February 2011

Author Rating: A

A Most Wanted Man (read 1/30/11)

This is the first LeCarre that I have read, and I was pleasantly surprised with how good it was, because, in my opinion, most of today’s “popular” authors are crap.

A poor young Russian man named Issa, son of a Chechen woman and a member of the Russian military, makes his way illegally to Hamburg, Germany to see a banker about money his father left in a secret account. Standing between Issa and his dream of becoming a doctor and helping the people of Chechnya are multiple German, American and British spy agencies who believe him to be a terrorist and want to use him to entrap other Muslims as part of the War on Terror or simply lock him away.

The Little Drummer Girl (started to read 2/10/13)

I started this book but my heart wasn’t in it, so I have put it aside. I guess I just don’t find “political thrillers” to be entertainment given that in the real world people are dying as a result of the games portrayed in these books.


Author Rating: D

Cryptonomicon (read 5/31/11) AVOID

What a disappointment! Wasted hours I’ll never get back!

I suffered through 170 pages, hoping beyond hope that this would improve because it came so widely and enthusiastically recommended, but it is among the worst of the worst. Neal Stephenson is in desperate need of an editor, but the world would have been a better place had the publisher declined this waste of paper in the first place. I understand why it is over 900 pages long — when Stephenson isn’t repeating himself endlessly, he’s filling pages with number strings in an apparent attempt to numb the reader into a coma with complex math.

Seriously, your time is better spent sitting in a dark room with a blanket over your head than reading this book.

The Baroque Cycle:

Quicksilver (not yet read)

The Confusion (not yet read)

The System of the World (not yet read)

(Wikpedia) [A] series of novels by American writer Neal Stephenson. It was published in three volumes containing 8 books in 2003 and 2004.The story follows the adventures of a sizeable cast of characters living amidst some of the central events of the late 17th and early 18th centuries in Europe. Despite featuring a literary treatment consistent with historical fiction, Stephenson has characterized the work as science fiction, due to the presence of some anomalous occurrences and the work’s particular emphasis on themes relating to science and technology. The sciences of cryptology and numismatics feature heavily in the series.

The books travel throughout Early Modern Europe between the Restoration Stuart Monarchy until the beginning of the 18th century. Though most of the focus is in Europe, the adventures of Jack do take him throughout the world and the fledgling British colonies in North America are important to Daniel Waterhouse. Quicksilver takes place mainly in the years between the Restoration of the Stuart monarchy in England (1660) and the Glorious Revolution of 1688. The Confusion follows Quicksilver without temporal interruption, but ranges geographically from Europe and the Mediterranean through India to Manila, Japan, and Mexico. The System of the World takes place principally in London in 1714, about ten years after the events of The Confusion.