Saturday, July 18, 2020

The Marching Season (Michael Osbourne, #2)The Marching Season by Daniel Silva
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The second (and last, as far as I can tell) in Daniel Silva's Michael Osbourne books, The Marching Season has tension, intrigue and a plot that pulls you along at a fast pace. Filled with detail, but not so much as to be tedious, you can connect with the characters, eventually including the lead bad guy in a book with plenty who could vie for that role.

Silva also is to be commended for not tying things up with a bow. He's wise enough to know that things don't always end neatly, happily or morally in the real world. Compromises are made, and sometimes bad guys win.

I enjoyed both books in this short series. Even with his Gabriel Allon books to entertain me, I wish there were more of this series. Well done!

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Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Heaven Has No FavoritesHeaven Has No Favorites by Erich Maria Remarque
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I found Heaven Has No Favorites to be an unusual book of life and death. A woman dying of tuberculosis in post-war Europe spends time with a man who lives life on the edge. He's a race car driver, tempting fate every time he goes to work, and she just wants to escape from life in her Alpine sanatorium.

Going with Clerfayt, the race car driver, she takes us through various parts of Europe, spending much of her time in Paris. Interesting characters come and go, and we are along for the journey.

I can't properly describe this powerful book. I wouldn't normally go for a book that has such a dark undercurrent haunting its pages, but it moved and was compelling.

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Wednesday, July 08, 2020

You need to read this book!

Between the World and MeBetween the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I wouldn't consider Ta-Nehisi Coates the most eloquent of writers. His style can come across as a bit stilted, but in the case of Between the World and Me, that's easily forgiven. This is a very powerful book, exploring the experience of growing up black in a nation that still regularly mistreats the people whose ancestors were once enslaved here.

There's a lot of food for thought in Between the World and Me. Even the way he looks at race is compelling. He says that racism isn't the child of race. Rather, race is the child of racism. And if we recognize that we all really are one race, then that makes sense. I'd just never seen someone put it that way. Still... yes, the desire to oppress others requires the distinction of "race." But without the racist intentions, racial distinctions have no meaning.

This book, written as a message to the author's son, is well worth your time, regardless of your background. It's thought-provoking, intelligently written and very timely as we go through what I hope will be a time of change for the better.

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Friday, July 03, 2020

Seriously, what’s wrong with people?

This woman deserves to be ostracized: Socialite Is 'So Sorry' for Putting 'Others at Risk' at Outdoor Party Before COVID-19 Diagnosis

She knew very well what the risks were, but her arrogance and selfishness had her go ahead anyhow. As her guests spread the virus through the community, how many people are going to die because of her?

Thursday, July 02, 2020

Rest in peace, Hot Toddy

I started this blog about 16 years ago, at the urging of a friend. I had read blogs and got to know some very interesting people through the blogosphere. As I started my own blogging adventure, I got to know even more and was welcomed into a community of bloggers. While any online world can bring out the worst in some people, we shouldn't forget all the ones with good hearts who share their best.

One of the people I got to know was a blogger named Michael Todd Pozycki a/k/a Todd Pozycki a/k/a Hot Toddy. He had a blog called Hot Toddy's Toaster Oven. When there was a sort of informal blogger convention here in New York, in May 2005, he was one of the ones who came. I have fond memories of hanging out with him in Greenwich Village, laughing uproariously at one thing after another. Good-natured laughter, because he was a good-hearted person. He was a fun person. He was the kind of guy who made life brighter.

He and fellow blogger Andy Grigsby ("Pony" to his blogging friends and fans) started a podcast. They were a riot to listen to, as were their guests. They had a natural interaction, born of their closeness, I suppose, and also had a skill for podcasting. We happily listened to their many episodes. Then one day, we took a trip to Portland and were on The Todd & Pony Show. That was so much fun!

By the way, don't take the "Hot Toddy" nickname the wrong way. He was quite humble. I forget what brought it up one day, but he said something about what I should expect from "a guy nicknamed Hot Toddy" and laughed about his own nickname, making clear that the name was in fun and his humility was well intact.

I wish he'd lived closer, so we could have seen him more often. In recent years, our contacts were online. Such is life, I suppose. Better than no contact at all. Still, he's one of those friends who you expect to see again, and you'd pick up where you left off, as if 10 minutes had passed, instead of 10 years.

Rest in peace, my friend. The world is darker without you in it. You will be missed.