The Gulf, The Making of an American Sea by Jack E. Davis; 2017;$17.95; 592 pages; Liveright Publishing Corporation, New York, NY; 978-1-63149-402-4; Checked out from Multnomah County Library, St. Johns; 7/7/18-7/11/18 and 9/8/18-9/23/18

Why did I read this?  Because in 2016 I decided that I was going to read the five books that win the Pulitzer Prize. This is the 2018 Pulitzer Prize winner for History.

This covers the history of the Gulf of Mexico from the Big Bang to about 2015.  It covers everything from fisheries, tourism, oil, and much more.  It covers almost every acre of land that is touched by the waters of Gulf of Mexico.  It presents how man has influenced so many parts of the life in the Gulf, not just what they have actually done in the Gulf, but what their actions on the Mississippi River, the Rio Grande and other rivers that feed into the Gulf.  How canals and other waterways that have been cut into the deltas, how jetty’s and levees upriver have affected life in the Gulf. It is a very complete history of the Gulf of Mexico.


What is with the title of the review?  James Michener  was well known for his novels beginning before the history of the world actually began going to the time of the end of the novel.




I almost made it

Chasing Fireflies, A Novel of DIscovery by Charles Martin; 2007; $14.99; 340 pages; Thomas Nelson, Nashville, TN; 978-1-59554-325-7; purchased from SmileAmazon.com; 9/5/18-9/8/18

Why did I read this?  Because Charles Martin is a gifted storyteller who moves me and makes me think.

One day a drunk woman kicks a ten year old boy out of a car before driving in front of a train killing herself.  He becomes a ward of the state and is taken into a foster home.  A reporter who grew in that same foster home is assigned to find out what is going on with the mute boy who is an awesome artist.  In cooperation with the agent assigned to the boy they begin to fill in his background.  At the same time the reporters cousin comes back from Hollywood and seek a change in her life.  There is another mystery from the past that also plays into the story.

Charles Martin has woven a wonderful parable of a Father’s love into a couple of mysteries that made me think about my own life and how it affects those around us.


What is with the title of the review?  This is the fifth book by Charles Martin that I have read and I made it 3/4 of the way through this one before I cried.  I have cried some in every book by Charles Martin that I have read.  I believe that each of his books is a parable and they make me about my own life.



Unoffendable, How Just One Change Can Make All of Life Better by Brant Hansen; 2015; $15.99; 201 pages; W Publishing Company, Nashville, TN; 978-0-5291-2385-5; purchased to read with Fellowship Group from Shepherd’s Gate Church; 1/15/18-8/23/18

Why did I read this?  Our fellowship group at church is reading this together and discussing it.  We have been meeting and discussing two chapters twice a month.  We took the summer off and I decided to just finish it and I will go back and reread the chapters as they come up.

Brant Hansen posits that we have no right to get angry.  This is directed at those who say they follow Christ, but is a wise choice.  What if we didn’t get offended, what if we simply loved everyone.  Brant makes the argument much better that I can even begin to.  He also makes more sense than I just did.  This book holds the possibility of being life changing.

10/10, written in a witty conversational style that makes a great deal of sense.

fact is stranger than fiction

The Golden Spruce, A True Story of Myth, Madness and Greed by John Vaillant; 2005; $16.95; 255 pages; W.W. Norton, New York, NY; 978-0393-32864-6; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Woodstock; 8/10/18-8/22/18

Why did I read this?  It was recommended by a friend of my sister in law, Dana Paperman, Angela Brown.

Grant Hadwin had worked for years in the logging industry in British Columbia.  He had a knack for knowing just where to put the roads that would allow the logging companies to maximize their ability to clear cut forests.

Growing on an isolated island was a Sitka Spruce that was unlike any other of the trees around it.  For some reason this spruce was golden, when all the trees around it were green.   This tree was storied and sacred to the indigenous people who inhabited the island.  The logging companies had set aside some forest land around the tree so that it would never be logged.

Grant Hadwin began to see the damage his roads were allowing to the forests and became an environmentalist.  He also suffered from paranoia and other mental illnesses.  After putting together supplies and under cover of night he cut the Golden Spruce so that it would topple in the wind.  He said he did these to draw attention to the clear cutting of so many forests.  He was supposedly unaware of the spiritual connection the tribe had to the tree.  He was due to appear in court to face charges in connection with the cutting of the tree, but he disappeared and hasn’t been seen since 1997.

10/10, John Vaillant does a great job of melding history, politics, logging and more.  Probably one of the best books I have read this year.

What is with the title of the review?  There is so much here that has to be factual because you could make it up and make it make sense.

A voice I can relate to

My Exaggerated Life by Pat Conroy as told to Katherine Clark; 2018; $29.99; 330 pages; The University of South Carolina Press, Columbia, South Carolina; 978-1-6117-907-1; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Central; 8/6/18-8/11/18

Why did I read this?  Because Pat Conroy will always be my favorite author and I wanted to hear a little less fictionalized of his life that he has exaggerated and added to in his novels.

Pat Conroy in a series of telephone conversations with the author explains his life.   There are many things I can relate to in his recollections, like moving so much, being the new kid, being subject to military regulations just because my parent was in the military and other things.  This is an engaging look at the life of one of the best writers of my lifetime.


What is with the title of the review?  There is so much of Pat Conroy’s life and experience that I can relate to, that he could be my voice on many things.


i want to be this kind of leader

A Higher Loyalty, Truth, Lies and Leadership by James Comey; 2018;$29.99; 290 pages; Flatiron Books, New York, NY; 978-1-250-19245-5; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Rockwood; 8/2/18-8/6/18

Why did I read this?  I heard him on NPR’s Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me and he seemed like a personable person with a sense of humor and a ethical style of leadership.

Comey had me in his authors’ note with this paragraph; I don’t love criticism, but I know I can be wrong, even when I am certain I am right. Listening to others who disagree with me and are willing to criticize me is essential to piercing the seduction of certainty.  Doubt, I’ve learned is wisdom.  And the older I get, the less I know for certain.  Those leaders who never think they are wrong, who never question their judgments or perspectives, are a danger to the organizations and people they lead.  In some cases, they are a danger to the nation and the world.”

He lays out his life and why he took certain steps in his life.  Some had to do with being at gunpoint in his own home at the age of sixteen.  Others had to with lessons he learned on how to be a boss from some people who leaders in places he worked early on.  His belief in right and wrong and how to best be a boss are what made him a good boss.  His belief that the law is right and that there are ethical and moral ways to do things brought him into conflict with those in office, in all three administrations that he served in.


What is with the title of the review?  After having read this I can appreciate Comeys’ style of leadership and would be willing to work under and to strive and be this kind of leader.