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EMT 8/16/15 [krakatoa] | Main | Europe Is Salivating Over Business With Iran [CBD]
August 16, 2015

Sunday Morning Book Thread 08-16-2015: Trump Card [OregonMuse]

Trump corn silk.jpg
"Who is like unto Donald Trump? And who is able to make war with him?" Rev. 13:4*

(* loose paraphrase)

Good morning to all of you morons and moronettes and bartenders everywhere and all the ships at sea. Welcome to AoSHQ's stately, prestigious, internationally acclaimed and high-class Sunday Morning Book Thread. The Sunday Morning Book Thread is the only AoSHQ thread that is so hoity-toity, pants are required. Or kilts. Also, assless chaps don't count. Serious you guys. Kilts are OK, though. But not tutus. Unless you're a girl.


I quit reading conservative political books about 10 years ago, maybe longer. We all know what the problems are and who is causing them. I don't need a book to tell me what it is.
-Dack Thrombosis

Who Can Trump Trump?

On this thread on Friday, I twitted ace by commenting "I guess Friday is Trump day here at the HQ" since that was the 3rd thread about Donald Trump in a row. Which prompted ace to rejoin "every day is now Trump day all over the internet", and of course he was right. Donald Trump has succeeded in sucking the oxygen out of virtually every national conversation, leaving nothing but him. This must be gratifying to his yuuuge ego.

But rather than to praise or condemn him, this being the book thread and all, let's take a look at some of the books he has written. Or, perhaps I should say, books that have him listed as the author.

Trump's most famous book is probably Trump: The Art of the Deal which is now available on Kindle for $4.59. This one was a huge, excuse me, I mean a YUUUUGE bestseller.

Even a maverick plays by rules, and here Trump formulates his own eleven guidelines for success. He isolates the common elements in his greatest deals; he shatters myths (“You don’t necessarily need the best location. What you need is the best deal”); he names names, spells out the zeros, and fully reveals the deal-maker’s art.

Yes, but is it any good? I've never read it, but the reviews are overwhelmingly positive. However, I must admit I'm a bit put off by stuff like:

TRUMP ON TRUMP: “I like thinking big. I always have. To me it’s very simple: if you’re going to be thinking anyway, you might as well think big.”

Whatever the merits of the content, the writing just comes off as artless and crude. In the British TV adaptation of the Wodehouse "Jeeves" novels, Jeeves and Wooster, they would occasionally have dealings with American businessmen, who were completely over-the-top caricatures: uniformly loud, rude, obnoxious, easily angered, and of course, filthy rich. In other words, just like Donald Trump.

One of the 1-star reviews on Amazon is pretty funny, 7 Reasons Donald Trump-- the King of Chapter 11-- is a Baboon.

And then there are the Trump "how to make money" books:

Trump: How To Get Rich. This one has more 1-star reviews than any other. Apparently it's not really advice, it's just Trump talking about all the stuff *he* did to earn a pile. In other words, he's talking about his favorite subject, himself.

Most of the reviews of Trump University Wealth Building 101: Your First 90 Days on the Path to Prosperity were quite positive. There really is a Trump University that holds seminars and classes that teach enrollees Trump's real-estate investment strategies and techniques. TU is currently embroiled in a number of lawsuits alleging that a lot was promised for their money but not much was delivered. (Update: And, according to this piece from the sidebar, Trump University is now defunct, even though the lawsuits are ongoing).

(Wow. On NRO, it was one anti-Trump hit piece after another. They really hate him. It looks like it's "noTrump" day, every day over there.)

I thought Time to Get Tough: Making America #1 Again was the book he wrote for his campaign, and perhaps it's being pressed into service for that reason, but it was actually published in 2011:

President Obama has been a disaster for this country. He’s wrecked our economy, saddled our children with debt, and gone around the world apologizing for America - as if the greatest nation in the world needed to apologize for being the land of opportunity and freedom that we were before Obama became president.

Now, America looks like a broken country - stripped of jobs, stripped of wealth, stripped of respect. And what does President Obama do about it? He plays nice with the very same foreign governments who are eager to watch America burn.

This can’t go on. And if Donald J. Trump has anything to say about it, it won’t.

Trump has been all over the map on any number of issues, so who knows how much that's written here he really believes now, or will try to implement should he be elected. Not unusual for a Trump book, thee are a large number of 1-star reviews, and many of them are really over-the-top vitriolic, moreso than I usually see in 1-star reviews of other authors' books. It got so bad that the conservative reviewers accused liberals of artificially "salting" the reviews with low ratings for a book they've never read.

And what's amazing is that I made it through the entire Trump section without making a hair joke (except for the photo).

Penguin Paperback Science Fiction Book Covers

From a thread from last week, here is some classic paperback book cover art:

We've compiled a selection of the Penguin science fiction series to show you. The covers chosen range from the early 1960s (when Penguin began deviating from their traditional color-coded designs) all the way through to the 2000s. The majority of our favorites, however, feature the more psychedelic artwork from the late 1970s.

Take a look.

And thanks to moron commenter 'Mike Hammer' for the tip.

And I bring up 10 SF/F Books You Pretend to Have Read But Ought to Really Read, mentioned on an ONT earlier this week, because there's only one out of the ten I have actually never heard of, much less read, namely, the 1955 novel The Long Tomorrow by Leigh Brackett (who, incidentally, wrote the script for 'The Empire Strikes Back').

TLT takes place in a post-atomic holocaust America where people have turned against science and technology (kind of like they did in the classic novel A Canticle For Leibowitz). So the country is dominated by the Mennonites, or a group very much like them, and there is a Constitutional amendment forbidding any cities above a population of 2000. Two teenaged boys find a radio from a passing trader, and discover a place out west called "Bartorstown", where the old, forbidden technology is being revived. And then, as they say, zany hijinks ensue.

One more item: another one of the books on the list, Olaf Stapledon's classic Last and First Men: A Story of the Near and Far Future is available on Kindle for $2.95. I read this one back in high school, and I remember thinking I had never read a book quite like it.

Riddle Me This

For crossword puzzle fans, here is a "literary" crossword puzzle from thriller author Christopher J. Yates. I hadn't heard of him, but his book Black Chalk sounds interesting:

It was only ever meant to be a game played by six best friends in their first year at Oxford University; a game of consequences, silly forfeits, and childish dares. But then the game changed: The stakes grew higher and the dares more personal and more humiliating, finally evolving into a vicious struggle with unpredictable and tragic results...The twists are meticulously plotted, making it the perfect puzzle for mystery fans. This is not surprising considering Yates' background in puzzle writing.

This is Yates' first novel.

Is This Real Life? Is This Fantasy?

Ripped from the AOSHQ sidebar: A group of British architects wish to build a fully-functional, life-sized replica of Minas Tirith, the capital city of Gondor in J. R. R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings novels.

Yes, really:

"We are an ambitious team of architects and structural engineers who are passionate about creating a beautiful, inspirational and fully-functioning replica of Peter Jackson's depiction of Minas Tirith, as seen in his Lord of the Rings films," Wilson wrote on the campaign's IndieGoGo page.

How much are they asking? £1.5 billion. Building entire cities doesn't come cheap, you know. I'm sure a lot of the collected funds will probably go to municipal graft, kickbacks and embezzlement, featherbedding jobs for cronies, and payoffs to unions and organized crime (BIRM).

So far, they've raised nearly £70,000. They've got a long way to go. I wonder if these guys ever sat down after they calculated the cost and asked themselves, seriously, where the money would come from? From the millions of worldwide Tolkien fans, only a small percentage would be interested in helping fund a project like this.

This has inspired fantasy author Tom Stacey to crowdsource a counter-project. The Destroy Minas Tirith project has so far managed to acquire £22 of the estimated ٟ billion that's going to be required to smash the place to smithereens. Trebuchets and oliphaunts don't come cheap, you know.

The Time of Man has ended!

The Time of the Orc has begun!

Ancient History

In a thread earlier this week, the subject of ancient history came up. Long time moron Mary Poppins' Practically Perfect Piercing recommended Ancient Egypt on 5 Deben a Day by Donald P. Ryan. This is a good, general overview of life in ancient Egypt, what people wore, what they ate, what you would see if you were there:

The book encourages the reader to consider ancient Egyptian culture through the eyes of an Egyptian traveler ca. 1250BC during the New Kingdom reign of Ramesses II. This is a pleasing twist on more traditional and frequently drier tourist/academic literature. The scope is wide-ranging but doesn't skimp on detail. Ryan provides general information for the visitor - what to wear, when to go, money, food, drink and social norms as well as a giving a broader perspective of the ancient land - its history, geography, religion, art and building practices.

It turns out that that book is just one in the "Traveling on 5" series of history books. One you finish it, you can read Ancient Athens on 5 Drachmas a Day and then continue with Ancient Rome on 5 Denarii a Day, both by Philip Matyszak.

And of course there are others I haven't mentioned. But they all sound like they'd be worth reading.

Books By Morons

Moronette author Elisabeth Wolfe has scheduled the release of her new Loyal Valley novel, Loyal Valley: Captives for August 31st. It is available for pre-order now.

Murder, especially mass murder, will out. When civilian investigators stumble upon part of Number Seven’s schemes in the summer of 1870, Lt. Col. Clint Donovan and two of his teammates must race halfway across Texas to save their lives and find out what they know. But even that may solve only half of the problem—especially when Clint and his men meet the ladies involved.

Also available on Smashwords.

Ms. Wolfe also would like you to know:

Also, for 'rons and 'ettes who are new to the series, I'm offering the first two ebooks for 99 cemts apiece on Smashwords for the next month. The coupon code for Assassination is ZB26E and for Bystanders is DR88E.

Here are the Smashwords links for the first two books:

Loyal Valley: Assassination
Loyal Valley: Bystanders


In last week's book thread, moronette Donna (she of the abundant ampersands) commented thus:

I'd like to put in a plug for my cousin Tom Janikowski's book of extremely short and extremely bizarre short stories, "A Martini and a Pen." Tom is a Renaissance man- a Anglican priest, a musician, an author, a NRA instructor, and politically as conservative as any member of the Horde could wish. I had brunch with him and his pleasant wife when they were here in November and he never mentioned his "flash fiction." I have to admit, I didn't realize Tom had such a surrealistic sense of humor - a Midwestern grocery store shopper comes across an ancient Egyptian priest performing a mummification in the canned good aisle, a small town librarian named Drusilla Hackett comes to a bad end ..... It's fun light reading although I now believe my cousin is far stranger than I suspected.

With a title like "A Martini and a Pen", you know it has to be serious moron material. Also, the title story concerns "a desperate man discussing his future with a bartender", which includes a nice drink recipe.

The Amazon blurb likens Janikowski's writing style to "'A Prairie Home Companion' on 'shrooms."

To that, I can add nothing.

A Martini and a Pen is available in paperback. Suggestion to Donna: tell cousin Tom to release an e-version. He'll probably get more sales.


A lurking moron informed me that he has just released his new fantasy novel
The Winter Blade, which is book 1 of his "Harbinger Relics" trilogy:

When an enemy kingdom launches a surprise attack against the Clanlands in the dead of winter, life becomes a race for survival against an overwhelming force. During the attack, an avalanche separates childhood friends Graven and Tevlin of Clan Mal from the rest of their Clan and each other, it begins for them a journey to reunite with their people and help to defend their homeland. Along the way they will be pursued by assassins, make new friends, form alliances, find love, and discover hidden truths about themselves.

$2.99 on Kindle


So that's all for this week. As always, book thread tips, suggestions, bribes, rumors, threats, and insults may be sent to OregonMuse, Proprietor, AoSHQ Book Thread, at the book thread e-mail address: aoshqbookthread, followed by the 'at' sign, and then 'G' mail, and then dot cee oh emm.

What have you all been reading this week? Hopefully something good, because, as you all know, life is too short to be reading lousy books.

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