On the Nightstand

Good Morning! I slept in a bit, for the first time in months. If you’ve missed On the Nightstand, I apologize. Sometimes work gets in the way of the leisure class, and that’s my story. A coconut always falls somewhere in Paradise, and a few have hit me in the head lately. So, I am a bit behind in reading and in telling you what is On The Nightstand. So, to it!

If this is your first visit to my nightstand, we look at books that are stacked up by the pillow. They are ‘just finished,’ ‘turning the pages now,’ or ‘in the queue.’ When I (or you) finish a book, the book is judged on how well it kept me (or you) up reading. A 100 watt book is a page-turner that defies the need to turn off the lights; a 20 watt book is one that puts me (or you) right to sleep. Then, of course, there are all those in the middle… So, without more ado, here are the books I…..

Just Finished:

Windshift, by Joyce Faulkner. This is new entry in a hidden category — the women who flew aircraft for the armed forces in World War II, ‘WASPS.’ Faulkner has written a novel about four of them who ferry planes from the factory to the air base, perform test flights on planes in service, and tow practice targets so that men don’t risk the dangers — and those are the least of their problems. A refreshing story, reviewed in full on the site, and a 100 watt read.

My Detachment, Tracy Kidder. Kidder is a Pulitzer winner, so it should be no surprise that his memoir of service in Viet Nam as an intelligence officer in the Americal Division, beginning in Chu Lai, extraordinary. He writes of the loneliness of the new lieutenant in a combat zone, of the fear of being regarded as a coward by the men who were in the field day in and day out, of being long and being short. Many consider it the best memoir of the war, and it kept me up until I finished it. 100 watts.

The Redbreast by Jo Nesbro. Billed as the successor to Steig Larrson, Nesbro has created an enormous following in Europe with novels of Oslo detective Harry Hole (!), a Clint Eastwood-type who is promoted to keep him for shooting any more American security guards or continuing to poke into the facts behind reports of someone using a Maarklin rifle, an outlawed firearm that could only be used for an assassination. I concede that I don’t read much crime literature (although I devoured the Dragon Tattoo series non-stop), but Redbreast doesn’t live up to Dirty Harry, to The Day of the Jackal, or to Steig Larrson. I concede that I may not be the right reader, but Redbreast helped my sleep. 40 watts.

Reading Now: Baudolino, by Umberto Eco. The author of The Name of the Rose has written a novel of medieval scholars who prevent Europe from disentegrating during the Papal Schism and the reign of the first Holy Roman Emperor, feats that preludes to their masquerading as the twelve Magi on a quest to the East in search of the lands of Prestor John.

In the Queue: Going After Caccioto, by Tim O’Brien, author of The Things They Carried and <em>If I die in a Combat Zone.

So, that’s it for me. How about you?

Jack

  • LeansToFar

    I am reading “Our navy in the War” by Lawrence Perry, published by Charles Scribner’s Sons in 1919. A brief hsitorical accounting of the impact submarines had on the war, particularly in the Atlantic,To watch movies or read many accounts the word “submarine” instills a fear that in reality did not exist. millions of tons of cargo were transported and only 654,288 tons were lost to submarines, or for numbers geeks less than 1%Total ships lost numbered less than 1%, for all the seas .51% being lost. The submarines greatest feat was in slowing overseas transport of freight, not a decisive factor in the war.A very interesting read if you can find a copy of it, as I love history in general I would on Jacks scale give it at least a 90watter. I will follow this first world war book with “The Two-Ocean War” by Samuel Eliot Morison published by Little, Brown and Company in 1963.

    jim g

  • This is such a clever approach, Jack! I love it!
    I recently had the pleasure of reading Carolyn Schriber’s “The Road to Frogmore, Turning Slaves into Citizens” – an engaging and educational read. Now I’m just getting into Terry Gould’s “How Can You Mend This Purple Heart.” Terry’s a talented writer and the stories he tells are very moving. 100 watts for each. Candace