Thursday, August 31, 2006

Book Review: "No One Here Gets Out Alive" by Danny Sugarman & Jerry Hopkins.

Book Review: "No One Here Gets Out Alive" by Danny Sugarman & Jerry Hopkins.

For many people the 60's died in 1971 with the final death in the "Holy Trinity of Rock," Jim Morrison. The other 2 being Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix who died the year prior. In fact after Janis's death Jim was known to say "You are with number 3."

The times were wild and experimental to say the least and Jim Morrison was one of the most experimental. Calling himself more of a poet than a rock star Jim Morrison would create social experiments at each of the Door's concerts. The book, "No One Here Gets Out Alive" by Danny Sugarman & Jerry Hopkins, chronicles the life of Jim Morrison as seen through the eyes of Danny Sugarman and Jerry Hopkins. As far as biographies go, there is nothing really revealing in this one. Jim Morrison's life remains a mystery even after reading this book. I think what the authors tried to do with this book is to immortalize Morrison by making him some sort of god, maybe a Dionysus of the 60s. The book is full of anecdotes that just perpetuate that myth. Nothing about the man himself or what made him create what he did.

Even when they talk about the death of Morrison they perpetuate the myth by giving several possibilities of how Morrison died or even that he may still be alive. Maybe a little resurrection story going on here?

So, if you are looking for an interesting chronicle with no substance this is the book to check out the book. What it lacks in real substance, it does give the reader a nice brief history of The Doors and Jim Morrison.
If you are looking for a GOOD biography of Jim Morrison, one that has some substance and emotion, a better read would be "Light My Fire, My Life with the Doors" by Ray Manzarek. Now that's a good informative and emotional book.

Books I am currently reading (and will be reviewing soon):

"Deception Point" by Dan Brown

"Water for Elephants: A Novel" by Sara Gruen

"The Frog King" by Adam Davies

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posted by Gil T. @ 12:17 PM Comments: 0

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

You won't believe this


Hundreds of billions of tax dollars go to private contractors every year -- a lot of it needless pork barrel spending. There's a bill to create a public database of every federal contract, but a Senator who famously fought for a "bridge to nowhere" won't let it come up for a vote. Demand accountability now and we'll deliver your message to Republican Sen. Ted Stevens.

With your help, we can make real change. Please join me by signing this petition:


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posted by Gil T. @ 10:18 PM Comments: 0

CDF Katrina Project Needs Books has a post called "CDF Katrina Project Needs Books" that's worth checking out...

The Children's Defense Fund (CDF) Freedom Schools Katrina Project partners with community based organizations, service agencies and universities in the Cleveland, Columbia and Jackson, MS areas to provide after-school programming each day public schools are in session for children in families affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

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posted by Gil T. @ 12:55 PM Comments: 0

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Book Review "Bushwhacked, Life in George W. Bush's America" by Molly Ivins & Lou Dubose

Okay, if you are a corporation or support corporations not having to pay taxes or to clean up their own toxic messes, this book is not for you, because you are already receiving all the good stuff you paid the President to do for you. Now if you are a concerned American that believes that the people govern and not the corporations, then this book will let you know the error in your ways. Now before I get into the review I should start by telling you that the authors, Molly Ivins & Lou Dubose, wrote a book exposing "Dubya" back when he was Governor of Texas. That book was called "Shrub: The Short but Happy Political Life of George W. Bush." The opening to the book "Bushwhacked" pretty much says If you would have read "Shrub" they wouldn't have to write "Bushwhacked."

The first half of this book is about how big business bought and paid for the presidency. No, It wasn't hanging chads that determined our fate it was Enron, Harken, Baker Botts and many more. Before I go any further I want to point out 2 things: 1.) The authors have cited all their sources and have them listed in the book if you want to check the facts. 2.) Not until this book, and some research of my own, did I realize how Enron's Kenneth Lay and George W. were such good friends. You wouldn't have known it after Enron was exposed.

"Bushwhacked" then goes on to point out how all of what "Dubya" is doing now in the White House, he tried and failed in Texas. Everything from poor environmental policy to destroying children's lives through budget cuts and faith based intitiatives. It's amazing that I even still eat meat after reading this book and the Eric Schlosser book "Fast Food Nation." Yep, "Dubya" even has his hands in the tainted meat industry.

Then we get to the really fun stuff the bait and switch of getting us into Gulf War II. The authors provide a section listing all of the reasons "Dubya" cited when getting us into the war. This section leads to my "favoritist" quote in the book. The quote is from Paul Freundlich: "All right, let me see if I understand the logic of this correctly. We are going to ignore the United Nations in order to make clear to Saddam Hussein that the United Nations cannot be ignored. WE're going to wage war to preserve the U.N.'s ability to avert war. The paramount principle is that the U.N.'s word must be taken seriously, and if we have to subvert its word to guarantee that it is, then , by gum, we will. Peace is too important not to take up arms to defend. Am I getting this right?"

So no matter where you stand on the Gulf War II or the Bush Presidency you need to read this book. It will either open up your eyes to let you know what you may be getting screwed out of.

It is hard to read this book, for one reason, I kept having to retreive it from across the room. After many chapters it would go flying.

Let me know what you think of the book...and oh yeah, go out and vote.

Books I am currently reading (and will be reviewing soon):

"Deception Point" by Dan Brown

"No One Here Gets Out Alive" by Danny Sugerman and Jerry Hopkins

"The Frog King" by Adam Davies

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posted by Gil T. @ 6:18 PM Comments: 0

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Review: "A Series of Unfortunate Events,Book the Second: The Reptile Room" by Lemony Snicket.

Lemony Snicket got better. This second book in the 13 book series seems to be a lot funnier than the first. I guess with the first book he had some introductions and got those out of the way. Now, I do have the advantage of reading these books one after another and have that advantage of fresh knowledge of the previous book, but I'm taking a short break away from the series after this one. I just have some other books to get to.

Anyhow, back to the Reptile Room. Here we find the Baudelaire children or rather Baudelaire orphans being shuffled off to their next next-of-kin. This "uncle" is a herpetologist (studies snakes) and is a fun character. Too bad he gets killed off. Oh, come on now, I didn't give anything away. In fact all throughout the first part of the book the author is telling us that "uncle" Montgomery Montgomery will not live. So now that you have that oh-my-gawd-he-spoiled-the-ending look off your face, let's talk about the book.

Mr. Snicket, or as we learned in the first review Mr. Handler, continues with his defining of words that are not used in normal speech or that may be advanced vocabulary, but this time around he has a lot more humor in the definitions. Because of this fact alone this book was alot more fun to read. Another fun part of the read is the section when he talks about morals in stories, like the boy who cried wolf or little red riding hood. He comes up with the morals of those stories (something I deduced when I was 10 years old) is don't live near wolves. I laughed out loud and had to look around and make sure someone wasn't looking at me.

This book was filled with fun moments like the names of many of the snakes. My favorite was the Virginia Wolf-snake, which you should never, under any circumstance, let near a typewriter. Now with all the fun for the reader keep in mind the Baudelaire orphans still don't have anything good going for them, at least not for too long. "Uncle" Monty's assistant has mysteriously quit and disappeared so he gets a new assistant. Well the orphans and the reader know immediately it's Count Olaf. Yes, he's back to steal the Baudelaire fortune. I won't tell you what happens, other than "uncle" Monty dies. But I will give you a hint: This is only book 2 of a 13 book series.

Happy reading.

Books I am currently reading (and will be reviewing soon):

"Bushwhacked" by Molly Ivins & Lou Dubose

"Deception Point" by Dan Brown

"No One Here Gets Out Alive" by Danny Sugerman and Jerry Hopkins

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posted by Gil T. @ 10:28 PM Comments: 0

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Review of "The Accidental" by Ali Smith

"The Accidental" is a very creatively written book. Each chapter or section is written by a different point of view of the characters involved. And they are written as stream of thought, to clarify this, stop for a second and examine all the thoughts going on in your head and the interruptions that occur and then what thought(s) you go back to and start again. This is the way this book is written. At first I thought this might have been too gimmicky...but I easily lost myself in the book and the style, so it definitely worked.

The story follows a British family on holiday for the summer. Eve Smart, a writer of a series of historical-fiction what-if books that are making her and her publisher some pretty good money, but she has hit the wall with ideas and whether or not to keep writing these books. Her 2 children; Astrid, a twelve year old who I think is the wisest in this book is obsessed with video, Magnus the 17-year-old son, who has a guilty conscious after he showed some guys in school how to crop a picture of a fellow girl student's head on the body of a nude model, the girl committed suicide after the picture was e-mailed out to all the classmates. Then we have Eve's Husband Michael (step-father to Astrid and Magnus). Michael is a professor who along with teaching English, has extra-curricular activities with his female college students and a few others he meets along the way. By the way, Eve knows this, but Michael doesn't know she knows.

Now with this much dysfunction, you would think that would be enough for a good story. But in comes the catalyst, Amber. Amber is a free-spirited 30ish woman that shows up and everyone in the house thinks she's there for someone else. For example, Eve thinks she's one of Michaels "girls," but wonders why she's so much older than the rest. Michael thinks she's helping with Eve's book. So Amber gets free reign over the house with great hospitality. We soon discover Amber has some strange motives. She's constantly pointing out where Eve's life went wrong, she does everything to not be "picked up" by Michael, has sexual relations with Magnus, and shows Astrid that life is not what you record and remember, but what it could be.

And this is really only the beginning of the story. The point-of-view storytelling works great, especially when pointing out how each family member sees the same scene. While the reader has to relive the same scenes over and over the point-of-view is so different it makes for separate stories.

There is some great literature in this book. I call this one my newest Classic. I'll have to check out the other books by Ali Smith.

Books I am currently reading (and will be reviewing soon):

"Bushwhacked" by Molly Ivins & Lou Dubose

"A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book The Second: The Reptile Room" by Lemony Snicket.

"No One Here Gets Out Alive" by Danny Sugerman and Jerry Hopkins

"Deception Point" by Dan Brown

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posted by Gil T. @ 7:31 PM Comments: 0

Monday, August 21, 2006

Review: "A Series of Unfortunate Events,Book the First: A Bad Beginning" by Lemony Snicket.

Okay I sat down and decided to read the "Series of Unfortunate events" Books. (I make my best decisions sitting down.) After all I got the books once for my step-son to read, and then my step-daughter started reading them and they weren't wrong about Harry Potter, so I'm giving this series a chance. Besides, this October Mr. Lemony Snicket (a.k.a. Daniel Handler author of "Watch Your Mouth","The Basic Eight" & "Adverbs") will be ending the series with book 13.

Okay first of all if you've seen the should have read the books first, at least, that's what I'm finding out. The movie has bits and pieces of the first 3 books all scrambled to make the movie.

In this first book we find the unfortunate Baudelaire children, who once led happy lives, have lost their parents and their home. They are then shuffled off to live with some distant relative they had never heard of, Count Olaf. Well the Count is only after their fortune. So he comes up with a brilliant plan to marry the 14 year old violet, thus giving him control over the fortune. Hmmmm something strange about an old man marrying a 14 year old girl. But they have many unfortunate encounters...notice they are never bad...just unfortunate.

Without just retelling the story, I'll just say this that anything good that happens to these kids doesn't last.

Now the storytelling in this book and I'm sure like the rest of the books in the series, is written in a very cynical/ironic voice. When something bad happens the author will say, or rather ask you to stop reading and constantly tell you nothing good happens to the orphans. At the same time these books are great for children ages 8 - 16, not only for great reading but also because the author teaches with his writing. In a unique tool, which allows for several asides to the reader, the author also defines some words that definitely help to increase a young reader's vocabulary. Now as an adult I found some of this irritating...defining words I already knew the meaning of, however he found ways to define some of the words to fit within the story.

Get those kids to reading. There are 12 and soon to be 13 books in this series, so they can stay interested for a while.

I'm cutting this review short because I'm going to start on the next book in the series "The Reptile Room" and may provide some more info in that review.

Books I am currently reading (and will be reviewing soon):

"Bushwhacked" by Molly Ivins & Lou Dubose

"The Accidental" by Ali Smith

"A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book The Second: The Reptile Room" by Lemony Snicket.

"No One Here Gets Out Alive" by Danny Sugerman and Jerry Hopkins

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posted by Gil T. @ 7:17 PM Comments: 0

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Review "Angels & Demons" by Dan Brown.

I decided to go back and read an earlier book by Dan Brown after Reading "The DaVinci Code." And Mr. Brown did not let me down. (Hmmm, maybe I should write poetry.)

Anyhow if you've read "The DaVinci Code" or even saw the movie,(after all there were millions of you)then you know of the treasure hunting adventure Robert Langdon is capable of leading. "Angels & Demons" is no exception.

In this earlier story of Robert Langdon, we go on a great tour of Rome, especially Vatican City. But before that we find out that a top scientist and his beautiful physicist daughter (there has to be some sort of love interest for Mr. Langdon right?)have discovered how to create a universe in a lab and the side product is anti-matter. Thus possibly combining science and religion. When that scientist is murdered and a container of anti-matter is stolen the adventure begins.

Oh by the way, at the same time the Pope has died and the college of cardinals must elect a new pope. But the antimatter is somewhere around the Sistine Chapel and the battery powered cannister is losing power. What that means is; when the power that is keeping the anti-matter from touching matter a great explosion will occur destroying most of Vatican City. While all the "top" cardinals are voting. Thus destroying the Catholic church.

And who is doing this? Well Dan Brown introduces to us yet another secret order "the Illuminati." And the adventure begins. 4 Cardinals are to be murdered in 4 different churches through Rome. Robert Langdon must solve puzzles and historical riddles from the likes of Galileo, artist Bernini and the path of enlightenment.

The great thing about Dan Brown's writing is that you can trace the steps on a map. In fact the writing pretty much compels you to look up a map of Rome and trace the path, and use Google find the actual statues with the clues. (btw, on the author's website he has done this for you.) This page turner is a really great read and has the constant twists and turns of a great mystery. I will not give away everything but there is a great twist at the end.

This book was yet another exciting adventure. Check it out. Let's hope for more from this great adventure/mystery writer. Eventually I'll get to "Digital Fortress" and "Deception Point."

How many cults can Dan Brown come up with? As long as there are conspiracy theorists I think Mr. Brown will have more material to write from.

okay a preview of upcoming reviews:
Now reading:

"Bushwhacked" by Molly Ivins & Lou Dubose (Still going on this one, It's one you read, get mad, put down and then like an accident on the highway, you have to look, so you pick up again.)

"The Accidental" by Ali Smith (So far it is a realy good read, the writer has a great skill with writing in train of thought of a character)

"A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book The First: The Bad Beginning" by Lemony Snicket. (I bought this series for one of my kids a few years ago and they loved it. Well they were right about Harry Potter so I'm gonna check these books out. Besides, it's good to find out what your kids are reading.)

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posted by Gil T. @ 2:13 PM Comments: 0

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Book Review "The Bad Place" By Dean Koontz and more

Okay I said after reading "Velocity" I would give Mr. Koontz another chance. (In case you missed it: Velocity is a let down.)

Anyhow I went back to an older book by him "The Bad Place" This is some good stuff. It's got teleporting brothers, hermaphrodites, anti-hermaphrodites, psychic Downs-syndrome patients, erotic twins that invade the minds of animals, someone who can blow up inanimate objects with their hands, serial killers who drink blood and a husband and wife detective agency.

Now I know Stephen King wrote about a psychic Downs-syndrome patient in the book "Dreamcatcher" and I forget which Clive Barker book had a serial killing hermaphrodite, but Koontz blends them all.

Dakota and Dakota detective agency take on the case of a man that can't remember anything about himself other than his name and that when he goes to sleep he wakes up with bags of cash, rare red diamonds and a bug that is genetically engineered. The case becomes more mysterious when it is observed that their client, Frank Pollard, teleports in his sleep...but doesn't seem to be putting himself back together the right way.

Now this book has velocity. Not only did I stay interested and couldn't put it down, but it had a twist and turn every 5 minutes. (or should that be 5 pages). Plus Mr. Koontz created characters that in the totally unreal setting seemed real. My favorite is the employee of Dakota and Dakota, Clint. He's rugged and has a hidden since of humor. I could see Vin Diesel playing him in the movie. Not too bad of a book. If you like adventure and the paranormal this is your book.

Okay that was short...but I didn't want to give away any of the twists / turns or the end.

Here are the books I'm reading now:

"Bushwhacked" by Molly Ivins & Lou Dubose (As if I weren't pissed of at the gubmint enough)

"The Accidental" by Ali Smith (Should be interesting)

"Angels and Demons" by Dan Brown ( I loved "The DaVinci Code" it was a great adventure I had to go and read an earlier Dan Brown book.)

As soon as I finish each book I will post a review. And I promise that the review will be longer. It's just so hard to review a book without giving away the mysteries :)

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posted by Gil T. @ 3:19 PM Comments: 0