March 15, 2015

February 2015

We continue to keep watch over the two freighters docked here for repairs.

We also discussed:

The Healing of America: A global quest for better, cheaper, and fairer halth care - T.R. Reid
The One Hundred-Year-Old Man who Climbed out the Window and Disappeared - Jonas Jonasson
The life-changing magic of tidying up: The Japanese art of decluttering and organizing - Marie Kondo
Shovel Ready - Adam Sternbergh
The Art of War - Sun Tzu
What if? serious scientific answers to absurd hypothetical questions - Randall Munroe
Responsible Responsive Design - Scott Jehl
An illustrated book of bad arguments - Ali Almossawi
No one belongs here more than you - Miranda July
The Imperfectionists - Tom Rachman
Emily Alone - Stuart O'Nan
The Mathematician's Shiva - Stuart Rojstaczer
Clara and Mr. Tiffany - Susan Vreeland
Luncheon of the Boating Party - Susan Vreeland
The Forgers - Bradford Morrow
The Rosie Project - Graeme Simsion
Lila -Marilynne Robinson
Gilead - Marilynne Robinson
Home - Marilynne Robinson
This is Where I Leave You - Jonathan Tropper
The Inner Voice - Renee Fleming
Flesh and Blood - Patricia Cornwell
Saints of the Shadow Bible - Ian Rankin
Cat on a Cold Tin Roof - Mike Resnick

Laws of Murder - Charles Finch
Lake Huron (American Lakes Series) - Fred Landon
Season of the Witch: How the Occult Saved Rock and Roll - Peter Bebergal
No Score - Lawrence Block.
The Golden Apple - Wilson and Shea
How Rome Fell - Adrian Goldsworthy
The Husband's Secret - Liane Moriarty
War and Peace - Tolstoy
Killing Jesus - Bill O'Reilly
Julius Caesar
An Italian Wife - Ann Hood
The Paris Winter - Imogen Robertson
Never Look Back - Clare Donoghue
Private India - James Patterson
Behind the Beautiful Forevers - Katherine Boo
Brain on Fire - Susannah Cahalan
Everything I Never Told You - Celeste Ng
Force Majeure
The Ice Storm
Life is a Trip - Judith Fein

Lawton Book Bunch


Ayrton, Pete. No Man’s Land: Fiction from a World at War
Christie, Alix. Gutenbergs’s Apprentice
Ferrante, Elena. My Brilliant Friend; The Story of a New Name
Hesse, Karen. Out of the Dust
Kidd, Sue Monk. Invention of Wings
Kiernan, Denise. Girls of Atomic City
L’Engle, Madeiline. Wrinkle in Time
Rabb, Sanora. Whose Names Are Unknown


Imitation Game


Sabar, Ariel. “The Mystery of Mount Baldy” Smithsonian,” December 2014. p. 71.

Apocalypse: World War One
Codebreaker (2011)
Earth: A New Wild

Lawton Book Bunch

Thursday, March 11, 2015 
The next meeting will be: April 9, 2015


Child, Lee. Worth Dying For
Coelho, Paulo. Veronica Decides to Die
Johnson, Josphine. Now in November
Kimmerer, Robin. Gathering Mosses
Leopold, Aldo. A Sand County Almanac
Rappaport, Helen. Romanov Sisters: The Lost Lives of the Daughters of Nicholas and Alexandra
Seward, Desmon. Demon’s Brood: A History of the Plantagenet Dynasty


McFarland, USA


Hamilton (Rap Musical)
Wolf Hall (RSC on Broadway 15 weeks beginning March 20)


Peaky Blinders (BBC, US rights to Netflicks)
Wolf Hall (PBS begins April 5th)

From Mary Lou in MD:

David Baldacci, King and Maxwell (2013). This is one of a suspense series set in the Washington, DC area and featuring ex-Secret Service agents Sean King and Michele Maxwell. They now own their own private detective agency and are hired by 15-year-old Tyler Wingo to find out what really happened to his father, reported killed in action in Afghanistan. Almost immediately they are warned off by agents (or supposed agents) of DIA, CIA and FBI. This makes them all the more determined to find out what is going on. Meanwhile, Army Ranger Sam Wingo is trying to find out why his secret mission has gone wrong, who has set him up, and who is trying to kill him. He also is determined to make his way back to his son, despite being sought by his Army chain of command, DIA, and whoever wants to make sure he doesn’t survive to clear his name. Young Tyler is a great character and there are plenty of intellectual puzzles in this novel.

Jude Devereaux, The Summerhouse (2001). Leslie, Madison and Ellie met on their common 21st birthday on line to renew their driver’s licenses at the DMV in New York City. While they are waiting -- and waiting -- and waiting they share their histories and hopes for the future. Now they are turning 40 and have arranged to spend some time together at a summerhouse in Maine, talking about all that has happened in the past 20 years and what choices they might make differently, if given the chance. This all makes for a very engrossing tale.

Deborah Crombie, All Shall Be Well (1994). I am pleased to find another Scotland Yard mystery series. They feature Superintendent Duncan Kincaid and Sergeant Gemma James. Kincaid’s friend and neighbor is found dead. Because she was terminally ill, it is ruled suicide, but several things don’t add up for Kincaid. At first his sergeant tries to talk him out of what she views as his obsession, but gradually she is drawn into the quest for possible motives and explanations. When revealed, they are quite surprising.

Larry McMurtry, Comanche Moon (1997). This epic novel of the Texas frontier is placed in Austin in the 1850s and 1860s and filled with monumental characters. In the saga of Texas Rangers Augustus (Gus) McCrae and Woodrow Call, it falls between Dead Man’s Walk and Lonesome Dove. Gus and Call are bewildered in their love lives and frustrated by the poorly conceived and scantily provisioned Ranger expeditions assigned by the Governor. Their leader Captain Inish Scull and his lascivious wife Inez are such exaggerated personalities that it is a marvel that McMurtry makes them believable. Gus’s love Clara and Call’s love Maggie are fully characterized in their troubled relationships with the two Rangers. Comanche Chief Buffalo Hump, a great, old fashioned warrior and his half-Mexican son Blue Duck are portrayed in great detail, as is the Arapaho tracker and scout Famous Shoes and the prodigious horse thief Kicking Wolf and the torturing Mayan bandit chief Ahumado. McMurtry’s presentation of tribal cultures and values is detained and convincing, despite an amount of grotesque violence that is repulsive, horrifying and foreign to White culture, many of whom fall victims. McMurtry has provided an unforgettable fictionalized history of the West Texas Frontier.

J. A. Jance, Queen of the Night (2010). The queen of the night is the night-blooming cereus, a segmented cactus of the Arizona desert. It blooms only one night of the year, usually sometime in June. Tohono Chul, Tucson’s desert botanical garden, has an annual dusk-to-dawn celebration with luminaria marking the garden paths. This year, Abby Tennant turns over management of the festival for an anniversary surprise celebration with her husband. The evening’s speaker is

Dr. Lani Walker, a native Tohono O’odham adopted as a child by homicide detective Brandon Walker and his wife. Lani was mentored by an old medicine man who taught her native legends and traditions and in turn Lani is godmother to his 8-year-old grandson Gabe. Dan Pardee was similarly adopted as a child by his Apache grandfather. Now a returning Afghanistan veteran, Dan and his dog Bozo have joined the Shadow Wolves unit of the Border Patrol whose members must be at least a quarter Indian. Patrolling one night, he rescues 4-year-old Angie from a crime scene. Dr. Lani is on duty in the emergency room when Dan brings her in. The cast of characters is further expanded to members of other law enforcement agencies as a series of brutal murders, some current and some very old, are investigated and resolved. The recurring theme of rejected, abandoned and adopted children takes the novel beyond a mere detective story.

Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451 (1953); Afterword (1982), Coda (1979). SciFi is not to my taste, but this was on someone’s list of “must read” books. Fahrenheit 451 is the temperature at which books burn. In this futurist society, fireman are employed to burn books and any buildings that contain them. People no longer observe their natural environment or think or ask for the Why of things. It is difficult to fashion any character development in a novel about the essential absence of character or personality. The best part of the book is the author’s 1979 Coda, concerning modern society’s tendency to edit, remove, ban or suppress all individuality of thought or perspective from literary and other art forms, in favor of the inoffensive “politically correct.”

David Morrell, The Fraternity of the Stone (1985). Drew MacLane was a highly trained assassin for a secret government agency until one bloody assignment caused him to reject this murderous employment. He retires to the life of a religious hermit in a Carthusian monastery in Vermont. After six years, he is forced from seclusion by an attempt on his life. What follows is an intricate, suspenseful tale involving a secret, free-lance organization of mercenaries and a clandestine brotherhood loosely linked to the Roman Catholic church, dating all the way back to the Third Crusade.

Heather Graham, Unhallowed Ground (2009). The best feature of this neo-gothic romance is the setting in St. Augustine, FL. Sarah McKinley is an archaeological historian who lectures in period costume at a local historical museum. She has bought and is renovating an 1820 mansion that she has admired since spending her childhood in St. Augustine. Skeletons are found inside a wall in the course of repairs and Sarah hears rumors of ghostly appearances. Private investigator Caleb Anderson is in town attempting to determine what happened to a college girl who disappeared there a year ago. He believes it is linked to the recent disappearance of a girl of similar appearance. Sarah and Caleb must solve murders dating back to the Civil War era before the contemporary mysteries can be solved with the assistance of a benevolent ghost.

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