The Dictator’s Highway by Justin Walker

I survived the Gawd awful Walking Patagonia by Caspian Ray on Kindle. The worst book I ever read.

By contrast, the second book I read on Kindle was superb.

The Dictator’s Highway (2015) by Justin Walker. Well written, insightful and superbly researched.

Walker did the Carretera Austral in Chile where Ray stumbled in parallel on Highway 40 in Argentina.

Skip Ray. Read Walker.


Walking Patagonia by Caspian Ray

As I was headed for Patagonia I downloaded this eBook simply because of the title.

My review: A stupid traveler, bad writer.

Deeply flawed human being.

But for some reason his inane decisions and non-stop misadventures kept me going.

On the upside, he did meet his future wife on this trip.

Have you heard of John Grisham?

I reflexively avoid the MOST popular authors assuming they are milk toast.

I’m only now finding out that Grisham is excellent!

The only one of his books I’d read in the past was The Racketeer. And I found it only OK.

But Rogue Lawyer (2015) is a fantastic book. Almost perfect, I thought.

It is a legal thriller about unconventional street lawyer Sebastian Rudd. …

His office is a black customized bulletproof van, complete with Wi-Fi, a bar, a small fridge, and fine leather chairs. He has no firm, no partners, and only one employee: his heavily armed driver, who used to be his client …

It sounds a bit like The Lincoln Lawyer (2005). Indeed, Grisham mentions Lincoln Lawyer author Michael Connelly in his book. It’s a bit of a hat tip for the idea, I assume.

But Rudd is no Matthew McConaughey. Rudd is a low life individual constantly messing up and running from the bad guys. He represents the worst criminals in town.

Rudd is more complex and interesting than the Lincoln Lawyer. He’s brilliant … but always pushing the edge.

The ending was superb, I thought. That’s rare for any book.

Moonglow by Chabon

Moonglow is a 2016 novel by Michael Chabon.

The book chronicles the life of Chabon’s grandfather, a WW2 soldier, engineer and rocket enthusiast who marries a troubled Jewish survivor from France and lives a challenging, wandering life in postwar America.

Chabon is a great writer. A great story teller.

But the device he used here — a memoir based on interviews with his Grandfather and others — didn’t work for me. The story was too rambling. It jumps around too much in time.

I had trouble paying attention.

Woman of God – the book

Woman of God, written by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro …

What to say?

I’ve got a love / hate relationship with James Patterson already and I barely know him as an author.

The PLOT of this book is compelling and interesting.

Brigid Fitzgerald, a physician volunteering in desperate south Sudan, is a religious Catholic woman from Boston. Whom God seems to hate. She faces more challenges than Job. Her faith is tested over and over.

I enjoyed seeing a female priest. A priest married. A priest welcoming his flock to all.

It seemed fresh to me to see a priest falsely accused of child molestation.

The book is fast paced. That’s for sure.

In one chapter Brigid might get married, have a baby then lose both to an astonishing tragedy. And there are over 100 chapters like that!

Read this book at your own risk. There’s much to criticize too.

The Innovators by Walter Isaacson (2014)

Yet another great Isaacson book. I recommend it to one and all.

The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution

Isaacson begins the adventure with Ada Lovelace, Lord Byron’s daughter, who pioneered computer programming in the 1840s.

He explores the fascinating personalities that created our current digital revolution, such as Vannevar Bush, Alan Turing, John von Neumann, J.C.R. Licklider, Doug Engelbart, Robert Noyce, Bill Gates, Steve Wozniak, Steve Jobs, Tim Berners-Lee, and Larry Page.

One of his key themes is that innovation comes from collaboration, not just the few great names we know.

He tries to provide background on how people like Turing made their breakthroughs.

It’s dense. I might just read it again in order to better follow the flow of technology.

An Object of Beauty by Steve Martin

I’m not sure I can recommend this 2010 novel.

It’s well written, but something is odd. It doesn’t reflect any kind of Steve Martin humour.

The book by follows the New York art world climb of Lacey Yeager, a beautiful and dislikable young woman.

Too ambitious. Too much an opportunist.

The only reason to read this book would be to learn about the NY art scene.

NY Times review