Brief Thoughts on a Bunch o’Books #4

Hey all you beautiful Bloggers, I hope you’re doing well today.  It’s been a busy week for this harried, hounded, and haggard P.O., but I’m enjoying a brief enough lull in court today that I’m able to cobble together this post.

I already posted these reviews on Goodreads.  If y’all’re interested in reading any of the synopses, just click the linked titles below.  And if you’ve read any of the following, I’d love to read your thoughts in my Comments section.


Fear: Trump in the White House by Bob Woodward.  I rated it 3 of 5 stars, ‘liked it’, on Goodreads and shelved it there as American, current events, government, nonfiction, politics, & public institutions.

The vast majority of books I read come from my awesome Nashville Public Library because I don’t have the means to buy near as many as I read. I reckoned Fear: Trump in the White House, though, was important enough of a book to justify purchasing it. I enjoyed it and believe my instincts about it will prove to be correct.

As a well-informed consumer of political news (what American can afford not to be right now?), there was very little information in the book that surprised me. The behavior and egos of most of the individuals portrayed, however, shocked me on almost every page. It’s difficult for me to believe the level of vanity and self-importance that the people who run our country display in their daily lives. I can’t help but think that if our political class were more humble and less self-centered, most of the crises that middle-class and impoverished Americans face today would never have come to pass or would more often be met with rapid and effective solutions.

If you’re looking for solid proof or even reasonable evidence of Trump’s alleged collusion with Russian efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election or of corrupt intent to obstruct justice, you won’t find it here. Fear documents a Trump and his legal team who clearly feel he is guilty of neither and in fact is a victim in the matter of Robert Mueller’s ongoing investigation.

Woodward even seems to have some sympathy for Trump on that issue, often portraying him as a clueless, blustering, buffoon who lacks the intellect or focus to be involved in any type of willful and sustained criminal action. One thing about Fear that did surprise me is that Trump does occasionally seem truly to care about and have sympathy for victims of crime, especially children, and even at one point seemed to have been willing to work toward a path to citizenship for Dreamers before the truly evil Stephen Miller corrupted him and hijacked his immigration policy and messaging.

art matters

Art Matters by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Chris Riddell.  I rated it 4 of 5 stars, ‘really liked it’, on Goodreads and shelved it there as art, essays, favorites, inspirational, & nonfiction.

Art Matters is a moving, inspirational message to aspiring artists of all stripes and a very fast read. Chris Riddell’s lovely sketches add a nice touch to Gaiman’s words. I’ll be re-reading this gift to creators often and sharing it with The Girl and The Boy.

babylon's ashes

Babylon’s Ashes (The Expanse #6) by James S.A. Corey, read by Jefferson Mays.  I rated it 4 of 5 stars, ‘really liked it’, on Goodreads and shelved it there as favorites, fiction, novel, sci-fi, series, & space opera.

By this point in the series, listening to The Expanse is like spending time with old friends. I laugh with these characters, I cry with them, and I occasionally find myself anticipating the next words out of their mouths and speaking along with them. Babylon’s Ashes is easily as good as its predecessors, and I look forward to starting Book 7 soon.


Elevation by Stephen King.  I rated it 3 of 5 stars, ‘liked it’, on Goodreads and shelved it there as modern fantasy, fiction, & novella.

Elevation is a bittersweet morality tale that made me tear up a teensy bit at the end. It’s not typical King fare, and I don’t know why it’s listed as a novel. At 19cm and 146 pages, it’s a novella that took me less than 2 hours to read. Compared to King’s most recent releases, Elevation is definitely much better than Gwendy’s Button Box, but nowhere near as satisfying as Sleeping Beauties or The Outsider.

rain in portugal

The Rain in Portugal by Billy Collins.  I rated it 3 of 5 stars, ‘liked it’, on Goodreads and shelved it there as favorites & poetry.

The Rain in Portugal doesn’t rank up there with Picnic, Lightning, Sailing Alone Around the Room, The Trouble With Poetry, and Aimless Love, but it’s still Billy Collins, so it’s still a fine collection of poems.

Have y’all read any of the above?  What did you think?



7 thoughts on “Brief Thoughts on a Bunch o’Books #4

  1. I enjoyed your reviews. You’ve inspired me to take a trip to my library. I had to giggle when I saw your contraction-contraction “y’all’re”. As a native Nashvillean myself, I understood exactly what you meant!

    (BTW, don’t forget to update your copyright notice; I just did mine a couple of days ago.)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve been thinking about Art a lot lately! I will read Art Matter, thanks so much for the reviews!

    BTW I am aiming to read one book a week this year, I am 3 for 3 so far!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have seen many reviews which have said that Trump in the White House does deal with knowledge that is already in possession of many US citizens. But I had no idea about the personality aspects of those in the White House. That sounds fascinating. I would have expected at least some humility, and with arrogance making up a large part of their personalities, it’s starting to make a lot more sense now. I wonder what your thoughts are on Kamala Harris and Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez? I admire the latter and enjoy the way she delivers sound bites which makes information more easily accessible to lay persons.

    Lack of intellect is not the promising virtue one would desire in a president. What are your thoughts on Stephen Miller? Do you think Trump is so easily susceptible?

    I have to check out Elevation, I find King’s work that are outside his typical kind of work extremely enjoyable e.g. Different Seasons and Joyland (although the latter is still close). I feel that King’s colloquial writing style perfectly suited the coming-of-age story in Joyland as it did feel more realistic. Otherwise I can find it quite overwhelming and on par with D & D’s writing for Game of Thrones.

    Great post as always!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Soph!

      So far I like most of what I hear from Kamala Harris, but I think she was foolish in so quickly condemning the attack on Jussie Smollett in light of subsequent revelations. There’s much to be said for deliberate, reasoned response. As for AOC, well, I like a lot of her ideas too, especially the Green New Deal and her rants against wealthy legislators’ habit of so often voting in the interest of their corporate donors, but she has a lot to learn about tact and cooperation. The Democrats do not need their own version of the Tea Party movement. They need to focus on cooperation rather than division.

      My thoughts on Stephen Miller are simple: at best, he’s an ignorant bigot. At worst, he’s evil. And yes, I absolutely think Trump is susceptible because he lacks the desire and capacity to think for himself. He has said as much, though not in those exact words, in televised interviews.

      Elevation was good, but I wouldn’t put it on par with Different Seasons or Joyland, both of which I love. It’s more overtly political and less introspective than either of those, but it was a pleasant afternoon read.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I do understand where KH is coming from when she condemned the attack. In a similar vein to the #metoo movement, women are now coming forward because society is finally listening – not all, of course. I think it is more down to wanting to encourage victims coming forward. I was disappointed to find out that Smollett had staged the attack and especially for a higher salary – $100,000 is a lot, but I guess some celebrities require more money to fund their lifestyle, I’m not sure what kind of place he lives in, but as an actor I can imagine it would be a lot bigger than us lay people could afford. AOC: I’ve seen the recent videos. I do prefer her to KH, perhaps she is lacking in tact in some way, but I appreciate that she makes political and legal jargon more accessible to ordinary people. And I agree, be it UK or US, Conservatives are in power at the moment and as such, democrats and the Labour Party need to demonstrate a more united front. I can’t recall where I saw it, but I remember seeing someone discuss how liberals are more likely to ‘cancel’ authority figures (and celebs) and therefore lose allies.

        I’ve read the preview on GR of the book itself, and I see what you mean about Donald Trump. It comes across more as though he is someone that can be moulded to cater to staunch conservatives (re: changing his stance from pro-choice to pro-life).

        Liked by 1 person

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