Profile for Len > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Len
Top Reviewer Ranking: 65
Helpful Votes: 477

Guidelines: Learn more about the ins and outs of Amazon Communities.

Reviews Written by
Len (Slave Lake, Alberta, Canada)
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20
pixel
Another Day of Life (Vintage International)
Another Day of Life (Vintage International)
Offered by Random House Canada, Incorp.
Price: CDN$ 13.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Fortunately for us, Mr. Kapuscinski was blessed with “another day of life.”, Jan. 31 2015
Prior to Angola’s independence from Portugal on November 11, 1975, the country fell into civil war. All foreigners evacuated the country including all the journalists except the Polish correspondent, Ryszard Kapuscinski. He watched as a crate city emerged on the docks of Luanda followed by its exit by freighter into the Atlantic. I’ve read a few of Mr. Kapusckinski’s books and having travelled extensively myself and am amazed by his luck. In this story, he follows the Cuban backed MPLA into the Angolan desert to observe the fighting against American and South African backed FNLA. The “Front” is fluid so he and his escort have no idea which side they will encounter as they drive south toward the South African border. Mr. Kapuscinski was a terrific writer who brought us knowledge of a war no other dared stay to observe. I would bet that he would have ventured into ISIL held Syria and Iraq if he were alive to day. He certainly takes his chances and terrifically describes that dangers of the territory in which they journey. The title is based on a quote from one of the soldiers with whom he travelled but it could just as easily have applied to him. Fortunately for us, Mr. Kapuscinski was blessed with “another day of life.”

The Happiest People in the World: A Novel
The Happiest People in the World: A Novel
Price: CDN$ 9.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Reads like a extended parable that's both funny and ominous, Jan. 21 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is such a fun book that I was shocked and surprised when some of the characters got killed. I mean, what the heck, it’s supposed to be about the happiest people in the world. But, the happy people live in Denmark where our story begins. Not, in America where most of the action takes place. Apparently guns are almost impossible for a Dane to procure. The hero of this novel begins his life as Jens. He turns to cartooning as his vocation and, with some pressure from the editor to create controversy uses the image of Mohammed in one of his drawings. His house gets burned down and the authorities fearing for his survival, claim his life was lost in the fire and send him the small town of Broomeville on the east coast of America. Of course, trouble follows which is both amusing and alarming. Mr. Clarke keeps all the action and consequences within the parameters of the characters we know so that it reads like a extended parable that's both funny and ominous.

The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair
The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair
Offered by HarperCollins Publishers CA
Price: CDN$ 11.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Well-written, engaging, surprising and entertaining, Jan. 16 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I liked this book. Perhaps a few too many plot twists but what can you expect of a 650 page mystery. Harry Quebert teaches his young protégé, Marcus Goldman, how to risk and by doing so, how to write (and box.) Harry Quebert, famous for his novel about a Nabokov style affair with an underage girl, is accused of the murder of an actual 15 year girl after her body is found in the garden of his New Hampshire home. People are appalled not only by her murder but also the author's illicit affair. Convinced of his best friend’s innocence, Marcus begins a mission to prove it. Young love and life in small town New England are all explored. Well-written, engaging, surprising and entertaining would all be adjectives to describe this book.

The Origins of Political Order: From Prehuman Times to the French Revolution
The Origins of Political Order: From Prehuman Times to the French Revolution
Offered by Macmillan CA
Price: CDN$ 10.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A whole new way of looking at the world., Jan. 16 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Men/women were never alone proclaims Mr. Fukuyama at the beginning of his book. Contrary to the beliefs of political philosophers such as Thomas Hobbes and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, humankind has never lived a solitary existence. A solitary existence never was the reason for our lives being nasty brutish and short. Nor did we ever live without feelings of malice or jealousy until our parents sent us to school. Not because our nature is different from those described but because we have never lived alone. We've always lived in groups whether they be kinfolk, clans, tribes or states.
Interestingly, Mr. Fukuyama puts religion in the context of combiner and not divider. He argues that, without religion, we have no reason to form groups larger than extended families with whom, he argues, we have an instinctual trust. That, plus the threat of attack by outsiders force humans to combine in larger and larger groups following the introduction of agriculture. Once the state is created, he goes further to argue that the modern democracies require a state, rule of law and accountable government. He applies his theories to China, India, the Muslim States and Europe and reasons for their success, or not, of forming a modern state. History summarized in the context of his theories proves fascinating. It’s a whole new way of looking at the world.

A Town Like Alice
A Town Like Alice
Price: CDN$ 2.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The ordinary gal capable of the extraordinary, Dec 13 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: A Town Like Alice (Kindle Edition)
A young woman is taken prisoner by the Japanese during the second world war in Southeast Asia. They are forced to walk from village to village searching for a detention centre that will keep them like Sisyphus pushing his rock up the mountain. In spite of her youth, Jean becomes their leader of their group and we become aware of the kind of the resourcefulness that will motivate her to create a town like Alice. Nevil Shute weaves his story in a seamless narrative that leads us from the elderly British lawyer who tells the story of Jean, the young secretary who unexpectedly inherits money from an obscure uncle to her Australian love interest and cattle rancher, Joe. His depiction of the unassuming character who acts heroically should circumstances necessitate is typical of Mr. Shute and the reason I really enjoy his novels.

Beneath a Panamanian Moon
Beneath a Panamanian Moon
Offered by Macmillan CA
Price: CDN$ 8.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Humour pervades the novel along with excellent descriptions of Panama, Dec 13 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
John Harper, reticent ex-secret service agent and piano player is convinced to return to service for one last mission in Panama City. He’s to replace another pianist/secret agent suspiciously killed by sharks. Not a particularly convincing special agent, Mr. Harper is hesitant to kill anyone even when his own life is threatened. His musical gigs require him to remain in the background yet he still commands the hearts of many women who see him play. The first two-thirds of the book is devoted to establishing character and setting which I found more enjoyable than the final third filled with action. Humour pervades the novel along with excellent descriptions of Panama, which was my reason for purchasing it as I soon plan to visit the country. For this reason, it was definitely worth the purchase price.

A TOWN LIKE ALICE
A TOWN LIKE ALICE

5.0 out of 5 stars The unassuming hero., Dec 5 2014
This review is from: A TOWN LIKE ALICE (Kindle Edition)
A young woman is taken prisoner by the Japanese during the second world war in Southeast Asia. They are forced to walk from village to village searching for a detention centre that will keep them like Sisyphus pushing his rock up the mountain. In spite of her youth, Jean becomes their leader of their group and we become aware of the kind of the resourcefulness that will motivate her to create a town like Alice. Nevil Shute weaves his story in a seamless narrative that leads us from the elderly British lawyer who tells the story of Jean, the young secretary who unexpectedly inherits money from an obscure uncle to her Australian love interest and cattle rancher, Joe. His depiction of the unassuming character who acts heroically should circumstances necessitate.

The Narrow Road to the Deep North: A novel (Vintage International)
The Narrow Road to the Deep North: A novel (Vintage International)
Offered by Random House Canada, Incorp.
Price: CDN$ 12.99

10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great book that’s hard to read., Nov. 20 2014
Tragedy plays uppermost in this story about love and war. I mean nothing goes right and the stuff that does go right, our hero, Dorrigo Evans declares meaningless. The guy lives through tragedy after tragedy without feeling good about anything. It's hard to support my argument with specifics without spoiling the story. I don’t feel right about spoiling the story so I won’t reveal specifics. The narration begins with Dorrigo as an older man so we know that he survives the Japanese prisoner of war camp in Burma. He and his fellow captives have been charged with building a railway to Siam (present day Thailand) through malaria infested jungle. As an officer, Dorrigo is responsible for both leading men and also attending to their injuries and ailments. Conditions as a Japanese prisoner of war were brutal in the extreme and Mr. Flanagan does a pretty fantastic job of describing it. Hatred for those responsible is a natural response to such descriptions however an attempt is made to understand the Japanese mentality of the time. The God-like reverence given to the emporer seems have justified every act of cruelty in desperation to complete the near impossible task of cutting a railway through the jungle using rudimentary shovels, pick-axes and axes. That said, plenty of cruelty of the emotional type is handed out by the Aussies. Deception is used to thwart true love and heartache is the result for all. This is not to say that’s this isn’t a great book. It’s just a great book that’s hard to read.

Trustee from the Toolroom
Trustee from the Toolroom
Price: CDN$ 0.99

5.0 out of 5 stars An ordinary man acting extraordinarily is a relief in this age of extraordinary cynicism., Nov. 15 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Ordinary guys performing acts of great courage for honorary reasons has been a story lost in this day of hopped up media coverage and our search for another superstar. Keith Stewart engineers miniature replicas of motors such as steam engines that power miniature trains and diesel engines for tiny generators. He then publishes these in a magazine which is read by followers from around the globe. This, during the 1950s in a time long before the age of the silicon chip and instantaneous communication. Keith has one sister who married a nobleman and commander in his majesty’s navy. At the beginning of out story, the commander has retired and the plan is for he and his wife and daughter to move to the west coast of Canada. But first, the couple plans an extended sailing trip to their future home stopping off in Tahiti along the way. Keith and his wife agree to take care of their niece while her parents make the journey. Of course, tragedy strikes requiring Keith to venture into the unknown in search of his sister’s grave and his niece’s legacy. Reading a story about decent people behaving decently is a relief in this age of ego driven states of continual dissatisfaction.

Tishomingo Blues
Tishomingo Blues
Offered by HarperCollins Publishers CA
Price: CDN$ 11.99

4.0 out of 5 stars The usual good read from Elmore Leonard, Oct. 31 2014
This review is from: Tishomingo Blues (Kindle Edition)
Without a detective or the obvious hapless criminals, this was a different Leonard novel. The lone cowboy is still there in the person of Dennis Lenehan, Stunt diver peddling his talents to a small time Mississippi casino where he comes in contact with the Dixie mafia. After witnessing a murder from his perch 80 feet above his tiny dive tank, he comes to the attention of a police detective, a Detroit mobster and a beautiful television reporter. All are brought together by a civil war reenactment, which must be an obsession of the side that lost. As usual, Elmore Leonard provides a good read.

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20