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Thread: Books We Read/Listen To

  1. #391
    Quote Originally Posted by concerned View Post
    I will have to watch that on the treadmill. I love Claire Foy; she was terrific as Anne Boylen and QEII
    Is that Jim Boylen's wife or daughter?

  2. #392
    Quote Originally Posted by UBlender View Post
    Is that Jim Boylen's wife or daughter?
    Second wife. She was beheaded because the ball didn't go in the hoop.

  3. #393
    The Man Who Save the Union: Ulysses S. Grant in War and Peace by H. W. Brands

    As commanding general in the Civil War he had defeated secession and destroyed slavery, secession's cause. For all the honor paid Robert E. Lee for brilliance and daring, it was Grant who had the harder task in their epic struggle. Grant fought in enemy territory against an army that typically stood behind developed defenses; Grant had to win while Lee had merely to avoid losing. Attackers almost always suffer greater casualties than defenders, but Grant's casualties, as a portion of his army, were lower than Lee's. His mistakes were few and never decisive. And in the reckoning that overrode all others, he came out on top: he won the war.

    Grant's presidency is largely remember now for scandals which he was never implicated in. Forgotten is his role in post-war reconstruction, in enforcing civil rights for African-Americans. Grant also offered American Indians a distinct peace policy from that of the aggressive exploitation favored by his predecessors and most of his contemporaries. Native Americans, like the African Americans, could not claim lasting success for Grant's endeavors on their behalf for his struggle for minority rights against majority hostility or indifference was a battle he couldn't win. Nonetheless, he waged a good and honorable fight.

    This is an excellent biography.

    --

    Betty Zane by Zane Grey

    Before Louis L'Amour, Zane Grey was known as the master of the western novel, yet his first book was a historical novel rather than a western. The book's principle character, Betty Zane, also happened to be Grey's great-great-grandmother. The novel takes place at Fort Henry, near present day Wheeling, West Virginia, during the final years of the American Revolution. Trouble is brewing with the Indians which culminates in a siege of Fort Henry. With the defenders running short of food and ammunition, Betty volunteers to fetch some gunpowder from a cache outside of the fort, which requires her to sprint under the guns of the enemy in broad daylight.

    Excellent

    --

    The Great Depression: America, 1929-1941 by Robert S. McElvaine

    An excellent, detailed analysis of the Depression, its causes, its remedies, the American culture as influenced by the Depression and of the two presidents tasked with dealing with it. The Depression would lead to a major cultural shift in the United States, one that would last until the Reagan Revolution of the 1980s.

    I first read this book back in the late 1990s. I think I understood and comprehended more in this second reading. Fantastic.


    "It'd be nice to please everyone but I thought it would be more interesting to have a point of view." -- Oscar Levant

  4. #394
    Quote Originally Posted by OrangeUte View Post
    Here is a neat and tidy list of all the books we have read in my men's book society here in Northern California...

    1. Gilead by Marilyn Robinson http://www.amazon.com/Gilead-Novel-M...eywords=gilead
    2. The River of Doubt by Candace Millard http://www.amazon.com/River-Doubt-Th...river+of+doubt
    3. East of Eden by John Steinbeck http://www.amazon.com/East-Penguin-T...s=east+of+eden
    4. The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay http://www.amazon.com/Power-One-Nove...s=power+of+one
    5. The Razor's Edge by M. Somerset Maugham http://www.amazon.com/Razors-Edge-W-...razor%27s+edge
    6. Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl http://www.amazon.com/Mans-Search-Me...ch+for+meaning
    7. Tenth of December by George Saunders http://www.amazon.com/Tenth-December...th+of+December
    8. Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner http://www.amazon.com/Angle-Repose-W...ngle+of+repose
    9. A River Runs Through It And Other Stories by Norman MacLean for the 9th book. http://www.amazon.com/River-Through-...uns+through+it
    10. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, http://www.amazon.com/Fahrenheit-451...fahrenheit+451
    11. The Complete Stories by Flannery O'Connor, https://www.amazon.com/Complete-Stor...ery+o%27connor
    12. Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk, Ben Fountain. https://www.amazon.com/Billy-Lynns-L...+halftime+walk
    13. Station Eleven, Emily St. John Mandel, Station Eleven https://www.amazon.com/dp/0804172447..._zelaybTRXWZ18
    14. All The Kings Men, Robert Warren Penn. After this election I am really looking forward to reading this book. https://www.amazon.com/dp/0156012952..._siviybXMSDYAK
    15. The Old Man And The Sea. Ernest Hemingway. https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/06848...vdL&ref=plSrch
    16. A Gentleman in Moscow, Amor Towles, https://www.amazon.com/Gentleman-Mos...eman+in+Moscow
    17. The Brothers Karmamazov, Fyodor Dostoevsky, https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/03..._st_dp_summary The Richard Peaver/ Larissa Volokhonsky translation. Looking very much forward to this one.
    18. Underground Airlines, Ben Winters, https://www.amazon.com/Underground-A...round+airlines
    19. Miss Jane, Brad Watson, https://www.amazon.com/Miss-Jane-Nov...ords=miss+jane

    And the next book is

    20. The Frontiersmen, Allan Eckert, https://www.amazon.com/Frontiersmen-...e+frontiersmen
    The Frontiersmen was great.

    we are discussing our 21st book tonight:

    21. The Magician of Lublin, Isaac Bashevis Singer, https://www.amazon.com/Magician-Lubl.../dp/0374532540

  5. #395
    I listened to Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward. It won the National Book Award this year. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/...-unburied-sing

    It took me a while to get into it, and it never really grabbed me like some books do. But I find that a few weeks later, it comes back to my memory move vividly than most other books do. Reading might be better for this one that listening. The narrator for the female part was a little too dramatic for my taste, and it distracted from the story a bit.

    I'm listening to a Clancy book to cleanse the palate a bit, and then have Andy Weir's new book Artemis up next. I'm looking forward to that quite a bit. I loved The Martian.
    Dyslexics of the world, untie!

  6. #396
    Quote Originally Posted by chrisrenrut View Post
    I listened to Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward. It won the National Book Award this year. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/...-unburied-sing

    It took me a while to get into it, and it never really grabbed me like some books do. But I find that a few weeks later, it comes back to my memory move vividly than most other books do. Reading might be better for this one that listening. The narrator for the female part was a little too dramatic for my taste, and it distracted from the story a bit.

    I'm listening to a Clancy book to cleanse the palate a bit, and then have Andy Weir's new book Artemis up next. I'm looking forward to that quite a bit. I loved The Martian.
    That book was amazing, sing unburied sing, I mean. The traffic stop scene was subtle but really intense. The writing was beautiful and I love the story. It is very relevant, obviously, to some of the race issues we are still dealing with today. I believe that Jesmyn Ward deserved the national book award for this one.

  7. #397
    Quote Originally Posted by OrangeUte View Post
    The Frontiersmen was great.

    we are discussing our 21st book tonight:

    21. The Magician of Lublin, Isaac Bashevis Singer, https://www.amazon.com/Magician-Lubl.../dp/0374532540
    Magician of Lublin is fantastic. It has a very philosophical discussion of faith and doubt and of the role of religious traditions in our lives. it is definitely a book worth checking out.

    Next up:

    22. 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson, https://www.amazon.com/100-Year-Old-...s=100+year+old

    Very much looking forward to reading this one.

  8. #398
    I'm probably the last person to read The Goldfinch. I thought it was a good story, very well written, and the characters were interesting. But holy moly, it was about 2.5 time too long. I don't mind a long book as long as the story is moving along. But there were so many long narratives and descriptive passages that didn't add to the story at all. I found my self muttering to the author "I get it, you know how to describe things, move on!"
    Last edited by chrisrenrut; 01-20-2018 at 04:07 PM.
    Dyslexics of the world, untie!

  9. #399
    Quote Originally Posted by chrisrenrut View Post
    I'm probably the last person to read The Goldfinch. I thought it was a good story, very well written, and the characters were interesting. But holy moly, it was about 2.5 time too long. I don't mind a long book as long as the story is moving along. But there were so many long narratives and descriptive passages that didn't add to the story at all. I found my self yelling muttering to the author "I get it, you know how to describe things, move on!"
    Agree 1000%. Especially the Park Avenue and Las Vegas sections

  10. #400
    Sam the Sheepdog LA Ute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by concerned View Post
    Agree 1000%. Especially the Park Avenue and Las Vegas sections
    Yeah, they went on and on. I wonder what the conversations she had with her editor about that were like?

    I still enjoyed the book. It was kind of Dickensian.

    "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."
    --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold."
    --Yeats

    “True, we [lawyers] build no bridges. We raise no towers. We construct no engines. We paint no pictures - unless as amateurs for our own principal amusement. There is little of all that we do which the eye of man can see. But we smooth out difficulties; we relieve stress; we correct mistakes; we take up other men's burdens and by our efforts we make possible the peaceful life of men in a peaceful state.”

    --John W. Davis, founder of Davis Polk & Wardwell

  11. #401
    Quote Originally Posted by LA Ute View Post
    Yeah, they went on and on. I wonder what the conversations she had with her editor about that were like?

    I still enjoyed the book. It was kind of Dickensian.
    I recently re-watched all 5 seasons of The Wire. There is a newspaper manager in the 5th season that uses “Dickensian” a lot. Reminded me of you every time he said it.
    Dyslexics of the world, untie!

  12. #402
    Sam the Sheepdog LA Ute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chrisrenrut View Post
    I recently re-watched all 5 seasons of The Wire. There is a newspaper manager in the 5th season that uses “Dickensian” a lot. Reminded me of you every time he said it.
    Now I can’t say I made that word up.

    "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."
    --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold."
    --Yeats

    “True, we [lawyers] build no bridges. We raise no towers. We construct no engines. We paint no pictures - unless as amateurs for our own principal amusement. There is little of all that we do which the eye of man can see. But we smooth out difficulties; we relieve stress; we correct mistakes; we take up other men's burdens and by our efforts we make possible the peaceful life of men in a peaceful state.”

    --John W. Davis, founder of Davis Polk & Wardwell

  13. #403
    American Warlords: How Roosevelt's High Command Led America to Victory in World War II by Jonathan Jordan

    An excellent history of America's civilian and military leaders during World War II, principally FDR, Henry Stimson, General George Marshall and Admiral Ernest King. There is, of course, a lot here for the author to cover, so it is not surprising that he does not give as detailed an analysis as you might like sometimes.

    --

    Die Trying by Lee Child

    In the second Jack Reacher novel, the drifter and a random stranger are kidnapped and driven across country in the back of a panel van. Who was in the wrong place at the wrong time, Reacher or the woman? Where are they being taken and why? A lot of questions and few answers. Reacher has just one goal, to save them both, from the inside out, or die trying.

    Excellent.

    --

    The Hunter Killers: The Extraordinary Story of the First Wild Weasels by Dan Hampton

    On July 24, 1965, a USAF F-4 Phantom, became the first American combat aircraft to be shot down by a surface-to-air missile (SAM). A few days later a major strike mission was launched against the SAM site that had launched the SA-2 that had destroyed the Phantom -- a mission that came to be considered a fiasco. Not long after this the first volunteers began training to take on the SAMs, first flying the F-100 Super Sabre, and later the F-105 Thunderchief. The Wild Weasels, as they came to be known, flew behind enemy lines, into the teeth of the threat, to suppress and destroy, to hunt and kill, and to revolutionize air combat.

    To understand the Weasels, one must understand the air campaign they supported, and to understand that campaign, one must understand the Vietnam War. To that end, the author provides excellent analysis of the war in Southeast Asia, interspersed between the stories of the Wild Weasels, which makes for a fantastic book.

    --

    Hunter-Killer: U.S. Escort Carriers in the Battle of the Atlantic by William T. Y'Blood

    In the spring of 1943, the U.S. Navy turned its escort carriers loose in the Atlantic, to hunt and kill German U-boats. The hunter-killer groups sink 53 submarines and capture 1. The baby flattops, the aircrews and their escorts would be responsible for 31 percent of the U-boats destroyed by American forces. The author provides an excellent analysis of the tactics used to achieve this success.

    --

    True Faith and Allegiance by Mark Greaney

    The final Jack Ryan novel for Greaney, and the author goes out strong with a story about a data breach involving security applications for U.S. military and intelligence operatives, cleverly paired with open source analysis of social media. The resulting targeting information is sold to ISIS operatives who use it to attack American servicemen and civilians on the home front. ISIS wants to pressure America into launching an invasion of the Middle East, the last thing President Jack Ryan wants to do.

    Fantastic!


    Last edited by USS Utah; 06-09-2018 at 05:52 PM.
    "It'd be nice to please everyone but I thought it would be more interesting to have a point of view." -- Oscar Levant

  14. #404
    Men to Match My Mountains: The Monumental Saga of the Winning of America's Far West by Irving Stone.

    A history of California, Nevada, Utah and Colorado from 1840 to the 1890s. After the period of exploration, the story in California, Nevada and Colorado is principally about mining for gold and silver, but in Utah it is about the Mormons and polygamy. Very well written, and I definitely enjoyed the beginning, but I wasn't that interested in mining -- not that it was very technical, it just wasn't what I was looking for. The chapters on Utah were excellent.

    --

    Silent Victory: The U.S. Submarine War Against Japan, Vol. 1 by Clay Blair.

    An excellent history of the war under the Pacific during December 1941, 1942 and 1943, with an excellent recounting of the development of submarines and submarine warfare prior to the war. The author provides strong analysis of strategy and tactics while telling the stories of the standout war patrols.

    --

    The Thief by Clive Cussler

    A pair of scientists develop a machine which will revolutionize movie making and Imperial Germany launches an operation to try and steel the machine. Van Dorn detective Isaac Bell signs on to protect the inventors and the machine. Great.

    --

    Horse Soldiers: The Extraordinary Story of a Band of US Soldiers Who Rode to Victory in Afghanistan by Doug Stanton

    When al Qaeda hijacked four airliners and crashed three of them into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, America was unprepared to fight a war in Afghanistan. Two teams of Green Berets, U.S. Army Special Forces, were put on the ground to operate with the Northern Alliance in their fight against the Taliban. At the time, it was thought that the teams would be preparing for the campaign to take down the Taliban in the Spring of 2002. Instead, the U.S. Soldiers helped the Northern Alliance take Mazar I Sharif, the Taliban's principle stronghold in north Afghanistan, and this led to the fall of the Taliban, quicker than anyone had expected. But that victory was then threatened when Taliban prisoners held at a fortress in Mazar launched a deadly riot.

    Excellent.


    Last edited by USS Utah; 06-09-2018 at 05:53 PM.
    "It'd be nice to please everyone but I thought it would be more interesting to have a point of view." -- Oscar Levant

  15. #405
    Just finished The Spoonbenders, a fun fiction about a family with mixed psychic powers in Chicago in the 90’s. I listened to it on audible and the narrator was fantastic, but I think reading it would be fun as well. It’s entertaining from the beginning, and jumps around in time and by character. Includes teenage angst, mobsters, federal agents, and a magician/con artist patriarch. Very much worth the time if you are looking to be entertained.
    Last edited by chrisrenrut; 03-17-2018 at 07:25 PM.
    Dyslexics of the world, untie!

  16. #406
    Countdown to Pearl Harbor: The Twelve Days to the Attack by Steve Twomey

    The author covers more than just the last twelve days before the attack, using the each of those days as a spring board to events and personalities key to understanding the Day of Infamy. An excellent introduction to the subject, some readers, at least, will be inspired to read more about the road to Pearl Harbor and America's participation in World War II. Twomey is a great story teller.

    --

    Ballistic by Mark Greaney

    The third installment of the Gray Man series finds Court Gentry fighting a war he didn't want against a Mexican drug cartel to protect the family of a man who once saved his life. Excellent.

    --

    The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 by Lawrence Wright

    The road to 9/11 may have begun in New York in the 1950s with the arrival of an Egyptian dissident, who later returned to his home country to be jailed and tortured as a radical Islamist. This man would inspire a movement in Egypt, some of whose members would later join forces with a group started by a wealthy Saudi dissident. When the Soviets invaded Afghanistan, many from Saudia Arabia and Egypt went to the Pakistan and Afghanistan to fight with the Mujahideen. The experience of the Osama bin Laden and the Arab Afghans, as they were called, bordered on the farcical, but out of it a legend was born. Because the truth did not match the legend, few in America could take it seriously when bin Laden declared war on the United States in the mid-1990s -- those that were aware of it, that is. Even after al Qaeda bombed U.S. embassies in Africa, and a navy destroyer in a Yemen harbor, only a handful of people considered the organization a threat. Part of the reason was that the FBI and the CIA were not sharing the information each had collected on bin Laden and al Qaeda.

    A fascinating book that everyone should read.

    --

    Admiral Arleigh Burke by E. B. Potter

    After excellent biographies of Admirals William Halsey and Chester Nimitz, Potter turns his attention to Arleigh Burke. After becoming a legend commanding a squadron of destroyers in the South Pacific, Burke was appointed as chief of staff to Admiral Marc Mitscher, commander of the Fast Carrier Task Force as it fought in the Marshall, Marianas, the Philippines and off Iwo Jima and Okinawa. After the war, Burke would be caught up in the Revolt of the Admirals before becoming a negotiator in the Korean War peace talks. Then President Eisenhower would select him over a long list of senior officers to be the Chief of Naval Operations; as one of the few to serve three year terms, Burke completed his service after the Bay of Pigs fiasco under President Kennedy.

    Fantastic.

    --

    Murder Games by James Patterson

    The inspiration for the new TV series Instinct, the story features a former CIA officer turned college professor and author who is called in to consult with the NYPD after a serial killer leaves his book on criminal behavior at a crime scene. I have found a certain humor in both the book and the TV series as neither takes themselves too seriously

    Very good.

    --

    The 15:17 to Paris: The True Story of a Terrorist, a Train and Three American Heroes by Anthony Sadler, Alek Skarlatos, Spencer Stone, and Jeffrey E. Stern.

    In the summer of 2015, three friends who grew up together in Sacramento, California, reunite for a backpacking trip through Europe. On the recommendation of an American they meet in Berlin, they elect to make an unplanned trip to Amsterdam, which they enjoyed so much they contemplated skipping their planned trip to Paris. Instead, they decide to make the trip to France, which puts them on the 15:17 to Paris on August 21, 2015. These are just a few of the coincidences that put the trio on the train -- had they not gone to Amsterdam, they would have taken a different route to Paris, had they stayed in Holland, they would not have been on the train -- that Ayoub al-Khazzani boarded in Belgium, armed with an AK-47 and enough ammunition to kill hundreds.

    Excellent.


    Last edited by USS Utah; 06-09-2018 at 05:52 PM.
    "It'd be nice to please everyone but I thought it would be more interesting to have a point of view." -- Oscar Levant

  17. #407
    Quote Originally Posted by sancho View Post
    Moonglow. First Chabon novel for me. Really liked it. Guy can write, and I'll probably read more now. One night, I couldn't sleep, so I turned on my Kindle to read. I happened to hit on the most powerful moment in the novel and didn't fall asleep for hours.
    Read Wonderboys as a follow up. Like Moonglow more, but Wonderboys was pretty good.

    Just read The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler. I hadn't read detective noir for years (the Maltese Falcon), so this was fun. Now I need to find the old Bogart movie.

  18. #408
    Pacific Cruicible: War at Sea in the Pacific, 1941-1942 by Ian Toll

    I listened to an audio version of this a few years ago; at the time I did not know it was the first book of a trilogy, so I didn't really appreciate what the author was trying to do. Parts of the book were excellent, but as I did not have the full picture, I did not understand why they author spent time on certain subjects. Most of all, perhaps, I did not understand why, considering the title, the book concluded with the Battle of Midway, when the crucible continues with the naval battles of the Guadalcanal campaign.

    From Pearl Harbor to Midway, a dramatic narrative tells the story of bravery and heroism in both the U.S. and Japanese navies. We learn about the elite force that was the Imperial Navy's air fleet. We also learn new details as to why the Empire of Japan chose to embark on war with the worlds greatest industrial power.

    With the later understanding that this was just the first of three books, what the author was doing makes more sense, and the, in retrospect at least, this story of the first six months of the Pacific War is excellent.

    --

    The Conquering Tide: War in the Pacific Islands, 1942-1944 by Ian Toll

    From Guadalcanal in August 1942 to the Marianas in June 1944, the allied offensive against Japan grows into an unstoppable wave of steel. A force of three aircraft carriers covered the landings on Guadalcanal, and these were withdrawn after two days. Almost two years later, a force of 15 aircraft carriers covered the landings on Saipan. Off Guadalcanal, well trained U.S. Navy fliers with the elite fliers of the Imperial Navy, and began to wear them down. Off Saipan, the elite Japanese pilots were few, mostly a memory, and they were overwhelmed by the American naval aviators.

    Again the author takes us into the war councils in Washington and Tokyo, and into the staff planning at Pearl, Noumea and Truk. Again we learn of heroism and bravery in both fleets. During an interlude between the South and Central Pacific campaigns we learn of the industrial and logistical details of the conquering tide. The author also relates the story of the submarine USS Wahoo to represent the contribution of the U.S Navy's Silent Service.

    I finished listening to this audio book a few weeks ago. Fantastic.

    --


    World War II at Sea: A Global History by Craig L. Symonds

    In August 1942, while the U.S. Navy was beginning its offensive against Japan at Guadalcanal, the Royal Navy sent a vital convoy of ships to bring vital supplies to the beleaguered island of Malta. This is but one example of how the war at sea in two oceans was conducted concurrently. Often the strategic decisions made in one theater determined the decisions that had to be made in the other. Logistics also affected decisions in multiple theaters as a shortage of a key amphibious ship-type, and operations in the Mediterranean Sea led to a month's long delay for the landing in Normandy.

    This is an great account of the a global war at sea. The book is marred, however, by multiple factual errors, mostly of small, relatively minor detail -- for example, reporting that British battleships were armed with 15-inch guns, when some had 16-inch and others 14-inch guns. The author is a distinguished professor at the U.S. Naval War College, and also a professor emeritus at the U.S. Naval Academy, where he taught for 30 years. I am inclined to give the author the benefit of the doubt and conclude that these were typos and other mistakes that should have been, but were not, caught in editing, by himself, any assistants or his editors. Otherwise, it is an enjoyable read.


    --

    The Trident Deception
    by Rick Campbell


    Iran is ten days from assembling its first nuclear bomb, and a Mossad operation succeeds in issuing orders to the USS Kentucky, a Trident Ballistic Missile submarine, to launch its missiles against Iran. But something went wrong with the op, and the orders had to be given almost ten days in advance of the arrival of the the Kentucky to its operating area where she can finally go to battle stations missile. This gives America ten days to try stop the launch.

    Excellent.


    Last edited by USS Utah; 06-09-2018 at 05:50 PM.
    "It'd be nice to please everyone but I thought it would be more interesting to have a point of view." -- Oscar Levant

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