Recent books read. Diagnosis: bronchitis.

Recent books read

An avid reader, I have decided to include in this blog a description of books that I read. I’ll try to continue doing that over time. I read using the Kindle app on my tablet for the most part, and Elaine uses Kindle on her tablet as well. Our Kindle library currently has 896 books, but we also read some for free and they do not show up in our library.

Big Lake Snowdaze, by Nick Russell

 Big Lake Snowdaze
Big Lake Snowdaze, by Nick Russell

Nick Russell is one of our favorite authors and we always look forward to books in his Big Lake series coming out. Big Lake refers to a fictitious town in the mountains of eastern Arizona, probably similar to where Nick used to publish a newspaper. This is the thirteenth Big Lake book. The main character is Sheriff Jim Weber, but Nick has introduced us to a colorful set of secondary and occasional characters over the series. The Sheriff and his deputies end up solving a host of improbable crimes while having to also deal with many hilarious situations along the way. We’ve gotten to know his main characters and always look forward to adding some dimensions to them with each new book.

Nick also has a Dog’s Run series (two books) set in Ohio, and a John Lee Quarrels series set in Florida (two books). In addition, he has written a number of nonfiction books related to their RVing days. You can check out his work at

Grant, by Ron Chernow

Grant, by Ron Chernow

Having previously read Chernow’s Alexander Hamilton I had high expectations for this work on Ulysses S. Grant, and they were met.

What I knew previously of Grant was a smattering that came from history books in school and various references in other works read over the years, but I had never read a biography. This work is impressive with lots of details and research that went into developing a picture of this important Civil War General and subsequent two-term US President.

Grant was obviously a brilliant military leader and he has been given credit for the success in the Union Army’s strategy and victories. What we didn’t hear of was the struggles in his earlier life and the lack of success in business and civilian life. But Chernow tells all these stories so we can get a full image of this important historical American.

The book is long – with 958 pages of text, plus some photos and 170+ pages of reference material at the end. I started reading this book back in November and interrupted it for the Big Lake Snowdaze (above) and Fire and Fury (below) books at different times.

Fire and Fury, by Michael Wolff

Fire and Fury
Fire and Fury, by Michael Wolff

Michael Wolff’s book just came out and when it was announced I immediately pre-ordered it in Kindle version. It was not due to be released until January 9th, but once the hoorah hit last week the publishers released it four days early. I read it over the weekend. At 310 pages, plus acknowledgements and index, it was a fast read and easy to complete in a couple of days.

Intrigued by the tweets and the TV clips I have seen I wanted to see more of Donald Trump and the Trump White House. There is no question that this presidency stands out as unusual in the history of our country. Those of us living through it cannot judge its effectiveness until we see what history records down the road. But I was curious to see what Wolff had dug up and presented. While his information is fascinating in many places I was disappointed that he did not give his sources for much of the content. Instead, he presented the material as a narrative. What he gives us is potentially important; it is too bad he did not give us the basis for some of it.

I will not offer any judgment on Trump except to say that we certainly live in some interesting times. I have been reading early presidential biographies over the last year, so I have somewhat of a comparison with modern times. I can say that though the term “fake news” has been bandied about a lot this last year, current “fake news” is tame compared with accounts that were freely published in the early years of our country, and it seems that for the most part current journalists are very responsible compared with their counterparts of 150-200 years ago.

Yes, I think Fire and Fury is worth reading.

Diagnosis: bronchitis

I had a visit with our primary care physician, Dr Warren C. Johnson, this morning and he diagnosed my cough and congestion as bronchitis. He prescribed an antibiotic for me to take the next ten days.

I had made the appointment a couple of weeks ago, before we went to the Bahamas, to follow through on a couple of other things and the bronchitis came up in the meantime. I go for some imaging tomorrow on joint issues and on the chest pains that are not a heart condition.

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