11 February 2011


Are you like me?  A person who enjoyed [author:John Grisham|721]'s earlier books, but thought the last few were somehow lacking?  If so, this is the book for you.  With this book, Mr. Grisham is definitely back to the form that we all grew to love with books like [book:The Firm|5358], [book:The Pelican Brief|32499], and [book:The King of Torts|5356].  The story here involves a wonderful slate of characters as only Grisham can come up with.  A Lutheran minister who finds himself suddenly involved in the fight to stop an execution in Texas, a man who says he is the actual killer, the lawyer for the accused, the family of the accused, and the mother of the murdered girl.  Every character is brilliantly portrayed.  The way that they interact captures your attention from the beginning of the story all the way to the end.  Once Grisham sets up the story, it quickly becomes apparent that the story could go several ways.  At this point it becomes more and more difficult to put the book down as you feverishly turn pages in an attempt to see in which direction he will take the story.  By the last section, it is impossible to put the book down.  The result is a thrill ride of a book that will leave you breathless at the end.  I guarantee that, no matter what your beliefs are, this book will make you think long and hard about how you feel about the death penalty.

07 February 2011


The Borgia family has always held an allure for me since I lived on a street named after them when I was a child. In addition, I was raised a Catholic, so the Popes are intriguing to me, especially those during the period where the church was more of a political entity. When I heard that Showtime was doing a show about this family this spring, I decided now was the time to do some background reading and get the real story about the family. 

I had never read any books by Christopher Hibbert, but had heard from people in my history groups that he was a good read. I have to agree. Although this book is non-fiction, Hibbert has a very pleasing writing style. Couple that with the subject matter of the book, and you have a book that was not at all dry. These people make the modern day Organized Crime families and groups look like amateurs. Hibbert's book is filled with excellent descriptions and engrossing narratives interspersed with numerous quotes from written sources, many of which were alive at the time and knew the Borgias. 

I found this book an excellent starting place for my delve into the lives and times of the Borgia family. Although Hibbert's coverage of Pope Alexander VI and his son Cesare is extensive, his discussions about Lucrezia were few and far between, and he barely mentioned Jofre at all. I will look forward to doing more research to find out about them. All in all, though, this was an excellent read.