May 30, 2009


Here are my short reviews for the next ten books I read for my George Bush 2009 Reading Challenge.  I got way behind on my reading when my mother visited, so I will really have to hustle later.  At this point, I am barely on track to beat Bush and clearly not able to beat Rove, but once my husband deploys, I think I can pick up the slack.  Previous books are included at the bottom.


20) How To Break a Terrorist  ("Matthew Alexander")
Meh.  That's really all I have to say about this book.

19) State of the Union  (Brad Thor)
AirForceWife introduced me to Brad Thor, and I mean that both figuratively and literally.  She and I went to his book signing, and since she already knew him from her SpouseBUZZ Radio interview, she and ol' Brad were like BFF.  I think he's in her five.  Anyway, my true desire is to read The Last Patriot, but I decided not to start at the end of the series, so I began at the beginning.  This was book three, which was as action-packed as the previous two, so now it's three more books until I can get to all the fatwa-goodness of The Last Patriot!

18) The Black Swan (Nassim Nicholas Taleb)
This book had been on the card for a long time, but David Boxenhorn finally prompted me to read it.  I found many fascinating new ways of looking at success.  The more statistics-heavy parts of the book were a tad rougher for me to grasp: seeing as I don't measure anything in my own daily life against the Gaussian bell curve, I had a hard time truly grokking the superiority of the Mandelbrotian.  But the first half of the book was definitely worth reading.  Although the implication -- that success is quite often due to dumb luck -- is disquieting.

17) Bonk (Mary Roach)
I have read several books in the past two years about sex and fertility in the hopes of learning something new that would give me one more piece of the puzzle as to why things weren't working out for us.  I thought this was just another book like the others I'd read, but it completely wasn't.  I loved this book.  It reminded me of Assassination Vacation (without the Bush derangement) or a Bill Bryson book, only about the history of sex.  It was laugh-out-loud funny in places.  If you like Bill Bryson, you'd like this book.


16) Hard Green (Peter Huber)
This book contained some good examples of why the "green" movement isn't actually that much greener.  I will have to use some of them on my eco-friend.

15) Is Your Body Baby Friendly? (Alan E. Beer)
I started this right after the third miscarriage; it was a gift from CVG.  It freaked me out pretty bad: it's a book about the theory that most miscarriages are caused by your immune system, and since my mother has Lupus, I was convinced that this was my problem.  Turns out it wasn't, but the book was informative and worthwhile nonetheless.


14) Survivor (Chuck Palahniuk)
I had heard that this book wasn't as good as his others, but I still liked it just as well.  (But I like everything: the third Matrix movie, The Lady In The Water, etc.  I am pretty easy to please is something is sufficiently weird.)  And I always love how Palahniuk describes minutia so vividly in the middle of big action, like the porn titles while Tender fights his brother or the details of the mobile homes while they're on the run.  He's so good at that.

13) I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell (Tucker Max)
This book had some funny moments, but I seriously think I am too old for it.  I am sure I would've thought it was funnier ten years ago.  And for me, the best parts were the parts where Tucker got his comeuppance.

12) Joseph McCarthy: Reexamining the Life and Legacy of America's Most Hated Senator (Arthur Herman)
I really knew very little about the details of what happened concerning Joseph McCarthy.  What I learned from this book was that "fake but accurate" didn't start with Bush's National Guard records.  The press lied and distorted everything he said and all the charges against him.  McCarthy was a blowhard and probably a very annoying man to be around.  But his accusations were never as sensational as they were made out to be, no one ever lost his job or went to jail based on McCarthy's investigations, and above all, he was mostly right.  The government was far too lax in its hiring and vetting processes.  There were Communists everywhere, hardcore and "soft."  McCarthy didn't deserve the bum rap he's been dealt by history.

11) The Reader (Bernhard Schlink)
For whatever reason, I thought this book was just kinda meh. I also have no idea how they turned it into a movie. And, despite the fact that I love the book Lolita, I found the story abhorrent and chilling. So, hmm.

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Posted by: Sarah at 02:52 AM | Comments (4) | Add Comment
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1 Better get a move on with Brad's books! His newest comes out June 30th. MacGyver's getting it for me for my birthday.

I'll have to update my list too. I"m reading...I'm just not updating. Whoops!

Posted by: HomefrontSix at May 30, 2009 03:57 AM (7Qxzl)

2 Well, Brad Thor is not in my five - but it's because he wasn't wearing socks at his book signing.  I mean, really.  For some reason that really got to me. 

I wouldn't even give How to Break a Terrorist a "meh", though.

Posted by: airforcewife at May 30, 2009 07:47 AM (KBeca)

3 True, true.  I probably ought to have said "gag" instead of "meh."

Posted by: Sarah at May 30, 2009 08:16 AM (KBeca)

4 Sarah,

What does "in one's five" mean? (AFW could also answer this one.)

"[F]atwa-goodness"? Two words that I wouldn't put together. Do you have an ... alternative value system I don't know about?

The Black Swan wasn't so much "disquieting" for me as eye-opening. For years I couldn't figure out why people succeeded in spite of their obvious faults. And I couldn't figure out what I was doing wrong. I wanted the world to be a simple realm of obvious cause-and-effect chains, even though I always said the world was a complex place. The answer was so obvious. The world really is complex. I just didn't want to believe it. There are so many factors that outcomes only look random to us. And as the world becomes even more complicated, the apparent randomness is only going to skyrocket. Understanding that almost makes up for the sadness of knowing that you can do you everything right and still fail. Almost.

Posted by: Amritas at May 30, 2009 09:26 AM (b3Ptv)

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