Tuesday, August 30, 2011

TIME Magazine's top 100 Non-Fiction Books

TIME Magazine has posted a list of the top 100 Non-Fiction books of all time on its website and perhaps in the magazine?  

I have read exactly 6 of them: 
  • Hiroshima by John Hersey
  • Why We Can't Wait by Martin Luther King Jr. 
  • The Clash of Civilizations and Remaking of World Order by Samuel Huntington (Believe me, I was surprised too...Thanks college)
  • The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcoln X and Alex Haley
  • Dreams from my Father by Barack Obama
  • In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
Most of these were required for various classes. I wish they would do a fiction list, but I'm sure my numbers wouldn't be much better since I read popular fiction instead of engrossing literary fiction.  

How many have you read?? 

Happy Reading!! 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Blog Hiatus

It has come to my attention that I am under a high level of stress.  One of the things that stresses me is my job, another is this blog.

Once you start a blog - there seems to be a lot of pressure to keep the blog going.  Or else all sorts of terrible things start happening, like losing readership.  Gasp! (I know I get super annoyed when my favorite blogs only post once in a while)

This blog is especially  difficult to maintain because I actually have to read things to be able to write reviews on them. I don't get to just write about my life, like some bloggers out there.  Of course this means that I have to read fast enough to be able to update frequently.  That just isn't the case anymore.   So, in the interest of leading a less stressful life I am going to allow myself to feel less pressure from my blog.  I'm only going to update when I feel like it and when I've read something worth reviewing.

Sure, this will lessen my readership - but really, there are a lot of book blogs out there and I just don't have the time to keep pushing A Book of a Different Color down everyone's throats.

So, enjoy the reviews as they come and as always -

Happy Reading!!

P.S.  I'm always open to suggestions about how to maintain a blog that requires some serious work, like taking on a new blogger or reviewing law cases or something.  Leave 'em in the comments.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Portrait of a Spy by Daniel Silva

Book:  Portrait of a Spy 

Author:  Daniel Silva 

Grade:  C 

Recommended To:  Gabriel Allon fans, people who like to paint. 

This is the 45th or so book in the Gabriel Allon series.  Daniel Silva has really hit a gold mine with this group of characters and sometimes in series novels there are hits and there are misses.  This book wasn't exactly a miss, but it wasn't as good as some of the others in the series.

I don't want to sound sacrilegious, but it might be time for Gabriel Allon to retire for good - I love his character and I love the books, but I think each time there is a new book, it gets even more far fetched that Gabriel and his wife would come out of retirement against for one last mission.   This has happened at least twice already and I can't picture the series doing much else except having singular missions for Gabriel to perform for each book.

This book did have a good story line - there is a new network of Islamic terrorists that planted bombs in three European cities, Gabriel is called in by his old friend Aaron Carter, the American, to take apart the network.   He succeeds of course, but not before getting captured and nearly killed.

This book had lots of twists and turns, some return appearances by characters that I didn't think we would see again, and a lot of drama between Israel, America and Britain.  Definitely a solid read but the story took too long to get started and seemed to be a repeat of The Rembrandt Affair.  But, because I think Gabriel Allon is the hottest middle aged spy to ever be created by a novelist - I will keep reading these books.

Happy Reading!!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larsen

Book:  In the Garden of Beasts

Author:  The unparalleled Erik Larson 

Grade:  A 

Recommended To:  Non-fiction lovers, people who loved Devil in the White City.

Erik Larson has done it again.  He has written another non-fiction masterpiece.  If you've been following this blog for a while,  you will know that this is the third Erik Larson book that I've read this year.  This is because if I like something, I want more of it.  And boy do I like Erik Larson.

This newest work is about Ambassador Dodd and his family and their adventure in Germany during the rise of Hitler's Nazi Party.  This book starts with Dodd getting the ambassadorship to Germany in 1933 and ends when he is removed from the post by Roosevelt some 4 years later. During this time Hitler as appointed the Chancellor of Germany and slowly started implementing regulations and rules that restricted the movements of the nation's Jewish population.  The book also tells of the many attacks on American citizens for their failure to celebrate Nazism and salute during parades and gatherings.   This is a little known part of German and American history and it is fascinating to read about how so destructive a man kept his tenuous grip on Germany in the beginning.

This book is incredibly interesting because Dodd had the opportunity to meet with many of the higher German officials, including Hitler himself.   Dodd was one of the few Americans who had an early hesitation around Hitler and his party and after his ambassadorship was one of the few who spoke out severely against the Hitler regime.

Dodd's daughter, Martha is also heavily featured. She is depicted as having varied and wild sexual tastes and even became romantically involved with several Nazi officials - but she finally falls for a Russian undercover operative. Her story is fascinating.

The story is pieced together through letters, journals and speeches that were made during the time period and Larson's research allows him to present a very thorough picture of life as an American in Nazi Germany before the war. Larson is detailed in ways that other non-fiction writers are not and that makes his books by far some of the best non-fiction that I've ever read.

This book was so good, that I nearly believe that it was better than Devil in the White City and certainly more comprehensive than Isaac's Storm.  Both of which I reviewed this year.  You can be sure that I will keep reading Erik Larson and I hope he continues his strong bid for best-non-fiction-writer that this blogger has ever read.

Happy Reading!!