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The Passage
The Passage
by Justin Cronin
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Confused!, 4 May 2012
This review is from: The Passage (Hardcover)
I have almost finished this book and - rightly or wrongly - simultaneously read quite a number of one to five star Amazon reviews. Probably a mistake!

My conundrum: I can relate strongly to those who appeared to absolutely disdain this creation; but, also connect with those who found it hard to put down.

This is no literary beacon; a surprise, given the author's occupation. The characters are very flat; the plot meanders and is unnecessarily stretched; in some instances the author is too obvious (repeatedly illuminating and explaining what is best left to the reader's imagination), when obtuseness would really work much better; while in other scenarios he provides insufficient meat to really grab the reader's attention. Nevertheless, I find the book quite compelling. I keep wanting to see what's around the next corner, despite having to travel further than I would have liked or expected. Indeed, I just tried to buy the next installment, only to find it hasn't issued yet.

My rating of 3 (2.5 if i could apply that score) is a current "sit on the fence" position that will resolve after I read book two.


Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage to the Antarctic
Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage to the Antarctic
by Alfred Lansing
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A Most Incredible Adventure, 23 Nov. 2011
Heroism, mental toughness, team work, leadership and much more abound. This is the absolutely astonishing saga of explorer Ernest Shackleton and his entire team's fight for survival after their ship, The Endurance, was beset by ice in the Antarctic in the period 1914-1916. They spent almost one and a half years in arguably the most extreme environment imaginable; living on constantly shifting ice floes and the bleak dot of land called Elephant Island, before a small group from within the crew sailed East, almost 650 nautical miles, across the Drake Passage (host to the worst seas on earth) to South Georgia to attempt a rescue. My second reading and it just keeps getting better!

For anyone interested in a business take on Shackleton, I recommend that you read "Shackleton's Way: Leadership Lessons from the Great Antarctic Explorer" by Margot Morrell, Stephanie Capparell, Alexandra Shackleton.


The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine
The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine
by Michael Lewis
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Utterly compelling and frightening, 17 Nov. 2011
This is an exceedingly appropriate companion to "Too Big to Fail" by Andrew Ross Sorkin. Lewis' revelations about the realities of sub-prime and their impact on the bond markets and wider economy is horrific, as it reveals the apparent gross ignorance and incompetence of some of the book's players; sickening, due to its depiction of amoral business practices, a la Gordon 'Greed is Good' Gekko; and humorous - the main protagonists are a quirky and incongruous group of contrarians who deliver some great "one liners". I used to think Gekko was a figment of Hollywood; it now seems he's both real and ubiquitous


Liar's Poker (Hodder Great Reads)
Liar's Poker (Hodder Great Reads)
by Michael Lewis
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intensely Prophetic, from a 2011 perspective!, 16 Nov. 2011
Just finished it: My second Michael Lewis read (my first being The Big Short) and another highly enjoyable, amusing and insightful take on how Wall Street and, in particular, the bond markets operate. While possibly a bit slight on the technicalities and a bit heavy on the gossip (hence the four star rating), it nevertheless achieves what I believe was its primary aim; to open up up Wall Street to a wider public viewing. Despite the fact that it was published circa 1988, it includes some very portentuous observations, that are absolutely relevant to the US and Europe's current economic standing. Pity I didn't read it all those years ago; I could have made a small fortune working off its predictions. Roll on to Lewis' next tome. I'm now a total convert


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