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Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by Moderator1, Apr 22, 2005.

  1. Flip Wilson

    Flip Wilson Well-Known Member

    I finished this last night, and I only finished it because I was so far into it when I realized I didn't want to finish it. As can be deduced by the title, someone stole some feathers...a bunch of feathers still attached to birds, which were in a museum. Thousands of dollars worth of feathers. Blah, blah, blah, the crime was solved, but just about halfway into the book. Something's gotta fill the second half of the book, and then I read this: "Second, no one else was going to hunt them down but me."

    From there, it's all about the author and how he involved himself in the case. And the book went downhill from there.

    Joe Bob says maybe don't check it out.

  2. Kato

    Kato Well-Known Member

    I haven't read this book, but I think there's a This American Life about this story. ... As a writer friend of mine is fond of saying about a lot of nonfiction books like this: It's a really good magazine story; that doesn't mean it should be turned into a full-length book.
    britwrit and garrow like this.
  3. WriteThinking

    WriteThinking Well-Known Member

    I have an interest in history and history-related books and recently read "Countdown: bin Laden," by Chris Wallace.

    It's a good book for someone interested in the topic, as I am, and I'm glad I read it. But, at the same time, I expected more, and I was a bit disappointed.

    It was written as a 247-day countdown to the May 1, 2011 killing of Osama bin Laden, and, prior to that, the hunt by the CIA and the U.S. military for him, and the focus on the Abbottabod, Pakistan compound where he was finally thought to have been located. No one actually knew for certain bin Laden was there, literally, until he was stared down and shot in the face by a SEAL Team 6 member who ran into him as he held one of his wives in front of him as a human shield. (She was not hurt).

    The book was interesting as far as it went, but I would've liked to have seen more information and full details, and a time frame, on just how the compound was brought to U.S. attention, and why. And also, why it took so long, because a treasure trove of information gathered by SEAL Team 6 in the course of the raid indicated that bin Laden had probably been ensconced and running Al-Queda from there, in an upper-class suburban vacation area of Pakistan, not in the hills or caves of Afghanistan, since 2005!

    The book also included a superfluous sidebar story about one of the victims of the 9/11 attacks that could have been deleted entirely. I guess it was an attempt to hit the story from that angle, but it had nothing to do with the effort to find bin Laden, or the secret operation that finally got him.

    It was a good book, but it could've been better, with more focus and depth regarding the right things -- what led the U.S. to the compound, more information about bin Laden and his family, and more details about the SEAL Team 6 members -- all of them, instead of just a couple -- and more about the actual raid.
    Liut and Tighthead like this.
  4. playthrough

    playthrough Moderator Staff Member

    "Bad Blood" by John Carreyrou, about Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos. I knew a little about that story but not all of it -- holy crap. Trial going on now and I'll be floored if Holmes doesn't go to jail.
    misterbc and sgreenwell like this.
  5. Flip Wilson

    Flip Wilson Well-Known Member


    I was really looking forward to reading this. I'm a big fan of the Sopranos, and I had heard good things about the author and some other stuff he's written. I don't know the guy, but he and I have several friends in common, and knowing the values of our mutual friends, I figured I might like this.

    Eh. Not so much. He pretty much dismisses any medicinal help for those dealing with depression and ADHD. I have children dealing with both, and they would not make it through the school day without their medications. So he's just flat-out wrong on that.

    He also comes across as a bit of a sexist when he's talking about why women are attracted to men like Tony Soprano. He characterizes all women as yearning for the strong, masculine manly-man.

    And the book just needs and editor. There are lots of mistakes. When he's talking about dictators such as Hitler, he includes "Paul Potts." I think he may have meant Pol Pot, former prime minister of Cambodia.

    He mentioned Pussy and his "heroine" dealing, and talks about the "cannon" (instead of "canon" of spiritual literature; mentions Mother "Theresa" (which should be "Teresa); and talks several times of the naked girls - girls, not women - who danced at the Bada Bing. The women who danced there were not naked; they wore bikini bottoms.

    There's more, but you get the idea. This book was like a series of Sunday school lessons put into print, and since the author is pastor of a church in Houston, that might be expected.

    Joe Bob says do not check it out.
    Tighthead likes this.
  6. SixToe

    SixToe Well-Known Member

    "The Book of Eels: Our Enduring Fascination With the Most Mysterious Creature in the Natural World" is Paytrk Svensson's first book. He lives in Malmo, Sweeden, and weaves quite a tale about eels that includes the mysterious lives of eels, their importance in history (food, mostly), science and research, his family connection to eels and more.

    I never knew much about eels and learned a lot. They're recorded in history dating to Aristotle. Farming attempts, mainly today to provide another food source mostly for the Japan markets, are unsuccessful. The eel will not reveal its secrets. Svensson's writing style is fluid and easy to read. The book was a "100 Notable Books 2020" by the NYT. Only a couple of areas where I think it drags, but overall it is quite good.

    The Book of Eels: Our Enduring Fascination with the Most Mysterious Creature in the Natural World|Paperback
    Tighthead and garrow like this.
  7. justgladtobehere

    justgladtobehere Well-Known Member

    What's the concept for this book? From your review it seems like a cultural criticism through the character of Tony Soprano. A bit overwrought.
  8. Flip Wilson

    Flip Wilson Well-Known Member

    This is what the people on the show do; this is how that compares to what the Bible says.

    That's it in a nutshell.
  9. HC

    HC Well-Known Member

    I just finished the 5th (and maybe final?) book in Thomas King's Dreadfulwater series and am so sad that it's over. I really loved these books ... mysteries but with great characters and humour. Highly recommended.
    Tighthead likes this.
  10. WriteThinking

    WriteThinking Well-Known Member

    I read the other recent historical-event book by Fox News Sunday broadcaster Chris Wallace (along with AP writer Mitch Weiss), "Countdown: 1945," about the atomic-bomb drops on Japan in World War II.

    And I had the same reaction to this one that I had to the other, "Countdown: bin Laden," which I posted about up-thread.

    "Countdown: 1945" focused on Harry S. Truman's eventful, difficult, decisive first four months as President after the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt. The book was good, but, as someone interested in history, I expected a lot -- maybe too much, I don't know -- and have read better books on the topic of the Enola Gay, its mission and its crew.

    Some of the minor angles and facts turned out to be the most interesting to me, and I would've liked a little more depth/elaboration. To wit: Truman's personal impressions of Stalin at the Potsdam Conference; the fact that Truman wasn't even in the U.S. when first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima; the radar expert whose very first combat flight was the Hiroshima bombing, despite his begging, because his superiors grounded him otherwise because he was deemed too valuable to the secret mission. Yet, he ended up being the only one of 509th Composite Group members to fly both the bombing missions, over Hiroshima, and Nagasaki; the secret coded message given to one member of the mission team on rice paper, so that if something went wrong and the crew were downed and captured, the code could be crumbled up and easily swallowed/eaten; ditto the reason for cyanide pills -- enough to be given to each member of the Enola Gay crew -- being handed to Col. Paul Tibbets, the plane's pilot, in case they had to commit quick, easier suicides than blowing their brains out with their own guns, which they all carried, in order stay out of the hands of the Japanese.

    The objections of scientists about what they were doing -- when they finally realized and thought about it -- and the impact of PTSD (which wasn't labeled as such back then) on some of those scientists and military members were given passing references. I think it would've been interesting to delve into those topics a bit more. To a man, the flight crew members supported what they did as a required military assignment that, in all likelihood, ended the war more than a year before it might have been stopped otherwise. But what they saw and did impacted most of them at least to some extent until the day they each died, and some suffered recurring trauma as a result.

    One other glaring, sobering but fortunate fact that could've used some expanded explanation: Wallace wrote that there are now some 50,000 atomic bombs in the world today. So far, thankfully but terribly, only one nation has used them in war: the United States.
    Liut likes this.
  11. justgladtobehere

    justgladtobehere Well-Known Member

    I've read, or tried to read, a couple of those "How this iconic show explains or relates to some seemingly unconnected thing" and they been awful, tedious pieces of shit
  12. Tighthead

    Tighthead Well-Known Member

    Just finished “Bourdain: The Definitive Oral Biography”. It was put together by his long time assistant with input from several people close to him. His brother, mother, both ex wives, people who worked on the show and others featured prominently.

    At times it bogged down and seemed repetitive, but overall it was a decent read. I would say it made him more sympathetic but also less likeable at the same time. Fame certainly complicated his life.

    Worth a read for people who were fans.
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