Category Archives: Book

All Book Posts, regardless of year

“Leonardo …” -Zip Reads

Leonardo da Vinci -Summary of Isaacson

  • DougInNC book report
  • “More than a Review”

Full book title: Summary & Analysis of Leonardo da Vinci
– A Guide to the Book by Walter Isaacson

Let’s get this point straight: Leonardo da Vinci is “Leonardo.” I learned this important distinction, and took further interest, when traveling to Rome in 2019, arriving for a six-night stay on precisely the 500th anniversary of his May 2, 1519 passing.

I elicited a dark stare by telling a local guide that I was interested in learning about “da Vinci.” A sad, despondent, “Let me explain” shake of the head preceded the reply that I likely meant “Leonardo,” not “da Vinci.”

For why would I express a desire to hear of a small distant town? Surely I wanted to hear about a man, not a place, and his name is “Leonardo,” of (“da”) the place named “Vinci.” The inquiry continues:
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“Tenth-Floor Clinic”

Stories from the Tenth-Floor Clinic -by Marianna Crane

  • a DougInNC book review

If one wishes to explore a new world, let author Marianna Crane take you there. Hers is not a galaxy; not a fantasy; not the whereabouts of witches and warlocks. In Chicago exists a universe far, far away from your reality.

The reader will be mystified and startled to discover an assortment of genuine human beings in sub-standard housing clinging to life, unseen but in full view of the broadest shoulders in the American Midwest.
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“Forgetfulness”

Forgetfulness -by Francis O’Gorman

  • a DougInNC book report
  • “More than a Review”

This reader’s summary, is definitely far “more than a review.” You’ll find far more length and far more analysis than even my usual missives on books. Please settle in for an extended ride.

For this book I endeavor to capture chapters 1 to 4. This could free another reader to delve directly into the concluding chapters 5 and 6. Those latter two units have greater philosophical focus and provide ingredients for critical thinking about the implications of Forgetfulness.

My decision to take this approach was an outgrowth of (1) gifting the book to a distant friend having only perused reviews, (2) feeling I should read it myself to be fair to the friend, (3) finding the writing at the outset to be a challenging compilation, (4) hoping to encourage my friend’s pursuit, and (5) seeking a better position to discuss the thoughts of O’Gorman when meeting my fellow reader.

This blog post will recount the essence of those first four chapters. It is therein that the author develops background and constructs his position.

Three parts follow:

Part I. A description of the book, in the author’s words.
Part II. A summary of key subject matter.
Part III. Review observations on selected topics from Parts I and II.

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“Tomorrow’s Bread”

Tomorrow’s Bread -by Anna Jean Mayhew

  • a DougInNC book report
  • “More than a Review”

This is a writer that a writer can appreciate. Anna Jean Mayhew worked eighteen long years to grow her first book, “The Dry Grass of August.” In four years she delivered “Tomorrow’s Bread.”

Another striving author will surely recognize the perseverance and achievement in these endeavors.

Mayhew builds a story from her experiences living in Charlotte, NC, from her late-found interest in one area of the city, and from her research. She adds to the mix by speaking to experts on some elements in this book.

Another writer comprehends all the ingredients in the stew. The reader finds the completed picture in the cookbook takes quite some time to realize from the author’s descriptive pages.
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“Bleachers”

Bleachers -by Joseph Mills

  • a DougInNC book report
  • “More than a Review”

The reader finds fifty-four very short missives centered around the Saturday morning youth soccer experience. But this book is marginally about the sport. Rather, it is about people and parenting.

The format makes the work easy to read. Lovely leverage of language makes it fun. The stories deliver entertainment and insight, at times bringing the gift Robert Burns sought, “… to see ourselves as others see us.”

I enjoyed the views from “Bleachers” without being a parent. I expect anyone inclined to digest these morsels will savor them as well. Readers outside the U.S.A. could be challenged by references steeped in domestic culture.

Reflection follows on passages from author Joseph Mills, chosen from many worth highlighting.
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“Flash Mob”

Flash Mob -by Robert O’Connell

  • DougInNC book report
  • “More than a Review”

This is a fun and funny look at people, personalities, and problems. Did the author enjoy pouring this story out of his witty brain as it seems he must?

My ADDENDUM to the back cover teaser:
“You’ll laugh, You’ll cry, You’ll dance,
You’ll die”-ALOGUE YOUR WAY THROUGH …
… “FLASH MOB”
by Robert O’Connell
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“The Sound of a Broken Chain”

The Sound of a Broken Chain-by J.D. Cortese

  • DougInNC book report
  • “More than a Review”

To be all things to all readers, aspire to write like J.D. Cortese in “The Sound of a Broken Chain.” YA novel? Check. Science novel? Check. Literary novel? Check. Culture? Mystery? Drama? History? Yes, yes, yes, yes.

The setting is 1978 Buenos Aires, Argentina, yet your narrating protagonist is American Edward (Edgardo) Weston, all of 17 years old, smart, alone, and introverted. One friend and one girl change everything.

The natural conversational language of this work captures teenage thoughts and life, while flourishing phrases and deft descriptions make it a pleasure for all readers.
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“Meditations” of Marcus Aurelius

Meditations -of Marcus Aurelius

  • DougInNC book report
  • “More than a Review”

“What WERE you thinking?” Such an inquiry arises daily … usually as rhetoric … rarely answered. Fascinatingly, in this compilation of “Meditations,” the question is answered by Emperor Marcus Aurelius. From nearly 2000 years ago, we have his own (translated) words, a penetrating, insightful, recorded litany of what drove the man and who he strove to be.

While ruling the great empire and fighting the northern hordes, Marcus captured his unequivocal ruminations. For this is not a history of battles, or Rome. It is, per the introduction, “… the innermost thoughts of his heart, set down to ease it, with such moral maxims and reflections as may help him to bear the burden of duty …”.

It’s the second century! Yet we have this (direct) personal record of one born in A.D. 121, emperor in 161, dead in 180. This is on par with getting the history of the Second World War in Churchill’s books. But M.A. delivers at-the-moment pondering while W.C. writes in review of actual events (which he could then bias in his favor). Continue reading “Meditations” of Marcus Aurelius

“The Russian Galatea”

The Russian Galatea-by Ira David Wood III

  • DougInNC book report
  • “More than a Review”

Brick by brick the story builds. Like other constructs, it was not clear what would rise when the foundation was being laid in the first chapter or two. As author Ira David Wood III shaped The Russian Galatea, it became recognizable as something familiar told from an intriguing point of view.

This is an epic Russian story previously presented on movie screens, in staged shows, and on the written page. Yet, with its own depth and character focus, this tale offers something new. It was a pleasure to read as the mystery grew deeper, the pieces held together, and the structure was completed.
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Book Review: “The Death of Comedy”

The Death of Comedy -by Robert O’Connell

  • DougInNC book review

Where this book shines most will depend on the individual, but anyone with a funny bone or in need of one will find the light somewhere in these pages. Everyone has their ax to grind, but not everyone knows how to poke you in the ribs with their ax and make you laugh out loud, which this author will accomplish. Continue reading Book Review: “The Death of Comedy”