I recently read two pretty good books that are definitely worth a mention.
Liar’s Poker – Michael Lewis
I have been a Michael Lewis fan ever since I read his “The Big Short” that explained the way several people got rich during the housing-mortgage crash of several years ago. Since then, I have also read “The Blind Side” (which, I think everyone is familiar with via the movie) and “Boomerang,” in which he examines why the economies of countries like Greece, Iceland and Ireland crashed over the past several years.
“Liar’s Poker” was published in the 1980s and, in it, Lewis tells the story of his brief foray into the world of bond trading. As with Lewis’s other books, it is both enlightening and hysterically funny. Lewis has the ability to explain complex issues and be very entertaining at the same time. It’s a good story about some really crazy times.
Kill Shot – Vince Flynn
I’ve enjoyed Flynn’s novels since my cousin turned me on to him several years ago. Flynn’s main protagonist is CIA assassin Mitch Rapp. The books are almost a 21st century American version of Ian Fleming’s original James Bond novels, but without Bond’s worldly sophistication or Fleming’s sometimes off-the-wall bad guys. Flynn initially wrote 10 Rapp novels that brought the story to the present day. Then for books 11 and 12, Flynn went back in time and wrote two (“American Assassin” and “Kill Shot”) that tell the story of Rapp’s recruitment, training and his first few assignments.
Flynn novels are pure adventure. There isn’t a subtle bone in his protagonist’s body. There are the good guys and the bad guys, and very little in between. Rapp is one of the good guys, and his stories pit him against his obvious enemies, usually Islamic terrorists, and sometimes the not so obvious — like American politicians. And in Rapp’s world, the bad guys almost always get what they deserve.
In “Kill Shot,” Flynn tells the story of one of Rapp’s early “hits” that went bad and all the subsequent fall-out.
Flynn doesn’t write an intricate, slowly developing story like a Fredrick Forsyth. But his novels are exciting, fun and difficult to put down. “Kill Shot” and the rest of Vince Flynn’s books won’t be remembered as great literature, but they sure an entertaining read.
Posted in books, Life
Tagged assassin, blind side, book review, books, boomerang, cia, fredrick forsyth, ian fleming, kill shot, liar's poker, michael lewis, Vince Flynn, wall street
I stayed up too late last night finishing a book. Both Mrs. Poolman and I read for pleasure, she more than I. Mrs. P can knock of a standard paperback book in a single off day.
The book I was reading, The Time Traveler’s Wife, was not my typical fare. I tend to lean more towards action fiction and historical non-fiction. I enjoy authors like John Sandford, James Patterson, W.E.B. Griffin, Tom Clancy, Vince Flynn, John Grisham and Patricia Cornwell. I also have a spot in my heart for Andrew Greely. On the non-fiction side, I consume history, especially military history. And if it flies and shoots, I’m all over it.
All of that is just a way of setting up that I really enjoyed The Time Traveler’s Wife. I have always been intrigued with the fictional treatments of time travel, starting with HG Wells’ The Time Machine and working on up through Michael Crichton’s Timeline (another really outstanding time-travel book, by the way). Before reading it, I suspected The Time Traveler’s Wife was a literary version of a “chick flick.” You know what I mean – a movie that deals mostly with relationships and emotions and one of the endearing characters dies at the end, usually of a long lingering illness. (See Steel Magnolias, Terms of Endearment, Fried Green Tomatoes, and others.) While The Time Traveler’s Wife does have many of those characteristics (I won’t spoil it by being more specific.) those are balanced out by the fact that it is still an interesting, well written story that moves along.
The story is about Henry and Clare. Henry has a genetic abnormality that causes him to involuntarily travel in time. One moment he is here, and the next, he is stark naked in another place and time. The author, Audrey Niffengger, avoids the cliché of many time-travel authors by not inserting her character into any historical settings. This is not a story in which the protagonist performs any great or historical acts. Henry’s time travels are much more personal.
Very early on, Henry and Clare meet. Clare is a stranger to Henry, but Clare has known Henry all her life. An older Henry was repeatedly transported back in time to Clare’s childhood. So when they meet, Henry is Clare’s long-time visitor and friend, while Henry has yet to meet Clare in his “real life.” The book develops their relationship, more or less following the chronological pace of Henry’s “real life.” There are lots of adventures and a couple of mysteries.
All told, it was a good book and I’m really glad I read it. It is definitely worth the effort. We didn’t see the movie when it was at the theaters. I’m looking forward to it’s release on DVD in a few months.
Posted in books, Life, Uncategorized
Tagged Andrew Greely, Audrey Niffengger, book review, books, chick flicks, fiction, Fried Green Tomatoes, H.G. Wells, James Patterson, John Grisham, John Sandford, Michael Crichton, Patricia Cornwell, Steel Magnolias, Terms of Endearment, The Time Machine, The Time Traveler's Wife, time travel, TimeLine, Tom Clancy, Vince Flynn, W.E.B. Griffin