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My fun stuff that has nothing to do with business

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Books

What can be said about books? Tony the Tiger had it right: They're Grrrrreat!. Or was that Frosted Flakes? Anyway, ebooks have made them even greater. Following are some authors I like who are in ebooks, in first-name order.

     

Andrew Vachss February 2010

 

Burke, speaking in the first person, is a thief and murderer who seeks revenge with extraordinary passion. And you find yourself on his side, as he seems to steal from the right folks and kill those who need killing. Choice of Evil, Dead and Gone, Pain Management, and Everybody Pays. Cringed reading.

Azar Nafisi May 2008

 

Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books. Here is a worthwhile read if you want to know how Khomeni's Iran looks to a discredited Iranian college professor (Professor of Literature). She taught banned books to female Iranian graduate students.

Barak Obama November 2006

 

The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream. Here's a book that will offend nobody. This guy may be President someday soon.

Barry Eisler July 2010

 

Inside Out and Fault Line deal with a new Barry Eisler assassin hero. Ben Treven is tough and I think we can look forward to more of him. The Last Assassin is another of the John Rain series. More killing, but he finally gets his nemesis.

Bernard Cornwell October 2008 January 2010 March 2010

 

 

Warning! If you're prone to obsessions, stay away from the Richard Sharpe books. If you don't mind obsessions and like historical novels, this is the guy. The best, bar none. The Last Kingdom series also promises to become an obsession. My latest Cornwell addictions: Harlequin, Vagabond, and Heretic with a new hero, the Archer. January 2010: The Pale Horseman (Saxon 2). Lords of the North (Saxon 3). Scoundrel and Crackdown: These are books for the Sea Series. Very different from Sharpe and Saxon. But great reading. These are in modern times. The next two are good too: Stormchild and Wildtrack. Great stuff.

Bill Bryson

 

If my science teachers in school had read A Short History of Just about Everything, I may have become a scientist. For a fascinating account of everything from black holes to dinosaurs, read this book. Have your kids read it. Insist that their teachers read it. And stay clear of Old Faithful.

Bill Clinton

 

I bought My Life. And I read it. I was looking for redemption, hoping for a reason to have voted for the rascal in 1992. The book sold a gazillion copies but, as far as I can tell, I'm the only one who has read it. If you've read it, I'd love to talk about Bill Clinton with you. But only if you've read it.

Bill Sammon

 

Misunderestimated: The President Battles Terrorism, John Kerry, and the Bush Haters. A good read by a White House correspondent. Unlikely he'll ever get a job with CBS News.

Bob Woodward October 2010

 

This guy does his homework. The latest I read was Plan of Attack. Agree or disagree, the attack on Iraq was not without a plan. Bad and Stupid, but a plan nevertheless. October 2006: The final book in the Bush at War trilogy, State of Denial. A more apt title might be Donald Rumsfeld: Wrong Man in the Wrong Place at the Wrong Time. October 2010: Obama's Wars, Good job. Probably difficult reading for a birther or tea partier. Most of the words are spelled right.

Brad Meltzer April 2010 July 2010

 

His novels focus on Capitol Hill and the stuff that goes on there. I got on a Meltzer kick for awhile: The Zero Game, The Tenth Justice, The Millionaires, Dead Even, November 2006: The Mighty Johns; April 2010, The Book of Lies, you're really going to like this one. I hope you're a Superman fan. July 2010: The First Counsel: Get inside the White House on this one. This guy doesn't disappoint.

Brad Thor August 2010

 

August 2010: Blowback, a Thriller. The title tells it all. Artifacts and lethal poison. Thrilling escapes. Great reading and tension. You'll like it.

Christopher C. Horner July 2007

 

The Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming. Don't let the title fool you. This book should be required reading for Al Gore, Robert Kennedy Jr., and all the other scientifically challenged purveyors of global warming horror and who answer any criticism with "Nazi, Fascist, Traitor, etc." The climate is changing, just as it always has. It is warming, just as it always has done during warming periods. Humans do have an effect on it. A very small effect indeed. But there's $5 billion available in the U.S. annually for research on global warming. What scientist wouldn't want some of that? Heck, I'm going to ask for a grant to cover my research into using a diminished chord for locrian mode rather than the minor 7th flatted 5th (as it pertains to global warming). A winner for sure. Read this book.

Clive Cussler

November 2008

 

Fire Ice, A thriller with Kurt Austin and gang. A good read. The Mediterranean Caper (A Dirk Pitt Novel). This one was published in 1973. I decided to go through Dirk Pitt books again after being reminded by my buddy John Mackin. Trojan Odyssey is my November 2008 read. Great stuff mixing ancient history with modern evil. Dirk's kids are in this one. And Dirk gets married.

Dana Cameron September 2007 May 2009

 

Dana Cameron is a great choice if you're interested in archeology. Emma Fielding is fun. Try Past Malice, A fugitive Truth, and Grave Consequences. That's how far I've gotten til now. May 2009: Ashes and Bones, another Emma Fielding Mystery. Never disappointing.

Dan Brown September 2009

 

Watch out! Another chance for obsession. He's been taken to task for historical flaws in the DaVinci Code. Hey guys, it's a novel. Duh. And so are all the rest of them. Get ready for late nights. September 2009: The Lost Symbol. Here's another good read with a great villain. And the final few chapters lend some interesting philosophical insights. Who knows how many What it Means books this one will spawn.

David Baldacci

 

Another great read in the category of James Patterson. November 2006: The Mighty Johns. May 2007: Simple Genius, Michelle Maxwell and Sean King go head to head with geniuses and CIA run amok.

David McCullough January 2010

 

January 2010: 1776. The title says it all. MCCullough is great.

David Rabe July 2010

 

July 2010: Girl by the Road at Night. This is set in Vietnam suring the war. A young man and a girl of the night. David Rabe is considered a great playwrite. That may be so. But, for me, he is not a convincing novelist. At least, this novel didn't convince me. I won't be reading more from him.

Dick Morris

 

His Rewriting History was offered as a companion to Living History by Hillary Clinton. He fills in the gaps she forgot to mention.

Douglas Preston November 2007

October 2008

 

Here's more on Archeology with Thunderhead. Here the heroine searches for the Lost City of Gold and gets sinister demons, poison, and murder. Thunderhead was good. But then come the Pendergast books. Pendergast is FBI. His suit is so black, his hair so white, his skin so pale. And he's so.... Read: Brimstone, The Cabinet of Curiousities, and Still Life with Crows. Pendergast novels 6 and 7: Dance of Death and The Book of the Dead. They get better everytime.

Ed McBain
June 2009

 

What can we say about Ed McBain? He's been around forever. And writing well. Forever. Gladly the Cross-Eyed Bear, and Romance (A Novel of the 87th Precinct)

E.L. Doctorow October 2006

 

I read Ragtime years ago. The March creates terrific characters to accompany Sherman on his march across the South during the Civil War. You'll view Sherman differently after reading this. I guarantee it.

Elmore Leonard

 

Elmore Leonard. That's all I have to say about that. October 2006: Killshot.

Eric Clapton October 2007

 

Eric Clapton is one of my favorite guitarists. Here is his autobiography, with all the warts included. He is truly a remarkable man. You won't be disappointed, even if you're not a guitar player.

Eric Flint

 

I am not a sci fi fan, but I'm hooked on the 1632, 1633, Ring of Fire, and 1634 series. In short, a small coal-mining town in Virginia gets transported to Germany in the midst of the 30 years war. The cause is the Ring of Fire, which is still unexplained. Fun history, with a lot of what ifs.

Faye Kellerman  September 2010

 

Jonathon's wife. Her protagonist Decker is a Goyim-turned-Jew detective. Of late, his daughter Cindy (of a previous Goyim marriage) is leading the way. Good stuff. October 2006: Garden of Eden and Other Short Stories. September 2010: Blindman's Bluff,Hangman, and  Burnt House. These are all Peter Decker & Rina Lazarus Novels. Same old same old good old stuff. Certainly worth the read.

Frederick Forsyth

 

Anything I say would be redundant. Read Avenger.

Greg Iles
May 2006

 

I just read my first book by this author: Blood Memory. All about child molestation, murder, and revenge. I then read The Footprints of God. Wow. I've now finished Mortal Fear, The Quiet Game, and Turning Angel. No disappointments with this writer. April 2007: True Evil. Maintaining the Iles great standard. May 2007: Sleep No More. Here's a weird one that is impossible, but believable. April 2008: The Third Degree. Here is one that starts and finishes all within 24 hours.Infidelity, murder, Medicare cheating, flying.... Lots of good stuff.  

Herman Wouk

 

Read A Hole in Texas. Please.

Ian McEwan August 2006

 

Saturday. Everything happens in a 24-hour period. All about a neuro-surgeon, his blues-guitar playing son, poet daughter, lawyer wife, and famous father-in-law. Also a violent wacko with Hodgkins disease. A lot more internal dialog than I'm used to, but brilliantly written.

Ian Rankin

 

Inspector John Rebus is a great, drunken, nearly-washed up cop. And he gets better (and more washed up) with every read. November 2006: Blood Hunt, a different character, Gordon Reeve, searches for his brother's killers. A good read.

Iris Johansen July 2006 May 2006 May 2009

 

Firestorm. Real psychological thriller, psychic stuff. Not believable, but really good. December 2006: Killer Dreams, another thriller you'll enjoy. Any more information would spoil it. January 2007: Here are a few more that will please -- An Unexpected Song, On the Run, Stalemate May 2009: Everlasting, Really disppointing. More for teenage girls.

James Grippando February/March 2007 May 2009

 

I got on a Grippando kick in February and March of 2007: You'll like this guy. A King's Ransom, The Abduction, Beyond Suspicion, Found Money, Got the Look, Hear No Evil, The Informant, Last to Die, The Pardon, Under the Cover of Darkness, When Darkness Falls-- Talk about your obsessions. A Lawyer, A Death Row Survivor (thanks to the lawyer), murder, and fun twists, if death can be fun. Read two more in May 2009: Last Call and Born to Run. These are books 7 and 8 in the Jack Swyteck Series.

James Lee Burke November 2009

 

Thanks again to Clyde Wisham for suggesting this writer. Another hard-nosed lawman fighting the bad guys and staying sober. Rain Gods, Bitterroot, and The Tin Root. After getting started, I realized that I'd read In the Electric Mist with Confederate Dead. You'll love his Dave Robicheaux and Billie Bob Holland novels. October 2009: I also read Pegasus Descending, Jolie Blon's Bounce, and Last Car to Elysian Fields November 2009: In the Moon of Red Ponies.

James Patterson April 2010, August 2010

What can I say? I keep coming back for more. My latest read was the Honeymoon. Holy Cow. October 2006: Read the Lifeguard (Actually, I listened to it on Audio Books. Goood). Also in October 2006: Judge and Jury. April 2007: I had a big month with James Patterson: The 5th Horseman, When the Wind Blows, and The Lake House. Read Patterson and never be disappointed. May 2007: The 6th Target. Another of the Women's Murder Club. Good stuff as always. Done with Maxine Paetro. July/August 2007: 4th of July and The Quickie. Also Women's Murder Club. April 2010. The 9th Judgment, another Murder Club novel. What can I say? August 2010:   Postcard Killers, James Patterson just keeps doing it. Good on him.

     

Janet Evanovich November 2008 January 2009
August 2009 September 2009 December 2009

 

Oh dear. Here is another addiction. Three Plums and Four to Get Deadly. Stephanie is the Inspector Couseau of bounty hunters. Don't read on trains. Other riders won't appreciate your laughter. (Clyde Wisham turned me on to this series.) Add Foul Play to that. Now we have a new heroine: Barney Barnaby. You'll love Metro Girl and Motor Mouth. She hangs out with NASCAR guy. Then back to Plum with Plumb Spooky and Plumb Lucky. December 2009:  Eleven on Top (Stephanie Plum) Lean Mean Thirteen (Stephanie Plum),

Jeff Shaara December 2006

March, April, May, June 2009 July 2010

 

Rise to Rebellion: An excellent novel about the two years runniung up to the Declaration of Independence. Major characters are John Adams, Ben Franklin, Sam Adams, George Washington and a lot of other familiar names. You'll like it. Well, I got hooked thanks to Clyde Wisham: The Glorious Cause, Gone for Soldiers, Last Man Standing, and The Rising Tide. July 2010: The Steel Wave: A Novel of World War II and No Less Than Victory: A Novel of World War II. If you're a Yank, like it or not, you've got to study war. That's our business.

Jeffrey Deaver February 2009

 

The Empty Chair, The Stone Monkey, The Vanished Man, The Twelfth Card. Got on a kick and couldn't stop.

Jerry Weintraub July 2010

 

August 2010: When I Stop Talking, You'll Know I'm Dead You'll love this book. This guy has promoted everybody in the business from Elvis to Frank Sinatra. Read it.

John Connolly
January 2008

 

Here are five books about Charlie "Bird" Parker. No, not the sax player. Nor is he even black. He's a former police officer turned private investigator who gets involved in all kinds of simply awful crimes. Clairvoyance and supernatural thrown in for free. Oh yeah. He has a couple of sidekicks: a former burglar and a hit man. The burglar is white and the hit man is black. They're an item.  Read Every Dead Thing, Dark Hollow, The Killing Kind, The White Road, and The Black Angel. Oh, did I mention the occult? Lots of that too. Especially in the last book. April 2008: The 6th book in the Charlie Parker series: The Unquiet. Never a disappointment. Read them all.

Jonathan Kellerman

 

What is there not to like? Great psychoanalysis, with Dr. Alex Delaware and his buddy Milo, the gay detective. Everything from a very liberal view, but excellent reading.

Julie Garwood October 2007 October 2009

 

More murder and suspense. Julie works her way through a couple of families with heroes marrying heroines. So far I've read Slow Burn, Heart Breaker and Murder List. October 2009: Mercy

Ken Follett
July 2009

 

Here's a great book about architecture in the 14th Century. You'll be privy to decades long fights between the nuns and the brothers, rapes by knights and the Plague. A great read: World Without End.

Karin Slaughter July 2006

 

Just read Indelible. Good stuff. Murder, slaughter (sorry), love, sex -- all the good stuff from the U.S. South. I'll read others from her.

Kathy Reichs May 2006

 

If you've met Temperance Brennan of Bones on TV, then you've met a poor copy of Tempe Brennan in print. Lots of fun here with Anthropological Forensics. So far I've read Fatal Voyage, Cross Bones, and Deja Dead. More will follow.

Larry King June 2009

 

My Remarkable Journey. I bought the Audio Book. It's terrific. Larry King knows how to "radio."

Larry Nivens and JerryPournelle March 2008

 

The Mote in God's Eye. This is sci fi palatable even to those of us who don't like it very much. Very long but a good read. The Gripping Hand is the follow-up to The Mote. Again, it grabs even those of us not enamoured with Sci Fi.

Lawrence Block

 

Mathew Scudder is a great p.i., ex cop, recovering alcoholic who lives with and loves a retired prostitute. A lot of mileage there (around 20 novels I think). November 2006: And then there was Bernie Rosenbla, the burglar: Burglar in the Closet, The Burglar on the Prowl.

Lee Child May 2007
August 2009

 

May 2007: Another obsession. Jack Reacher is a great character. A loner in every sense, but almost super human in abilities. Here are some books you will surely enjoy: Bad Luck and Trouble, The Hard Way, Echo Burning, The Enemy, Persuader, One Shot, The Quickie, and Without Fail. I think I've now read everything by Mr. Child. August 2009: Nothing to Lose (Book 12) and Gone Tomorrow (Book 13).

Lisa Gardner October 2008 February 2009 July 2009 October 2009

 

 

Great stuff. Her villains are nasty and cruel, but eventually thwarted. FBI profiling and all the neat stuff. Read Say Goodbye in October 2008. Good. February 2009: The Next Accident July 2009: The Neighbor October 2009: Hide

Mark Halperin/John Heileman March 2010

 

Game Change: This is the best non-fiction read I've had in a long time. The authors write about the Clinton/Obama fight during the primaries, with sleaze reports on John Edwards and his volatile wife. They also cover the McCain primaries and run-up to the main election. You may be surprised at the proliferation of "F" words escaping the mouths of the ladies. To be fair, I don't remember any being uttered by Sarah Palin. If they had been uttered, they may very well have been the most intelligent thing she said. People tell me the Press has been unfair to Ms. Palin. The people speaking about her in this book are the folks tasked with trying to get her to remember the alphabet: she just couldn't seem to get past D or E. She's good fun. She seems extraordinarily qualified for a TV reality show. I wish her well. But VP? President?

Matt Beynon Rees
March 2010

 

The Samaritan's Secret. All about murder and mayhem in Palestine. An over the hill professor acting detective. A good read. I'll read more by this guy. Introduced by Mark Schreiber.

Mark Nykanen

 

As far as I know, The Bone Parade is the only thing I've read from this author. But, oh was it worth it? Think of a famous sculptor who bronzes his victims in their final stages of agony and panic. Scary.

Mary Higgins Clark

 

Read Daddy's Little Girl, then go out and buy all her other books.

Michael Connelly January 2010

 

I'll bet you can't read just one: Lost Light, Void Moon, City of Bones, Angels Flight, The Black Echo, The Black Ice, The Concrete Blonde.... All Harry Bosch. November 2006: Echo Park, the latest Harry Bosch novel. March 2007: The Narrows. More from Harry Bosch. The Lincoln Lawyer, Always great stuff from MC. This one is a shyster lawyer. Goooooddd. April 2007: Chasing the Dime. Here's something with different characters. Great. . May 2007: The Overlook, Harry Bosch is back with his favorite FBI lady. August 2007: And don't forget A Darkness More Than Night. January 2010: The Poet, The Closers (Harry Bosch)

Michael Robotham June 2006

 

Here's a Brit writer I think I'm going to like. I started with Suspect. A psychiatrist groping with Parkinson's disease and a serial killer. There's a grabber for you. November 2006: Yup, I liked him again. Lost is a complicated thriller that brings back the Parkinson's psychiatrist as a sub to DI Ruiz, who subbed the psychiatrist in Suspect. I liked it. I'll bet you will too.

National Commission

 

Every American should read The 9/11 Commission Report: Final Report of the National Commmission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States. You'll learn a lot more than you ever wanted to know.

Neal Boortz and John Linder May 2010

 

FairTax: The Truth. This book bothers me. The concept behind it is good, I think. And the FairTax is probably good, I think. But the writer is a Rush Limbaugh clone who wrote speeches for Lestor Maddox (remember the axehandles?) back in the day. It's a good idea, but I don't like the messenger. I reckon I probably dislike him a lot.

Neal Stephenson August 2006

 

I have Clyde Wisham to thank for this one. Quicksilver. Historical novel about Isaac Newton, Ben Franklin, and others of the era, bouncing back and forth between the mid 17th century in England and early 18th century in the New World. Good stuff.

Nelson Demille

 

Life wouldn't be complete without at least three Nelson Demille books under the belt. If you can't read any others, don't miss Up Country. And read everything else you can find by him..

Patricia Cornwell December 2008 January 2009 April 2010

 

 

She invented the bitchy medical examiner and sloppy-fat cop. Bitchy and sloppy are good. I got back into Kay Skarpetta here in December 2008 with Black Notice, The Last Precinct, and Blow fly, # 10, 11, and 12. Marino is fatter and Skarpetta bitchier. Lucy has gone independent and there's always one scumbag left over for the next book. Add 13, 14, and 15 to the list. April 2010: The Scarpetta Factor. Patricia Cornwell seems tired. This may be the last I'll read..

Reza Asian

August 2008

 

This is a great intro to ISLAM and Mohammed. It reinforces my belief that the prophets are pretty much okay. The problem lies with the slimeballs who interpret what they say and then kill grunches of folks who don't like their interpretation. That goes for the interpreters of Jesus and Solomon as well. The greatest war today seems to be within Islam itself. They got started about 600 years after the Christians. If we look back at Christianity 600 years ago, ISLAM seems to be right on track.

Robert Crais December 2009

 

You'll love this guy's protaganists: Elvis Cole and Joe Pike. Chasing Darkness (Elvis Cole 11), The Watchman (Joe Pike 1).

Robert Louis Stevenson
July 2009

 

July 2009: Yes, I finally go around to reading Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. It's a freebie on ebooks.

Robert B. Parker April 2010

 

I read many Spenser novels in the late 80's and early 90's. Now it's Jesse Stone and Sunny Randal. Jesse Books: Sea Change, and Stranger in Paradise. Sunny Books: Perish Twice, Shrink Rap, Melancholy Baby, Spare Change and Blue Screen. October 2009: I got back into the Spenser books: Widow's Walk, Back Story, Bad Business, Cold Service, and School Days November 2009: Hundred-Dollar Baby (Spenser 34), Now and Then (Spenser 35), Rough Weather (Spenser 36), Chasing the Bear: A Youn Spenser Novel (Spenser 37) April 2010. The Godwulf Manuscript (An early Spenser novel. But good.)

Sandor Marai January 2010

 

January 2010: Embers. A translation from Hungarian via German. Excellent. Inward. Very East European. Real literature.

Stephen Frey

 

I read the Insider first, then got a few more under my belt. Read this guy. He's found his spot. Murder and ugliness. Gooooodddd. June 2006: This month was The Chairman and Trust Fund

Stieg Larsson May/June 2010

 

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest. The author sent this trilogy to the publisher just before dying of a heart attack. Published originally in Swedish, the English translation is an international best seller. For good reason. The hero is obstinate, but okay, the heroine a mess and impossible to get along with (but somehow sympathetic),and the story implausible yet gripping. Late nights are in store once you start reading.

Stuart Woods

 

I read five in a row before coming up for air: Worst Fears Realized, Swimmnig to Catalina, Dead in the Water, New York Dead, and Dirt. November 2006: Blood Hunt. December 2006: Choke, about a tennis teaching pro caught up in murder and intrigue. March 2007: Worst Fears Realized, which is book 5 in the Stone Barington Series. This guy gets laid more than Frank Sinatra, but still has time to solve murders. August 2007: Capital Crimes, Iron Orchid with Holly Barker and Will Lee. More great characters. And while we're into orchids, donw forget Blood Orchid.

Stephen Hunter

December 2008

 

Oh my. My good friend Mark Schreiber introduced me to this guy. I've read two of his books so far and "Holy Cow." Only one is in ebooks (Havana). I'm eagerly waiting for more. April 2007: Point of Impact. This is the book version of The Shooter.. April 2007:  American Gunfight: The Plot to Kill Harry Truman--and the Shoot-out that Stopped It. Here is a little-remembered story about the attempted assassination of Harry Truman November 1, 1950. A great read. December 2008: Add Pale Horse Coming. Great.

Steve Martini

 

Good courtroom stuff. He never disappoints.

Sue Grafton October 2009

 

Sue Grafton has finally put her books on ebooks. I read A to about M in paper and waited for the rest of them to appear on ebooks. I'm starting with Q is for Quarry. Start with A if you can. She never disappoints. R is for Ricochet, S is for Silence, T is for Trespass, U is for Undertow. Great stuff. We're now waiting for V, W, X, Y and Z.

Richard North Patterson

 

Just as with James Patterson (no relation), I keep coming back for more.

Richard Clarke

 

Richard Clarke is a crybaby ex-bureaucrat who didn't get the job he wanted, so he ratted out his bosses. Nevertheless, Against All Enemies should be read for the information it contains.

Robin White

 

Robin White does a great job with stories having to do with post-Soviet Russia. Marvelous stuff.

Robert D. Rodman

 

I read The Hangman Cometh. I want more.

Robert Crais July 2006

 

The Forgotten Man. Interesting murder stuff. It's an Elvis Cole, private eye novel. I'll read more.

Tess Gerritsen June 2010

 

Another great read that will never dissapoint. Her medical examiner and detective (both female) do a great job of hunting down scumbag killers. October 2006: The Mephisto Club. This is an early one with Rizzoli. She's as obnoxious as ever here, but triumphs in the end. Scary killer. Interesting plot with a somewhat redundant climax. You'll need to read it. It's a journey worth taking. June 2010: The Surgeon. Another scary Rizzoli mystery that continues from an earlier story. Never a disappointment here.

W.E.B. Griffin August 2010

 

 

The Vigilantes. Matt Payne looks for the Vigilante and catches some criminals on his own. Good fast-moving thriller stuff. I wonder if Phlly is really like this.