For the past few years, one of my New Year's Resolutions has been to try and read a dozen books within the calendar year. So far this year, I've read through six books which means I'm not too far off of the pace. Unfortunately, the academic year starts at the end of August and with it comes a lot less time for pleasure reading! That all said, I have hope yet that I'll complete my goal!
You might be wondering what books I've read so far this year - and if that's the case, you are in the right spot! Welcome to another edition of Nachos Book Club.
The English Assassin by Daniel Silva
This is the second book in a series by Silva. I enjoyed this one quite a bit - it's a tale about the Swiss, the Nazis, stolen paintings, and musicians. Things tie in together quite nicely and the book moves along at a brisk pace. You don't need to read the first book in the series to enjoy this one (but I did read that one - see my summary of The Kill Artist here). Final score: 95/100
Leverage in Death by J.D. Robb
An apparent suicide bomber, kids as hostages, and mega-mergers amongst corporations all set in a futuristic world. I thought that I might enjoy this book as it's tangentially similar to other books that I have enjoyed - unfortunately, I did not care for it at all. Perhaps it's because I grabbed this particular book not realizing that it's actually book #47 (!) in the In Death series by Robb...perhaps it's simply that the writing, characters, plot, and dialogue didn't appeal to me. Either way, I won't be seeking out any more books from this particular series. Final score: 42/100
State of the Union by Brad Thor
Another book in a series (this is book #3 in Thor's Scot Harvath series). I hadn't read either of the first two books but that didn't stop me from enjoying this one. Ostensibly, it's about missing Russian nukes hiding out somewhere in America but there are enough other plot points to keep things interesting (and not simply cliched). Based on my enjoyment of this book, I think I may end up trying to seek out the first two in the series and give those a go as well. Final score: 90/100
The Confessor by Daniel Silva
This is the third book in Silva's Gabriel Allon series (the second being The English Assassin which I discussed above). I ended up liking this one even more than book #2! Here, the plot contains bits of the history between the WWII era Jews and the Catholics (especially the Vatican and Pope, in particular). I found the mix of fact and fiction here to be spot on and it made for an entertaining read! Final score: 97/100
Intervention by Robin Cook
Over the years, I've read (and enjoyed) a number of different Robin Cook books...unfortunately, Intervention was not one of them. I found this book to be terribly written and that was compounded by one of the worst book endings of any book that I've read in quite some time. Tack on a lot of "preaching" by the author about things like Chiropractics...oh yeah, and entire plot threads that simply disappear midway through the book and never reappear and you have one of the worst books that I've read lately. Final score: 15/100
Billion Dollar Whale by Tom Wright & Bradley Hope
I've listed the books I've read this year in order from oldest to newest, so Billion Dollar Whale is definitely freshest in my mind (and it's one of my top picks so far out of the books that I've read in 2021). This is the lone nonfiction book on my list today. The story follows Jho Low, a white-collar criminal who pulls fast ones over banks (big and small), governments, and Hollywood celebrities, seemingly at ease. So much greed (at every level) in this book, it kind of makes you wonder how the world really works...and it's no wonder the small guy always feels like he is losing. Final score: 95/100
For me, I think Billion Dollar Whale is the book that I'd most recommend out of the above six titles. For one, it's a true story (and amazingly interesting) and second, it's well-written with a surprising amount of pace and intrigue for a story that you might already know the ending of!
If all goes well, I'll have another six books to talk about closer to the end of 2021...and if I do, that'll be another successful New Year's Resolution for this year!