“Fear: Trump in the White House”

Bob Woodward

This should have been titled “Fear: Trump’s White House Is Everything You Were Afraid It Would Be.” It’s an interesting, depressing read, and I’m sure Woodward’s reporting is accurate. However, it’s apparent that Woodward didn’t have enough sources to provide a very complete picture, so it’s more like looking at Trump’s White House through a keyhole than from above. It’s not nearly as good as his books on the Bush administration.

“Frankenstein”

Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

There are works of art that so saturate popular culture that, when you’re about to encounter the original for the first time, you fear they will have lost their impact. I’m happy to say that, in my experience, works like Michelangelo’s “David” or Leonardo da Vinci’s “Last Supper”, despite their appearance in everything from cartoons to cheap wall hangings to snow globes, retain their power to amaze.

I wondered, when starting “Frankenstein”, whether Boris Karloff, Abbott and Costello, and “The Munsters” had robbed it of its appeal. I needn’t hav worries: I found it a moving and human work. (And yes, I should have read it decades ago.)

“Preparing For Your Active Life After Retirement: A Guide to The Most Exciting Journey of Your Life, The One That Takes Place After Retirement”

Bob Lowry

A little over three years ago I wrote a blog entry about Bob Lowry’s book “Living A Satisfying Retirement“. Now I’ve been retired just under two years and I’ve just read another of his books. I can see where this one would help someone approaching retirement. As for me, it’s helped me to take stock and given me some things to think about.

(Note in my earlier review I said his blog, “Satisfying Retirement” was no longer being updated. Currently it is being updated and I recommend it highly, not least for the quality of the moderated comments.)

“A Close Run Thing”

David Donachie

This is the 15th and, so far latest novel in the John Pearce series. All of what I said about the series in my review of “The Devil to Pay” remains true, but there are some further things I’ve noticed. One is the variety of settings, not just geographic ones, but social ones as well. Another is the fact that Donachie keeps introducing new characters and isn’t afraid to kill off a major character. Third, the author is very skillful in juggling his several plot threads so that there’s always something the reader wants to find out and is always looking forward to the next book while at the same time he ties off certain subplots so that the reader occasionally gets the satisfaction of a story coming to an end.

This is a really great series and it’s frustrating to know that I’ll have to wait for more to be published now that I’ve caught up with it.

“Some Vernacular Railroad Photographs”

Jeffrey Brouws

After a good introductory essay on collecting, railroads, and photography, Brouws presents vernacular photos of trains, railroaders, and the railroad landscape. The black and white photos, which range from the early 20th century to the early 1960s, were taken by raifans, railroad employees, and that most prolific of artists, “anonymous”. There’s a lot of variety in the collection, and a lot of quality.

“An Onshore Storm”

Dewey Lambdin

I really like the Alan Lewrie series. With one exception they’ve all been good reads, and some have been excellent. This one, though, is a real clinker. It doesn’t move Lewrie’s story much, and the writing is dull and repetitious. Our naval hero attacking a bridge is about the most exciting thing in the book, something that’s no more exciting the second time he does it.