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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Recorded Books: Tuesdays with Morrie, The Hours, The Sign of the Book, Escape from the Deep and others

Peter Abrahams.  Delusion.  This one is a little different in that the central character is the wife of a police officer.  She met him during the investigation of the murder of her boyfriend and father of her unborn child.  Her eyewitness testimony was conclusive in the conviction of“Pirate” Dupree, a local thug who got life in prison without possibility of parole. Twenty years later after a hurricane remarkably similar to Katrina, FEMA finds a security tape which exonerates Pirate in a locker in the ruined police station.  He is set free and comes back to town.  This unleashes all the ugliness that had been covered up by his conviction.  You will figure out most of it before you get to the finale.  March 2012

 Peter Abrahams.  Behind the Curtain.  I checked this out because I had just read Delusion.  This one is a mystery told from the perspective of a 13 year old girl and is thus classified as “a children’s book.”  It is pretty easy to figure out the mystery, but it was a pleasant enough diversion while vacuuming and like that.  March 2012

Mitch Albom.  Tuesdays with Morrie.   I guess everyone should read this book.  Morrie Schwartz, a sociology professor at Brandeis, was in the early stages of ALS when Mitch Albom, a former student of his, saw an article on him in a Detroit newspaper.  Albom got back in touch with Morrie for the first time since he had graduated 17 years earlier.  Then every Tuesday for 13 weeks he flew the 700 miles from Detroit to visit Morrie and record their conversations.  This was Morrie’s last class; he died on the Saturday after their 13th session.  What he was teaching was how to live and how to die, and he tasked Albom with writing this story.  Albom wasn’t the only one following Morrie.  Ted Koppel interviewed him three times for nightline and many others came to see him or wrote to him seeking his advice. March 2012  

Michael Cunningham.  The Hours.  I read this a few months ago and couldn’t figure out what to say about it.  I watched the movie for a second time and still couldn’t figure it out.  I checked out Mrs. Dalloway and have been trying to read that but there are too many distractions. I also watched the film, “Mrs. Dalloway,” with Vanessa Redgrave.  From this film plus my limited understanding of The Hours,  I guess I can say that the subject is the choices we make about whom we love and how comfortable we are with our choices.  November 2011  

John Dunning.  The Sign of the Book.  Cliff Janeway, a former police detective and currently the owner of a rare used book store in Denver, agrees to take on an investigation for the defense for a murder in remote Paradise, Colorado.  A woman calls the sheriff’s office and says she has shot and killed her husband.  The sheriff’s deputy who answers the call finds her by the body and her three children in a bedroom.  It seems clear to the defense team that it was her 11 year old autistic son who actually killed the husband and she is trying to protect him.  The house contains 100s or perhaps 1000s of seemingly valuable  autographed books.  The defense strategy is that an unknown person killed the husband and that the mother confession is not valid.  There are wheels within wheels here, a team of crooked book dealers, doubts about the authenticity of the signatures, a sheriff’s deputy who is a loose cannon.  It’s a fun read.  March 2012  

Alex Kershaw.  Escape from the Deep.  This is the story of the US Tang, the WW II submarine which was finally sunk by one of its own torpedoes in the Formosa Straits after the most successful service of any US submarine in WW II.  Its captain and 8 crew members survived the sinking and a brutal captivity by the Japanese.  There have been a number of books about WW II submarines and this is one of the good ones.  The author brings to life a lot of the technical detail of submarine operations and makes it exciting reading.  March 2012

Frances Titchener.  A History of Rome.  This is a recorded course of 14 lectures read by Dr. Titchener.  She has all kinds of academic credits and has received her share of honors and she knows her subject.  I picked up several ideas about Rome and why it fell.  Her view that Christianity replaced the Roman dedication to the state and thus eroded citizens’ faith in and commitment to their government was of particular interest.  The problem is that she talks down to her listeners as if they were college students who were unprepared for college and needed remedial work before they could handle a course that required a little critical thinking.  March 2012

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