Rush Limbaugh’s The Way Things Ought To Be

Overview: Rush Limbaugh is better known as one of America’s premier talk radio hosts. Of course, he also happens to be rather conservative in his beliefs. Unabashedly conservative, even, so people either love or hate him. Want to see how Mr. Limbaugh thinks life should be working? It might be a fun trip.

Story Telling: This is a combination of a political commentary and a memoir.

Likes: For the most part, Mr. Limbaugh gives common sense solutions to many of the problems facing mainstream America. Let’s face it, whenever you throw money at a problem, the problem seems to grow bigger. It doesn’t seem like that’s the optimal solution.

Favorite Quote: This is something that we all need to chase away the negativity that life can throw at us. “ This country has not run out of opportunity. Your children can live in an America that is better, safer, more moral, and more prosperous.”

Conclusion: It appears as if Mr. Limbaugh is a controversial figure simply because he does not beat the drum for the DNC. Last time I checked, we should be able to judge all things for ourselves. The true question is: why would anyone be threatened by an opposing view?

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Charlie Daniels’s Never Look at the Empty Seats

I received this book for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Overview: I’m sure most people heard “The Devil Went Down To Georgia.” At least anyone who spends very much time at all listening to country music stations has. Of course, Mr. Daniels has not been shy about voicing his opinions on his “Soapbox” column. So, what can he tell us about life as a musician?

Story Telling: This is a memoir. As far as I can figure, that is a looser form of an autobiography.

Dislikes: The only real dislike I have is that Mr. Daniels doesn’t have a chronological order. Though he does seem to keep his jumps situated in the same decade.

Likes: Mr. Daniels takes a “no prisoners” approach to life. And, as his poem to senior students Moore and Leonard would indicate, he doesn’t care–or worry–much about offending anyone.

Favorite Quote: This is meant for fledgling musicians, but it works for all creative types as well as other professionals. “I realized early in my quest that there is no set of maps that can chart your course for you. There is only trial and error, growing some thick skin, getting up one more time that you get knocked down, and never ever giving up. And that requires some sacrifices.”

Favorite Story: Now that would be the chapter titled: “I Ain’t Nothing but a Simple Man, They Call Me a Redneck, I Reckon that I Am.”

Conclusion: This is a good book for those who like to read–or hear–stories from past generations, or any Charlie Daniels fan. Enjoy the trip down Charlie’s memory lane.

Bill Swann’s Five Proofs of Christianity-A Circuit Judge Looks at His Life

I received this book for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Overview: Judge Swann has spent the better part of his life in Tennessee. During that time, he has been a judge (still is at times), an aspiring poet, and an avid article-writer. Here’s a look into his life, maybe it can give you some insight to some of your situations.

Story Telling: This is another composite book. It’s one part memoir, one part poetry, and one part article collection.

Likes: Judge Swann has one heck of an attitude. He tells you like he sees it. Oh, for those who need a trigger warning, Judge Swann takes on many of today’s issues, from same-sex marriage, to affirmative action. He even takes on Christianity. Be forewarned, you may not agree with the man, but you will get his opinion.

Dislikes: Um, honestly, I didn’t get the poetry. It’s not something that I usually enjoy.

Favorite Article: It would be the namesake article “Five Proofs of Christianity.”

Favorite Quote: “Opinions are the product of intelligence guided by reality.” Of course, you might be wondering about some of the realities that your colleagues are living in.

Conclusion: This is a pretty good book. Sometimes you need to hear form the prior generation.

E.E. Smith’s Boardinghouse Stew

I received this book courtesy of Ms. Nunn for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Overview: In 1943, a young Eileen Smith was hired to work at ‘Mrs. Mumson’s’ “guesthouse.” (Let’s not upset anyone by calling it what it is, a boardinghouse.) Here is the four month period of Eileen’s kitchen…experiments…and all the gossip that lives in such a close community.

Story Telling: From Ms. Smith’s own words: “Boardinghouse Stew” is her memoir, based on her most famous play by the same name, that, unfortunately for us all, was written some forty-plus years after the facts. As such, even she isn’t sure how much is accurate, and how much is little more than fanciful recollections of ‘the good old days.’

Likes: You have to like Eileen’s work ethic. She is better at the cleaning job than I am. The place wouldn’t look near as nice as it did if I was cleaning it.

Oh, I would like to think that Ms. Smith correctly inferred Teddy’s job (the only real man, other than Doc, in the book.)

Patsy and Doc were cute. But I’ll thank her not to visit Doc while he is with a patient.

Margaret needed those who stood beside her. I’m glad that Teddy and the others were there when she needed them the most.

Dislikes: I’m sure Mrs. Mumson was a kind old lady, but I would work for her. She seemed to short change a lot of people.

Howard was a very bad Christian. Here’s a surprise for all who think like him out there: if it is a sin for a woman to have sex outside of marriage, then it is a sin for a man to have sex outside of marriage as well. I just wish that Teddy had hit him harder.

And Iris. Please don’t start with her. She was a…well…domineering woman who, seemingly, saw the war as a chance to prove her worth.

Favorite Character: I like strong, upstanding men. That is why I liked Teddy. He encouraged others to look on the bright side, but also insisted that they do the right thing.

Favorite Quote: I hope that Doc lived long enough to witness his hopes come true. “I just hope I live to see a world where children grow up with no threat of polio, smallpox, or even measles!” Of course, if he is still alive, he might want to smack a few people right now.

Favorite Scene: The best parts were Eileen’s reaction to Iris wearing the gas mask, and when Teddy gave Eileen the card. Or how about when the tension between Howard and Teddy came to a head? Howard so deserved it.

Conclusion: This was a terrific story. I’m proud to admit that it made my library. Please consider it for yours.

Gary Rex Tanner’s The Oklahoma Gamblin’ Man

I received this book courtesy of Mr. Tanner for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Overview: Rex Tanner had an interesting life. These stories lead us from his early years in the Oklahoma countryside, to his time in California during the Depression and thereafter.

Story Telling: How many of us have heard stories from our parents and/or grandparents and were just fascinated by them? Well Mr. Tanner has taken this fascination one step further. He has written his Daddy’s stories down, making this a special kind of memoir.

Likes: Rex did a lot of bad things in this book, but–with a few exceptions–he did what he had to do for his family’s sake. It will really give you a feel for The Great Depression era.

Dislikes: The problem that I had with this book came in the last two chapters…er, the last chapter and the epilogue. The didn’t seem to fit with the spirit in the rest of the book.

Favorite Character: I liked Effie. She was able to keep a house full of children running, and still had time to teach those interested how to read.

Favorite Quote: Now I personally disagree with the assessment, but here we go. “Rex had one weakness in business: he was an eternal optimist.” Optimism can’t be that bad.

Favorite Scene: Rex going to speak with Frank, after his brother had pulled a knife on the bartender, was pretty good. Bet they were watching what they said in that bar for a while afterwards.

Conclusion: It’s a tidy collection of short stories. But if you want my advice, skip the last chapter and the epilogue.

Greg Zito’s History of Street Cops: Gangs, Guns, and Cabrini Green Snipers

I received this book courtesy of Mr. Zito for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Overview: Mr. Zito spent eighteen years as a street cop in some of the most violent days of Chicago’s history. In that time he’s been shot at, threatened and had to deal with…politics. This is his story.

Story Telling: Memoirs are interesting to catch. They seem to be a bit more emotional auto-biographies. That, and they also seem to be structured around a single timeframe, and not the author’s whole life to that point. Mr. Zito’s timeframe is his police days.

Likes: Mr. Zito made sure that his readers could understand how dangerous a cop’s job is. I appreciate the fact that Mr. Zito showed great restraint in his descriptions. Some of the situations that he found himself in were pretty gross.

Dislikes: Many of the individuals, that Mr. Zito met, would drive me crazy. I also would have preferred to know Mr. Zito’s feelings about legally owned guns, but he was clear on his beliefs on the illegal ones.

Favorite Character: Mr. Zito’s partner, Billie, was a pretty good guy.

Favorite Quote: Here’s why I like Billie. “Bill called them and told them they better make sure they took care of me and covered my back, and that if anything happened to me, they could have to answer to him.”

Favorite Scene: The best part was Mr. Zito’s memories of the wedding photo shoot. It may have cost him, but it hat to have been worth it.

Conclusion: This is a good book. Perhaps those who believe that the cops are just out to get people–based on either their color, creed, or class–should read this. It can only help.

Mary Jo Wisneski Johnston’s Doggie Delicious

I received this book courtesy of Dr. Johnston for a fair and honest review.

Overview: Bibi is a very special dog. She has always wanted to try something new. So it’s not too surprising when she figures out how to fly.

Story Telling: Dr. Johnston had a very interesting idea. The story starts out like a memoir, then merges into a magical realist style.

Likes: The ideas were kind of cute. Bibi has a fun loving spirit.

Dislikes: My only problem is that some of the names are hard to pronounce. Thankfully, Dr. Johnston uses nicknames a lot.

Favorite Character: I liked Pampa the best.

Favorite Scene: my favorite part was the play day.

Conclusion: It was a fun book. Some of the names will require a parent or other loved one to read with the child for the best chance at fun.

Mark Cornelison’s Undressed: Taking Everything Off and Putting On What Matters Most

I received this book courtesy of Mr. Cornelison for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Overview: Mr. Cornelison, one half of the Cornelison team on Season 13 of ‘The Biggest Loser,’ wishes to show us how Go used a reality show to change his life. So basically, it’s a memoir.

Story Telling: Remember what I said about the overuse of italics in the last book? This one was loaded with them. Needless to say, it was a slow read.

Likes: There were nice summarizing points at the end of each chapter.

Dislikes: I didn’t care for all of the italics. There must be a better way for emphasis. Nor did I care for the Christian vie of weight gain. Please tell me where in the Bible God says “Thou shalt not be fat.” Or, even better, which Biblical group had a problem with Jesus being a glutton?

Favorite Scene: I like how Mr. Cornelison spent the time with his son.

Conclusion: You’ll probably like this one if you liked ‘The Biggest Loser.’ Personally, I never have watched the show, nor do I wish to start, but to each his own.

Richard P. Flynn’s Irishmen Don’t Cry A Medical and Emotional Journey with ALS

I received this book courtesy of Mr. Flynn for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Overview: Mr. Flynn wants to let us in on a little secret. What’s the secret you ask? It’s that with the help of your family and the right frame of mind, you can live with anything and keep a positive attitude. It isn’t all talk either. Mr. Flynn has ALS. And he seems pretty happy.

Story Telling: This is a different way to write a memoir. The format is more like a scrapbook-styled journal.

Likes: I like the optimism Mr. Flynn lives with. Life can’t be too inspiring in his position. Yet, as long as he can enjoy skiing then he is happy.

Dislikes: I read with a reading partner. The additional information–those pieces given by his doctors, his wife Nancy, and his aide Carolyn–are all written in italics. These are rather large chunks that hurt the eyes. Perhaps it’s just a formatting issue.

Favorite Scene: My favorite story of Mr. Flynn’s involves his college days and the mooner. That’s all I’m going to say about that.

Conclusion: This can help put your life in perspective. Though it can e hard reading. Hard in the terms that it can be difficult to keep happy while hearing what is happening to someone else. Pick a happy day to read this one.

Deborah Smith Parker’s The Horse That Haunts My Heart

I received this book courtesy of Mrs. Parker for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Overview: Mrs. Parker has invited us along for a trip down her memories to the three summers that she spent with Tank, the horse she rode at a working ranch camp.

Story Telling: This memoir was simplistic in style, and made for easier reading than some of the serious stuff should allow. It’s a good one afternoon read.

Likes: I’m a bit horse crazy myself. Spending time at the camp was kind of fun. Tank sounds like he would’ve been a blast to be around.

Dislikes: My major problem with this memoir had to do with the allegations of Sam’s molestations of some of the other campers. My problem is that this book was written over fifty years after the fact. Sam is unable to defend himself against this accusations, and, as Mrs. Parker herself has admitted, she wasn’t a victim, just a shoulder to cry on. She could have said simply that she and Sam had a falling out.

Favorite Scene: My favorite part was when Take made a path through the bramble rather than risk the girls’ lives that were with him.

Conclusion: This book was great. Just the sexual component, as well as some of the New Age beliefs make it so that this is a book that young girls shouldn’t read without parental guidance, they’ll need it.