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Rex Hammock RSS Feed (Nashville, TN USA)

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Finders Keepers: A Novel (The Bill Hodges Trilogy Book 2)
Finders Keepers: A Novel (The Bill Hodges Trilogy Book 2)
Offered by Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
Price: $8.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars King Continues to Sharpen His Murder Mystery Skills, June 4, 2015
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A great follow-up to Mr. Mercedes. However, the reader might spend a 100 or so pages wondering when Hodges, Holly and Jerome are going to show up. (And Jerome barely gets home from Harvard long enough to do much more than repeat a few attempts at clichéd ethnic humor.)

As other reviews have hit the high points of the book, here are some subtle things I noticed:

Avid King fans will recognize several themes recurring from his most recent dozen or so books:

Addiction (he's been sober/recovering since the late 1980s)
Aging (he's 67)
A wide range of contemporary music references (the Black Keys suck?)
A warped sense of intimacy and ownership some readers can project upon authors (Misery redux)

King has great children characters in his books, but for the past decade or so, he's had to add some form a caveat to explain how and why an adult can interact with someone young without appearing to be a pedophile or kidnapper. (Unless, of course, they are.)

Oddest coincidence of this book: A central plot thread is strangely similar to Donna Tartt's 2014 Pulitzer Prize winning novel, The Goldfinch. In both books, a central character finds himself in the possession of a rare and valuable object and much of the movement of the storyline is towards answering the question, "what will happen to the object(s)?"


The Caine Mutiny: A Novel
The Caine Mutiny: A Novel
by Herman Wouk
Edition: Paperback
Price: $10.24
243 used & new from $0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars As relevant in the 2010s as when it won the 1951 Pulitzer, August 31, 2013
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While some of the mid-20th century language and mores seem extraordinarily ancient to a reader in the mid 2010s, the underlying character-driven plot stands the test of time and continue to set it apart as a classic.

Indeed, if you use as a metaphor, Wouk's portrayal of the WWII-era Navy and its mysterious ways as means to understand any massively large and complex organization, the Caine Mutiny can help provide a framework for understanding the seeming contradictions that, in the end, make things work. Moreover, the way in which challenge and adversity reveal the true nature of an individual is a theme this book explores as expertly as any in the long tradition of such literature.

Especially impressive to me in reading it again for the first time in several decades is how well Wouk can weave different genres of story-telling (court-room drama, military drama, star-crossed romance, psychological suspense thriller) into a novel that is both literate and page-turning popular.


Bach: Sonatas and Partitas, Vol. 1
Bach: Sonatas and Partitas, Vol. 1

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thile Continues to Redefine the Mandolin, August 11, 2013
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It is not surprising to anyone who has followed the musical path of the recently named "MacArthur Fellow" (The Genius Grant) Chris Thile from his first bluegrass album as a 12 year old (still available on Amazon) to see him, at 32, redefining the instrument he plays in much the same way Bela Fleck has redefined the banjo or Mark O'Connor, the fiddle.

And because Chris has such a loyal following from his days with Nickel Creek and, more recently, with The Punch Brothers, it will be fascinating to see his young, appreciative fans follow him to Bach as they have from bluegrass to the experimental forms of acoustical music he's pushed into with the Punch Brothers and several collaborative projects with others.

For lovers of the mandolin, note that the instrument Thile is using is his 1924 Lloyd Loar F5. If Stradivarius had not, himself, made some mandolins, I'd be tempted to say this is a Stradivarius of mandolins. As I listened to the album, I wondered just how pleased Loar (who died in the 30s) would be to hear how much brilliance Thile was coaxing from this magnificent instrument.

It is a joy to hear one of the finest stringed instruments ever crafted on this side of the Atlantic being used by such a gifted, passionate and hard-working musician committed to stretching the boundaries of the F-style mandolin.


Bike Snob: Systematically & Mercilessly Realigning the World of Cycling
Bike Snob: Systematically & Mercilessly Realigning the World of Cycling
Price: $8.99

5.0 out of 5 stars The funniest book on two-wheels, June 8, 2013
Until I read this book (and the author's blog), I was not aware that "urban bicycle humor" was a book genre. However, anyone who spends time riding a bicycle in-town will relish this book, sneering smugly through each page. I have the book in both a Kindle version and in print because it's always good for a smile whenever I'm stuck standing in a line and want to re-read a few paragraphs on my iPhone. And I decided it's a must-have for my bicycle-related library shelf. Those who bike in the city will realize its humor is so intense because the author captures the insane truth about the activity we know makes us superior to those who choose other forms of transportation.


Pilot
Pilot
DVD

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love the fake news network? You'll love the fake TV drama, April 23, 2013
It' like the Mary Tyler Moore Show if that show's writers had been on crack and the producers had a budget to create real sets instead of ones that looked like cardboard.


The Secret Race: Inside the Hidden World of the Tour de France
The Secret Race: Inside the Hidden World of the Tour de France
Offered by Random House LLC
Price: $11.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What took so long?, September 22, 2012
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I share the sentiments of other reviewers who have, for years, covered their ears and hummed loudly whenever hearing the annual round of new allegations heaped on Lance Armstrong. Reading this book, with its unique internal fact-checking annotations by co-author Coyle, is throwing in the towel on that strategy. Had Armstrong not announced his "no mas, no mas" capitulation on fighting drug accusations a couple of weeks before it was released, I doubtI would have read the book. But having read it, I see Armstrong had no option. The book is so filled with intimate and personal details of Armstrong's doping activities, even the typical "attack the credibility of all accusers" strategy of Lance & Co had little hope of dispelling the mountain of accusations from the inner circle of Armstrong's organization. Surprisingly, like other accounts of the professional bicycling world, the book has a running caveat that goes something like this: These guys are still the greatest in the world at their sport -- the doping strategies were more about equalling the "health" of these supermen, so that the competition would be fair. The riders could even pass lie detector exams, they had so deluded themselves. I can't say I enjoyed the book. But like watching a train wreck, as much I didn't like what I was reading -- and even knowing where it would end, I couldn't take my eyes off it. Only had one nagging question: I know Hamilton had made most of these facts public long ago, why the book now? Was that a decision by lawyers? just curious.


Ada's Rules: A Sexy Skinny Novel
Ada's Rules: A Sexy Skinny Novel
by Alice Randall
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $21.87
57 used & new from $0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars What Ada gains while losing weight, May 5, 2012
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I'm a fan of Alice Randall's novels (especially the ones set in Nashville), but I'll confess that I didn't think the topic of this book sounded like something I'd relate to. So I was a very pleasantly surprised to find Ada's Rules not only entertaining and inspiring, but also a highly creative blending of two popular book-forms; something that I'd describe as a "mashup" in the way that term is used in popular culture these days. The chapter headings of the novel seem to come straight from the headlines and subject lines from hundreds of self-help books, magazine articles or blog posts -- "The Top 53 Lessons for Losing Weight." Except instead of having short essays with inspiring vignettes about people who follow each of the lessons, Randall weaves a fictional narrative that cleverly journeys through the advice. Not only is this an entertaining approach (to mashup a novel with a self-help book), I think having a compelling character who journeys through a plot line that moves a story through the advice tips is likely an effective mnemonic device that could help the reader actually remember the advice*. (*I'm not making that up -- I read about it last year in the book, Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything).


Gutenberg the Geek (Kindle Single)
Gutenberg the Geek (Kindle Single)
Price: $0.99

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What Would Gutenberg Do, February 28, 2012
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Last October, while reading Jeff Jarvis' Public Parts: How Sharing in the Digital Age Improves the Way We Work and Live,his compelling examination of the way in which the internet is changing -- and challenging -- various notions and cultural norms related to privacy and "publicness," I found myself intrigued with the chapter comparing Gutenberg and the era he ushered in, with the impact of the internet.

While I've read cursory attempts at such comparisons, Jeff's writing about Gutenberg was so fascinating, that I emailed him to ask where I could find more on the topic. Not only did he email me back some suggestions, he sent me a 5,000 word document he'd written about Gutenberg that had not made it into the book.

So I was thrilled to see that Jeff had self-published, Gutenberg the Geek as a Kindle Single ebook of 6,800 word, using this previously unpublished material to tell a completely different story that reminds us how history reveals to us patterns that never stop repeating themselves. (My only disappointment: He should have named the ebook "What Would Gutenberg Do?" in reference to his previous book, What Would Google Do? )

I found Gutenberg the Great similar to another one of my favorite Kindle Singles,Leonardo and Steve: The Young Genius Who Beat Apple to Market by 800 Years, a 14,000-word volume written by Stanford math professor Kevin Devlins, As Jarvis does with comparing Gutenberg and Silicon Valley startup guys, Devins compares the role Leonardo of Pisa (we know him as Fibonacci) with the role Steve Jobs played in introducing personal computing to our era.

In Jarvis' compact and concise book, he weaves in references and comparisons of Gutenberg's innovation and entrepreneurship to today's era of new technology and new business models built on that technology.

I feel certain no one else has written a book of any length that finds parallels in how Gutenberg and the founders of Airbnb.com funded their startups -- but it's that kind of informative, and fun, comparison that enables this to be an informative, but quick, read.


I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free
I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free
Price: $1.29

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars John Legend, The Roots, The song - all I need to say, January 4, 2012
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One of the most inspiring anthems of the 20th century, performed by some of that century's most inspiring performers, gets covered by two greats of the early 21st century. This is the best 99¢ you'll spend ever. Composed by Billy Taylor in 1951, the song seems timeless -- I used to think it was a spiritual from the late 1800s. This performance makes it seem timeless in another way, one that will continue to inspire those yearning to breathe free long into the future.


Goodnight iPad: a Parody for the next generation
Goodnight iPad: a Parody for the next generation
by Ann Droyd
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $9.48
283 used & new from $0.01

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Geek humor + Nostalgia = Awesome, January 4, 2012
This is a great book for a family of multi-generational geeks. Unlike the current best-selling (but vulgar) parody children's go-to-bed picture book (the one filled with the F-word), this is a book you can actually read to kids. I have no kids living in my house anymore (they've all grown up), so I read it to my dog Feste every night. Spoiler alert: "Goodnight Macbook Air" is my favorite part.


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