As I look back on the month this was a very non-fiction heavy month. In non-fiction I really enjoyed The Eighth Sister and The Perfume Collector. In non-fiction my favorites were Shoe Dog and Chase Darkness With Me. But the most important book that I read was Scam Me If You Can. I highly recommend it to everyone.
I didn't read as much as usual this month but that's because we've been having fun with our visiting friends. They leave next week so I'll have lots of reading time in February.
What ahve you read lately that you would recommend?
By Phil Knight, Read By Norbert Leo Butz
I've been hearing about this book for a couple of years and I'm so glad I finally read it. It's so popular that almost 4 years after publication there's still a waiting list at my library. Simply, it's the story of the idea and building of Nike. What started as an idea in business school to import high quality, affordable running shoes from Japan eventually became the Goliath of sports apparel, Nike.
For those who think that rich people are evil and do not deserve their rewards, this would be a good read. It chronicles the decades of effort, sacrifice and risk that was required to build a successful shoe business. He never had a plan to build Nike as we know it but the perseverance and talent of the team he gathered eventually became Nike.
This is a great book for college business students, entrepreneurs and anyone interested in a good old American success story. It's not just about business. It's actually more about the relationships that are at the heart of this successful business. I couldn't put it down.
Some Choose Darkness
By Charlie Donlea
This is the second book that I've read from Donlea and the 4th he's written. His books aren't really murder mysteries. Instead they are stories that delve into the minds and motivations of murderers. There's always an element of going back and forth in time to perfectly explain a clue that's just been found. I'm not normally a fan of the time switching but he handles it really well.
In this one Rory Moore is a forensic reconstructonist who can masterly reconstruct and solve old murders. She's about to start a new one when her father dies. In clearing out his legal cases she finds one for "The Thief" who was convicted of murdering his wife, Angela, and is suspected in a series of messing women in 1979. He's up for parole and the judge forces her (also a lawyer) to handle the case because it's been delayed so many times. She begins to reconstruct Angela's last days and finds things that she may not want to know. I enjoyed it.
By Amaryllis Fox, Read by the author
I've got really mixed feelings about this book. Fox joined the CIA shortly after college. She was first approached by clandestine services while a student at Oxford but turned that down. She was approached by the CIA while in graduate school in the US. This is her story of her life as a covert field agent in the CIA.
It's very interesting and seems like it could be real but in the epilogue it's made clear that the events and people are all changed. That makes sense because I couldn't see any situation where the CIA would have allowed this book to be published with that kind of detail. I didn't find anything to be too surprising except that life of a covert agent is a lot more interesting in novels.
I expect that she was recruited mostly because she was from a wealthy family, she's VERY smart and has traveled extensively throughout the world. It seemed easy for her to create her backstory because it could have easily been her real life. What the CIA taught her was how to have a few clandestine meetings and evade tracking. It was interesting.
Once again I have to stress this point: AUTHORS SHOULD NOT NARRATE THEIR OWN BOOKS!
Along the Broken Bay
By Flora J Soloman, Read by Sarah Mollo-Christensen
Set in Manila in 1941 when the Japanese invade the Philippines, this is a novel about Gina Thorpe. Gina and her daughter escape to the mountains and she begins helping the Guerrilla fighters. Eventually she moves back to Manila to join an underground army of smugglers.
Meanwhile she awaits word of her husband who is assumed to be in a POW camp.
I love historical fiction but this wasn't one of my favorites. It's not bad, but not great. I felt like the Gina character was often an idiot and wouldn't have survived in the real world of Manila at that time. I also felt that some of the events/actions weren't true to that time. For example, a telegram with full sentences. That never happened because you paid by the word so no one included "a" and "the". Telegrams were more akin to text messages today.
The reader gets great reviews on Audible but I really didn't like her. Her voice is too soft and she should be narrating romance novels instead.
Chase Darkness With Me
Written and read by Billy Jensen
Billy Jensen investigates unsolved murders and has a podcast called The Murder Squad with retired cold case investigator, Paul Holes. I didn't really know what I was getting into with this book. It was a sale book on Audible and I love the ID channel and true crime stories so I gave it a try. It tuned out to be a fun listen.
Billy tells parts of the story of his life to explain how he got into this line of work and then details steps he took in several of the cases that he's worked. Much of the book also covers The Golden State Killer because it was investigated by a friend of his and was the first case solved with genealogy using related DNA.
It turns out that this is also a "how to" book. At the end he gives great advice on how to get into assisting with case investigations. It was a fun read.
The Eighth Sister
By Robert Dugoni, Read By Eduardo Ballerini
This is the in a new series featuring Charles Jenkins, a retired CIA case officer. He now has security consulting business that he and his wife run and it's not doing well. His major client is behind in paying.
His former bureau chief shows up and asks him to travel undercover to Russia to determine why members a cell of long time embedded spies are being murdered. They are called the 7 sisters.
Robert Dugoni has become one of my favorite authors and I'd listen to Eduardo Ballerini read the phone book. This was fast paced and full of action and the scenes are sharp.
Scam Me If You Can
By Frank Abagnale, Read by Jason Culp
Frank Abagnale is one of the greatest scam artists of all time. He was prolific in his late teens and early 20's before he was finally caught and jailed. He was played by Leonardo DiCaprio on the 2002 movie, Catch Me If You Can.
Since his release (he's in his 60's now) he's been working in the security industry helping companies avoid hacking and scams.
Buy this book (it will be better in paper than audio), read it and then pass it on to everyone in your family to read it. It will be the best thing that you do this year. Read it even if you think you are totally scam proof. I read a lot on the topic of personal security and feel like I am pretty well educated in this arena but I learned several new things from this book.
The Perfume Collector
By Kathleen Tessaro
1955, London: Grace Monroe is married and a member of the best social circles. Her life seems idyllic. One evening she receives a letter from Paris that she has received an inheritance only she has no idea who her benefactor, Eva d'Orsay, is.
So begins her journey to Paris to discover the source of this inheritance. Eva's story begins in 1920's New York and is told through 3 perfumes that she inspired.
If you are a fan of Kate Morton, you will enjoy The Perfume Collector.
Written and read by Scott Adams
I've always thought that Dilbert was brilliant. It's clear that Scott Adams is really a philosopher in the way that Dilbert responds to situations that we are all too familiar with. This is his philosophy on critical thinking.
This is a short book (6 hours) but I was able to get it from the library and decided to give it a try. It's a really interesting primer on critical thinking. If you know someone who spends all day in a news bubble they might benefit from this book.
1/31/2020 06:39:00 pm
I'm anxious to read 'Scam Me If You Can' - sounds like a good one. Off to see if our library has it yet (not holding my breath!)
2/1/2020 07:15:10 am
Why do you think it would be better to read the scam book in print?
I like Perfume Collector too. I enjoyed Tiger in the Kitchen this month for Chinese New Year, a non-fiction book about a Chinese woman raised in Singapore discovering her heritage through the cooking of her elders. For fiction, I highly recommend The Gown!! I can't remember if that was one of your recommendations or not.
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I'm Vicki Welsh and I've been making things as long as I can remember. I used to be a garment maker but transitioned to quilts about 20 years ago. Currently I'm into fabric dyeing, quilting, Zentangle, fabric postcards, fused glass and mosaic. I document my adventures here.