Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Nevermore: Not Taco Bell Material, Heartbeat of Wounded Knee, Killing Eve, Common Good, Chances Are

Reported by Jeanne

Adam Carolla is a well-known podcaster and satirist who has appeared on numerous radio and television shows. Our Nevermore member said he has “the gift of gab,” so she was interested to read his book Not Taco Bell Material.  Carolla organizes this memoir by the places he has lived, and gives a lot of social commentary along the way.  Our reader said it was a fun book but noted that Carolla can be very sexist and misogynistic along the way.

Another member has been stuck in the 1800s, she says, and she continued the trend with The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America from 1890 to the Present by David Treuer.  Treuer, an Ojibwa who was raised on a reservation in Minnesota, takes issue with the impression given by Dee Brown that Wounded Knee was the end of Native American culture.  Instead this book asserts that extreme adversity strengthens Native resolve, and illustrates how Native Americans have taken their place in modern society despite the obstacles.  Our reviewer praised the book for its excellent writing and research.  She said it was a wonderful book.

Killing Eve:  No Tomorrow is the second in the Killing Eve series by Luke Jennings. The action revolves around Eve, a former MI5 agent, who is determined to stop a female assassin who kills political figures and who plays a cat and mouse game with Eve.  Our reader had read the first in the series, Codename Villanelle, and liked it, but felt this one was more of the same, only with less sex—which she said was a plus.

In The Common Good, economist Robert Reich begins by trying to define what the “common good” is, comparing it with the assertion of a pharmaceutical executive that his mission is not so much to provide needed medicines but to maximize profits.  He then traces the history of how the concept seems to have changed in American society, using political and corporate examples, and ends by asking if the original concept can be restored.  Our reviewer says he offers some remedies and suggestions, and that he does have hope.

Richard Russo’s novel Chances Are revolves around the friendship of three men who met at a summer job back in the 1960s.  Their lives have taken very different paths since then:  one is a real estate broker, another owns a small publishing house, and the third is a rock musician past his prime.  Along with memories of their exploits, there’s the memory of a girl they all loved, a girl who disappeared.  The Nevermore reader said she fell asleep on the book but hastened to add that it was her hectic life and not the book that was to blame.  She went on to say that she did enjoy it, but hadn’t yet finished.

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