Saturday, June 23, 2012

2012 Book Reviews

It's been quite awhile since I did a book review blog. So long in fact that there's 12 of them to review. That could make for a long and boring post. So, I've decided to review these books using the Twittered-up, text-messaged. truncated writing style that has come to dominate modern communication. This might be fun!

38.  Calico Joe...John Grisham

Don't like Grisham.  Only bought book because it had a baseball on the cover. About a middle aged guy who's father is dying and who was a horrible father. Another whining, woe is me, look how terrible my baby-boomer upbringing was sort of book. But at only 125 pages, not a total waste of time.

39. Starting and Closing....John Smoltz

Smoltz was one of my fav baseball players because of his incredible toughness. But reading him telling me how tough he was, lowered my view of him. I can marvel about how clutch Derek Jeter is but if Derek Jeter held a news conference and said.."Man, I'm probably the most clutch baseball player ever"...well, you get the picture.

40. Shadow Street.....Dean Koontz

My first disappointing Koontz book. Just too danged weird,  creepy and pointless. The characters were unlikable, usually a Koontz strength, and the whole time-travel, haunted house, end of the world stew he was cooking up here just bored me.

41. In The Garden Of Beasts....Erik Larson

Real life story of the U.S. ambassador to Germany during Hitler's ascension to power in the thirties and his family as they tried to live their lives in Berlin during those hell years. Very interesting read, although the author tries too hard to describe the ambassador's daughter as something other than what she actually was...a high class slut with a weakness for young Nazi officers.

42.American Sniper....Chris Kyle

The story of the Navy Seal with the most confirmed kills of any such warrior in U.S. military history. This dude managed to kill 160 enemy combatants and quite a few more innocent bystanders with a single shot snipers rifle, a logical progression from his days as a boy hunting pheasant and deer growing up in (you guessed it) Texas. Amazing stories and fascinating reading, but not sure I want this guy anywhere near the steak knives at my next cook-out. Kinda creepy...

43.December 1941....Craig Shirley

Book for history nerds only. It's essentially an examination of what daily life was like as reflected in the newspapers from around the country each day of December leading up to and just after the attack on Pearl Harbor. As a nation we were so wrong about practically everything concerning our understanding of the Japanese threat.

44. The Tyranny Of Cliches....Jonah Goldberg

A well written critique of phrases that are thrown out by mostly liberals and accepted as truth and meant to stop inquiry in it's tracks..phrases like.."Would rather 10 guilty men go free than one man be wrongfully convicted"...easy to say unless those ten guilty men were set free and moved in down the street. Fun book, but preaching to the converted. Won't change any one's mind.

45. They Eat Puppies, Don't They?.....Christopher Buckley

Hilarious story. Just the latest in a long line of hilarious stories written by this guy. The apple didn't fall too far from the tree here. Buckley is simply the best humor-novelist in America. This is right up there with Boomsday, Supreme Courtship and Thank You For Smoking.

46.Homer & Langley....E.L. Doctorow

Beautifully written novel about two brothers who live in a huge house in Manhattan and spend their lives increasingly isolated in it as it crumbles around them through years of neglect. One of the brothers is brilliant but unstable, the other(the narrator) is blind and by the end deaf. The story spans America from WWI through the hippies. Well done but ultimately depressing.

47. The Big Miss.....Hank Haney

When Tiger Woods hired Hank Haney to be his swing coach it made Haney's career. Hank even ended up with his own reality show(the final arbiter of success in America). So how does he repay Tiger?  By writing a tell-all book describing what a rotten human-being he really and truly is. But that's something all of us already knew. What a really learned in this book is what an insufferable ingrate Haney is.

48. D-Day............Stephen Ambrose

A re-read of a book I first discovered ages ago. It holds up well. Detail, detail, detail. reading this makes you wonder how in God's name we actually pulled it off. A miracle.

49. A Blaze Of Glory.....Jeff Shaara

The first book in a new trilogy from Shaara, this one about the western theatre of the civil war. This book is about the battle of Shiloh and is as engrossing as all of his other "you are there historical fiction. Can't wait for the next two.