All the Light You Cannot See: Anthony Doerr

An orphan boy and a blind girl caught up on opposite sides of the maelstorm called World War II. ALL THE LIGHT YOU CANNOT SEE has all the makings of a trite, cliched pantomime. Instead, it is a searing portrait of WWII daily life, focusing on common people instead of major events and battles and heroes and villains.

Werner has charmed me forever.

It’s not often I agree with the majority (I’ve only ever voted for a successful politician once), but this clearly belongs on all the bestseller lists.

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Intelligence in War: The value–and limitations–of what the military can learn about the enemy/John Keegan

Many, many trees. Many of them. A whole lot. Trees, trees and more trees. More than enough. Too many.

Very little forest. Not enough (more’s the pity, as he arrives at the correct conclusions ).

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/most-secret-source-darvin-babiuk/1114041730?ean=2940045130547

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/248890

https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/most-secret-source-the-role/9781301042975-item.html?ikwid=darvin+babiuk&ikwsec=Home&ikwidx=16

Transcript: Kate Atkinson

Oh my! Didn’t this one surreptitiously infiltrate onto my device clandestinely. I don’t remember ever having heard of this author, much less installing it on my device.

Oh my! Erudition! Intelligence! Bon mots! Clever turns of phrase! A superb sense of time and place!

And of course, the sublime Juliet Armstrong: orphan, romantic, thief, inveterate liar, unhappy virgin, free with her charms, spy, loyal friend, completely selfish, spunky, devil may care, murderess [yes, that’s a spoiler, but Ms Atkinson saves a much larger surprise ending that I had not one iota was coming].

Superb bibliography. With the ‘right’ books (my grad degree is in the History of Intelligence during this time period, so I know which ones are which).

I sincerely hope Ms Atkinson will see fit to provide me with an invitation to be part of Juliet Armstrong’s fascination life again.

I’ll be waiting.

Juliet….Juliet…wherefore art thou?

Nemesis Games: James SA Corey

While the Rocinante is undergoing a re-fit, the crew all goes off individually and we get to see them when they’re not part of their whole. Interesting, but even more satisfying when they all get back together again.

More individual back stories satisfyingly being filled in, even if the whole Free Navy success timeline is patently absurd.

The Diplomat’s Daughter: Karin Tanabe

I was really ready to like this book from the cover blurb.

My optimism was misplaced. The word usage is extremely pedestrian. I can almost never read a book without making a note of some interesting idea or clever word use. I made not a single notation from the entire novel.

Worst of all is the extremely unrealistic portrayal of a young Japanese woman of that social station and age and time period. Even if her parents allowed her to behave in the manner the book describes, Japanese society never would have.

As an illustration, do some quick research on the current Crown Princess of Japan, who had a similar upbringing, except she is a present-day version of Emiko, when contemporary social conventions are a little more unencumbered. Princess Masako has endured such societal pressure to bend to the social norms of her station, she has suffered extreme emotional distress, to the point where she has seldom even appeared in public since 2002.

Emiko fighting and rising above such tribulations would have been a good story. Instead, Tanabe pretends the real-world societal strictures of Japan barely existed.