Recap of our Block Book Club June 2013 meeting
Recap of the titles we shared [synopsis from Goodreads.com].
1) Hour Game (Sean King & Michelle Maxwell #2)
by David Baldacci (2005) [presented by J]
He’s copying famous serial killers.
And the HOUR GAME has just begun…
A woman is found murdered in the woods. It seems like a simple case but it soon escalates into a terrible nightmare. Someone is replicating the killing styles of the most infamous murderers of all time. No one knows this criminal’s motives…or who will die next.
Two ex-Secret Service agents, Sean King and Michelle Maxwell, have been hired to defend a man’s innocence in a burglary involving an aristocratic family. Then a series of secrets leads the partners right into the frantic hunt that is confounding even the FBI. Now King and Maxwell are playing the Hour Game, uncovering one horrifying revelation after another and putting their lives in danger. For the closer they get to the truth, the closer they get to the most shocking surprise of all.
2) Imaginary Magnitude
by Stanisław Lem (1973 – published in English in 1985) [presented by P]
These wickedly authentic introductions to twenty-first-century books preface tomes on teaching English to bacteria, using animated X-rays to create “pornograms,” and analyzing computer-generated literature through the science of “bitistics.” “Lem, a science fiction Bach, plays in this book a googleplex of variations on his basic themes” (New York Times Book Review). Translated by Marc E. Heine. A Helen and Kurt Wolff Book
3) Escape from Camp 14: One Man’s Remarkable Odyssey from North Korea to Freedom in the West
by Blaine Harden (2012) [presented by A]
A New York Times bestseller, the shocking story of one of the few people born in a North Korean political prison to have escaped and survived.
North Korea is isolated and hungry, bankrupt and belligerent. It is also armed with nuclear weapons. Between 150,000 and 200,000 people are being held in its political prison camps, which have existed twice as long as Stalin’s Soviet gulags and twelve times as long as the Nazi concentration camps. Very few born and raised in these camps have escaped. But Shin Donghyuk did.
In Escape from Camp 14, acclaimed journalist Blaine Harden tells the story of Shin Dong-hyuk and through the lens of Shin’s life unlocks the secrets of the world’s most repressive totalitarian state. Shin knew nothing of civilized existence-he saw his mother as a competitor for food, guards raised him to be a snitch, and he witnessed the execution of his own family. Through Harden’s harrowing narrative of Shin’s life and remarkable escape, he offers an unequaled inside account of one of the world’s darkest nations and a riveting tale of endurance, courage, and survival.
4) Travelers’ Tales Italy: True Stories of Life on the Road
by Anne Calcagno (1998) [presented by R]
These tales take the reader far beyond a packaged tour of Italy to encounter the land of magical extremes. Meet sculptors, olive harvesters, art historians, cooks, and grandparents, whose tales soar with opera and simmer with bribes. Funny, heart-wrenching, and smart herein ancient Italy is revealed as always new, while contemporary Italy speaks the old verities of the heart.
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil
by John Berendt (1999) [presented by J]
You probably saw the movie. We did, right after listening to the book. We thought the movie was actually rather bad, and a very poor rendition of the book. We highly recommend you to read the book.
Shots rang out in Savannah’s grandest mansion in the misty,early morning hours of May 2, 1981. Was it murder or self-defense? For nearly a decade, the shooting and its aftermath reverberated throughout this hauntingly beautiful city of moss-hung oaks and shaded squares. John Berendt’s sharply observed, suspenseful, and witty narrative reads like a thoroughly engrossing novel, and yet it is a work of nonfiction. Berendt skillfully interweaves a hugely entertaining first-person account of life in this isolated remnant of the Old South with the unpredictable twists and turns of a landmark murder case.
It is a spellbinding story peopled by a gallery of remarkable characters: the well-bred society ladies of the Married Woman’s Card Club; the turbulent young redneck gigolo; the hapless recluse who owns a bottle of poison so powerful it could kill every man, woman, and child in Savannah; the aging and profane Southern belle who is the “soul of pampered self-absorption”; the uproariously funny black drag queen; the acerbic and arrogant antiques dealer; the sweet-talking, piano-playing con artist; young blacks dancing the minuet at the black debutante ball; and Minerva, the voodoo priestess who works her magic in the graveyard at midnight. These and other Savannahians act as a Greek chorus, with Berendt revealing the alliances, hostilities, and intrigues that thrive in a town where everyone knows everyone else.
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil is a sublime and seductive reading experience. Brilliantly conceived and masterfully written, this enormously engaging portrait of a most beguiling Southern city has become a modern classic
Here is a mini-review of the audiobook, and a quotation: https://wordsandpeace.com/2013/06/18/3-mini-audiobook-reviews/
Chronicle of the Mound Builders
by Elle Marie (Goodreads Author) (2012) [presented by me]
Archaeologist Dr. Angela Hunter discovers an ancient codex at a Mississippian Indian dig site in the St. Louis area. Knowing the Mississippians, or Mound Builders, had no written language, she is determined to solve the mystery of the 700-year-old, perfectly preserved codex.
In the early 1300’s, an Aztec family is torn apart. A judge rebelling against the Aztec tradition of human sacrifice is cursed and escapes his enemies with his 12-year-old son. They travel from the Gulf of Mexico up the Mississippi River to settle in the thriving community of Migaduha, modern-day Cahokia Mounds, Illinois.
Angela recognizes the symbols as Aztec pictograms and begins to translate the story. However, other forces also want the codex and will do anything to get it. Can she learn the secrets of the chronicle before the tragic events of the past are repeated today?
This book was so good, we stopped to visit the place it features, the Cahokia Mounds near St Louis, on our way to a farther destination.
A fascinating place with a great museum.
Here is my full review:
HAVE YOU READ ANY OF THOSE?
WHICH ONE IS YOUR FAVORITE?