South of Tonight

Sporadic murmurs and other pomegranates from a one-way street

Archive for the category “Books”

The Zoo Board Book

A board book created by my wife and I for our one year old grandson, Oliver. The story by my wife. Artwork done by me.

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Review: The Devotion of Suspect X

The Devotion of Suspect X
The Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

(Advance Readers’ Edition) Great Japanese mystery with subtle twists and turns. Can maths actually influence a crime and its outcome?

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Review: The Dead Letter and The Figure Eight

The Dead Letter and The Figure Eight
The Dead Letter and The Figure Eight by Metta Fuller Victor
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I found these two novels, the first full-length American detective novels, enjoyable and the mysteries interesting. Both books were similar in character development. I found “The Dead Letter” puzzle more intriguing. The manners and romantic aspects of the period (1860s) made interesting reading.

I may have noted before, I do not to give much information about the story in my “reviews”. Why repeat the story descriptions that are found in the blurbs? I tend to read as little as possible of a book’s dust cover. I want it to be a surprise. If the first two or three sentences of the blurb grabs my interest I will try the book.

I do not give much info in my reviews. This comes from my dislike of book reports in school. I always thought those reports which were to offer the descriptions of characters, the plot, motives, locations, author’s reason for penning the book, etc., gave away all the elements of the story. After reading my poorly written synopsis of the book, why would anyone want to read it? The surprise has been dashed. (Besides being mangled by my writing.) I could read many more books if I just read the blurbs and reviews. Like television adverts I avoid reviews and most of the dust cover blurb. Surprise and mystery are two of the many spices of life.

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Review: Lost Empire (Fargo Adventure, #2)

Lost Empire (Fargo Adventure, #2)
Lost Empire (Fargo Adventure, #2) by Clive Cussler
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The second installment of the treasure-hunting husband-and-wife team of Sam and Remi Fargo. The typical adventures and historical tidbits of a Cussler novel. Though once or twice I was looking over the main characters’ shoulders. The story involves the possible origin of the A_____s. It includes locations such as I____a, M______r and Z____r. Oh, my. And the gigantic 1883 explosion that had global repercussions for several years afterward. A quick and light read to refresh your mind before you delve into your next heavy read.

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Review: The Cobra Event

The Cobra Event
The Cobra Event by Richard Preston
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is an eye opening look into the genetic engineering of a virus. Interesting science. Thought it was a well told story. Some very graphic _____ scenes. Can see why authorities were concerned and continue to be concerned. There are many ways terrorists can harm a country and I am surprised the obvious methods have not been tried. Perhaps they have, have been stopped and governments have not released news stories that could cause great discomfort among their citizens.

The author’s “The Hot Zone” is the only book that ever frightened me. A must read.

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Review: The Blind Man of Seville

The Blind Man of Seville
The Blind Man of Seville by Robert Wilson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A gruesome crime investigated by a detective who concurrently unravels the past of his dead father. Two psychological mysteries entwined in an interesting but difficult and slow read. The crime, setting and characters kept me reading.

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Review: Big Year, The

Big Year, The
Big Year, The by Mark Obmascik
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A wonderful and light hearted look into a Big Year. Having been a bird keeper at a major U.S. zoo for many years it was a very enjoyable read. If you don’t know what the Big Year is it is a must read. Wanted to read it after watching the enjoyable film.

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Review: Benjamin Franklin: An American Life

Benjamin Franklin: An American Life
Benjamin Franklin: An American Life by Walter Isaacson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read Mr. Isaacson’s “Steve Jobs” and enjoyed his writing style. I noticed he had written a bio of Benjamin Franklin. Being interested in American history I took the plunge. A long volume but very interesting. The author’s style made the book a relatively easy read. George Washington is considered the Father of Our Country. After reading about Mr. Franklin’s life, I consider Franklin as the country’s true Father. Benjamin was an intellect, a rascal and a shrewd negotiator. He was the only man to sign all four documents that ended up creating the United States of America. As also noted in David McCullough’s 2002 Pulitzer Prize winning book “John Adams”, the true date of our declaration of independence is reconfirmed. A book that should be “recommended reading” at any level of American History class.

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Review: The Devil’s Teeth : A True Story of Survival and Obsession

The Devil's Teeth : A True Story of Survival and Obsession
The Devil’s Teeth : A True Story of Survival and Obsession by Susan Casey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A great book of the mysterious present and historical uses of the off-limits Farallon Islands off the coast of San Francisco Bay and the life of the (great) white sharks in the area.

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Review: Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A wonderful and quick read about an amazing man and an amazing time in the tech world. Great to read about the personalities and the stories that occurred during my lifetime. Enjoyed the author’s style. Both the book and the life of Steve Jobs ended many chapters too soon.

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