Whatcha reading?

Whatcha reading?

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Ambler Warning: Robert Ludlum

I really enjoyed this book! A man escapes from a government owned prison/ mental institution with the help of a nurse there. He believes he has fallen in love with her while he tries to remember not only who he is, but why he was in the institution. His face has been surgically altered and no one from his past remembers him, he seems to have not existed. I didn't understand how his old comrades from the department recognize him if the plastic surgery is new. The first operative from his past was blind, so that part made sense, but another operative, the "bad guy" recognizes him? At the end we find out he has been played. His former boss is trying to single handedly make sure Chine doesn't become a hegemony and has the nurse, who was actually working for the government set Ambler up. Since Ambler's identity has been erased the US wouldn't take the blame for the assassination of their president. Ambler puts everything together at the last minute and nearly dies stopping the murder. Ambler has the support of an unlikely aid in an accountant for the CIA who found some suspicious paper trails.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Geeks and Geezers: Bennis and Thomas

I really enjoyed this book, though it did have some slow parts that repeated what was already covered. It compared two generations in the work place and how they are driven by different things. The "geezers" are those in their 70's and older, the Geeks are in their late twenty's and 30's (though this book was written in 2002 so the populations are a little older now)The Geezers are driven by financial security and recognition, they respect their bosses because they are older, not necessary more knowledgeable. The geeks are motivated by meaningful jobs and want to save the world, they want a work, life balance and want their money to come fast (get rich quick ideas) and value leaders at any age as long as they are knowledgeable. The book focused on great leaders all having "neoteny" or child-like wonder. I found it amusing that I had just read "the Genius of Dogs" and this book backs up the same idea "...Neoteny is an evolutionary engine. It is the winning, puppyish quality of certain ancient wolves that allowed them to evolve into dogs. Over thousands of years humans favored those wolves that were the friendliest, the most approachable, the most curious, the least likely to attack without warning, the ones that readily locked eyes with humans and seemed almost human in their eager response to people , the ones, in short, that stayed the most like puppies." (pg151) I would recommend this book :)

Sunday, March 27, 2016

The Testament: John Grisham

This was a fast paced book switching between the Amazon Jungle and a US court. A wealthy man brings his family together with a few psychologists as he prepares his will. He wants to make sure there is no question on his sanity before he completes his will. He has children from several marriages and they believe he is dying from a brain tumor. Once his children and ex-wives file out of the meeting he writes another will and jumps to his death from the balcony. The new will provides for his children only in paying off any debt they had that day, the rest of his money goes to a daughter no one knew he had that was living as a missionary in the Amazon. Even more baffling is that they find out he wasn't dying and didn't have a tumor, he just decided to commit suicide. He knew his children as they all start buying things thinking they will be left billions from their dad's death. One of the attorneys is sent to find this illegitimate child and nearly dies from disease, she tells him she doesn't want the money and he leaves her the papers and winds up in the hospital. The attorney comes back from the trip and realizes he feels sorry for this deceased guy's children because he was a terrible father, this makes him look at himself and knows he too is a horrible father. He patches things up with his children and stops drinking. He then goes back to the Amazon to try to convince the heir to sign the papers and finds she died from disease, but did sign the papers, giving the money over to non-profits.

The Genius of Dogs, How Dogs are Smarter Than You Think: Brian Hare and Vanessa Woods

This was an incredibly interesting look into Dog intelligence and also went into other animal intelligence as well. They explain that there are different types of intelligence and goes into different tests animals were given and what the results say about dogs, monkeys, and ourselves. It explains different theories about when and why dogs became man's best friend and it told in a way that is both humorous at times and always interesting. The parts with how many words certain dogs knew and how they can infer names on other objects was very interesting, as well as the dog who knew which toys were his and which were the new baby's. I love the part about the test the Swedish did on dogs (pg 205)"...to top it all off, at the end of the obstacle course, someone fires a gun. You have to love the Swedes-it sure beats a boring questionnaire (although I hope they screened for heart conditions!)"

Monday, March 21, 2016

The Manchurian Candidate: Richard Condon

I decided to read this book after reading Dean Kootz's "False Memory" which is about brain washing and references the people in this book. This book has a lot of amusing lines" Raymond stood as though someone might have just opened a beach umbrella in his bowels" Anyway, A man, Raymond Shaw, returns from the Korean war Brainwashed from the communists. He has a handler in the US and it isn't until the very end you realize the woman is not only a woman, but Raymond's mother.

4 Blind Mice: James Patterson

Alex's partner Sampson comes to him on the day he planned to retire to ask if he'd look into a friend as a favor. The friend, Ellis Cooper, has been convicted of murder and is set for lethal injection. After digging around Alex and Sampson uncover other instances where people were killed and then painted and another man was put to death for these same crimes, though he too pleaded he was innocent. In the end the story went back to Vietnam and how the US military treated the Vietnamese. A man whose family was murdered, Tran Van Luu, set up the murder spree from prison in retaliation for his family. Alex is with the 3 men who were actually doing the murder for hire when Tran Van Luu's Vietnamese buddies come to finish them off to clear up the crimes. They escort Alex to safety and when Alex brings the police back to the spot the 3 men are dead. In this story both Samson and Alex fall in love. This was actually the story where I finally asked myself why I read these books, (I inherited a friend's collection) because I don't enjoy them, so this is my last! whoo hoo!

Season of the Machete: James Patterson

This was another disturbing read...what some people think up! This story alternates between the "Rose diaries" and the narrative of the story. A couple murders for hire. People seem to be randomly slashed apart by machetes on the tourist spots on San Dominica. Sometimes children are spared. The deaths are blamed on Dassie "Monkey" Dred, an island revolutionary, but are actually the working of the Rose's. It is apparently a plot to weaken the island to allow gambling, but there were all sorts of theories in the book. In the end both Carrie and Damian Rose are suspected to both be dead, but you believe Carrie got away after selling out her husband because he was becoming uncontrollable.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Seventh Son: Orson Scott Card

This was sold as an "alternate history" book where the settling of the United States turns out differently in favor of the Native Americans, but I didn't see any of that in this book, which is one in a series. A little boy is born who is the 7th son of a seventh son, which is supposed to come with magical powers. The little boy's older brother is washed down a river and later dies while the family is relocating, but the brother stays alive long enough for Alvin Jr to be born. Throughout Alvin Jr's life water seems to try to kill him repeatedly. Due to a little girl's foresight during his birth (she buried his caul into the earth) the earth seems to try to protect the boy. The story is about his life and the forces of good and evil. In this time witchcraft is looked at with fear and loathing, but is tolerated. The book places with the idea of which I actually work for good and which is for evil because the minister's pulpit has the sign of the devil on it. Eventually the Minister tries to kill the little boy, but the powers protecting Alvin are too strong. This book ends before Alvin's childhood is over, which will be picked up in the next book.

4th of July: James Patterson

This was a book from the "Lindsay Boxer and the Women's Murder Club" series. Lindsay is working on a series of bizarre murders, when the car she is looking for is spotted in town. The car starts a high speed chase which ends in a crash. When Lindsay goes to apprehend the suspects she finds two scared children who had stolen their father's car. Once both the officers put their guns down the children open fire and nearly kill both officers, Lindsay is able to shoot the murderous children before they get away. The Emergency crew get there and is able to save both officers and the little boy, who is then parapalegic for the rest of his life. She just barley gets the non-guilty verdict when the case goes to trail. Lindsay then solves the murders, it was one of her sister's best friends who was killing couples in the porn industry who were hurting children. I might have missed it, but I don't know how it got back around to the kids and the car being at the scene of the crimes.

Bring the Jubilee: Ward Moore

This was an interesting Sci-Fi novel about the "original" outcome of the Battle of Gettysburg, where the South won the Civil War. A young boy, Hodgins "Hodge" McCormick Backmaker opens the book with "Although I am writing this in 1877, I was not born until 1921." Backmaker explains that the South won the war and the country is poverty stricken and does not enter WWII. People indent themselves and only have one child because they can't afford more. Lawlessness runs the land. Hodge leaves home and works at a bookstore in exchange for room and board. He becomes a historian and goes to a type of "cooperative" where he gets an education, but they have to spend the growing seasons growing their food for the year. A girl he is partially in love with, Barbara, is there as a scientist and builds a working time machine. Hodge decides if he is to be a proper historian and write about the war, he should go back in time and check it out. Only when he is leaving, Barbara has a funny smirk on her face. 1 day into the past Hodgins changes the outcome of the war by getting a general killed that was supposed to be a war hero. He goes back to the place he left his time machine and it isn't there. realization dawns on his that the general was Barbara's great grandfather. He was killed, so Barbara never existed and the time machine was never built. Whatever genius was in Barbara's head is lost with her and once the War is won by the Yanks, the know how to build a time machine is still not know in present day. We are lead to believe this possibly fatalistic Barbara went back in time and some how knew Hodgins would go back and mess things up and she lets him so he will be stuck in the past and won't be able to scorn her. It is hard to know if Barbara knew this would also be the end of her. Hodgin's interference changed the outcome of the war to what we know today. This was an enjoyable original read, even if it had a few slow spots.