Monday, November 17, 2008

More recently-read books and brief comments

Other books I've recently read.... with hit-and-run commentary.

Stalin's Ghost
by Martin Cruz Smith- very good, if not one of the best of Renko's investigations. Contemporary Moscow, new Russian elections, post-Chernobyl citizens, and detailed references to the war in Chechnya.

Imperium: A Novel of Ancient Rome
by Robert Harris- I enjoyed this, but kept waiting for another shoe to drop. There were no staggering revelations for me, and we learn that much of Cicero's life was mundane, though that in itself is somewhat staggering to realize. It is a rich book, nonetheless, and I am richer for having read it. Some of the parallels between Roman politics and today's world are disturbing.

The Ghost
by Robert Harris- A fine read, with a suitably cynical view of modern politics. A great draw for those who love conspiracies, real or imagined.

Chinaman's Chance
by Ross Thomas- A brilliant and bitingly satirical novel that is uproariously funny, while also treating some deadly serious issues from our not-so-distant historical past. Tremendous balance and taste are complemented by the best characters one could hope for (including my favorite con men).

New England White
by Stephen L. Carter- His second novel, after the outstanding book, The Emperor of Ocean Park, gives us another terrific thriller with a convoluted, engaging, generation-spanning plot. We also enjoy some serious suspense, and a lot of racial and political context. Don't put it down (you'll soon be unable to)!

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  1. Chinaman's Chance was great. Thanks for the tip. I haven't read Ross Thomas in a long time, and it was well worth going back there, which I would not have done without your recommendation. Thanks again, and keep up the good work.

  2. Thanks John, I'm glad you enjoyed the Ross Thomas! Best wishes, Jim