Conversations with the Conroys, Interviews with Pat Conroy and his Family by Walter Edgar

Conversations with the CONROYS, Interviews with Pat Conroy and His Family by Walter Edgar; 2015; 96 pages; University of South Carolina Press, Columbia, SC; checked out from Portland State University Library through the Interlibrary Loan Program; 3/26/16-3/27/16

Why did I read this?  With the death of Pat Conroy on March 4th, I wanted to read some thing that I hadn’t read of him.

This is several interviews with Pat Conroy and three of his brothers during a couple of events in South Carolina.  Missing are sister Carol and brother Tom, Carol because she is estranged from the rest of the family and Tom, who has passed away.  It is interesting to see the interplay between the siblings and how they speak about Pat and their parents.  It would be interesting if Pat had written a book where he didn’t romanticize his mother, which he admits he did.  The afterword by Nikky Finney has some beautiful words about Pat.

Grade A



What is Patriotism?

meltzerThe President’s Shadow by Brad Meltzer; 2015; $28.00; 401 pages; Grand Central Publishing, New York, NY; 978-0-446-55393-3; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Northwest; 7/8/15-7/10/15

A severed arm is found in the White House’s Rose Garden, with something clutched in its hand another arm is found at Camp David with something clutched  in its hand.  The President decides that he needs the help of Beecher from the National Archives and the Culpepper Ring to defeat some people who mean to bring harm to the Presidency and perhaps the nation.  In the course of the investigation Beecher discovers some disquieting things about his family, his friends, his hometown, and his government.  A great mix of the beginning of the country, recent history and current events.  Beecher and his pals are geniuses in different areas of history and other areas that come in  handy during the investigation and conflict.

Grade A

Did I enjoy it?  Yes, I did it is an exciting combination of history, modern adventure and learning about family and friends.

What is with the title of the review?  Howard Zinn said ” Patriotism is not obedience to the government.  Patriotism is obedience to the principles for which the government is supposed to stand.”  Some of that comes into play here.


Theme song by Sister Sledge

Michael Vey, Hunt For Jade Dragon by Richard Paul Evans; 2014; $18.99; 319 pages; Mercury Ink, New York, NY; 978-1-4814-2438-7; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Northwest; 2/15/15-2/17/15

Michael Vey and the Electroclan are recovering after the Battle of the Ampere when they are sent to Taiwan to rescue Jade Dragon.  She is an autistic savant who has come up with a formula that the Elgen covet so they can make more electric children.  Before they undertake the mission they are reunited with their families and have some r&r at a ranch somewhere in the Southwest.  They recruit a new member to the Electroclan who had been a enemy previously to help them rescue Jade Dragon.  They are captured and escape learning new powers and new languages.  They rescue Jade Dragon and get some bad news, which will start the next book.


Did I enjoy it?  Yes, Evans has crafted another exciting with a theme of family at its core.  Each of the Electroclan is tight with family in some shape.

What is with the title of the review?   A theme that has run through all of the Michael Vey books is family.  Family is not just blood.  Sister Sledge had a hit with the song We Are Family in 1979.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer is Michael Vey’s Mom

Michael Vey, Battle of the Ampere by Richard Paul Evans; 2013; $17.99; 307 pages; Mercury Ink, New York, NY; 978-1-4424-7511-3; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Troutdale; 2/2/15-2/4/15

Michael Vey and the Electroclan have successfully rescued Michael’s mother and some of the other electric children from a Elgen camp in Peru.  Michael escapes into the jungle where he meets up with another of the electric children and a member of a group that opposes the Elgen.  The action is non stop and moving.  Michael and the Electroclan are able to take a measure of revenge against the Elgen for the loss of one of their own.

Did I enjoy it?   Yes it was a exciting read and an emotional roller coaster that caused me to get choked up a few times.


What is with the title of the review?  At one point Michael Vey remembers something his mother said, “All evil needs to triumph is for good people to do nothing.”  This is a quote that I have seen attributed to Dietrich Bonhoeffer.


The Residue Years by Mitchell S. Jackson; 2013; $26.00; 346 pages; Bloomsbury, New York; Fiction; 978-1-62040-028-9; purchased from Multnomah County Library Title Wave Used Bookstore; 12/11/14-12/15/14

Two people, two stories that interlock.  The story of Champ a young African American man in Northeast Portland and his mother,Grace.  Champ is going to Portland State University, dealing, trying to take care of his family and start his own family.  His mother is trying to stay clean, take care of her sons, do it on her own and deal with her ex who is attempting to gain sole custody of their sons.  Each chapter is a monologue from either Champ or Grace about what they are going through.


Did I enjoy it?  I was a little reluctant reading the first chapter but the story is so engaging and the characters are so well written that I was really drawn into the story.  The story is told in a vernacular that I was not familiar with but it was very easy to understand after a chapter or so.  This is a really engaging set in an area of the city that I am familiar with.  I will be strongly promoting this book next year when it is the Multnomah County Everybody Reads book.

What is with the title of the review?  Once I got into the story I was absolutely blown away by the story and totally engaged in the story.