Terse and to the point!

No zombies. No vampires. No angels. No self-help. No horror.



Reading progress update: I've listened 1519 out of 2103 minutes.
Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr. - Ron Chernow, Grover Gardner

Until I was brought to a dead halt by a corrupt file and now am waiting for Audible to make the repair.


It has been a long time since this has happened but Audible has fabulous customer service. The CSA spent almost an hour with me as I downloaded a new copy of the file (almost 500MB worth) and then synced it to my iPod and then listened for over 5 minutes while story advanced on it own to the breakdown point. So the title has been removed from my library and the credit I spent has been restored and they will contact me when the file has been repaired so I can finally finish the darned thing.



Halloween Bingo

I'm not a Halloween Bingo participant. Just read my tagline and you'll understand why; "No zombies. No vampires. No angels. No self-help. No horror." However, that doesn't mean that I don't enjoy the extra zing that it puts into my September and October as I follow everyone's progress and read all of the posts and comments--and occasionally even a new title to Mount TBR because I do read mysteries.


So I just want to thank all of you who gleefully share your zeal and your reads with the rest of us.


And as long as I have stopped whatever it is I sat down at the computer to do in order to write this note, what's the next contest? Are we doing the winter holidays again? That is one I can sink my teeth into--especially if it was like last year where the various tasks went beyond just reading a book to win a chit.

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3 Stars
Thank you for your service
Five Presidents: My Extraordinary Journey with Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, and Ford - George Newbern, Lisa McCubbin, Clint Hill

This was exactly what I expect: an oblique look at five presidents with whom many of us are already familiar. I find that the unsung hero of this book was Mrs. Hill, who, much like navy wives, pretty much raised her two sons her own while her husband did his job. Thank you, Mrs. Hill, for your sacrifice.


It helped that my expectations were low. I did not expect to learn any deep dark secrets about the Secret Service or even about the people it protected. Honestly, except for portions that cover the JFK assassination, there were no surprises for me.


One thing that did drive me crazy was the narrator, who did not do his homework and who made mistake after mistake in pronouncing what were household names -- Sander Vanocur, Wally Shirra, Pago Pago (which is pronounced Pango, Pango), Judge Sirica, Minot ND(/ˈmnɒt/ (About this sound listen) MY-not), William Ruckelshaus, just to name a few. I was 12 when Kennedy was assassinated. Drives me crazy when narrators don't take the time to learn the correct pronunciation of a name--and when it comes to names, there is only one correct pronunciation: the one used by the person you are talking about. I'll get off my soapbox now.

2018 Books -- 139 and counting
  1. Break In -- re-read
  2. Hi, Bob -- NEW69
  3. The Queen -- NEW68
  4. Bolt -- re-read
  5. Blood Sport -- re-read
  6. Black Sheep - re-read
  7. How Language Began -- NEW67
  8. The Boston Girl -- NEW66
  9. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd -- NEW65
  10. Titan --NEW64  HISTORY12
  11. Five Presidents -- NEW63  HISTORY11
  12. The Black Moth -- re-read
  13. Beyond the Black Stump --re-read
  14. Behold, Here's Poison -- re-read
  15. Bath Tangle -- re-read
  16. Emma -- NEW62 DNF
  17. English History Made Brief, Irreverent, and Pleasurable -- NEW61 HISTORY10
  18. Uncommon Type -- NEW60
  19. Banker --re-read
  20. Arabella -- re-read
  21. April Lady -- re-read
  22. One-Way Tickets -- NEW59
  23. My Adventures with God -- NEW58
  24. Master of Formalities -- NEW57
  25. A Week in Winter -- NEW56
  26. Romeo and Juliet: A novel -- NEW55
  27. Great Courses: 12 Essential Scientific Concepts -- NEW54 DNF
  28. Someday the Rabbi Will Leave --NEW53
  29. Single Malt Murder --NEW52
  30. Great Courses: Science Wars --NEW51
  31. Sacre Bleu --NEW50
  32. Great Courses: Heroes and Legends
  33. Lane -- NEW49
  34. Four Princes --NEW48 HISTORY9
  35. Steambath -- NEW47
  36. Prisioner on 2nd Avenue -- NEW46
  37. Great Courses: Classical Mythology -- NEW45
  38. Great Courses: America in the Gilded Age and Progressive Era -- NEW44 HISTORY8
  39. Adam's Rib -- NEW43
  40. The Accidental President --NEW42 HISTORY7
  41. The Secret, Book and Scone Society --NEW41
  42. Great Course: The Rise and Fall of the British Empire -- NEW40 HISTORY6
  43. Lion (aka A Long Way Home) -- NEW39
  44. The Third Man -- re-read
  45. No Higher Honor -- re-read
  46. Eisenhower in War and Peace -- re-read 
  47. The Secret Life of Pronouns -- re-read
  48. What's So Funny -- re-read
  49. 10 LB. Penalty -- re-read
  50. Whip Hand --re-read
  51. Venetia --re-read
  52. The Unknown Ajax -- re-read
  53. The Unfinished Clue -- re-read 
  54. Twice Shy -- re-read
  55. Trustee from the Toolroom -- re-read
  56. Trial Run -- re-read
  57. The Toll Gate --re-read
  58. These Old Shades -- re-read
  59. The Talisman Ring -- re-read
  60. Sylvester, ... --re-read
  61. Sprig Muslin -- re-read
  62. So Disdained -- re-read
  63. Smokescreen --re-read
  64. Shattered -- re-read
  65. Second Wind - re-read
  66. Ruined City -- re-read
  67. Round the Bend -- re-read
  68. Risk -- re-read
  69. The Reluctant Widow -- re-read
  70. Regency Buck --re-read
  71. Reflex -- re-read
  72. Rat Race -- re-read
  73. The Rainbow and the Rose --re-read
  74. The Quiet Gentleman --re-read
  75. Proof -- re-read
  76. Pastoral -- re-read
  77. An Old Captivity -- re-read
  78. Odds Against -- re-read
  79. No Highway -- re-read
  80. Nonesuch -- re-read
  81. Nerve --re-read
  82. The Masqueraders -- re-read 
  83. Longshot --re-read
  84. Lonely Road -- re-read
  85. Landfall -- re-read
  86. Steppenwolf --re-read
  87. Zorba the Greek -- NEW38
  88. The Virginian -- NEW37
  89. Three Men in a Boat... --NEW36
  90. Roughing It -- NEW35
  91. The Railway Children -- NEW34
  92. Your Inner Critic is a Big Jerk --NEW33
  93. Lady of Quality -- re-read
  94. In the wet -- re-read
  95. In the Frame -- re-read 
  96. Cider House Rules -- NEW32
  97. Matriarch -- NEW31 HISTORY6
  98. Misbehaving -- NEW30
  99. Cat's Cradle --re-read
  100. All Creatures Great and Small -- NEW29
  101. Pale Blue Dot -- NEW28
  102. Hot Money -- re-read  
  103. High Stakes -- re-read
  104. Friday's Child -- re-read
  105. Frederica -- re-read 
  106. Flying Finish -- re-read
  107. The Wizard of Menlo Park -- NEW27 HISTORY5
  108. On Power -- NEW26
  109. In This Bright Future -- NEW25
  110. Thursday the Rabbi..  -- NEW24
  111. Wednesday the Rabbi Got Wet -- NEW23
  112. Code Girls -- NEW22 HISTORY4
  113. The Foundling --re-read
  114. Faro's Daughter -- re-read
  115. If on a Winter's Night a Traveler --NEW21
  116. Tuesday the Rabbi Saw Red -- NEW20
  117. The Tale of Dueling Neurosurgeons -- NEW18
  118. The Secret of Chimneys -- NEW18
  119. A Nun in the Closet -- NEW17
  120. Murder at the House of Rooster Happiness -- NEW16
  121. Mrs. Pollifax, Innocent Traveler -- NEW15
  122. Monday the Rabbi Took Off --NEW14
  123. The LIghthouse Keeper -- NEW13
  124. The Great Train Robbery --re-read
  125. The Great Courses: Food -- NEW12 HISTORY3
  126. Cosmos -- NEW11  SCIENCE2
  127. Amadeus -- NEW10
  128. The Far Country -- re-read
  129. False Colours -- re-read
  130. Even Money - re-read
  131. Enquiry -- re-read
  132. Driving Force -- re-read
  133. Dick Francis's Bloodlines -- re-read
  134. The Great Courses: Redefining Reality -- NEW9
  135. The Pun Also Rises -- NEW8
  136. M. Butterfly -- NEW7
  137. A Hologram for the King --NEW6  
  138. The Fountain of Paradise --NEW5
  139. Fire and Rain -- NEW4 -- HISTORY2
  140. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night --NEW3
  141. Consider the Fork -- NEW2   HISTORY1
  142. Consciousness and the Brain: -- NEW1  SCIENCE1 DNF
Another Audible 3 for 2 Sale
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd - Hugh Fraser, Agatha Christie Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr. - Ron Chernow, Grover Gardner Five Presidents: My Extraordinary Journey with Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, and Ford - George Newbern, Lisa McCubbin, Clint Hill

What a strangely diverse group of books I have ended up with! But at least I found three titles; sometimes I find nothing in the sale pile. We start with what I know is going to be one of those deep tomes; at 35 hours long how can it be anything but--and it is Chernow so it will be well done. Then an Agatha Christie/Hercule Poirot story, which at least I know that even if it is a comparatively light read, it will be a well written and well crafted. And then there is the bit of fluff, which is what I am sure I will get when a retired Secret Service agent and his not quite ghost writer start dishing up on Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon and Carter.

At Least It Was Free
Emma: An Audible Original Drama - Morgana Robinson, Joseph Millson, Aisling Loftus, Isabella Inchbald, Anna Lea - adaptation, Audible Studios, Jane Austen, Joanne Froggatt, Emma Thompson

Introducing Audible Originals. Each month, members may pick two out of six selected Audible Originals to download for free. The only one that had any appeal this month was Austen's Emma. Sadly it is an adapted dramatization, Austen Light for those whose only knowledge of Austen is from the television. After 8 minutes I had had more than enough, DNF'ed it and moved on.


It flips back and forth between dramatized dialogue and narration, with little connection between the narrator the subsequent dialogue, The dialogue sections are Foley-enhanced and the background noise is super annoying. Enough. You get the point. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Found on Facebook

Who'd a thunk it?
Uncommon Type: Some Stories - Tom Hanks

It was in a sale pile and I like Tom Hanks so I bought it. I don't know why I did because I usually avoid books written by celebrities. But, you know what? I really liked it. The stories were well written. The characters were interesting and diverse. And, of course, the narrator was really good.

3 Stars
Juliet: Anchronism after Anachronism
Romeo and Juliet: A Novel - Richard Armitage, David Hewson

Progress report. Just started. Pretty much decided to quit back in the first chapter. This 1960s rebellious teenager is no where near my idea of how this character should have been portrayed.


This is my third foray with Hewson and Shakespeare. I have listened both his Hamlet and Macbeth (written with A.J.Hartley) and they were both gripping. This time he is out on his own and this novelization of the Romeo and Juliet story (which is fiction to begin with) is driving me nuts. It is the anachronisms. It drives me crazy when a modern author endows a 15th century heroine with modern sensibilities. Extraordinary women were few and far between and Juliet was not one of them. Juliet was just another sad pawn in her father's ambitions.


Yes, I am sure that many think me a bit anti-feminist but really I am not. It is that I just don't think women of the 15th century had any idea what feminism was and don't like it when they are portrayed as if they did. I can't imagine Juliet as educated and reading the ancient Greeks. I can't imagine her being anything more than a dutiful daughter who learned to do exactly as she was told.


And yet there is no story more heart-breakingly romantic in the entire Shakespearean canon. And so, I read on,complete with Nino Rota sound-track.


UPDATE: Done. The end was a bit disappointing and in general, the story lacked dramatic tension.

3 Stars
Suspend Disbelief All Ye Who Enter Here
Single Malt Murder: A Whisky Business Mystery - Melinda Mullet, Gemma Dawson

Orphaned at a young age, the bachelor uncle who raised her has just died and she is solving a mystery. I don't buy it. Sorry, in this situation I would be numb with grief, not narrating a story. Lacks verisimilitude. Yes, I read the whole thing but only because I wanted to find out who the murderer was.

3 Stars
12 Essential Scientific Concepts - Indre V Viskontas, The Great Courses

Science 101. This one is not for me. I keep thinking I am back in middle school. I barely made it through the first lecture. However, if you are just starting to explore biology, this isn't a bad place to start.

0.5 Stars
See the Movie, You'll Like It So Much Better
Adam's Rib - Garson Kanin, David Rambo, Ruth Gordon

I just finished listening to the 2004 L.A. Theatre Works production of Adam's Rib, a stage version of the Katherine Hepburn/Spencer Tracy movie. It was terrible in so many ways--the adaptation to stage (Garson Kanin and Ruth Gordon must be rolling over in their graves), the direction, the lead actors' attempts to sound like Hepburn/Tracy but then again to not sound like them. The only redeeming aspect was the supporting cast who were marvelous.


I've listened to a number of LATW productions and this is by far the worst. 

More from Facebook

Once again found on Facebook

Finally sat down to update my bookshelf
Werner's Nomenclature of Colours: Adapted to Zoology, Botany, Chemistry, Minerology, Anatomy and the Arts - Patrick Syme Single Malt Murder: A Whisky Business Mystery - Melinda Mullet, Gemma Dawson The Accidental President: Harry S. Truman and the Four Months That Changed the World - A.J. Baime, Tony Messano Sacre Bleu: A Comedy d'Art - Christopher Moore, Euan Morton


It has been a while since I have updated my shelves or even downloaded my purchases to my computer (a process even slower these days than adding them to my bookshelf here). But today had been housekeeping day and at least here I am up-to-date. Now I can go spend the rest of my credits. Or, perhaps I should invest some effort into finishing the books I have already bought. In other words, it is time to attack Mount TBR. <dashing knight in armor, on horseback and a flourish of trumpets>


The truth of the matter is that Mt. TBR is just not as daunting when it doesn't take up much needed physical space thus lacking the imperative to "get these books read and put away already." Moreover, I just am not inclined to read anything new right now or to even finish any of the three or four titles that I have begun and abandoned but am not ready to declare DNF. I have been enjoying a prolonged and relaxing period of working my way through my re-read list and it seems that the only thing that will be getting me out of this groove is that I am quickly reaching the end of the alphabet and thus the end of the list. Yes, I read the list A-Z and then start over; it saves having to choose what to read next or answering that age old question, "what do I feel like reading."


All told, I added one reference book, five books and six selections from the Great Courses catalog. I hope I chose well.



currently reading

Progress: 1519/2103minutes
Zorba the Greek - Nikos Kazantzakis, George Guidall
Steppenwolf - Hermann Hesse, Peter Weller
Cairnaerie - M.K.B. Graham
Understanding RAW Photography - David Taylor