Monday, February 10, 2020

Supreme Ambition

 Supreme Ambition was a difficult read. Especially because I was reading at the same time as the impeachment hearings. With the same exact result as the Kavanaugh hearing. Trump plays the victim to his base. Just like last year, his popularity exploded

.I have read Ruth Marcus's posts for years. When I learned she was writing a book, I was excited. I learned the book was about Brett Kavanaugh. I wasn't so certain I wanted to re-hash the Brett Kavanaugh hearings. It wasn't just about the controversy. She wrote about the Republican agenda. Appointing Republican judges for the past 30 years. About the dark money, lobbyists, think tanks, and Super-Pacs. One of the largest groups, The Federalist's Society was the biggest influential groups for the nomination of supreme court justices, Gorsuch, and Kavanaugh. President Trump has packed so many new, young judges for the Republican party. He's actions will be with us for many generations to come. There has never been a president that was able to pack courts as much as Trump. Our previous President(Obama)wasn't allowed to appoint a supreme court justice. This was by choice of the majority leader in the Republican party. The actions of the Republican party is a threat to our democracy. That is why Supreme Ambition is such an important book to read.

The writing is an oral narrative. There are at times humor plugged in. To make it not too dry to read.  It is easy to follow.  What was goings-on behind the scenes of both parties at the hearing. What happened at the hearing that Blasey-Ford, Feinstein controversy. Why Sen. Feinstein didn't tell Senator Grassley earlier. The earlier part of the book was interesting and new to me. But the middle which was about the hearing. I didn't want to re-live that part of history. Small bits and pieces behind the scenes I wasn't aware of.

I was very angry at the heat of the moment. Now, that it is a year later. I can look at it objectively. My thoughts are a bit different. Yes, I think something happened. But, is it right to judge a person in high school, and college on bad behavior? I can see if he had bad behavior as an adult. But, that wasn't brought up. Instead, the Senate, and cable news focused on his younger years. Yes, it was wrong. But her thoughts were sketchy. I can relate to what happened to her. As a young person. I was attacked. Can you judge someone and ruin their career based on something that happened a long time ago? People do change. In his court, many young ladies had giving glowing reports working for Brett Kavanaugh. I based that on all the information I was given.

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Sunday, February 9, 2020

When the Crawdads Sing

When the Crawdads Sing
By Delia Owens

I have been looking forward to reading The Crawdads Sing. So on that note. It wasn't what I expected. I was expecting the hype to live up to it. Unfortunately, I was disappointed. I was sent a galley from the publisher.

I thought the story was unique and wonderful. The writing is lush and poetic. The story itself is a good start. But as I am reading, and reading. I realize the story is not realistic. There are many instances where I thought. This can't really happen. I realize it is fiction.  So much of the story was contrived and forced. Especially at the end of the story. Where I finally had to say, really. I was so invested in the book. I felt like I was played by the author.

Many of you I understand loved it. I am sorry, but I didn't.

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Sunday, November 24, 2019

Diamond Doris:Book Review

Diamond Doris
By Doris Payne
Harper Collins
Review copy

+++++++++SPOILER ALERT++++++++++++++++++++++++
Doris Payne was born poor in the coal mines of Va. during the depression of the 1930s. She lived in the house with her parents, and her brothers and sisters. Unfortunately, she lived a hard life as she was growing up. Her father was abusive to her mother. Doris adored her mother and would do anything to protect her mother from her father. She had decided she would do anything to get her mother, and her brothers and sisters out of the house.

Her mother told her if she received good grades in school. She would buy her a watch. Ahead of time, Doris went to the local jewelry shop to look at watches.

The Jeweler was a nice man and treated her very nice. But, as soon as a white man came into the shop his attitude changed. Doris was angry, mad, and never forgot it. This was the turning point for Doris. She still had the watch on as she walked out of the store.  A few minutes later she came back into the shop.

 She advertised to the owner of the shop, and the other gentleman. " I realized I walked out of the store with the watch. You forgot to take it off of my wrist. Since then, it was the life of a jewel thief after that.  She observed, and learned the way of the business. How to confuse the shop owners. Who didn't realize she stole a piece of jewelry until it was too late.

She lived the high life for almost 40 years, in Europe and the United States. Was investigated and brought in by the police,( local and foreign), and the FBI. She never stayed in jail long. Learned different ways to con, or escape jail.

When I first learned about the book. I was fascinated by the synopsis. But unfortunately, the book didn't keep me focused. I am sure the author, and the editors thought to keep it to Doris's voice rather than a crisp writing style that was polished. For me, it just didn't keep my attention. I felt some of her life was a bit far fetched, and unbelievable.

Perhaps also, I saw the documentary on her life while reading. Which most likely ruined it for me. I understand they will be making a movie very soon. Perhaps the movie will be better.

The book is not just about the biography of Doris Payne. But the culture of bigotry, and racism growing up and still is a problem in our society today. Doris Payne has guts and gumption. But I just didn't like her attitude. Even still today, she doesn't feel remorseful for what she did. Was it worth it? At the age of 80. She has no money left. She has no resources. She is living in a housing project to help reform criminals. It is pretty sad that is the kind of life she has left in her old age. I am hoping that others will realize this is not the kind of life you want to live. Hopefully, they will find another way.

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Sunday, November 3, 2019

Amazing, Jaw Dropping: Catch and Kill

Catch and Kill
By Ronan Farrow
Purchased copy

Review from NYT

I am posting my review a bit different on my blog on this post. Because I am afraid I will not do justice to the book, or the author.  I was amazed by the writing style and the smartness of the book.  I was blown away by the book's investigative reporting. I thought I knew everything about Weinstein. I was totally wrong.  First, I thought the book was all about the former producer. It wasn't. It turned out the book was about free speech, but not how you would think.

If you have followed the news in the past few years. And you are outraged by the news media, and the news outlets by "Catch(ing) and Kil(ling), stories instead of releasing them. Hence the title. The investigation starts with Weinstein. But the investigation leads on to other Catch and Kill stories which include, our present President, NBC Universal, Matt Lauer, Jeffrey Epstein, and the infamous investigative agency from Israel called, Ice Cube, AMI( Enquirer).

In the old days, there used to be real old fashion detectives for hire. Remember the old TV shows from Baretta, Starsky, and Hutch. Well, those are the old days. Now, they have people all over the world doing investigative work for the famous, and power through any means they can to find dirt through cell phone tracking, internet, and cyberspace.

Usually, reporters are not part of the story. But, because of the subject, His story had to be in the book. He discusses his sister, Dylan. His relationship with his father, and loving mother. Ronan is a very intelligent, and impressive young man. Like I said, I was blown away.

My expectations were low as it was after buying the book. I was just curious to read it because of the #MeTOO movement.  I was expecting a gossip book. Thank goodness I was wrong. I didn't know who Ronan Farrow was. I didn't put 2 and 2 together until I invested reading the book. I do wonder if he still would have gotten access if he wasn't who he was? But that is another discussion.

Ronan traveled around the world as a young boy with his mother. She was a social activist. She visited many underdeveloped countries. She and her husband adopted several children. It makes sense because after he graduated from college and became a social activist lawyer under the age of 20. He was asked to join the State Department under the Obama Admin. He just became engaged to one of my favorite podcast's personality, Crooked Media.

Ronan Farrow won the Pulitzer Prize for his reporting on the Weinstein case. He has changed the world by changing our thinking about female harassment in the workplace. Unfortunately, though it can go too far.


Monday, October 14, 2019

Book Review and Book Club: See What I Have Done

See What I Have Done
By Sarah Schmidt

Our book club discussed the novel, See What I Have Done for this month in honor of Halloween. The feel of the book did not feel natural. I don't know if it had to do with the author not being American. The book is about the murderer, Lizzie Borden. Most of us know or have heard of the jingle of Lizzie Borden.

I don't know what it is. But, I wasn't thrilled with the book. It was OK. But, not great. All of us in the book club didn't really like the novel. I was surprised because of the ratings most of the people commented on Goodreads.

Lizzie had a sad life. She sounded like she was a psychopath. Her family dynamics were challenging most of the time. Her father remarried after her mother died to her stepmother. They were very controlling people. The family was wealthy. But still, the family had old fashioned plumbing( outhouse), no modern conveniences. Her father was stingy. Her sister felt obligated to her clingy sister, Lizzie.

Lizzie found her parents dead. There were many coincidences. Or were they? Did she kill her parents? A couple days before her parents felt they were poisoned. Her dress had blood on it. Or was it paint like Lizzie said?  The author didn't write what happened after Lizzie was taken to jail. Just up to the time she was accused.

I did my own research and watched a documentary on youtube about Lizzie, and her family. It was very enlightening.

Most everyone thought she didn't murder her parents. Only one thought that she did. Most of us felt the writing wasn't great, and we didn't enjoy the book as much as I thought. I was very disappointed.
Oh well, on to better books. Our next book is Killers of the Flower Moon. Which I read, and loved quite awhile ago. I don't like picking books that I already read.