Yes, I’m still alive! It’s been a whirlwind few months and I just haven’t had time to post. I do apologize. Here’s what I’ve been reading:
1.Hue 1968 by Mark Bowden: I started this long one and simply couldn’t put it down. It was tough because the content is riveting and heartbreaking at the same time, but I couldn’t wait to see what happened next. The history books that I was forced to read in school never mentioned this war so I didn’t have much to go on in terms of context.
Ernie Cheatham was my favorite hero in this book but there were many. I visited the Vietnam Memorial in DC shortly after finishing this book, as well as viewing the excellent Ken Burns documentary. The memorial is very well done, and was a stark reminder for me of the sacrifices made by so many.
2.Guests of the Ayatollah also by Mark Bowden: As soon as I finished Hue, I picked this one up from the library. This was also a period in history that wasn’t mentioned in school, so I knew very little about it going in. Mark Bowden is a terrific writer and his writing brings you in immediately.
3.Killing England by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard: Very well done overview of the War for Independence. If you’re a history buff, this may not be as detailed as you might like, but for this history ignoramus, it provided a good overview.
I literally just finished reading “Killing the Rising Sun” by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard. I’ve read the other books in the “Killing” series, with the exception of the Jesus one, and they’re all good at keeping my attention. This one was no different. I finished it in two days. The authors have a way of combining all of the different narratives that keeps you turning the page to find out what happens next, even though we know how it ultimately turned out.
This book covers the end of World War II and the transition to rebuilding afterwards, with the focus on Japan. I’m a big fan of Douglas MacArthur and enjoyed the portions devoted to his exploits both during and after the war. He certainly had a big ego but he got the job done when it needed to be done, without apology. We need more of that in our leaders today.
The book also caused me to consider what the world would be like if Japan had prevailed in the war. It’s hard to imagine. There’s a show on Amazon Prime called “The Man in the High Castle” that contemplates this and it’s an interesting series.
I also finished “The Nightingale” recently (Kristin Hannah). It was a good story about two sisters living in occupied France during World War II. I’m not into fiction as much as non-fiction but the story was good. Predictable, but good. It was recommended to me by a colleague who was reading it for a book club. It appears to be very popular and was hard to get from the library.
Waiting for “Exit West” and “A Man Called Ove” from the library but it may be a while. Happy reading!
Sorry for the long hiatus, readers, it’s been a busy few weeks. I just finished reading two great books I’d like to share with you.
The first was “River of Doubt” by Candice Millard. Shout out to my co-worker Judith for the recommendation! The book is about Teddy Roosevelt’s trip in the Amazon down a previously undiscovered river. Sounds boring, doesn’t it? Well I couldn’t put it down. It’s a fascinating story about his decision to go on the trip, the challenges the group faced even getting to the start of the journey, and the starvation, rapids, and threat from Indians while traveling on the river. As soon as I finished, I requested Ms. Millard’s other books, one of which is on Churchill and the other on James Garfield.
The second was “Hillbilly Elegy” by J.D. Vance. I waited a long time for this one from the library because it’s hugely popular right now. Mr. Vance grew up in Kentucky and Ohio and describes in the book the challenges he and his family faced growing up as “hillbillies” in these areas. He ultimately went to Yale Law School. It’s an interesting sociological overview of what life was like growing up in this environment.
I should be getting the book on James Garfield from the library today. I’ll let you know when I’ve finished it. Happy reading!
I just finished two books I wanted to share. They’re very different from each other, but both very good.
The first was “Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter”, written by Kate Clifford Larson. The book was about Rosemary Kennedy, one of Joe and Rose Kennedy’s many children. She was born mentally disabled but the family didn’t realize it for a few years. The Kennedy parents sent her to many different schools, teachers, and facilities before she underwent a lobotomy in her early 20s. Apparently, at that time, there was a social stigma attached to the disabled and handicapped, especially for prominent families. It seemed to me that the Kennedys did the best they could for Rosemary but unfortunately, the lobotomy worsened her condition. She was then sent away to a facility in the Midwest where she spent the rest of her life. Her family visited her sporadically and more so in her later years. It was a sad book and an interesting commentary on society from that time.
The second was “How Not to Die”, written by Michael Greger, M.D. This book is essentially a guide as to what foods are best for fighting and/or preventing certain ailments. Apparently, flax seed is the ultimate superfood and helps with everything from cancer prevention to menopause symptoms. You have to store it very carefully and grind it shortly before using, which I didn’t know before reading this book.
I tried reading “Dark Money” by Jane Mayer about the Koch brothers, but it was too detailed and unfortunately didn’t hold my attention.
I’m waiting for Richard Engel’s new book from the library so that’s next on my list.