Blog Posts by mingh
Ming was named after an evil Emperor. But she reads more than said evil Emperor, including nonfiction and almost all genres. She should read more in the Romance genre but that genre is forbidden on the planet Mongo.
Sex on the Moon
Thad Roberts could never fit in anywhere. He was bullied at school and his teachers felt he wasn’t applying himself. He should be working at genius level. But Thad found a wonderful girl who loved him. When his strict Mormon parents find out about the relationship they make Thad marry and kick him out of the house. His wife works while he finishes his degree in Life Sciences.
Always dreaming of being an astronaut, Thad gets accepted into the Intern program at Johnson Space Center. He knew that all of the shuttles had pilots from the military. But there was always a scientist or two on the shuttle missions and he wanted to be one of them, or God willing, one of the first people on Mars. So leaving his wife to work in Utah, he went to Houston to start his Internship.
Because of his degree in Geology Thad was assigned to the unit that worked with the lunar samples. Due to the long distance between them, his relationship with his wife falls apart. Thad falls in love with another Intern in the program and plans to steal the moon rocks and sell them for millions of dollars so that he and his love can go away and live their own lives. One problem: it is illegal for individuals to own moon rocks in the United States.
This true story is mainly a character study, but the action runs at a steady clip. Thad Roberts shared his story with Mezrich including the events that led up to the most amazing heist in history. Sex on the Moon is a highly readable story of a terribly misguided young man who desperately wants to be accepted and loved and is willing to do anything to get it
Sideways on a Scooter
The Churchills in Love and War
Murder of the Century
Subtitled, the gilded age crime that scandalized a city & sparked the tabloid wars, Murder of the Century takes place in 1897 when body parts are found scattered in various locations throughout New York. What makes this interesting is this is the start of the tabloid wars in New York. Although William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer had been trying to outdo each other for a few years, it was this murder that really ratcheted up the ante.
Both the Journal and the Herald offered reward money for information leading to the identity of the body (they put the pieces together without the head which was never found). Hearst pushed the Journal to publish more and more about every little clue. Even though some of the clues clearly had nothing to do with the murder, if they had their own sordid story, Hearst went with it. Pulitzer also tried to be first to publish the information.
The solving of the murder is here from the poor detectives who had to do their job under the watchful and following eyes of the reporters, to the courtroom antics, and the viewings at the morgue. Every day for months, people were allowed to come down to the morgue to view the body and make a guess as to whom it belonged.
The murder is solved and actually quite quickly once they get a vital clue. However, the New York papers were never the same. The largest typeface, traditionally held only for declarations of war, appeared for the most sordid stories for morning and evening reading. And in color!
This isn’t an in-depth view of yellow journalism but how one New York murder changed the way newspapers delivered the news.
Area 51 begins with the crash of a UFO at Roswell and ends with the crash at Roswell. In 1947, Area 51 (apparently never officially called that) didn't exist. The atomic bomb testing was happening nearby and it seemed efficacious to have the development of new aircraft also occur in this remote area of the western desert. So work was begun in 1951 to create secret projects both aircraft and atomic.
Area 51 : an uncensored history of America's top secret military base, is interesting for anyone wanting to read more about America and UFO's, the escalation of the Cold War, military buffs, and top secret projects, from U2 planes to the drones that now fly over Iraq and Afghanistan. Area 51 is still the stealth capital of our world . . .
as far we know.
Jacobsen is clear about how much information is out there and how much is still classified. What is interesting is how something as small as the radio broadcast of Orson Welles' The War of the Worlds, would still define whether Americans should be told information that may make them panic. Also interesting is how much is defined as classified because it would seem to embarrass or shame those who did the work. It would be hard to point a nasty finger at Stalin for allowing Dr. Mengele to travel safely in exchange for his work, when we were injecting developmentally disabled children with plutonium so that we could see how they reacted.
An in-depth book of details about top secret projects and how the CIA would use conspiracy theories to work in their favor. Cover the truth or deflect the information. Something crashed at Roswell -- it wasn't a weather balloon.
Life on the Line
Subtitled, a chef's story of chasing greatness, facing death, and redefining the way we eat, Life on the line is a foodie memoir and more. Grant Achatz (pronounced AK’etz), tells of growing up in Michigan with family restaurants scattered throughout the St. Clair region. When he was five he was helping out at the restaurant. He knew he wanted to work in food but was looking for something more than family restaurants. So he started school at The Culinary Institute in New York and quickly moved onto different places, including a short stint at Charlie Trotters.
The message he seemed to learn from Charlie Trotters is how NOT to run a kitchen. But Achatz soon was on his way to The French Laundry and the man who would become his mentor, Thomas Keller. At The French Laundry, Achatz learned not only how to run a kitchen but also how to run a restaurant. It was Thomas Keller who sent him to a workshop in Spain run by Ferran Adria, the avante-garde Chef. Adria changed Achatz’s whole view of food. Achatz knew that this new way of preparing and presenting food was not right for The French Laundry. When Achatz saw an ad looking for a chef to run the restaurant Trio in Chicago, Achatz applied and got the job.
Achatz was on top of the world when he learned that he had a virulent form of tongue cancer. A chef needs his tongue for developing new foods and tastes. This was devastating to Achatz. And so he writes about how he had to deal with a prognosis that would possibly end his life in two years.
An interesting read for foodies, anyone interested in the restaurant business, and reading about someone dealing with a life-threatening illness.
The Devotion of Suspect X
With his many years on the force, Kusanagi has some tricks up his sleeve. Sometimes he likes to try out case theories with physics professor Manabu Yukawa. Yukawa can usually pinpoint problems in Kusanagi's theories by pointing out how the police have missed very simple clues. But when Yukawa learns that an old genius mathematician classmate may be involved, suddenly the simple clues seem to be overly specific and planted to lead in particular ways. When Yukawa goes to meet his former classmate, the battle of the wits is on.
Following the twists and turns as the police try to break Mr. Togashi's ex-wife, step-daughter, and neighbor will have readers second guessing what they actually read. With a surprise twist at the end, readers will enjoy watching the characters squirm as the noose becomes tighter.
In the Garden of Beasts
Erik Larson's new book is the story of an American family living in Germany during one of its most provocative times. William Dodd hadn’t even made the short list of candidates for Ambassador to Germany at the beginning of Roosevelt's presidency. Roosevelt had just been in office months and there had not been an Ambassador to Germany in over a year. No one wanted the job. One of Roosevelt’s insiders suggested William Dodd who was chairman of the history department at the University of Chicago. He spoke fluent German and had received his doctorate in Germany.
When Dodd received the call, he was languishing in his department. He hadn’t achieved everything he had hoped and thought that this might be the pinnacle of his career. So he, his wife, adult son Bill, and adult daughter Martha, went to Berlin in 1933. His charges were to lay low, not cause trouble, avoid the "Jewish problem" and try to impel the new leadership to pay back its debt from the first World War.
Before he went to Berlin, Dodd thought that the rumours of beatings and disappearances had all been, as the German government had explained, blown out of proportion. But as Americans were showing up to the consulate bloody and beaten, Dodd came to realize that things were much worse than originally thought. Washington was of little help in giving direction. But like many foreigners, Dodd did not believe that the German government, with so much in-fighting, would last for very long. He watched horrified as Hitler’s government, which in 1933 seemed unorganized and ruled by thugs, shored up its power into a war machine.
Meanwhile, daughter Martha was having the time of her life in 1930’s Berlin. She met high ranking party officials, spies of all sorts, and writers and actors. Martha was having a ball, until some of her lovers went missing or were killed. She also discovered that she was being used as a pawn for many sides. Slowly, Martha began to see the dark side of Berlin.
Covering the times from 1933 until 1938, Larson gives us what life was like for Americans in Berlin, even those with special privileges such as the Ambassador. Washington was no help to what Dodd saw. He felt very alone as what he witnessed compelled him to speak out for honor and character to no avail. What he had hoped would be a pinnacle to his career ended in pain and sadness.
The Sisters Brothers
Placing the novel in the gold rush era, the brothers find desperate men and women who have given up everything for this chance of riches. Because they are hired assassins for money they attach their own morality to everyone who is in search of it. Occasionally, the brothers come across people who force them to question the role of money in their lives and what they need to do for it. Luck is as important as hard work in the world of gold and therefore leads to superstitions. Some of the people, especially the women and children have been dragged into this life because of the men. Even at the mercy of Charlie's kidding, Eli tries to help those who keep a small reserve of humanity.
Along the way, Eli and Charlie discuss whether this should be their last hit. Eli wants to retire to a shop. Charlie wants to be his own bossman like the one who hires them to kill. Their delay in getting to San Francisco has unintended consequences. At the end of this long road, after everyone they've met, the reader wonders if this time it will be different. A starkly beautiful novel.