finding your family

The Innocent by David Baldacci; 2012; $27.99; 422 pages; Grand Central Publishing, New York, NY; 978-0-466-57299-6; checked out from Multnomah County Library; Hollywood; 7/13/18-7/14/18

Why did I read this?  Because David Baldacci is a great thriller storyteller and I am working my way through his various series and this is the first book in a series I haven’t read yet.

Will Robie is an assassin for the United States government, taking about people who are threats to the United States.  He is given a mission that he refuses to carry out to kill a US government employee and her children.  Once he refuses to carry out the assignment he is targeted and has to go on the run.  As he begins his run he encounters a fourteen year old girl who is also on the run.  Someone is also trying to kill her, Robie saves her and then they team up to solve two mysteries that end up being connected.  Will is an orphan as is she, and together they become somewhat of a family along with an FBI agent who becomes embroiled in the case.



Leave out chapter 128

The President is Missing by Bill Clinton and James Patterson; 2018; $30.00; 513 pages; Little, Brown and Company & Alfred A. Knopf, New York, NY; 978-0-316-41269-8; checked out from Multnomah County Library, North Portland; 7/11/18-7/13/18

Why did I read this?  Because it seemed like an interesting pairing of authors.

The President hear seems to be a composite of John McCain, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton.  The President gets advance word of a cyber attack against the United States that completely cripple the country.  To deal with it the President must go underground to work out who is behind the attack and how to combat it.  At the same time he has to figure who in his cabinet and inner circle has been engaging in treasonous behavior.  It is an exciting thriller with little politics, except for the long speech to a joint session of Congress in chapter 128.


less is not necessarily more

Less by Andrew Sean Greer; 2017; $26.00; 260 pages; A Lou Boudreaux Book; New York, NY; 978-0-316-31612-5; checked out from the Multnomah County Library, Troutdale; 7/2/18-7/7/18

Why did I read this?  That is a question I have been asking myself ever since I finished it.  The only reason I read it was it won the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for fiction.

Okay, an aging mid level writer is suffering a mid life crisis as his young lover prepares to marry.  He decides to accept invitations to various parts of the world for conferences to avoid the wedding.  He travels to Germany, Italy, Mexico, India and Japan for all kinds of various literary reasons.  I can’t find anything I liked about the book, even after it was pointed out that some think it is a satirical look at the literary world.


reading in two parts

Stamped From The Beginning, The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi; 2016; $32.99; 515 pages; Nation Books, New York, NY: 978-1-56858-463-8; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Troutdale; 4/26/18-5/8/18 & 6/30/18-7/2/18

Why did I read this? I wanted to read a complete history of the United States racist ideas.  So many times I tended to think they began with the advent of slavery in the United States and that the racism was predominantly in the Southern United States.

Ibram Kendi shows how anti Black racism (and other isms)  predate even the founding of the United States.  He traces the racism using cultural touch points (people) to show how racist ideas we either cemented or fought against my multiple people in the history of the United States.   Cotton Mather, Thomas Jefferson, William Lloyd Garrison, W.E.B. Du Bois and Angela Davis are the people he uses to trace  the history of racism in the United States and show how prevalent is in the United States.  It would be interesting to see this book in another 10 or 15 years with chapters focusing on how racism in currently expanding its public face in the United States.  The most recent election seems to have released the Kraken of racism and it is trying to devour whatever gets in its way.  This book is a great teaching point and most of those who need to read it most will never hear of it.  This book makes me ashamed of some ideology that i have held in the past.


I met Artie

Singles and Smiles, How Artie Wilson Broke Baseball’s Color Barrier by Gaylon H. White; 2018; 201 pages; Rowman and Littlefield, Lanham, MD; 978-1-5381-0790-4; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Central; 6/22/18-6/26/18

Why did I read this?  Because i knew Artie.  My wife, Ruthann, sewed for his wife, Dottie.  When they would have appointments I would accompany Ruthann and talk baseball with Artie.  He helped our youngest son, David with a report on Jackie Robinson, offering first hand recollections.  He was a true gentleman and it is hard to believe that he left this mortal coil eight years.  I like to think he is in a cornfield in Iowa playing ball with those he never had a chance to play with due to the segregation of sport for so many years.

Artie Wilson loved baseball. When he was 11 or 12 he took a job shining shoes so that he could buy a complete uniform before he was even on a team.  He worked in the steel mills in Birmingham, Alabama and played shortstop for the company team. While there he lost the top of his thumb, so he squeezed a golf ball to strengthen his thumb so that he could properly grip and throw the ball.  He joined the Birmingham Barons of the Negro American League and became one of the best hitters in the league.  He was the cause of a grievance between Bill Veeck of the Cleveland Indians and the New York Yankees.  He made it into a few games for the New York Giants 1951, put was sent to the minors because calling up Willie Mays would mean that there were too many blacks on the team.  Artie played in the Pacific Coast League for years until he was injured, if he could have found a way he would have kept playing.  This is a good account of the life of a good man.  Artie is enshrined in the Pacific Coast League Hall of Fame, the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame, and the Puerto Rico Baseball Hall of Fame.  He won four Pacific Coast League batting titles, he was a four time Negro League All Star selection, he and Piper Davis and considered one of the best double play combinations ever. More than everything else Artie was one hell of a man.