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I made it through three books in March. Doesn't sound like much but two of them were quite lengthy.

I started out with #22 in the Tom Clancy Jack Ryan series True Faith and Allegiance. Written by Mark Greaney. At over 700 pages it took a while to get through but it was in the true Clancy still and elicited a 5 star rating.

Next up was one of the most entertaining and informative books I've read in some time. Richard Ben Cramer's What It takes: The Way to the Whitehouse is a comprehensive, in-depth look at the 1988 American election. His sweeping study covers contenders George Bush, Robert Dole, Michael Dukakis, Gary Hart, Joe Biden and Dick Gephardt, among others. Referred to as a cross between Tom Wolfe and Hunter S. Thompson, Cramer's research here is exhaustive. At over 1000 pages if you'e a political junkie like I am you want this on your bookshelf. Another 5 star rating.

I closed out the month with Dennis Lehane's 5th in the Kenzie and Gennaro private detective series Prayers for Rain. I like this series and I'm a big Lehane fan and thought I'd read all six but realized this month I'd skipped over this one. 4 stars for this enjoyable detective novel.

With these 3 books my yearly total has risen to 14 books. I've gotta start reading shorter books.

Part of the reason for only a few books this week was due to the time I spent watching certain series on TV. Billions, Designated Survivor, Madam Secretary, Big Little Lies and the binge sessions involving Grace and Frankie, Black Mirror and Broadchurch are some of the time-killers I engaged in.

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My Back Pages - November

I read five books last month bringing my year to date total to 61, well past the 50 I estimated at the beginning of the year. And I've yet to get through December.

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Next up was the auto-biographical I Am Brian Wilson of Beach Boys fame. This was somewhat of a scattered affair but an interesting read nonetheless. Wilson - or his ghostwriter - however is no Hemingway.

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My Back Pages - 2016

Here, as promised is a month-by-month breakdown of the 67 books I delved into this year. I got off to a strong start and then my intake dwindled for a couple of months until picking back up in April. I'll let you in on my favourites at the end of this list.

January

Here, There and Everywhere:
My Life Recording the Music of the Beatles - Geoff Emerick - ****
H is for Hawk - Helen Macdonald - ***
Close To The Edge - The Story of Yes - Chris Welch - ***
Sweet Caress - William Boyd - ****


February

Purity by Jonathan Franzen 
Still Alice by Lisa Genova.


March

Natchez Burning - Greg Iles
The Promise (Elvis Cole #20) - Robert Crais

April

The Snowman (Harry Hole)- Joe Nesbo ****
Phantom (Harry Hole) - Joe Nesbo ****
The Leopard (Harry Hole) - Jo Nesbo ****


May

George Harrison Reconsidered ***
The Heart Goes Last - Margaret Atwood ****
Dropping The Needle - The Vinyl Dialogues Volume II ***
The Electric Mist with the Confederate Dead, (Dave Robicheaux #6) - James Lee Burke****


June/.July

 Lust and Wonder - Aug…

Traveling Along Singing A Song

Pete and Paulie were strolling along one day. The sun was bright, the air was cool, the birds chirped crazily in the trees and the squirrels  munched merrily on their nuts. Well not their nuts exactly. Nuts they found on the ground and in the gardens in the park.

Paulie felt so good he began to whistle. It wasn't any tune in particular, just one of those annoyingly tuneless whistles that wandered all over the place. Pete looked at Paulie and he squiggled up his nose and he said "What the hell is that?" Paulie replied "Oh nothing in particular. I'm just happy." "But you're not even whistling a tune" said Pete. Paulie replied "If you're so wise I'd like to see you do better, Pete."

Pete went silent for a moment and seemed to mumble to himself for a moment or two. Then he cleared his throat with a little cough, he opened his mouth and he began to sing.


"There once was a king very wise
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