Jump to content


  • Content count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

About Binker

  • Rank


  • Location
    Dallas, Texas

Profile Information

  • Location
    Dallas, Texas
  • Current Book
    Any Human Heart by William Boyd (book group)
  1. Rest in Peace

    Princess Lee Radziwell and Bruno Ganz, both on February 16, 2019. I was not familiar with Ganz until I saw him in "Unknown." Quite a part.
  2. what is everyone doing?

    It's perfect for that trip! Someone on BGO went to Croatia at the same time I did in 2015, too, but I don't think it was you. Your trip won't be as brutal as ours. I have managed to not retain the knowledge of how long we will be in the air. It's going to be great. Momac, we don't get winter like you do, but it can be cold and a bit wet. We rarely get snow. Last night, I walked out of the grocery store to misting rain, which is not typical here, and a man and I stopped on the sidewalk in stunned surprise. Today is sunny, but colder than I would like.
  3. what is everyone doing?

    I "joined" a book club in real life. The reason "joined" is in quotes is that I kept resisting on the grounds that I don't like being told what to read, but my friend just told me I was in and then sent an email to the group that I was happy to join and assigned me March! I picked Any Human Heart because William Boyd hasn't quite made it over the pond. Last year, my friend picked Old Filth and the group loved it and was startled that they weren't familiar with Jane Gardam. I think I will get a similar reaction to William Boyd. I hope so. But before that, I am going to Istanbul for a week with my daughter! SO excited. This has been a long-time goal of mine and so we are just going ahead and doing it. I'm very excited. Will re-read The Architect's Apprentice before I go because Sinan designed just about everything we are going to see.
  4. Scrublands

    Maybe that makes it more believable in this one instance, but this is such a common trope with male authors of a certain age (I knew what the author would look like before I even peeked at the back cover) that it makes me roll my eyes and distracts from the otherwise stellar qualities of the book.
  5. Scrublands

    I finished and very much enjoyed it. It's a great story with a great sense of place. As someone who has always lived where it is very hot (humid hot in Miami and dry hot in Dallas), I could just smell the heat in this book. There's a temptation with books like these to veer off into some vast conspiracy that includes a number of governmental officials from many different countries, all of whom are able to keep elaborate secrets. This book managed to avoid that and it was a more enjoyable puzzle because of that. What I didn't like, as usual, was the love story aspect. I hate love stories because the women always act in unbelievable and usually very stupid ways. This particular love story includes a young (mid-20s) woman who falls rapidly into bed with and a little less rapidly in love with the older (over 40), somewhat worn male journalist who is writing the story. Even then, it would have been sort of believable in a woman who didn't have much going for her or a man who had a lot of money or power, but none of those factors is present here. The narrator goes on and on and on about how she is breathtakingly beautiful, obviously the only thing of value a woman brings to a relationship. I had thought that maybe it was an important plot point since it was emphasized so much. But it's not. It's just a not-very-believable aspect to a story that worked so hard to have everything else make sense. But for that complaint, which I have about a lot of books that I really like, this was an excellent and compelling read.
  6. The Aftermath

    I think there's now a movie made from this book. It probably emphasizes the love story aspect, which means I won't want to see it.
  7. Scrublands

    It appeared on my tablet, right on schedule, and I am reading it now. Very engrossing. Will report back when I am finished.
  8. David

    I agree, Meg. Very sad loss.
  9. Kurt Eichenwald is a journalist who has written several well-received books about business and business fraud. One was made into a movie with Matt Damon (the "Infomer") and the other was the best book about the Enron debacle, "A Conspiracy of Fools." I know his wife and I've met him a few times, but we are just casual acquaintances. This book is very different. It tells the story of his lifelong struggle with poorly-controlled epilepsy. He suffered through bad diagnoses, poor medical care, and terrible treatment from the college he attended. He grew up in Dallas, with a very normal, relatively-affluent childhood. He had had staring spells as a child, which everyone dismissed as unimportant, but then when he was 17, he had a full-fledged seizure that was obviously significant. His father was a doctor who mostly did medical research and so he thought that's the kind of doctor Kurt should go to. Turned out to be a bad plan, but then Kurt went off to college at Swarthmore college, outside of Philadelphia (meaning not close to home). His seizures were poorly controlled and his roommates ended up giving him a lot more care than they should have had to. He went to a different neurologist, who overdosed him on anti-seizure medications, not discovered until he went to Chicago for the summer and saw a third doctor, who did a better job, but really couldn't continue as his neurologist. His mother, who had always deferred to his father, found and insisted he be treated by a neurologist here in Dallas (who actually saw patients) and his treatment got back on track after that. But his seizures have never been fully controlled. In the meantime, the college doctor and college psychologist determined that he was a threat to the school and arranged for him to be kicked out. That was against the law, but they did it anyway. I have to say that it was so painful to read that part of the book that I had to put it down. Through the intervention of his neurologist and lawyers who advocated for the disabled, he returned to school and graduated with his class. He spoke about the book on Saturday night and said that the result of these experiences has made him simmer along in barely-controlled rage his whole life, which was perfect for the kind of journalism he wanted to pursue, but probably wasn't all that healthy. He also said that he has learned how to forgive. He found out that one of the few professors who had been good to him at college had been made President of Swarthmore and that man arranged for a completely perfect reconciliation. I highly recommend this book, even if you don't know someone with epilepsy.
  10. An Officer and a Spy

    I NEVER trust our leaders and am always shocked about how many people hero-worship a President or other politician. They almost never deserve that kind of adoration. I don't just mean Trump, whom all right-thinking people loathe, but also Barack Obama, whom my friends hero-worship, notwithstanding the fact that he did everything he could to expand executive power. Fortunately, the Supreme Court spanked his hand and wouldn't allow his executive orders to stand. That's how I knew that all those orders that Trump signed his first few days in office wouldn't stand up--because Obama had already tried to "rule" that way and been stopped. My guess is that he (or his advisers) knew it and just had him sign all that crap as a sop to his base.
  11. I just downloaded it and will check in when I'm done. I"m in the middle of one book and my pre-ordered Ian Ranking just appeared on my tablet (my favorite thing about pre-ordering), so It might be a little while.
  12. Review of 2018

    My stand out book was Lab Girl by Hope Jahren (non-fiction). I binge-watched "The Man in the High Castle" and am in the middle of binge-watching "The Americans." Both were great. There are other ones I started and haven't finished that are very good (including "A Very British Scandal," "My Brilliant Friend," and the show based on Patrick Melrose novels). I will report on them later. I didn't see many movies this year, but thought "Bad Times at the El Royale" was terrific. I went with my son and we had a long discussion afterwards about which character was the most evil and which was the most moral. Lots of competition in the first category. I generally only discover songs and my tastes in music aren't very sophisticated, so I won't put an entry for music.
  13. what is everyone doing?

    Tag, I am very sorry. It's incredibly difficult to lose a parent and even worse during the holidays.
  14. Book Lists 2019

    Here I am, right after Viccie, which I think is where I usually am. 1. A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness (01/19)*** 2. Bertie's Guide to Life and Mothers by Alexander McCall Smith (01/19)*** 3. A House of Lies by Ian Rankin (01/__/19)**** 4. A Mind Unraveled by Kurt Eichenwald (01/20/19)***** 5. Are You my Mother by Alison Bechdel (01__/19)****My second graphic novel by her 6. Killers of the Flower Moon, by David Grann (02/06/19)***** 7. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens (02/10/19)****
  15. what is everyone doing?

    Meg and Luna, I am so sorry to read your news. Meg, I have to say that I thought the same thing--well, I guess we know she doesn't have osteoporosis! An unfortunate way to find out, but ultimately good news. Luna, there are a number of people in my office who have Type 2 diabetes (to the point where I say that "diabetes runs in our office"). They have all been able to control it through diet and, ultimately, exercise, so I have high hopes for you. I have had trouble finding a book to enjoy, which probably says more about me than it does about the books. Will report in when that problem has been resolved.