9/10 Just as good as the first book. Published 2007 Some of it is repeitive but it set's up more back story about certain crimes Pistone could not talk about due to on going mafia trials. Ot also get's into deep detail about the Mafia commison trials & the wars within the famlies for power.
I got this book because I was interested in the background of the trade that sent Gretzky as an Oiler to LA, and while I got that, I also got a lot of confusing rambling and page filler as well.
If you know who Gretzky is and have heard the sweet, naive prodigy, but is Canadian like you story, you may want to skip some pages. There are some interesting chapters about McNall & Pocklington as well and how they got their team (and how LA got one at all) Finally, at about 100 pages in do the gears start moving and the trade is starting to pick up steam. It goes well enough (though I don't think Brunt really needed to include all the text from the press conferences and basically whole articles at some points), but by page 200 it is back again to being jumbled.
From there the events of 1989-the book's printing year is just a blur. In about 50 pages you learn about the 90 Oilers winning the Cup, the 93 Kings (including page filler of Game 7 vs Toronto), a brief mention of Messier & the Rangers in 94, falling out of both McNall & Pocklington, Gretzky's last years, the Olympics (98 to Turin), and a glimpse into PHX. Add to the quickness of these events there is not always a timetable order (at one point you get 1994, then you get back to McNall's 93 collapse).
Because of all this I think some of Brunt's points got lost if there at all. Instead of a few pages of an article someone else wrote and dragging along the first half of the book, the final chapter could have delved more into how the economy and the expansion hurt Canadian teams and how tough it was to sell hockey in the sunbelt. Instead you basically get a quick gist of economy sucked + expansion= no Nords & Jets. Sunbelt teams had economic issues, but couldn't draw fans. End of that story. In the end the book seemed like Brunt wanted to have his cake and eat it too, but ran out of forks before every part of the story could have a slice
Usually I read books quicker than this one, esp hockey books, but this one was a tougher read. This is the first hockey book I almost put down which is really saying something for me. Needless to say, I was not a fan.
The Devil's Dust, by C. B. Forrest: Above average police procedural set in Northern Ontario. This isn't all that different from a lot of good Canadian detective novels, but there are some patches of very fine writing and the ending is something of a surprise though I still haven't figured out whether it is a cheap trick or not. Forrest is not quite in the same class as other Ontario mystery writers such as Howard Engel (Benny Cooperman), Eric Wright (Superintendant Charlie Salter) or Giles Blunt (Detective Cardinal), but close enough.
It's about rare events that have enormous impact on society (market crashes, 9/11, etc). For the most part the author spends his time expressing how much he hates the financial industry and conventional statistics (bell curve). This book had a huge amount of potential but ultimately fell completely flat for me. Normally I can get through a book in a week. This took me 5weeks to plow through.
The Bottom Billion: Why the poorest countries are failing and what can be done about it -- Paul Collier
This book talks about the poorest billion citizens in the world. Why they are the way they are and what can be done to get them to catch up to the rest of civilization.
No Angel: My harrowing undercover journey to the inner circle of the hells angels -- Jay Dobyns and Nils Johnson-Shelton
This book is written from the perspective of Jay Dobyns (nicknamed bird) as he tries to infiltrate the hells angels while hes working for the ATF. It's interesting to see what it's like to be an under cover agent and how much of a toll being under cover can change a person.
In Pursuit of the Unknown: 17 Equations that Changed the World -- Ian Stewart
Reads very much like a Bill Bryson book, however it's a little more in depth. You can't talk about mathematical principles without seeing some equations and proofs. Even if you have no mathematical ability it's still an interesting read.
The Road -- Cormac McCarthy
Pulitzer prize winner about a post apocalyptic earth where a father and son try to survive while staying true to who they were before the earth fell apart. The book is considerably better than the movie.
Why your world is about to get a whole lot smaller -- Jeff Rubin
About peak oil and globalization. It's a number of years old now so you have to take it with a grain of salt.
Gardens of the Moon: Book 1 of The Malazan book of the Fallen series by Steven Erikson.
It took me 3 tries to finish this book. The 1st 200 pages are a tough read because you don't really know what is going on. I got annoyed the 1st 2 times I read it, but the 3rd time was a charm. It was a great book. 8/10. Starting book 2 tonight.
The Devil in the White City, by Erik Larson: A book with two agendas. It is both about the 1893 construction of the World's Fair in Chicago and about a slick serial killer who preyed on victims virtually at its doorstep. The book would have been better if it had been about one or the other, not both. The fair's development sections are often boring as the author seems to be one of those writer's who feels that he needs to use every tiny piece of research that he has discovered. As for the serial killer stuff, I discovered that although psychopaths can be interesting in movies, in print it is a different matter. A little of this **** goes a long way. So promising though this book seemed at the time, I wouldn't recommend it.
Just finished Les Misérables, the unabridged version, by Victor Hugo.
While the story is quite interesting (I had not seen the musical/movie or read any other version before), it feels like only 30% of the body of work is dedicated to the actual story. The remaining pages are filled with (in my opinion) unnecessary rambling tangents that seriously affect the enjoyment of the book.
As an example, a character escapes a difficult situation by entering a Paris sewer. The next seven (!) chapters discuss the history of Paris sewers in the 18th and 19th centuries (which add nothing to veeeerrrry little to the plot) . This type of divergence from the main story is commonplace.
On a related note, I made a list of 100 classics to read and put them in a random generator to choose my next book... it chose War and Peace. From one super long epic to another...
I deride your truth handling abilities
Actually the second time I’ve read this. The Aurora shootings moved me to dust this off and reread it. Simply, one of the best non-fiction books I’ve ever read. It’s an incredibly detailed exploration of the Columbine shootings examining the killers, their victims, the families, the investigation, the media response, the cultural impact, etc. Few stones are left unturned. Many myths about the event and its perpetrators are debunked (a few of which are still prevalent today). It’s sad and chilling and endlessly compelling. I highly recommend it.
The book is extremely short, so it only took me a few hours to read, but it's just good.
-.+++++++++++++.-------.--.+++++++++++++.+.>+.>. NHL Standings Under Different Point Systems
Cloud Atlas, by David Mitchell: Six interconnected stories that begin on a tall ship in the South Pacific seas in the 19th century and progress through a series of stories in different time frames to a very distant post-apocalyptic society, after which we head back in time in reverse order, eventually ending on the sailing ship once again. It's a tour de force, no doubt about that, impressive as hell in terms of its technical achievement, but it left me cold. Mithchell uses language expertly in many different dialects and contexts, but the book isn't really about much of anything and too often a lot of what goes on in the stories feels more like filler to touch base with the connecting bits rather than anything necessary and true. It doesn't help that only a few of its many characters are worth carrying about even a whit. The movie might be interesting, though. If they do it right, it will probably cost a fortune in locations and set design.
Raylan, by Elmore James: James is just about the surest bet in crime fiction. He is the master of low-life scum-of-the-earth bad guys and funny, laconic quick-on-the-draw good guys. Raylan is a federal marshall who has popped up before in Leonard's work, and this time he is chasing down some really dumb peckerwood hillbillies along with a trio of females who are anything but law abiding. His books rely heavily on dialogue and his ability to create vivid characters and plausible situations closely correlated to the intelligence (or lack thereof) of whatever character that he is dealing with at the moment. Here's a typical example of the sort of exchanges that occur with great frequency in his books:
He's written about 40 books and while I wouldn't say this one is top-of-the-line stuff, it's still pretty damn good. He's a very fast read, and I confess that I'm thoroughly hooked on him. He may well be my favourite living US author.
I found a whole bunch of his old western short stories through the Itunes store. I had read some of his western novels, but most of his western shorties were written in the early fifties.
You can really see the early develment of his later tough guy crime and soldier of fortune type characters.
And he is also my favourite living US author as well.
A bunch of reviews from books I've read over the last few months. I'm not very good at providing a synopsis so I just took it all the stuff in quotes from amazon
A Dance with Dragons George RR Martin 7.5/10
In the aftermath of a colossal battle, the future of the Seven Kingdoms hangs in the balance once again--beset by newly emerging threats from every direction. In the east, Daenerys Targaryen, the last scion of House Targaryen, rules with her three dragons as queen of a city built on dust and death. But Daenerys has three times three thousand enemies, and many have set out to find her. Yet, as they gather, one young man embarks upon his own quest for the queen, with an entirely different goal in mind.
To the north lies the mammoth Wall of ice and stone--a structure only as strong as those guarding it. There, Jon Snow, 998th Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, will face his greatest challenge yet. For he has powerful foes not only within the Watch but also beyond, in the land of the creatures of ice.
And from all corners, bitter conflicts soon reignite, intimate betrayals are perpetrated, and a grand cast of outlaws and priests, soldiers and skinchangers, nobles and slaves, will face seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Some will fail, others will grow in the strength of darkness. But in a time of rising restlessness, the tides of destiny and politics will lead inevitably to the greatest dance of all. . . .
The fifth of the series, and I'm sure that those who have read the book have heard/have similar complaints. There just is not enough there for 1000+ pages and years of waiting for this novel. Not enough questions are answered and an eventual conclusion which is 2(?) books away seems like it will be a difficult thing to accomplish considering how Martin writes. That being said, I do enjoy the world he has created and a great number of the characters so I enjoyed the book the whole way through. If you've read the first 4 of the series, you would be doing yourself a disservice not reading the 5th, and the eventual 6th I'm sure whenever it comes.
The White Tiger Aravind Adiga 8/10
The white tiger of this novel is Balram Halwai, a poor Indian villager whose great ambition leads him to the zenith of Indian business culture, the world of the Bangalore entrepreneur. On the occasion of the president of China’s impending trip to Bangalore, Balram writes a letter to him describing his transformation and his experience as driver and servant to a wealthy Indian family, which he thinks exemplifies the contradictions and complications of Indian society.
It's rare that I read a novel where I have actual laugh out loud moments. This was one of those novels. An almost surreal look into India and the differences between upper and lower class people. The protagonist of the novel was outrageously charismatic and it was just really a lot of fun to read.
A Walk Across the Sun Corban Addison 7/10
When a tsunami rages through their coastal town in India, 17-year-old Ahalya Ghai and her 15-year-old sister Sita are left orphaned and homeless. With almost everyone they know suddenly erased from the face of the earth, the girls set out for the convent where they attend school. They are abducted almost immediately and sold to a Mumbai brothel owner, beginning a hellish descent into the bowels of the sex trade.
Halfway across the world, Washington, D.C., attorney Thomas Clarke faces his own personal and professional crisis-and makes the fateful decision to pursue a pro bono sabbatical working in India for an NGO that prosecutes the subcontinent's human traffickers. There, his conscience awakens as he sees firsthand the horrors of the trade in human flesh, and the corrupt judicial system that fosters it. Learning of the fate of Ahalya and Sita, Clarke makes it his personal mission to rescue them, setting the stage for a riveting showdown with an international network of ruthless criminals.
Most certainly a page turner, this heavy drama/thriller tackles the disgusting problem of human trafficking in the world. It is a difficult subject to work with without being too dreary, while also trying to remain realistic. I think for the most part the author does a decent enough job maintaining a strong balance although I do take issue with how the novel ends. Worth the read, but at times feels a little too much like a typical thriller novel.
Swan Song Robert McCammon 8.5/10
Facing down an unprecedented malevolent enemy, the government responds with a nuclear attack. America as it was is gone forever, and now every citizen—from the President of the United States to the homeless on the streets of New York City—will fight for survival.
Swan Song is Robert McCammon’s prescient and “shocking” (John Saul) vision of a post- Apocalyptic nation, a grand epic of terror and, ultimately, renewal.
A massive tome of an apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic novel with underlying supernatural themes and at its roots a story of good vs evil. It's impossible not to compare this book to Stephen King's The Stand. The similarities are vast. The antagonists probably could have been switched out for each other and there wouldn't have really been much of a difference. The Stand is considered by many to be King's masterpiece, but in my books Swan Song holds its own remarkably well. It is prehaps a little more standard in its story telling, but it was incredible compelling and just flies by considering it is nearly 900 pages long.
Blood Meridian Cormac McCarthy 6.5/10
An epic novel of the violence and depravity that attended America's westward expansion, Blood Meridian brilliantly subverts the conventions of the Western novel and the mythology of the "wild west." Based on historical events that took place on the Texas-Mexico border in the 1850s, it traces the fortunes of the Kid, a fourteen-year-old Tennesseean who stumbles into the nightmarish world where Indians are being murdered and the market for their scalps is thriving.
This is my third Cormac McCarthy novel. The first was The Road which holds the distinction of being my favourite novel I have ever read. The second was No Country for Old Men which I honestly thought was a novel which did not match the quality of the movie (one of my favourite movies of all time). So going into this book I had a pretty mixed opinion on Cormac McCarthy. Sadly this one didn't quite do it for me. Honestly it was just a little too difficult to get into. Yes, it was beautifully written (composed maybe is a better way to describe it), but I don't know how many pages of this novel are devoted just to describing the scenery. It was too many 1/2 way through the novel. Certain parts were wonderful and I always had an appreciation for what I was reading, but it never truly grabbed me and for a book that is not that long it certainly seemed to drag on. It is going to be awhile before I can tackle another Cormac McCarthy novel.
A Confederacy of Dunces John Kennedy Toole 6.5/10
A Confederacy of Dunces is an American comic masterpiece. John Kennedy Toole’s hero is one Ignatius J. Reilly, “huge, obese, fractious, fastidious, and a latter-day Gargantua, a Don Quixote of the French Quarter. His story bursts with wholly original character, denizens of New Orleans’ lower depths, incredibly true-to-life dialogue, and the zaniest series of high and low comic adventures” (Henry Kisor, Chicago Sun Times)
I enjoyed this Pulitzer price winning novel. But as time went on as I was reading it I found more and more things I disliked about it. The main one being the protagonist Ignatius. I understand that that is sort of the point, but it is difficult to enjoy something when the main character is just so... loathsome. I also felt that I am perhaps a little too far removed from the times of the novel being written to truly understand some of the humour that was going on. That being said, still a fun read with some really funny moments and characters.
The Exorcist William Peter Blatty 8.5/10
The deceptively simple story focuses on Regan, the 11-year-old daughter of a movie actress residing in Washington, D.C.; the child apparently is possessed by an ancient demon. It's up to a small group of overwhelmed yet determined humans to somehow rescue Regan from this unspeakable fate.
A genuinely scary novel. Perhaps the first one I've read where I was sitting in the dark in bed after and thinking to my self that perhaps it hadn't been a good idea to spend the past 45 minutes reading wondering to myself if that noise is my cat or some creepy possessed little girl crab walking her way through my bedroom. I was surprised at how effective the horror was, as I've never really experienced being scared while reading a book. Definitely worth the read if you are looking for a scare.
Blindness Jose Saramago 6.5/10
A city is hit by an epidemic of "white blindness" which spares no one. Authorities confine the blind to an empty mental hospital, but there the criminal element holds everyone captive, stealing food rations and ****** women. There is one eyewitness to this nightmare who guides seven strangers-among them a boy with no mother, a girl with dark glasses, a dog of tears-through the barren streets, and the procession becomes as uncanny as the surroundings are harrowing.
Sort of like Blood Meridian but replace page after page of descriptions of vast desolate plains with page after page describing human excrement and general filth. Another novel that is not all that long, but just seemed to drag on. It has its strong points and is at times very beautiful, but my god is it dreary and at times painfully dull.
The Prisoner of Heaven Carlos Ruiz Zafón 7.5/10 This synopsis will contain spoilers of the first 2 books although the author points out in the books in this series can be read in any order and encourages the readers to do so
Barcelona, 1957. It is Christmas, and Daniel Sempere and his wife, Bea, have much to celebrate. They have a beautiful new baby son named Julian, and their close friend Fermin Romero de Torres is about to be wed. But their joy is eclipsed when a mysterious stranger visits the Sempere bookshop and threatens to divulge a terrible secret that has been buried for two decades in the city's dark past. His appearance plunges Fermin and Daniel into a dangerous adventure that will take them back to the 1940s and the early days of Franco's dictatorship. The terrifying events of that time launch them on a search for the truth that will put into peril everything they love and ultimately transform their lives.
This is the third novel set in a world by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, the first two (Shadow of the Wind and The Angel's Game I really loved. Both have a completely different feel and are just compelling reads. Prisoner of Heaven is no different. The only reason for a (relatively) low score is that it doesn't quite feel like a complete novel. It is almost a companion piece to the first two in that it greatly fleshes out some of the key characters in the first two books while not necessarily having anything too significant/new taking place. I really enjoyed it but I could not help but wanting to be out twice as long as it was.
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie Alan Bradley 8/10
It is the summer of 1950–and at the once-grand mansion of Buckshaw, young Flavia de Luce, an aspiring chemist with a passion for poison, is intrigued by a series of inexplicable events: A dead bird is found on the doorstep, a postage stamp bizarrely pinned to its beak. Then, hours later, Flavia finds a man lying in the cucumber patch and watches him as he takes his dying breath.
For Flavia, who is both appalled and delighted, life begins in earnest when murder comes to Buckshaw. “I wish I could say I was afraid, but I wasn’t. Quite the contrary. This was by far the most interesting thing that had ever happened to me in my entire life.”
This is the first novel in a series of novels by Alan Bradley which focuses on the young 11 year old protagonist Flavia de Luce. Reminiscent of Harriot the Spy and Nancy Drew this novel differs from its predecessors in that it is very much a novel written for adults that just happens to have an 11 year old detective at its helm. A very fun read that at times: lacks believability (how couldn't it considering the protagonist), and is not particularly original but nevertheless kept me interested the whole way through. I've got the next one lying next to me to ready to start before I head to bed this evening. Looking forward to really getting into it to see if Alan Bradley can keep the series fresh (he has published 4 so far and the 5th and 6th are on the way apparently).
Everyone Loves a Good Train Wreck: Why We Can't Look Away, by Eric G. Wilson: an extended series of ruminations about morbid curiosity: why we find the distress of others often so fascinating, even enthralling. Wilson, a Wake Forest University lit prof, confesses his attraction to the violent, the deadly and the morbid, but comes to some interesting conclusions about why that may not necessarily be a bad thing. He does a good job of looking at these complex reactions to other people's misfortunes from a wide variety of different angles. And he is candid about his own doubts and biases. A very readable and thought-provoking book.
Classic, haven't read it since grade 8. Decided to pick it up again and wasn't disappointed. I recall it taking forever to get through this for school, but I read it in 2hrs.
Area 51: An uncensored history of america's top secret military base
It doesn't really talk about aliens at all, though it does cover roswell in the first chapter and in the final chapter and offers an opinion as to what the "aliens/ufo's" are. Mostly it talks about the different projects that went on there. From the extensive nuclear testing to the development of the U2 and a-12 (what came to be the sr-71 blackbird) spy planes. Very interesting read, it's cool to get an idea of what goes on in places like this; see the huge egos at war with one and other, the disregard for safety, acting without presidential/government approval, etc.
The Checklist Manifesto: how to get things right
This book is about checklists, and how if employed correctly, they can make highly complex jobs operate with greater efficiency and safety. He consults with people who are in similarly complex trades (aircraft pilots and engineers) and creates a simple yet effective method of working within operating rooms that ultimately improve safety, efficiency, and reduce medical costs. His results are pretty impressive and work in all types of hospitals, whether they be the richest hospital in north america or the poorest in africa.
A book that has 6 'independent' stories/times that all seem to be vaguely connected through theme and that each story appears in the following one. The 6 stories follow one after an other in a chronological sense, the sixth story being the middle/pivot point to the book. Then the stories pick up again heading backwards chronologically.
Everyone Loves a Good Trainwreck: Why We Can't Look Away
A book about morbid curiosity. I suppose since I can be quite morbidly curious I figured this book would offer a little insight into that, which it did. I just felt the book didn't really say anything that wasn't already obvious.
Guns, Germs, and Steel
About the propagation of humanity from its origins in africa. Basically it tries to show why (and how) did certain parts of the world develop guns, germs, and steel and why other places seemed to lag so far behind.
The Internet is a Playground
A collection of internet correspondence between the author and various persons he meets in life, all of which involve him 'trolling' the other person(s). As well, there are a collection or random stories and other stuff I can't even remember. Picked this up on a whim, definitely wouldn't mind getting my money back. Even though some of his correspondence are funny, the one funny entry out of twenty in this book doesn't make it worth it.
The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat
A collection of neuropsychological studies, ranging from a man who can't recognize faces, to a person who is 'blind' to their body (can't control themselves without looking and concentrating intensely), to people who have extreme memory loss/amnesia. The book is absolutely enthralling during the first half to two thirds, then trails off a bit at the end.
Shake Hands with the Devil: the failure of humanity in rwanda
The story of Romeo Dallaire as he is placed in charge of a humanitarian effort in rwanda. He was sent in to help a new government get installed that would hopefully bring peace and balance back to a torn country. The country is racially divided between the hutu and tutsi peoples which had on going civil problems. During his time in rwanda he was unfortunate to witness one of the worst displays of lack of humanity ever. The hutu slaughter of the tutsi people. He essentially had to sit back and watch while one group of persons killed ~800,000 people in 100 days. For the most part the book covers his day to day actions during that period. Which was mostly him talking to various rwandan leaders, foreign leaders, and the UN. All of which didn't seem to want to do anything to cull the mayhem.
Shop Class as Soulcraft
A book on the philosophy of manual work and how it can be amazingly rewarding, engaging, and satisfying. Contrasted against that of the white collar world.
A book that talks about the different ways that cadavers are used. If you plan on donating your body to science, this will let you know how you're corpse will be used. Most people probably think their organs will be harvested and put to good use saving lives. But for the most part that is not the case. You might end up as plastic surgery practice, crash test dummy experiments, decomposition analysis, etc.
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
I don't know what to say about this book. I really enjoyed the bits that covered the motorcycle journey with his son and friends. But the philosophical bits were well above my head. I definitely need to give this an other shot when I'm more comfortable reading intense (for me) philosophy.
The World Without Us
A thought experiment that investigates what would happen to our world if we just disappeared. How would our cities last without our constant maintenance, how would nature reclaim what we had taken. Talks about the nature of the earth before we became what were are, and whether or not the earth would revert back to those times.
Only about one third of the way through, but I'm thoroughly enjoying it.
Beat the Reaper by Josh Bazzil. ****ing EPIC, 10 out of 10.
Rumor has it that decaprio is going to produce/star in this?! Should be a great action movie but oh God-- tiny little pretty boy Decaprio playing the role of Bearclaw?! HUGE miscast. They need a big rugged looking dude to play that role.
Last edited by Play4Miracles*: 08-31-2012 at 05:35 AM.
Made it through War and Peace. I'm not sure what I expected beforehand, but I wasn't particularly thrilled by the story. The philosophical rambling in the second epilogue was, in my eyes, a poor end to the work, as well. I also didn't like Tolstoy's imagining of the female characters. A disappointing 5.5/10.
Next up is Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisited. To my great surprise, Waugh is not a female.