Monthly Archives July 2009

Angels and Demons by Dan Brown – book review

Beams of light shine down on a man who is running

It is very interesting to me to compare books that have been made into movies. Why did the screenwriters/director/producers decide to delete or modify parts of the book? I understand that there is no way for a complete book to transferred to the screen because the movie would last many hours, but it is interesting to look at and think about the differences between movies and the books they are based on.

With that said, one of the first things that surprised me about Angels and Demons was its length. I listened to the unabridged audio book version and it was a little over 18 hours long. My wife and I listened to the book on our car trip to Arkansas (a 12 hour trip) and we listened both going there and coming back. Obviously we didn’t listen the whole 12 hours there and back because when we got home there was still about 2 hours left in the book. I finished the ending on my own.

On to...

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Annie’s Ghosts by Steve Luxenberg – book review

A black and white photo of a woman who appears to be holding hands with a ghost woman

I wish I could say I loved reading Annie’s Ghosts. On the other hand, I can’t say that I disliked reading it, either. The book chronicles author Steve Luxenberg’s research into a family secret he discovered at the time of his mother’s death. She had a sister that she had never mentioned to him, or anyone else in their immediate family. In fact, Luxenberg has clear memories of his mother’s frequent proclamations of being an only child.

So why did she keep her siste...

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Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin – book review

Team Of Rivals Book Cover

I really didn’t know a lot about Abraham Lincoln before reading Team of Rivals other than that he was president during the Civil War, he was an Illinois lawyer, and he was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth. I’m not usually a fan of historical nonfiction, but this was a fascinating look into the life and presidency of Lincoln. Part of why I liked the book is that I listened to a good audiobook reading, and partly because Goodwin is a really good writer.

The focus of the book is on how Lincoln when running for the 1861 election ran against Bates, Seward from New York, and Chase from Ohio for the Republican nomination. When Lincoln won the presidency he ended up hiring all three of these men for his cabinet. Seward became Secretary of State and was the first chosen for the cabinet, Chase became Secretary of the Treasury, and I can’t remember what cabinet position Bates got. Seward was disappointed about not winning the presidency, but as soon as he got to know Lincoln and when Lincoln appointed him Secretary of State, Seward grew to have a tremendous amount of respect for the man. Chase on the other hand was always resentful about not winning the presidency, tried to resign the post 4 different times during Lincoln’s first term in office and Lincoln finally accepted his resignation the 4th time. Chase also may have been involved in the circulation of slanderous circular against Lincoln when Chase wanted to run again in 1864. This time, because Lincoln had garnered so much popularity and respect among Northern voters, the circular backfired on Chase and he had to pull out without getting any recognition in the party primaries.

Of course, a big part o...

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The Lie by Fredrica Wagman – book review

The Lie Book Cover

Just what is the lie?

Ramona Smollons, just seventeen, huge fan of Rita Hayworth, meets a man with fingers that each look like a penis. Of course, she doesn’t say that out loud. This fiction book takes place in “1950′s America”, and nice girls don’t say, or even think, those sorts of thoughts. Ramona finds herself enamored with this man, despite his odd looking fingers, and even becomes a bit obsessed about him. She loses interest just as fast, but marries him anyway. So, perhaps “The Lie” is that true love never fades. Or maybe “The Lie” is that thoughts of a sexual nature are bad, wrong, and something nice girls never conceive of. “The Lie” could be that once you get married, your life effortlessly becomes the “happily ever after”, just like it says in the storybooks from childhood.

The Lie is written in a stream of consciousness that allows the reader to wat...

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