March wrapup

March roared in like a lion, and left pretty much the same way. We had 5-6 inches snow. Fun. Fun. Fun. Gas climbed to $4.09 at Shell and $4.18 at Chevron. AACCKK! We enjoyed wind, rain and the rare appearance of sun. I’m so ready for summer. Never thought I’d say that. HA! The end of the month Mister got sick, and 3 days later I am sick. Ugh. Still it was a good month with many laughs, and precious moments.

Now on to books …

First, I enjoyed a “30 Day Book Meme”. Second, I enjoyed 4 good books, and one so-so. Please note that a rating of 3/5 is my norm and means I liked the book and recommend it.

Book #8
Title: “The Final Deduction” by Rex Stout
Genre: mystery
Rate: 3/5

Comments: Nothing special about this book, other than the word: subdolous. You’ll have to look it up yourself.

Best quote:

At the dinner table, in between bites of deviled grilled lamb kidneys with a sauce he and Fritz had invented, he explained why it was that all you needed to know about any human society was what they ate. If you knew what they ate you could deduce everything else—culture, philosophy, morals, politics, everything. I enjoyed it because the kidneys were tender and tasty and that sauce is one of Fritz’ best, but I wondered how you would make out if you tried to deduce everything about Wolfe by knowing what he had eaten in the past ten years. I decided you would deduce that he was dead.

Book #9
Title: “The Burglar Who Studied Spinoza” by Lawrence Block
Genre: mystery
Rate: 3/5

Comments: This is the 4th book in the series and I still like all the characters (reoccurring and drop-ins), the writing style, the humor and the mystery. As with most mysteries, they aren’t works of art, or literary genius, they’re just entertaining.

Two good quotes:

…the other still clutching a volume of Robert W. Service’s verses. I had a flash vision of one of them shooting me while the other recited “The Cremation of Sam McGee.”

In the name of ethnic authenticity, a whole lot of New Yorkers are relearning the table manners of messy children.

Book #10
Title: “Into Thin Air”
Author: Krakauer, Jon
Genre: non-fiction
Rate: 3/5

Comments:

Any person who would seriously consider it is almost by definition beyond the sway of reasoned argument. The plain truth is that I knew better but went to Everest anyway. And in doing so I was a party to the death of good people, which is something that is apt to remain on my conscience for a very long time. Jon Krakauer

This was a very difficult book to read. In it’s own way it was fascinating as I learned bits and pieces about mountain climbing and a little of the technical side of things. Reading about what drives a person to try something like this, knowing full well the huge risk of life and limb, was somewhat intriguing. I never really identified with the various characters, mainly because unlike other non-fictional accounts (and even fictional books), the author wasn’t presenting each person in depth—he was relating a timeline accounting of an event. Still I found myself holding my breath with every page as I waited to see what happened next. I already knew who survived, and so I wasn’t wishing it wasn’t going to be so. Still I had to separate myself from the horrible tragedy that was unfolding with every page, otherwise I couldn’t face the next page. My heart felt terribly heavy with each loss, and I ached for the lost climber’s family and friends. At the end, I felt exhausted and a bit frustrated.

In pondering how this disaster could have occurred, it is imperative to remember that lucid thought is all but impossible at 29,000 feet. Wisdom comes easily after the fact.

Do we know the full story? I doubt that anyone will every know the full story. Too many of those involved perished on the mountain; and of those who survived, there are still some conflicting accounts. The conflicts are understandable given the conditions they climbed in and its effects on the human body, still it would be nice if this could all be wrapped up in paper and tied with a bow—but life is seldom that way.

…in the snow, horribly frostbitten but still alive after a night without shelter or oxygen, moaning unintelligibly. Not wanting to jeopardize their ascent by stopping to assist him, the Japanese team continued climbing toward the summit.

“We were too tired to help. Above 8,000 meters is not a place where people can afford morality.” 

My actions—or failure to act—played a direct role in the death of Andy Harris. And while Yasuko Namba lay dying on the South Col, I was a mere 350 yards away, huddled inside a tent, oblivious to her struggle, concerned only with my own safety. The stain this has left on my psyche is not the sort of thing that washes off after a few months of grief and guilt-ridden self-reproach. Jon Krakauer

Recommend for those who enjoy non-fiction of all kinds, those interested in climbing, or those with an interesting in this particular disaster.

Book #11
Title: “Homicide Trinity” by Rex Stout
Genre: mystery
Rate: 3.5/5

Comments: Unlike most of the Nero Wolfe 3 story collections, I enjoyed all 3 stories equally well.

  • In “Eeny Meeny Murder Mo” (March 1962) we have a locked door murder. Only the locked door is the front door to Wolfe’s house!
  • In “Death of a Demon” (June 1961) I loved that Nero showed off his orchids to his client—his female client! Has Wolfe finally taken on a murderess? Was his vanity flattered by her love of orchids? Read the story and find out.
  • Counterfeit for Murder” (January 1961) stars “Hattie”, and Hattie is irresistible. I adored her, and I loved this story line from beginning to end.

Book #12
Title: “Kill Shot” by Vince Flynn
Genre: political thriller
Rate: 2.75/5

Comments: I find most offerings from Vince Flynn to be 3.5-4 star books, but this book was simply okay and not up to the standards I’ve come to expect from Flynn. Given the circumstances of his life, I give him credit for moving ahead and continuing to write. I recommend this book for fans of the series as it’s a back story, but for those who are new to the “Mitch Rapp” series, skip this and start at the real beginning: Transfer of Power (Mitch Rapp #3) or The Third Option (Mitch Rapp #4).

DNF: Hit Man by Lawrence Block: this stultified my mental processes and I gave it up after 2 chapters.

Would You Like A Slap With That?: 30 Painfully-True Vignettes In The Life Of A Waiter by anonymous. There’s a reason this vicious, vile, nasty person did put his/her name to this book: they’d be ashamed to show their face in public. The vignettes that are shared are rude, mean, nasty. Personally, if you find your job this distasteful, you should give it up. I’ll never look at my waitperson the same way again. I dumped this after 3 stories.

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