Reading: Week of August 12, 2013

Fall of the Giants, by Ken Follett

A friend of mine who is a Boeing marketing executive recommended this book to me. At 1,000 pages in hardback, it’s a brick (and a half). My friend, who travels more than anyone I know as he visits Boeing’s airline customers around the world, no doubt had the wisdom to carry it in ebook form. I have not been so wise. A power library user, I checked it out, got started and hooked, then was stuck with the brick (and too stubborn to return it). I have lugged it on a business trip and a vacation, and, as it came during a particularly busy period, I have not plowed through it as I normally would.

I’m enjoying the book and would recommend it–particularly for those who enjoy historical fiction and/or epic novels. This, the first of a trilogy, relates the tales of a number of families from different countries (U.S., U.K./Wales, Germany and Russia) during World War 1. The characters’ lives become intertwined in a series of coincidences that are  a little insulting to a sophisticated reader. But I forgive that. History is most appealing to me when told in the context of a story, so this is a telling of World War ! that is compelling for me. I know how it ends, but I look forward to learning how the personal stories of these characters will unfold. And then to offload the brick. Check it out. (I mean, buy it on Kindle.)

Reading: Week of July 22, 2013

City of Gold: Dubai and the Dream of Capitalism, by Jim Krane

At Executive Travel, we’re working on a special issue on the United Arab Emirates. I have read and referenced this book as I work out the details of the articles I’m editing. It’s a fascinating read about a fascinated place.

Favorite takeaway: Just a generation ago, the bedouin leaders, whose children are now giant real estate moguls, were illiterate.

The House of Mondavi: The Rise and Fall of an American Wine Dynasty, by Julia Flynn Siler

Earlier this month I read an affable memoir by Robert Mondavi, so this more journalistic and well-rounded presentation of the famous rift in the Mondavi family and the later strife with Mondavi’s sons’ role in the company is amusing me. This is a very meaty read, but for Napa Valley lovers, it’s essential background to understanding the valley’s history and culture.