Friday, January 18, 2013

The Master of Disguise by Antonio Mendez

Book:  The Master of Disguise 

Author:  Antonio Mendez 

Grade:  B+ 

Recommended To:  Spies, People who wear disguises.  CIA agents. 

Jon got The Master of Disguise for Christmas from my lovely Aunt (shout-OUT!) and I read it first because my Kindle was charging and I needed something lighter than a hardcover to read.  It took me an unusually long time to read this book because I was on trial last week and work has been generally insane.

This is the "tell-all" story of Antonio Mendez and his career in the Graphics department of the CIA.  Essentially this means that he forges passports, visa stamps, and creates documentation for other agents.  He's not a Jack Bauer gun-carrying type, but he still plays a hugely important role in agent safety.

Even if he's not the "action" type of agent, the book is filled with very interesting anecdotes in how Mendez canvassed airport security and customs techniques, went on missions where paperwork needed to be finished very quickly and without flaws, and even created elaborate disguises for the agents.

I liked this book.  It was interesting even though some of the devices used are still classified and cannot be released.  It was somewhat frustrating to read about the disguise techniques without any real description, but I supposed even now we can't let Russia win.

I definitely recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a quick non-fiction read.  I thought it was worth the two weeks it took me to finish it.

Happy Reading!!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

2012 Recap and 2013 Goals


I love the year change, even though its 13 degrees outside and all I want to do is read my Christmas gifts.  I love setting goals, reflecting on the past year, and putting it all into this blog.

Here's the 2012 wrap-up:

In 2012, I set my sights on 75 books to top my 2011 total of 73 books.  I failed, but 2012 was a great year for reading because I still read a whopping 64 books.  And, I must say that I read a lot of lengthy books this year, so it probably counted for 100 regular books or a million short stories.  Those 64 books counted for 26,221 pages read.  Plus this blog topped 10k hits right at the end of 2012, which is a HUGE accomplishment.  Thank you all for reading, I hope these reviews make you laugh, avoid certain books and read others.

Longest Book:  The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon at 1400 + pages.

Shortest Book: Three Cups of Deceit by Jon Krakauer

Most Disappointing Book:  My Teenage Dream Ended by Farrah Abraham (I just wish she had put in some juicy details about filming Teen Mom).

Most Rewarding Book:  The Physician by Noah Gordon

The Funniest Book: Boomsday by Christopher Buckley

Favorite Book: The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling

Least Favorite Book:  Fifty Shades of Gray by E.L. James (but on the upside, it was my favorite review to write)

Best Rated on Goodreads:   Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling with A Storm of Swords by George RR Martin as a close second.

Worst Rated on Goodreads:  My Teenage Dream Ended by Farrah Abraham. (shocking).

Series Finished:  Game of Thrones - at least until 2014 and Winds of Winter comes out.

I also have goals for 2013.  I like when the year turns over and I can make attainable resolutions.  Things like "no dirty goose martinis with bleu cheese olives" or "eat less chips" are hard.  But, reading more books?  I can totally do that! 

1.  Read 65 books in 2013 (see what I did there, just one more than last year!)
2.  Finish an entire book series.  I have this irritating habit of starting a book series and then putting it down before I get to the last book.  So, this year, I'm going to make a point to finish the book series that I started in 2012.
3.  Update this blog 1/week.  That's 52 updates.  Not sure if I'm going to make that, but I should have at least one hard goal, right?
4.  Buy a house - okay, not a book goal, but I need a place to put all of my books!

Do you have book goals?  Let me know in the comments!

Happy Reading!