Whatcha reading?

Whatcha reading?

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Stephanie Pearl-McPhee Casts Off: Stephanie Pearly McPhee

This was a cute idea for a book, it just didn't really have enough meat and filler for an actual book. There were cute lines and thoughts, but it had very little to do with travel and seemed like a stretch to fill 200 pages. The book was aimed at knitters with cute little phrases that had to do with knitting and knitter's denial.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Every Day Lasts a Year: Browning, Hollander, and Tec

This was one man's collection of letters he found in his father's trunk after his father passed away. The Jewish Father had worked in a travel agency before WWII and though he tried to convince his family they needed to leave, they didn't understand the urgency. He went to England, claiming to be buying furniture for their new home, (he had just gotten married) then stowed away to the USA. His family was all exterminated during the war and this is a collection of their letters. It was a heart breaking read and very hard to fathom. The letters went from a state of frazzle-ment, to desperation where Joseph is the life raft, to The family in Europe keeps referring to Immigration paperwork Joseph was supposed to get them, but most of the mail sent to them never arrived, I kept thinking, wouldn't it be worse to know the papers were sent and may never show up than the papers were still possibly coming. There was also correspondence about a huge sum of money being transferred to a bank in order to get the family out of Poland, but the Bank never got it. The family moves many many times during the correspondence. The brother-in-laws letters were the most heartbreaking, the women tried to stay positive, but the Men were factual on that they had to close down the business, they needed a way out, had Joseph gotten them papers...etc. By the time the paperwork to go to Nicaragua came through, The Nazi's had halted remaining emigration. The last letter informs Joseph of his mother's death and we assume they were deported to a concentration camp afterwards. This was a very powerful way to present these letters, as you begin to know these people a little bit through their writings and all of a sudden everything stops. The worry become palatable even though the readers already know what happened it is like you are with Joseph wondering what is next.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Tribes, We Need You to Lead Us: Seth Godin

This book is meant to inspire people to take the leadership position and shake things up. it talks about how the "heretics" are the leaders making the most positive change. Companies and people who cannot change will be left behind. I was super surprised to learn Wikipedia only has about 12 workers. This book spoke of a lot of different companies and why the work or why they are drying up. The book kept differentiating between two things, a leader and supervisor; it made it very clear one wants and should be a leader. It also spoke of leaders sitting in the cubicle, doing the same work as the workers - leading from within rather than from above. In the past a government job and a factory were the ideal jobs to have because you didn't have to think, you just came in and did what you were told and you didn't have to beg on the streets. In today's world factories do close, companies do go under with regularity and instead of 12 people without a job, a factory worth of 20 thousand are jobless. I liked the quotes "If you are not uncomfortable in your work as a leader, it's almost certain you're not reaching your potential as a leader" (55) "Albert Einstein said "Imagination is more important than knowledge". Leaders create things that didn't exist before." (137) I loved the part about trying to spread the news to mothers in Rwanda the importance of vaccinating their children, but posters weren't working because 70% of the women were liberate, someone thought to change the way they gave out the information and spread it by song. The most important thing in this book was the voice, it was very inspiring and confident, what a great cheerleader.

The Cry of the Halidon: Robert Ludum

This is the second Ludlum book I've read and I am really impressed with the uniqueness and originality of each. In this one a geologist, Alex McAuliff, is hired by the Dunstone company to do a geological survey of Jamaica for two million dollars. He can't understand why he is being paid so much, but then he is approached by the secret service. The service lets him in on a secret, everyone from the last team sent to Jamaica has disappeared. Realizing he is trapped, knowing too much he puts together a team to go. He thinks he has picked these people himself, but no one on the expedition is who they seem. Once in Jamaica he witnesses several "attacks" where people are injured, only they appear later unharmed. He is them kidnapped by the "Halidon" a secret society living deep in the jungles of Jamaica, who operate as a sort of "watch keeper" overthrowing governments and people in other lands to protect the little people without a voice. The team gets out of Jamaica mostly intact and Geologist McAuliff turns into a bodyguard for the head of the Secret Service until Halidon is happy that Jamaica will not fall into the hands of the white man.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

The Irregulars: Jennet Conant

This book told the story of some famous people's unknown lives during WWII, but it was focused on Roald Dahl, best known today for his children's stories. Though the author tried to make the story non biased, Roald was a horrible person. He was a womanizer and played jokes he thought were funny, but were just mean. He broke women's hearts to make himself feel powerful and I finished the book thinking "what a hateful man". I really hope he was a good father because he sounded like a horrid husband once he married. I understand this was written during the "It's a man's world" era, but the book left me bitter. I am just relieved I never liked his books and won't feel differently about them now. Actually come to think of it, I don't think I liked his books due to the tone of mean-ness in them. I was surprised to learn he wrote one of the screen plays for a James Bond Movie. The book also talked about Dahl's friendships with Ian Fleming, The Roosevelts, Lyndon B and lady bird Johnson, and Charles Marsh-Public, known for starting the welfare foundation.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Sucess Built to last; creating a life that matters: Porras, Emery, Thompson

This book was packed full of inspiring quotes; "Many things in life don't last, but meaning does" (pg 33) " The pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity, the optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty" -Abe Lincoln (45) " Do you care more about being loved than being what you love?" " I found that people who are always worried about the next move in the chess game of life never quite get at that move" (121) This book is a real motivator and talks about the need to do work that you love. It rightly claims that most people can't afford that luxury and stay in a job they don't like to pay the bills, but this book exposes the harsh reality that there is always someone who will love that work and if the company needs to lay people off, it will get rid of those who don't have a passion for the work first. I also like that the book pointed out that you can't wait until the perfect opportunity to do what drives you, or wait until you are in the right mood, the time is now. I especially love that it talked about many well known people and their rise to success; Condoleezza Rice, Roberta Jamieson, Steve Jobs, Richard Branson,

Monday, April 11, 2016

The Bancroft Strategy: Robert Ludlum

This was a very long book with a lot of characters that just confused me. A woman, Andrea Bancroft, is a successful banker and is contacted by the "Bancroft foundation" which was charitable foundation of her late father's family. She begins looking into their paperwork and thinks her mother's drunken car accident death is suspicious as well as the money going into poor countries right before their leader is ousted. The leader of the group is the mysterious "Genesis" who starts tracking Andrea for getting into the foundation's secrets. Andrea meets up with a CIA agent who is looking for a friend that is seemingly kidnapped in the Middle East. For a while we think the friend is genesis, but it ends up being Andrea's cousin who is in charge of the foundation. Andrea's teenager cousin ends up saving her life, by stopping his father's obsession with playing God. In the end after the unlce and the rough cia man are shot, and killed Andrea is i charge of the Bancroft foundation and starts making those decisions of killing people off who get in the way of what she feels is right.

Salt and Saffron: Kamila Shamsie

This was an original book about a girl growing up with family lore about "half twins" and how they bring heartache to their family. She is living in a time where her family's traditional values of marrying within your class conflict with what her "half twin" did (marrying the family cook) and her desire to be with a boy who was returning from America just like she did. She tries to determine for herself which is more important in a mate, a good family or ambition. The story of the "Half twins" was that she was born on the same day that an unknown family relative, Mariam Apa, showed up at her parent's home to live with them. In essence they were both brought into the family on the same day. While Aliya untangles the importance of class to herself, she also tries to figure out who Mariam Apa was before she came to them. Mariam never spoke except for single words about food and Aliya begins to think she was hiding an accent. In the end she realizes just knowing the people and loving them is enough, social class, the reason why someone does something, or who they really were do not matter, love is enough.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

The Book of Fate: Brad Metzler

This book follows the life of a president's aid, Wes Holloway. The aid blames himself for inviting another of the president's aids, and his best friend, into the car when the president was attending a Nascar race. The other friend, Ron Boyle is killed by an assassin at the event and Wes's face is permanently injured from a stray bullet. Wes lives the rest of his life with regret and blames himself for his friend's death. The assassination also ruins the president's chance at re-election. Eight years after the event, the former president is giving a speech in Asia when Wes goes back to the dressing rooms and finds a man he believes to be Ron Boyle, but with plastic surgery. Wes chases after him, but the man disappears. He files a report and is then questioned and followed by the FBI once he gets back to the states. Wes starts an investigation of his own and finds someone is using known code names to access files created during the time of their presidency. He then gets a call from Boyle telling him to back down, this isn't his fight and he is putting himself in danger. Wes then begins to realize the innocent crossword puzzles the president used to do actually have codes of meaning in them. The codes were old Mason symbols invented by Thomas Jefferson. Wes believes there was a team of 4 people that were selling intel to the government, they were then going to come up with some bogus info and ask an absorbiant fee so they could all retire on the fraud money. Wes and Boyle find out the 4th person was actually the president's wife. Boyle went into hiding faking his own death because the 3 other people in the plan were recruiting him and he feared for his family's lives. His death was able to keep everyone safe.

Monday, April 4, 2016

The Art of Mending: Elizabeth Berg

This was a tear jerker about family and how you only see them from your point of view. A woman, Laura, goes home for the yearly family get together for the town fair, only this time her Father becomes ill. At first they think something he ate didn't agree with him and they head to the fair, then they find out he had a stroke. During this time the middle sister, Caroline, tells her siblings her childhood was very different from theirs. Their mother was constantly threatening her and ran after her with a knife. She disclosed that she spent time in a hospital while they were off at camp. When they get back to the grandparent's house, Laura is told her Father had died from another stroke while the siblings were meeting. Laura is torn between believing her sister, who has always been dramatic to defending her mother, but then she starts remembering things about her mom that were a little off. At the end of the book, the mother admits to her children that she did have trouble loving Caroline and Carline simply wanted to start fresh and work on their relationship from that day forward.