Monthly Archives: January 2014

Thumbs up, Thumbs down #1

I realized over the last year that there are many books that show up on my blog as just titles and never as reviews. It’s true, I don’t read everything that I check out from the library. I do try everything that I check out from the library. Not everything gets a review.

However, just because I don’t review a book doesn’t mean I didn’t like the book. To remedy this I’m starting a new feature. Every once in a while I’m going to post a short summary of what I’ve liked, and the other books. Welcome to Thumbs up, Thumbs down.

Thumbs up:

Bad Religion by: Ross Douthat

Earth Made of Glass by: John Barnes

The Time Traveler’s Guide to Medieval England by: Ian Morimer

The Princes in the Tower by: Alison Weir

A Serpent’s Tooth by: Craig Johnson

Hell is Empty : by Craig Johnson

Solidly Meh:

The Crying of Lot 49 by: Thomas Pynchon

Thumbs down:

Quiet Dello by: Jayne Anne Phillips

The Long War by: Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter

The King’s Deception by: Steve Berry – In fairness I didn’t read even most of this book. There were some technical problems with the copy my library has. But it wasn’t looking good when I put it down.

Riotous Assembly by: Tom Sharpe

The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells by: Andrew Sean Greer

So what’s been on you’re Thumbs Up list lately?

Daybreak Zero – Review


Currently on Loan from the Library:

The March of Folly by: Barbara W. Tuchman (Which contains among other wonderful chapters, a chapter on the Protestant Reformation that I’m really enjoying.)

Quantico by: Greg Bear

Other Books I’m Reading:daybreak zero

I’ve been rereading Much Ado About Nothing this week. My gosh William Shakespeare was a genius. I always forget if it’s been a while since I’ve read his work.

Daybreak Zero is the second installment in a trilogy by John Barnes. I’ve also read the first installment, Directive 51. I hope soon to read the third installment The Last President. However, my library is being difficult.

Daybreak Zero is set in the post apocalyptic world created by the author in Directive 51. Basically, a group of people with good intentions and a wish to go back to a more natural world are  turned into terrorists by an idea, and some hypnotism. These people called Daybreakers, set out to destroy everything that made the modern world work, and they were incredibly successful. With microscopic beings eating all the plastic, and turning gas into sludge the world comes to a screeching halt. Add in fission explosions that have leveled most of Europe, parts of South America, and a large chunk of North America. Also, there is a EMP cannon on the Moon that is shooting out any major radio station. By the end of Directive 51 millions of people have died and the United States government has divided into three parts. A group in Olympia, Washington, that is led by the Constitutional President, a group in Athens, Georgia led by the person who was supposed to hand over the Presidency, and didn’t, and a group in Pueblo, Colorado, that is led by Heather O’Grainne who is just trying to keep what is left of humanity from killing itself.

Daybreak Zero opens with the introduction of the tribes. The tribes are the people who used to be Daybreakers, or have become Daybreakers, and have gone native. Scary, violent, aggressive, and sort of faux American Indian groups start attacking anything that could be considered rebuilding, and taking slaves. Meanwhile, the Georgia, and Washington contingents are spitting at each other while Heather tries to get them to the table to set up the next election.

Heather, along with having her own plans for the future of the country, seems to be the only leader really interested in restoration. Which makes it doubly sad when she realizes that Daybreak has infiltrated her administration. That means somebody she likes and trusts is selling them out.

I think what makes these books work so well is that Barnes has a surprisingly deft hand with the interpersonal relationships. From the little town in the mid-west that just hunkered down and survived wave after wave of trouble together, to the trophy wife of a General, his characters have dimension.

Possibly the most heartbreaking character is in fact the trophy wife of the General. Married to a man twice her age. She seems to be leading him around by his desires. Most of the people in the book remark on her intelligence. She’s clearly much smarter than her husband. But she’s paying a horrible price for her influence.

These books are mostly mayhem and death. There is no denying it. They are also well written. I can’t wait to see how he finishes the series off. Actually given the series up until now, he may really be finishing things off in the last book.

Sensitive readers should be aware there are some scenes of torture. It’s not terribly graphic. But it is disturbing.

Favorite Scene: Santa Claus bites the dust. And boy did he have it coming.

Favorite Quote: “I wasn’t much of a lurer when I was twenty-one. My big seductive move was to send her a list of Xbox games I had. Anyway, Look, I know Harrison Castro, and I’m sure you’re right about his intentions.”

Enjoyability: Five Stars

Where to read this book: Possibly in your well stocked end of the world bunker. Just for safety sake.

Further reading: Enjoying The March of Folly so much. Not sure I could review it. But it is definitely a thumbs up.

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