1Q84 is probably the best book that I have ever "read." Over my 67 years I have read thousands of books, some of the greatest books, but 1Q84 is probably the best. Murakami is an amazing author who can deliver more than most other successful authors.

I will not even try to describe the plot of 1Q84 because it contains things such as: two moons in the sky, miniature angels or demons called “Little People,” ghosts knocking on the door demanding payment, insemination-by-proxy, and air chrysalises which are cocoons created by the Little People in which pod-like human replicas, called dohta, are born.

I highly recommend that you read some of Murakami's other works before embarking on 1Q84. I suggest that you begin with Norwegian Wood, The Windup Bird Chronicle, Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, and Kafka on the Shore before you begin reading 1Q84. Your reading time will be well spent and your horizons and vistas will be expanded.

I also recommend that you read Charles Baxter's review in The New York Review of Books entitled Behind Murakami's Mirror.



Kushiel's Chosen

"Kushiels's Chosen"is the second book in Jacqueline Carey's trilogy of life in a fantasy world similar to Earth, during a period reminiscent of our Renaissance. This novel, a fantastic romantic adventure, is every bit as exciting as her first book, "Kushiel's Dart." This book picks up on the exciting life of Phedre no Delauney where the first book left off.

I highly recommend this series. I have already downloaded the third book in  the series which I will "read" after Stephen King's latest book.




That Used to Be Us: How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back--Thomas Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum

I truly believe that all Americans should read this book. Friedman and Mandelbaum outline how America became great and how America has gone off track from the successful formula that we once used to reach the top. I pretty much agree with everything they say including their solution to our problem.

Before going any further, I want to emphatically state that they are bipartisan, blaming both sides, Red and Blue, for the dire situation the US is in at this time.

They divide the book into the following parts:

Part 1: The Diagnosis

Part 2: The Education Challenge

Part 3: The War on Math and Physics

Part 4: Political Failure

Part 5: Rediscovering America

I am not going to go through each of these sections--read the book. However, as an example take Part 3, The War on Math and Physics. This section has nothing to do with academic math and physics. It is a treatise on how politicians are altering and ignoring the math of economics. For example, supply-side economics has not worked in the US and will not work if you look at the numbers. It only works for those who "believe." The War on Physics is about those who deny global warming and climate change. It is the same group who think the world is six thousand years old and people roamed the plains with dinosaurs. The Earth is warming and the authors tell us that we better do something about now when it is cost effect because in the future no amount of money will solve the problem. . . They give reasonable solutions to all of the problems that they discuss.

I really liked how they opened the book to set the scene for what was coming later. They tell the story of Friedman's trip to China where he visited a convention center, which is many hectares in size, that was built in 8 months. The Chinese are using this center for conferences to show off their new technologies. In contrast Friedman tells of a broken escalator at his Metro stop in Washington that took two years to repair. I rest my case.



The Map of Time: A Novel by Felxi J. Palma

This is a really enjoyable read or in my case listen. If you like sci fi, history, and literature, you will probably enjoy this book. You are taken back to 1888 Victorian London where you meet many interesting characters such as H. G. Wells, Jack the Ripper, Bram Stoker, Henry James, the Elephant Man, and others. The story revolves around H. G. Wells' Time Machine. Yes, it is a story about time travel.


The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein

I am so happy that I decide to revisit Robert Heinlein after so many years. I had not read this book, The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, and decided to add it to my audio book list. As always Heinlein tells a great futuristic tale with lots of good science and politics. This story takes place in 2076 on the moon where earth's outcasts have been sent, not unlike transportation to Australia for English criminals. The story revolves around the following characters: Mannie, an engineer and narrator; Prof. de la Paz; fiery Wyoming "Wyoh" Knott; and a newly sentient supercomputer named Mike. How could you not like such a book?? Essentially these main characters overthrow the "warden" of this penal colony and deal with the consequences of earth's retaliation. I will say no more other than this is a really good book. Check it out.