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text 2018-07-01 10:00
July 2018 TBR
No One Would Listen: A True Financial Thriller - Harry Markopolos
Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption - Bryan Stevenson
Lafayette in the Somewhat United States - Sarah Vowell
Negroland: A Memoir - Margo Jefferson
The True American: Murder and Mercy in Texas - Anand Giridharadas
Lethal Warriors: When the New Band of Brothers Came Home - David Philipps
Zodiac Unmasked: The Identity of America's Most Elusive Serial Killers Revealed - Robert Graysmith
Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI - David Grann
Believe Me: A Memoir of Love, Death, and Jazz Chickens - Eddie Izzard
Eye on the Struggle: Ethel Payne, the First Lady of the Black Press - James McGrath Morris

I am just binging on non-fiction, as it grabbing me so much more than fiction. I went a little OTT at the library and pulled a bunch of books. I have two read-a-thons I am doing towards the latter half of the month.

 

 

1. No One Would Listen: A True Financial Thriller by Harry Markopolos

         My current read is how Markopolos discovered the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme and was the whistleblower that brought Madoff down. He is not kind AT ALL to the SEC. 

 

2. Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson

           I want to learn more about criminal justice reform, so I am starting here.

 

3. Lafayette in the Somewhat United States by Sarah Vowell

              For the July 4th holiday, I am trying Vowell for the first time.

 

4. Negroland: A Memoir by Margo Jefferson

               Heard nothing but good things about this book.

 

5. The True American: Murder and Mercy in Texas by Anand Giridharadas

              True Crime that doesn't involve Wall Street.

 

6. Lethal Warriors: When the New Band of Brothers Came Home, Uncovering the Tragic Reality of PTSD by David Philipps

                This is a really long title.

 

7. Zodiac Unmasked: The Identity of America's Most Elusive Serial Killer Revealed by Robert Graysmith

                 True Crime.

 

8. Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann

                      True Crime plus history.

 

9. Believe Me: A Memoir of Love, Death, and Jazz Chickens by Eddie Izzard

                      Not a true crime book, lol. Manicure on the cover is beautifully done.

 

10. Eye on the Struggle: Ethel Payne, the First Lady of the Black Press by James McGrath Morris

                    Also not a true crime book. I wish she was more of a household name today as she was when she was working. 

 

 

 

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text 2018-06-22 22:56
Book Recs Solicited: Freedom and Future Library
On Liberty and The Subjection of Women (Penguin Classics) - John Stuart Mill
All Quiet on the Western Front - Erich Maria Remarque
To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
Step Across This Line: Collected Nonfiction 1992-2002 - Salman Rushdie
The Displaced: Refugee Writers on Refugee Lives - Aleksandar Hemon,Marina Lewycka,Ariel Dorfman,Viet Thanh Nguyen,Fatima Bhutto,David Bezmozgis,Porochista Khakpour,Vu Tran,Joseph Kertes,Kao Kalia Yang,Dina Nayeri,Maaza Mengiste,Reyna Grande,Novuyo Rosa Tshuma,Lev Golinkin,Joseph Azam,Thi Bui,Meron Hader
Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House - Michael Wolff
A Room of One's Own - Virginia Woolf
Giovanni's Room - James Baldwin
Fahrenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury
The Declaration of Independence and The Constitution of the United States - Thomas Jefferson,James Madison,Founding Fathers

You'd have to be living under a rock buried somewhere halfway down to the center of the earth in order not to be aware that in recent years our beautiful world has been shaken up by a number of crises the likes of which I, at least, have not experienced in my entire lifetime -- I can't remember any other time when I have so consistently felt the urge to put on blinders and wrap myself in a giant comfort blanket approximately 10 seconds after opening a newspaper (or its online edition), or 10 seconds into listening to the news.  Obviously playing ostrich has never done anybody any good, but God knows, it's getting hard not to succumb to the temptation. 

 

So what does a book lover do in order to keep her sanity, equip herself to separate fact from fiction (in news reporting, politics, and plenty of other places) and deal with rat catchers and fire mongers?  She turns to books, of course.

 

I've decided to build a "Freedom and Future" personal library, which will contain books which (1) have either deeply impacted my personal thinking or that I expect will come to do so in the future, or which (2) provide valuable food for thought in today's social and political debate, both nationally and internationally; be it based on a profound analysis of the issues at stake (as a matter of principle or long term), or because even though they may not be of lasting significance, they contain a thought-provoking contribution to the current debate (even if they were not written with that express purpose in mind -- e.g., books about historic persons or events or books by long-dead authors).  I'm not expecting to binge-read the books added to this library, but I'm looking to add them to the mix with a bit more focus than I've been doing of late.

 

In the past couple of days, I've trawled my own bookshelves for books to add to the library, but this is one area where, even more than anywhere else, I'm looking for suggestions -- I can already see that I'm at risk of falling back on my old standbys, and that's the last thing I want to do here.

 

So, tell me: What books have recently made you sit up -- or which are the books that you've come to turn to and trust for guidance and inspiration?

 

These can be fiction or nonfiction, and books from any or all types of genres (I only draw the line at splatter punk).  As the first part of my new library's title indicates, liberty and freedom rights are a focus, but I'm really looking for food for thought on all the issues that I think are going to determine the path human society will be taking (hence the "future" part); including, in no particular order:

 

* Liberty and freedom(s) (of opinion and press, movement, association, worship, the arts, etc.),

* Equal access to justice and judicial independence and impartiality,

* Equality and empowerment (gender / sexuality, race, etc.), and the plurality of society;

* Poverty / the increasing gap in the distribution of wealth,

* Education (general, political, etc.);

* Funding and freedom of research and science,

* Protection of the environment,

* Democratic institutions and processes and how to safeguard them,

* Xenophobia, war(mongering) and the preservation / restoration of peace,

* Persecution, migration, and internal displacement,

* Free trade and globalization,

* Technological advances,

* Ethics -- in all of the above areas.

 

I'm adding a few books to this post to give you a rough idea of what sort of things I've so far added to this library -- please take them as very approximate guidance only, though.  It can be something totally different ... really anything that's jogged your brain or made you reevaluate your perspective on any of the above issues.

 

Thanks in advance!

 

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text 2018-04-18 17:27
Will the real Thomas Jefferson please stand up?
Burr - Gore Vidal
America's First Daughter: A Novel - Stephanie Dray,Laura Croghan Kamoie

Jefferson according to Burr. Jefferson according to his daughter. These are fun to read at the same time!

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review 2018-03-29 06:40
Captain Seadog by Jefferson Cooper
Captain Seadog - Jefferson Cooper

Upon his return from the Spanish Main, his ship heaving under the weight of the gold taken at sword's point, Captain Michael Goddard is arrested under charges of high treason against Queen Elizabeth and England.

Escaping the leader of the Spanish party, he meets Meg, a tavern maid, who helps him escape his pursuers, leading him safely to the rendezvous with Queen Elizabeth.

Elizabeth Regina thus entrusts him with the mission to expose the members of the Spanish party, the real traitors who would see Philip, King of Spain, on the English throne, and Michael and Meg embark on an almost impossible mission of unmasking the traitors within and battling the Spanish invasion from across the Channel.



This was a swashbuckling spy story set in Elizabethan era England. It had it all...treachery and deceit, duels, cloak-and-dagger (literally) adventure, (star-crossed) romance, love, and a massive sea battle in the last couple of chapters.

I liked the spy elements of the story as Michael attempted to gather enough proof to hand over to Queen Elizabeth. The adventure and suspense were gripping and intense as both protagonist and reader tried to think and plan ahead, wondering just what might happen next.
Compared to that, the romance element was more or less relegated into the background, resurfacing only to draw the spotlight onto the fact Michael and Meg could never really be, thanks to the disparity between their stations in life. But since this was an adventure story, the author never lingered overmuch on the romance aspect.

It was a wonderful story, an exquisitely written tale of perils and breathtaking romance.

It's definitely a must read, though quite a feat to obtain.

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review 2018-03-13 00:00
Wave of Terror
Wave of Terror - Jon Jefferson Wave of Terror - Jon Jefferson I picked up Wave of Terror because I saw Brian from Brian's Book Blog review it. It sounded like a nice, mindless palate cleanser to re-energize my reading, which has been in a bit of a slump.

Wave of Terror is a pure thriller action movie. It really is exceedingly easy to visualize it as though you were watching a movie. Things start happening soon after the book begins. There's rogues, deception, a fight for survival, conspiracies, the lone voice of reason in the wilderness, and all that stuff that you expect in that type of movie.

For people who enjoy movie quotes, the main characters trade them back and forth quite frequently. There's a very famous movie reference that I absolutely lost it laughing at. It got old a bit quick at one point, but it was still an unexpected surprise that definitely revitalized my interest in the book.

Wave of Terror was a fun read that did everything it set out to do. It's fast-paced, filled with snappy dialogue, and you're definitely wondering if the protagonists are going to make it in their race against time. Unfortunately, apart from the lines that made me snicker, it's not a book that stands out for me. Even just the next day after reading it, I had to think for several moments before I could remember the main character's name. It's a little too like a throw-away action movie in that respect.

If you're looking for a good airplane/ long car ride book, I highly recommend Wave of Terror. It's a fairly short read, entertaining, and comes to a solid resolution at the end.
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