The Wright Brothers by David McCullough; 2015; $30.00; 320 pages; Simon & Schuster, New York, NY; 978-1-4767-2874-2; purchased from the Friends of the Multnomah County Library; 12/18/18-12/27/18
Why did I read this? This is the January selection of the Corner Reading Society which will be meeting at our house next Saturday for dinner, discussion and voting.
Two unassuming and humble brothers who were bicycle manufacturers became the first men to fly in a motorized flying machine and started a revolution in transportation. When they put their minds to something they made it happen, and they did not do it for glory or riches but to accomplish their goal As much as this is the story of two brothers it is also the story of a supportive family, especially Oroville and Wilbur’s father and sister, Katherine. The brothers failed at several attempts but learned from each of those failures and built what they needed to be successful. They even built a miniature wind tunnel to design the best shape for the wings of their plane. This was a most impressive biography in that it was both concise and complete, not veering off on too many tangents, however it provides a good telling of the context of the times and circumstances surrounding the Wright Brothers.
What is with the title of the review? It has only been 116 years since the Wright Brothers made their first flight and in that time humans have flown around the world, accomplished all kinds of records, (unfortunately) militarized the airship, and even flown to the moon.
The Guilty by David Baldacci; 2015; $28.00; 420 pages; Grand Central Publishing; New York, NY; 978-1-4555-8642-4; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Technical Services; 12/13/18-12/17/18
Why did I read this? Because I really like David Baldacci as a storyteller and am trying to read as many of his books as I can.
Will Robie is a United States government sanctioned hit man, who is having trouble completing the tasks he is assigned after a assignment involves the accidental taking of an innocent live. Robie mental stability is called into question, mainly by himself, so he decides to take some time off. As he does he finds out that his father has been charged with murder and won’t defend himself. Robie goes to a small town in Mississippi that he left 20 years ago and barely looked back at. He finds himself locked in a fierce argument that began more that 20 years ago when he was a headstrong teenager. As Robie investigates the murder there are so many twists and turns that you will feel like you are on Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride but it is pitch black and you can’t see what is coming. The twists turn Robie upside down and inside out. but help he and his father work through their problems.
What is with the title of the review? Will Robie’s father is a retired Marine, who is very similar to Pat Conroy’s Great Santini and like Santini changes later in his life.
The Wizard of Foz, Dick Fosbury’s One Man High Jump Revolution by Dick Fosbury with Bob Welch; 2018; $24.99; 262 pages; Skyhorse Publishing, New York, NY; 978-1-5107-3619-1; checked out from Multnomah County Library,Central; 12/3/18-12/13/18
Why did I read this? Because Dick Fosbury is from Oregon and he (and some lesser known folk) revolutionized one event in track and field.
One day at Medford High School (that is in Oregon) a teenager tried something different to get over the high jump bar. He did it because he wanted to stay on the track team and wasn’t having much success with the traditional straddle method. From 1965 to 1968 he went from barely being on his high school track to setting national, world and Olympic records. He made the 1968 Olympic Team beating out more established high jumpers and won the Gold Medal in the High Jump at the Mexico City games. Some of the events at the ’68 Olympics opened his eyes to racism and affected him when he returned to Oregon State University after the Olympics. Now most , if not all, high jumpers go over the bar in the manner of Dick Fosbury, creator of the Fosbury Flop. Dick Fosbury has not let this one event define his life as he has gone on to do so much more.
What is with the title of the review? Fosbury is from Medford. Oregon which is where many of my relatives on both sides of my family are from. I have several cousins who also attended Medford High School, My Uncle Floyd and Aunt Jody taught Dick’s parents how to square dance. Fosbury attended Oregon State University and I have a sister who has worked there for twenty years or more. There were people and places in the book that I have met or been too.
The Three Secret Cities by Matthew Reilly; 2018; $26.99; 436 pages; Gallery Books, New York, NY; 978-1-5011-6719-5; checked out from Multmomah County Library, Midland; 12/7/18-12/9/18
Why did I read this? Because it was the only thing that Matthew Reilly hadn’t read yet, plus he is a great storyteller, mixing the fantastical with reality.
Captain Jack West won the contest of champions in Four Legendary Kingdoms and has upset some very powerful people from the past and present. Jack and crew have to find three secret cities (guess that is where the title comes from) and perform specific tasks to prevent a global apocalypse while battling several different groups who want them dead for a variety of reasons. Jack West would make a great movie, but each book is so complicated that you really couldn’t bring them to the screen. Jack and his supporting characters are a great family of characters.
What is with the title of the review? This series started with a seven in the title and we are now down to three, so the next book will be two something.
Where the River Ends by Charles Martin; 2008; $19.95; 375 pages; Broadway Books; New York, NY; 978-0-7679-2698-0; checked out from Multnomah County Library; 12/3/18-12/7/18
Why did I read this? Because I learn something each time I read a Charles Martin book.
An artist from the wrong side of the tracks, (maybe on the wrong side of a couple of sets of tracks), falls in love with a supermodel with an arrogant rich, powerful father. They marry and fall in love and help each other learn about themselves and others. The supermodel comes down with terminal cancer and she and her husband begin to fight in a way that makes absolutely no sense to her powerful senatorial father. One of the items on her bucket list is to canoe down the St. Mary’s River with her husband. As they canoe down the river, they reflect on their lives together as she get progressively closer and closer to entering the final chapter of her. Meanwhile her overbearing father has accused his son in law of kidnapping and more. It is a moving tribute to real love and how that can teach someone what real love is. If you truly love someone what would you do for them?
What is with the title of the review? Every Charles Martin book that I have read has caused me to cry somewhere in the story.
Past Tense by Lee Child; 2018; $28.99; 382 pages; Delacorte Press, New York, NY; 978-0-399-59351-2; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Kenton; 11/30/18-12/3/18
Why did I read this? I am a big fan of Lee Child and his creation, Jack Reacher and try to read them all.
Reacher is trying to get warm and heads for San Diego from New England. He is distracted by a road sign that is for the town his father grew up in. As usual there is trouble wherever Reacher travels. The town where Reachers father grew up is gone, now private property and returned to nature. There are trees growing through the buildings. Meanwhile what is left of Reachers family in the area, has started a hunting refuge for the wealthy. Have to keep it quiet though, they are hunting the poor. People are lured in and then hunted, but Reacher is there to help them. As if that is not enough Reacher has pissed off a mob boss from Boston and he is sending people to take out Reacher. Oh and it appears that Reachers father, whom he thought was dead, may have returned to life. Wow and somehow it all works together, remember Reacher does not look like that little actor that portrayed him and is much tougher than Ethan Hunt.
What is with the title of the review? Gertrude Stein once said of her hometown, “there is no there there”, because the town no longer existed. As Reacher looks for the town his father grew up in, it is no longer there, nature has taken it back.
Everything’s Trash, But it’s Okay by Phoebe Robinson; 2018; $26.00; 324 pages; Plume, New York, NY; 978-0-525-53414-3; checked out from the Multnomah County Library, Hollywood; 11/21/18-11/30/18
Why did I read this? Because I read Ms. Robinson’s first book and laughed a lot, learned a lot and was jolted by some of what I read.
Once again Phoebe Robinson uses her life to teach others about racism, sexism and other isms. She does it while making you laugh and think at the same time. Some of the stuff she tells about makes me angry and wonder how people can be so stupid to believe some of the things they do and do some of the things they do.
What is with the title of the review? The author has a lot of insights into life, with those insights come some good laughs along with some learning.
Long Road to Mercy by David Baldacci; 2018; $29.00; 405 pages; Grand Central Publishing, New York, NY; 978-1-5387-6157-1; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Rockwood; 11/19/18-11/21/18
Why did I read this? Because David Baldacci is a great storyteller and this is the first book in a new series from him.
Atlee Pine is a FBI agent in the middle of nowhere Arizona, but her section of wilderness includes the Grand Canyon National Park. When a mule is found slaughtered at the Phantom Ranch with the initials JK carved into it’s hide and one guest from the Ranch is missing Atlee begins to investigate, however just as she and her Administrative Assistant are starting to look into the case she is mysteriously called off the case and a couple of Park Service Rangers are reassigned to another Park. Atlee and Carol, the aforementioned Assistant, decide to investigate off the record. As they do witnesses are mysteriously kidnapped or killed. Their investigation takes them across the country and to the bottom of the Grand Canyon before they uncover a conspiracy that threatens to involve the United States in another war. Along with this case Atlee is also dealing with a childhood trauma. The author surrounds Atlee Pine with a strong set of supporting characters including Carol and Sam, a former Special Forces soldier turned Park Ranger.
What is with the title of the review? I think there are always some people in our government who would like the U.S. to be involved in a war so that it would line their pockets.
Hope Never Dies by Andrew Shaffer;2018; $14.99; 301 pages; Quirk Books, Philadelphia, PA; 978-1-68369-039-9; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Albina; 11/16/18-11/19/18
Why did I read this? It really appealed to my sense of humor.
Joe Biden’s friend Amtrak Conductor, Finn Donnelly, was found on an Amtrak railroad track. Biden begins to investigate and starts to find clues to his death. Barack Obama shows up with his Secret Service detail of one, Steve and begins to assist him. As they did deeper we find out many levels of the First Bromance. The story is a fun telling of good friends who have fallen apart for awhile when circumstances change. As they work together they rekindle their bromance and solve the cast.
What is with the title of the review? Many people spoke of the bromance between Barack Obama and Joe Biden.
The Target by David Baldacci; 2014; $28.00; 420 pages; Grand Central Publishing, New York; 978-1-455-2120-3; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Troutdale; 11/13/18-11/16/18
Why did I read this? Because I really like to read stories by David Baldacci
Targets keep moving and keep changing. Robie and Reel are tasked with several different tasks throughout the story. They travel to France, North Korea, Washington D.C. and Nantucket. They target North Koreans and go to North Korea and freeing prisoners. Meanwhile North Korea is seeking revenge on the United States by targeting those close to the President of the United States. Robie and Reel are dealing with enemies both domestic and foreign on several different levels. They are trying to have some type of a normal life while leading the lives of covert operatives.
What is with the title of the review? Jessica Reel and Will Robie are trying to live semi normal lives when their occupation intrudes.