John Heaton (jheaton) wrote,
John Heaton
jheaton

Book dump: March 2007

These are the books I read in March:

Storm Over Texas: The Annexation Crisis and the Road to Civil War by Joel H. Silbey
The theory here is that the annexation of Texas caused the American political system to shift from one based on partisan differences to one based on sectional differences. I've no doubt that the annexation crisis contributed to the change, but it seems to me that it at best accelerated a trend that was already well underway as early as 1840.
 
The Watchman by Robert Crais
Elvis Cole's partner Joe Pike is hired to protect a flighty heiress from danger. A decent read, but for my nickel it only came to life in the sequences featuring Cole and LAPD criminalist John Chen.
 
The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz
The wacky adventures of a family of private investigators in San Francisco, who spend as much time investigating one another as they do their clients. Very funny.
 
Tyrannosaur Canyon by Douglas Preston
Unexceptional paleontologic thriller.
 
1632 by Eric Flint
An alternative history yarn about a 20th century West Virginia mining town and its inhabitants being thrust back in time to 17th century Germany. Entertaining, but many of the characters are a bit too perfect.
 
The Thieves of Heaven by Richard Doetsch
I was expecting a light Da Vinci Code-style heist novel, but it turned out to be a supernatural thriller with a clever premise and morally complex characters. Better than I expected.
 
Cinderella: Inside the Rise of Mid-Major College Basketball by Michael Litos
You have to *really* love college basketball to fully appreciate this book, which frequently gets bogged down in the minutae of individual games. It was interesting to learn just how lucrative it is to reach the Final Four of the NCAA Mens Division I Basketball tournament, though.
 
Bobbie Faye's Very (very, very, very) Bad Day by Toni McGee Causey
An interesting cross between a chick-lit novel and a Donald E. Westlake-style comic caper. Funny, but perhaps just a bit too over-the-top.
 
Land of Mist and Snow by Debra Doyle and James Macdonald
An alternative history novel set during the American Civil War. I appreciated the firm anti-Confederate stance, and the cover is gorgeous, but ultimately it left me feeling a little underwhelmed.
 
Burn the Town and Sack the Banks: Confederates Attack Vermont! by Cathryn J. Prince
Did you know that Confederate soldiers operating out of Canada mounted a guerilla attack on the Vermont town of St. Albans in 1864? I didn't, and I was an American history major in college. An interesting, well written story, but a little skimpy on the details.
 
Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry
I never read this as a kid because it was a horse book, and I had the idea that I didn't like books about horses. (Not that I remember reading any...) Having now read it, I can say that I wouldn't have thought particularly highly of it had I read it back in the day. It wasn't bad, but it certainly wouldn't make my list of beloved children's classics.
 
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