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I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes

I Am Pilgrim

I Am Pilgrim: A Thriller reads like Hayes has an eye on a movie or Television deal, which is not a good thing. Terry Hayes is a screenwriter and if you watched his movies and TV shows you might give this book a pass. But it is a clever story with lots of action.

The characters are stereotypes. It got on my nerves while reading the book as I sarcastically said, “Of course” as I read more about each overdrawn character. The writing is serviceable; the ending was just okay, but I did like how Hayes continued the story long after the plot was resolved. The plot is excellent: a blend of a spy thriller and a murder mystery. There are lots of details which enliven the story. I enjoyed this book and would read his next book. I just wish his editor would ask him to tone down the stereotypes.

B/A-
624 pages

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President Me by Adam Carolla

President Me

President Me: The America That’s in My Head

I enjoy the Adam Carolla podcast, but this third book is just a recap of his latest rants. I suppose this was true of his first two books but I was late to the podcast and hadn’t heard those stories. These chapters deal with society and politics, so they are edgy and if you’re a liberal are sure to make you mad as hell. But to me, that was the best part.

B-
293 pages

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Rocks by Joe Perry

Rocks

Rocks: My Life In And Out Of Aerosmith; co-written by David Ritz

After reading Steven Tyler’s book, I was interested in the getting a perspective from the other half of the ‘Toxic Twins’. Rocks is an excellent biography of guitarist Joe Perry and the band Aerosmith. Joe comes across as intelligent, hard working, and a good guy. But he also suffered from sever dyslexia, drug addition, and Steven Tyler. It’s amazing the band (Aerosmith) held together as long as it has, with dysfunction being a hallmark of the band. David Ritz has helped Perry write an entertaining and informative book about a great American band, and a great American guitarist. It’s full of interesting stories and trivia that any Aerosmith fan will appreciate. I suppose I should read drummer, Joey Kramer‘s book. That would only leave bassist Tom Hamilton and guitarist Brad Whitford without books.

B+
433 pages

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You Can’t Make This Up by Al Michaels

You Can't Make This Up

You Can’t Make This Up: Miracles, Memories, and the Perfect Marriage of Sports and Television; co-written by L. Jon Wertheim

I’ve been watching a lot of sport lately, so when I saw a recommendation for this book I decided to read it. As a sportscaster, Al Michaels, is second to none, but as a writer, he needs to be sent down to the minors. The book is entertaining, and light-hearted, but often Michaels glosses over important events in his life or important sporting events. The stories were hit-or-miss with a lot of air balls. Michaels describes game action, but I really don’t need him to transcribe his commentary, I can always pull it up on YouTube. I assume he has access to inside information or insights that the average fan doesn’t, but he rarely shares such information. The book does better as a biography, but that’s not why I picked up the book. Neither the reader nor Michaels wins with this outing.

C-
459 pages

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Fierce Patriot by Robert O’Connell

Fierce Patriot

Fierce Patriot: The Tangled Lives Of William Tecumseh Sherman

It seems I can’t get enough of reading about the Civil War. This book was recommended to me and now I’m recommending it to you. Sherman was not only a historical figure but a memorable figure. O’Connell breaks the book up into three sections. We read about Sherman’s personal life, his life in the U.S. Army, and his role as leader of an army. Much like his close friend Ulysses Grant, Sherman ran into many difficulties before finding his place in life at the front of an army. O’Connell does a excellent job of illustrating Sherman’s character, Sherman’s army and its role in winning the Civil War. O’Connell’s writing style is easy to read and his subject is enjoyable.

B+
354 pages

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In The Sea There Are Crocodiles by Fabio Geda

In The Sea There Are Crocodiles

A young Afghan boy seeks out of better life by first immigrating to Iran, and ultimately ends up in Italy.  His journey is harrowing and touching.  In the Sea there are Crocodiles is the true story of Enaiatollah Akbari. Fabio Geda, the author, serves as translator, but we hear Akbari’s own words throughout.

What struck me most about this novel was the level of detail involved.  The reader is carried along with the boy, hiding in trucks, crouching in confined spaces, going days without food or drink, sneaking into villages wearing nothing but underpants, and gratefully receiving help from a few kind souls along the way.

It is a novel about the immigrant – why they choose to leave their homeland, and what they endure for a better life.  This was a very powerful novel.

4 stars (out of 5)
Published in 2011
215 pages

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