OK. You know the drill. This is stuff I read over the past 30 days, roughly, that I didn’t bother to put together a lengthy review on. Enjoy.
Riddle in the Sands by Erskine Childers: This was an audiobook that I borrowed from the library and both M3 and I listened to it. First off, the author’s first and last names are pronounced with soft i . Like in the word ‘chill’. So no Erskeen ChIlders. Next, this book is considered a classic in the espionage genre – one of the cornerstones. I think it must be the back, right cornerstone. It’s necessary for structural support, but very hum drum. The story was really big on yachting and funny, quaint English terms. Spy stuff is hinted at through the book, but not much espionage, 007-Style, is going on. I did learn some nifty things about the North Sea and what kedging is.
The New Frugality by Chris Farrel: This was another audiobook. Nonfiction focused on personal finanaces. This book made Riddle in the Sands seem absolutley roller-coaster exciting. With that said, there were some good nuggets in here. But there were also long stretches focused on different retirement plans that were just way too in depth for what I was looking for. I kind of wanted an overview – just to get me use to the terms, etc. Luckily, this was a short book.
The Pirate Coast by Richard Zacks: Both M3 and I found this to be a very entertaining nonfiction history. I truly learned quite a bit from this book. Now, try to hold your guffaws at my up-til-recent ignorance until the end. Tripoli was the first country the fledgling US went to war with after kicking the Brits out. It was also the first engagement where we tried to employ ‘plausible deniability’. Thomas Jefferson was way relaxed about the dress code once he became President. The deserts of modern-day Libya (Tripoli) have camel caravans. And those caravaners use goat-skin waterbags. Which are greased on the outside, and on the inside. Disgusting, yet life saving. Conversion to Islam usually meant getting out of slavery. But it also meant circumcision. With you wide awake and watching. Aaron Burr killed Hamilton in a duel. Burr also had grand plans to found his own Empire in modern-day Midwest USA. And while he was charged and went to court and all, they couldn’t make anything stick. So he walked. Ok – has the laughter died down? Fun and interesting read.
Are Men Necessary? by Maureen Dowd: Pretty much a series of political monologues about feminism, chauvinism, and eventually, Bushism. Supposedly, the Y-chromosome is shrinking every few thousand years and eventually, the human race will loose the Y all together. We’ll be a unisex culture and all bets will be off when it comes to fashion. Some good points were made about how women have to be exacting and perfect in currently male-dominated arenas, like politics. While men can still get by simply by being men. Example: Dan Quayle as VP. Book discusses double standards – if a man plays the field of love, he is a Playboy. If a woman shows an inkling of sexual forwardness, she is a tart, or slut, or whore, etc. With all that said, I finished the book feeling I hadn’t really gained anything, but merely had some aspects of the gender war confirmed.