historical Fiction *** Good tale of the Chesapeake Bay and surrounding region. Recommended for anyone with an interest in that area, but truthfully not my favorite Michener book. 2010 or Before
Cold Mountain Charles Frazier Historical Fiction *** A well written civil wat novel about a soldier who walks home 2010 or Before
Faded Coat of Blue Owen Parry Historical Fiction *** Historical fiction set in the civil war era. The main character is a Welsh immigrant/soldier who ends up solving a murder mystery. Emphasis is not on battles, but on what’s going on in Washington; government corruption, prostituition, ploitics, etc. An intersesting read. 2010 or Before
For the Term of His Natural Life Marcus Clarke Historical Fiction *** An Australian classic written in the early 1800’s to highlight many of the ills of the British system of transportation and ill treatment of criminals, many of whom were quilty of very minor offenses. This book is a fictional account of a wrongly accused 2010 or Before
Jackdaws Ken Follett Historical Fiction *** Gripping and enjoyable thriller about an all female British espionage team sent to France in WWII. Good characters, good story and based on real events. 2010 or before
Night Fall Nelson DeMille Historical Fiction *** Fictional novel about the explosion of TWA Flight 800. Much facutal information is woven into this fictional story which calls into question the official findings of the cause of the explosion to be accidental. Though no conclusive evidence exists, many eyewitness accounts lead to speculation that the plane was actually shot down by a missile, a premise that is not totally disproved by the evidence. 2010 or Before
Poland James Michener Historical Fiction *** I knew nothing about Poland before reading this book. Though it’s pretty depressing – poor Poland sure has had a rough time – it is also well worth the time to read (and like all Michener books it DOES take some time!) 2010 or Before
Sea of Poppies Amitav Ghosh Historical Fiction *** A book set in 19th century India, it tells the tale of the Opium trade and provides a vivid depiction of life in India during this time. I listened to the audio version which was “performed” not read by a wonderful narrator. The story is good – not great – but the writing, language, and visualiztion is fantastic. Highly entertaining and somewhat informative, I found this book truly enjoyable and different. 2010 or before
Shadows of Glory Owen Parry Historical Fiction *** A civil war novel featuring Abel Jones, a Welshmen who is sent to New York to investigate rumors of a rebellion by the Irish and to investigate the murders of two government agents. Second in a series, this gives a great view of what life was like during the civil war era. Instead of concentrating on the battles, it points out other aspects of the times. 2010 or Before
She Who Remembers Lind Lay Schuler Historical Fiction *** Native American version of Clan of the Cave Bear, about an Anasazi (Pueblo) woman descended from Vikings. She wreaks havoc everywhere she goes. A good read, but the character leaves a lot to be desired. 2010 or Before
The Birth of Venus Sara Dunant Historical Fiction *** A novel set in 15th century Florence, this is an enjoyable book which tells the tale of two sisters, one blessed with beauty, the other with brains. Though I found the characters less than believable, it is an enjoyable story that gives a real sense of the times – the trubulence and controversy of the Renaissance and those who sought to invoke religious fervor and censorship. 2010 or Before
The Bounty Caroline Alexander Historical Fiction *** A new and well researched book about the famous mutiny and the eventual fate of those involved. An excellent book for anyone with an interest in this subject. 2010 or Before
The Caine Mutiny Herman Wouk Historical Fiction *** Novel about a mutiny onboard a naval vessel in WWII. A good read, but I didn’t find it all that special. 2010 or Before
The Captain’s Wife Douglas Kelley Historical Fiction *** A novel based on the true story of Mary Patten, the wife of Captain Joshua Patten who was in command of a clipper ship bound from the east coast to California in 1856. After the mutinous first mate is thrown in the brig the captain falls ill, leaving his wife, who has learned celestial navigation, and an inexperienced second mate to sail the ship around Cape Horn and complete its voyage. A well written and enjoyable read. 2010 or before
The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea Historical Fiction *** A good story weaved around the true events of the life of William Chamberlain, an 8 year old boy who was kidnapped by the captain of a whaling ship, later taken by pirates, then saved by the English where he fought in the battle of Algiers, ultimately to return home to Australia where he became captain of his own whaling ship. Quite an incredible tale, well researched  and fun to read, though some events have by necessity been arrived at by speculation to weave the story together. 2010 or before
The Potato Factory Bryce Courtenay Historical Fiction *** Novel about convicts send from England to Tasmania by a well known Australian author 2010 or Before
Voyage of the Narwhal Andrea Barrett Historical Fiction *** Entertaining novel about Arctic exploration in the mid-19th century. The story centers around an expedition that goes north to search for the lost explorer Franklin. Well written and good descriptions of the region. 2010 or Before
Ahab’s Wife Sena Jeter Naslund Fiction *** A novel about the wife of Captain Ahab of Moby Dick fame. The story is well written, but much longer than necessary and tedious at times, though nowhere near as bad as Moby Dick! Ahab is away whaling most of the time, so the book is truly the story of his 2010 or Before
City of Bones Michael Connelly Fiction *** A Harry Bosch murder mystery. Good story about an old murder – keeps you guessing and holds your interest well. A great beach book. 2010 or Before
Cold Heart Jonathan Kellerman Fiction *** A typical Kellerman murder mystery. Will keep you turning the pages. Great book for a looong airplane ride! 2010 or Before
Confessional Jack Higgins Fiction *** Fun, easy to read thriller about bad Russians causing havoc in Ireland and an attempt to assasinate the Pope during a visit to England. 2010 or Before
Death Roll Sam Llewelyn Fiction *** A fun and intersting thriller set in the world of sailboat racing. The hero is a world class helmsman who becomes embroiled in a plot involving money, greed, and murder. Easy to read, good vignettes of sailboat racing, and a reasonable story line. 2010 or Before
Eye Contact Cammmie McGovern Fiction *** Story of an autistic boy who witnesses the murder of a classmate and the struggle to communicate with him to determine what he actually saw. Though the story is not particularly strong, the author is the mother of an autistic child and an advocate for autism research, so the book provides excellent insight into those who struggle with this condition. An entertaining and easy read sure to educate you in the process. 2010 or Before
Fall on Your Knees Ann Marie MacDonald Fiction *** Well written story about a dysfunctional family. Great characters and fun to read. 2010 or Before
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire J.K. Rowling Fiction *** The 4th Harry Potter book and as entertaining as the first three. Great for kids and adults alike. 2010 or Before
Hide Lisa Gardner Fiction *** An engaging thriller about a young woman whose family spent their life moving mysteriously from place to place. As a young adult she finds out why. The story is different than the standard murder mystery and well told. 2010 or Before
I Don’t Know How She Does It Allison Pearson Fiction *** Humorous and well written story of a working mother with a high pressure job as a fund manager in London. International best seller by a British author, well worth the read for women and men alike! 2010 or before
In Her Shoes Jennifer Weiner Fiction *** Fun and engaging book about two sisters who are very different in every aspect of their lives, but who happen to have exactly the same shoe size. They unexpectedly are thrust into living together and the result is quite entertaining. 2010 or before
Leave No Trace Hannah Nyala Fiction *** Good fictional story of a women stranded in the Australian desert after her boyfriend is killed. Well written and entertaining. 2010 or Before
New England White Stephen L. Carter Fiction *** Well written and entertaining story of an upper class black family living in New England. There is a murder mystery which is interesting but secondary to the central theme which is about race, family, and relationships. The ending is OK but not great. A bit long in places, but an enjoyable read. 2010 or Before
Next Michael Crichton Fiction *** Very interesting novel centered around genetics, DNA, and the science and politics involved in the related issues. Story is just realistic enough not to seem far-fetched, but is mainly a vehicle to allow the author to educate the reader about an important issue. Don’t expect a perfect thriller, but well worth a read to get your mind thinking about some important issues. 2010 or Before
Obsession Jonathan Kellerman Fiction *** Another in the Alex Delaware series. Decent story and if you are a fan of the author you will enjoy it, though I don’t think it the best in the series. 2010 or Before
Old School Tobias Woldd Fiction *** A wonderfully entertaining and well written book set in a boys prep school in the 60’s. Students engage in writing contests with the prize being the chance to meet privately with great authors such as Robert Frost, Ayn Rand, and Ernest Hemingway. No murders, guns, car chases, or violence, but the best fiction book I’ve read in a while. 2010 or before
Over the Edge Jonathan Kellerman Fiction *** An early Alex Delaware novel, this is the book that made Jonathan Kellerman a bestselling author. Good story, good plot, good characters. A page turning, interesting thriller. 2010 or before
Playing for Pizza John Grisham Fiction *** Wonderful story of a third-string NFL quarterback who after a disastrous game, goes to play football in Italy. Full of fun esposides with some good life lessons thrown in, 2010 or before
Prey Michael Chrichton Fiction *** A thriller about nanotechnology gone bad and a bunch of artificial but intelligent creatures out to destroy us. Chrichton has a knack for making his books believable enough to be scary. A good beach book. 2010 or Before
Rage Jonathan Kellerman Fiction *** Latest in the series of Alex Delaware novels. It’s a good read, involving solving a murder of a mentally challenged young man who had been accused of a past murder. Not the best plot in the series, but reasonably satisfying. 2010 or Before
Sail James Patterson Fiction *** A family still hurt by the loss of their husband/father sets out for a sailing vacation to re-bond and ends up stranded on a remote island where they have to fend for themselves. Did their boat really suffer an accident? Will the new husband/stepfather be able to rescue them in time? Lots of twists and turns and a reasonable story. Good page turner. 2010 or before
State of Fear Michael Crichton Fiction *** A thriller about environmental terrorists trying to stage catastrophes to make a point about the dangers of global warming. The author uses this as a forum to present both sides of the global warming debate and to try to illustrate how little we really kn 2010 or Before
The Alchemist Paulo Coelho Fiction *** A fable about a boy who travels in search of a treasure and learns to believe in his dreams. Excellent, easy read, translated from Portuguese 2010 or Before
The Closers Michael Connelly Fiction *** Solid and entertaining murder mystery featuring detective Harry Bosch who is assigned to a cold case unit. If you’ve enjoyed Connelly’s past works this one won’t disappoint you. 2010 or Before
The Good German Joseph Canon Fiction *** A very interesting novel set in Germany immediately after WWII. It uses a murder mystery story to examine the choices made by various characters at different points during the war. It raises a lot of good issues and would be a great book for a discussion group.                                                          Bradleys Comments: 3.5 Stars                                                                     This book encourages us to value the issue of public debate, and should discourage the keeping of information within the goverment secret.  Stronly recommend this book, for a look at the compormisses the US goverment made in your name, at the end of WWII, and the beginning of the cold war. 2010 or Before
The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald Fiction *** An American classic, this book is well written and provides a good look at life in American in the 1920’s. The story of a love interrupted and almost recaptured, but not a happy ending. 2010 or Before
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society Fiction *** A story told in the form of letters exchanged by friends and associates in the aftermath of WWII. A reporter who covered the war is contacted by a man in Guernsey and his correspondence leads her to research the story of a literary society established there – full of charm, romance, and interesting characters. Highly entertaining. 2010 or before
The Life of Pi Yann Martel Fiction *** Delightful mix of philosophy and fantasy – a zookeeper from India is moving his family to Canada and the ship sinks, leaving his teenage son (the sole survivor) in a lifeboat with a 450 wild Bengal tiger for 277 days. 2010 or Before
The Murder Book Jonathan Kellerman Fiction *** Another Alex Delaware murder mystery by one of my favorite authors. A good murder mystery about and old unsolved case – keeps you turning the pages. 2010 or Before
The Whale Rider Witi Ihimaera Fiction *** Quick, easy story about a Maori tribe in New Zealand where only men can ascend to the chief level and there is only a girl in the last generation. Despised by her grandfather, she turns out to have a special, ancient talent. Now a movie, the book is a fun story and good insight into the Maori culture. 2010 or Before
Whatever You Do, Don’t Run Non-Fiction Peter Allison *** The author spent many years as a guide leading safaris in Botswana and other parts of Africa. The book is a collection of stories of his time as a guide. A good combination of humorous and serious anecdotes, the book is an easy and quick read. If you’ve been on a wildlife safari or have an interest in going, this book will give you some good insight. 2014-05
Twisted Jonathan Kellerman Fiction *** A good murder mystery thriller starring Petra Conner. A nice departure from the Alex Delaware series with interesting new characters and a good plot. Good page turner that will not disappoint you. 2010 or Before
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