Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Off the Shelf - Espionage

Goodreads Rating: 4.07
Elliptical Rating:  5


Goodreads Rating: 3.91
Elliptical Rating: 4


Goodreads Rating: 3.74
Elliptical Rating: 4


Goodreads Rating: 3.94
Elliptical Rating: 4


Goodreads Rating: 4.13
Elliptical Rating: 4
Elliptical Review (July 2014):
" Disclaimer: I received a promotional copy through the First Reads program. So a tip of the hat to Random House.
Note: The edition I received was a 304-page uncorrected proof.
Macintyre did a good job with this one. His writing is accessible. The book moves at a good pace. It is packed with information, and quotes from first-hand sources are frequent. There are humorous anecdotes, as well as accounts of covert field operations. The Afterword, by John Le Carre, is mostly notes he took from a 1986 interview of Nicholas Elliott.
While Macintyre handled the subject well, one can not escape how depressing the subject is. It's essentially 300 pages of horrible stuff happening. Philby might be the main focus, but the underlying theme is the damage caused by English arrogance and incompetence. There's no way to undo what was done. There's no happy ending."

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Off the Shelf - GBT

Note:  The Off the Shelf series will only include books that I gave 4 stars or more on Goodreads.  Almost always 4 stars.

Goodreads Rating: 3.91
Elliptical Review (courtesy of Goodreads):  None. 

Goodreads Rating: 3.63
Elliptical Review (courtesy of Goodreads):
"Good book, sad ending."

Goodreads Rating: 4.01
Edited Elliptical Review (courtesy of Goodreads):  
"Surprisingly enjoyable collection from a radical feminist with numerous 'all-female' ties, including Mills College.
The title was inspired by slasher flicks. There are ten pieces that share the title: Final Girl I, Final Girl II, etc. Mary Rowlandson, Patty Hearst, and Jack Kerouac make appearances."


Goodreads Rating: 3.91
Elliptical Review (courtesy of Goodreads): None


Goodreads Rating: 3.97
Edited Elliptical Review (courtesy of Goodreads):
"Funny stuff. Sedaris has a writing style that keeps things from getting boring. Topics covered include: his father, his sisters, his brother, living in Raleigh and New York city, taking guitar lessons from a midget, various pets (mostly dogs), jobs as a writing teacher and a mover, drugs, art, learning to speak French, and his relationship with his boyfriend.
Occasionally, he would make contradictory statements. Like he'd make a broad generalization, then talk about something that doesn't fit the generalization, as though he never made the generalization. I also think he wrote a bit too much about learning French. The 27 chapters are separated into two sections, and I found the first section to be better: funnier, more interesting."

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Tuesday Ten

In honor of the World Cup, my unbiased list of the best soccer players ever.

Hope Solo

Mia Hamm

Alex Morgan

Landon Donovan

Patrick Dempsey

Tim Howard

Cristiano Ronaldo

Lionel Messi

Diego Maradona


Friday, June 15, 2018

Film Friday: The Weather Underground

Stars: Bill Ayers, Bernardine Dohrn, Mark Rudd.  With Brian Flanagan, David Gilbert, Todd Gitlin, Naomi Jaffe, Laura Whitehorn.
Extras:  Audio commentary from Ayers and Dohrn and an interview with Gilbert.
Verdict:  Worth watching if you're interested in the Weathermen.  It hits the expected topics - SDS, Days of Rage, the New York City townhouse explosion, breaking Timothy Leary out of prison, the Black Panthers, the Vietnam War, etc. 

--  I can't buy into Ayers' absolutism.  He seems so caught up in ideology that he ignores the flaws of people on his side, and he ignores the valid arguments of those he opposes. 
--  Back then there was 'Nam, Watergate, civil rights issues.  I don't see those same galvanizing issues now - just shades of grey.
--  People suck.  There won't be a magical revolution that makes everything cool.
--  What did they accomplish?  What did they expect to accomplish?
--  I admire the sacrifice and commitment.  I just find it pointless.