oakland, CA, United States | Member Since 2005
I've always considered Paul Theroux my travel mentor since I hitch hiked half the world at 18. For anyone who has dreamed of revisiting the world they visited more then thirty years ago Ghost Train is a delight. I've read all of Theroux's fiction and non-fiction and this is one of his best non-fiction books. I think Theroux has mellowed a bit. He is not the curmudgeon of Dark Star Safari or other recent non-fiction. I love his observations of people he meets, especially his train companions. The portrait of his Burmese guide and his generosity towards him will always be indelibly etched in my mind. I fantasize that in some far away place I might meet him on a train.(although one should be wary of what he might say about the encounter later in a book) I also appreciated the sense that as one gets older travel is more challenging, but with life's experiences we view the world's people with more compassion and the governments more cynically.
Robert Wilson's novels are throughly researched and realistic. I can imagine this happening in actual life and his protagonist is life like with normal problems and abilities. The best seller writers rely on formulas with characters who are like comic book figures that are unbelievable and too heroic to be real. This book deserves a major award, five stars all around.
I'm a huge fan of Paul Theroux and I've read all his fiction and non-fiction, I loved Dark Star, but this book was almost unreadable because his star character is such a weak, pathetic sniveling sob. If it was non fiction it would be good, but why write fiction with such a despicable character? I guess a writer gets to pick his characters and develop them anyway he wants in the name of art, but does the reader have to suffer as a result.
A great satire of the Iraq war and the young men fighting it. A wonderful send up on American values and ignorance of the war's purpose. I loved the whole Dallas Cowboy/money machine riff. I laughed many times at the young soldiers vocabulary and emotions. Great narration. A book better listened to then read.
Peter May tells a thrilling story with believable characters in the stark but beautiful Scottish Hebrides. The mystery is interlaced with the sad and harsh lives of the past in the islands and the present changes that modernity has brought to the islands.. His characters are well developed and realistic with courage, humanity and flaws. The narration is excellent and makes you feel that you are in a Pub listening to a local tell the story.
I thoroughly enjoyed this biography of one of our greatest patriots and scientists in the the 20th century. The tragedy for America was that right wing cowards attacked a man who dared to share his opinions of the need for nuclear restraint and control of the military use of mass destruction weapons. The far right does not want freedom and democracy they are terrified of freedom of expression and people who believe in constitutional government..Robert Oppenheimer was attacked for his ideas and beliefs not because he was a security risk. This book brings back the hysteria of the McCarty era and reminds us that it can happen again when right wing thugs scream communist at anyone who disagrees with them.
Annie Dilliard always impresses with her writing skill and ability to create wonder and beauty out of the incredible good & evil of the world. She makes you think about the past the present and the future of humanity like no other contemporary author.
I loved Holidays in Hell and have remembered several quotes to recite over the years and still laugh at them. O'Rourke has lost his funny edge in this dreary,boring sequel. Don't waste your time and money on this turkey.
Ian Rankin always writes a believable and exciting mystery. He does not resort to impossible scenarios like so many popular mystery writers. The police procedures are based on actual procedures and for the knowledgeable reader this makes his characters come to life with human heroics and flaws. It seems today that most mystery writers feel the need to reach over the top fantastic and ultimately unbelievable conclusions which destroy the story and the characters. Rankin sticks to the possible and his story ends in a very satisfying way which makes you want to read the next book with these characters.
Karl Marlantes's novel truly captures the honor, the horror, the stupidity & the futility of the Vietnam War. The writing is exciting, dramatic & factually accurate. This novel deserves a major prize. The narrator also deserves a prize as it is the best I've heard out of hundreds of readers.
Far too much high school hockey "glory years" and if you write mystery I would expect that you would have some knowledge of criminal law, police procedures, misdemeanors versus felonies, warrants & do you think police have time & resources to have roadblocks & manhunts for insignificant misdemeanors? Purloining telephone messages?
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