Friday, September 28, 2007

September Book Reviews

Since I have decided to take most of this month off the bike, there isn't much to report on that front. So, here is a review of the books I read this month.

1) Black Hawk Down (Mark Bowden)

Basic Content: A team of Army Rangers and Delta Force members get pinned down in a Mogadishu neighborhood while attempting to rescue the crews of two Black Hawk helicopters which were shot down while providing support for an earlier mission.

The book was fantastic in my opinion. At times I found it hard to put the book down. The book illustrates the bravery of the soldiers and their resilience to overcome some monumental fuck ups. This book even further convinces me that military personnel are at times puppets for the agendas of politicians. Two of the Delta Force members were issued Congressional Medals of Honor for their roles in the battle. Yup, as you may have guessed, they died in the battle.

Grade: B+

2) The Second Horseman (Kyle Mills)

Basic Content: One of the world's best thieves is broken out of prison by a government contractor in order to steal money to be used to purchase nuclear weapons from a group of Uzbeks in order to keep them out of terrorist hands.

I could have guessed the story line after reading the two sentences on the back of the cover. Thief, blah blah, hot ex NSA chick, blah blah, nukes, blah blah. Totally predictable and totally boring. This one got left in my hotel room when I was done - ON PURPOSE.

Grade: D

3) Racing Tactics for Cyclists (Thomas Prehn)

Basic Content: Strategies for all types of road racing events.

I found this to be a very good guide on racing tactics. Some of the advice are on subjects that I have never given much thought. For instance, the section where it describes the right way to help a teammate back to the peleton after a problem. I found the section on riding in echelons interesting, but doubt that I will get to experience that much in my ventures. The section on improving cornering was good too. Overall, a great reference guide for all road racers.

Grade: B

4) The Road (Cormac McCarthy)

Basic Content: A father and his young son drift through a post apocalyptic world several years after the event which you can only assume was some type of nuclear destruction.

This book was a recommendation of one of my favorite book critics, Fendergal. I found the author's writing style and word choice a bit strange at times. Having said that, I can't remember a book that actually made me feel so much despair. I am not sure that I would have felt like I did if I didn't have a child. I was able to empathize with the father character and his will to do ANYTHING to ensure that his son survived for another day. The other depressing thing about the book is that I am not so sure such an event isn't possible the way the world is shaping up. Folks looking for a book with a happy ending can skip past this one on the shelves.

Grade: A


Blogger oldmanandhisbike said...

You can read? Wow; who knew!
I would whole heartedly agree with your feelings about politics driving the military. We would not be in the F'd up mess we are today if it were not for the decisions of politicians. And these committed, but often common men and women pay the price. Postumous medals mean nothing to their families and children.
Apocalypic books typically depress me so I try to avoid reading them, but it can offer a wider perspective on the real issue.
I should write a blog on some of the books that I read, but all it would do is convince people how weird I really am!
Have a great weekend man!

9/29/07, 7:46 AM  
Blogger bryan said...

The Road is probably the best book I've read this year. And if you think McCarthy writes funny, check out his other stuff, specifically the Border Trilogy. Whoa.

9/29/07, 9:37 AM  
Blogger allan said...

Hmmmmm. I'm gonna have to check The Road out. I'm readin Into the Wild right now. It's taking turns depressing and angering me.

9/29/07, 9:47 AM  
Blogger Ron George said...

I think I'll get the book on tactics for the winter.

I still have Joe Friel's "Bible" to read and "Training with power."

9/29/07, 2:56 PM  
Blogger bryan said...

allan -- The Road isn't exactly going to brighten your day. May want to read something happy between the two.

9/29/07, 3:31 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

Oldman - usually just titty mags, but I do read an occassional book.

Bryan - I will have to check it out. This is the first book of his I have read.

Allan - it is a good book, but a real bummer. But a must read.

Ron - I have seen that book around, but train with HR at this point. Maybe power will follow someday.

9/29/07, 6:04 PM  
Blogger bluecolnago said...

titty mags? i thought you waited 'till they came out on dvd?

politics and the military? say it isn't so! remember, sometimes our boys and girls pay for the "politician's indecision", or, more appropriately, "lack of decisive response", years later. it's the way of the world, i'm afraid.

keep smiling!


10/1/07, 7:35 PM  
Anonymous Fendergal said...

Hey, glad you liked "The Road." I still recall certain scenes and remember how they moved me when I read them. I've heard about "Black Hawk Down" (particularly the movie) and will put the book on my library queue.

Sorry for not commenting recently. The new BF has been monopolizing my time.

10/2/07, 5:55 AM  
Blogger Jeff said...

I'm looking forward to reading more this winter. I've been reading mostly non-fiction, but The Road sounds great. And like you say, it's not too far fetched the way things are going! I love the post apocalyptic theme. The Stand was great!

10/2/07, 1:16 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

Blue - you know the ones I mean.

Fendergal - I just figured you hated me. HA!

Jeff - I have not read The Stand, but it is on my list.

10/2/07, 5:57 PM  
Blogger Eclectchick said...

A MONTH off the bike? Voluntarily???

I musta missed something . . .

10/5/07, 1:32 PM  
Blogger Michelle said...

I just read "Bicycle Love". I decided not to take it to work to read at lunch anymore after I got a comment on the "soft porn" cover. Girl in bed with her bike, boyfriend catches them together. :)

I always am reading at least 2 books. Right now is fluff reading to get past the edge left by the last book I read.

10/8/07, 8:17 PM  
Blogger bluecolnago said...

doesn't everyone sleep with their bike?

***confused look on face***


10/9/07, 4:47 AM  

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