Summer Reading


Wanted to start this summer by reading some classics on the U.S. military, from WWII to the hunt for bin Laden.


January Reads

Reading for the month. Highlights: The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami (halfway done and amazing, just like 1Q84), Life of Pi and All the President’s Men.


Books History

Book review: Jack 1939, a WWII spy tale

Jack is a suave, reckless protagonist and “Roosevelt’s man in Europe”
  • The book gives the genesis for John F Kennedy’s passion for solving international politics and upholding democracy

Jack 1939 follows a young John F. Kennedy, a senior at Harvard researching his thesis about Europe’s political chaos with the impending world war.

Only the novel, by Francine Mathews (Riverhead Books, expected publication Thursday, July 5), takes a twist: Jack Kennedy is serving as President Roosevelt’s personal spy in Europe -from London to Paris to occupied Prague- trying to stop the Nazis from buying the 1940 U.S. presidential election to put an anti-war president in office. (So the novel is speculative.)

The novel takes on a tone like James Bond and Sherlock Holmes as Jack Kennedy -a chronically infirm boy- is exposed to the mysterious world of international espionage.

There are a number of well-written, memorable characters like Willi Dobler, Grubbins and Diana that show the reader the  U.S.’s first involvement in espionage that later defined the Cold War era of our country’s history.

The novel does a great job at showing the different attitudes of the war in Europe, from London’s political elite to undercover spy networks intent on overthrowing the Nazis.

Overall: Good action, Great ‘what-if’ portrait of how JFK grew into the U.S.’ firm, diplomatic leader.

There is a phrase one of the characters, Willi Dobler, tells Jack, that captures the tone of the novel:

Si vis pacem, para bellum;

Or, If you want peace, prepare for war.

Books comic books Culture News

Happy Book Day! (And other thoughts on World Book and Copyright Day)

Tonight marks World Book Night, where volunteers will hand out free books in the U.S. and UK.

Today is World Book and Copyright Day, as celebrated by UNESCO (United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization).

You can check out its history here, but the day “seeks to promote reading, publishing and the protection of intellectual property through copyright,” according to UNESCO.

Tonight is also World Book Night (unrelated to UNESCO), where volunteers will hand out free paperback books in the United States and United Kingdom. The 30 books include The Hunger Games, The Kite Runner and The Book Thief.

As an avid reader and a public library employee, I have one thing to say: Sounds good to me.

UNESCO has chosen the theme of Book Day to be on translation, as it’s the 80th anniversary of the the Index Translatonium, the U.N.’s translation database. But this is a boring theme for children. Why not science-fiction or graphic novels?

So I’m just going to skip this theme altogether and use this as my soapbox to talk about books and reading!

Some thoughts:

1.) Graphic novels have caught my eye recently. I use Marvel’s iPad app to check out free Marvel comics (like The Avengers and X-Men).

X-Men: Age of X is awesome.

2.) I just read House of M: The Avengers, about an alternate reality where evil mutants have taken over the Earth and regular humans are being enslaved. A small group of New York humans team up to protect their ‘hood.

3.) So now I am reading X-Men: Age of X, which I guess is another alternate reality where humans are fighting off the mutants, so the mutants (with Magneto at the helm) build a fortress.

Best part of the comic: Magneto hurling Chicago skyscrapers at his enemies as if they’re footballs.

So where am I going with this?

Oh yeah, you should read a book! Why? To exercise your imagination.

So here’s a list of easy books to read:

Clancy is known for his military expertise. I haven’t read this yet but I’ll get to it soon.

1. A young adult book– The Hunger Games, Harry Potter, The Giver

2. A comic book– The Avengers, X-Men or Spider Man

3. A fantasy book– The Lord of the Rings, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Giver

4. A myster/thriller– by Tom Clancy or James Patterson

5. A history book– World War II, Civil War, Civil Rights Movement

6. A classic book– by Charles Dickens or Jane Austen