The Comedians (1966) by Graham Greene

I’ve always wanted to read more Graham Greene. So far ahead of his time that even today his books seem contemporary.

Set in Haiti under the rule of François “Papa Doc” Duvalier and his secret police, the Tonton Macoute, the novel explores the political suppression and terrorism through the figure of an English hotel owner, Brown. …

The book starts on a ship bound for Port-au-Prince.

Three men meet: Brown, Smith and Jones.

That’s very Graham Greene.

My favourite character is Mr. Smith, a US Presidential candidate who ran on the vegetarian ticket in the American election of 1948. He and Mrs. Smith plan to build and operate a vegetarian centre in Haiti.

Of course impoverished Haitians at the time could not afford to eat meat or fish.

That’s very Graham Greene, too. 🙂

The naiveté of generous Americans.

Needless to say, the dictator Papa Doc was not happy when the book was published. His Foreign Affairs office called Greene  “A liar, a cretin, a stool-pigeon… unbalanced, sadistic, perverted… a perfect ignoramus …

Unfortunately I don’t feel The Comedians is one of his best books. My favourite, so far, is The Power and the Glory.

 

 

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Blind Goddess by Anne Holt

I don’t recommend this book.

It sounded like it would be good. Award winning crime fiction author Anne Holt is a  lawyer and former Minister of Justice of Norway.

Like her Oslo police officer Hanne Wilhelmsen, Holt too is a lesbian.

She obviously writes what she knows.

Blind Goddess (1993) was her first book, not translated to English until many years later. Some say the translation is uninspired. I’m not inspired to read any other of her books.

She’s very popular in Norway. This book was turned into a TV-series in 1997.

About the only character of interest to me is Billy T, a hulking maverick drug squad investigator.

I learned nothing about Norway.

I read this book immediately after a similar murder mystery – In the Woods by Tana French.

Tana French is a much better writer.

 

Hard Luck Hank – Suck My Cosmos

Book 4 in the hilarious series.

Though Hank was pretty much immobile by the end of book 3, somehow another mutant was able to give him a new body.

 

… Hank’s greatest facet as the series’s hero is how despite the changes that occur all around him, the major shifts in the dynamic of his setting, he remains immovably the same.
Hank is Hank, and will always be Hank.
His character is the (sometimes literally) immovable object around which every major event in the series finds itself orbiting. …
These books might not ever be featured in any overly self-important critic’s list of must-reads or forced on future students of literature as cultural classics, but they’ve certainly earned a place in my personal hall of fame as one of the most thoroughly entertaining reads I’ve ever had the pleasure of burning away free time with. …

Fall of Giants by Ken Follett

This is the 4th historical novel I’ve read from this author. Each one closer to modern day.

Fall of Giants … covers notable events such as World War I, the Russian Revolution, and the struggle for women’s suffrage. …

It’s a big, important book.

England, Russia, Germany, France, USA.

Coal miners, Russian orphans, British, Russian and German aristocrats, the militaries of all those nations.

Woodrow Wilson, Lenin, Trotsky, Churchill …

The main theme is the stupidity and wastefulness of World War I.

He does write great love stories.

I highly recommend these books. Fall of Giants is the best of the fist four, I’d say.

Read a NY Times book review.

 

 

Snow by Orhan Pamuk (2002)

Snow (TurkishKar) is a novel by Turkish writer Orhan Pamuk. Published in Turkish in 2002, it was translated into English by Maureen Freelyand published in 2004.

The story encapsulates many of the political and cultural tensions of modern Turkey and successfully combines humor, social commentary, mysticism, and a deep sympathy with its characters. …

Sounded perfect for me.

But I didn’t finish. Though well written, it was too slow.

Hard Luck Hank: Prince of Suck

This is book 3 in the series. It’s even funnier than the first two. Laugh out loud.

Hank is not very smart. Yet he skewers both economics and politics most effectively in this book.

Many love Hank. Yet the author is still self-published. You have to buy Steven Campbell books online. About 95% of his sales are eBook. Audio is better, in my opinion, as his reader is superb.

An increasingly crippled Hank struggles to keep the various factions of Belvaille in check after the collapse of the Colmarian Confederation.

Hank, as Supreme Kommilaire and Secretary of City, has several hundred police to try and maintain order among the millions of inhabitants on the space station while simultaneously preparing for Belvaille’s first ever election. He thinks it is an impossible task.

Every year the city, and even the galaxy, falls further into chaos as he himself succumbs to the debilitating effects of his mutation. With economic turmoil everywhere, a dirty election in the works, and the galaxy’s foremost assassin hunting him, Hank has to decide if he can save Belvaille. Or if it’s even worth saving.

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A Column of Fire by Ken Follett

Follett has made me keen to read more historical fiction.

A Column of Fire is a 2017 novel by British author Ken Follett …

It is the third book in the Kingsbridge Series, and serves as a sequel to 1989’s The Pillars of the Earth and 2007’s World Without End. … 

Beginning in 1558, the story follows the romance between Ned Willard and Margery Fitzgerald over half a century. It commences at a time when Europe turns against Elizabethan England and the queen finds herself beset by plots to dethrone her.

He does write very convincing love stories. I’l give him that.

This was the weakest of the three books, I thought.

Still worth reading, but the endless intrigues between Catholics and Protestants lost me at some point.

The plot, covering 50 years, the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, was too ambitious. I preferred the more personal earlier novels.

So did reader Emily May.

Most people love the book, however. It was very positively reviewed, as well.

I did enjoy learning more about some historical events. The weird Gunpowder Plot of 1605 and Guy Fawkes.

Also, how Francis Drake outwitted the Spanish Armada.