Monthly Archives: August 2012

The Amateur by Edward Klein

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Think you know the real Barack Obama? You don’t—not until you’ve read The Amateur

In this stunning exposé, bestselling author Edward Klein—a contributing editor to Vanity Fair, former foreign editor of Newsweek, and former editor-in-chief of the New York Times Magazine—pulls back the curtain on one of the most secretive White Houses in history. He reveals a callow, thin-skinned, arrogant president with messianic dreams of grandeur supported by a cast of true-believers, all of them united by leftist politics and an amateurish understanding of executive leadership.

In The Amateur you’ll discover:

  • Why the so-called “centrist” Obama is actually in revolt against the values of the society he was elected to lead
  • Why Bill Clinton loathes Barack Obama and tried to get Hillary to run against him in 2012
  • The spiteful rivalry between Michelle Obama and Oprah Winfrey
  • How Obama split the Kennedy family
  • How Obama has taken more of a personal role in making foreign policy than any president since Richard Nixon—with disastrous results
  • How Michelle Obama and Valerie Jarrett are the real powers behind the White House throne

The Amateur is a reporter’s book, buttressed by nearly 200 interviews, many of them with the insiders who know Obama best. The result is the most important political book of the year. You will never look at Barack Obama the same way again.

From a booklover, those who think Obama walks on water and have their minds made up will not like this book. Those who think Obama is the devil will love it, but have probably heard all the stories already anyway. For those who fall in between, I think the book is worth reading. Yes, it’s slanted, but if you read beyond that you’ll come away with some insights into this president and his administration. The first chapters are the most incendiary and the least informative since they rehash old stuff. But the second half gets into some behind the scenes stuff that’s worth knowing. What disturbs me most is how far in over his head Obama is and how he surrounds himself with people who feed his ego and/or protect him rather than providing him with a broad understanding of the issues. He is a politician not a leader and I find that both sad and frightening.

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Scandinavian Authors List

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I’ve been enthralled with Scandinavian literature since long before most Americans even knew where Sweden was.  Well, at least since my first of many visits to my second adopted country, Sweden.  I’ve read just about everything I’ve been able to find written by any Scandinavian author that has been translated to English as my Swedish is not good enough to read more than a preschool book.

I’ve noticed that it can be difficult to find new authors to read once you’re hooked.  Partly because of the unfamiliar spellings and characters of ö Ö, ä Ä and å Å that are found in some Swedish names, not to mention the Danish and Norwegian letters of Æ æ and Ø ø.  I’ll spare you trying to pronounce them, other than to say if you get hooked on the amazing Norwegian author, Jo Nesbø‘s books and his main character, Harry Hole, know that Harry’s name is not pronounced like we would say it in English.  His name pronounce phonetically is:  Hahree Whoule or Who-leh as my Norwegian friend explained to me.

So, now that you’ve had a bit of a spelling & grammar lesson, I’ll get to the list of the Scandinavian (which includes Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Iceland) authors that I have really enjoyed over the past several years.  Some you may have heard of already, like Stieg Larsson, but others may be new to you.  In no particular order:

This is just a small list of some of the outstanding Scandinavian authors (and I’ve not even started on Finland yet!) that you might like to check out.  The Icelandic books by Arnaldur Indridason have led me to put the unlikely spot of Iceland at the top of my “Places to Go” list and I can’t wait to visit beautiful Iceland.  But all of these authors have their own unique talents, some of a series working around a single character (which are my favorite types) while others keep the landscape the same throughout the books.

Regardless of how you decide to approach it, remember most of these books were written in their native language and translated into English.  This just means that sometimes, the sentences might be a little awkward or the dialogue might sound odd.  But that doesn’t take anything away from the brutal crimes in what the rest of the world thinks is the socialist paradise where everything is clean and the people are blonde and tall 🙂

Enjoy!  And please let me know if you have any suggestions to add to this list, I’d be happy to add on because I’m always looking for the newest books that have been translated so I can get my Scandinavian fix.

The Abigail Affair by Timothy Frost

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I wasn’t sure if I’d like this book at first.  The beginning hit the ground running with a murder of a model in the mansion of an extremely wealthy foreigner.   Then we met Toby, the main character. I thought I’d quit the book after reading a few pages, but I’m glad I didn’t.  The Abigail Affair by Timothy Frost is a fun spy – thriller – suspense – amateur sleuth kind of story.

Toby is kind of a goofball, but he is very likable and has a lot of humorous lines.  The writing style reminds me of something similar to the “young adult” genre in some parts, but this is not a book that is appropriate for children (some swearing, sexual innuendo, violence). The plot became more and more exciting as the book went on, there were actually some places were I honestly couldn’t put it down. The trouble with reading e-books is that if you don’t pay close attention to the counter along the bottom, you don’t realize that the book is ending. So, I was constantly aware of how much “time” I had left because I was really enjoying the action filled and fast paced story.

There were some parts that were unbelievable (like a CIA agent ever admitting they work for the CIA), but all in all, it was a fun, exciting book to read with a lot of humor mixed in thanks to Toby, the poor little rich boy who needed to grow up fast and thanks to a crazy Russian multi-billionaire, the Royal Navy, the FBI, CIA, MI6, a the prince of England and an assortment of other colorful characters, he did in the most delightful way.