February 07, 2005
Four more

In the last few weeks, I finished a few more books. Here's a brief review of each.

How to Blog - Tony Pierce

Not so much a instruction manual, but a retrospective on Tony Pierce's writings. Tony is a blogger in Los Angeles. He's young, witty, handsome, and all the fly women are making a fuss...

Part poetry, part prose, Tony writes about whatever flutters through his mind, women, baseball, politics, even his digital camera. I found his book a refreshing and funny break from my usual sci-fi or history book diet.

Help the guy out and buy a copy, it's worth it.

The Zenith Angle - Bruce Sterling

Amazingly, I saw this book before it was published in Bruce's office, in his house at last year's SXSW party. Sterling's work has ranged from future sci-fi to steampunk to cyberpunk over the years. In The Zenith Angle he gives us his take on America's spooks and the role of cyberspace in national security, and a taste of space warfare.

The book was a tasty treat that I consumed rapidly. You don't always know where the author is taking you, but the road is great. Scenes of the different worlds that Bollywood actors, dotcom billionaires, and government agents occupy are tantalizing glipses of lifestyles we mere mortals don't encounter often.

The book is a good thriller with enough tech tossed in to differentiate it from the typical DaVinci Code style book.

Confessions of a Master Jewel Thief - Bill Mason

I heard about this book from Bruce Schneier's Crypto-gram newsletter as a good lesson in security. The basic idea -> "Nothing works more in a thief's favor than people feeling secure. That's why places that are heavily alarmed and guarded can sometimes be the easiest targets."

The book is the story of Bill Mason, a noted jewel thief in the 70s and 80s. This is the story of his criminal career from start to finish. Fairly well written, you begin to feel for the guy as he breaks into places and steals pillowcase after pillowcase of jewels from the rich.

At one point however, he does lose my sympathy as he describes his antics in Florida as he was on trial from one of his crimes as he continually taunted the police and judges. I really couldn't relate to this. I could relate to his problem solving methods and the way he concieved solving the security issues, but acting like a jackass and treating his family badly was disconcerting.

Worth a borrow from the library, but not worth a new hardcopy purchase.

The French Admiral - Dewey Lambdin

This is the second book in the Alan Lewrie storyline, another Age of Sail hero in the tradition of Horatio Hornblower. I read the first book and thought it was promising. I stumbled into this book at the library and checked it out on a whim.I'd like to say I found the novel fantastic, but it was just OK. The continual use of endless anutical jargon about staysails and other details really doesn't do much for the tale.

It was interesting to ready about the American Revolution from the British side as Alan meets up with loyalists from North Carolina and tries to escape the Battle of Yorktown. Not many sea battles, but and few good descriptions of land battles and skirmishes.

The book does clear up quite a bit of Alan's history and the reasons behind his banishment to sea by his father. The look into Britsh marriage law and inheritance rights is fun and makes me glad not to live under the British system of family property.

Posted by michael at February 07, 2005 09:09 PM