drneutron's 2009 books, part 3
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One of your faithful followers here. I am currently slogging through a D.H. Lawrence, trying to make it through a 100 best list finally this year. But I have this feeling I'm gonna chuck the list for a couple of months after this one and get started a little early on the Halloween reading this year. Many of the books you've been reading lately have been enticing me away fromt he classics.
#2 BDB, my sympathies with the D. H. Lawrence!
Paul Collins has written a delightful little book on the history of the First Folio of Shakespeare's plays published shortly after his death. It's pretty interesting to see how many of these books survived, and the sometimes intricate paths they've traveled. Along the way, he introduces us to the people who have purchased, collected, studied and preserved these books over the centuries - and an interesting bunch they are!
Don't read this book expecting a scholarly history. That's a good thing for people like me who are vaguely familiar with the folios and want to hear more. The Book of William is a good introduction to the subject for non-experts and Collins put together a bibliography for those who want to read more.
Its very light and very funny, really highlighting how little we actually know about him!
I've added The Book of William and Shakespeare: The World as Stage to my wish list.
I usually read something by or about Shakespeare every year. Last year I read Will in the World by Stephen Greenblatt which I found very entertaining both as history and as a "romp" through many of Shakespeare's plays. This week I read The Tempest in preparation for reading A Brave Vessel: The True Tale of the Castaways Who Rescued Jamestown and Inspired Shakespeare's The Tempest. That one will cover two categories--Shakespeare and American history. :-)
I'm trying to clear my decks to be ready for the October reading. When I get home I'm ordering Wood Wife--it sounds like a book I would like to own and my library doesn't have it.
I gotta feed the imagination with a little more of that stuff this year. Especially after the Lawrence. He's not turning out to be a writer I enjoy that much.
So, stay tuned this weekend and I'll kick us off. This way, even though we are starting a little early, we have room to add more titles if we run out! One I am thinking of adding, though, is one you've already read I believe, The Strain.
I think I'll take a look at The Book of William: How Shakespeare's First Folio Conquered the World, too. Thanks!
As promised, Tales of Mystery and Horror Halloween Thread. So, come give me a little input about the order of reading, if you want. The list is posted on the first message.
Everyone is welcome. If you know someone else who is interested, pass along the link.
Looking forward to this.
Congrats on reaching 75 - your interesting list has provided great suggestions.
Even though it's written as a response to Edward Said's Orientalism, Robert Irwin's Dangerous Knowledge is a good introduction to the history of Orientalism through the centuries - and especially, an introduction to the fascinating characters that have populated the field from its informal inception in Medieval travel writings to the more formal establishment as a field of study in the last couple of centuries. I'm not very familiar with Arabic studies or Orientalism in general, but thoroughly enjoyed the history and personal sketches. The final chapters on Said and other critics of Orientalism were well done so that a novice (I'm definitely one!) could easily get a sense of the controversy and the ongoing discussion. All-in-all, an interesting read.
It turns out I couldn't find a biography of William Henry Harrison for this month's US Presidents Challenge. I mean, he was only in office for a month before he died, so how much could there be to write about? So now I've got a dilemma - skip this President or not...I waffled a bit, looked him up on Wikipedia and few other websites, then came across Hail to the Chiefs.
Barbara Holland has collected stories of each President through Reagan and put them together in a very funny, very wry set of vignettes. It's light and fluffy, but eas just the thing for an airplane ride!
This one's been sitting on my to-read shelf since the Mid-Atlantic Green Dragon meetup this summer. I threw this one in the briefcase as a backup book for a business trip I've been on most of this week, and I'm glad I did. It nicely filled a couple of airplane rides today on my way back from New Mexico.
I'm a sucker for anything with zombies. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies inserts them into one of Jane Austin's most well-known classics. It shouldn't work, but it does. Yeah, the story lags a bit in the middle, but that's ok. It's zombies, for cryin' out loud!
I spend a bit of time with Poe today as part of the Halloween thread. In fairness, I didn't read all the stories, just a large selection of his best. I'm still a big fan of The Cask of Amontillado and Mask of the Red Death...clearly my favorites.
They are hosting viewings of "his" body at Poe house on October 7th or 8th, and on the 11th they are holding a funeral in his honor. They are taking the body from Poe House to the cemetery by horse-drawn carriage and have a number of speakers scheduled. John Astin - who played the original Gomez and occasionally works as a Poe impersonator - teaches at Johns Hopkins and frequently attends Poe events. I *believe* he is giving the eulogy.
It is going to be an amazing event! Sorry, just wanted to share. ;)
Finished this one up from blackdogbooks' October reading list. It's a great morality tale - all about the decay of a New England family brought on by the sins of the patriarch, how those original events are mirrored in a subsequent generation, and how atonement for those sins restores the family. There's ghosts, mesmerism, hidden property deeds and a creepy old house. Nice choice for a Halloween read!
>30 drneutron: that's on my list but I'm going to have to read it online -- gack.
A friend lent me The Last Hawk a bit ago, one of the Skolian Empire novels. It's been a while since I read any of them, so I thought I'd read the series again - this time in chronological order. Skyfall is the first in this series list.
Asaro has envisioned a pretty interesting history/future in this series. Several thousand years ago, aliens moved some humans off Earth to another planet and started messing with their DNA. Eventually, a few of these developed telepathic abilities, and a high-technology, interstellar civilization was developed. This fell, and now after some time, a second civilization has developed. Two factions - the Skolian Empire and the Traders - compete for resources and power, and an Earth-based alliance has now joined the mix. This series is mainly about the Skolia family as they lead their faction.
In Skyfall, the first chronologically, Asaro tells of Roca (daughter of the leader of the empire) and Eldrinson (leader of a civilization that never re-developed technology), how they met and fell in love, and how that led to a major shift in the power balance in the Skolia family. There's romance, action, and politics on a grand scale. Asaro's a physicist, so the extrapolations are reasonable and seem realistic. Well done stuff!
David can see better than most - so well that he always gets the last line on the eye chart and he was the first to spot the school bus coming down the road when he was a kid. So when he saw something in the slumber room at the mortuary where he works, it clearly wasn't a problem with his eyes. If not, though, what was it? Alan Lightman's Ghost is about what happens when David, in trying to get a grip on the experience, confides in a few people and word gets out that he's seen a ghost. What results is an interesting story of life and death and how people resolve the fundamental question of our existence - what happens after we die?
Ghost is partly a commentary on the science vs supernatural debate, and is moderately interesting. It's more interesting when Lightman is concentrating on character. Ghost is populated with fascinating people, deeply realized.
Ghost isn't perfect. The plot meanders pretty widely at the end, and I'm not a fan of present-tense perspective. But it's a quick, thought-provoking read that I'll recommend to friends.
Edited to fix an error in my last paragraph...
Not sure how I'll like that, either.
*She walks to the bookshelf, pulls the book off the shelf, opens it to a random page, and studies it intently for a moment, gasping in horror . . .* :)
Another book on blackdogbooks' Halloween reading list - and if all the others were stinkers (which they're not!) this one alone would make the effort worthwhile. Yeah, I loved this book, enough that I think it's the only five-star rating of the year for me. I loved the way the narration gets passed around among the characters and the ambiguity of listening to these various people tell the story from their point of view (and in their own self-interest). The plot kept me going all the way to the end and Collins certainly has a way with words. It's no wonder to me that this book hasn't been out of print since the 1860s!
Before picking up John Tyler: The Accidental President, I didn't know much about Tyler - after all, he's generally considered a less than spectacular President and his main claim to fame is being the first Vice President to take over after the death of a President. Well, that and being the only "traitor President" given his involvement with the Confederacy later in life. After reading it, I still don't know all the much about Tyler. Instead of giving us a sense of the man, Crapol chose to present the development of the major political issues and how Tyler responded to them. That's fine, but the discussion of a chapter per issue really missed the interconnections between the issues and became really repetitive. For instance, Crapol attempted to make similar points about Tyler's actions in say, the annexation of Texas just after addressing the same points in discussing relations with Hawaii. These two issues developed simultaneously, and a different presentation of events and Tyler's actions may well have resulted in a deeper understanding of the man.
I'll give Crapol this: he genuinely wants to give Tyler credit where it's due. I hadn't realized that he was so heavily involved in the opening of Asia and the expansion of US influence in the Pacific. I also didn't realize how much he was driven by preservation of the Union over the issue of slavery - as much as previous, more highly regarded Presidents such as Madison. And yet, he remained a slave owner and when the time came, supported the secession of VIrginia from the Union.
Honestly, part of the problem with Crapol's book may be the subject. I get the feeling that there's just not that much of Tyler worth writing about. Yes, he led the country, but that doesn't mean he was that difficult to understand or that there was much beyond what's presented here. He strikes me as a politician mostly concerned about preserving his way of life as a Southern gentleman farmer and his reputation in history. It may simply be that Tyler was no Lincoln and Crapol ran out of things to say about him. I suspect that I need to get another biography to find out.
Finally picked up the latest in the Kinsey Milhone (well, ok, until "U" comes out). Frankly, I thought the series has been lagging since about "P", but this one is more like the early books. It's also a bit darker and more disturbing than most of the series. Did I enjoy it? Yeah, but I'm not sure I'd read it again. Maybe abuse of the elderly, the main plot in Trespass, hits a little too close to home since we're on the verge of having to take care of elderly parents.
When Molly is kidnapped, her mother asks Ellie Foreman, a video producer who's dealt with her fair share of mysteries, and Georgia Davis, a PI, to find her. They barely start the case when Molly is returned and the mother dies in a car accident under mysterious circumstances. Then there's the matter of $3 million missing from the bank where Molly's mother worked...Naturally, Ellie and Georgia have to find out what's going on.
Doubleback is a decent, but not stellar, mystery. It's overly complicated, to the point of crossing well into the realm of implausible, and not very suspenseful at all. I didn't connect with the characters - Ellie seems like a clueless mom with no business doing investigative work and Georgia was hostile for reasons I couldn't figure out. On the other hand, the book made an acceptably entertaining diversion while flying across country.
Jack's one of my favorite characters. He's heroic but human, principled but practical. If you haven't met Jack, let me introduce you. He's a fixer - in fact, he goes by Repairman Jack - who's off the grid. He's got a way with fixing problems no one else can solve using a mix of trickery and violence and justice. But he's also at the center of a conflict between ancient adversaries from outside our existence.
Wilson's winding up the series with two more books after this one, so Ground Zero focuses on the grand plot line rather than the individual fix. He's been building to this for a while in the series, so that should be no surprise. I recommend these pretty much every chance I get, but start at the beginning to get the full effect!
Fear is one of those mind-twisting kinds of books I like so much. Here, L. Ron Hubbard tells us the story of a college professor's decent in to hell after writing an article decrying the belief in supernatural evil. It turns out that his article brought him to the attention of some evil beings who want to teach him differently. This is not, of course, a comfortable experience.
Hubbard's not one of my favorite writers, but Fear is quite good. His characters are interesting, and I really like the imagery he uses when he's leading us through the more surreal experiences. And his ending really stops the reader short and makes the whole book suddenly twist into something larger.
I noticed it was listed as book 13 in the Repairman Jack series but also book 18 in the Secret History of the World series. If we want to start the series which one should we start with?
Having said all that, it's possible to just read the Repairman Jack books starting with The Tomb or Legacies and follow the story just fine. In the spirit of full disclosure, that's what I did... Wilson introduces the Secret History elements fairly slowly into Jack's story, so the disclosures don't make it seem like the reader has jumped into the middle of things.
Wikipedia has a pretty good set of pages on all this, but spoilers abound...
Koontz can be flowery, overly verbose, even turgid at times. But man, can he plot! What starts as a run-of-the-mill mystery/suspense story very quickly smacks the reader right between the eyes and keeps getting better and better. I loved the characters, especially Fric, and thought the ending of the story was magnificent. If Koontz had toned down the prose a bit this would have been top-notch. As it is, it's still worth the time spent - which won't be much since it's hard to put down!
Urban explorers, informally known as "creepers", like to explore abandoned structures - buildings, subway tunnels, unused infrastructure. Now suppose a group of creepers broke into a hotel run by a reclusive Howard Hughes-esque figure that has been untouched for more than a decade. And imagine that this group finds more violence and terror than they could have imagined in this place. That's David Morrell's premise here.
Creepers is a good, but not great horror story. It's also a good, but not great thriller. Morrell certainly knows how to write an entertaining book. It kept my attention - read most of it in one sitting. If only the plot hadn't felt so contrived, this could have been a great one.
Worth the time as a Halloween read, but not spectacular.
What would you do if you came home and found your "Uncles" - a group of men who have supported you and your mother all your life - have murdered your mother and are now looking for you? When it happens to Jazz, she runs, and eventually finds safety of a sort hidden in the London Underground. But the Uncles are still looking for Jazz, and eventually she's going to have to come our of hiding.
In Mind the Gap, Golden and Lebbon have imagined a London where magic still exists and the memories of days gone by are found as ghosts in the tunnels and abandoned railways of the Underground. It's a dark little fantasy that pulls the reader into the hidden things behind our commonplace world. The book drags in the middle just a hair, but other than that, it's quite entertaining. The (loosely coupled) sequel is set in post-Katrina New Orleans, so I'm looking forward to see how that one is!
The third in the Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica, The Indigo King tells of the further adventures of the Caretakers John, Jack and Charles as they deal with some major meddling in the timeline. Once again, Owen has blended real events in the lives of those represented by the Caretakers with an imagined history and a dose of allusions to great fantasy and mythic stories. This series is one of the best in recent memory for me - I highly recommend it, especially to fans of classic sf and fantasy literature.
Die Trying is the second in Child's Jack Reacher series. As with the first, it's a violent thriller with nonstop action and a plot that just keeps going. In this one, Jack is taken hostage entirely by mistake along with the intended victim - a rookie FBI agent who also happens to be the daughter of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the US military. And given that it's Jack Reacher we're reading about, that mistake proves to be fatal for the bad guys. The unfolding of the story's most of the fun, so I won't give any details. I will say that it's no wonder to me that the Reacher books are so popular - this is entertaining stuff!
James K. Polk is one of those US Presidents that usually ranks higher than people expect on the lists of Presidents. Many know next to nothing about him, and yet he is generally recognized as one of the more effective Presidents in history. Borneman's biography is an excellent way to learn about the man, the issues he faced, and his political life.
And the list grows . . .
This is appropos of nothing in the last few posts, other than you being my vampire and werewolf pal.
Also, I think you read the Charlie Huston vampire books, right? I read the first in one of his other series. I quite liked the hardboiled style he writes with. I assume the vampire books have the same style?
I haven't read the Twilight series, but I did watch the first movie when it came out on DVD with the wife. She talked me into reading The Host and I have to say that it wasn't bad. Not stellar literature, but an interesting take on the alien theme.
Escapement has such potential. Jay Lake's imagining of a world embedded in a clockwork universe is at times stunning. His characters can be moving and his endings are wonderful. Unfortunately, the execution just doesn't live up to the potential here. Both Escapement and the previous Mainspring start and end well, but take a long time to get through the middle - way more than it should. Much of the time, Escapement seems to have characters moving without purpose across the world, and it seriously drags down the story. There's no reason these books couldn't be tighter so the dramatic tension stays high and the reader stays with the story. Will I try a third if Lake continues? At this point, I'm leaning to no.
More political than mysterious, Water Touching Stone is Eliot Pattison's second in the Inspector Shan series. In this one, Shan is asked by the Tibetan lamas to investigate the murder of orphans in the Kazakh region. The story is a decent police procedure with a distinctly Asian flavor, but what's so good about the series is the greater context. Here, the mystery is embedded in the breakup of Kazakh clans through enforced "modernization" by the Chinese government. At times, the story is heartbreaking. Well worth reading!
Early European history is a hobby of mine, and the period from 9000 BCE to about 1000 BCE is one of my favorite periods to learn about. Cunliffe's Europe Between The Oceans offers a good introduction to Europe and the Mediterranean regions of Africa and Asia Minor, not so much in the historical sense of studying individuals and particular events, but on a grander scale. The role of geography and climate, the mass movements of people and goods, and adaptations of cultures as they learned from others are the themes here. I especially liked the many maps showing pretty much every aspect of Cunliffe's discussion, especially distribution of archaeological finds, etc.
So what did I get out of this? First, that Europe was much more connected earlier than I thought. The record clearly indicates that people traveled and that goods were traded from the very start and that this flow affected nearly every culture and group. Also, people seem to have many of the same motivators today that they had then - exploration, prestige and influence over others, the desire to improve their situation for example. and how population and food production drove much of the push into new territories and much of the technological innovation.
All in all, this is a pretty good book. It's at what I consider an introductory level - which means that it's well outside my areas of expertise and I was still able to follow just fine. I did get a little mixed up with the dating terminology and some of the cultural names, but Cunliffe was able to keep me straight. I'd recommend it to anyone wanting to get a sense of the state of the art in European archaeological thinking.
As with the previous three Simon Serrailler books, the mystery isn't really the point. Instead, these books are about the characters - including Lafferton itself. I've thoroughly enjoyed getting to know this place and these people that Susan Hill has invented.
In The Vows of Silence, Simon is leading the search for the killer of young women while also preparing for a big county fair and a wedding to be attended by royals at the local cathedral. Wrapped up with this are issues with his family that are distracting him pretty badly. Will he get the killer before more women die?
Recommended, but start with the first to really get to know these books.
I am adding the Barry Cunliffe book to the BlackHole, BTW. Thanks for the recommendation.
And the Simon Serrailler books sounds great too. Thanks for your latest review!
Thanks for welcoming me to the group;)
In 1984, Ghostbusters, written by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis, was released. It became one of the biggest movie earners ever. What most don't know, though, is that the idea for the script grew out of the Aykroyd family's long history with spiritualism and psychic phenomena. Now Dan's father, Peter Aykroyd, has published A History of Ghosts, interweaving a brief history of spiritualism with his own family's personal experiences beginning with Dr. Samuel Aykroyd, Peter's grandfather.
Dr A, as he's called throughout the book, spent many years hosting seances and other spiritualist events in his home, financially supported a local medium, and conducted attempts at scientific study of spiritualist and what are now known as psychic phenomena. Peter's father, and later Peter himself, were raised in this environment and got a first-hand look at a fascinating period in the history of religious and spiritual experience. When cleaning out the old farmhouse on the family property, Peter came across Dr A.'s journals, which formed the basis for this book.
A History of Ghosts is interesting as family history. It's clear that Dr A. was quite an individual with a scientific bent yet a desire to believe in something more. Interwoven with more personal family stories is a brief introduction to spiritualism and many of the major mediums and investigators through the early 20th century until more modern times. It's almost as if there were two books here, one a family memoir and the other a mediocre history.
Aykroyd clearly and openly believes in spiritualism and its conclusion on life after death and communication with those who have died. And he's also pretty trusting when it comes to evaluating the reality of phenomena he studies. Time and again he gives favorable attention to a medium or psychic, only to relate how this person was caught cheating. In fairness, he's not trying to play down the fraudulent aspects of spiritualists or how researchers over the years were fooled. And yet he still believes that many of these with supposed abilities did indeed start with honest abilities and turned to trickery as society demanded more and more from them or as they found they could seriously profit from their hoaxes. And even when he's describing a current-day reading from a medium, he glosses over the obvious cold reading going on and finds a hint of meaning in the words of the psychic. While he is pretty trusting about all this, I didn't get the sense that he was trying to hide material critical to those he's discussing. This isn't some schlock book about Atlantis or anything like that. He has honest intentions, but is a believer and comes at his subject from that angle.
Is the book worth reading? Yes, if nothing else than for the personal history involved. As far as the broader discussion, it's at a level present in books like Mary Roach's Spook. As long as one factors in the personal bias toward belief, it's a pretty interesting discussion.
The Begariad is one of those classics of fantasy I read back when I was young. Lately, Del Ray has published the five books in the series as a two-volume set. This one's the first three - Pawn of Prophecy, Queen of Sorcery, and Magician's Gambit.
It turns out the books have held up reasonably well. Are they classic literature? No. But Eddings does explore some interesting ideas like what happens if two competing prophecies are attempting to control events. While there may some nostalgia involved in my opinion, I think every fantasy reader ought to check 'em out. Besides, it's perfect for reading on the treadmill!
I've been a fan of Wellington's Laura Caxton vampire books since the beginning, mostly because they're a great way to get back to stories about vampires as evil monsters rather than humans with superpowers. The latest is no different - lots of violence, lots of suspense.
23 Hours is somewhat flawed though. It's hard for me to imagine why Wellington decided to make it a written version of the old women-in-prison exploitation movie. I mean, you can tick the stereotypes off on your fingers as you go - and it doesn't help us get past the stereotypes that he's overplayed Caxton's sexual orientation in the whole series. Despite this, and maybe this comment is a tribute to his ability, the book mostly works and the twist at the end makes the book.
#124: I own the first 3 books in that series. I hope (again) to get to them next year.
I did try to get into his final series, but... *shudder* I barely finished the first book. Quite unfortunate to go out that way... ah well.
Jenny White has created a pretty memorable character in Kamil Pasha, the hero of The Winter Thief. He's a magistrate in the service of the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire in the late 19th century charged with finding who's trying to import illegal weapons, while also investigating a robbery at a very important bank. The solution to these mysteries leads him into the Turk-Armenian conflict and the sphere of socialists who might be trying to overthrow the Empire for a Marxist state.
The Winter Thief is a decent police procedural, but even better, it's a wonderful look into the political stew that was the Ottoman Empire. White shows scenes of privilege and want, of power seekers and idealist who want to change the world by violent means, if necessary. It's a fascinating place and time.
This is the third book in the series, however, The Winter Thief easily stands alone just fine. I'll definitely be looking for the first two, though!
Zachary Taylor isn't usually considered one of the most effective US Presidents. But as John Eisenhower points out in his biography of Taylor, greatness requires interesting times, and there just wasn't all that much interesting happening during Taylor's short presidency. And yet, Eisenhower manages to make Taylor interesting - both as a person and a President.
Taylor lived two lives - one as a Southern gentleman farmer and slave owner and the other as a career military man where he became a national hero in the Mexican-American war. As President, his main concern was in bringing the territory won from Mexico into the US without upsetting the balance between the regional factions threatening to pull apart the Union. Unfortunately, Taylor died of an unknown gastro-intestinal disease before these issues were resolved.
Eisenhower's Zachary Taylor is a well-written, highly recommended biography of a surprisingly interesting man.
The Brutal Telling, and the Three Pines series as a whole, are very popular. Lots of readers like the characters and setting, especially. I tried to like this book. I wanted to liked this book. At first blush, it reminded me of Susan Hill's Simon Serailler series - a police procedural set in a small (in this case, English) town with lots of great atmosphere and characters. Unfortunately, I couldn't make it work for me.
My biggest problem with the book? Penny tries to portray characters with depth, but they just come across to me as maudlin. Also, it's inconceivable to me that someone who's supposed to be the best homicide investigator in all of Canada would do things like attend dinner parties with the primary suspects, even if Penny explains this by off-hand comments like one gets more information from parties than from interrogations. Meh. This isn't how I see police investigations going.
Given that The Brutal Telling is so popular, there must be something there people find attractive. I'll chalk this one up as one that just didn't work for me and recommend that if it piques your interest, check it out. You might be better suited for it than me.
I'm a fan of horror, fantasy, weird tales, steampunk - especially the classics in these genres. It's nearly impossible to find a good book that's more than one of these, but The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray has all and more! I loved the mixture of early 20th century London, supernatural creatures invading our world, secret societies and hidden conspiracies.
The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray is easily one of the best books I've read this year. Chris Wooding has a way with horror that harkens back to the good old days when writers scared you through innuendo and careful imagery, not by splattering gore. This is the way scary should be done!
I've decided I need to start tagging where I heard about various books. I think somebody on LT recommended this one and for the life of me, I can't remember who. Thanks bunches, whoever you are!
OK that's one to be tagged - wishlist, LT, drneutron
BTW your author touchstone is a bit wonky;)
Not only did I add The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray to the tbr pile, but I gave your excellent review a thumbs up!
All good wishes for a great holiday!
Third in the Jack Reacher series, Tripwire is good, but not as good as the previous two. I'm not really sure why, but I thought this was more of an average thriller than Child's earlier ones. Still, it nicely filled a few hours while I was waiting to be called for jury duty!
The Men Who Stare at Goats was not the book I expected it to be. It's billed as a humorous look at research into parapsychology and remote viewing by Army intelligence, and for the first half, it is. It turns out that after Vietnam, a few officers influenced by the human potential and New Age movements in California attempted to bring these ideas into the Army - resulting in the creation of the "First Earth Battalion" manual, a description of a new army where opponents are psychically manipulated into surrender and no weapons are needed. Some results - a general that repeatedly tries and repeatedly fails to walk through walls, remote viewers spying on the Loch Ness Monster, and the attempt to create real Jedi warriors that can kill goats by staring at them.
But just like Star Wars, there's a dark side to the Force. About halfway through the book, Ronson digs into the movement away from peaceful research into things like acoustic weaponry used to break prisoners and shows how these ideas were implemented in the Noriega arrest, Abu Ghraib prison and Guantanamo Bay. This is not funny stuff. The Psychological Operations folks treated these situations as laboratories to put into actual experiment all the wild ideas they've been thinking about all these years - leading to the abuses we've been reading about in the papers over the years. The Men Who Stare at Goats is a good book, make no mistake. It's just not quite what it's advertised to be.
Speaking of my son, he still has my copy of Under the Dome. Maybe I should just go buy another one.
Belated Happy Christmas and early Happy New Year!
Bah. These guys took a great story about the survival of a 10th century copy of works by Archimedes and turned it into a middle school science book. The scientist who can write for a more general audience is indeed a rare thing. Carl Sagan, where are you when we need you?!
Fortunately I've got time to squeeze in the next Jack Reacher book, Running Blind by the end of the year to end on a good note!
I've been vaguely tempted to read Eureka Man for another perspective, but I have a feeling there won't be anything new there.
Here's hoping life cooperates in 2010!
Congratulations on exceeding your reading total over last year's count.
Happy New Year and I'm looking forward to your reads in 2010.
Boston Noir is definitely on my list. let me know how it is...