Holy cow, three books!

I’m a reading machine. Either that or I’ve just been lazy about posting my “books read” in a timely manner. Maybe a little of both.

In any case, I now have three read-books queued up for comment. Today, I shall remedy this terrible injustice.

The Truth (With Jokes) by Al Franken – This one I actually read. In hardcover. Really. Borrowed it from one of Jodi’s coworkers and interlaced reading it with various audible books, so it was a bit of a jumble. The book was a suitable update to the present from Al Franken. Very much in a similar style to his last one (Lies and the lying liars…) but with a bit less direct attacks at pundits and a bit more direct attacks at the current administration. I find his style fun and his books easy to read. That said, having read several of his books now I’ve noticed a trend that frustrates me somewhat (and I’ve noticed this on his radio show too) — he seems to make his jokes right when his point is strongest, ie – softening the impact of his “blow”. This is fine, I suppose… but after a few times doing it this becomes something of a noticeable pattern and I wonder why he does it. Jon Stewart, for instance, pulls back from the attack with comedic timing also, but Al’s timing seems more tepid. Anyway, good book. Good points. What a horrific place we have come to. Good luck in your imminent senate run in 2008, Mr Franken.

A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L’Engle. I had weak memories of having this read to me as a child, and – somewhat like the Narnia series – I felt compelled to revisit it to see if it would make a good bedtime story for the future. I found a few tinges of familiarity while reading, but the core of the story was completely forgotten to me. In particular, I found the beginning part of the book quite confusing. I blame my fleeting attention for the first 20 mins or so of the audio book for this confusion, and I suppose that’s what I get for starting a new book while changing buses on the way home from work. After I caught up with the story, it made a bit more sense and I enjoyed it through the outcome a short 5 hours later. I was surprised halfway through the book to be presented with some strong religious themes in an otherwise science-fictiony and fantasy context. Unexpected, but perhaps it should not have been. Juries still out on whether it’ll make a good bedtime story, as it seems a bit of a niche storyline.

On American Soil (How Justice Became a Casualty of World War II) by Jack Hamann. I have no real recollection of how I came across this book. I ended up getting it from the Seattle Public Library on reserve (wow, another book ACTUALLY read, not listened!) and it’d been in my list to read for some time. Maybe the author was on the Daily Show or maybe someone talked about it on NPR. I simply do not recall. But it was a great book! This is the story of the murder of an Italian POW that took place during a base riot in 1944 at Fort Lawton (now Discovery Park) in Seattle. Given my (relative) familiarity with and fondness of Discovery Park, it really caught my attention all the details about Seattle and Fort Lawton in the 1940s. The story of how the book was written is nearly as interesting as the book… the author had come out to Discovery Park for some other assignment and noticed a headstone in the military cemetery that seemed out of place. He took down the name and discovered the “official story” of how this POW was murdered (there was a huge court-martial trial in 1944). But, so many years later, much of the details that were kept classified in the 40s had been released publicly and he was able to — through painstaking research — put together a very solid “what probably really happened” account of the events leading up to and including the riot and murder. Once I got started reading this, I rocked right through it in a day since it so engaging. Very highly recommended.


  1. Evan Dodds - Non-work-related blog » Alki ride said,

    September 28, 2006 at 4:40 pm

    […] This past Sunday (didn’t I point out I was way behind on my blog posts?), I took a bike ride down to Alki Beach. My goal was to not totally ruin myself like I did the weekend earlier (ie – do a shorter ride) and it worked out that way at about 20 miles vs 31 the week before. […]

  2. Evan Dodds - Non-work-related blog » Email from Jack Hamann said,

    October 15, 2006 at 8:16 am

    […] Fun addendum to my review post about Jack Hamann’s “On American Soil” book: shortly after posting, I received an email from Mr Hamann with some additional information on the book, proving the power of the Internet (along with his technology prowess) that he was able to watch for mention of his name on the Internet and see what folks are saying about him! I love the Internet! […]

  3. Evan Dodds - Non-work-related blog » Robert Mak is so awesome said,

    July 30, 2007 at 8:35 am

    […] that his topic for the week was Jack Hamann’s book “On American Soil” (previously reviewed here and followed up here). This just proves, once again, what a great city Seattle is — the topic […]