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review 2018-10-09 15:35
"Last Call", by Warren Adler
Last Call - Warren Adler

“Last Call” is creative tale about two octogenarians who discover that even if there is snow on the roof there is still fire in the chimney…falling in love has no end date. Indeed love is love at any age.

The story features Harvey Franklin and Sarah Silverman two people with different background and views who met in a central Park dog park and immediately bonded over their love for poodles. But life became complicated as their meeting moved on. Harvey a long time widow had come to term with the loss of his wife but Sarah`s husband of 50 years has Alzheimer and she made him a promise to be at his side till his last breath and never place him in a long care institution. 

You can imagine how conflicted Sarah became about her relationship with Harvey and how Harvey reacted wanting to help her. This beautiful story of late love and passionate love affair of two polar opposites has triggered a multitude of emotions at time I smiled and other time tears ran down my cheeks and other I just shook my head. This is a well-written story with a clear message of acceptance very needed today. It is also uplifting to see at this stage of life love can be found even if there are no smooth roads to obtain it. Mr. Adler has as usual vividly painted every move, provides funny and terribly sad sequences and given us a very captivating story so realistic it hard to believe this is a simple story. 

Thank you Mr. Adler for the wonderful and smooth narrative that helped visualized and feel every move Sarah and Harvey experienced…With a last comment I would suggest getting a dog if you are lonely and want to meet someone……awe…:)

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review 2018-09-20 15:51
The essential study of a longtime labor leader
John L. Lewis: A Biography - Warren Van Tine,Melvyn Dubofsky

Given the erosion of organized labor in America today, it can be difficult to conceive that there was a time when labor leaders were national figures who exerted considerable economic and political influence. Perhaps the best example of this was John L. Lewis. As president of the United Mine Workers (UMW) for four decades, he led a union which played a critical role in the American economy, while his differences with the American Federation of Labor led him to disaffiliate from the body and create the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) instead, which played a leading role in organizing industrial unions in the late 1930s. Such was his stature that at his height people spoke of him as a potential president of the United States.

Such a figure deserves a well-researched and penetrating biography, which is what Melvyn Dubofsky and Warren Van Tine have provided. Theirs is a rigorous account of Lewis's life, beginning with his early life in Iowa, through his initial work as a labor organizer, to his ascent to the presidency of the UMW in 1920 and his long struggles on behalf of his workers. Lewis became president of a union at a time when many workers were drawn to the appeal of socialism and communism. Lewis asserted his control of the union to suppress radicals, cementing his position over the course of the 1920s. While his dictatorial approach engendered criticism from other UMW leaders, by the end of the decade his dominance of the union was complete.

Yet Lewis's personal triumph contrasted sharply with the state of his union.  Despite the modest successes they enjoyed early in his tenure, the UMW was declining well before the Great Depression inflicted even greater poverty on thousands of miners. Yet President Franklin Roosevelt's administration gave unionization efforts a new life. A committed Republican, Lewis nonetheless supported Roosevelt's early New Deal, and sought to make the most of the opportunity provided by the administration to strengthen organized labor in the country. As the authors demonstrate, Lewis's efforts contributed greatly to the organization of workers in the steel and automobile industries during this period, though in the end Lewis found himself unable to work harmoniously with his counterparts in the CIO and he broke with the organization over the CIO's support for Roosevelt's bid for a third term as president.

Lewis spent the remaining two decades of his presidency denouncing the federal government's presence in labor relations and continuing his fight for the members of his union. Even after his retirement in 1960 he enjoyed an enormous degree respect from the UMW's rank-and-file members until his death, as well as a legendary reputation afterward. Reading Dubofsky and Van Tine's book give readers an appreciation as to how he earned it. Their detailed study recounts the numerous battles he fought on the behalf of his members to a degree that can be exhausting but which together provide a thorough understanding of his actions as their leader. By the end of the book it is difficult not to be impressed with all that he accomplished, particularly given the broader problems facing the coal industry at the time (ones which provide a valuable context for many of the issues facing it today). Because of this, Dubofsky and Van Tine's book is essential reading for anyone seeking to learn about Lewis, his impact upon the country, and the history of the American coal industry — and, thanks to their labors, it is one unlikely to be bettered as a study of their subject.

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review 2018-09-18 11:14
Fragment ★☆☆☆☆ (DNF)
Fragment - Warren Fahy

It started out well, with an interesting mock essay on the historic cycle of new species introduced into an environment that can take over, decimate the existing flora or fauna, and change that environment forever. Then we're given a delicious little episode of a ship's crew being attacked by some mysterious monster on a remote island. Then... ugh. It appears that the whole story is going to be set with a ship full of reality show scientists and crew, who are obviously destined to explore the monster island. The momentum comes to a full stop when the narrative suddenly becomes more interested in describing every new character in full reality show terms - their appearance and clothing in excruciating detail, their Personality Type. 

 

Sorry, can't do it. Even the anticipation of getting to see at least some of them eaten by monsters won't keep me reading. DNF at 5%, after 36 minutes of audio. 

 

I planned to read this for 2018 Halloween Bingo, for either the Modern Masters of Horror square or the Genre: Horror square, but I have other backup books that I will read for those instead. 

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text 2018-09-07 21:15
Reading progress update: I've read 389 out of 637 pages.
John L. Lewis: A Biography - Warren Van Tine,Melvyn Dubofsky

Now that I'm through the CIO period, it's probably time to shift gears from "reading" to "skimming." As interesting as this has proven, there are at least seven other books that I need to read over the next month, so it's time to clear off my "currently reading" list to make room for them.

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text 2018-09-04 14:14
Reading progress update: I've read 76 out of 637 pages.
John L. Lewis: A Biography - Warren Van Tine,Melvyn Dubofsky

It turns out the problems facing the coal industry are not of recent vintage:

The economics of coal posed a myriad of problems for the UMW. . . Even with prices falling the relatively high cost of coal led such major coal consumers as the railroads, the steel industry, and public utilities to introduce more efficient methods of fuel consumption. Efficiency in fuel consumption caused a long-term decline in the demand for soft coal that was aggravated further by the competition of oil and natural gas for the domestic heating and light industrial market. In August 1921, John L. Lewis would have to have been blind to miss seeing the economic disease that blighted bituminous: too many mines and too many miners producing too much coal.

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