books, movies

The Disaster Artist – film 

I really enjoyed the book:

The Disaster Artist by Sestero & Bissell

Finally saw the 2017 American biographical comedy-drama movie. Also excellent.

The film chronicles an unlikely friendship between budding actors Tommy Wiseau and Sestero that results in the production of Wiseau’s 2003 film The Room, widely considered one of the worst films ever made

The Disaster Artist stars brothers James and Dave Franco as Wiseau and Sestero, respectively …


Casting couldn’t have been better.


State of Terror by Clinton and Louise Penny

I was surprised to enjoy the two books by Bill Clinton and James Patterson;

The President is Missing

The President’s Daughter

How does Hillary Clinton’s book compare?

State of Terror

No doubt Canadian mystery novelist Louise Penny did most of the writing.

But it must have been Hillary who included Putin (here called Ivanov) and a former President golfer (here called “Eric Dunn”). She and Bill are Washington super-insiders. They know how it works.

In my opinion, this book is not as good as either of the Bill Clinton collaboration. Those were more fun.

It was FUN to see Louise Penny’s character Chief Inspector Armand Gamache from Quebec make an appearance.

And it was important to hear a screed against Washington misogyny. Hillary knows better than anyone how much harder it is to be a woman in politics.

In any case, this book is getting great reviews. Selling by the truckload. But it didn’t really work for me.


Agatha Christie’s 1st novel

The Mysterious Affair at Styles is a detective novel by British writer Agatha Christie. It was written in the middle of the First World War, in 1916, and first published 1920. … (For £25. After all, she was only a woman 😀)

It introduced Hercule Poirot

… was well received by reviewers in the UK and the US at initial publication. …

Agatha was influenced by the Sherlock Holmes books, for sure. Narrator Hastings – Poirot’s friend, really reminded me of Watson. Like Watson, he was injured in the war.

This book is skillfully written. I enjoyed it.

Guinness World Records lists Christie as the best-selling fiction writer of all time, her novels having sold more than two billion copies.

In 1955, Christie was the first recipient of the Mystery Writers of America‘s Grand Master Award.


The Lewis Man by Peter May

Peter May is a great writer.

And The Lewis Man is an excellent book. Though a sequel, I found it quite different than The Blackhouse, 1st in the series.

Fin Macleod has returned to the Isle of Lewis, the storm-tossed, wind-scoured outer Hebridean island where he was born and raised.

Having left behind his adult life in Edinburgh – including his wife and his career in the police force – the former Detective Inspector is intent on repairing past relationships and restoring his parents’ derelict cottage.

His plans are interrupted when an unidentified corpse is recovered from a Lewis peat bog. The only clue to its identity is a DNA match to a local farmer, the now-senile Tormod Macdonald – the father of Fin’s childhood sweetheart, Marsaili – a man who has claimed throughout his life to be an only child, practically an orphan. Reluctantly drawn into the investigation, Fin uncovers deep family secrets even as he draws closer to the killer who wishes to keep them hidden. …


The Judge’s List by John Grisham

The Judge’s List builds on characters introduced in Grisham’s 2016 novel The Whistler, including Florida Board on Judicial Conduct investigator Lacy Stoltz.

It’s Grisham so it’s good.

Suspicions are easy enough, but proof seems impossible. The man is brilliant, patient, and always one step ahead of law enforcement. He is the most cunning of all serial killers. He knows forensics, police procedure, and most important: he knows the law.

He is a judge, in Florida—under Lacy’s jurisdiction. …

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.


Heads You Win by Jeffrey Archer

From an early age it is clear that Alexander Karpenko is destined to lead his countrymen.

But when his father is assassinated by the KGB for defying the state, Alexander and his mother will have to escape Russia if they hope to survive. At the docks, they have an irreversible choice: board a container ship bound for America or one bound for Great Britain. Alexander leaves the choice to a toss of a coin…

GREAT plot device.

Even greater when the book alternates between the life stories of Sasha over 30 years in London and New York.

The ending is a shocker. I can’t say it was what I wanted to happen.

In any case — this book is as good as any Jeffrey Archer.


No One Goes Alone by Erik Larson

Larson’s 2021 book is entirely different than his historical novels based on real characters in history.

For some reason — he decided to write a ghost story.

And it’s only available as an audio book.

A group of researchers sets sail for the Isle of Dorn in the North Atlantic in 1905 to explore the cause of several mysterious disappearances, most notably a family of four who vanished without a trace after a week-long holiday on the island. Led by Professor James, a prominent member of the Society for Psychical Research, they begin to explore the island’s sole cottage and surrounding landscape in search of a logical explanation. 

The idyllic setting belies an undercurrent of danger and treachery, with raging storms and unnerving discoveries adding to the sense of menace. As increasingly unexplainable events unfold, the now-stranded investigators are unsure whether they can trust their own eyes, their instincts, one another—or even themselves. 

It’s quite good, actually. If you like Larson’s non-fiction, you’ll enjoy this too.

The author is one of the readers of the audio book.

books, TV

Foundation – Apple TV+

As a teen, I wasn’t a big fan of Foundation — the book series — though I loved everything else written by Asimov.

Too sprawling.

It must have been intimidating to try to produce a coherent TV show.

Foundation chronicles “…the thousand year saga of The Foundation, a band of exiles who discover that the only way to save the Galactic Empire from destruction is to defy it.” …

Goyer pitched the series in one sentence: “It’s a 1,000-year chess game between Hari Seldon and the Empire, and all the characters in between are the pawns, but some of the pawns over the course of this saga end up becoming kings and queens.” …

Casting is excellent. Lee Pace is particularly good as Brother Day.

It’s beautiful to look at. Skillfully done. Critics love the show but it’s only 70% on Rotten Tomatoes.

I’ll probably continue to season 2. But it’s not must-watch for me.

Click PLAY or watch a trailer on YouTube.

books, TV

Codename Villanelle by Luke Jennings

The excellent TV series Killing Eve was based on this book series. The TV show is better — though the book is well written. Well researched.

It would appear — at the start — to be yet another Russian female super assassin. Villanelle is not much different than the last 6 Russian sexy super killers I’ve encountered. Another La Femme Nikita.

The slightly new twist is exploring Villanelle’s weird personal connection of sex and death.

In any case, I’ll be reading the next 2 books in the series.