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Relatively Dust-free Tomes Found On the Palace Flophouse Bookshelf

Be gentle on the reviewer.  He did not spend a lot of time on these, and most of these comments were made quite some time after he read the book, so some of the details may be a little off. 

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Scale: 

Yelstar.gif (787 bytes)Yelstar.gif (787 bytes)Yelstar.gif (787 bytes)Yelstar.gif (787 bytes) = Required reading

Yelstar.gif (787 bytes)Yelstar.gif (787 bytes)Yelstar.gif (787 bytes) Recommended

Yelstar.gif (787 bytes)Yelstar.gif (787 bytes) Worthwhile if youve got nothing better to read

Yelstar.gif (787 bytes) Dont waste your time unless youve read everything else on these pages rated higher, and youve read every page of the Sunday paper.

Toilet.gif (2087 bytes) Avoid.   In fact, run like hell.


Burning the Days - James Salter  Yelstar.gif (787 bytes)Yelstar.gif (787 bytes)Yelstar.gif (787 bytes)

    Memoir of WWII fighter pilot, novelist, and screenplay writer James Salter.  Adheres to the adage that a good memoir is not about the author, but about those he knew.  Particularly interesting when Salter writes of watching those he flew with making the first moon landings.  

Conversations at Curlow Creek - David Malouf  Yelstar.gif (787 bytes)Yelstar.gif (787 bytes)

    It's well written, but just a little bit disappointing.   It's all style and technique, and not much story.  It's set in Ireland and Australia in the 1800's.  It's an account of two brothers who love the same woman and the very different life choices they make.  One, a lawman, ends up tracking down the other, an idealistic rebel.  The brothers in this story reminded me of the brothers in A River Runs Through It.

Into the Wild - Jon Krakauer Yelstar.gif (787 bytes)Yelstar.gif (787 bytes)Yelstar.gif (787 bytes)

    An account of a young idealist's attempt to experience life in its most basic, elemental form. His journey takes him to Alaska where an unlikely chain of events may have contributed to his fate.

Angela's Ashes - Frank McCourt   Yelstar.gif (787 bytes)Yelstar.gif (787 bytes)Yelstar.gif (787 bytes)

    Sad?  Hell yeah, it's sad.  So's your miserable life.   If all you want is bluebirds, Prince Charming and happy endings, then get off my web page and move to Plano.

Black Like Me - J. W. Griffiths Yelstar.gif (787 bytes)Yelstar.gif (787 bytes)

    I dunno.  A little disappointing.  The author takes drugs and dyes his skin so he can attempt to understand a little bit what it's like to be Black in the south during the late '50s.  It has it's interesting moments, but somehow just didnt live up to our expectations.

8 Ball Chicks - Gini Sikes Yelstar.gif (787 bytes)Yelstar.gif (787 bytes)Yelstar.gif (787 bytes)

    Young girls.  Students.  Teen mothers.  Criminals.   Murderers.  Very interesting account of the gangsta' life.

Call of the Wild - Jack London Yelstar.gif (787 bytes)Yelstar.gif (787 bytes)Yelstar.gif (787 bytes)

    Jack London -- the poor man's Steinbeck?

The Alienist - Caleb Carr  Toilet.gif (2087 bytes)

   One word:  crap.

Rameses: The Son of Light (Vol I) - Christian Jacq Toilet.gif (2087 bytes)

    Even worse than The Alienist.  And we had such high hopes, too.  This is the first of a five-volume serial by French Egyptologist Christian Jacq, and the last as far as we're concerned. We can only hope Carr and Jacq are better historians than they are novelists.   

Beloved - Toni Morrison Yelstar.gif (787 bytes)Yelstar.gif (787 bytes)

   At the risk of being branded a heretic -- we didnt like it all that much.  The story itself wasnt that compelling, and we thought the style was a little bit derivative.  We kept thinking, "Faulkner's already done this, and this is no improvement." 

Voyage of the Beagle - Charles Darwin Yelstar.gif (787 bytes)

    It's really not that bad, but we realize that we would lose whatever credibility we may have as reviewers if we were ever to recommend it to anyone.  It's Darwin's journal of his voyage to South America in the early 1830's that provided the fodder for his theory of evolution.  If you can manage to skim across all the naturalist's jargon, it's got some juicy tidbits. But remember, we didnt recommend it to you.

The Elegant Universe - Brian Green Yelstar.gif (787 bytes)Yelstar.gif (787 bytes)Yelstar.gif (787 bytes)Yelstar.gif (787 bytes)

  OK, how should one put this?  First there was classical mechanics as described by Galilei and Newton.  This held up for hundreds of years, until Maxwell's research into optics and electromagnetism revealed some interesting properties about light.  Einstein relized the two were in conflict, so he came up with Special Relativity.  Unfortunately, this didnt quite explain everything, especially objects in non-uniform motion, so he then came up with General Relativity.  General Relativity has proved very good at explaining things on a grand scale, things that move very fast or things that are very large.  But it is deficient when explaining things on the subatomic scale.  Enter Quantum Mechanics.   So you have General Relativity, which explains things on a grand scale, and Quantum Mechanics, which explains things on the subatomic scale.  But the two dont get along very well together, which is required if we are ever to understand things like the beginning of the universe, or black holes.  Brian Green does an excellent job of trying to tie everything together with a neat little string. (Couldnt resist.)

Relativity - Einstein Yelstar.gif (787 bytes)Yelstar.gif (787 bytes)

Of course, after reading the previous book, we were eager to go to some source material.  Unfortunately, Einstein's attempt to explain his theories to the layman is burdened by an antiquated writing style.  It's not as dry as one might think, and Einstein's sense of humor is evident. But we're not recommending it.