Friday, October 9, 2015

The Swerve: How the World Became Modern by Stephen Greenblatt

The Swerve: How the World Became Modern by Stephen Greenblatt -356 pages

The author is a humanities scholar intrigued by the philosophical ideas of an ancient Epicurean-inspired poem and its influence on the Renaissance.  On the Nature of Things was composed in the First Century B. C. by the Roman author Lucretius, and was rediscovered in a monastic library in 1417 by a papal secretary.  The ancient Epicureans did not believe in the intervention of any gods, and thought only a physical world made up of tiny atoms existed. The poem’s surprisingly modern view of nature and its beautiful writing made it a subject of interest to Renaissance elite in a world dominated by Church doctrine.  Some readers may conclude the author overestimates the poem’s impact on a movement as varied as the Renaissance, but this an interesting book on how Renaissance figures were dedicated to preserving ancient writers.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

The Search by Nora Roberts

The Search by Nora Roberts - 488 pages

Fiona has rebuilt her life after escaping from a kidnapper and murderer who went on to kill her fiance.  She's a dog trainer who leads a canine search and rescue team.  She's also just met new neighbor Simon and is starting a hesitant relationship.  Then a copycat serial killer starting taking women again . . .

I listened to this on audio.  I enjoyed the audio version quite a bit.  The suspense plays well in the audio version.  I did think some of Fiona's choices were a little stupid for someone who had been through a traumatic kidnapping before but they played well for the story.

The Walking Dead Volume 24: Life and Death by Robert Kirkman

The Walking Dead Volume 24: Life and Death by Robert Kirkman  136 pages

What level of threat do the Whisperers pose to the communities' safety? Carl's not waiting around to find out. Also, the return of Michonne.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Wright Brothers

Wright Brothers by David McCullough
320 Pages 
They were ordinary men with an extraordinary drive and self-taught patience. Wilber & Orville Wright was ridiculed for attempting flight. However, this did not deter the brothers from pouring the profit of their modest bicycle shop into their experiments on flight.  A few of their peers could see beyond the science of the day and actually sought to assist the brothers financially. However, the brothers would have nothing of it. They were their own men.
This book gives the complete story of the Wright Brothers from their early childhood until their deaths. It speaks of Kitty Hawk; the Wright brothers successful trips to France; and Orville near death crash, which killed his passenger.  It is an excellent read.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Those We Left Behind by Stuart Neville

Those We Left Behind by Stuart Neville - 368 pages
Belfast Novels Book 5

DCI Serena Flanagan is returning to the police force after an extended medical leave.  She is immediately thrown into conflict with her colleagues when Ciaran Devine who killed his foster father while only 12 in a horrific past case are finally being released from prison.  Ciaran's probation officer suspects there is more to the case than meets the eye and approaches Flanagan to explore if Ciaran was ever truly guilty in the first place.  The suspense is excellent but the depictions of the side characters can ring a little flat.  Flanagan's husband and police colleagues have every right to be angry with her based on her behavior but they aren't really given any credibility in the story.  Plus the side story of the tragedy from the cancer support group seems a bit tacked on.  I didn't realize this was part of a series so I'm sure I would have benefited from the back story of seeing the relationships in the earlier books to feel a deeper connection.

Born in Death by J.D. Robb

Born in Death by J.D. Robb - 354 pages
#23 in the series

A couple were both murdered in their separate homes.  It appears that the murders were work-related as they were both employed by the same company. Eve Dallas has her hands full trying to solve their murders when her pregnant best friends begs her to find a missing friend . . .

This is another entry in the Eve Dallas series of futuristic mysteries by Nora Roberts under her pen name J.D. Robb.  It is a typical book in the series.  It wasn't too difficult to figure out the villains or the motives.  Still, it was a quick, fun read.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Make Me by Lee Child

Make Me: A Jack Reacher Novel by Lee Child --- 402 pages

Jack Reacher is one of those guilty pleasures on my reading list.  Lee Child knows how to tell a fast-paced, hard-hitting and suspenseful story, and Jack Reacher is one of my favorite book characters.  In my mind's eye I picture him as a young Tom Selleck. Although Reacher is no longer young, and perhaps no longer invincible, he doesn't back off from trouble when it comes looking for him. As it always does.

In this, the twentieth book in the series, Reacher is taking a train to Chicago when he makes a spur-of-the-moment decision to stop off in a small rural Nebraska town (really not much more than a wide spot in the endless wheat fields where the railroad tracks cross an old two lane road. It's a place where the local farmers bring their grain to be shipped on to market. The sign says the place is called "Mother's Rest," and that piques Reacher's curiosity, so he gets off the train to find out how the town got that name.

But bucolic Mother's Rest is anything but restful for Reacher.  There's a woman anxiously waiting who briefly mistakes Reacher for someone else.  It turns out Michelle Chang is ex-FBI and currently a private investigator who was called in for back-up by a colleague named Keever.  But when Chang arrived in Mother's Rest, Keever was nowhere to be found and nobody in town will admit to having anything to do with him. Although his suitcase and clothes are still in his room at the local motel. It soon becomes clear that the locals don't like strangers who hang around town asking questions. But Reacher is not a man who takes no for an answer.

Click HERE to see the trailer for Make Me.

Click HERE to watch Lee Child and Stephen King talking about Jack Reacher.

Click HERE to read about Make Me on the DesPlaines IL Public Library Blog. CAUTION: SPOILER ALERT