28. Dickens, Charles. A Tale of Two Cities (397 p.)
29. Serling, Robert J. The President's Plane is Missing (287 p.)
30. West, Morris L. The Shoes of the Fisherman (288 p.)
31. Thomas, Craig. Firefox (294 p.)
June total: 1266 pages
YTD total: 9058 pages
• I'd never read A Tale of Two Cities before; I hadn't realized that both the first phrase ("It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...", followed by 38 more words before we get to the end of the sentence) and the last sentence ("It is a far, far better thing I do...") both come from the same story. Otherwise, whenever there were English characters in a scene, I could easily follow what was going on. Whever there were only French characters, I always got so muddled that I plan on tracking down the Cliffs Notes for this just to find out what was really going on.
• I think sigma7 or motteditor might like The President's Plane is Missing if they haven't read it already. The focus for a large part of the book is on a group of newsmen from a lower-tier competitor to AP trying to prove whether or not the "President" aboard Air Force One when it crashed in an Arizona gulch may actually have been an impostor. And there are lots of news conferences. (The story is a bit dated, as forensic medicine has made leaps and bounds for body identification beyond simple dental records and fingerprints, and modern communication would render some of the points of suspense meaningless, but the newsie angle differentiates it from similar suspense/thrillers. (And, to loosely tie this in with a conversation from sigma7's journal, the Vice President, who thinks of himself as the next Harry Truman, at one point seriously considers the benfits of preemptive nuclear war against China.)
• I think reynardine might very much like Shoes of the Fisherman, as it's a character-driven tale about the Roman Catholic Church and how God works in the world and changes hearts. The main character is Kiril I, the first pope from Russia (15 years before John Paul II was elected), and the setting is Rome in the very heart of the Cold War. It's very obviously written pre-Vatican II (it was published while the council was just getting under way), and recommends some of the changes that were eventually adopted, as well as suggesting more. Overall, it's a sympathetic portrayal of the Pope and the Church, though one that isn't afraid to point out some of the more obvious flaws of the way the Church operated pre-1963.
• Firefox is a good, solid, military thriller, and the Clint Eastwood movie was mostly remarkably true to the book, all things considered. 'Nuff said.
Feudalism: Serf & Turf