Category: Books

Book Review: New York 2140 by Kim Stanley Robinson

New York 2140 by Kim Stanley Robinson is a long book that leaves you feeling satisfied. This science fiction novel includes a lot of factual information with thoughtful but whimsical character development. If you invest the time in this book you will learn a lot about economics, climate change, philosophy, politics, history, and sociology among other things. The author clearly has a viewpoint, but he is informed by knowledge that he shares with the reader. The story is complex, but well-constructed with characters that defy reality while being relatable. I recommend New York 2140 by Kim Stanley Robinson for a lot of reasons. The book is a good and satisfying read while delivering important messages about climate, society, politics, and economics. If you want to understand the times we live in; read this science fiction novel about New York more than a hundred years from now.

Book review: Deacon King Kong by James McBride

If you want to read what I would call a great and imaginative mystery; try Deacon King Kong by James McBride. The author succeeds with deep social commentary, rich imagery, all weaved into a provocative story. The book is set in a late 1960s Brooklyn project where Black people have migrated north to escape the racism of the south only to discover a new version of it. The main character known as Sports Coat struggles against overwhelming odds due to family neglect almost from birth, racist abuse, poverty, and finally alcoholism. Tragedy strikes early in the book, but Sports Coat despite his flaws is a deeply spiritual man who struggles to the end to make his life meaningful. Friendship and fellowship are major elements of this satisfying book where all of the characters struggle in their lives, but possess inner strength and character. The world can be a tough place and Deacon King Kong does not hide this reality, but author James McBride does a masterful job of portraying the human spirit shining through the darkness.

Book Review: BloodLands by Timothy Snyder

“BloodLands: Europe between Hitler and Stalin” by Timothy Snyder is a story of the death and destruction wrought by two twisted criminals. Both Hitler and Stalin dealt in lies and conspiracies designed to heighten their power and bend reality to their liking. Unlike our current situation in the USA (so far) the criminals took complete control, and the result is history. Millions murdered and life cheapened for everyone was the price of allowing the truth to become flexible. Timothy Snyder tells a compelling story using historical documents, statistics, and first-hand accounts to drive home the creation of hell on earth by the two dictators. If we survive as a republic our education system will have to strengthen courses on civics, and effective history that relates the reality of humanity’s story. BloodLands is a book worth your time if you want to understand human darkness and the price of lies.

Book Review: Overground Railroad by Candacy Taylor

Overground Railroad by Candacy Taylor is a book well worth your time if you have interest in modern American history or Black history. The book tells the story of the Green Book guide which told African-Americans traveling from the 1930s to the 1960s where they could go with some level of safety. Targeting and degrading Black people was a legal and prominent feature of American society before the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The knowledge provided by the Green Book allowed Black travelers to maintain some dignity while protecting themselves and their families. The stories of Black entrepreneurs who started hotels, restaurants, and other businesses to serve their people are inspiring and tie directly into the Civil Rights movement and future progress. A lot of people helped to create the progress in civil rights and dignified treatment for all people that we strive for. Obviously there is a lot more to be done before we approach even reasonable equality of opportunity. Targeted aggression and degrading of Black people continues, but Ms. Taylor is a fighter who shares her plans and suggestions for achieving a better day in the book. The author brilliantly connects current events to history before concluding the book with a listing of historical Green Book sites.

Book Review: Begin Again by Eddie Glaude Jr.

“Begin Again” by Eddie Glaude Jr. is an excellent reflection of today’s issues surrounding race and equity, with a review of the life and times of James Baldwin. I found this book provocative because it revealed clearly that confronting white supremacy and systemic racism are not new. Black Americans have been challenging the evil known as racism on multiple levels for many years. The book examines not only the damage to Black people perpetrated by racism, but the debasement of Whites as well. Even the establishment of the White identity in the Americas is discussed as a pillar of racism. I would advise anyone seeking a deeper understanding of the modern world to read this book. For lighter but still informative and entertaining reading; check out my book “Centurion Crew” on sale at Amazon now!

Do you need a break?

At a time when chaos seems to rule our society it is easy to feel anxious and the need to escape for a bit. Widespread corruption that seems to go to the top of our government, climate change leading to incredibly hot days and forest fires, and no one intelligent seeming to be in charge. I have a remedy for you. Read my new book “Centurion Crew: A Mack Johnson Novel”. You will be taken to a world where men and women actively defend the constitution. Where bad actors run into the limits of evil doing, and the good guys make a stand using intelligence and guile. I wrote the book considering what could happen if an amoral fascistic person became president and there were persons with a mission to defend the republic. I think you will enjoy the book which is available on Amazon as an Ebook for $9.99.

Stress Test by Timothy F. Geithner

The book Stress Test (Reflections on Financial Crisis) by Timothy F. Geithner (former Secretary of Treasury) is a great source of information about the global financial system. I can say that I learned a lot by listening to the audiobook version. Mr. Geithner refers several times to the movie “Its a Wonderful Life” when people rush to pull money out of the Bailey savings and loan. That movie moment has always resonated to me as a way to understand the financial system. The system is based on trust and as Geithner says; “when trust disappears no one is safe” and that means especially the little guy. I have heard many people say that the bankers got away with murder, and the bailouts were unfair because only poor and working people were hurt. Geithner makes it clear that what he calls “Old Testament solutions” of punishment cause panic in financial systems(with lots more pain for the little guy). I would recommend anyone wanting to learn more about the financial system, the crisis of 2007-08 to read this book and “The Big Short” by Michael Lewis.

12 Rules for Life by Jordan B. Peterson

I have started listening to the audiobook version of 12 Rules for Life by Dr. Jordan B. Peterson, and I am impressed by what I have heard so far. Dr. Peterson speaks to his rules from the aspects of his personal experience, literature, Psychology, and the Bible. I find the book fascinating and stimulating on life’s key issues. I recommend this book based on what I have heard up to the third rule. I recommend this book to people who have library access and enjoy reflecting on ways to improve in life. I will follow up when I finish the book, but I wanted to share my thoughts of this provocative book/

The Plot to Destroy Democracy by Malcolm Nance

If you are trying to make sense of all the crazy events involving the 45th president you may need to read “The Plot to Destroy Democracy” by Malcolm Nance. Mr. Nance is a career military and intelligence official with a great deal of background and he uses it to make sense of a wide range of trends and events that lead to our current circumstance. If we have any chance of building a better world we have to understand how the bad actors are trying to take us all in a different direction. Malcolm Nance connects the dots on everything from; Putin’s takeover of Russia, the rise of right-wing parties in Europe, Brexit, the oligarch system spreading from Russia, to American conservatives falling in love with Vladimir Putin. The lies that we see coming from entire political parties are not being told for just for fun; there is much more to the story. If you want to know the facts then get the book.

Book Review – The Total Money Makeover

I just finished Dave Ramsey’s book “The Total Money Makeover”. This is a great short read for anyone who wants to improve their financial circumstance and/or lifestyle. Dave has clear steps and practices that anyone can understand and put into practice; the only thing you need to add is determination and you will change your life. This book has a lot to offer, but I know how easy it is to substitute or create a hybrid of Dave’s formula. The book spells out that you can; have a disciplined budget, a clear focus (the debt snowball), and a goal to live like no one else so that you can live and give like no one else (retire debt free with a million plus in assets).