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My Book Reading

Two Kinds of Truth by Michael Connelly  (completed)

Lou Reed: A Life by Anthony DeCurtis

   (in progress)

Killing Floor by Lee Child   (completed)

   (1997, Reacher's first appearance)

Sticky Fingers - The Life and Times of Jann Wenner and Rolling Stone Magazine by Joe Hagan


The Woman Who Smashed Codes by Jason Fagone (Dey St. Books, just completed, full review just published)

Double Agent Celery: MI5's Crooked Hero by Carolinda Witt (pen-and-sword books)

The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum (1980, the book that started the franchise, just completerd)

The Take by Christopher Reich (Mulholland Books)

Podcast Favorites

Kara Swisher's Recode Decode this week is an interesting conversation with Tina Brown. Using the publication of her new Vanity Fair Diaries as a starting point, they examine Brown's publishing career, notably her wonderful runs with Vanity Fair and The New Yorker. Then they dive into the internet age, how it's changing the publishing world, Brown's start-up of The Daily Beast, followed by venting about Facebook today. Swisher puts together the best intervierw/talk with Brown I've heard since her book was published. Brown was consistently creating some of the best magazines in the world, at a time when that mattered.

Rich Roll's podcast is one I've discovered recently, and I'm working to catch up. Here are two don't-miss episodes:

Fogel is the star of, the producer of, the man behind Icarus. If you've not watched this documentary, exclusively streaming on Netflix, get to it! Of all the interviews I've read and heard with Fogel, Roll brings out the most interesting perspective. It's a fabulous listening experience.


Lance Armstrong needs no introduction. I don't care whether you admire or dislike him, his wealth of experience and new perspective on many matters is worth listening to. Me, I think he's one of the finest athletes ever.


The Everyday Ketogenic Kitchen by Carolyn Ketchum

Author Ketchum provides an inviting path to a realistic ketogenic lifestyle with her new Everyday Ketogenic Kitchen. She clearly lives and enjoys the life, spent the last year putting this cookbook together, and is now working hard to spread her excitement about low-carb and ketogenic cooking and eating.  

Even though there are more than 150 recipes in this sizable volume (375 pages), and they read deliciously (I’ve prepared none of them), more keto recipes isn’t all that attractive to me. I’ve lived keto on and off over the years, beginning long before it was popular. And much as I found with Paleo and other “lifestyles”, success or failure always comes down to a realistic understanding of food, food as fuel, food as applied to athletics, and how to successfully jam all of this into one’s life.

Ketchum has this dialed in. It’s clear from reading Everyday Ketogenic Kitchen she’s experienced with whatever you term the “keto lifestyle.” This isn’t a fad for her. In these pages you’ll learn from her experiences how to stock the pantry, or even what are the best substitutions in her recipes (or in the greater keto world) if you’ve specific dietary restrictions. I found this valuable. 

Not of interest to me, but likely to many, is author Ketchum’s expertise in low carb, grain-free baking. In this section she delivers the goods. Fire up that oven and get ready to diversity your ketogenic menus.

@dreamaboutfood, @fooddreamer, #everydayketocookbook, @victorybeltinc


Louis L'Amour's Lost Treasures Volume 1 with Beau L'Amour


I grew up reading Louis L’Amour westerns. Cowboy movies were my favorites for years, and plenty of western writers found their way to my bookshelves, but nobody was as good (to me) as L’Amour. He had the most books, the best books, and I was a fan. 

All these years later, while reading Lost Treasures Vol. 1, I was reminded of my grandmother’s affection for Louis L’Amour westerns. She had piles of them beside her chair, and sometimes we’d talk about our recent, favorite reads. Back then I bought my paperbacks at used bookstores; Grandma Mary picked hers up at church sales, what she called white elephant sales.

My nostalgia ties in with Beau L’Amour’s affectionate introduction to the book. Beau is pretty happy with his memories of his father at the typewriter, in his office, in a home packed with books and papers. It all brings to mind an image of books double-shelved, stacked on end, a desk buried under papers and folders and mail, with Louis L’Amour somewhere in the midst, typing away with great concentration.

Beau is a pretty good writer himself. His lengthy introduction carried me back in time to when I read all these westerns, and reminded me that for a few years I subscribed to the Louis L’Amour Library. Every few weeks a leather-bound hardcover would arrive (I think they were leather but perhaps it was faux-leather - I prefer not to research it), in that deep brown. I’d carefully find the proper space for it on a bookcase… I wonder if I ever even read one of those hardcovers.

Lost Treasures Volume 1 is a weird compilation, unlikely to find much audience outside of L’Amour completists and hardcore western novel fans. These unfinished manuscripts, odd short stories, pieces of novels, and L’Amour’s research notes are fascinating to me. As a life-long fan of his writing, and an admirer of his prolific output and work ethic, this is the type of thing I wish for. I’m not sure who else wants to read some of this, as frankly it can be a bit of work, all the more so when a story abruptly ends, clearly before the author had completed it. In those cases I find myself wondering if L’Amour had figured it all out in his head and knew where the characters and story were headed. He famously didn’t outline books or create rough drafts; apparently the guy sat at the typewriter and entire novels flowed from his head through his fingertips, written in the order they appear in the books. 

There is a second volume of Lost Treasures to come, and next year the publication of No Traveller Returns is supposed to happen, as well. This is the never-before-seen first novel, written between 1938 and 1942. 

Visit for additional photographs, scans of documents and much more.


@Louis_LAmour, #louislamour, #bantambooks


Enemy of the State; The Survivor - written by Kyle Mills (Vince Flynn)


 I’m not always sure how to tag these books written entirely by someone other than the big-print author named on the cover. Vince Flynn died in 2013. Kyle Mills is a veteran thriller author with superb credentials who’s taken up the task of keeping the Mitch Rapp stories flowing. In addition to his own titles and those of Flynn, Mills has also been involved in keeping in action the Robert Ludlum franchise. The guy is a damn prolific writer, skilled at moving stories along and keeping the reader (me) vitally interested.

Enemy of the State is the current Mitch Rapp novel. Rapp is a patriot, a virtual one-man army feared by all who have come up against him, anywhere in the world. He drags a dark past, of course, and carries a sizable chip on his shoulder along with deep personal loss.

Don’t sell author Mills, or protagonist Rapp, short. The Survivor and Enemy of the State are not cookie-cutter good guy vs bad guy novels, nor is Mitch Rap a one-dimensional super-patriot-who-overcomes-all-odds-alone hero. There’s enough of the good, technical side of classic Tom Clancy here to keep that side of my brain tickled. Add to that a good measure of John Wayne-style heroics and stoicism, tagged onto plots all too believable today, and the result is exiting action thrillers with a military bent.

I found the plot in Enemy of the State more complex and satisfying than expected, and sometimes seemingly taken from the headlines of my daily reading. It’s easy for me to believe that author Kyle Mills has a deep understanding of the politics and currents moving through the Middle East, and Washington, D.C., and uses this knowledge to help develop the cast of believable characters making up the storyline.

Non-stop action and tension are hallmarks of these two fine novels. Think intelligence and characters you’ll care about. I’m ready to seek out Kyle Mills’ other work.


@KyleMillsAuthor, @VinceFlynnFans, @MitchRappFans, #VinceFlynn, #EnemyoftheState, @EmilyBestler




Lightning Men by Thomas Mullen


Set in 1950 Atlanta, Georgia, Lucius Boggs and Tommy Smith are the first “Negro Officers” on the police force. They quickly find themselves at the intersection of rapidly changing social currents and evolving, more sophisticated levels of crime. Toss in a strong helping of the Ku Klux Klan and tie it all together with a liberal dose of writing so fine I consistently slowed down to savor what I was reading. The end result is Lightning Men, a powerful novel with historical ties, a gripping story and characters alive on the page.

Boggs and Smith, with a surprising ally in their white superior, Sergeant McInnis, find themselves dealing with deeply ingrained racism in all aspects of their lives, while at the same time integration and drug dealers moving into their areas of town combine to make life hellish for the guilty and innocent alike. 

I was unfamiliar with Mullen’s work, and fell in love with his magic with words. Two examples:


  • “Hard to put her finger on it; the shirt just seemed to want to be on someone else.”
  • “Night had slowly seeped around him while he'd been standing there, like there was a night spigot and someone had turned it on an hour ago and it had pooled at his feet…”

 This is near-magical writing, especially read in context.

 Lightning Men isn’t a thriller in the traditional sense, and certainly not really a mystery, but it employs elements of each genre, while comfortable as a damn fine historical novel. 

#lightning men, #thomasmullen, @Mullenwrites, @37inkbooks


This arrived yesterday and I began reading it last night. From the first pages, it's compelling. In Vino Duplicitas is the story of Rudy Kurniawan, the most notorious con artist in the wine world. I enjoyed the articles in Wine Spectator by author Peter Hellman, and the documentary film. His book is sure to satisfy. Full review after i'm done, of course.

@theexperimentpublishing, #rudykurniawan#invinoduplicitas, @Peter Hellman