Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Enemy - by Lee Child

This is the eighth book of Lee Child's Jack Reacher series.  It takes the reader back to the start of the last decade in the twentieth century.  The Berlin Wall is coming down and the military is facing changes.  It is New Year's Eve and Major Reacher has just been transferred from Panama to Fort Bird, North Carolina, where he is working the night shift to give his staff the holiday.  He takes the call about a two-star general found dead in a nearby hotel room.  This quickly evolves into a case, however, that threatens his then promising military career.

As I have probably mentioned many times, I am a Jack Reacher fan.  I read this book not too long after watching the recent Tom Cruise movie, "Jack Reacher."  This book fills in some of his past that is alluded to in other installments of this series.  This is not my favorite of the Reacher volumes that I have thus far consumed, but I enjoyed it.  If you have similar interest, I would suggest that you give it a try.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Calico Joe - by John Grisham

In Calico Joe, John Grisham weaves a fictional baseball tale inspired by the 1920 beaning of Ray Chapman, the only baseball player ever killed by a pitch.

In 1973, Paul Tracey is an 11-year-old boy who loves baseball.  His father, who pitches for the New York Mets, drinks, chases women, and abuses his wife and kids.  Paul is a pretty good Little League pitcher, himself.

Paul is enamored with Joe Castle, a young phenom brought up mid-season by the Chicago Cubs, who is re-writing the rookie record book.  As the reader easily surmises from the very beginning, the young and talented Calico Joe and the aging journeyman pitcher Warren Tracy are on a tragic collision course.

The story is narrated by a grown-up Paul Tracey who has since abandoned the game of baseball and is estranged from his father.  When he receives the news that his father is dying of cancer, however, he decides that there is something he must do.

At just over 200 pages, this is a pretty quick read.  For me, the baseball stories took me back to my childhood.  I grew up watching many of the players mentioned in this book.  This book is about more than baseball, though.  It is about excitement, disappointment, tragedy, conflicted feelings, regrets and ultimately the power of forgiveness.  I highly recommend it.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Steve Jobs - by Walter Isaacson

Steve Jobs was an American icon of ingenuity and creativity.  His entrepreneurial skill and product vision revolutionized the personal computer, animated movie, music, phone, tablet computing, and digital publishing industries.

This book provides insight into his background, his personality, his passion, and his values. It attempts to be fair and candid, and Jobs did not even request the right to read it before it was published.  This book includes a good number of stories that will not endear readers to him.  There are plenty of inspirational stories about his ability to build teams and companies that produced amazing products.

This book is nearly 600 pages long.  Therefore, it is not a quick read.  I liked some parts better than others, but, in general, was fascinated.  I felt like this biography provided a significant glimpse into who Steve Jobs was, what drove him, and how he lived his life.  It provides some perspective into how much of our everyday lives have, in one way or another, been touched by him.