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February 11, 2018

Sunday Morning Book Thread 02-11-2018

Biblioteca Nacional do Brasil.jpgBiblioteca Nacional do Brasil, Rio de Janeiro


(h/t James Verpoten on Twitter)(click on photo for larger version)

More on Brazil's national library here.


Good morning to all you 'rons, 'ettes, lurkers, and lurkettes. Welcome once again to the stately, prestigious, internationally acclaimed and high-class Sunday Morning Book Thread, a weekly compendium of reviews, observations, and a continuing conversation on books, reading, and publishing by people who follow words with their fingers and whose lips move as they read. Unlike other AoSHQ comment threads, the Sunday Morning Book Thread is so hoity-toity, pants are required. Even if it's these pants, which would embarrass a golfer.


Blasts From the Past

I've been downloading episodes of the Paramount TV mini-series Waco to watch at a later date. I recalled that the American Spectator magazine ran a big piece about that horrific debacle in the mid 90s so I went looking for it online. The AmSpec site didn't have it, near as I could tell, but I found another site that did. www.unz.com is a treasure trove of thousands of articles from old magazines, all archived in pdf format.

As I searched through back issues of AmSpec looking for the article I remembered, I was surprised to see how often the name David Brock appears. He did a lot of investigative journalism for that magazine, and I hate to say this, but I'm kind of sorry we lost him. There are some guys who've jumped the fence that I really don't care about, but Brock actually made some valuable contributions back in the day, as the unz.com archives show. So I do regret that he went all squirrelly and became a hack for Hillary.

But before that, he wrote investigative pieces such as The Real Anita Hill (March 1992) and Living With the Clintons (January 1994).

And I did find the Waco piece I was looking for, Gunning For Koresh by Ben Wattenberg. Direct PDF link is here.

Lastly, who knew Paramount had its own TV channel?


It Pays To Increase Your Word Power®

THRASONISM (n.) boastfulness, arrogance

Usage: Dan Rather lost his set of Thrasonite luggage at the airport, along with what was left of his mind.




Moron Library

Here are a couple of shelves of lurker norrin radd's library:

Library of norrin radd 01 525.jpg

Click on it to view larger version.


The Spy Who Wrote Novels

I first read the Day of the Jackal by Frederick Forsyth when I was in high school. I got to the part where the Jackal, a paid assassin, was looking at French president Charles DeGaulle through the scope mounted on his custom-built rifle, about to squeeze the trigger, and I remember thinking, "oh no, is he really going to get away with shooting DeGaulle?" I knew that in real life DeGaulle died peacefully and was not assassinated, but Forsyth's writing made me forget that I knew that and I thought, well maybe it's going to be different here.

I also learned from that book how to make a fake identity by acquiring the birth certificate of a dead guy. It's probably not possible nowadays as they've probably closed up the necessary bureaucratic loophole by now.

And the 1973 movie version is excellent.

I always wondered how Forsyth knew about this stuff. I read that he claimed to "know spooks", and they were the source, but as it turned out, he had worked for MI6 for twenty years:

The bestselling thriller author, who was an RAF pilot and a journalist before turning to fiction with The Day of the Jackal, is due to release The Outsider next week. Forsyth has previously denied claims that he worked for MI6 – “Some said that I was a spook, but I just knew a few,” he told the Guardian in 2001 – but an extract from his memoir in the Sunday Times reveals how in late 1968 a “member of the Firm” - MI6 – called Ronnie sought him out.

All of this is detailed in Forsyth's autobiography, The Outsider: My Life in Intrigue:

He was the RAF’s youngest pilot at the age of nineteen, barely escaped the wrath of an arms dealer in Hamburg, got strafed by a MiG during the Nigerian civil war, landed during a bloody coup in Guinea-Bissau (and was accused of helping fund a 1973 coup in Equatorial Guinea). The Stasi arrested him, the Israelis feted him, the IRA threatened him, and a certain attractive Czech secret police agent—well, her actions were a bit more intimate. And that’s just for starters.

He sounds like a real life version of James Bond.


Moron Recommendation

Moron lurker Floyd recommends The Doorbell Rang by Rex Stout.

For those not familiar with Mr Stout’s work it is a Murder Mystery in the Nero Wolfe series. First published in 1965 it deals with a corrupt FBI targeting a mostly innocent citizen. Seems apropos to todays news. The references to the then current income tax laws is pretty interesting as well.

So, in other words, it's kind of like an historical novel, only it wasn't intended as such. Floyd says this is true of Stout's other books:

I would recommend to anyone the entire Nero Wolfe series. Written from the thirties up to Stout’s death in the 70’s every novel is set in the time it was written. The Characters don’t age, Wolfe is always 50ish and Goodwin is always 30ish but the society they are embedded in varies from pre-WWII Americana through 50’s mad-men, 60’s civil rights, to 70’s weirdness. The fun part is that since Stout wasn’t trying to write historical fiction, he was just describing the society going on around him as he was writing, each novel is a pretty accurate picture of what society was like at the time. All of it’s good. The only era missing, and it’s not missing completely, is World War II itself since Stout was busy working for the government during the war years and didn’t publish during that time.

The Nero Wolfe books still sell at premium prices. This Kindle edition is $7.99.

___________


Books by Morons

A lot of you morons have read Hallow Mass, a modern-day fantasy novel written by JP Mac, the husband of a lurking 'ette. I guess it'd be called an "urban fantasy." Here is how I pimped it last year when it first came out:

This story, the first in a trilogy, takes place in the Lovecraftian universe of hideous, unnatural beings and ultimate cosmic indifference. In Dunwich, Massachusetts, only a small, beleaguered band in the Antiquities Section at Miskatonic University is keeping back trans-dimensional horrors from wiping all human life from earth in preparation for the return of the Great Old Ones. And speaking of hideous, unnatural beings, progressives have pretty much taken over Miskatonic U. and filled it with the usual P.C. blather: critical weather studies, diversity enforcement, and research into "contemporary oppression modalities". Naturally, they are completely hostile to the Antiquities Section and they think the copy of Abdul Al-Hazred's Necronomicon in the Antiquities library is just a collection of old folk religion tales that should be returned to its "original owners", i.e. a group of murderous Cthulu-cultists in nearby Dunwich who need it to bring about the return of the Great Old Ones.

Into this simmering conflict steps Mercy O'Connor, an aimless party girl grad student in the Antiquities Section who has yet to find herself or her place in life. She's about to be thrust to the front lines of the age-old battle against ultimate evil, and her only ally is her department's security guard, a descendent of Zulu warriors who loves country music and Jesus with his whole heart. Against them are arrayed all of the unimaginatively powerful dark forces of evil from time immemorial.

So how could they possibly lose?

I read this book when it was first published and I recommend it highly. One of the things I like about it is that the characters' worldviews, whether conservative or progressive, are woven inextricably into the plot and play a very big role in how the story progresses.

I've been eagerly awaiting the second book in the trilogy, but sometimes real life gets in the way. In this case, it's prostate cancer. No, not me. Him, the author, JP Mac. He's been fighting prostate cancer and writing about it in a short book, They Took My Prostate: Cancer Loss Hope:

Time is short for a broke, unemployed animation writer diagnosed with prostate cancer. Follow the medical adventures of JP Mac as he attempts to comprehend his disease, select a treatment, and snag a new health care provider all in less than two months. Told in a hilarious, sardonic style, Mac strives to keep cool as he wrestles with bureaucratic bungles, medical complications and a difficult post-treatment future. A pull-no-punches, non-fiction tale, this hopeful essay is a perfect read for guys and their families facing the number one cancer among men.

So, no horrifying elder gods here, just cancer. Which carries its own horrors. It's more like his earlier book, Jury Doody, where he recounts his jury experience:

A satirical peek at justice in Los Angeles, this short essay is the mandatory minimum you need for a fast fun read. During a domestic violence case, the author and eleven peers must sift conflicting evidence to uncover the truth: did the defendant strike his wife, or was she a coked-up loon who made eerie noises? Can annoyed, busy strangers render a just verdict? What happened to the defendant's socks? Did a juror overhear the defendant ordering pizza--and how did that affect the final outcome? Go inside the jury room and witness the chaos as twelve strangers attempt to render justice with one eye on the clock.

Only $0.99 on Kindle

___________

Moron author Francis Portetto has a new novel out, Innocents. Set in the near future, wherein

...Genetic engineering and zygotic microsurgery have produced both wonders and horrors. Wonders such as drugs tailored to attack a specific disease in a specific sufferer, or surgery to eliminate genetically borne handicaps before mitosis can begin. Horrors such as blindness or deafness deliberately inflicted upon unborn babies, or pitiable creatures whose bodies and minds are warped to satisfy the whims of wealthy perverts.

Security specialist Larry Sokoloff is on vacation far from home, straining to forget a woman he loves but cannot have, when Fountain, a teenaged escapee from a malevolent institution, comes under his protection. What he learns of her nature and origins lays bare the darker face of the Janus of biotechnology, and catapults him and his colleague Trish McAvoy into a mission of vengeance and cleansing. For adults only.

[Narrator]: 'For adults only' means that this book contains one or more sex scenes. Also, violence.

On Kindle for $2.99.


___________

Long-time lurkette Gunnar Grey e-mailed me this week to tell me about a couple of books she's published:

I do love reading and writing about forensics, and occasionally I throw out some true crime stuff. Most recently, well, back in December, I published Without a Body: Forensics investigations when there's not a lot left, and it examines how the police have solved crimes through the years when the main point of evidence in a murder isn't available, e.g., the victim.

Best yet, on Sunday it goes on sale for 99¢, and stays there until Valentine's. No, I don't suggest anybody get this book for their sweetheart, not unless said sweetheart has a bizarre sense of the romantic. (Not judging.)

Here is the Amazon blurb for Without a Body: Forensic investigations when there’s not a lot left (Old Cases Book 3):

Criminals have known for a long time that it’s not enough to move a victim’s body...and even without a body, forensic evidence always remains, sometimes in the most esoteric and strange forms, waiting to bring a killer to justice.

Without a Body presents nine fascinating cases, spanning from the 1890s to the 21st century. How does an investigator capture a killer when the body’s not around for investigating? What clues can be gathered in the body’s absence? And how can a jury convict without that single most important piece of evidence?

This actually sounds kind of interesting. I may have to grab a copy. And for 99 cents, it's a steal.

Also:

[I]n late January, my little publishing company released the third book in William Alan Webb's kick-ass right-wing military sci fi series. This one is called Standing at the Edge, and it follows the adventures of the Seventh Cavalry in a dystopian America, with bad guys falling all over the western U.S., including California.

She's talking about Standing at the Edge (The Last Brigade Book 3) by William Alan Webb, which you can pick up on Kindle for $3.99.

___________


Don't forget the AoSHQ reading group on Goodreads. It's meant to support horde writers and to talk about the great books that come up on the book thread. It's called AoSHQ Moron Horde and the link to it is here: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/175335-aoshq-moron-horde.

___________

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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posted by OregonMuse at 09:00 AM

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