Thoughts on: Enemies: A History of the FBI by Tim Weiner
5 Stars , Latest Posts , Non-Fiction / May 31, 2012

Article first published as Book Review: Enemies: A History of the FBI by Tim Weiner on Blogcritics. About: Enemies: A History of the FBI by Tim Weiner is a non-fiction book which tells of the 100 year history of the famous organization. Mr. Weiner is a Pulitzer Prize winning author and a former New York Times reporter who wrote largely about American security. 560 pages Publisher: Random House Language: English ISBN-10: 140006748 My rating for Enemies: A History of the FBI – 5 Buy this book in paper or electronic format More Books by Tim Weiner Thoughts: Enemies: A History of the FBI by Tim Weiner is a fascinating book and an excellent treatment of what basically amounts to domestic spying. In his research, Mr. Weiner invoked the words of the Founding Fathers that we must be vigilant; buy not compromise our civil liberties in the process. In this treatment, with each President of either major party, this compromise is constantly tested with J. Edgar Hoover playing a major role. The portraits of men in power are one of the most disturbing aspects in this book. Nixon, Reagan, Clinton, LBJ, Hoover and more are all complex people who, once in the seat of power,…

Google Account – Disabled!
Latest Posts / May 30, 2012

I have put all my eggs in one basket … and I got burned. Recently I had an issue with Google, their robots decided that I was a spammer and disabled my account. My crime: I started a new blog on Blogger promoting free Kindle books. At first I was annoyed, I had many services tied up to my Google account, my beloved wife (may she live a long life) and I shared a calendar, my GalaxyS phone was backed up to my Google account, Blogger account which was talked about, Adwords, Google reader was my best entertainment and Google search was my engine of choice. And more… After several weeks of annoyance, filling out forms on a daily base I realized that this is actually a blessing in disguise. If some machine can make such decisions, with basically no-one to overlook it, no-one to hear an appeal or even an email address which gets seen by a living, breathing human being – it’s probably a bad idea to tie up all these services with one account. Don’t get me wrong, I think Google’s services are fantastic and enjoy their technology on daily basis. Yet there is something inherently wrong…

Tightwad Tuesday — Free or Affordable eBooks — Memoirs
Latest Posts , Tightwad Tuesday / May 29, 2012

Wel­come to another edi­tion of Tight­wad Tues­day. While look­ing around for non-fiction books, I saw some really cool free ones and thought that you might like them as well. Authors: If you’d like  your book to be fea­tured on Tight­wad Tues­days please email me. For the Kindle: Daily Deal The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey From Booklist *Starred Review* At age 34, Bailey was stricken with a mysterious virus while on a trip to Europe. Her healthy life had been full of activity, and now just the thought of getting up to get something was exhaustive. When a friend found some violets and brought her one in a pot, she also added a live snail below the violet’s leaves. Bailey wondered why she needed a snail, but after square holes began to appear in a letter propped on the violet’s pot, it occurred to Bailey that the snail needed food. She put a withered flower in the saucer below, and when the snail began to eat, Bailey realized that she could hear it eating—it was the sound of someone very small munching on celery. Soon the author realized she was attached, the snail providing an oasis…

Thoughts on: Inside Delta Force by Eric L. Haney

Article first published as Book Review: Inside Delta Force: The Story of America’s Elite Counterterrorist Unit by Eric L. Haney on Blogcritics. About: Inside Delta Force: The Story of America’s Elite Counterterrorist Unit by Eric L. Haney is a memoir of the author as one of the founding member of the Army’s elite Delta Force. 336 pages Publisher: Delacorte Press Language: English ISBN-10: 0385336039 My rating for Inside Delta Force – 5 Buy this book in paper or electronic format More Books by Eric L. Haney Thoughts: Inside Delta Force: The Story of America’s Elite Counterterrorist Unit by Eric L. Haney is a gripping book which is hard to put down. Mr. Haney was privy to many of the group’s early events which, as time went on, became legendary within Delta Force, the Army and military lore. Mr. Haney had known Delta Force founder Colonel Charlie Beckwith whose vision it was to start the team and the guts to start it from scratch. The rough physical and mental entrance criteria are described as the new organization was based on the British elite Special Air Services (SAS) commando unit. This new team was truly made up of certain type of people, CIA operatives, soldiers, Secret Service and even criminals who brought in highly…

Guest Review: Mystery Train by Greil Marcus
Guest Posts , Latest Posts / May 26, 2012

Greil Marcus has gone from rabblerousing rock critic at magazines like Rolling Stone and Creem to one of our most respected masters of scholarship and prose, serving on the board of the National Book Critics Circle and co-editing A New Literary History of America for Harvard University Press a few years ago. After reading his most recent book, The Doors: A Lifetime of Listening to Five Mean Years (well worth the read), I decided to revisit his immortal Mystery Train: Images of America in Rock and Roll, now in its fifth edition.

Fun Facts Friday: Joseph Brodsky
Fun Facts Friday , Latest Posts / May 25, 2012

Yesterday we celebrated the birthday of Russian essayist & poet Joseph Brodsky (24 May 1940 – 28 January 1996). A Jew born in Leningrad, Brodsky is known for his powerful insights, as well as creating tension between seemingly random images and subtle rhyming. Books and Poems by Joseph Brodsky 1 ) While working as an aid to a coroner and a geologist, Brodsky studied English, Polish, wrote poetry and translated into Russian the work of John Donne and Czeslaw Milosz. Brodsky’s poetry impressed a leading Russian poet Anna Akhmatova who became his mentor. 2 ) In 1964 Brodsky was arrested. Charged with the crime of “social parasitism” Brodsky was sentenced him to five years of hard labor. Major Soviet paper called his work”pornographic and anti-Soviet”, and the authorities found that his odd jobs and profession as a “psuedo-poet” did not meet the “constitutional duty to work honestly for the good of the motherland.” Luckily for him, prominent literary figures protested and the sentence was commuted. 3 )  In 1971, Brodsky was twice invited to emigrate to Israel, however he declined. When the Ministry of the Interior heard that he wanted to stay, they broke into his apartment, took his papers…

Thoughts on: The Testament of Jessie Lamb by Jane Rogers
5 Stars , Fiction , Latest Posts / May 23, 2012

Article first published as Book Review: The Testament of Jessie Lamb by Jane Rogers on Blogcritics. About: The Testament of Jessie Lamb by Jane Rogers is an award winning science-fiction book taking place in the near future. This is a book that out of my comfort zone as I usually don’t read this genre (I used to), but I’m glad I read and think it’s important to read books which you might not otherwise. The pub­lisher is giv­ing away one copy of this book— use the form at the end of the post to enter. 256 pages Publisher: Harper Perennial Language: English ISBN-10: 0062130803 My rating for The Testament of Jessie Lamb – 5 Buy this book in paper or electronic format More Book by Jane Rogers Thoughts: The Testament of Jessie Lamb by Jane Rogers (website | Facebook.)almost reads like a classic dystopian novel and I’m sure it will become one soon enough. I found the story surprising with several gentle twists, every time I thought I knew what was going to happen, I found out I was wrong. The writing is excellent, but the book is not your fast paced variety. The story is narrated from the point of view…

Author Q&A with E.J. Runyon
Author Q&A , Latest Posts / May 22, 2012

Q. Is it true you left a career in Software to go back to University for a BA then a MFA? A. Not only that I also sold my 4-bedroom house to finance that life-change. It was a move I needed to make. My goal was to be happy for the rest of my life. So I inventoried myself to see what that required – and the realization I came up with was a complete surrender to that happiness. No half measures. No short cuts, or waffling by offering up rationalization and why-I-cant’s. For a while there, I thought I could incorporate coaching & writing into being a counselor, specializing in Art Therapy – but even that had a wiff of equivocation so I nipped that in the bud, and switched majors: first from Special Ed to Psychology, and finally to English with an Emphasis in Creative Writing. It made all the difference – committing like that. I got into a great Low-res MFA program out of Vancouver, but then I found out that distance programs like that one – out of the US – aren’t covered by school loans – so I had to rework my base-plan and find…

Thoughts on: Guest of Honor by Deborah Davis
5 Stars , Latest Posts , Non-Fiction / May 21, 2012

Article first published as Book Review: Guest of Honor by Deborah Davis on Blogcritics. About: Guest of Honor: Booker T. Washington, Theodore Roosevelt, and the White House Dinner That Shocked a Nation by Deborah Davis is a non-fiction book which tells of the events leading and resulting of a simple dinner in which President Theodore Roosevelt dined with Book T. Washington. 320 pages Publisher: Atria Books Language: English ISBN-10: 1439169810 My rating for Guest of Honor – 5 Buy this book in paper or in elec­tronic format More Books by Deborah Davis   Thoughts: While Guest of Honor: Booker T. Washington, Theodore Roosevelt, and the White House Dinner That Shocked a Nation by Deborah Davis seems to be only about a dinner, it is actually much more. This well researched book touches on politics of the era as well as the fragile and difficult race relations after the American Civil War. The book extensively goes into the events that shaped the breakthrough meal, starting with the end of the Civil War and short biographies of the two main players. It was striking to see how parallel the lives of two men, each at one end of the social spectrum (an ex slave and a privileged white) were eerily similar. Both men, close at age, got married at approximately…

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