Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Physician by Noah Gordon

Book:  The Physician 

Author:  Noah Gordon

Grade:  B+ 

Recommended To:  People who like epic novels 

The Physician was a beautiful find from the Amazon Kindle Daily Deal.  I got this for .99 cents and really enjoyed it.  I wrote that last post about hating everything I've read recently, but this book was the exception.

The Physician is an epic novel about the life of Rob Cole  in the middle ages.  The book starts in his childhood when Cole is orphaned and then becomes an apprentice to a barber-surgeon who teaches him how to deceive people for extra tips and how to  amputate fingers properly.  Cole eventually desires to become an actual physician and pretends to be Jewish in order to be accepted at the famous Muslim medical school in Persia.  Essentially, this book is about Cole's entire life, his encounters, studies, patients, and eventually his return to England.   It is an epic novel spanning 900+ pages and took me about two weeks to finish.

This book is also a beautiful study in the interplay between religious during this time period.  Rob must secretly study Jewish traditions and practices in order to pass as Jewish when he gets to Persia and the author does a lovely job of describing the Jewish faith.

This author must have put a tremendous amount of work into studying this time period and the very beginnings of medical study and it shows in his writing, his descriptions and the dialogue.  This is a very comprehensive read and I've discovered that Gordon wrote two other books in this "Cole Trilogy."  

I recommend this book to anyone looking for a very in depth historical fiction read about medicine, healing, and faith.  It was beautifully written and all-encompassing and I truly enjoyed reading it.

Happy Reading!!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Book Recommendations Needed!

Attention!  Attention!   I need some better book recommendations.  The crap I'm reading just isn't cutting it!

Goodreads tells me that I'm currently reading four books at a time. Technically, Goodreads is right.  These days, I pick something up, read it for a while, decide I don't like it, and then put it down. But, I feel like I'm cheating if I take it off my "currently reading" queue on Goodreads.

I used to subscribe to the theory that all books should be completed, no matter what.  And, I would slog through even the worst books just to say that I had finished them. That Jill is no more. I'm flying by the seat of my pants and subscribing to the theory that life is too short to read crappy books.

I get very limited reading time each day.  I get about 30 minutes of train time, home and back.  Some court reading and whatever I can get in before I fall asleep before bed.  It isn't enough and I am putting my foot down on these wretched books that are wasting my time.

For example:

Kindle Edition:  40% finished.

Omg Diana.  This is your worst yet.  I can't express to you how little I care about Brianna's breast milk.  It. Is. Too. Much. Information.  Period!

There has been one interesting scene in 40%, which for Diana is like 500 pages.  That's not good enough and that's not why I read you, Diana.  Fix it next time.  Srsly.

Paperback:  50% done ish.

Sigh.  A book about a 14 year old girl who has a fat cat.   Sigh, again.

I don't really care if she doesn't know how to kiss, how her friend hung up on her, or even if she is British.   I cannot abide by these teenagers.  I'm so not finishing this one.

Kindle Edition:  25%

Dear Daniel,

I'm disappointed in this one.  I don't like your books about art.  I know you've got this thing going where Gabriel Allon is getting older and can't do much except be a hot older man and restore great works, but damn it, I just don't care.

I hate to say it, but perhaps you should focus on another character and make them solve cool mysteries as an Israeli spy and toss this art-restorer stuff to the curb.

Sincerely,  a concerned reviewer and avid Allon fan.

This one takes the cake.  I actually finished it and all I really have to say is thank god I got it for 50 cents at The Brown Elephant Resale Shop.  I picked it up because fricken' Lee Child is on the cover saying how terrific it is.  

Well, lemme just tell you this.  If I was on the cover I would say "Slog Slog Slog" - Jill of ABOADC 

This book was like the movie Speed, because it just did not end.  They find the guy, they realize it is a different guy, they find the money, they lose the money, they lose a second set of money.  Lame-o.  Plus, the characters were ridiculously flat, even for an action book.  I do not recommend this book.  Even if you don't have anything else to read and live on a deserted island where you can't make a book out of sand. 

So, this is a call for help.  Is there anything out there that will keep my attention longer than 5 minutes?  Leave some recommendations in the comments so I stop wasting my time with these books! 

Happy Reading!! 

Friday, September 7, 2012

John Wayne Gacy: Defending a Monster by Sam Amirante

Book:  John Wayne Gacy:  Defending a Monster 

Author:  Sam Amirante and Danny Broderick

Grade:  C+ 

Recommended To:  Lawyers,  People who are full of themselves. 

I'm an attorney, so I occasionally (and I do mean very occasionally) like to read books about other lawyers and the work that they do.  So, I picked up this book at the library.  Free.

The book was average.  I expected the book to be more about John Wayne Gacy than about the attorney, but I suppose I should have read the title more clearly because it says : The true story of the lawyer who defended one of the most evil serial killers in history.  Okay, obviously I was just distracted by the huge print and I should have known that this wasn't going to be about Gacy's character.  But, that's what I wanted, so this book got a C+.  (I told you, its subjective...)

Also, this attorney is super full of himself.  Evidently he went on to become a judge in Cook County, which is pretty admirable.  But did he have to reprint his entire 10 hour closing argument in the book?  It's not like this is Barack Obama talking and the argument is quote worthy, it was just a very very long closing argument that I didn't want to read in full.  Sam Amirante is admirable because he truly believes that every single person is entitled to a defense.  I appreciate that and I appreciate that he was able to provide a defense even to this totally creepy, Chicago based killer.

I also liked that this book is based in Chicago.  WGN, the best new station in the universe, had a story just a few years back about how the police were still searching for bodies under Gacy's house.  That's crazy close to where I live (okay, not that close, but still crazy)!   So, the fact that this still has repercussions today is amazing and interesting.

I recommend this book to my attorney friends and anyone with a fascination in serial killers.

Happy Reading!