zurich



2013

Title Author Rating Comments
What the Dog saw: And other Adventures Malcolm Gladwell Some interesting ideas but not very well presented.
Crete Antony Beever A detailed account of the lead up to and the actual events of the Crete War as part of WWII. Not enough background, or differentiation between the different groups. Could have been a lot better because he must have done a lot of research. Interesting read when one is on Crete onself. The British leadership screwed up in a major way, for which the local population and the pikemen paid a high price.
David and Goliath Malcolm Gladwell Very interesting - again - description of a number of perceptions.
Scotland's Future The Scottish Government A long document with much repition. It provides answers (also by means of a FAQ) to relevant issues. It does not say the really obvious - that Scotland has ownership, as part of an accepted algorythm, of much of the North Sea oil. This is the basis of why Scotland should (also IMHO) own the oil fields and would therefore be a much richer country if independant. But the main issues for me (being a non-Scot) are two-fold - to dump the fools in Westminster - and to have control over their own destiny, it cannot be worse than the right-leaning attitude prevailing in the rest of the UK and especially in England.
By Myself and then Some Lauren Bacall Her first autobiography, some interesting stories, but a bit laboured in parts.
On Liberty John Stewart Mill A very dense text, the basis of human rights, which at the time were completely lacking.
Letters of a Woman Homesteader Elinore Pruitt Stewart A simply-told story of a woman who ups and goes to the country, builds a house and a life. These are her letters to a previous employer.
Gone Tomorrow Lee Child Starting in New York subway, Reacher seems to be sitting next to a bomber. Here we go...
Immortality Milan Kundera This begins as an excellent read, so many twists and turns all in a hand-crafted prose. Sadly it then goes into an historical literary conversation.
Quote: "Compared to this merging of the bodies, (the comsuming of their pet rabbit by Salvador and Gala Dali,) the sexual act seemed to her no more than a ludicrous tickling."
The Devil's Milk: A Social History of Rubber John Tully An interesting perspective on the development of rubber production from the killing fields of Brazil and the Belgian Congo to the bullying existence offered by the Akron rubber factories. Not to mention the environmental damage of the materials used in production and our over-reliance on motor vehicles. (Says he who drive a camper van all around Europe, all of the time.)
Nudge - Improving Descisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness Richard H. Thaler, Cass R. Sunstein Some very interesting ideas on how to make people's lives better by offering good defaults for decisions. The basis is Liberal Paternalism.
Quote: "We then turn to questions about the potential magic of markets and ask whether and when free markets and open competition will tend to exacerbate rather than mitigate the effects of human frailty. The key point here is that for all their virtues, markets often give companies an incentive to cater to (and profit from) human frailties, rather than try to eradicate them or minimise their effects."
Nothing to Loose Lee Child Reacher is at it again, creating chaos in Hope and Despair.
Quote: He's religious. He's used to believing things that comfort him".
Pity the Billionaire Thoms Frank Excellent diagnosis of what the right wing has done to US politics - and as a consequence the economy. IMHO anyone who doesn't get what they have done is unlikely to see where changes can and should be made. Recommended
Ten Great Events in History James Johannot To wit:
The Battle at Marathon.
The Crusades (?)
The Swiss battles for Independence.
The Battle of Bannochburn
Christopher Columbus
The Dutch fight the Spanish King
The Defeat of the Spanish Armada
The Puritan flight to America
Clive of India (?)
Bunker Hill
Pagan and Christian creeds: their origin and meaning Edward Carpenter Dated but good information of how the development of religions have a very similar basis. Should be read by anyone who wishes to understand where religion comes from.
When it was Dark - The story of a Great Conspiracy Cyril Arthur Edward Ranger Gull Interesting book presenting the proposition that jc's body was actually found in a cave in Jerusalem - indicating the whole resurrection was a falsity (which of course it is) leading to a complete collapse of morals. Of course this wouldn't happen, we get our morals from thinking and philosophy, not religion.
Quote: "In England one may do just what one likes if only one does not in any way, by reason of attainments, belong to the nation."
Identity Milan Kundera A rather well-written short story. One can see where it comes from (a French translation) but he seems to have a real hold on the personal novel. A bit like the swedish director Ingmar Bergman, but on paper.
The Drowning People Richard Mason A well written novel. This author is still young, but I am sure there will be more from him. This volume is a study of relationships with a thriller aspect.
I killed Scheherazade - confessions of an Angry Arab Woman Joumana Haddad A really good read, though I am not on her wavelength regarding poetry.
Quotes: ... a balance that so many people are striving for, and that would be the efficient and noble product of an efficient and noble competition between Capitalism and Communism.
Patriotism makes you blind. Patriotism makes you self-decieving. Patriotism puts you in a constant state of denial.
The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York Robert Caro Most enjoyable if rather large tome. Shows how political corruption actually works. But in this case for a positive result - all the parks and public area in New York.
Bad Luck and Trouble Lee Child L.A. has bad guys too.
The Hard Way Lee Child Bad guys in New York.
One Shot Lee Child A killer is on the loose in a city. Things are not what they appear to be.
Persuader Lee Child Reacher sees a man who should be dead, but he isn't.
Without Fail Lee Child Someone wants to get the VP, but they don't know Reacher is around.
Echo Burning Lee Child Reacher gets a ride in Texas - geting more than he bargained for.
Running Blind Lee Child Sgt. Amy Callan and Lt. Caroline Cook are both high-flying, career army women, both victims of sexual harassment by their superiors, both forced to resign. And now they’re both dead. The murder investigators are sure Reacher has the answers to their question: how did these women die? And why?
Trip Wire Lee Child Set in Florida, Key West, Reacher comes across a man looking for him specifically. The man is killed.
Die Trying Lee Child Reacher is an unwilling witness to an abduction in Chicago. He doesn't walk away.
Killing Floor Lee Child More murder set in Texas - strange legal rules and mores.
The Affair Lee Child In and around LA. Someone in his team during the army MP days is found dead.
The Enemy Lee Child His first (well a prequel in fact.) Murder in a small town near a military base.
61 Hours Lee Child Fast moving thriller. Fun
Barrow's Boys Fergus Fleming Poorly written account of the Navy's exploring failures in the 1800s, both in the Arctic and Africa.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks Rebecca Skloot Interesting read. How one woman changed the world for us. Sad to see (again) how black people were mistreated - all the more for having heard justice Scolia's comments this week.
The Overlook Michael Connelly Proud Mary keeps on turning.
The Fifth Witness Michael Connelly Yet more pages.
The Drop Michael Connelly More pages.
Void Moon Michael Connelly Turn those pages.
The Corrections Johnathan Franzen His first big success Here is a man who is persistent in his regard for cleverness. Every page is crowded with it. Far too long, but an interesting plot.
Stuart - A Life Backwards Alexander Masters It is supposed to be an "International Best-seller" I can't see why.
Five Days in London - May 1940 John Lukacs A not very special analysis of two weeks in May 1940 as Churchill gained support and the BEF withdrew from Dunkirk.
The Eagle of the Ninth Rosemary Sutcliff It is supposed to be an "International Best-seller" I can't see why.
 
 



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