The Columbus Affair

columbusThe Columbus Affair
by Steve Berry
2012 / 165 pages
read by Scott Brick
rating –  A-

If you enjoy thrillers with a bit of  historical bent ala Dan Brown (and I did enjoy the first book but never believed it) – then The Columbus Affair might be just your cup of something.  This is the second of the two books my son gifted me and I want to get it read before the deluge of new books by old favorite authors hits in Sept.

Because very little is actually verified about Christopher Columbus he’s an apt subject for a novel like this.  At the time Columbus found the New World the Jews in Spain were under serious challenge from the inquisition.  We know that many Jews came over starting in 1494 but could Columbus, who wrote little of his own background,  have been a Jew in hiding – converted for self-preservation but still practicing his faith in private?  There is so little information and only a few clues – maybe … let’s suspend our disbelief –  >>>>MORE>>>> 

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The Morgesons

morgesonsThe Morgesons
by Elizabeth Stodard
1862 / 310 pages (K)
rating:  4 / classic US

Don’t bother unless you are really interested for some reason other than a good story, well written.  The plot is okay but after that any literary value goes straight downhill.   I think it’s because there is absolutely no rhythm to the narrative,  the characters are strange and I think they’re supposed to be humorous but that falls rather flat.

What we have is the coming-of-age story of Cassie Morgeson, a high-spirited (troublesome) girl from a strict Congregational (Puritan) family in New England circa 1860.  She hates school so gets herself kicked out.  Cassie’s sister Veronica is semi-invalid, pale, strange.  Their mother is very restricted in her words and deeds.  Aunt Merce shows some spunk if she’s living with Cassie’s family, but none at all at Gran’thers (mother’s father) who is extremely religious and strict.  Cassie and Merce live with Gran’ther for a year for the purposes of Cassie’s schooling.   >>>>MORE>>>> 

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The Game of Silence

gameofsilenThe Game of Silence
by Louise Erdrich
2006 / 288 pages
read by Anna Fields
rating –  8

I searched for a book to read for Indigenous Literature Week celebrated at the ANZ LitLovers blog –   I wanted to read another Australian book but I couldn’t find one I haven’t read which is available in the US as well as in ebook format (easier on my eyes).

I did find a book by Louise Erdrich which I hadn’t read and that will have to do – I love Erdrich’s books and have a read a good number of them.  Nice to read another one.

The Game of Silence is really a young adult book (junior high/early high school?) describing the life of a family of Ojibwe living at the  >>>>MORE>>>> 

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Long Way Down

longwaydownLong Way Down
by Michael Sears
2015/ (341 pages)
read by David Chandler 10h 35m
rating:  A / crime

I’m a sucker for economics/financial books like Michael Lewis’ non-fiction Flash Boys or in fiction,  Michael Sears.  Long Way Down is the third and most recent in his Jason Stafford series and it’s soooo satisfying.

The first-person Stafford is an ex-con, convicted of stock market finagling as a trader, he served several years behind bars but has reinvented himself as a fraud investigator for big financial concerns.  As such he works both sides – for the companies and for law enforcement and he’s trusted by both.   >>>>MORE>>>>

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One Second After

onesecondOne Second After
by William Forstchen Jr.
2009 / 345 pages (K.)
read by Joe Bennett
Rating 6 / contemp.  dystopian sci-fi

My son recommended this one to me (actually,  he gifted me with this and another book!  Yay!   )  And it’s time to take a break from my “heavier” reading – so …

A massive “nuclear electromagnetic pulse” creates a disturbance so great that electrical impulses end contemporary life as we know it – computer-operated devices,  electronic devices, other things on which society depends just quit. Nobody dies as a direct result but there is a lot of death due to dependence on electronics.   This shutoff might be in the middle of the freeway,  a medical infusion, a television show, whatever.  >>>>MORE>>>>

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Booker Challenge – personal

avatar-readingSo what the heck have I been doing posting review after review after review?   Well,  I was on holiday to North Dakota visiting the grandkids for 2 1/2 months so posting was difficult.   So I read and read and read and didn’t get all the reviews posted.  I took care of that since being home – plus I read a few books this week.

Also, and the point of this post, is I saw back in early July that the Man Booker prize Long List for 2015 would be published on July 28 (something like that).  So I had an idea – I would read them all and make my own educated guesses before the Short List was published on September 15, 2015.   That would give me about six weeks to read the  13 books on the list.  And when the Long List was released I was pleased to find I’d already read two.

I cleared out my pressing “to be read” pile and was ready on about August 1.  There are 4 books which are not available in the US –  one will be on September 1,  another in June, 2016.  There is no word on the last two of the books – they’re not available here yet.

And last night (early this morning?) I finished the last of the 9 books I had access to.  Here are my results although I’ll adjust it if necessary when I read the 10th of the available books,  Did You Ever Have a Family by Bill Clegg  (Sept 1).  Links go to my own reviews.

Long List at:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/booker-prize/11768503/longlist.html

My guesses for Short List (in this order – winner on top)
1.   A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
2.   A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James
3.   Lila by Marilynne Robinson
4.   The Fishermen by Chigozie Obioma
5.   The Moor’s Account by Laila Lalami
6.   The Green Road by Anne Enright (Jonathan Cape)

***********************************
The Long List –

XXX  Satin Island by Tom McCarthy (Jonathan Cape) 210
XXX   The Illuminations by Andrew O’Hagan (Faber & Faber) 305

XXX  The Moor’s Account by Laila Lalami (Periscope, Garnet Publishing)
XXX  Lila by Marilynne Robinson (Virago)
XXX  A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler (Chatto & Windus)
XXX  A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara (Picador)
Ireland

XXX  The Green Road by Anne Enright (Jonathan Cape)
Jamaica

XXX  A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James (Oneworld Publications)
Nigeria

XXX  The Fishermen by Chigozie Obioma (One, Pushkin Press) – 304
India

*****  (Not Available in US yet)  *****
Did You Ever Have a Family by Bill Clegg (Jonathan Cape)/ Sept 1 – 304

The Year of the Runaways by Sunjeev Sahota (Picador) / June, 2016 – 480
USA

Sleeping on Jupiter by Anuradha Roy (MacLehose Press, Quercus) 256 /

The Chimes by Anna Smaill (Sceptre) ? –

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The Green Road

greenroadThe Green Road
by Anne Enright
2014 / 312 pages (K)
read by: Alana Kerr, Lloyd James, Gerard Doyle: 9h 45m
rating:  8 

Back in 1980,  in Ardeevin, Co. Clare 19-year old Dan Madigan told his family he was going to be a priest.   His mother then took to bed, as she’d done in traumatic times before, and stayed there for many days.  Mom has some problems and her children are affected in different ways.

Hanna,  the youngest child is the first focus chapter here.  The above announcement and leave-taking are basically from her point of view,  but there’s more to her story than that.  The next section is in 1991, New York, and Dan is now about 30 and a closet gay in the height of the AIDS epidemic – he shows little of the  compassion he might have had as a young priest,  but we aren’t specifically told what happened to him.  >>>>MORE>>>> 

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