Friday, December 31, 2010

A book review (and then maybe we'll head back to France)

Dead or AliveDead or Alive by Tom Clancy

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

When I was in college, I read a book called The Hunt for Red October, and I loved it! Then came Red Storm Rising, another terrific book. In fact, I'm getting ready to read that one again. More great Tom Clancy books followed.

For years, Tom Clancy turned out great, thrilling, tightly written books. Then he started to slide. I gave up on him a number of years ago. His writing style had suffered, and he couldn't keep his political views from making blatant, ham-handed appearances in his books. Sharing the writing with others hasn't helped.

I saw halfway-decent reviews of Dead or Alive, so I thought I'd give him another try. Sadly, things aren't any better. The writing is plodding and in need of a good editor, and his political views aren't at all subtle. I might be able to live with him espousing his political views (even though this is supposed to be fictional entertainment, not a political work), if the rest of Dead or Alive were a taught, entertaining read. It's not.

For my money, I'll stick with newer authors like Alex Berenson and Vince Flynn. They're far better!

View all my reviews

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Cap d'Antibes

On the day we drove from Aix-en-Provence to Nice, we traveled along the French Riviera and stopped in Cap d'Antibes for lunch and a little look around. Cap d'Antibes has been a resort town for a long time.

See the fort on the more distant point in that last photo? Near where I took the photo, there was a reproduction of a painting of the fort that Monet had done in the 1800s, so one could see the painting from the view where the artist stood. There were a number of reproductions like this around the waterfront, as a number of great artists have painted parts of Antibes.

This plaque commemorates a British agent having been put ashore there by a submarine during World War II

If you click on that last one, depending on your screen you may be able to read some of the text.

This was part of the park area across from where we had lunch

Around here in suburban New York, people of Italian descent played a game like this called bocce. In France, it's called boules.

A fountain in the waterfront park

Next up, Nice!


I know what you're thinking. Espelette? Like the pepper? Yes, just like! (Okay, maybe you don't know those peppers. That's okay.) But in this case I'm actually talking about a Beagle puppy.

In Aix-en-Provence, we stayed at a B&B called Villa Valbelle. The owners have a puppy whose name is Espelette (actually, by now, I suppose she's not a puppy anymore). She was adorable, and she was thrilled to have guests who were happy to play with her!

Before we left, I went looking for her, so I could take a few photos. When I spotted her, she was at the other end of the property. So I called to her, and she came running.

What a face!

The puppy at rest

Espelette having a word with someone

Before we leave Villa Valbelle, I have one more photo. We went out for some great food in Aix, but we also decided to hit a local market and have a more modest couple of meals. Here's a shot of some of the food...

It was simple stuff, but the tomato and that salad were fabulous. The bread, from the boulangerie next door to the market where we bought the other food, was wonderful!