3-Star Books                          

Title

Author

Rating

Description

Charles C. Mann

***

The author provides a look at the Americas before the arrival of the Europeans in 1492. It's conclusions alter the perception that North and South America were sparsely populated by a largely nomadic people. Instead, evidence shows that there were probably more people in the Americas than in Europe, that in addition to the Incas and Aztecs, there were highly evolved civilizations, and that the development of the primary crop, maize, was a feat of genetic engineering unsurpassed by the Europeans. A very interesting book, but not a page turner - a bit tedious at times but worth a read.

1776

David McCullough

***

The focus is on George Washington and his army in the first year of the revolution against the British. Well researched with many actual accounts from the time, it gives a look at Washington unlike any other you've seen. A must for history buffs and good

A Burglar's Life

Mark Jeffrey

***

(Bradley's review) Written in 1893, by an English Burglar who was sentenced to Transportation, ( the English term used to mean exported to Australia). A very light and quick read that provides some good insights to life as a prisoner in Tasmania, Australia, circa 1850 to 1870's. (Kathy's review - agree with Bradley)

A World Lit only by Fire

William Manchester

***

A historical view of medieval Europe.

Ahab's Wife

Sena Jeter Naslund

***

A novel about the wife of Captain Ahab of Moby Dick fame. The story is well written, but much longer than necessary and tedious at times, though nowhere near as bad as Moby Dick! Ahab is away whaling most of the time, so the book is truly the story of his

Alley Kat Blues

Karen Kijewski

***

A fun and entertaining murder mystery thriller featuring female private eye Kat Colorado.

Animal Dreams

Barbara Kingsolver

***

A well written and enjoyable book about a woman who moves back to her small hometown and embarks on a journey to find herself. The characters all have flaws which make them believable but at times unlikeble too. A good read.

Antietam

James McPherson

***

Good, quick reading book about the battle of Antietam and its effect on the outcome of the Civil War. Really makes you wonder what would have happened had certain events just gone a different way at a different time.

As Wide as the Waters

Benson Bobrick

***

Story of the translation of the Bible into English and all the obstacles that entailed. A fascinating story. At times a tough read but worth the effort.

Ballad of the Whiskey Robber

Julian Rubinstein

***

True story of a bank robber in Romania in the 1990's who became a folk hero (al la Ned Kelly in Australia). The subject is currently serving a jail sentence and the author did extensive research and interviews with the "hero", his partners and hocky teammates, as well as various law enforcement personnel who tracked him for years through dozens of "gentlemanly" robberies. Though it's a true story, it reads more like a novel. Mostly humorous, but with some sad overtones - it also gives a good picture of the eastern bloc after the fall of communism. Well worth a read.

Beethovan's Hair

Russell Martin

***

Part biography of Beethovan, part the story of a journey of a lock of his hair snipped on the day he died. The hair eventually made it into the hands of two Americans. Includes a great story of the Danes and how they helped the Jews in WWII. A short, easy read too.

Billions and Billions

Carl Sagan

***

Sagan's last book, completed just before he died. This is really a collection of essays, some interesting, other less so. Sagan clearly has a gift for simplifying science for the average person. His essays on the greenhouse effect and global warming prese

Biography of Bejamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin

***

Very interesting account of his own life written by Franklin. Unfortunately, though he was in his 70's when he wrote it, it stops when he's 50 (in 1757).

Blood Memory

Greg Iles

***

A murder-thriller whose hero is an alcoholic forensic dentist who is pregnant by her married lover. After suffering a panic attack at a crime scene, she returns to her childhood home where she is soon consumed by new evidence about the mystery of her father's death. Though the plot is a bit convoluted at times, there is a serious underpinning to it having to do with childhood sexual abuse, which plays a role in the primary crime. The book does a good job of weaving a serious subject together with a decent story in a well-written thriller.

Blood Orchid

Stuart Woods

***

Decent murder mystery set in Florida featuring a female private eye. Plot's a little obvious, but otherwise entertaining.

Blue Latitudes

Tony Horwitz

***

The author sets out to visit many of the places discovered by Captain James Cook in the 18th century. He alternates his travel adventures with great information about Cook's voyages. Unfortunately the author doesn't seem to like any place he visits and his attempts to be humorous (a la Bill Bryson) fall flat. Despite that, the book is worth reading for a better understanding of Cook's navigational and exploratory skills.

Call Each River Jordan

Owen Parry

***

Civil War historical fiction. This is the third book in the series (I missed the second one). Well written and good characters, but the story is not as strong as the first one. The hero is a Welsh immigrant and former soldier who is now a detective. In this book he is sent to the south to investigate some troubling murders.

Catch Me if You Can

Frank Abagnale

***

(From Bradley)This is a wonderfully entertaining and fun story based on Frank's six years of being a pilot, a doctor, a Lawyer and other professions with no formal training. Not only did Frank pass the Alabama Bar, but he also evaded capture in many coun

Charlie Wilson's War

George Crile

***

(Bradley's review) Charlie Wilson was a congressman from Texas, who for many well explained reasons in the text elected to spend most of his time in congress championing the Afghan mujahideen after the Russians invaded Afghanistan in 1979. What unfolds i

Chesapeake

James Michener

***

Good tale of the Chesapeake Bay and surrounding region. Recommended for anyone with an interest in that area, but truthfully not my favorite Michener book.

City of Bones

Michael Connelly

***

A Harry Bosch murder mystery. Good story about an old murder - keeps you guessing and holds your interest well. A great beach book.

Cold Heart

Jonathan Kellerman

***

A typical Kellerman murder mystery. Will keep you turning the pages. Great book for a looong airplane ride!

Cold Mountain

Charles Frazier

***

A well written civil wat novel about a soldier who walks home

Compulsion

Jonathan Kellerman

***

Another Alex Delaware/Milo Sturgis murder mystery. Psychologist Delaware consults to the police and helps to nab a killer. Kellerman never seems to write a bad book - they are reliably entertaining, though I've probably just read too many suspense thrillers this summer, so I wasn't overwhelmed by this one.

Confessional

Jack Higgins

***

Fun, easy to read thriller about bad Russians causing havoc in Ireland and an attempt to assasinate the Pope during a visit to England.

Day of Atonement

Faye Kellerman

***

Mystery thriller featuring an L.A. police detective investigating a missing teenage family member in New York. The family is Orthodox Jewish and the book is a good view of their life wound around a good, page-turning plot. A worthwhile read

Death Roll

Sam Llewelyn

***

A fun and intersting thriller set in the world of sailboat racing. The hero is a world class helmsman who becomes embroiled in a plot involving money, greed, and murder. Easy to read, good vignettes of sailboat racing, and a reasonable story line.

Deception Point

Dan Brown

***

Mystery thriller about a meteorite found in the Artic. Well written and pretty believable page turner.

Dogs Never Lie About Love

Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson

***

The author has a PhD in Sakskrit and had no pets when he decided to write this book. So he went out and got three dogs and got to know them while he was doing research. The resulting book is a delightful blend of dog stories from history and personal insi

Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight

Alexandra Fuller

***

Memoir of a young woman who grew up in Africa when most countries were controlled by white governments. A good look at what life was like. Well written and entertaining, with a style that will immerse you in the author's childhood.

Double Cross

James Patterson

***

Detective Alex Cross chases two serial killers in a thrilling but excessively violent story.

Dragon Hunter

Charles Gallencamp

***

The true story of the Central Asiatic expeditions to Mongolia led by Roy Chapman Andrews in the 1920's. Part science, part biography, part adventure story, part world history, the book provides a great look at all that was involved in mounting one of the most famous scientific expeditions in history. You will revel in the scientific finds and share the frustration of dealing with the Chinese buearacacy to obtain permission. A good book well written, but full of science and fact, so don't expect a page turning thriller.

E=MC2

David Bodanus

***

(Bradley's review) David does an excellent job of weaving both history and an explanation of

Albert Einstein's famous equation and it meaning in to a fascinating story.

Truly worth a read to better understand just how much political events can

influence s

E=MC2 A Biography of the World's Most Famous Equation

David Bodanus

***

A really fun book that will give you a simple overview of many fundamental principles of physics, introduce you to many fascinating scientists throughout history, delve into the life of Einstein, and above all, help you understand the equation! Don't worr

Exit Wounds

J. A. Jance

***

A small town sheriff investigates the murder of a local woman and her 17 dogs. The sheriff is also pregnant and running for re-election while trying to solve what becomes a multiple murder. A good and entertaining thriller which will occupy a few hours.

Eye Contact

Cammmie McGovern

***

Story of an autistic boy who witnesses the murder of a classmate and the struggle to communicate with him to determine what he actually saw. Though the story is not particularly strong, the author is the mother of an autistic child and an advocate for autism research, so the book provides excellent insight into those who struggle with this condition. An entertaining and easy read sure to educate you in the process.

Faded Coat of Blue

Owen Parry

***

Historical fiction set in the civil war era. The main character is a Welsh immigrant/soldier who ends up solving a murder mystery. Emphasis is not on battles, but on what's going on in Washington; government corruption, prostituition, ploitics, etc. An intersesting read.

Fall on Your Knees

Ann Marie MacDonald

***

Well written story about a dysfunctional family. Great characters and fun to read.

Fatal Storm

Rob Mundle

***

Story of the 1998 Sydney-Hobart yacht race that was hit by a freak storm. Good stories of the participants and the ensuing search and rescuse missions

Flight: My Life in Mission Control

Chris Kraft

***

The story of Nasa and the space race written by the leader of the ground crew. Gives a great inside look at sending men to the moon.

For the Term of His Natural Life

Marcus Clarke

***

An Australian classic written in the early 1800's to highlight many of the ills of the British system of transportation and ill treatment of criminals, many of whom were quilty of very minor offenses. This book is a fictional account of a wrongly accused

Galileo's Daughter

Dava Sobel

***

A story of Galileo's life highlighted with letters from his daughter who lived in a convent by wrote frequently. Great insight into the man and what the times were like in his day.

Godforsaken Sea

Derek Lundy

***

Great account of the 1996-97 Vendee Globe single handed yacht race. Makes you wonder why anyone would do this!

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

J.K. Rowling

***

The 4th Harry Potter book and as entertaining as the first three. Great for kids and adults alike.

Hide

Lisa Gardner

***

An engaging thriller about a young woman whose family spent their life moving mysteriously from place to place. As a young adult she finds out why. The story is different than the standard murder mystery and well told.

Hope and Honor

Sid Shachnow

***

Autobiography of a Lithuanian born Jew who survived a Nazi concentration camp, eventually emigrated to the US and had a terrific career in the US Army, attaining the rank of General and participating in the early days of defining the special forces units. A bit self-serving, it's a good read with a great first hand account of life in the camps.

Hungry Ocean

Linda Greenlaw

***

Linda Greenlaw was a successful swordfishing boat captain and the only woman in the fleet. She and her boat survived "The Perfect Storm". This is her story about swordfishing and the storm. A perfect follow read to The Perfect Storm.

Into Thin Air

Jon Krakaur

***

First hand account of the 1996 Mount Everest expedition that encountered a killer storm that left eight people dead.

Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes

G. Edward White

***

Oliver Wendell Holmes was a cousin of my grandmother so I've always wanted to learn more about him. This is a very comprehensive book that reveals his personal life as well as his legal decisions. The book is very well researched but gets quite technical and academic at times. It would be most appreciated by those interested in the law as it gives some great legal history.

Knockdown

Martin Dugard

***

Yet another book about the 1998 Sydney-Hobart yacht race. Good, but not as good as the other two.

Last Train to Paradise

Les Standiford

***

The true story of the building of the railroad from Miami to Key West Florida by Henry Flagler. Flagler, parnter of Rockefeller in Standard Oil, was one of the richest men in America. He became fascinated with Florida and had a vision for a railroad to connect the Keys with the mainland. It was an incredible engineering feat which many said could not be done. The railroad was completed and operated for nearly 30 years before being destroyed by a hurricane in 1935. It became the basis for the highway that still exists today. An interesting story well worth a read.

Leave No Trace

Hannah Nyala

***

Good fictional story of a women stranded in the Australian desert after her boyfriend is killed. Well written and entertaining.

Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid

Bill Bryson

***

Bryson's memoir about growing up in Iowa in the 1950's. Entertaining and insightful but not as funny as some of his other stuff. If you're a Bryson fan, you'll like it. If you haven't read him before, try one of his other books first.

Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling

Ross King

***

A good historical account of Michelangelo's four year odyssey painting the Sistene Chapel. A very good story of Michelangelo, Pope Julius, and rival artist Rafael, the book explores the various events that led to some of the world's greatest artistic achi

Minus 148

Art Davidson

***

Tale of the first winter ascent of Denali (Mt McKinley) and the extremes faced by the expedition.

Mountains Beyond Mountains

Tracy Kidder

***

True story of Paul Farmer, a Boston doctor who dedicates a huge effort to fighting Tuberculosis and AIDS in Haiti and South America. Quite an education about conditions in third world countries, the state of health care in those countries, and the insiprational story of one man who made a significant difference not only in the lives of his patients but also in the way these diseases are treated and managed.

New England White

Stephen L. Carter

***

Well written and entertaining story of an upper class black family living in New England. There is a murder mystery which is interesting but secondary to the central theme which is about race, family, and relationships. The ending is OK but not great. A bit long in places, but an enjoyable read.

Next

Michael Crichton

***

Very interesting novel centered around genetics, DNA, and the science and politics involved in the related issues. Story is just realistic enough not to seem far-fetched, but is mainly a vehicle to allow the author to educate the reader about an important issue. Don't expect a perfect thriller, but well worth a read to get your mind thinking about some important issues.

Night Fall

Nelson DeMille

***

Fictional novel about the explosion of TWA Flight 800. Much facutal information is woven into this fictional story which calls into question the official findings of the cause of the explosion to be accidental. Though no conclusive evidence exists, many eyewitness accounts lead to speculation that the plane was actually shot down by a missile, a premise that is not totally disproved by the evidence.

Obsession

Jonathan Kellerman

***

Another in the Alex Delaware series. Decent story and if you are a fan of the author you will enjoy it, though I don't think it the best in the series.

One Christmas in Washington

David Bercuson

***

The story of a series of meetings between Winston Churchill and FDR in which Churchil convinced FDR to enter the war. Well researched, contains a number of personal stories about both men. Will appeal to those with an interest in history.

Playing the Moldovans at Tennis

Tony Hawks

***

Great humorous book about the English author challenging the Moldovan soccer team to play tennis to win a bet.

Poland

James Michener

***

I knew nothing about Poland before reading this book. Though it's pretty depressing - poor Poland sure has had a rough time - it is also well worth the time to read (and like all Michener books it DOES take some time!)

Prey

Michael Chrichton

***

A thriller about nanotechnology gone bad and a bunch of artificial but intelligent creatures out to destroy us. Chrichton has a knack for making his books believable enough to be scary. A good beach book.

Rage

Jonathan Kellerman

***

Latest in the series of Alex Delaware novels. It's a good read, involving solving a murder of a mentally challenged young man who had been accused of a past murder. Not the best plot in the series, but reasonably satisfying.

Reading Lolita in Tehran

Azar Nafisi

***

True story of a professor in Tehran who, after she is fired, convenes a book club for women that meets weekly in her home. They read western books that are banned by the government. The author provides a great deal of insight into the politics of Iran and

Rescue in the Pacific

Tony Farrington

***

Story of a group of sailboats that are caught in a major storm after leaving from New Zealand in 1998. A good search and rescue story.

Reversible Errors

Scott Turow

***

Lawyer takes on a death row inmate and comes to believe he is innocent. Murder, love, intrigue, not totally believable, but a goo book for the beach.

Round Ireland with a Fridge

Tony Hakws

***

Author hitchhikes around Ireland with a small refrigerator to win a bet. Great funny book

Rusty Nail

J. A. Knorath

***

Another murder mystery thriller featuring a female detective, Jacqueline (Jack) Daniels. A decent read, but at times has excessive, graphic violence, interspered with humor - sort of like the Sopranos I guess. The author is acquiring a good reputation with this genre and will probably do well. If you like gruesome murder mysteries this won't disappoint you.

Seabiscuit

Laura Hillenbrand

***

(Bradley's Review)So much better then the movie and truly a great uplifting weekend read.

What a wonderful horse must have been and how great he was for the country.

Also a very eye opening book on the dark secrets of the horse racing

industry and how far

Shadows of Glory

Owen Parry

***

A civil war novel featuring Abel Jones, a Welshmen who is sent to New York to investigate rumors of a rebellion by the Irish and to investigate the murders of two government agents. Second in a series, this gives a great view of what life was like during the civil war era. Instead of concentrating on the battles, it points out other aspects of the times.

She Who Remembers

Lind Lay Schuler

***

Native American version of Clan of the Cave Bear, about an Anasazi (Pueblo) woman descended from Vikings. She wreaks havoc everywhere she goes. A good read, but the character leaves a lot to be desired.

Skull Session

Daniel Hecht

***

A well written suspenseful novel with a hero who suffers from Tourettes syndrome. A good page turner although the ending is just a little too bizarre. The end also gets pretty violent

Slaves in The Family

Edward Ball

***

Author tracks down descendants of slaves his family owned. An excellent read.

State of Fear

Michael Crichton

***

A thriller about environmental terrorists trying to stage catastrophes to make a point about the dangers of global warming. The author uses this as a forum to present both sides of the global warming debate and to try to illustrate how little we really kn

The Alchemist

Paulo Coelho

***

A fable about a boy who travels in search of a treasure and learns to believe in his dreams. Excellent, easy read, translated from Portuguese

The Art of the Steal

Frank Abignale

***

Written by the con man of Catch Me if You Can fame, this is a book that details dozens of scams and how they work. The intent is to educate us so that we are not so susceptible to some ingenious as well as downright silly ploys that rake in millions every year. You'll be fascinated at the creativity of some of the scams! Even if you consider yourself quite sophisticated, I guarantee you will learn a lot and will likely make some changes to how you guard your privacy based on this book - I sure did!

The Avengers

Rich Cohen

***

True story of a small group of WWII Jews who fought as renegades in the forests and later as part of the Israeli military.

The Birth of Venus

Sara Dunant

***

A novel set in 15th century Florence, this is an enjoyable book which tells the tale of two sisters, one blessed with beauty, the other with brains. Though I found the characters less than believable, it is an enjoyable story that gives a real sense of the times - the trubulence and controversy of the Renaissance and those who sought to invoke religious fervor and censorship.

The Boat Who Wouldn't Float

Farley Mowat

***

Story of a Canadian who has a dream of going sailing. He and a partner buy a low-budget boat and he embarks on series of misadventures. Though well written and entertaining, the book is at times disturbing because it glorifies people who have made a choice to go to sea without any experience, in an unseaworthy boat, and without the proper equipment to ensure the safety of themselves, their crew, and others in their path. Though they survive the adventures and live to laugh about them, this could easily have been a tragedy about people entering lightly into a situation that can often turn life-threatening.

The Bounty

Caroline Alexander

***

A new and well researched book about the famous mutiny and the eventual fate of those involved. An excellent book for anyone with an interest in this subject.

The Boys of Pointe Du Hoc

Douglas Brinkley

***

(from Bradley)I listened to this book on my Ipod Ė one of my favorite ways to read while hiking.  It was written and read by Douglas Brinkley and it is the story of the 2nd Ranger Battalion.  This is a fascinating story that uses Reagan's celebration of 40th anniversary commemorations of D-Day to turn around Patriotism in the US after the Vietnam.  This story traces the founding and exploits of the 2nd Ranger Battalion, particularly their extremely successful landing on D-Day at Pointe Du Hoc in France. It also gives some interesting insights into speech writing during the Reagan administration.   However its most important insights are how Reaganís personal history and views so strongly influenced his years as President.  It is a great read for over a holiday or vacation offering both some wonderful views of history and a nice story line that is an easy read (listen).

The Boys of Pointe Du Hoc

Douglas Brinkley

***

(from Bradley)I listened to this book on my Ipod Ė one of my favorite ways to read while hiking.  It was written and read by Douglas Brinkley and it is the story of the 2nd Ranger Battalion.  This is a fascinating story that uses Reagan's celebration of 40th anniversary commemorations of D-Day to turn around Patriotism in the US after the Vietnam.  This story traces the founding and exploits of the 2nd Ranger Battalion, particularly their extremely successful landing on D-Day at Pointe Du Hoc in France. It also gives some interesting insights into speech writing during the Reagan administration.   However its most important insights are how Reaganís personal history and views so strongly influenced his years as President.  It is a great read for over a holiday or vacation offering both some wonderful views of history and a nice story line that is an easy read (listen).

The Caine Mutiny

Herman Wouk

***

Novel about a mutiny onboard a naval vessel in WWII. A good read, but I didnít find it all that special.

The Catholic Church - A Short History

Hans Kung

***

"Short" is the key word in this title. This is an excellent summary of the origins and evolution of the Catholic Church. The author is doctor of theology and also an ordained priest, but in this book he provides an objective, honest, and often critical look at the church. The book is fairly scholarly (translated from German with lots of big words) but short enough so as not to be too intimidating. Recommended for anyone who has an interest in the origin of religion and especially the Catholic Church.

The Climb

Anatoli Boukreev

***

Another first hand account of the 1996 Mount Everest expedition by a professional guide.

The Closers

Michael Connelly

***

Solid and entertaining murder mystery featuring detective Harry Bosch who is assigned to a cold case unit. If you've enjoyed Connelly's past works this one won't disappoint you.

The Color of Water

James McBride

***

Subtitled "A Black Man's Tribute to his White Mother", this is the story of a white Jewish woman who married a black man and her struggle to raise her children. A very insightful book well worth reading.

The Dig Tree

Sarah Murgatroyd

***

Interesting true story of the first European expedition to cross the Australian continent. Good recounting of how the expedition was assembled, the problems with logistics and leadership, and the tragic consequences. Worth a read if you are into Aussie hi

The Dinner Club

Shannon Henry

***

Washington Post reporter Shannon Henry tells the story of the Capital Investors, a group of high tech millionaires who meet monthly and invest in small companies. A must read for anyone in the DC tech industry and an interesting story for all.

The Dogs of Bedlam Farm

Jon Katz

***

A book about how dogs helped the author become a better person. I didn't care much for the author, but some of the stories about the dogs are good. He has three border collies and buys a small farm where he can have some sheep and teach the dogs to heard.

The Good German

Joseph Canon

***

A very interesting novel set in Germany immediately after WWII. It uses a murder mystery story to examine the choices made by various characters at different points during the war. It raises a lot of good issues and would be a great book for a discussion group. Bradleys Comments: 3.5 Stars This book encourages us to value the issue of public debate, and should discourage the keeping of information within the goverment secret. Stronly recommend this book, for a look at the compormisses the US goverment made in your name, at the end of WWII, and the beginning of the cold war.

The Great Gatsby

F. Scott Fitzgerald

***

An American classic, this book is well written and provides a good look at life in American in the 1920's. The story of a love interrupted and almost recaptured, but not a happy ending.

The Land of White Death

Valerian Albanov

***

Russian explorers stranded in the Antarctic in 1912. The true story of their survival written by the expedition's navigator in 1917 and only recently translated to English. A fascinating story.

The Last Coyote

Michael Connelly

***

A good murder mystery featuring detective Harry Bosch who attempts to solve the 30 year old murder of his mother. Will hold your interest and keep you turning the pages.

The Life of Pi

Yann Martel

***

Delightful mix of philosophy and fantasy - a zookeeper from India is moving his family to Canada and the ship sinks, leaving his teenage son (the sole survivor) in a lifeboat with a 450 wild Bengal tiger for 277 days.

The Lincoln Lawyer

Michael Connelly

***

Solid murder mystery starring a lawyer whose office is the backseat of a Lincoln. Not Connelly's best, but entertaining and worth the read if you're just looking for a good page turner for entertainment.

The Lovely Bones

Alice Sebold

***

A young girl is murdered on her way home from school one day. The story is told from her perspective, mostly from heaven looking down on her family and friends and what happens to them in the aftermath of the murder. A creative and different perspective,

The Map That Changed the World

Simon Winchester

***

The story of William Smith, the Father of English geology who published the world's first geological map of England and is credited with creating the field of geology. In typical English fashion, after his accomplishment he ends up in debtors prison and it is many years before his contribution is appreciated. As interesting as geology can be made!

The Murder Book

Jonathan Kellerman

***

Another Alex Delaware murder mystery by one of my favorite authors. A good murder mystery about and old unsolved case - keeps you turning the pages.

The Overlook

Michael Connelly

***

Another in the Harry Bosch detective series. Nothing earth-shattering - the author almost always provides and interesting and well told story that provides some good entertainment.

The Perfect Storm

Sebastian Junger

***

A fleet of fishing boats is caught in a freak storm off the New England coast. This is the story of the crew of a fishing boat that was lost and the search and rescue effort that saved others.

The Potato Factory

Bryce Courtenay

***

Novel about convicts send from England to Tasmania by a well known Australian author

The Prize of All the Oceans

Glyn Williams

***

Details the voyage of English Captain Anson from England to China in 1740-44. A terrific depiction of the conditions and a real tale of courage and survival (and maybe a little stupidity too).

The Professor and the Madman

Simon Winchester

***

A great story about the development of the first Oxford English Dictionary and one of the primary researchers who was in an insane asylum. Makes what you think would be a dull subject an exciting and fascinating read.

The Proving Ground

G. Bruce Knecht

***

Another story of the 1998 Sydney to Hobart yacht race - gripping and well written

The Race

Tim Zimmerman

***

(Reviewed by Bradley) A well written book about the Millenium sailboat race, a no holds barred around the world race with only one rule - the boats had to pass between the two islands of New Zealand. Zimmerman does an excellent job of chronicling the history of extreme sailing from the 19th century to today's high tech marvels to set up The Race. He brings you right inside the boats as they battle the sea and each other, flying along blind at 30 knots with icebergs and huge waves just waiting for you to make a mistake. Highly recommended for those who want an understanding of what it takes to race the new Super Cats around the world.

The Remarkable Life of William Beebe

Carol Grant Gould

***

A biography of an early 20th century naturalist and marine biologist who undertook amazing field research and was able to bring science to the masses through his extraordinary writing. A well researched and well written book, it brings his fieldwork and adventures to life.

The Whale Rider

Witi Ihimaera

***

Quick, easy story about a Maori tribe in New Zealand where only men can ascend to the chief level and there is only a girl in the last generation. Despised by her grandfather, she turns out to have a special, ancient talent. Now a movie, the book is a fun story and good insight into the Maori culture.

The World From Islam

George Negus

***

Australia journalist George Negus draws on his many years of experience in the mid-east and visits with a variety of Muslim friends to try to understand the world of Islam. His conclusion is basically that not all Muslims are terrorists and we should all

The World is Flat

Thomas Friedman

***

A well researched and well presented book that details all the barriers to competition that have fallen in the past 20 years to create a level playing field for people and countries around the globe. Some of the information is obvious, some of it is thought provoking. Most of it is presented in interesting ways that are designed to make you think about the impact these changes will have on you or your business.

Ties That Bind

Phillip Margolin

***

A good page turner mystery. A little on the dark side and not truly believable, but a good read nonetheless

Too Far From Home

Chris Jones

***

The last space shuttle mission before Columbia was lost delivered a 3-man crew to the International Space Station. They were due to be returned by the next shuttle after Columbia. With the loss of that shuttle and the resulting grounding of the fleet, this crew was forced to extend their stay until a Russian ship was readied to bring them home. While everyone knows the tragedy of Columbia, this book provides a good factual account of the events before and after, and provides stories and historical anecdotes of the space program. A good story and an enjoyable read.

Trunk Music

Michael Connelly

***

A Harry Bosch murder mystery. Not his best, nor his worst. Good, entertaining story - if you've liked this series you'll probably enjoy it.

Twisted

Jonathan Kellerman

***

A good murder mystery thriller starring Petra Conner. A nice departure from the Alex Delaware series with interesting new characters and a good plot. Good page turner that will not disappoint you.

Two Years Before the Mast

Richard Henry Dana

***

(Bradley's review) A very interesting and informative read regarding life on the high seas as a common sailor on a commercial trading ship circa 1835/36. It does give one some good insights into the founding of California prior to our taking it from Mexi

Voyage of the Narwhal

Andrea Barrett

***

Entertaining novel about Arctic exploration in the mid-19th century. The story centers around an expedition that goes north to search for the lost explorer Franklin. Well written and good descriptions of the region.

 

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