Our view

pt surAdventures at Pt. Sur by Carol O’Neil; 2002; $9.99; 58 pages; Central Coast Lighthouse Keepers, Carmel, CA; 0-9722763-0-0;purchased at Big Sur River Inn General Store, June 10,2013; 4/17/15-4/17/15

That picture below the book cover was our families view out our front room window at the Point Sur Naval Facility.  The NavFac was 5 miles north of Big Sur and about 30 miles south of Carmel. On the far right of the rock is the Pt. Sur lighthouse you can also see what used to be the keepers houses.  Now that I’ve covered that let me tell you about the book.  The story is about the son of one of the lighthouse keepers who moved onto the rock in 1905.  It tells of his adventures on and around Pt. Sur.  It is an entertaining light story that doesn’t take long to read.

Grade C

Did I enjoy it?  Yes I just thought it was way too short and too simple.

What is with the title of the review?  The last place my Dad was stationed in the U.S. Navy was at the Point Sur Naval Facility and Pt. Sur Lighthouse was our view.

Troubled from the start

sniperAmerican Sniper, The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History by Navy SEAL Chris Kyle with Scott McEwen and Jim DeFelice; 2012; $9.99; 430 pages; purchased from Amazon.com; 4/16/15-4/17/15

The memoirs of the United States most prolific sniper in military history.  At points, as all military service seems to be, devastating, deplorable and humorous.   Chris Kyle had his priorities which seem out of kilter to me and to a few others in his life and those priorities are what drove him.  I do not think he set out to set any kind of record. I do not think that he took pleasure in killing others, he did what he thought was necessary to protect his brothers in arms. I do think that he put in himself in harms way without considering the consequences for his family in the United States.  His priorities were God, Country and Family in that order, which to me is out of whack, I believe more in God, Family (blood and otherwise) and somewhere behind those two would be country.  I think that Chris believed more in the God of the Old Testament who sanctioned genocide and destruction to protect his people than the merciful God of the New Testament.


Did I enjoy it?  No but that is a good thing.  I have always said that any good war story is an anti war story.  Any story that exposes those of us who have not experienced the horrors of war to them is a good story.  Perhaps it will convince us to the wastefulness of war.

What is with the title of the review?  If Peter Gould had not recommended this I would have not gotten past the second page.  Chris Kyles’ portrayal of all Iraqis as savages, was to me, too stereotypical.  Just remember one mans terrorist is another mans freedom fighter.


From Mulan to Tienanmen Square and beyond

The Emperor’s Tomb by Steve Berry; 2010; $26.00; 436 pages; Ballantine Books, New York, NY; 978-0-345-50549-1; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Troutdale; 4/13/15-4/15/15

Cotton, Cassiopeia, Stephanie Nell and many others get sucked into the internal politics of China as a transition of  power is about to take place.  At stake are the lives of friends of Cassiopeia and the future direction of the most populous nation in the world.  Ranging from Copenhagen to Russia to all parts of China and involving intelligence agencies from the three most powerful countries on the planet.  At the heart of the book is the question is oil a resource that can be exhausted or does the earth continually manufacture it.

Grade A

Did I enjoy it?  Yes I like the Steve Berry mixes historical fact with fiction to make an exciting modern-day story with lots of action but firmly grounded in reality.

What is with the title of the review?  The action spans from ancient China to unrest in its recent past and into the future.


Huh, what’s all the hoopla

gunslingerThe Gunslinger, The Dark Tower 1 by Stephen King; 1982; $18.00; 231 pages; Plume Books, New York, NY; 978-0-452-28469-2; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Sellwood; 4/10/15-4/13/15

This is a series by the man I consider to be America’s finest contemporary storyteller, but I can confused by this book.  It is a story of the gunslinger pursuing the Man in Black across a desert wasteland that is reminiscent of the United States after an apocalyptic event.  There are several layers to the story and every character seems to have a different set of memories with very little in common.  The gunslinger encounters a young boy, a woman running an old west saloon complete with piano player, mutant mole people and visions.  I am hoping that the second book in the series helps this one make sense.


Did I enjoy it?  Only because I know how many people like it and the fact that Stephen King wrote it.  The story didn’t make much sense to me.

What is with the title of the review?  I went into this with the idea that this would be much better than it turned out to be, it seemed to be a muddled mess to me.


A spoonful of sugar

strunk and whiteThe Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White; 2000; $9.95; 105 pages; Longman, New York, NY; 0-0205-30902-X; purchased from Multnomah County Library, Title Wave Used Bookstore; 4/8/15-4/9/15

I had avoided this little volume for years because I thought it was just a list of rules to a Writer (there is a great deal of sarcasm in that one word, but it is hard for me to convey on the page.)  However one of my volunteers, a former English teacher, found a copy on the shelf at the Title Wave and presented it to me.  I picked it up as I am trying to get through the stack of books that are on my shelf here at home.  It was an enjoyable book to read as the rules were filled with examples and humorous notes .


Did I enjoy it?  Yes and learned much from it.  I will have it with me whenever I am writing and will reread it to make that I remember what it says.

What is with the title of the review?  A book that is a list of rules could be boring, but through the examples and humor that accompanied the rules it made it palatable.

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