Fear: Trump in the White House and Democracy in Chains

  Fear  Democracy in Chains  

Fear: Trump in the White House


Democracy in Chains


short reviews


I usually refrain from reading about politics. But recently, two books called my attention:
Fear: Trump in the White House, by Bob Woodward,
Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America, by Nancy MacLean.
Click on the book covers to know more about them

One day, I saw the name Nancy MacLean treading on Twitter. I was curious who she could be and ended up listening to her book, published a year ago. The reason she was trending now was that the night before, she had been invited at a TV show – I don’t have TV and didn’t know about that.

MacLean’s book was very enlightening, showing how the current situation in American politics has roots back in the 1950s.
She also talks at large about school segregation, based both on races and money. Enormous college fees are one aspect of efforts made to limit education to the wealthy. Scary.

Even more scary is MacLean’s presentation of where the Koch brothers’ ideas are coming from and what Libertarians are all about. I was curious to see exactly what they wanted to change in the current U.S. Constitution, and are supposedly close to realizing, but unfortunately, I didn’t find these details explicitly mentioned, even though that’s what I had heard advertised about the book.

Despite this absence of details in this specific point, I thought the book was a fascinating research on the origin of what’s going on now. I learned a lot!
Besides, the narrator of the audiobook is very good, with a good pace for nonfiction.


Now to get a closer look at the current situation, I decided to read Fear, only because of the seriousness and reputation of its author.
I was hesitant, thinking I didn’t need to get more depressing details that we already get through the media – even though I avoid most of them.

Actually, I came out of the book (devoured in a couple of sittings) quite admiring of the staff who do all they can to salvage the situation and try to do something with what they have.  This excerpt from page 226 gives a good idea:

Fear p226

Some have criticized actions such as staff members taking a paper off the presidential desk, to be sure a dangerous document would not be signed, and to avoid catastrophic consequences. Indeed these acts don’t seem normal, but the book shows that in desperate situations, desperate acts are needed.

I liked the style of the author, presenting daily vignettes with as much objectivity as possible. The book is extremely documented and tries to just state facts. Quite an unusual and refreshing perspective these days.




It’s Monday! What are you reading? October 15


 It's Monday! What Are You Reading2 WWW Wednesdays 2

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?
and WWW Wednesdays


click on the covers to know more about them



Another cleverly plotted and structured mystery by the Japanese master of the genre! Highly recommended for all lovers of smart stories, and readers interested in diverse and international literature.
I’m doubly excited for this one, because it’s my first review for Criminal Element. I’ll post my review when it’s live on their site



 99 ways to tell a story

99 Ways to Tell a Story

The Oulipo movement has always attracted me, for instance in the writings by Georges Pérec, Italo Calvino (see my review of his amazing If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler), and obviously its founder: Raymond Queneau and his famous Exercices de Style (Exercises in Style): he takes one short and simple event, and then retells that same thing in 99 different styles.
Matt Madden does a fantastic job by doing the exact same thing, but this time all in different variations with graphics and comics.
For each, you have the genre on the left page, and the variation itself on the right. The Book Inspector has a cool video of it, You can pause to look closer at each page, that will give you a great idea of what this is all about.
So well done. I really enjoyed it a lot.


current reads Oct 15

same as last week!

up next oct 8


  2 books for grab for the October books of the month giveaway
And this children book giveaway open until Nov 3


Review and giveaway: The Song Peddler of the Pont Neuf

Laura Lebow

on Tour

October 9-22


The Song Peddler


The Song Peddler Of The Pont Neuf

(historical mystery)

Release date:
September 4, 2018
at Settecento Press

410 pages



I have been thoroughly enjoying Laura Lebow’s historical mysteries around the world of operas, see for instance Sent to the Devil. Then she got the great idea to start a new series set in France! I’m thrilled to present to you The Song Peddler of the Pont Neuf and her private detective Paul Gastebois, in this first adventure set in Paris on the eve of the French Revolution.

Click to continue reading

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