Saturday, April 22, 2017


This is one of my trad paperbacks that I ordered online and received on Sa 9/23/06, and I never had read it.

I finished the book Mo 4/17/17 After my first meeting with Shane Miller about the kitchen renovation/ gutter-soffit projects.

The book is a 'warts and all' portrait of Tom Paine, but it's all fairly accurate. The guy was unhappy, misunderstood, obstreperous, unloved, alcoholic and ugly. But, he was undeniably one of the most important voices of the American revolutionary period.

He was an Englishman and used his connection to Ben Franklin to immigrate to America.

In this book it says that he was a corset maker, but I've read that this is not true. He actually worked with the rope lines used in boat building. The 'corset maker' rumor was started by his enemies.

George Washington was deeply indebted to him for his popular writings that sparked the war, but Washington turned his back on him when Paine was imprisoned by the French.

COMMON SENSE (original title Plain Truth)
(AGRARIAN JUSTICE- His last pamphlet and the first American to advocate for old age pensions for all and a guaranteed basic income)

Tom Paine at wikipedia-

Customer Reviews at amazon-

I liked the book, and although very grim, it is probably an accurate portrayal of the man and his life. Many contemporary 'historians' attempt to make the founding fathers 'saints' and try to portray them as members of today's Protestant Mega Churches. Obviously, Paine was a Socialist even though many on the Right would love to try to shoehorn him into a more Conservative mold. The facts speak for themselves.

Monday, April 17, 2017


This is one of my quality paperbacks that I first finished Tu 5/20/97 after an overtime run to Quincy.  I read to around page 200, and then skimmed to the end.

This time, I finished on Easter Sunday, 4/16/17 after a bike trip to 19th St. and a gathering of The Brandenburg Clan.

The book is a narration of a balding guy of 28 who realizes that he has no future. He's living in a shed attached to his sister's house in London. He suggested this arrangement a couple of years before, and it was only meant to be a temporary situation. His brother in law and his two nephews are sending signals that it's time for him to move on. Although he is a college graduate, he feels that he is economically unable to make it to the middle class. This is his primary motivation- he just wants to have a middle class life.

The book can be viewed as one long diatribe against the rigidity of British class structure.

He works a series of temp jobs, and learns of a way to rob a very posh private bank in central London. One of the temp situations involves delivering cash and checks to this rather secret bank. He has the details of the robbery mapped out in his head, and he slowly reveals 'the plan' as the novel develops.

He has a hot Scottish girlfriend, Suzy, with dynamite abs who will drive the getaway car, The White Mercury.

A friend, Brady, a fan of Quentin Tarantino (especially The Reservoir Dogs) who has ties to revolutionary groups in Ireland. He's going to invest the proceeds of the hit to buy a bar.

And, Chico, a Spanish, muscular friend who will use his cut to buy into a relative's restaurant.

I enjoyed the author's rants about Class Consciousness, but I'm not exactly sure on how the robbery went down.

The book was kind of a letdown, and I'm not surprised that I skimmed to the end the first time through.

The author's page at wikipedia-

Readers' opinions at amazon-

Thursday, April 13, 2017

THE PILOT'S WIFE by Anita Shreve

This is one of my paperbacks and according to the flyleaf I first completed the novel on my motorcycle trip to Wisconsin and Michigan, Sa 9/13/03.

I refinished, Tu 4/11/17 and the reason I selected the book was that I loved ALL HE EVER WANTED which was also written by Anita Shreve.

The storyline-
Kathryn Lyons is married to a commercial pilot, Jack. They have a teenaged daughter, Mattie, and Kathryn is very close to her grandmother, Julia, who raised her after her parents died in an accident.

Early one morning a representative of the pilots union, Robert Hart, arrives at Kathryn's home to inform the family that Jack has died in a plane crash.

Later, the airline finds the 'tapes' and believes that Jack committed suicide and thus caused the deaths of over a hundred passengers on the plane.
Then, Kathryn learns that Jack actually had another family in England. He had married a woman named Muire Boland, and fathered two children, Dieadre, eight, and Dermot, two.

Kathryn and Robert travel to England and Kathryn confronts Muire. She then finds out that not only has Jack been living 'another life', but he is also involved in the Irish conflict. Explosives on the plane are what caused the crash and they were set off to discredit 'the movement'.

A lot of the novel is set at the Lyons home which is on the Atlantic coast in Massachusetts.

This was a compelling novel, but I liked ALL HE EVER WANTED a bit more. I'd still read more by this author.

Friday, April 7, 2017

LILY WHITE by Susan Isaacs

This is one of my paperbacks that I first finished over the Easter weekend, Su 4/20/03. I refinished recently on We 4/5/17 on the day that I bought a new PC from BLH and a new 32" monitor from Walmart on South 6th.

I loved the book, and I think I liked it even more the second time around.

It's basically the first fifty years in the life of Lee (Lily) White;  (1950-1999)

Her parents are Leonard and Sylvia. Leonard is a Jew who is ashamed of his roots and strives to become 'white'. In fact, he becomes so 'white' that he's essentially 'invisible'. Sylvia cares nothing about anything save fashion. Both parents are indifferent to Lily, and they care more for their younger daughter, Robin. She is a weak-willed individual who becomes a drug addict, recovers, and then steals Lily's husband.

A separate storyline concerns two con artists, Norman Torkelson and Mary Dean. Norman is a man who takes advantage of lonely, rich women. Bobette Frisch is one of his marks that is found strangled. Who did it- Norman or Mary? Both spend time in jail, but Mary is convicted of the murder and Lily is conned into believing that Norman did it. Norman has disappeared and chocolate from a candy bar that Bobette was eating at the time of her murder was found on the shirt that Norman was wearing. Lily is released from jail, and when Lily meets her for a celebratory lunch, she finds that Mary has also disappeared. Maybe Lily was conned by both of them.

Where The Whites (Weisberg/Weis/White) live is an upscale suburb of Long Island, NY. Behind their house is Hart's Hill. This is a run-down mansion where The Taylors live. Leonard is enthralled by these upper class people and Jason Taylor becomes Lily's husband.

Lily re-meets Jazz (Jason) in college. She had been attracted to him since she was a young girl. They are both studying to become lawyers. Jazz has it easy because his family is well connected, but he is lazy. Lily works her ass off- in her studies and in almost everything in her life. It seems like a perfect match, but Lily is more of a hippie and feels funny about turning into such a 'middle-class' person. This doesn't bother Jazz at all.

After they marry, Jazz drops the law and becomes an executive at Leonard's fur company. They make terrific money until the bottom drops out of the fur industry in the 70's.

After Lily and Jazz's daughter, Valerie is born, Robin becomes their babysitter. This is when Jazz and Robin become lovers. This destroys Lily, but her parents and Jazz's parents couldn't care less. This drives Lily against her family- for ever.

After Lily divorces Jazz she buys a big old house and creates a family. She takes Jazz's mentally challenged brother and many other people to become her new 'family'.

Will Stewart is a Black, gay, closeted lawyer who works in Lily's firm. He becomes Lily's close friend and confidant. In the end of the novel, Lily and Will marry because they believe that their friendship will see them through the loss of a sex life.

This is a massive and sprawling novel that's chock full of interesting characters.  And, I really wanted to find out how Will and Lily's life worked after they marry and the book ends.

The novel at amazon-

The author's page at wikipedia-