My gift to you...

So... it's been a while since I posted any reviews, although I've finished several books and a movie. So here goes.
First up is Tomahawk by David Poyer. I'm a big fan of the whole "techno-thriller" genre... Tom Clancy, Steven Coonts, etc. and I think I may have a new favorite. If you look at my review of The Teeth of the Tiger by Clancy, you'll see that I want more from this genre than the good guys whacking the bad guys without a second thought. Tomahawk delivers. There are so many layers to this story that, for once in a thriller, you feel like the protagonist is an actual person. In fact this story focuses more on the internal conflicts that Dan Lenson has with working on a nuclear program and working in the military at all. How much force is too much force? Is violence ever justifiable? Is there a moral difference between nuclear weapons and conventional? These are just a few of the questions that are wrestled with in this book. And while the character answers some of them for himself, it is obvious that the author doesn't intend the book to answer them for the reader. 8 of 10
Next up is The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien. This book was chosen as part of the One Book, One Chicago program.The style is very interesting. It starts off with a documentation of the physical items that soldiers in the Vietnam War carried with them, and progresses to the things they carried with them emotionally. Later it spreads to the stories of why they carried these emotional artifacts. Finally the book progesses to the things that the veterans carry with them to this day. The book reads like memories. Short stories that connect, but jump around a bit and seemingly random changes of train of thought, but along a recognizable path. One of the most interesting aspects of this book is the examination of truth that it uses. It asks "What makes a story true?" This turned out to be a faster read than expected. 7 of 10.
Finally, a movie. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. Yup, finally went and saw it yesterday. What can I say... it was good. Very good. It's the kind of movie I might see more than once in a theater, and I almost never go to movie theaters. Visually stunning, emotionally powerful, long. And good. I'm not a rabid Tolkien fan, so while I realize that important aspects of the book were left out of the movie, I didn't miss them. If I want every aspect of the book, I'll read the book (again). I'm looking forward to The Hobbit when Peter Jackson does that one. I'll buy the DVD's eventually. 8 of 10.

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