Weight Loss and Fireworks

Elevation by Stephen King; 2018; $19.99; 146 pages; Scribner, New York, NY; 978-1-9821-0231-9; checked out from the Multnomah County Library, Holgate; 11/2/18-11/4/18

Why did I read this?  It is the latest from a great American storyteller, I would like to read most of his works.  Although I still think I will skip Gerald’s Game and Dolores Clairborne.

Scott Carey is looking a little overweight but according to the scale he is losing weight.  No matter what he wears or has in his pockets he weighs the same as he does with nothing on.  He continues to lose weight as he helps some other members of his community become a bigger part of the community.  The real story here is about tolerance, Scott and his weight loss is the framework for that story.  The relationships in the story and well drawn and make for engaging characters.


What is with the title of the review?  Weight loss is the hook for the story of tolerance in this book, as for the fireworks you’ll have to read it to find out.



And now I know

The Bone and Sinew of the Land, America’s Forgotten Black Pioneers & The Struggle For Equality by Anna-Lisa Cox; 2018; $28.00; 280 pages; Public Affairs, New York, NY; 978-1-61039-810-7; Checked out from Multnomah County Library, Gresham; 10/26/18-11/2/18

Why did I read this? I read a good review of it somewhere.

In the early 1800’s many people of African descent moved to the Northwest Territories (Ohio, Indiana, Illinois) and started farms.  At the time they had equal rights with the white settlers and the African men even had the right to vote.  However over the years the whites began to roll back the rights of these people by imposing bonds on the people, taking away the right to vote and imposing segregation.  The book goes beyond the farmers and sets the context of what was going on around them.  Much of the attitudes are being seen again today.  Many of the actions of the people of that day are reflected in the actions of people today.


What is with the title of the review?  I learned a bunch of stuff by reading this.  Stuff I didn’t know.  Now I know.

Find out who your friends are

Hell’s Corner by David Baldacci; 2010; $27.99; 438 pages; Grand Central Publishing , New York, NY; 978-0-446-19552-2; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Library Outreach Services; 10/24/18-10/26/18

Olive Stone (no not the director) is being forgiven of his sins by the President of the United States, with a condition of course.  The British Prime Minister seems to have been the target of a bomb in Lafayette Park.  Stone is assigned an MI-6 agent to track down who is responsible for the attempt.  HOWEVER, it seems there is more at play here than a simple assassination attempt as Stone and his associate are stymied at many turns.  Stone reluctantly accepts the help of his friends in the Camel Club to figure out what is going on.


What is with the title of the review?  Oliver Stone is a man of few friends and he feels protective of them, so he doesn’t want to involve them in his troubles, but then he finds out that is when friends are the most important.

every white person in the United States (at least) should read this

White Fragility, Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin Diangelo, foreword by Michael Eric Dyson; 2018; $15.99; 168 pages; Beacon Press, Boston, MA; 978-0807474-15; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Midland; 10/19/18-10/24/18

Why did I read this?  Because race relations are at an all time low in this country and we need to talk about them.  I sometimes have a hard talking about race from my place of white male privilege and want to continue learning and making things better.

White people many times think of themselves as individuals instead of as members of a large group of people (with an oversize power) and therefore considers themselves innocent of racism.  Also we have set up a system where as people who are committing acts of racism are bad people and those who do not commit bad acts are good.  Many of those who don’t commit blatant acts or verbalize their racism are often just as guilty.  We as whites have gone along with a system that continually is prejudiced against people of color.  I am not saying this well but I think that needs to read this and see how they have been complicit in the racism that exist in this country.


What is with the title of the review?  I think this is one of the most important books that I have ever read and I believe that all white people should read it.

zombies and more

Chaos of Hard Clay, An Anthology of Post-Apocalyptic Fiction Edited by G. Allen Cook and Kathy Cook; 2018; $14.99; 348 pages; Banjaxed Books; gift from one of the authors; 10/14/18-10/19/18

Why did I read this?  One of the authors is a friend of mine, and I previously reviewed his first book.

As with almost any anthology there is a wide gamut of quality in the stories.  I was impressed by many of the stories.  There were a wide variety of stories, survivors, sci-fiction, aliens, zombies and more.  David Henderson’s was impressive and had an ending that I did not see coming.


What is with the title of the review?  Because this is an anthology there are a wide variety of subjects, actually zombies are the least represented.



this is why we have OSHA

The Radium Girls, The Dark Story of America’s Shining Women by Kate Moore; 2017; $26.99; 479 pages; Sourcebooks, Naperville, IL; 978-1-4926-4935-9; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Fairview; 10/10/18-10/14/18

Why did I read this? This is the Corner Reading Society’s November selection.

In the early 1900’s and into World War I luminous dials were popular on watches and in airplane instruments.  The luminosity came from paint with radium in it.  The young women, some as young as 14 were instructed to point their paint brushes by putting the brushes in their mouths.  Many of the women’s teeth began to fall out and their jaws also began to fall out, many of them also developed sarcoma’s in different areas of their bodies.  The companies they worked for knew of the dangers involved but never informed the women. They also denied it when reports began to be made public.  It took several lawsuits for the companies to accept responsibility and be held financially responsible for the medical bills.  Many of the women did not make it out of their twenties before they died.  Their demise and the companies corruption begat OHSA.

10/10, the strength of this book is that the author concentrated on the human aspect of the story.  She vividly brought to life the young women, their families and the despicable businessmen who refused to acknowledge their culpability.

What is with the title of the review?  One of the things that came out of what happened to The Radium Girls was the formation of the Occupational Health and Safety Administration.

i’ve missed a few things

Depth of Winter by Craig Johnson; 2018; $28.00; 292 pages; Viking, New York, NY; 978-0-525-52247-8; checked out from Multnomah County Library, North Portland; 10/8/18-10/10/18

Why did I read this?  Because I have been reading this series from both ends, the beginning and the newest.  And this is the very newest in the series.

Longmire is on his own as he goes into Mexico to retrieve his daughter Cady from a despicable narcolord who has kidnapped her.  He and his men upset Longmire’s small town in Wyoming and caused grievous injury to his family.   Longmire has assembled a rag tag team to assist in his rescue attempt.  Craig Johnson incorporates the indigenous population and their culture into the story.  Everything you would expect  in a Longmire story.


What is with the title of the review?   I have read several of the books at the beginning of the series and the newest two books.  There are evidently somethings I have missed in the interim.


Is this where we are headed?

Vox by Christina Dalcher; 2018;$26.00; 326 pages; Berkley, New York, NY; 978-0-440-00078-5; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Hillsdale; 10/3/18-10/8/18

Why did I read this?  Because I read a good review of it, somewhere.

Women have been entirely removed from the work force, they are restricted to one hundred words a day.  Their words are counted by an electronic monitoring bracelet that acts as a shock collar if they surpass their mandated limit.  Young girls are taught that the letters of the alphabet are bad and aren’t taught to read.  Only the males in a household are allowed to read, books are locked up.  Those who are homosexual are either force to marry someone of the opposite or go to a work camp where they are housed in a cell with someone of the opposite sex.  Women who commit adultery are forced to become sex workers for the powerful.

All of this is done by order of the patriarchy in the U.S. Government at the behest of an “evangelical” pastor who has the ear and the mind of the president.  Those who protest are jailed or killed.  The president’s brother suffers a head injury which causes him to suffer aphasia , a problem of speaking and understanding speech.  The leading scientist researching this syndrome are women who are offered all kinds of incentives to come to work on the problem and help the president’s brother.  They discover that they are a part of a program that would also create a way to cause aphasia in women and those who oppose the government.  Their team manages to make a serum that will cause aphasia and manage to get it into the water supply of the president and his cabinet.

9/10, I didn’t like the ending.  The whole story was about the main character, a woman, but in the end a man had to step in and save her and become a martyr.

What is with the title of the review?  After the Supreme Court confirmation hearing and the #Metoo movement it seems that the patriarchal government is trying to mute the voices of women.




Johnny Horton sang about it

Formula of Deception by Carrie Stuart Parks; 2018; $15.99; 303 pages; Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, TN; 978-0-71808385-4; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Midland; 9/3/0/18-10/3/18

Why did I this?  Somewhere I read a good review of this.

Murphy has moved to Kodiak, Alaska seeking clues to the murder of her twin sister.  She finds several clues and also discovers that her sister’s killer has escaped from prison in Alaska.  Murphy manages to get a job as a forensic artist with a local department through a little bit of deception and some lies of omission.  She gets involved with a cold case that leads to some of the most important members of the community.  As she investigates more and more, the bodies start to pile up.  As the story climaxes a twist comes out of absolutely nowhere, there are no clues that I saw coming that leads to this reveal. I rated it an 8 of 10 because to me it seemed that the author didn’t know how to end the story and made an inexplicable conclusion.


What is with the title of the review? Johnny Horton sang a great song, North to Alaska, which is where this story takes place.



He did it again!

Wrapped in Rain, A Novel of Coming Home by Charles Martin’; 2005; $14.99; 317 pages; Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, TN; 978-0-7852-6182-7; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Hollywood; 9/28/18-9/30/18

Why did I read this? Because Charles Martin is my second favorite author, just behind Pat Conroy.

Tucker Rain is an award winning globe trotting photographer who had a horrendous childhood.   He and his brother Matt, were raised by an old African American woman because their father did nothing but drink and beat and ignore the three of them. After he grows up he starts photographing things all over the world, and attains a measure of success.  His brother Matt however is an institution and heavily medicated.  One night Tucker comes a woman and her son who are obviously running from something.  Just as he offers to help them his brother escapes the institution. After Tucker brings his brother home, things become more and more difficult yet fulfilling.


What is with the title of the review?  Once again Charles Martin has made me cry while reading one of his books.



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