Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Moderate Book Recommendation’

Too Much and Never Enough” (2020©)  — book review
Today’s review is for the recently released family psychoanalysis / gossip tale concerning “Uncle Donald” aka: President Donald Trump, the Trump family and the “House”.  The full title is: “Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man“, and is written by Mary Trump, PhD., (the President’s niece) who happens to be a trained psychologist.  Mary is the daughter of Donald’s older brother Fred Trump, Jr. With Fred Sr being their father.
According to this story, Trump Sr. wasn’t happy with Trump Jr., feeling Jr. was too weak.  Sr. felt like he was a tough guy and he wanted his heir apparent to be tough, too.  From the sound of it, Sr.’s father was a jerk (a$$hole is a better description), and he passed it down to Sr. who tried to pass it down to all of his children.  It sounds as if Sr. was mostly successful with all of his children (with the possible exception of Jr.), but since the story is being told by Jr.’s daughter, we can’t really be sure.  After all, Jr. threatens his wife repeatedly – at least once with a firearm – and he dies young from alcohol abuse.  Anyway, as near as we can tell from this book, Sr. passed down the coward, liar, cheat, con man, gene to all of his children.  And, by the by, Sr.’s wife was no saint either.  The result of all this is that Don Jr., Eric, Ivanka and Tiffany all seem to be cut from the same poor cloth.  It’s too early to say anything about Barron (the President’s youngest son).  Perhaps his mother has saved him, but it doesn’t seem likely as she is not spoken of well in the book (or in the news) either.
Is this book any good?  Does it shed like on the President, i.e. does it help explain his actions?  Is it worth the time and money to read?  Yes.  No.  And, so-so.
This book is a surprisingly good read.  I fully expected the author to be as incompetent as the rest of the family is presented.  She is not!  Her writing style is excellent and the reader (me) feels like you are right there with her as scenes play out.
Does the book “explain” Donald Trump.  NO!  I started the book knowing (as much as you can “know” anything about a person you’ve never met) that Donald Trump is (in no particular order): a liar, a con artist, a terrible business man, a coward, a cheat – taxes, business and personal, and (IMHO) a narcissistic sociopath with delusions of grandeur.  Basically, he is unmatched as a “LOSER” and the fact he happened to become President and arguably the most powerful person on the planet will never change the BIG “L” which will ultimately be assigned to him by history.  In a very strange way, he has proven himself to be the “greatest of all time”, after all.  I’m just not sure you want to be the GOAT for losers.
At a certain level, reading this book “almost” creates a sense of sympathy for the family.  BUT, then one realizes that lots of perfectly normal people grew up and out of similar familial issues.  To quote my old Drill Sergeant: “I will listen to your reasons, but I will not accept your excuses.”  He is what he is and his upbringing neither excuses his current actions nor does it absolve him of his past ones.  With all the wealth and opportunities he was granted by birth, he has chosen his path(s) and they have always been those of the lazy, the ignorant and the corrupt.
Is this book worth the time and money to read?  If you don’t know anything about the President and his family history, I guess it will have some limited value.  There are lots of particular details about the older brother (Fred Jr.) which I didn’t know.  I also didn’t know the President’s mother was as bad as she is presented.  Other than that, though, most everything has been on the news (especially since the book’s release).  If you don’t watch the news, I guess you may learn something.
Final recommendation: moderate.  This is a surprisingly well written book, a very fast read, but I’m glad I didn’t buy it.  I hope the author wins her suit against Donald and his sister, who both appear to be crooks (based on the book).  This book IS a good gossip read – if that’s what you’re into.  (And, sometimes I am, too.)
.
On This Day In:
2019 Love And Leave
2018 Smiling If Not Laughing
2017 Chilled And Smooth
2016 But Sometimes You Have To Stand In Front
2015 The Key Shift
2014 Remember ISIS / ISIL?
2013 What Have You Done Lately?
2012 B8
2011 I’m Definitely Not In Control

Read Full Post »

Today’s reviews are for the book: “The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger” (1982©), written by Stephen King and the movie: “The Dark Tower” (2017), which is based on the book.
The Dark Tower” (2017) — movie review
This movie is based on the book by the same name.  Okay, it’s not exactly the same name.  The book is the first of a series (8 books in total) nominally called: “The Dark Tower Series“, all written by horror writer Stephen King.  The movie, like the books, is a blending of science fiction / magic, American western lore / Arthurian legend, and dystopian future, with a bit of existential / quasi-religious philosophy thrown in for seasoning.
The movie stars Idris Elba as the titular “Gunslinger” (hero) named Roland Deschain, Matthew McConaughey as Walter Padick (aka “the Man In Black”) (bad guy) and Tom Taylor as Jake Chambers (the boy who must be saved by the Gunslinger).
Basically, we have a multi-universe tied together by a “Dark Tower” which separates all of the universes from the dark evils which would destroy / enslave them all if the tower should fall (ever be destroyed).  Somehow children have the ability to destroy the tower and the Man in Black sends his minions to kidnap them to be used to to this.  The “Gunslingers” are the defenders of the Tower.  At the start of the movie, they lose a major battle with the forces of darkness and Elba / Deschain is the sole survivor.  Disheartened, he seeks only to kill the Man in Black to avenge the death of his father (not to protect the Tower).
Blah, blah, blah, magic, gunfights and chase scenes ensue until we get to the main / concluding battle.  Three guesses who wins…  Three guesses who gets to be the sidekick and next “Gunslinger”…
So, is the movie any good?  How’s the acting and the special effects?  How closely does the movie match the book?  Well,…  The movie is okay.  It’s entertaining for a minor action / SciFi movie.   It’s definitely NOT great cinema.  The acting is fair to okay.  The special effects are a little better than “just” okay, but nothing ground-breaking and nothing we haven’t seen a dozen times (at least).  Not having read the entire series, I can’t say how closely the movie is to the series.  To the first book – not very closely at all.  Well, both have the two main characters, so there is that.  The boy is completely different in the movie.
Final recommendation: moderate. To be honest, I’m not a big fan or either Elba or McConaughey. I haven’t seen Elba in a lot of roles, so maybe I’m just not “there” yet. I’ve seen McConaughey in lots of different roles and I’m hard pressed to name one role where I got up saying, “That role makes him a star.”  He’s okay.  Even good, sometimes…  But I feel like he’s getting older and I’ve not seen a DiCaprio / “Inception” role / performance.  Again, maybe I’ve just missed it (the performance).
The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger” (1982©) — book review
As mentioned above, “TDT:TG” was written by Stephen King.  The book is actually a compilation of short stories which have been turned into a book.  I guess, more accurately, a series of books.  I haven’t read any of the other books, so I don’t know if they are also compilations or if they are actual true-form novels.
As mentioned above, the book is a western / feudal / dystopian story about a group of “knights” called “gunslingers” who are supposed to defend a Tower.  This first book, jumps around introducing the main character Roland Deschain who grows up as a knight-in-training and then sets about trying to find and kill a mysterious “Man-In-Black”.  The Man-In-Black has multiple names.  I just remembered him as “Walter” (which is used in this book).  Roland does a lot of wandering around (in a desert, mountains, a tunnel and a forest) and meets a boy named Jake, who he brings along on his “adventure”.
The “Tower” series of books is supposed to be the linch-pin for King’s writing career, tying together all of his other novels / stories.  I have only ever read “Salem’s Lot” and “Carrie”, and both of those were back in my Army days (1970’s) and I don’t remember any references to the “Tower” or the “Gunslingers”.
This book came to me from my son who says it is his favorite book series of all and that he has read the complete series multiple times…  Okay…
Final recommendation: give it a pass to moderate.  I don’t know if this is a book I would have read if it hadn’t come so highly recommended.  It reminded me a lot of the movie “Cloud Atlas” with the way it jumped around in time and location.  I didn’t enjoy that movie and I didn’t enjoy this book.  Or, at least most of it.
Again, if it hadn’t come so highly recommended, I would not have finished it.  The writing style is overly flowery / imagery.  I felt like the author was adding words to fill out the book length, not to actually make a point in the story.  I was repeatedly bored; waiting for something – anything – to happen.  Then, when things finally did happen, they still just weren’t interesting.
Having said all of this, in the last 20-30 pages, Roland finally confronts the Man-In-Black and they get into a lengthy philosophical conversation which I did (finally) find very interesting.  Almost interesting enough that I could imagine reading another one of the books.  The discussion is VERY briefly held in the movie, too.  But, it is almost an after-thought there.
Full disclosure: I got the book from my son after hearing there was a movie coming out.  He loaned me the book, but I never got around to reading it.  I saw the movie last year, but didn’t like (understand) it, so I was still not motivated to read the book.  Over the summer, my son asked about the book / movie and egged me on about reading the book (“give it a chance”).  Since I didn’t really remember the movie, I decided to read the book and then revisit the movie.  I did both, in that order.  I’m glad I did or the movie would still have made no sense.  This is definitely one of those cases where you need to read the book first, then see the movie.
.
On This Day In:
2018 Land Of My Birth – Executive Order Notwithstanding
Keeping It Real…
2017 Use A Bigger Can
2016 Vote Tomorrow – 8 November 2016
2015 Old Bond
2014 Preferences
2013 Prudence
2012 Reason Against Reasons
2011 The 1% Rule Of Large Groups
2010 Going, Going, On…
Expect Mike
Wasted Again?
You Did?
Reflecting Plenty
Old Math
Mental Images
Here’s Lookin’ At You, Kid
Learn
Nothing Feared Today
I Had Other Plans
Ratings…
Really?
Encourage Greatness

Read Full Post »

Amateur (2018©)  —  book review
Over Christmas, my daughter gave me a couple of books as prezzies.  One of them was “Amateur“, written by Thomas Page McBee.  The premise of the book is that the author has gone from being a woman to a man and is seeking to become the first transgender person to box in Madison Square Garden in New Your City.  He is fighting in a charity event against a non-professional fighter (like himself), who is presumably non-trans – at least there is no mention of the male opponent being transgender as well.  Anyway, the book is autobiographical and describes the training and preparation leading up to the match.  The book also relates background information about the authors parents and siblings.  It also has a small amount about the stages of being / becoming transgender.
I asked my daughter why she got me this particular book and if she had read it.  She replied she had not read it and she just wanted to expose me to different perspectives.  The other book she gave me was the Michelle Obama bio, which I have not read yet.
Anyway, I found the book difficult to “get into” because I didn’t (and don’t) care for the author’s writing style.  I found the ideas being expressed unclear and the sentences “stilted”.  Several times I had to re-read a sentence or a paragraph because I wasn’t sure I understood what the author was saying or how it added to or followed on with whatever else was being said.  Eventually, I got the hang of the writing and had fewer problems reading along.
Although the book is “about” boxing and preparing for a fight, it is also about aggression and “being male” – or at least what the author believes is being male in modern society.  I found much of this to be “interesting” even if I don’t necessarily agree with everything the author was trying to relate.  That is, much of it makes sense / rings true, but I’m not sure it (the points being made) are uniquely “male” or modern.  I also don’t know if they are unique to western / American society.  “Interesting” because I am not transgender, did not grow up as a “tom-boy”, and have not spent a great deal of time thinking about being a “straight” “male” as opposed to being “gay” or “trans”.  To this extent, my daughter was successful in getting me to think outside the box.
Final recommendation: moderate to strong.  It is difficult for me to know who the target audience for this book is, so it is equally hard to recommend it to anyone stumbling on this post / review.  I don’t know that LGBQ folks would want to read about someone who is “trans” or about boxing and preparing for a fight.  I (personally) did find the writing about the training and preparation for the fight to be pretty interesting, enjoyable and well described.  In one way, the book made me chuckle.  Although I personally participated in a boxing tournament as a teen, I went into it completely unprepared, untrained and unfit.  LOL – and the results showed.  I guess, my question is would another trans person (female to male) find this book interesting.  I am not sure they would, except maybe to know there are others (like themselves) out there and they are adjusting to being their “new” selves.  And, maybe that’s enough…
.
On This Day In:
2018 Feeling Both
2017 Just Start
2016 Mirror, Mirror, On The Wall
2015 Restraint At The Inn
2014 To Not Discovering
2013 I Have Less To Say
2012 Not The Best Prediction I’ve Ever Read

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: