This is the first of a very short Johnstone Clan series of two books, this one and ‘Border War’. This one has in it what the Johnstone Clan does best: Creating a well developed series of characters the reader cares about. It amazes me the scores of characters I’ve read about in the many Johnstone Clan books and how very few are similar. Really quite extraordinary.
The bad guys, on the other hand, can tend to be similar in the books I’ve read. The bad guys in this one are similar to a number of others in previous books.
The story unfolds and takes a few directions i didn’t see coming. No twist in the story, but, as can happen in Johnstone Clan books, characters do things and things happen to them that really moves the story and makes it even more intriguing.
The ending is not all that unexpected, but still satisfying. I’m going to straight to book 2 of the series.
Bottom line: I recommend this book.
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My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Nixon Smiley has collected a series of informative essays of various historical markers in Florida history. Each is very well written and most provide a very good back story to the points in history. I wish he had more details not otherwise found in so many other volumes, but I’m not sure how unique this book was when this book was published in 1972.
There are certainly better books that cover the material here more thoroughly, but this is a nice volume to introduce people to our fantastic Florida history.
The illustrations by Bob Lamme are very good.
Bottom line: I recommend this book.
Drew my Swampy, the Swamp Ape, as Batman for ‘Batman Day’. with him is Trilby, the baby alligator, as Robin.
I was part of an Hospice of Marion County fundraiser held at The Ivy House in Ocala, Florida. It was a terrific event with everyone decked out in their vintage best for this first annual Vintage Gala. I met some really great people who have done some extraordinary things for others. Amy, below, has been counseling children for fourteen years. The average time people help young people with severe difficulties is just a few years. Most I’ve met that run beyond the few years tend to be cold and a bit distant. Amy has an amazing attitude considering her length of service with Hospice.
Judy’s husband hunts the deer and hog and she cooks ‘em Southern style!
Below is Mimi, who owns the location of the event, The Ivy House. The Ivy House in Ocala is the second location. the first location is further west in Williston, Florida. Both are situated in historic homes and both are known for their outstanding Southern fare. I had the chance to speak to Mimi after the event about her restaurant, it’s 61 year history, their cookbook and many other things!
Of the recent run of legendary celebrity biographies I’ve read, this is one of the more thorough and better written. The first half of Wallach’s life, is well covered, with lot’s of very good stories and insights. Wallach dispels some popular notions involving Frank Sinatra and Marilyn Monroe.
It’s the rest of Wallach’s life that gets truncated to a short 30 odd pages, or the last 6th of the book. Seems maybe Wallach had written up to around his 50th year and editors said,”Hey! Keep this at less than 300 pages!”. So, Wallach did. I can see Wallach doing that.
Something else you can see while reading this book is Wallach narrating the book. The writing is very much in Wallach’s voice and seems to be nearly a transcript of an oral history at times.
I meant to read this book while Wallach was still alive. I realize I’d like to read some of my favorite actor’s stories before they die. I thought I would next go to a couple Doris Day books. Now James Garner has died and I’m going to ‘The Garner Files’ next.
Though, i wish there was much more recorded of Wallach’s life after the mid-60s, what is in the book as a whole is a delightful story of an accomplished actor’s life.
Bottom line: I recommend the book.
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My rating: 2 of 5 stars
This was the first of the Gardner books that I wasn’t crazy about. Seems to me that Gardner had the ending more in focus than building the rest of the book in a coherent manner. A lot of stretches of the imagination, especially involving plane flight schedules (recognizing this was written in the 1930s).
Also the characters weren’t as sharp as in other Gardner books. There are a number of twists that could leave a reader confused as to who is who.
The idea of the conclusion is sharp, but wonder if it could’ve been better presented for a dramatic touch.
Still this book is better than most and certainly better than the bulk of books written today. Though, I’d point to other Mason stories than this.
Bottom line: I don’t recommend this book.
This is my weekly cartoon for my Swampy’s Florida business. The cartoon of Florida history and trivia comes out each Wednesday.
I attended the first meeting of the new Central Florida Expressway board meeting this morning. The organization previously had been racked by scandal and accusations. This new board for the toll roads in Central Florida will hold sway of toll roads and soon-to-be-toll roads in four counties- Orange, Seminole, Lake and Osceola. Members of the board acknowledged to previous problems and sought not to repeat them.
It was a standing room only room. Seemed it was mostly filled with road builders and contractors. The fellow who oversees construction of the organizations roads was kind enough to get me a chair, after standing for a good part of the meeting. Once seated, i pulled out the sketchbook and doodled the above and another page of sketches.
Another of the images being used for upcoming Swampy’s Florida Christmas cards! It’s ready for color!