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Showing posts from June, 2009

Cannonball Read #32: Deal Breaker by Harlan Coben

Deal Breaker is a great airport book. I know this because I read it during the trip back to MA from visiting my parents in PA. It was fast-paced and interesting enough to keep me entertained during the seemingly endless delays on the tarmac in Philadelphia, but not too taxing on the brain after an mentally-exhausting day.

The main character is Myron Bolitar, a former athlete (whose pro sports career was cut short by injury) who now makes his living as a small-time sports agent. Along with his friend and coworker the charming and sociopathic Win, Myron has to unravel the mystery of a missing girl before it swallows up a promising young client.

The book was populated with a host of quirky, interesting characters, and Myron's voice is self-deprecating and hilarious. His narration was definitely the high point of the novel, particularly when he describe what's going on. Coben's descriptions are vivid, and I think this would make an excellent movie (I would probably cast The Rock…

Cannonball Read #31: Running With Scissors: A Memoir by Augusten Burroughs

The Boyfriend and I watched the film made from Running With Scissors a while ago, and both of us were very disappointed. Much like the movie we were tricked into watching which described itself as a gangster film but turned out to be full of unnecessary ass-raping, this movie was sold as a comedy, and it totally wasn't. Apparently, they took all the really funny bits and put them in the trailer so the film would appear to be a hilarious when really it was just extremely depressing.

The story is of young Augusten Burroughs, who has a crazy mother and distant, alcoholic father. When his parents divorce, his mother has a nervous breakdown and leaves Augusten at the home of her therapist and his wacky family. Augusten is forced to navigate through the maze of dealing with the Finch family (who are all a bit nutty themselves) while trying to decide how he relates to the world and how much he is going allow his life experiences to effect him.

Luckily, the book actually IS funny. Perhaps t…

Cannonball Read #30: The Last Full Measure by Jeff Shaara

The Last Full Measure is the third in the Shaaras trilogy of the American Civil War (Killer Angels written by father Michael Shaara about the battle of Gettysburg and Gods and Generals, Jeff Shaara's book on the beginning of the war) and it details the years following the battle of Gettysburg. The story is told mostly through the eyes of Robert E. Lee, Joshua Laurence Chamberlain, and brings in Ulysses S. Grant, though there are chapters from the perspective of other figures as well.

The book is extremely good, and Shaara tries to be balanced in his depictions of both sides--neither is "good" or "bad," they are just fighting for different things. I enjoy the fact that Shaara makes sure to include maps so the reader can follow the battle lines that are being described. I found that it made the battles much easier to visualize. The writing is wonderful and I felt that each character had his own distinct voice.

I have enjoyed each book in this series, and am looking…

Cannonball Read #29: Curse of the Narrows: The Halifax Explosion 1917 by Laura M. MacDonald

I didn't really know much about the Halifax explosion at all before reading this book--all I knew was that every year, the people of Nova Scotia send the people of Boston a giant-ass Christmas tree, which we put up on the Common to ooh and ahh over. This informative little piece of literature definitely will make me think next Christmas as I grumble about the traffic jam caused by the tree-lighting ceremony.

In 1917, Halifax NS was a hub of military activity. Many American and Canadian ships leaving for the war in Europe would make Halifax their final destination before departure. There was a thriving economy and a uniquely protected harbor that seemed safe from both weather and enemy submarines. On December 6, a series of errors would lead to a collision between two ships--one a munitions ship stuffed to the brim with TNT, picric acid, and several other high explosives--and the resulting explosion would destroy Halifax and neighboring Dartmouth, killing more than a thousand people…