Sunday, February 21, 2016

A MAN CALLED OVE by Fredrik Backman

Finished Su 2/21/16

February 2016 selection Contemporary Book Club

Goodreads link-

author's page-

Because of a snowstorm that never really materialized, Ann cancelled the regular meeting and postponed it until the next Wednesday. I was sick with a bad cold, and I emailed her that I would not be attending. I think that this is the only meeting I've missed in all the years that I've been a member.

And, this might be my most favorite book out of all the ones that we've read.

Wealth, Poverty and Politics: An International Perspective by Thomas Sowell

Finished Sa 2/20/16

Author's page at wikipedia-

Link to an excellent critical review-

Link to Leo Strauss University of Chicago


Finished Th 2/18/16

This is one of my books and I picked it up after reading POLYMATH by John Brunner.

Aliens/celestial creatures are referred to as 'the owners' by the protagonist, Godwin Harpinshield, but 'who' or 'what' they are is never addressed.

My Guess-

'Owners' cannot experience feeling and vicariously live through the humans under their psychic control. This is the Faustian Deal, the humans get their wishes fulfilled and the aliens/celestial creatures get insight into a human inner life.

Godwins senses that this relationship is very close to that of a human owner and his pet.

Godwin was a drunk and an addict when he connects with his 'owner' and his 'wish' is to become a man of leisure, and that's what he gets.

Although the book is utterly captivating, it was a bit hard to get into, but well worth the effort. I bought this hardback novel in Champaign after the Overlooked Film Festival in April of 2002. The first time through, I only skimmed it, but this time I really dug it.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

POLYMATH by John Brunner

"Planet-Builders Dare Not Fail"

Finished Mo 2/15/16

This is one of my paperbacks that I had never read. After reading, it has become one of my favorite Brunner novels;  short, sweet, and makes a thoughtful impression. Can easily be read in a couple of sittings.

The theme examines how a society can avoid foolish or insane policies. This is projected within the bounds of a Space Opera. Two space ships have crash landed on a marginally inhabitable planet. One group focuses on  repairing a hopelessly broken ship while the other, forgoes escape, and tries to adapt to the environment.

Lex has only finished part of his training to become a full-fledged polymath.  He has been surgically enhanced on the home planet, but a polymath's role is to rule a planet, but this takes nearly two decades of study. Polymath- a person of great learning in several fields of study.

When the two groups meet in a violent confrontation, Lex takes the 'non-violent' course.

Interesting sexual/lesbian sub-plot

From Wikipedia-

A spacecraft filled with refugees from a cosmic catastrophe crash-lands on an unmapped planet. There the survivors must face the reality of their precarious situation; the ship was lost and little had been salvaged from it. Everything comes to depend on one bright young man accidentally among them, a trainee planet-builder, Lex ("polymath"). While it would have been his job to oversee all aspects of establishing a successful colony he faces major difficulties; not only is his education incomplete, he had been studying a vastly different planet.
Two ships escaped the catastrophe. One lands in the jungle in a mountainous area. The other, with the polymath, lands on water, allowing the passengers just enough time to escape the sinking ship. With his education incomplete, he is faced with an array of problems he needs to overcome, in order to ensure the survival, of not only the passengers from his ship, but those on the lost ship as well, who are under the control of a despotic captain determined to get back into space.

Customer Reviews at Amazon-

Friday, February 12, 2016

MYSTERY by Peter Straub

Finished Fr 2/12/16

I read three-quarters of FLOATING DRAGON (my paperback) and ordered the three novels of The Blue Rose Trilogy from the library (Koko, Throat, Mystery).

They are all well-written, but I found MYSTERY a little too over-wrought. I loved his style, but the 'mystery' was so convoluted and confusing that I didn't really know who did what to who. But, Tom Pasmore was one hell of a guy, and so was The Shadow, Lamont Von Heilitz.

This link to wikipedia is absolutely necessary!

I'm going to return the books to the library, and keep an eye out for Koko. I know that I have a copy of this somewhere.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

MR. MERCEDES by Stephen King

Finished Tu  2/2/16

I picked this novel up at the library when I was at the last meeting of the Contemporary Book Club. Several of the members had read it and said that it was the first of a trio of books by KIng dealing with one character, a serial killer. I finished it on the morning of the installation of my new storm door off the breezeway. They installed all of the windows on Monday.

I enjoyed the novel and was kind of surprised that it was just a thriller. There were no elements of the supernatural which are generally featured in most of King's works.

LInk to wikipedia-