Game of Thrones – my summing up

Unlike many, I thought the writers did a great job with season 8.

It’s not easy to end anything. Books. Films. TV series. It was impossible to tie up every loose end introduced by George R. R. Martin.

This series was my favourite all time ‚ÄĒ aside from, perhaps, Breaking Bad.

Certainly TV was far better than the books.

I’ll be tuning in for any and all prequels and sequels that come along.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.


Erebus by Michael Palin (2018)

I’ve read all Michael Palin’s book. Always engaging and entertaining.

The audio version is particularly recommended as Palin reads it himself.

In September 2014, marine archaeologists discovered¬†HMS Erebus, her snapped stern furred with algae, on the Arctic seabed. Palin starts there and works back. …

… September 1839, accompanied by HMS Terror, … four years on an Antarctic adventure, where the dashing James Clark Ross captained her to the Barrier, or the Ross ice shelf as it was then known. …

The two ships set the record for most southerly latitude reached under sail alone.

I actually enjoyed reading about the successful Antarctic voyages ‚ÄĒ 12 months avoiding icebergs ‚ÄĒ than the more infamous Northwest Passage¬†attempt under captain Franklin.

Sir John Franklin

…¬†disappeared while on¬†his last expedition, attempting to chart and navigate the¬†Northwest Passage¬†in the¬†North American Arctic. The icebound ships were abandoned and the entire crew died of starvation,¬†hypothermia,¬†tuberculosis,¬†lead poisoning,¬†zinc deficiency¬†and¬†scurvy.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

The TV star’s vivid memoir of HMS Erebus and its epic polar expeditions is lively and diligent

I knew the story best from the lyrics of one of my favourite songs. “Northwest Passage” by Stan Rogers.

Palin refers to the classic in the last pages of the book.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

The tension in this book is excruciating.

Shari Lapena¬†(born 1960) is a¬†Canadian novelist.¬†She is best known for her 2016¬†thriller novel¬†The Couple Next Door …¬†

“The twists come as fast [as] you can turn the pages.”¬†People

“Provocative and shocking. ¬†One crime, an entire neighborhood of suspects, secrets and lies. ¬†How well do we ever know those around us? ¬†The Couple Next Door¬†will keep you glued the pages in search of the answer. ¬†Even then, you’ll never guess the truth…until it’s too late.‚Ä̬†–Lisa Gardner, #1¬†New York Times¬†bestselling¬†author of¬†Find Her

I will read more Shari Lapena.

The Rooster Bar by Grisham

Rooster Bar (2017) is the 25th legal thriller novel by John Grisham.

Grisham was inspired to create the story after reading an article entitled “The Law-School Scam” that appeared in The Atlantic magazine in 2014. …

I continue to be impressed with Grisham. He’s getting better as an author.

This entertaining and unpredictable plot touches on many current topics including:

  • Law School diploma mills
  • American student debt
  • Medical malpractice
  • U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
  • Corruption in Sengal

In the novel the fictional law school is based on REAL for profits like the Florida Coastal School of Law, part of the InfiLaw System of law schools owned by Sterling Partners.

Florida Coastal is ranked in the bottom 25% of U.S. law schools. About 35% of graduates ‚ÄĒ most with student debt of about $200k ‚ÄĒ found¬†full-time long-term jobs practicing law within nine months of graduation.

Students should be very wary of signing on with InfiLaw.


related – ‚ÄúThe Law-School Scam,‚Ä̬†by Paul Campos

Gray Mountain by John Grisham (2015)

Another excellent Grisham.

This time a female protagonist – Samantha Kofer.

She’s a young lawyer let go by the world’s largest legal firm in New York because of the 2008 Recession. The one on George Bush’s watch. The one caused by lack of government banking regulation.

Samantha is furloughed. She can keep her health benefits and legacy at the firm for a year if she does charity legal work.

She relocates to the rural Appalachia Mountains in Virginia. A slowly dying coal town.

Most of the book deals with a battle against strip-coal mining lawyers. I found it fascinating.

The book is titled Gray Mountain, one of those that’s been decimated by strip mining.

There are other clients. All too poor to be able to hire a private lawyer. Case studies.


Some found it preachy. It is.

Some found it too slow moving. I’d disagree. It kept me going.

Some critics I’m sure never read the book. They are some sort of Trump / Coal advocates. Lashing out.

A year alone on an island in Patagonia

Author Bob Kull seems to be a jerk.

It’s not easy to argue with one review I read – Unfocused drivel by an unlikable author.

On the other hand, his diary kept me going. The¬†philosophical ramblings were circular ‚ÄĒ¬†and I ended up learning nothing.

But the day-to-day physical challenges were interesting. The technology he used fascinating.

This was actually Ph.D.  research. And he defended his dissertation in 2005 at UBC.

Years after losing his lower right leg in a motorcycle crash, Robert Kull traveled to a remote island in Patagonia’s coastal wilderness with equipment and supplies to live alone for a year.

He sought to explore the effects of deep solitude on the body and mind and to find the spiritual answers he’d been seeking all his life.

With only a cat and his thoughts as companions, he wrestled with inner storms while the wild forces of nature raged around him. The physical challenges were immense, but the struggles of mind and spirit pushed him even further.


The Likeness by Tana French

An intriguing (if implausible) plot. Good writing.

I do recommend this book ‚ÄĒ but it should have been about half as lengthy.

(I felt the first book in the series – In the Woods – was too long, as well.)

The audio version is best, I think, so you can enjoy the various Irish accents.

It’s read by¬†Grainne Gillis.

Set in Ireland, it is the second volume in French’s Dublin Murder Squad series.

The story follows the efforts of detective Cassie Maddox to determine the circumstances surrounding the death of Lexie Madison, a young woman who is her doppelgänger.

The dead woman not only resembles Cassie but also was living under an alias the detective used in an earlier undercover assignment. A senior police officer, Frank Mackey, convinces Cassie to impersonate the dead woman to investigate her death …

related РNY Times review