Origin (Robert Langdon #5) by Dan Brown

Robert Langdon, Harvard professor of symbology and religious iconology, arrives at the ultramodern Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao to attend a major announcement—the unveiling of a discovery that will change the face of science forever by answering two of the fundamental questions of human existence. The evening’s host is Edmond Kirsch, a forty-year-old billionaire and futurist whose dazzling high-tech inventions and audacious predictions have made him a renowned global figure. 

As the event begins, Langdon and several hundred guests find themselves captivated by an utterly original presentation, which Langdon realizes will be far more controversial than he ever imagined. But the meticulously orchestrated evening suddenly erupts into chaos, and Kirsch’s precious discovery teeters on the brink of being lost forever. Langdon and Ambra Vidal, the elegant museum director who worked with Kirsch to stage the provocative event, flee to Barcelona on a perilous quest to locate a cryptic password that will unlock Kirsch’s secret.–DoubleDay Books, 2015

Book Review:

Where do we come from? Where are we going? are the two repeated questions in this atheist’s wet dream.  Full of conniving priests, murdering zealots, science and social revolution leaning away from the Catholic church. Like in Langdon’s past adventures, we get a tour of a beautiful country and its landmarks.  This time in Spain.  And again a beautiful, intelligent, yet non-romantic female counterpart in Ambra Vidal.

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Less by Andrew Sean Greer

A scintillating satire of the American abroad, a rumination on time and the human heart, a bittersweet romance of chances lost.-Lee Bordeaux Books; 2017

Book Review:

In an effort to ‘casually’ avoid the wedding of his 9-year f*ck boy and outrun turning 50, Arthur Less accepts every job, award ceremony, teaching assignment, and vacation invitation to be as far away as possible.  He encounters former lovers, rivals, old friends, locals, and his publisher on his travels from New York, across the world to Japan.

Less is told his writing is spoony, that’s he’s bad gay, told people over 50 are too old for love and that a relationship ending after 20 years is a great success.  While he ruminates on these statements he never comes to a conclusion of his own on the matters, except that he is a fool.  Which a book club would have a great time arguing for or against.  Does throwing together a trip around the world to places he’s never been, make him a fool or adventurous?  Or as the omnipotent 3rd party narrator would have you believe, brave?  Does avoiding love make you sensical or an idiot?

The style of writing that quickly flits between the past and the present is as The New York Times hails; inspired, lyrical, and elegiac. And is one of the few books I found myself reading more than once and I think you should at least read once yourself. –Buy it!  

Savages (Savages #2) by Don Winslow

Part-time environmentalist and philanthropist Ben and his ex-mercenary buddy Chon run a Laguna Beach-based marijuana operation, reaping significant profits from their loyal clientele. In the past when their turf was challenged, Chon took care of eliminating the threat. But now they may have come up against something that they can’t handle — the Mexican Baja Cartel wants in, sending them the message that a “no” is unacceptable. –Simon Schuster, 2010

Book Review:

Set during the late 2000s during the Obama administration, Savages’ short cast includes two drug dealers, a horny- rich-do-nothing and the Mexican cartel.  That about covers the character development. Each character is given a label and more or less stick to it.  The cartel says, ‘hey gringos, give us your weed or else’, the drug dealers say, ‘here take it, we’re getting bored with the biz anyway,’ but of course, it wouldn’t be much of a story if the cartel was civil about it or if the story was told in a consistent style.

The cartel takes the drug dealers’ horny- rich-do-nothing to incentivize them into doing things their way.  Which does nothing but start a war with both sides fight for what is theirs.  Their pothead-plaything, their territory, freedom, etc.  Political commentary taking jabs at Republicans, Democrats and the Iraq War are sprinkled throughout the fast-paced tale that never quite answers who is the real savage is.

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The Third Angel by Alice Hoffman

In The Third Angel, Hoffman weaves a magical and stunningly original story that charts the lives of three women in love with the wrong men. – Crown, 2008

Book Review:

The novel that follows the lives of three women of different ages and time period, ends on the theme of, ‘Find something to believe in’.  I don’t know how you could.  In the world Hoffman has created children are motherless, love is either pointless, forced and/or unrequited. Men will leave you for death or another women and all the women are beautiful, but mean and selfish. Despite the title referring to the angels of life, death and the one that walks amongst us, this story is far from angelic.–Borrow It