by John Grisham (Goodreads Author)
I’ve read four other Grisham novels, with mixed reviews. I’ve also seen many of the movies made from his books and perhaps The Broker needs a few Hollywood twists to liven it up.
The story is about a Washington lawyer/power broker who’s greed lands him in jail. A presidential pardon gives his a second chance at life, but the CIA must hide him so other governments don’t kill him.
Without giving away all the backstory I thought this would be an action-packed spy thriller full of drama or intrigue. I was wrong. The author wasted about one hundred pages describing the Italian lessons the main character had to take while in hiding. Grisham said in his author’s notes that he was enthralled with Italy. I wished he would have spent half those pages describing food instead of Italian verbs.
The story dragged on and became predictable in the end. In thinking about the book and this review I was generous in giving it three starts. I’ve read much better from Grisham.
Night School (Jack Reacher #21)
Lee Child (Goodreads Author),
I zipped through this one in four sittings, I think. It’s the first Reacher novel I’ve read where the story takes place while he’s still in the army. In this one he’s on a mission to save the world, instead of some anonymous person along the back roads of America.
There’s the usual action and fight scenes and even a couple sex scenes. I like the way Lee Child describes the smutty stuff, almost with military precision, and not like fifty shades of pornography.
The book is well-paced and it steadily picks up speed as the action and story unfold. One of my editors explained a writing trick in which the author uses short or brief sentences to speed things along. I completely understand it, having been caught up to the point where I didn’t want to put the book down. It works.
Neither Here nor There: Travels in Europe
I’ve known about Bill Bryson for some time and saw a movie about his last travel adventure, but had never got around to reading any of his material. I had ‘Neither Here Nor There’ collecting dust at home with my two shelves of other books to read, and since I was about to leave on a travel adventure myself, I took Bill’s book along to pass the down time when not engaged in sightseeing, eating or drinking.
Having traveled solo like Bryson did in this book, I can truly appreciate his adventures and misadventures in an era before the internet, cell phones, and GPS. Like him, I still love unfolding a map to plan the next day’s route. Bryson is the type of person who is comfortable in his own skin and has no qualms about travelling alone.
He is a good writer, with a sarcastic sense of humor, and an unquenchable thirst for metaphors. The book is more of a collection of snippets from the various cities and towns along his route. He likes to pound the pavement and sit in local watering holes or cafes to get a good feel of each and every place his visits.
Being the author of my own travel book, with some similarities, I generally liked the read, but found it a bit awkward at times – especially when the author went off on one of his rants. His American arrogance toward the rest of the world showed through on more than one occasion. I’m not saying that Mr. Bryson is predjudice against all foreigners, from what I’ve experienced in my travels it’s just the way some Americans are. They love to travel, but expect everything, like food, to be the same as home.
Let me get to the meat and potatoes about this travelling thing – what the hell do you eat when you’re in countries like Egypt, South Africa, and Tanzania? Well, let me tell you that Cathryn and I have probably walked a hundred miles in the last two weeks and we’ve still managed to put on a few pounds.
Continue reading “Food & Drink in Far Away Places”
With the exception of a quick visit to Morocco many years ago, this is my first foray into the African continent. Our planned trip takes us from the top (Egypt), to the bottom (South Africa), and lastly to the eastern side (Tanzania). I split the itinerary into three segments, roughly ten days, three weeks and three weeks, giving us plenty of time to explore each destination, but also time to kick back and relax.
We’ve only been in Capetown, South Africa for six days. Comparing the north to the south, so far, it is like night and day – Egypt being the older, darker, and unfortunately dirtier country. I can accept the fact that anything four to five thousand years old ages with a certain patina over time, but I am disgusted by the country’s attitude toward garbage and litter.
Continue reading “North & South, Egypt vs. Capetown”
Every time Cathryn and I tell someone we’re leaving the safety of our nest and venturing off to a foreign country they ask us if it’s safe. “Isn’t it dangerous there?” They ask. And this is from people who live in Windsor with us…how many murders have we had so far this year?
Continue reading “Safe Travel & Security”
We’ve been busy and on the go for eight days straight so there’s been no time to contemplate everything we’ve seen and attempted to absorb. Cathryn said it best after exploring our umpteenth temple, “it’s overwhelming.” It was meant in a good way since each and every ancient site was truly amazing. The pyramids at Giza are just a drop in the bucket of Egyptian wonders.
Continue reading “Reflecting on Egypt”