4-Star Books                          

Title

Author

Rating

Description

A Hope in the Unseen

Ron Suskind

****

The true story of an inner city DC kid from Ballou High School, one of the worst DC Public schools, who makes it to Brown University. Suskind wrote a Pulitzer Prize winning article about the same kid's high school experience and this book covers his first two years at Brown. A very inspirational and eye-opening book.

A Long Way Gone

Ishmael Beah

****

An amazingly well told first-hand story of the civil war in Sierra Leone. The author, now in his 20's, lost his family and was displaced during the war in which rebels opposing the government rampaged the countryside, killing and terrorizing innocent civilians. Young boys were often recruited by the rebels, or in the author's case, by villages trying to defend themselves from the rebels. At age 12, the author became a soldier and relates his horrific experiences, including his rescue and subsequent rehabilitation by Unicef. This book should be required reading for anyone living a life of privilege and luxury (and that is indeed ANYONE who is reading this review).

A Short History of Nearly Everything

Bill Bryson

****

Audio Book. Popular travel writer Bill Bryson tackles an unusual subject - science. Learn about the creation of the universe, cosmology, geology, chemistry, molecular physics, atomic physics, quantum physics and more. Packed with great stories of obscure scientists and their discoveries, the book is educational and entertaining.

A Spot of Bother

Mark Haddon

****

A hilarious (British humor) story of a normal family with two retired parents a gay son, and a daughter who is planning a wedding. There is virtually no event out of the ordinary - no real action, no murders, no spies, no high speed chases - yet it is a funny, moving, and gripping story. One warning - there is a son who is gay and there are a few graphic scenes with his boyfriend. A very enjoyable read guaranteed to make you laugh.

A Thousand Splendid Suns

Khaled Hosseini

****

From the author of The Kite Runner, this is a story of two women in Afghanistan and how their lives are affected by the Russian conflict and the rise of the Taliban. While the story is sad and depressing, like its predecessor, it is beautifully written and will keep your interest. You will come away with a real feel for life in Afghanistan during that time.

Abraham

Richard Feiler

****

Written by the author of Walking the Bible, this book examines Abraham, the common ancestor of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. It tries to find common threads between the religions and ways they might better communicate and co-exist. A good book for all to read.

Angels and Demons

Dan Brown

****

The prequel to the Da Vinci Code, this is another thriller featuring symbology, science, and the Catholic Church. Much better than Digital Fortress and Deception Point, almost as entertaining as the Da Vinci Code, this book at least will make you think ab

Behind the Arches

John Love

****

A very pro-McDonald's story about the founding and subsequent success of McDonald's. I read it quite some time ago and found it truly fascinating

Benjamin Franklin

Walter Isaacson

****

(Kathy's review) A new and comprehensive biography of Benjamin Franklin. Gives a very good overview of his life and role in the shaping of America. An enjoyable and well done book, but I ofund the writing just a notch below thatof the great biographers such as McCullough. (Bradley's review *****). An engaging book that should be read after reading David McCullough's wonderful read on John Adams, our second president. Franklin was one of several key people who, without his wisdom and skill I doubt the United States would have been born. He retired at 42 and committed the rest of his life to public service. He made the United States and the world a better place by his efforts. This is a must read in order to understand the true struggle the founding fathers faced. I recommend reading this book where you have good internet access, as you may want to read some the original documents written by Franklin. Isaacson does an excellent job of providing good internet sourcing information.

Blind Side

Michael Lewis

****

A fascinating book that details the changes in value and responsibility for the left tackle position in professional football, the position responsible for protecting the quarterback's "blind side" from ferocious pass rushers. Left tackles have come from complete anonymity to become some of the highest paid athletes in sport. The main character in the story is the top high school lineman prospect in the country, a large, very athletic black kid from the poor side of Memphis who is ultimately adopted by a white Chrisitan family and begins a football career in his junior year in high school. The book is a fascinating look at professional football as well as a great story about the overwhelming odds facing even the best athletes.Not just a sports story, this book is also a great story about people and how love can changes lives.

Charlie Wilson's War

George Crile

****

Fascinating book about the 80's war in Afghanistan and how one congressman and one CIA agent came to the aid of the Afghan rebels, allowing them to drive out the Soviets, a key event in the fall of the Soviet Union. If this book wasn't true, you would nev

Devil in the White City

Erik Larson

****

The author weaves together two stories of the 1893 Chicago World's Fair. First, the incredible story of the planning and preparation of the World's Fair, filled with incredible characters and stories of true American ingenuity. Second is the story of a se

Dreams from My Father

Barack Obama

****

Presidential hopeful Obama's book about his early life growing up as the son of a white mother and African father who he never knew. The book is very personal and well written and provides some good insight about racial identity, the differece in racial cultures in America today, and the difficulty of those stuck in the middle. A worthwhile read.

Every Second Counts

Lance Armstrong

****

A sequel to Lance's first book (It's Not About the Bike) this picks up after his first Tour de France Victory and covers his next four wins. It details the changes in his life during that time, including the birth of his children, his rise to celebrity status, his ongoing commitment to his cancer foundation, and the toll it takes on his personal life. An easy read (half a day), it's not great literature but is worth the time.

Eye of the Albatross

Carl Safina

****

A fabulous book centered around an albatross named Amelia and her journeys as she raises her chick on a remote island. A satellite transmitter allows Amelia's travels to be tracked, revealing incredible information about the range of these largest seabird

Flyboys

James Bradley

****

This is a very gripping story about WWII, that follows the history of 9 pilots in the pacific ocean. The most famous one, went on to become the 41st president of USA, George H. W. Bush. Bradley does an excellent job in the first 125 pages helping set up

Follow the River

James Alexander Thom

****

Historical fiction that brings to life the journey of a woman kidnapped by Indians who escapes and makes her way home on foot, over 1000 miles away. Based on the experience of Mary Ingles, the book is very well researched. Though about 3/4 through you start to wish she would just get there, it's overall a great story and very well told.

Following Seas

Beth Leonard

****

We met the author while cruising Tasmania. This book tells the story of Beth and her partner Evans' first circumnavigation aboard their sailboat Silk. As a novice sailor, Beth soon gained a passion for sailing and this book tells the story of her transformation into a new way of life. A very well written book, it is recommended for anyone who really wants to know what the cruising life is really like.

For Whom the Bell Tolls

Ernest Hemingway

****

A classic story of love and war, this puts you right in the middle of guerilla warfare in the Spanish Civil War. The hero, Robert Jordan is an American fighting to help a band of Spanish guerillas to blow up a bridge. You feel like you are part of the action.

Fortune's Favorites

Colleen McCullough

****

This is the third (of four) book in McCullough's First Man in Rome series and it is every bit as good as the first two. Despite its daunting size - more than 1000 pages - it goes by fast. This book deals with the period when Lucius Cornelius Sulla became

Franklin and Winston

Jon Meacham

****

(From Bradley) For those of you who love history and hold either Franklin Roosevelt or Winston Church in high regard, this is a must read book. This is a very honest look at the epic relationship between two men, which clearly saved the world from Fascism. It shows both men in their brilliance and their weakness, and how working together, they mobilized the free world to win World War II. Jon shows the deep, intense and sometimes complicated nature of a relationship that flourished amid cataclysmic global events and occasionally competing national interest. Hope you enjoy this as much as I did.

Ghost Soldiers

Hampton Sides

****

(From Bradley) True story of the Baatan Death March and the rescues of some of the survivors 4 years later by the US Rangers. This is both a timely book for the challenges we are now facing and an excellent tribute to those brave solders who were sacrifi

Harry Potter

J. K. Rowling

****

I bought the first one just to see what this Harry Potter thing was all about. I couldn't put it down and quickly bought the rest.

Hawaii

James Michener

****

Excellent story of the history of Hawaii. Makes you want to shoot the missionaries!

I Don't Know How She Does It

Allison Pearson

****

Humorous and well written story of a working mother with a high pressure job as a fund manager in London. International best seller by a British author, well worth the read for women and men alike!

I Shouldn't Even Be Doing This

Bob Newhart

****

I listened to the audio book read by the author. It recounts his career as a comic in his typical dry but very funny style. If you are a Newhart fan, you will enjoy it immensly.

In Her Shoes

Jennifer Weiner

****

Fun and engaging book about two sisters who are very different in every aspect of their lives, but who happen to have exactly the same shoe size. They unexpectedly are thrust into living together and the result is quite entertaining.

It's Not About the Bike

Lance Armstrong

****

Personal account of Lance Armstrong overcoming serious cancer and going on to win the Tour de France bike race two years in a row (He's won a 3rd straight since writing the book). An unbelievable and inspirational story. Bradley's Comments: 3.5 Stars With so few true heros around, this is a wonderful book written by a modest young man (as compared to the many fake heros our press covers) who has demonstrated some old world values anew. Focus, determination, hard work and possitive mental attitude can accomplish much.

Jackdaws

Ken Follett

****

Gripping and enjoyable thriller about an all female British espionage team sent to France in WWII. Good characters, good story and based on real events.

John Adams

David McCullough

****

Excellent biography of our second president. Very few people realize the impact he had on this country. Bradley's Comments: 4 Stars Had this been written by Adams himself, we would think how self inflated an ego he had, but because this is by David McCullough, we come to realize just how significant an impact this Adams had on the successful founding of the United States. This a wonderful book to give one and inside look on the struggles our founding fathers faced, as they created a new nation. Much better then any history book every read during high school, or college.

Marley and Me

John Grogan

****

Entertaining story of Marley, "the world's worst dog", and exuberant yellow lab. Anyone who is thinking of getting a dog should read this book first - it is an accurate portrayal of what life with a high energy creature can be! Guaranteed to have you alternately laughing and crying, this is a great dog book.

Master and Commander

Patrick O'Brian

****

A great classic series of books about sailing adventures in the 19th century, recently made into a hit movie. Great fun to read!

Mayflower

Nathaniel Philbrick

****

Well researched and well written book about the voyage of the Mayflower and the journey of the Pilgrims and their descendents over the next 100 years. I great read for anyone with a remote interest in US History. Philbrick is also the author of In the Heart of the Sea and again proves to be an excellent non-fiction writer.

Merle's Door

Ted Kerasote

****

(From Bradley) If you are a dog lover this is a must read book.  If you do not have or like pets, then you can skip this, because you will not understand or agree with Ted’s observations and experiences.  Not only does Merle’s Door raise some very interesting questions it also helps reset the philosophical foundation regarding the love and care of our Canine friends.  Ted is very observant and anyone who has a dog, will recognize many of his experiences, but hopefully in a new light.  I must warn you, that it does end on a sad note but it is still worth the read.  Lots of licks for all. 

Middlesex

Jeffrey Eugenides

****

Pulitzer Prize winning novel about a Greek family who immigrates to Detroit. The story is told from the point of view of a second generation child who recounts the story of her/his grandparents and parents. A complex but exceptionally well written story, it covers a variety of interesting subjects - Greek history and culture, Detroit from the 1920's to present, US history and culture, and family issues covering everything from incest to the hero, who was born as a hermaphrodite (unkown to all), raised as a girl, and then identified as really a male at age 14. Though it may sound a little strange, it all works and you will be very well entertained throughout the book!

Morgan's Run

Colleen McCullough

****

The story of Richard Morgan, a successful Englishmen who through a series of tragedy and bad luck ends up as a prisoner and one of the first people transported to Australia. A typical McCullough story, well researched, entertaining, and mostly true. Much of the story takes place on Norfolk Island, where the author now lives.

North and South

John Jakes

****

First of a great series of historical fiction about the American Civil War. Others are 'Love and War' and 'Heaven and Hell'. Gives a great picture of life during those times and an understanding of what happened and why.

Old School

Tobias Woldd

****

A wonderfully entertaining and well written book set in a boys prep school in the 60's. Students engage in writing contests with the prize being the chance to meet privately with great authors such as Robert Frost, Ayn Rand, and Ernest Hemingway. No murders, guns, car chases, or violence, but the best fiction book I've read in a while.

Over the Edge

Jonathan Kellerman

****

An early Alex Delaware novel, this is the book that made Jonathan Kellerman a bestselling author. Good story, good plot, good characters. A page turning, interesting thriller.

Pride and Prejudice

Jane Austen

****

A classic about English sisters looking for love and marriage. Wonderfully written with a story that holds your attention. A great look at the times - the late 18th century - and what life was like.

Pursuit of Happyness

Chris Gardner

****

Subject of a recent movie (which I haven't seen) this is an autobiographical story about an African American man, going nowhere, with an infant son to care for, who becomes a very successful Wall Street stockbroker and financier. Inspirational and well told, it's a terrific story.

Red Sky in Mourning

Tami Oldham Ashcroft and Susea MacGearhart

****

(Reviewed by Bradley)This is one of the best survival books I have read. A true story of a couple caught in a storm and how she survivied and sailed the boat without a mast or navigation equipment for 42 days to find the Hawaiian Islands. This is a must read book for anyone considering blue water passage making.

River Town - Two Years on the Yangtzhe

Peter Hessler

****

Written by a Peace Corps volunteer teacher who spent two years in Fuling in Schezuan province of China where there are no other foreginers. A very revealing book about Chinese culture. Worth reading for anyone planning to visit China or who wants to understand more about the Chinese people. Well written and entertaining.

Running With Scissors

Augusten Burroughs

****

A hilarious yet disturbing autobiographical tale of a young man from a troubled family whose emotional unstable mother sends him to live at various times with her psychiatrist, a man whose methods are unorthodox to say the least. Poor Augusten goes from one dysfunctional family to another, but tells the tale with a great sense of humor. An enjoyable tale well told.

Sailor: My Journey Across the Atlantic Ocean on the Tall Ship The Pride of Baltimore II

Chip Raymond

****

My friend and Shear Madness veteran Chip Raymond secured a crew position aboard a tall ship for a great adventure across the Atlantic. When Chip sailed with us to New Caledonia, we did not have the smoothest passage and after reading his account of the At

Sandy Koufax

Jane Leavy

****

A biography of one of baseball's most famous pitchers, the book interweaves the story of Koufax's life with a recap of the perfect game he pitched in 1965. It's a great story of an incredible athlete who also became a Jewish hero for refusing to pitch the opening game of the World Series because it fell on Yom Kippur. It also gives a great view of professional baseball before the days of free agency and huge salaries for players. A must read for all baseball fans.

Seven Years in Tibet

Heinrich Harrer

****

True story of an Austrian mountaineer in India at the start of WWII. Imprisoned as a POW, he escapes and makes his way to Tibet where he spends the next seven years, ultimately becoming a confidante of the young Dalai Lama. The book offers an incredible view into life in Tibet, which even today is hardly known. Highly recommended.

Shadow Divers

Robert Kurson

****

For anyone who has an interest in history, diving and U-boats, this is a must read book. Expertly researched and written, Kurson does a good job of keeping you on the edge you your seat, with being fake or flashy. While there is much sadness in the book

Shantaram

Gregory David Roberts

****

An autobiographical novel set in Bombay. The "hero" is a shady character who escapes from a maximum security jail in Australia and flees to India where he embarks on a series of adventures as well as lessons about love and humanity.It is very well written

Six Minutes to Freedom

Kurt Muse & John Gilstrap

****

(from Bradley)This is a wonderful thrilling easy and quick read.  It this the true story of Kurt Muse an expat American living in Panama who was arrested by Noriega.  While he was not without some responsibility as he had been running a liberation radio station, he quickly became a pawn that Noriega tried to use against the US.  This is the story of one mans struggle to survive nine months in prison, how his wife and two children dealt with the ordeal and there own late night evacuation from Panama.  It is also the story of his rescue by Delta Force, that is far better then any fiction movie.  Strongly suggest you read this you do not have to stop. I read in less then 24 hours

Space Race

Deborah Cadbury

****

(By Bradley) An outstanding book that for the first time gives you a real look behind the scenes of both the American and Russian space programs from their inception at the end of World War II until the US landed on the moon. "In this exhilarating, fast-

Stolen Lives

Malika Oufkir

****

Malika Oufkir was born in Morocco and at age 11 moved into the royal palace where she was a companion to the young princess and adopted daughter of the king. Her father, a general in the army, was later involved in an unsuccessful coup to overthrow the king. The general was executed and his family was imprisoned in horrendous conditions for nearly 20 years before escaping and later being allowed to leave the country. This is Malika Oufkir's first hand account of the ordeal.

The Age of Sacred Terror

Bernard Lewis

****

For anyone who truly wants to understand the core issues the world is facing the in the middle east, this is a must read. Lewis does an excellent of trying to help us understand the issues from many perspectives and the challenges we face. Given our nee

The Bounty Trilogy

Charles Nordhoff

****

Three books staring with Mutiny on the Bounty describe (1) the journey of the Bounty and the Mutiny; (2) the incredible voyage of Captain Bligh and his crew in an open boat across the ocean, and (3) the journey of the mutineers led by Chirstian Fletcher and their settlement and ensuing life on Pitcairn Island.

The Captain's Wife

Douglas Kelley

****

A novel based on the true story of Mary Patten, the wife of Captain Joshua Patten who was in command of a clipper ship bound from the east coast to California in 1856. After the mutinous first mate is thrown in the brig the captain falls ill, leaving his wife, who has learned celestial navigation, and an inexperienced second mate to sail the ship around Cape Horn and complete its voyage. A well written and enjoyable read.

The Covenant

James Michener

****

Fascinating story of the history of South Africa. I was so glad I read this book before going there. It gave me such a great understanding of the whole situation.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night time

Mark Haddon

****

Wonderful book written from the point of view of an autistic 15-year old boy. The boy finds his neighbor's dog murdered and after at first being suspected, is determined to find the real killer. The story line is really just a forum for allowing us to see into the life of this boy and understand how he sees the world and how the world see him. Entertaing, funny, and sometimes sad all at the same time. ANd of course, he does solve the murder!

The Da Vinci Code

Dan Brown

****

Fascinating novel featuring a secret society once headed by Leonardo da Vinci and its quest to protect a secret potentially harmful to the church. The story is good but the fun is in all the tidbits of factual information about da Vinci and the church.

The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

****

A good story weaved around the true events of the life of William Chamberlain, an 8 year old boy who was kidnapped by the captain of a whaling ship, later taken by pirates, then saved by the English where he fought in the battle of Algiers, ultimately to return home to Australia where he became captain of his own whaling ship. Quite an incredible tale, well researched and fun to read, though some events have by necessity been arrived at by speculation to weave the story together.

The Discoverers

Daniel Boorstin

****

Excellent book that examines mans history as discoverers. It includes many great adventures and scientific discoveries and bring to life many heroes of discovery, both well-known and not so known. It also parallels the path of discoveries on a world-wide basis, incorporating fascinating information on Asia that many Americans have never heard of. It does take some time to get through, but you will find it time well spent.

The First Man in Rome

Colleen McCullough

****

Historical novel set in Rome in the first century BC. A very entertaining book that brings the ancient Roman culture and politics to life. The main characters are real historical figuresand the actions described in the book are historically accurate. A long book (900 pages) with a complex set of characters, but definitely worth the effort. First book of a four part series.

The Fountainhead

Ayn Rand

****

The tale of a great acrhitect and others who are very good at what they do.

The Gates of November

Chaim Potok

****

(Bradley's review) This really makes one appreciate their US Citizenship, flaws and all. This true story is a short but very revealing history of the Soviet Union, beginning in 1900 until 1991, as seen and experienced through the eyes of the Slepak Family, Volodya and Masha. Voldoya's father was a Jew, and one of the founding fathers of Soviet Communism. Volodya and Mashsa became one of the most famous Refusnik’s of the 70’s and 80’s. This is the story of their lives, and the brutal repressions that occurred in the USSR. Could it happen again?

The Glory

Herman Wouk

****

A continuation of the story begun in The Hope - just as good!

The Grass Crown

Colleen McCullough

****

Second in the First Man In Rome Series. It continues the adventures of Gauis Marius and Cornelius Sulla. A long book that is worth the effort.

The Greatest Game Ever Played

David Frost

****

A great true golf story about the 1913 US Open won by amatuer player Francis Ouimet. A combination biography of Ouimet and his British foe, Harry Vardon, combined with a great history of the game, Frost combines stellar research with a great writing style

The Hope

Herman Wouk

****

Excellent historical fiction novel about the beginnings of Israel. Very good use of characters and good story-telling.

The Inextinguishable Symphony

Martin Goldsmith

****

Reviewed by Bradley. True story of a Jewish family in Germany from 1930 through the 1990's. What makes the story so potent is rather than focusing on the horror of the camps, Goldsmith follows his own family's journey through the evil of Germany leading up to the war. By taking us through the daily impact of each new law we are given a new understanding of how a country could become so evil while the world stood by.

The Innocent Man

John Grisham

****

John Grisham's first attemp at non-fiction tells the story of two me falsely convicted for a rape and murder in a small Oklahoma town. One was sentenced to death and was within several days of his execution when he was granted a new trial and eventually exonerated. It is a well researched and well told story which should scare even the staunchest proponents of the death penalty. The story touches on all aspects of the criminal justice system, from police investigation to prosecution, to corrections facilities, to the appeals process, and includes much about mental health issues. Definitely worth a read!

The Kite Runner

Khaled Hosseini

****

Fabulous book about a young boy growing up in Afghanistan. The author is able to educate us about the political history of the country and how it affected the people who live there as well as creating a wonderful set of characters who experience their own personal struggles and growth. One of the best books I have read in a while, this one is on the highly recommended list!

The One Percent Doctrine

Ron Suskind

****

(Bradley) This is a very powerful book. If you are a fan of the current administration it is an eye opener as to how they shot down legitimate discussion to find the best solutions. But it also clearly shows why the superficial solutions the Democrats’ have offered (and are about to offer again in 07) will not work against an enemy focused on the long term. We must find was to keep our focus, fight terrorism, install democracy in the Middle East without losing our rights at home. For anyone not intimately involved in government Ron does an excellent job of taking the reader inside the decision process. One key weakness of this book is his inability to quote or document his sources for most of the work, because of this current administrations extreme desire to quell debate even among Republicans. I gave it four stars, because it is a book that I think most Americans would benefit from reading, and then we could have a good public debate on how we want to face the challenges of the fanatical Terrorist.

 

The Power of One

Bryce Courtenay

****

Excellent novel set in South Africa before and during WWII. The best book by Australia's best known author.

The Real All Americans

Sally Jenkins

****

Though the story centers around a football team at the Carlisle Indian School, the book is about much more than football. It offers an insight into the debates about what to do about Native Americans, how to educate and assimilate them, the biases against them, the humilations they suffered, etc. There are heroes and villains and ultimately a football team that people cheered for until they started to beat the college football powers like Harvard. The story culminates with the game between the Carlisle Indians, with their legendary coach Pop Warner, and West Point. Whether you like football or not, you will likely enjoy this book!

The Sea Shall Embrace Them

David W. Shaw

****

True story of the shipwreck of the steamship Arctic in 1854 and the actions of the crew which ranged from heroic to despicable. A well written book, easy to read. It is based entirely on factual accounts of the incident.

The Tiger Ladies

Sudha Koul

****

A memoir of the author growing up in Kashmir during the time immediately following India and Pakistan gaining their independence. A beautifully written book, it tells the tale of a typical Kashmiri family living in harmony with their neighbors and the land and how that was all ultimately changed by violence and hatred.

Touch the Top of the World

Erik Weihenmayer

****

True story of a man who lost his vision in his teens, struggled to "find himself" and ultimately became a world-class rock climber and mountaineer. Told by the author, the story is both fascinating and inspiring - I highly recommend it. The final chapter tells of his successful attempt to climb Mt. Everest - a controversial feat as it potentially can endager his climbing partners. Don't pass this one up!

Trinity

Leon Uris

****

Great historical fiction illustrating much of the history and source of problems in Ireland.

Tuesdays with Morrie

Mitch Albom

****

True story of the author who looks up an old college professor who has a terminal illness. What began as just a visit, evolves into a weekly meeting where the professor continues to teach his student about the meaning of life. A touching, well-written book about a great character, you will definitely need some Kleenex.

Two Years Before the Mast

Richard Harvey Dana, Jr.

****

A classic sailing book. Dana was a Harvard graduate who had severe eye strain and signed on for a two year voyage as a common seaman in 1834. This is the story of his two year journey which took him around Cape Horn to a foreign country called "California" where he and his shipmates collected cow hides to bring back to Boston. The book is full of great details about the difficulty of a sailors life - rich in imagery, heavy on sailing jargon, and loaded with real characters, including a ruthless captain and many exotic fellow sailors. The book was a bestseller when published in 1840 and remains a classic today. Recommended for anyone with an interest in sailing the old fashioned way.

Under the Banner of Heaven

John Krakauer

****

An intruiging but disturbing book which examines the fundamentalist side of the Mormon Church in the context of two brothers who murdered a woman and infant in the name of God. The book provides a great history of the Mormon Church and points to the danger of fanatic extremism in any religion.

Walking the Bible - A Journey by Land Through the Five Books of Moses

Bruce Feiler

****

The author, who is Jewish but not very religious, sets of on a journey throught the middle east to visit the primary sites of biblical events in the Old Testament in a personal quest to come to grips with his own beliefs. Along the way he comes to have a better understanding of both modern and ancient cultures, how to reconcile archeology with the events in the bible, and many different views of spiritualism and God. It is a well written and thought provoking book that will be enjoyed no matter what your religious beliefs or view of the bible.

World Without End

Ken Follett

****

The long awaited sequel to Pillars of the Earth, one of my all time favorite books. This one is good too, though quite long - it could be subtitle "Book without end". Like its predeseccor 18 years ago, this book is set in 14th Century Kingsbridge, where the residents endure injustice, greed, plagues, love, hate, revenge - all the things a good epic novel need. For lovers of historical fiction, this won't disappoint. Though the characters can at times be annoying, and there is a bit too much injustice to the poor, it's another great effort and one you will enjoy - IF you have the time!

 

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