Baboon Pirates

Scribbles and Scrawls from an unrepentant swashbuckling primate.

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Location: Texas, United States

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

We Read, We Read!!

Until Our Eyeballs Bleed...

The stack of books in the "Have Yet To Read" seems to stay constant, due to irregular arrivals from eBay and Amazon.  I've really got to get on the eBook bandwagon and start turning paper into electrons, otherwise I'll run out of cubic feet inside the house before the decade is out...

The stack of "Have Been Read" has grown by quite a bit.  Here's a few mini-reviews:

1) Robert A. Heinlein: In Dialogue with His Century: Volume 1 (1907-1948): Learning Curve
by William H. Patterson

Not a light read...  Over 600 pages, and that only gets you up to just post-WW2.  Still, it's an incredibly detailed look into the life of Sci-Fi's Grand Guru.  Possibly TOO detailed in places, chapters are spent describing early adult years in California, laboriously going over the Who, What & Where, but almost invariably lacking in the Why.  Part of the problem in a post-mortem biography is not being able to ask the subject some rather pointed questions...

Still, it's fascinating, and I'm looking forward to Volume 2 when it's released this summer.

2)  Last Call: The Rise & Fall of Prohibition by Daniel Okrent

Okrent, a NY Times editor, has a winner here with his look into the underpinnings and machinations of America's Great Crusade.  Beginning with a look at America's love affair with booze, it also goes into the history of American politics, religion and how Prohibition really could only have been attempted here.

Nothing is left uncovered, from the political machines to the booze cartels to the hordes of rumrunners, moonshiners and bootleggers.  It even definitively answers the long-whispered role of Joe P. Kennedy's involvement in the 30's!  Worth a look!  

3)  Terms Of Enlistment, & Lines of Engagement by Marko Kloos

Kloos, otherwise known as blogger The Munchkin Wrangler, has an enjoyable pair of novels in his "Space Kablooie" series.  I bought the first one as an e-book, and liked it enough to buy it again, along with its sequel when they were released in dead-tree editions early this year.

It's Military Sci-Fi, and all that entails.  Killing people and breaking things in the future.  Fortunately, I love that sort of thing!  I'f a good chunk of your library comes from Baen publishing, you'll dig this the most!

4)  Take The Star Road; Rise The Rising Tide; Adapt & Overcome
by Peter Grant

I have never met Mr.Grant, aka Bayou Renaissance Man.  We've interacted solely through a sprinkling of blog comments over the years.  By all accounts, though, he's a really nice guy.
So nice, in fact, that I'm pretty certain he didn't get the level of criticial feedback on his trio of books that I'm afraid it needed.

It's not that they're bad reads, not at all.  I bought Books 2 & 3 after dipping my toe in the water with Book 1.  It's just that there's some serious need of editing, and reducing the amount of exposition as the story winds along.  It's almost always better to show, not tell, and there's just a bunch of "Well, as you know, Pete..." throughout the trio.

As a Bildungsroman, it's also missing a sense of real peril for the protagonist.  There's never any doubt his bootstraps will be big enough to yank on just one more time.