Saturday, August 09, 2008
Friday, August 08, 2008
Fortunate Son by Walter Mosley
Kristen L. Smith - Library Journal
Mosley has written a memorable fable about two "brothers": African American Thomas (a.k.a. "Lucky") Beerman, born with a hole in his lung, who goes as an infant with his mother to live with prominent white doctor Minas Nolan, and Eric, Minas's own baby, a beautiful and talented golden child. After the death of his mother, Thomas is wrenched from Minas's household to that of his estranged biological father. Thomas subsequently spends time in jail and years on the street but remains optimistic and warm hearted. Eric leads a charmed life, but can't seem to connect with those around him. Thomas and Eric are reunited after ten years, to come to a new understanding of fate and fortune. Lorraine Toussaint's reading is soft and understated, hitting just the right notes without too much drama. The program has been awarded an AudioFile Earphones award. Highly recommended.
Just listened to this (yes, again audiocassettes). Charming - quite a rollercoaster as it follows the lives of Eric and Tommy ... reminds me for some reason of the Vorkosigan books - watching the life of poor Tommy, I kept thinking of Miles Vorkosigan and the ways he keeps getting knocked down...
Thursday, August 07, 2008
In his final hours in the Oval Office, the outgoing President grants a controversial last-minute pardon to Joel Backman, a notorious Washington power broker who has spent the last six years hidden away in a federal prison. What no one knows is that the President issues the pardon only after receiving enormous pressure from the CIA. It seems Backman, in his power broker heyday, may have obtained secrets that compromise the world's most sophisticated satellite surveillance system.
Backman is quietly smuggled out of the country in a military cargo plane, given a new name, a new identity, and a new home in Italy. Eventually, after he has settled into his new life, the CIA will leak his whereabouts to the Israelis, the Russians, the Chinese, and the Saudis. Then the CIA will do what it does best: sit back and watch. The question is not whether Backman will survive—there is no chance of that. The question the CIA needs answered is, who will kill him?
A nice, fast paced legal thriller from Grisham - yes again on audiotape. I could quibble with a few technical details, but for a non-techie, Grisham did pretty well.
The Hobbit (BBC Radio Collections) (Audio Cassette)by J. R. R. Tolkien (Author)
From AudioFileA nice taped BBC dramatization - a good compantion to the tape set of BBC's Lord of the Rings.
This version, a full-cast performance of the fantasy classic, is a dramatization that abridges the story while adding music and realistic sound effects for large crowds, bugles, and animals. In a slight departure from the original, Bilbo Baggins actually speaks to the narrator from time to time. ... W.L.S. © AudioFile 2001, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine
Monday, August 04, 2008
By Schism Rent Asunder by David Weber
"A futuristic fairy tale retelling the Reformation" - not sure if that's a good name for Weber's Safehold series, but it's a start. This continues the story of Off Armaggedon Reef. Parts Patrick O'Brien (I think - I've yet to read any), parts Honor Harrington, and parts parts Merlin-and-Arthur, I'll admit I skip through a lot of stuff (the complex battles and seafaring terms and technology, not to mention the complicated names that Weber mangles for the point of the story), but it's a lot of fun.
In this eagerly anticipated sequel to 2007's Off Armageddon Reef, the sheer scale of the Kingdom of Charis's naval victory against corrupt forces of the Church of God Awaiting has the Church newly wary of Charis's technological innovations. These were introduced by Merlin Athrawes, bodyguard to King Cayleb II and actually an android imprinted with a human's memories and personality who seeks to throw off the false religion that bars mankind from the stars. As Charis's neighbors scramble to rebuild their shattered fleets and prepare for the inevitable reprisals, the Church lurches toward placing the entire nation under proscription and declaring holy war. The numerous characters are never reduced to stereotypes, and Weber's portrayal of the social changes brought about by Charis's bootstrap industrial and military revolutions ring true. If not as action oriented as the first volume, the descriptions of the rebirth of knowledge and the human spirit are at least as enthralling.