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As you look for novels to take you through long flights, airport delays, or just time on a lazy Saturday, I have a few that I liked immensely. The best was Death of A Prisoner, by Jeffrey Archer. He tells the tale of a wrongful conviction and the revenge that follows. The story is brilliantly laid out with many twists, turns, and outright surprises. It's definitely entertaining, but it colored my appreciation of several other books by accomplished authors who just didn't show the skill that Archer does.

 

One is John Lescoart, who writes lawyer novels. His latest, though, is Betrayal, about outsourcing in Iraq and the pitfalls that one soldier endures when corruption becomes too easy to cover up. This one is pretty well done, but short of Archer's skills.

 

Lawyer John Grisham also does a good job in The Appeal, and, even if you are tired of him, this one is worth a look as he tells the tale of a corrupt corporation ruining lives and then trying to buy the court that hears the appeal. I strongly disliked Grishams' author's note at the end wherein he tries to have it both ways, almost disowning the story he just told. So just skip that, and you will like the book, I think.

 

Douglas Preston is another top story-teller, and Blasphemy was one of my favorites. Here scientists working on a super-collider seem to have come into direct contact with God, who has plenty to say if the electricity just doesn't blow! Fundamentalist Christians aren't at all happy with the work the scientists are doing, and the book shows both sides coming to a huge confrontation. But Preston also has surprises of his own that make the book a joy to read.

 

Charles Bock spent 10 years writing his first novel, Beautiful Children, and it got a lot of attention from the NY Times. He shows us what happens with the folks whose lives are too sordid even for Jerry Springer as they cope with daily existence in a side of Las Vegas tourists rarely see. His writing flourishes are a joy to contemplate even though some have criticized his use of too many words where a few would do. I am not one of those, I enjoyed every page and would easily re-read the book just to make sure I didn't miss any of Bock's lurid insights.

 

Not much of my reading has any gay content, although The Risk of Infidelity Index takes a look at Bangkok's underbelly too, and it's hard not to include ladyboys in a story like that.

 

There are some lesbians and a street hustler in Blood of the Wicked, a look at police corruption in a small town in Northern Brazil. This may be the most violent book I have ever read, and it makes me wonder what goes on behind the scenes in Brazil...stuff seemingly much more dangerous than anything Bangkok sees, but it's kind of a toss up.

 

Other books of note include Blood Lies, The First Patient, Gas City, The Ghost War, Satan's Circus, and Death of A Bishop. If I wrote here about all of these, I might as well write a novel of my own. But each of these books in some way studies corruption, so the battle of good and evil holds a lot of interest for me.

 

Right now I am starting a Christopher Rice novel, Blind Fall. It's his fourth book, but the first of his I have read because I thought he was just capitalizing on his mother's fame. His first chapter has already proven me wrong. It's about time I read a gay novel as well, so here's hoping.

 

And I'm also hoping to hear what others are reading, so here's your chance. Surely someone is reading something that isn't about corruption...

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Guest zipperzone

>As you look for novels to take you through long flights,

>airport delays, or just time on a lazy Saturday, I have a few

>that I liked immensely. The best was Death of A Prisoner, by

>Jeffrey Archer.

 

I have always liked the Archer books that I have read in the past. Somehow, I rather went off him after his felony conviction for perjury. I know that shouldn't matter - he went to jail and served his time, but my admiration of what I had considered to be a principled man diminished somewhat.

 

Lucky - you seem to be quite a reader. How do you manage to find room for all of them after they have been read? My library consists of 18 linear feet of ceiling to floor built in bookcases that are filled to overflowing. I hate to get rid of a book after reading it but it has reached the point where a new book in means an old one must exit. That really hurts.

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Zip,

 

Be careful what you wish for. Several years ago I had about 6-800 books that I had collected and then had a house fire. That got rid of all of them and made a lot of room (in a new, empty house) for plenty more. I don't recommend this remedy to anyone. A house fire or a burglary (I had one of those also and it was not a bad neighborhood) is liked being mugged or maybe raped. Fortunately, I have not had the latter two.

 

Best regards,

KMEM

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RE: The Pieces Form a Heart

 

My favorite way of getting rid of books, when I do, is to loan them to someone else, with the understanding that I won't be upset if they don't make them back. They usually do, but if I can, which I haven't succeeded at yet, get enough of them in circulation and keep them bouncing out, then I will have the shelf space and still nominally own them! Yay!

 

Anyway, I want to recommend a book which I had trouble putting down. This might be partly because it's by a friend of mine. It's the first third of her memoirs, disguised as a roman a clef (very, very thinly) because she is a strongly opinionated lady and some of her comments might have started some proceedings, in her publisher's eyes not mine. This is the part of her story where she, a lesbian with a gay roommate and lots of gay friends, gradually discovers that she has multiple personality disorder. Which is not giving away the plot any more than the back cover does. It's out from http://www.publishamerica.com and is (wayy too long a title, BTW): The Pieces Form a Hear ... But She Didn't Have a Clue, by Judy Troop.

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Feel free to find out for yourself, of course, but I found the Christopher Rice book to be dreadful. My eyes were glazing over, I started skimming pages, and then I just gave up. I guess my intuition was right...he's riding his mommy's coattails. This bizarre book would never have made it to print had anyone else submitted it.

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Guest zipperzone

>Zip,

>

>Be careful what you wish for. Several years ago I had about

>6-800 books that I had collected and then had a house fire.

>That got rid of all of them and made a lot of room (in a new,

>empty house) for plenty more. I don't recommend this remedy

>to anyone. A house fire or a burglary (I had one of those

>also and it was not a bad neighborhood) is liked being mugged

>or maybe raped. Fortunately, I have not had the latter two.

 

A house fire would be horrific - but a burglar stealing books I find improbable - the suckers weigh a ton and aren't worth shit on the hot market.

 

Mugged I can do without. Raped...... hmmmmmm - can I see his picture first?

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Your comments on Grisham's latest book The Appeal brought to mind the recent reports of the king of torts Richard (?) Scruggs who pled guilty to trying to bribe a judge in Mississippi recently. His son, a lawyer, is also implicated but has opted for a trial. Scruggs made millions in tobacco litigation. So life imitating art, it seems. Maybe Grisham knows these fellows since he is from Mississippi, I believe.

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Good topic posting.

 

Just out in paperback: "What the Dead Know" by Laura Lippman. I read it last year. One evening I thought I'd read until 10 or so. The plot took a particular turn and I said, I'm not turning in until I finish this. I stayed up until 2 a.m. to finish it. Particulars: it's a mystery- thriller about the disappearance of a young girl. Characterization and the depiction of family dynamics are excellent. Highly recommended.

 

Among nonfiction titles, "Pictures at a Revolution" stands out. The author traces the development of the five films nominated for best picture Oscar in 1967, showing how new filmmakers replaced older ones and created a vital film culture in Hollywood that lasted until "Jaws" started a blockbuster mentality in the '70s. There's a good deal of suspense in the book -- how will "Bonnie and Clyde" ever get made? -- with the films becoming characters. The author crosscuts from one film to another, building suspense as the narrative moves to Oscar night. Much, much insight -- and nostalgia for those of a "certain age" who lived through this burst of creative filmmaking and lament its passing. Among the many sketches: Rex Harrison, in "Dr. Doolittle," (one of the films nominated for Best Picture!) comes across as a prick.

 

 

"I'd say that's a bit of an extreme reaction, now wouldn't you?" -- N.F. Bates

 

 

Lankypeters

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Finally got around to reading Russell Banks' "The Darling." Fascinating novel about a 60s radical who escapes criminal charges and ends up in Liberia marrying an official there. It spans 3 decades and all of the civil wars in that part of the world. It was a country I knew little about and I found it quite fascinating and a great read. Highly recommended.

 

Mark

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Good grief Lucky! We have the same taste in literature.

 

Also on my coffee table in the "watin' to be read" pile is John Lescroat's "Betrayal," Christopher Rice's "Blind Fall," and Jeffrey Archer's "Prisoner of Birth."

 

I finished John Grisham's "The Appeal" a few weeks ago. It was a good read, but I just didn't care for the ending.

 

I am about ready to fling Greg Iles latest, "Third Degree" into the trash. I'm having a hard time getting through it and it might just be my lack of enthusiam.

 

I'll be flying in 2 weeks, so perhaps I'll get some of these out of the way on my trip down south.

 

ED

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Whenever possible, I give my old books away to friends or relatives or else I take them to one of the charity thrift stores and donate them.

 

If you live near a senior citizen center, assisted living facility, or nursing home you might consider dropping them off.

 

ED

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Zip,

 

The burglars didn't steal books but other personal stuff. A collection of rifles and shotguns that I had inherited from my father, for instance. I just meant the feeling and reaction to being the victim of a house fire or a burglary was about the same as I imagine for a mugging or a rape.

 

Imagine driving home and finding your front door ajar when you know there is no one you know who could have done it. Then you find out that there are missing items and that you have been burglarized.

 

Imagine being called by the local scandal sheet aka the local newspaper and being asked if you know who lives at such and such address and then you find out it is you and your address and there has been a fire there. Not a lot of fun and the misery is only beginning with the discovery of the fire.

 

Best regards,

KMEM

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Luv2play,

 

I had the same thoughts. I have had occasion to do business with Scruggs' company (not face to face)and find the whole thing fascinating. Lurid, perhaps, but fascinating nonetheless.

 

Best regards,

KMEM

 

Where, geographically, are you located?

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Ed, the customer reviews of Third Degree at Barnes and Noble.com are pretty bad. Even his longtime fans are disappointed. Let me know how you like Prisoner of Birth...and pick up Blasphemy while you are out.

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Guest zipperzone

>If you live near a senior citizen center, assisted living

>facility, or nursing home you might consider dropping them

>off.

 

What? And cause multiple cases of cardiac arrest? :-)

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As I was saying, corruption is a topic of interest to me.

 

 

Folly, depravity, greed, mortal sin

Invade our souls and rack our flesh; we feed

Our gentle guilt, gracious regrets, that breed

Like vermin glutting on foul beggars' skin.

 

 

Our sins are stubborn; our repentance, faint.

We take a handsome price for our confession,

Happy once more to wallow in transgression,

Thinking vile tears will cleanse us of all taint.

 

 

On evil's cushion poised, His Majesty,

Satan Thrice-Great, lulls our charmed soul, until

He turns to vapor what was once our will:

Rich ore, transmuted by his alchemy.

 

 

He holds the strings that move us, limb by limb!

We yield, enthralled, to things repugnant, base;

Each day, towards Hell, with slow, unhurried pace,

We sink, uncowed, through shadows, stinking, grim.

 

 

Like some lewd rake with his old worn-out ####,

Nibbling her suffering teats, we seize our sly

delight, that, like an orange—withered, dry—

We squeeze and press for juice that is no more.

 

 

Our brains teem with a race of Fiends, who frolic

thick as a million gut-worms; with each breath,

Our lungs drink deep, suck down a stream of Death—

Dim-lit—to low-moaned whimpers melancholic.

 

 

If poison, fire, blade, rape do not succeed

In sewing on that dull embroidery

Of our pathetic lives their artistry,

It's that our soul, alas, shrinks from the deed.

 

 

And yet, among the beasts and creatures all—

Panther, snake, scorpion, jackal, ape, hound, hawk—

Monsters that crawl, and shriek, and grunt, and squawk,

In our vice-filled menagerie's caterwaul,

 

 

One worse is there, fit to heap scorn upon—

More ugly, rank! Though noiseless, calm and still,

yet would he turn the earth to scraps and swill,

swallow it whole in one great, gaping yawn:

 

 

Ennui! That monster frail!—With eye wherein

A chance tear gleams, he dreams of gibbets, while

Smoking his hookah, with a dainty smile. . .

—You know him, reader,—hypocrite,—my twin!

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