Sunday, December 30, 2012

DEATH IN THE 12TH HOUSE (Where Neptune Rules) by Mitchell Scott Lewis

Finished Su 12/30/12

A Starlight Detective Agency Mystery

My post on Good Reads-

David Lowell is a rich New York City detective who is also an expert on Astrology and uses this ancient 'scientific art?' to help solve crimes. Three aging rock superstars have recently been murdered, and there seems to be a connection. A daughter of one of the dead musicians seeks Lowell's help.

This is the kind of mystery where many of the characters are set up to appear that they might be the killer, and it's up to the reader to figure out who actually 'dunnit'. It's a little to 'Agatha Christie' for me, but what sets this novel apart is that the author is also a 'real' professional astrologer with more than twenty years experience, and uses his ability within the financial and medical communities.

You can read the entire novel in a couple of hours, and there is quite a lot of information about Astrology and the business of Rock 'n' Roll.

Saturday, December 29, 2012


Finished Sa 12/29/12

My post on Good Reads-

This is the third novel about the complex character, Albert Schmidt. I wish that I had read them all in order, but I look forward to reading the second installment, SCHMIDT DELIVERED. The title character is an elegant and knowledgeable man who is plagued by family problems, but he has more money and material possessions that he could ever hope to use. Many might think that he would have no reason to despair, yet Louis Begley deftly makes you part of Schmidt's fractured world, and you really learn to appreciate the oddly colorful and vexing collection of friends and family that make up his life.

I really loved it!

From Publishers Weekly

As the title indicates, the dire situation that Begley's protagonist, elderly, retired Wall Street lawyer Albert Schmidt, found himself in on the final page of About Schmidt resolved itself more happily than readers would have predicted. Now, a few months later, Schmidt is living in Bridgehampton, Long Island, with his beloved Carrie, a bodacious, promiscuous 24-year-old Puerto Rican ex-waitress. Surprisingly, she has refused Schmidt's proposal of marriage, and he is concerned about what the future will bring. So, apparently, are the only two friends he has maintained in the reclusive life he and Carrie maintain. His former Harvard roommate, filmmaker Gil Blackman, and his new, intrusive friend, billionaire Michael Mansour, an Egyptian-Jew, both give him advice on how to hold on to Carrie. (The monstrously egotistical Mansour, meanwhile, offers Carrie a million dollars to sleep with him.) Schmidt's life has other complications. His self-absorbed, truculent daughter, Charlotte, is in trouble and needs money. Charlotte's Jewish husband, Jon Riker, for whom Schmidt had finagled a partnership in his old white-shoe law firm, has been discovered passing secret documents to his lover, and has been fired. Then Carrie, as Schmidt feared, humiliates him with a new liaison. Worse trials are to come, with blows to Schmidt's emotions, pocketbook and self-esteem, and yet he achieves a bittersweet breakthrough of understanding and acceptance. Begley describes the ultra-rich, ultra-sybaritic Hamptons scene with dry relish. He proves adept at depicting sexual activities in Schmidt's bed, and he has a great ear for father-daughter bickering. Schmidt's unconscious anti-Semitism is even more ironic in this chapter of his life, and Begley plays that irony to the hilt. If he also loads the deck, making Mansour too smarmy, Charlotte too stubborn and obtuse, and Carrie unconvincingly angelic yet sluttish, his textured portrait of bewildered Schmidt is a triumph of empathy and compassion.

Monday, December 24, 2012

TRUE BELIEVERS by Kurt Andersen

Finished Mo 12/24/12

Link to Amazon-

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

THE LIFE OF PI by Yann Martel

Finished Tu 12/18/12


Monday, December 17, 2012


Finished Mo 12/17/12

 In the early 1900s, numerous Japanese mail order brides came to America seeking better lives. Otsuka's (When the Emperor was Divine) latest novel paints a delicate, heartbreaking portrait of these women. Using a collective first-person narrator ("On the boat we were mostly virgins."), Otsuka looks at the experiences of these "picture brides," organizing their stories into themes which include: their arrival in America; their first nights with their husbands; their interactions with white people; their children; and finally, the experience of World War II. Each section is beautifully rendered, a delicate amalgam of contrasting and complementary experiences. Readers will instantly empathize with these unnamed women as they adjust to American culture, a remarkable achievement considering Otsuka's use of the collective voice. Otsuka's prose is precise and rich with imagery. Readers will be inspired to draw their own parallels between the experiences of these women and the modern experience of immigration. By the time readers realize that the story is headed toward the internment of the Japanese, they are hopelessly engaged and will finish this exceptional book profoundly moved. 
Publishers Weekly

In eight incantatory sections, The Buddha in the Attic traces their extraordinary lives, from their arduous journey by boat, where they exchange photographs of their husbands, imagining uncertain futures in an unknown land; to their arrival in San Francisco and their tremulous first nights as new wives; to their backbreaking work picking fruit in the fields and scrubbing the floors of white women; to their struggles to master a new language and a new culture; to their experiences in childbirth, and then as mothers, raising children who will ultimately reject their heritage and their history; to the deracinating arrival of war.
In language that has the force and the fury of poetry, Julie Otsuka has written a singularly spellbinding novel about the American dream.

The following is a link where Otsuka talks about writing the novel;

 “There were no picture brides in my family, but it’s a very common first generation story. It’s how thousands of Japanese women came to this country before Asians were excluded altogether in 1924.”

Thursday, December 13, 2012

HAVANA REQUIEM by Paul Goldstein

Finished Th 12/13/12
Cuba/Artist Rights/Buena Vista Social Club/US State Department
Hector Reynoso
Mike Seeley

Link to Amazon

Monday, December 10, 2012

THE NIGHTMARE by Lars Kepler

Finished Mo 12/10/12

Pseudonym for the literary couple from Sweden who wrote THE HYPNOTIST. That book was a selection for the Contemporary Book Club earlier in the year.

Link to Amazon-

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


Finished We 12/4/12

Sunday, December 2, 2012

TRIGGER POINT by Mathew Glass

Finished Su 12/2/12

Top Notch Geo-Political Thriller. Short selling of a bank with a majority holding by the Chinese threatens to repeat the market's nosedive of 2008, and  President Tom Knowles also is involved in a hostage situation in Uganda by a terrorist group called The Lord's Resistance Army who have murdered thirty-two American aid workers.  A US military removal team has some members killed, and others trapped behind enemy lines. Chinese involvement is suspected, and did the Chinese use illegal influence in the stock market to control mid-term elections?

The moral of the tale seems to be that in today's reality, The US and China's actions are inextricably linked, and nothing negative can be done to one without a negative impact on the other.

A thought provoking, and fast-paced read.

My post on Good Reads-

A top-notch geo-political thriller that's thought provoking and hard to put down.

The moral of the tale seems to be that in today's global economic and political reality, The US and China's actions are inextricably linked, and nothing negative can be done to one without a negative impact on the other. The fact that so much of the American stock market is now owned by foreign nations was quite an eye opener! Now, I will always be wondering if volatility in the markets is 'real', the result of American's 'short-selling', or hostile countries trying to influence US policy. 

I can't remember when I have learned so much about the global situation, and been so entertained.