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Exit Wound
Andy McNab
Progress: 290/400 pages
Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress
Steven Pinker
Progress: 54/576 pages
The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction
Neil Gaiman
Progress: 202/502 pages
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Stephen Chbosky
Progress: 92/232 pages

Reading progress update: I've read 290 out of 400 pages.

Exit Wound - Andy McNab

Nick Stone was doing something out of character when he  participated in getting some gold out of a former war zone to line his own pocket. 


The action was sucessful but soon he was double crossed along with his mates. 


Soon the story go back to Nick working for the British interest again. 


Not the best story, but another good action B movie or moderately budgetted TV show of guns and explosion. 


Enjoyable read for those who prefer this type of action packed story. 

Reading progress update: I've read 92 out of 232 pages.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower - Stephen Chbosky

Turned out this is more than a growing up story. It is about how hard it is to make sense of the world when no one has the answer. 


It is really good read. One of the younger person, an intern told me that she is reading the same book. 


That she gets it. One of the memorable moment of the book is reading this poem. 


Image result for perks deleted the poem

Reading progress update: I've read 40 out of 232 pages.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower - Stephen Chbosky

Doing a buddy read with a real life friend. 


Comment so far: Why it takes me so long to pick this up! 


The story starts off with a lot of anonymous letters from a 15 years old boy who has very little experience in real life, or hardship. This boy is sweet and nice and funny. 


This book is so suitable for young reader when they try to discover how everything works, including their own bodies, and a bit too afraid to ask an adult. 


Like it a lot. 

Atlee FBI agent

Long Road to Mercy - David Baldacci

Atlee does not act like a woman at all. 


Pine has a sister Mercy. She lost her twin sister when a bad guy came into their room and kidnapped her sister and leave her seriously injured. 


Now she is a FBI agent, who instead of seeking the more challenging job at the big city, choose to be at a one person FBI agent in Arizona. 


A mule was killed in Grand Canyon and a man last name Priest was missing. 


The investigation last a long time. Brother of the missing Priest came and tried to meet with Pine. 


Problem with this book.


Pine does not really act that much of a woman with  FBI training. She is strong, and has no self image problem, or care if she applied enough foundation or how other men or women see her. Also, she is not letting go of her missing sister case, yet seems emotionally balance with this type of childhood trauma. 


The writer who wrote really good character, but all of them male, seems not to do the same with a woman characters. 

Women become strong that could disregard social pressure has to at least recognize its existence. 


It feel flat and she does not appear to be that capable. 


Yet the strong is about a conspiracy. 


Much closer to a 3.5 to a full 4 stars. 



Dec 25 tasks

Yes it is new year. 


Busy doing real life stuff. Eating, shopping, meeting friends, more eating.... 


Total of 4 points. 


Christmas (December 25): 

Task 1: Post a picture of your Christmas decorations. Not mine. But if I would do it, it would be like this. 




Task 2: Tell us: If you could share Christmas dinner with any author (dead or alive), who would it be?


Christopher Hitchens. It would be fun and he would do most of the talking.  


Task 3: Watch a favorite Christmas movie.


Done. Die Hard. 

Task 4: Create or recreate a short text relating to Christmas (poem, carol, wish list, season’s greetings, etc.) from the titles of books on your bookshelves.



Book: Um, Christmas books …


Read Christmas Train by David Baldacci 




Nick is now a target

Brute Force - Andy McNab

Who wants to kill him?

There is a long list. 


There is very little clue. 


Nick has been jumping to conclusion and then running around trying to solve a mystery that linked to something happened many years ago.


So how was it?


For the plot:


Only a 3 out of 5 as there isn't much to go on with him being followed, and someone has left a car bomb.


For the action:


4 out of 5. There is where the good stuff supposed to be in the book. A lot of actions with details on how to defuse a bomb. Never mind if it is real, as it is a storytelling that counts. 


For the character development:


3.5 out of 5. Nick didn't mature after 11 books. A little. But not much. He is still paranoid and in the running mode. Too bad there is real threat and someone trying to kill him at every turn. 


Overall story:


For readers like me who like B action movies. This is as good as it gets. No cheesy cardboard female characters, just mothers and wife to keep the guy in check. Lot of actions with details. A lot of car chase. Moving one point A to point B. Just what I like for a light reading to distract me for the worries of real life and things I have not much power to change. 


Good one. Going to read the one follow this one soon. 


4 stars out of 5. When it goes together, it deserves a 4. 

Dec 21

 Total of 4 points 


Winter Solstice / Yuletide (December 21): 

Task 1: Bibliomancy: Grab one of your larger books and flip to the indicated page and line number to answer the following questions - then post those answers for us:


The Defense of the Realm by Christopher Andrew 

A. Will I read all the books on my TBR? (page 378, line 29)


"helped Gardner fill in gaps in one of the decrypts Almost half a century..." 

B. Will any of my 2019 reads be 5 stars? (page 227, line 31)


"staff of the Security Service. Kell wrote in his diary, I get the sack from..."

C. Will I discover a new favorite book / author / series? (page 309, line 23)


"and movements (more especially signs of troops perparing for action) can..."

D. Will I discover that a major twist (hopefully, for the [even] better) has occurred in one of my favorite series? (page 459, line 16)


"spared the emergency in Kenya, and perhaps that in Malyays. It must be our objective..."

E. Will I finish all of my reading challenges in 2019? (page 69, line 7)


"dead colleague and sent him money whilst urging him on to be diligent in his work."

F. Will I stay within my book budget in 2019? (page 98, line 5)


"fusion'. Soon afterwards, Kell was forced go take sick leave. His dismay..."

Task 2: Tell us: What book did you read this year that felt like it was never going to end?


The Christmas Train - David Baldacci 


The Christmas Train. It was so boring. So much words for so little happenings. 

Task 3: Round up a herd of reindeer on book covers and in book illustrations.


Image result for Book cover reindeer  Image result for Book cover reindeer


Related image  Image result for Book cover reindeer

Task 4: Treat yourself to a bûche de Noel (French Yule log cake) – if you want to try and make it yourself, see recipe here: https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/buche-de-noel-recipe.



Book: Any book that takes place in December or with ice or snow on the cover, revolving around the (summer or winter) equinox, or a collection of poetry by Hafez.




Door 17 Tasks

Total of 3 points. 



Task 1: In honor of the Icelandic Jólabókaflóðið / Yule Book Flood tradition, create a (virtual or physical) “book flood” and post a picture of it.



Task 2: Bake a Swedish lussebulle (saffron bun – instructions and recipe) or prepare some other dish containing saffron.




Task 3: Create a “crown of light” from book covers prominently featuring a lighted candle.



A Candle in the Wind - The Corporate Lobbyist ebook by Markose Abraham


Task 4: Guess (scout’s honor, NO GOOGLING!): Did the Gävle Goat survive this year?




Book: Set in Scandinavia / Northern Europe, or by a Northern European / Nordic author, or a book newly released in November or December of this year.


Maybe later.




Happy holidays
Happy holidays

Hope your day is fill with good books, joy and love. 


What I have just read?

The Christmas Train  - David Baldacci

Tom is on a train because he was banned from flying domestic. 


He is going to spend time with his current girlfriend Lelia. 


On the train, he met his old girlfriend Ellie and her boss Max.


Now the train was unscheduled stop deal to natural occurrence. 


200 pages later, we learned that Eleanor, who was dating Tom as a conflict zone journalist, want him to change career and settle down without really telling him. 


Gee. what a bitch. 


As if war zone journalists couldn't have a career and a family. 


That premise is wrong. And she was wrong to even try to give him an ultimatum to propose to her. 


So very stupid. 


Tom was in the dark. From his point of view, Eleanor woke up angry, asked him to leave with her, when he didn't know how to respond, she walked out of his life.


Feel sorry for dating such a stupid bitch. 


Now, what on earth would he want her back? 


One true love is a stupid idea. 


Now, entered the surprise of Lelia boarding the train to propose to him.


He didn't love her. That's obvious. 


So, he dumped her. 


Good that she already got a backup.


It would be a half star read if there is no final twist at the end. Still, it is a stupid romance that really not enjoyable at all.


Mature adults know how to work things out and articulate their wants and needs and compromise without harming anyone. 


Stupid romance characters didn't know how to use basic communication skill and create unnecessary emotional stress and distress. Half way through the book I already hope that it turned into a disaster book and killed off Eleanor. 


So, not a good read. The only book from Baldacci that I was disappointed.  


Read this for Dec 25 book task




Reading progress update: I've read 178 out of 337 pages.

The Christmas Train  - David Baldacci

The first disappointing book read from Baldacci.


Where is the magic as advertised in the back cover?


A guy Tom Langdon, a conflict zone journalist, was dumped by a woman Eleanor years ago. Now he is dating Lelia. 


He boarded a train because he was banned from flying domestic after an incident at the airport. 


Now he met this Eleanor who didn't really explained why she dumped him. She acted angry as if he should know without this stupid bitch articulating it. 


Now the current girlfriend Lelia surprised him and proposed to him. 


Gee... the guy sounds like a jerk as he would just cheated on the girlfriend, or date someone who he didn't loved truly. 


True love is a bit of bullshit. If they loved each other so much, they would have reconciled years ago. 


The premise is fine. The story sucks. 


One star so far. 


Reading this for Dec 25 book task 

Festivus (December 23): Task 4

Task 4: Google the word “Festivus” and tell us or take a screenshot of what you see at the left border of the results page.


So it is a non-commercial secular celebration of December holidays in counteracting the commercialized holiday season. Also, it is moved away from the nonsense religious activity at the same time.  




Image result for Festivus



Satire for a Black American experience

The Sellout: A Novel - Paul Beatty

Hard to write a book on racism that is not angry or condescending. 


The success of the book is it contain a lot of very serious contents on racism, and how the Black Americans experience is not really understood by other people who are not going through the similar experience in life. 


All the main characters are Black Americans, lot of activists without the the protest and speech. The story is around a man who was raised quite cruelly as a psychology experiment by his father. 


Then he met someone who always play minor characters on TV series. This person is a submissive and he attached himself to this guy. 


Now they lived in a town that has been rezoned and removed from the map. They wanted that identity back.


So they put up fake road signs and white lane line on road. 


The story moved very slowly for me. Make one think of segregation and other stuff that is based on race. 


Well written and thought provoking. Reading this for December 23  Festivus  Book task: Read any comedy, parody, or satire. 




Reading progress update: I've read 254 out of 304 pages.

The Sellout: A Novel - Paul Beatty

This book is so strange


Using a submissive to highlight the wrong of slavery. And use segregation to highlight the wrong of racism. 


The main character going through all that stuff just to get the lost home town back on the map. 


Seems random but thoughtful. Make me think about more about the mind of those who are oppressed yet not able to escape this prejudices even when racism is clearly labelled and exposed. 

Door 14 Hanukkah

 Total of 2 points. 


Task 1

Have you had any miracles in your life?  (Kids are a given.)  Just enough change for tolls?  Just enough gas to get you to the station?  Been tragically late for a flight only to find the flight was even more tragically delayed?  Nothing is too small - share your miracles with us!


There is no such thing as miracle. Story of miracle was invented by religious con man to give himself credibility. Jesus was no exception. 


When it comes to miracle, I came across this one. Real life has a lot of lucky and unlucky occurrence. I'm thankful for a lot of lucky occurrence. 


It is nice to bump into persons accidentally. I like that. 

It is nice to find a book without really searching for it. 

It is nice to meet nice persons in real life. 




Task 2

Light 9 candles each representing something you’re thankful for (share a picture with us; sharing anything else is optional).




Task 3

Have a donut – and let us share it via a photo.  Homemade donuts and shared recipes encouraged … but any donut will do just fine.


At a place where donut is uncommon. Will see. 


Task 4

A miracle crucial to Hanukkah is the Miracle of the cruse of oil, which concerns a jug of oil that (ostensibly) only contained enough oil for a single day, but miraculously turned out to last all of eight days. – Miracles aside, tell us: Have you ever experienced that something you had bought or you owned lasted a lot longer than anticipated … or where you expected a shortage which then fortuitously didn’t occur after all?


I tend to over prepare.. Lip balm is the only thing I could think of that I couldn't really guess how long one would last. It depends a lot on the materials, if it is soft tube, it last much shorter. Or I lost one in the wash or in pocket. That's the only one I expected a shortage that has not occurred yet. 



Book Task

Read a book about light, miracles, characters who are Jewish or books set in Israel. OR: Hanukkah commemorates the re-dedication of the second temple in the second century; read the second book in a series or a book with the word “second” or “two” in the title.



Reacher is finding more about his father

Past Tense: (Jack Reacher 23) - Lee Child

Reacher was on the road again. He was stopping at a middle of nowhere just to find where his father Stan Reacher was when he was young. 


Laconia. It is in the wood. 


Now he found out the he was a birdwatcher. Kind of news to Reacher. 


While not too far away, there is a motel setup to trap selected loungers for a game. We didn't find out what the game was but kind of guessed it would be murderous. No way the organizers would allow kidnapping victims to survive and call the authority. Patty and Shorty. 


The reveal is good. A bit too short for the action part when the hunt beginning and ended so fast that there isn't much time for the bad guys to tell us why they are doing this. 


The settings up of the trap is a bit too slow for most readers. I get a bit impatient with it as well. This is the few books that Reacher didn't attract any new female companion, so I would forgive him a bit for acting out all lone wolf and stuff. The part that other characters were afraid he got upset if he found out that his father might not be that good after all is also sweet. Reacher really didn't care that much one way or the other as he already have a firm image of his father. 



Read this for Door 15 book task. 

Read any book with an orange or red cover or with nuts, chocolate or coins on the cover, set in The Netherlands or Germany, by a Dutch or German author, or with canals or beer on the cover.