Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Reader Poll results

Out of 27 votes, the results were overwhelmingly for the traditional way of reading:

19 read by either paperback or hardcover
  5 by the Kindle
  2 by the iPad
  1 by the Nook

So, what does this tell us? Well, its a very small sampling but  people still read the conventional "old fashion" way!

Thanks to all that voted. Any suggestions for another poll?

Where were you?

Where were you on March 30, 1981? The date of the attempted assasination of President Ronald Reagan. I was a junior in high school listening to the radio for updates during my Accounting I class.

Del Quentin Wilber's Rawhide Down, released this past month is said to be the first book to detail, minute by minute,  the events surrounding assassination attempt. A great documentary appeared on CNN this month too. 

It's been 30 years, where were you?

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Tracking a Cat..

or in other words, Track the Cat, Nevada Barr's first installment of the mystery adventures of Park Ranger Anna Pigeon. Set in West Tex, Anna hunts for clues surrounding the mysterious death of a fellow park ranger.

Having not read a book with a back drop of nature and wild life, I wasn't sure what to expect. It is definitely a departure from the "normal" mysteries I read and I was pleasantly surprised, an intriguing whodunit, sliding down a cliff, grasping at clues, trying to hang on!!

Thanks for another recommendation from a reader and I look forward to reading more of Anna's cliff hanging adventures!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Holy Buckets!!!

Is  what I said when I read the last few sentences of James Patterson's recent book, Toys. Holy Buckets, what a spine tingling ending!!

With a bit of Sci-Fi which I mentioned in an earlier post, Toys will certainly become a fan favorite.

Highly Recommend it!

One, Two, Three...

Cups of Tea, by Greg Mortenson is just one of the several recommendations I've received over the last few days.  Room by Emma Donoghue, A Thousand Splendid Suns, by Khaled Hosseini ( which I've read his first one, The Kite Runner. I'm told Suns is better than Kite), the Lincoln Lawyer, by Michael Connelly, Eat, Pray Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert, Heaven is for Real, by Todd Burpo which I hear is extraordinary.  And for those who've suggested Unbroken, by Linda Hillenbrand, yep that's one I'll start soon.

On the subject of Eat, Pray, Love, I don't normally read these types of books, however, keeping an open mind, a curiosity to discover what all the fuss is about, an insatiable appetite for reading and the trust of who suggested it,  I think I'll read this one too.

Have you read this book? I welcome your comments.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Dinner with a Reader...

Early last month, I had the pleasure of dining with a friend. A friend who shares the same reading passion as I. Schedules being what they are, we're not always able to meet, so it was great to do so.

We sat down and began reading, literally - the menu that is.  We began the evening delving into an antipasti of Fritto Misto and a dialogue on the art of reading. Reading in quantity and for quality - slower reading for non-fiction, a bit quicker for fiction.

Medaglione di Vitello ai Porcini was our main course as we discussed one topic, that being history. military history in particular. The Monuments Men that I'm currently reading which centers on the  pillaging of fine arts by Nazi Germany was one subject and Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand was another. A book I've yet to read but is on my list.

The conversation flowed, much like the wine( more on that later) to how people read, is it paperback/hardcover, Kindle or Nook or perhaps audio books?.  As my readers poll winds down and as the prevalence of e-readers increases, the results of the poll may surprise you.

Our server kept our glasses full as letter writing became a topic. Letter writing is a lost art. We rely on emails, texts, tweets, facebook, etc. When's the last time you actually wrote a letter to someone? Seems archaic, but what a great way to make an impression - by doing something different - a more personal touch. So the suggestion was made that perhaps I write letters to the authors I review or promote. What a great idea. I have a few in my head but alas, as we sometimes do, emailing is easiest and more convenient so I fell to that convenience and posted a note on an authors blog instead of writing a letter. But I'm re-focused on my goal to write one or two letters a month to authors or perhaps a friend or a family member.

....As one engages in conversation, one becomes thirsty, so throughout the evening,  we quenched our palates with a bottle of Gaja Ca Marcanda Magari or was it two bottles?  I don't recall the vintage, but it was delicious. This blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc is highly recommended.

We ended the evening with Cioccolato Versato for dessert and a glass of port and a smooth Grey Goose.

There's nothing like a good meal to discuss one's passion for reading and the future of literature. Four of my favorite things: Great Friends, Great Conversation, Great Food and Great Wine.

Til next time, Buon Appetito!

Toys, toys and more toys...

No, it's not  the holidays, but it felt like it today as James Patterson released his latest book, Toys.  His latest has a hint of sci-fi which is a bit of a departure from his usual, but it's sure to be a good one!

 If you love page turning, roller coaster thrillers, James Patterson is the author for you. Short chapters, larger than normal print, that jump out at you like a Leopard Seal out of the icy seas as described in the adventures of Shackelton, my last read.

James is churning out the books, he has three more coming, one in May called 10th Anniversary and one in June called, Now You See Her and one in August entitled, Kill Me If You Can.

Enjoy the ride!

Ever heard of a ...

Sea Leopard? Imagine being stranded in the Antarctic floating from ice floe to ice floe along with 27 other explorers, doing everything to survive, living off of any animal you could bear to eat and suddenly out of the icy water jumps a Sea Leopard ready to destroy you.  Sea Leopards are identified by their spots and look much like a seal, but much more ferocious. Explorers killed two of them during the expedition. Sea Leopards as they were called in the book(actual term being Leopard Seals), measure up to 10 feet long and can weigh as much as 750 lbs. They're truly fierce predators.

 This tale of survival is one of many told in Alfred Lansing's, Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage.  Ernest Shackleton, his third voyage to the Antarctica,  had a goal of trekking over the continent. Accompanied by 27 explorers in August 1914, they set sail hoping to do just that. By October, their ship Endurance was ice locked. Knowing their chance of surviving the ship wreck was virtually impossible, they unloaded the vast amount of food ( stores as they called it), equipment, boats, sleds and dogs and set out.

Lansing relies on the diaries of many of the survivors  and tells it so vividly you feel as if you're on the ship, camping on an ice floe or helping oar a boat as they search for civilization; a search that would take two years!  "..All around us, day after day, the same unbroken whiteness, unrelieved by anything at all....."

Learn how they survived, hunger, thirst, frostbite, storms and boredom in what a bookseller told me is the authoritative book on the subject.

I'd like to thank one of our readers for the suggestion! Keep em coming!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Vietnam, 9/11 and Rick Rescorla

Military history, Vietnam in particular, is a passionate topic of mine, giving me the privilege of connecting with a Vietnam Veteran, photographer and author.*

We were Soldiers Once...and Young,is a rivoting account of the 7th Calvary's battle in Vietnam.  Written by (ret.) Lt. Major Harold Moore and Joseph Galloway, We Were Soldiers Once..and Young teaches us of military heroics and sacrifice. Moore and his 450 soldiers were helicoptered into Ia Drang Valley in Nov. 1965, and were quickly surrounded by 2,000 N.Vietnamese soliders.  Moore and his men fought valiently. One of his men was Rick Rescorla.

On the original cover of the book  is a picture of Rick. He was not only a Vietnam Veteran but later in life became  VP of  security at Morgan Stanley/Dean Witter, located in the South Tower of the World Trade Center. He's credited with saving hundreds of lives during 9/11 until perishing during the towers collapse.  A documentary was made about Rick's prediction  of a terrorist attack on NYC, called, The Man Who Predicted 9/11 Click on that link for more info or on a site dedicated to Rick at http://www.rickrescorla.com/  and in a book by James Stewart entitled, Heart of a Soldier.

Interesting how Rick's survival of Vietnam led to his efforts to save lives on 9/11. Had he not survived Vietnam,  hundreds of people on 9/11 may not have either. Rick was a true hero.

*Having been moved by Moore and Galloway's book when I read it several years ago, I posted a few comments on a website dedicated to the veterans of the battle and thought nothing of it. http://www.lzxray.com/ . Then one day, I received an email from  Mr. Galloway. Over the years, Joe has graciously signed both books, We were Soldiers and a follow up book called, We were Soldiers Still.  Moore also signed the original. I'm a proud owner of one of Galloway's photographs of this mission.  As the book became a movie, Joe provided sneak peek tickets for me and several colleagues; the dvd:  We were Soldiers Once and Young.  Moore was played by Mel Gibson, Galloway played by Barry Pepper. I encourage you to either read the book or see the movie. 

For more info - -  Facebook page under We Were Soldiers Once and Young: Ia Drang 1965

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Only 18 days left...

until the end of the latest survey.  how do you read?  Vote on my readers poll to the right of this post.

Thank you!

Freedom, Finally!

Although, Freedom by Jonathan Franzen, did improve from my earlier post, this reader couldn't escape the deepness of Franzen's characters. Perhaps I wasn't prepared to read such an in depth novel, but his characters aren't believable, which is different then unbelievable with an exclamation point. Unbelievable in a sense that I survived Franzen's over analytical prose where  the perception of his characters couldn't be as intellectual as he portrayed them to be, warbling through life in constantly changing notes as the definition describes but not as softly.

Clearly, Freedom is a device to express Franzen's political, environmental and social views. But writing allows the author to do such that, free to express their views, fictionally or non, whether the reader agrees or disagrees. Readers also have the freedom to choose, free to read or not to read, which this reader chooses not to read future or past Franzen novels.

But I digress, his book wasn't for me but may be for others. As a blog allows bloggers to express their point of views, feel free to agree or disagree.

I had the endurance to survive being shackled to his  novel but now I have the freedom to choose another book, Endurance, Alfred Lansings acclaimed book on Ernest Shackleton's survival in the Antarctic seas.

Saturday, March 5, 2011


suggested by one of our readers. I picked it up today - - Alfred Lansing's, Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage. A story of survival in the Antarctic, documented and written based on the survivors' diaries of their 1914 voyage of the Endurance. Sure to be a great read.  Thanks for the recommendation!