Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Just Read, New Book, History/ Science & the Birth Date Thing

It's been a beautiful day today; lots of rain last night and then sunny today. I finished a book this morning and also found a book yesterday when I went out.

New Book

In one of my previous BLog entries, my Giller Prize book was 419 by Canadian writer, Will Ferguson. I found an excellent hard copy of the book yesterday at Nearly New Books so thought I should give it a try. The synopsis can be found by clicking here.

Just Finished

I finished a book by American writer, T.V. LoCicero this morning, The Car Bomb. I enjoyed very much. My review is below.

"I will qualify this review by stating that the author, T.V. LoCicero asked me if I'd be interested in reading his first book in the 'detroit im dyin' trilogy, The Car Bomb. I'm glad that I accepted as I enjoyed the story very much.
Frank DeFauw is a top TV news reporter, a man with many demons. His oldest son had died in a boating accident a couple of years ago and he has been spiraling into a life of drinking, womanizing and possibly ruining his career and his marriage. By chance he becomes involved in a case of possible corruption in the city government. A car bombing starts off the chain of events; the bomb killing a woman and her two children. Who was the bomb meant for? The case revives DeFauw's interest in the news, in crime investigation. Another death (murder?) brings new intensity to his investigation. Is his best friend involved in corruption? Are there others?
All the while, a sleazy reporter files report after report on Frank's peccadilloes, and Frank begins receiving threats to his life and those of his family. How will Frank resolve this interesting story?
The story moves along very nicely, quickly developing the plot and the characters. The story is interesting and tense. Frank is a larger than life character, full of bluster, life and intelligence. I enjoyed the story very much and was glad to be introduced to it and to have a chance to read a new writer for me. (4 stars)"

Currently Reading

To replace the above, I'm starting a Canadian Literature story by writer, David Adams Richards, Nights Below Station Street. The synopsis is below.

"This book is the first in Richards' acclaimed Miramichi trilogy. Set in a small mill town in northern New Brunswick, it draws us into the lives of a community of people who live there, including: Joe Walsh, isolated and strong in the face of a drinking problem; his wife, Rita, willing to believe the best about people; and their teenage daughter Adele, whose nature is rebellious and wise and whose love for her father wars with her desire for independence. Richard's unforgettable characters are linked together in conflict, and in inarticulate love and understanding. Their plight as human beings is one we share."

Great Historical Events

Looking at 1792 and 1793 in today's excerpt.

"1792. May 7. - Capt. Gray, commander of the American ship Columbia, discovered the Columbia River, naming it after his ship.
Academy for the education of girls opened at Litchfield, Conn., by Miss Prime.
First daily paper established.
Oldest canals in the United States dug around the rapids in the Connecticut river, at South Hadley and Montague Falls.
1793. Washington inaugurated the second time as president, with John Adams agains as Vice-President.
Fugitive Slave Law passed.
John Hancock and Roger Sherman die."

Next entry covers the invention of the Cotton Gin.

Science of Common Things

In today's excerpt the good Prof L.G. Gorton discusses lightning.

"What is the cause of lightning? It is caused by electricity passing from the clouds to the earth. The earth and the clouds become oppositely charged, and the tension of the electricity overcomes the resistance of the air between the earth and the clouds, and passes through it. Why does it sometime take a zigzag course? So as to pass where there is the least resistance. What is heat lightning? It is an unsteady glow of lightning seen near the horizon, and is simply the reflection of lightning so distant from us as to be invisible."

The Birth Date Thing 10 November 2014

US Billboard #1 Single 10 November 2014

All About the Bass by Meghan Trainor. Meghan Trainor is an American singer / songwriter. All About the Bass was her first single.

UK #1 Single 10 November 2014

Thinking Out Loud by Ed Sheerhan. Ed Sheerhan is an English singer / songwriter who has been active since 2004. Thinking Out Loud was his 2nd UK #1.

New York Times #1 Fiction Best Seller 10 November 2014

Gray Mountain by John Grisham. This is the 2nd time in a row that Grisham has had the #1 best seller on 10 November.

"The year is 2008 and Samantha Kofer’s career at a huge Wall Street law firm is on the fast track - until the recession hits and she gets downsized, furloughed, escorted out of the building. Samantha, though, is one of the “lucky” associates. She’s offered an opportunity to work at a legal aid clinic for one year without pay, after which there would be a slim chance that she’d get her old job back.

In a matter of days Samantha moves from Manhattan to Brady, Virginia, population 2,200, in the heart of Appalachia, a part of the world she has only read about. Mattie Wyatt, lifelong Brady resident and head of the town’s legal aid clinic, is there to teach her how to “help real people with real problems.” For the first time in her career, Samantha prepares a lawsuit, sees the inside of an actual courtroom, gets scolded by a judge, and receives threats from locals who aren’t so thrilled to have a big-city lawyer in town. And she learns that Brady, like most small towns, harbors some big secrets.

Her new job takes Samantha into the murky and dangerous world of coal mining, where laws are often broken, rules are ignored, regulations are flouted, communities are divided, and the land itself is under attack from Big Coal. Violence is always just around the corner, and within weeks Samantha finds herself engulfed in litigation that turns deadly."

Pulitzer Prize Winner 2014

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

"It begins with a boy. Theo Decker, a thirteen-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don't know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his unbearable longing for his mother, he clings to one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art.

As an adult, Theo moves silkily between the drawing rooms of the rich and the dusty labyrinth of an antiques store where he works. He is alienated and in love-and at the center of a narrowing, ever more dangerous circle."

Nobel Prize Laureate 2014

Patrick Modiano (France). Patrick Modiano is a French novelist who was born in 1945. He was awarded his Nobel Prize in Literature 'for the art of memory with which he has evoked the most ungraspable human destinies and uncovered the life-world of the Occupation.'

Hugo Award Winner 2014

Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie. This is the first book in Ann Leckie's Imperial Radch space opera trilogy.

"On a remote, icy planet, the soldier known as Breq is drawing closer to completing her quest. Once, she was the Justice of Toren - a colossal starship with an artificial intelligence linking thousands of soldiers in the service of the Radch, the empire that conquered the galaxy. Now, an act of treachery has ripped it all away, leaving her with one fragile human body, unanswered questions, and a burning desire for vengeance."

Edgar Award Winner 2014

Ordinary Grace by William Kent Kreuger. Oddly enough, one of the group read books in my Mystery and Crime book group is another of Kreuger's books, Iron Lake. Ordinary Grace was his 14th novel.

"New Bremen, Minnesota, 1961. The Twins were playing their debut season, ice-cold root beers were at the ready at Halderson’s Drug Store soda counter, and Hot Stuff comic books were a mainstay on every barbershop magazine rack. It was a time of innocence and hope for a country with a new, young president. But for thirteen-year-old Frank Drum it was a summer in which death assumed many forms.

When tragedy unexpectedly comes to call on his family, which includes his Methodist minister father, his passionate, artistic mother, Julliard-bound older sister, and wise-beyond-his years kid brother, Frank finds himself thrust into an adult world full of secrets, lies, adultery, and betrayal."

Man Booker Award 2014

The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan. This is the sixth novel by Australian author, Richard Flanagan.

"Richard Flanagan's story - of Dorrigo Evans, an Australian doctor haunted by a love affair with his uncle's wife — journeys from the caves of Tasmanian trappers in the early twentieth century to a crumbling pre-war beach side hotel, from a Thai jungle prison to a Japanese snow festival, from the Changi gallows to a chance meeting of lovers on the Sydney Harbour Bridge."

Giller Prize Winner 2014

Us Conductors by Sean Michaels.  Michaels was born in Scotland and is now based in Montreal. He is a novelist, music critic and blogger. (Hey!!! Me too!!.. Blogger anyway). Us Conductors was his debut novel.

"In a finely woven series of flashbacks and correspondence, Lev Termen, the Russian scientist, inventor, and spy, tells the story of his life to his “one true love,” Clara Rockmore, the finest theremin player in the world. In the first half of the book, we learn of Termen’s early days as a scientist in Leningrad during the Bolshevik Revolution, the acclaim he receives as the inventor of the theremin, and his arrival in 1930s New York under the aegis of the Russian state. In the United States he makes a name for himself teaching the theremin to eager music students and marketing his inventions to American companies. In the second half, the novel builds to a crescendo as Termen returns to Russia, where he is imprisoned in a Siberian gulag and later brought to Moscow, tasked with eavesdropping on Stalin himself. Throughout all this, his love for Clara remains constant and unflagging, traveling through the ether much like a theremin’s notes."

Winding this Birth Date Thing down now. 3 more years to cover. What to do when I'm finished?

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