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Captain Fantastic

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  1. Yep. This was Ford's greatest failing with the feature. You can turn it off, but you have no option to make "off" your baseline. You have to push the button every single time you start the vehicle. Annoying isn't a strong enough word. Why? As mentioned before, Ford wouldn't get credit for it as gas-saving/pollution-reducing feature if the consumer had the option of just leaving it turned off. It had to be automatic (hence, the black market dongle solution that permanently disables it). Get the government out of my truck!
  2. Just finished A Gentleman in Moscow. Due to my schedule the past few weeks, I had to grab it in snippets where I could -- which is NOT how this type of book should be read -- so it took me a while to finish it, but thoroughly enjoyed it nonetheless. Be advised that this is not a page turner when it comes to action or thrills, but the writing is stylistically superb. The reading experience is akin to sinking into a comfy leather chair with a glass of good whiskey (or, in honor of this book, perhaps vodka). In other words, the book is comfortable and thoroughly a pleasure to read. Bonus points for being educational -- a fiction story with sprinklings of Russian history in the 1920s-1950s time period in which it takes place. And a few unexpected twists. Of course, my tastes normally run more toward thrills than languid reading so I probably won't rush out to read all the other books by Amor Towles right away, but this particular novel is worth the time invested. I shall now return to the trash I normally read and enjoy.
  3. Aaaawwww....thanks for making my day, @facook. Very glad Hostile Takeover was worth your time. Hope you feel the same way about Second Son.
  4. Finished Billion Dollar Loser a couple weeks ago. The story of the spectacular rise/fall of WeWork and its founder Adam Neumann. Certainly interesting in terms of looking at the uber-crazy (pun intended) era of over-funded pre-profit "unicorns" of Wall Street. The book itself was good-not-great. It's the sort of thing Michael Lewis would write about but do it much better (no offense intended to the author). The challenge with the book was that it very much feels like a set of journalistic essays rather than a single-book narrative, which is not surprising because that's basically how the book came into being. For instance, The Wolf of Wall Street was compelling because it was written from the first person point of view (by the guy whom the story was about) so it held a nice, linear "here's what happened, when/why/how, and here's where I ended up" flow. And the book was partially business but much more so human craziness. Billion Dollar Loser takes snippets from various parties and alludes to the human craziness, but it's not exactly linear and probably tries to cover too many bases (totally understandable given the scope of the story). It's one of those "okay" books where, upon turning the final page, I felt informed but not moved. But definitely worth your time if you like reading about business successes/failures from a not-all-business point of view. Started A Gentleman in Moscow the other day (back to fiction! yes!). About a third of the way through. Enjoying it so far. Feels cozy thus far. Interested to see if it develops intrigue or thrills. Side note - Just noticed that Dean Koontz is doing a "Season 2" of his Nameless series. The first book is now on my Kindle. I think this is SUCH a fascinating (and anticipated) development for authors. Basically telling a series of linked stories and selling them one at a time - akin to the serialized novel so popular in the time of Dickens with Stephen King attempting to reignite it with The Green Mile years ago (anyone else buy those installments one-at-a-time like I did?). Anyway, I'm a sucker and kind of like buying "books" that have less than a hundred pages and paying $1.99 for it. They're short and readable in one sitting. And I'll confess to enjoying Koontz's Nameless series (who knew it was just "Season One" of the series?). Good stuff.
  5. Thanks, @Joe Mammy! If it helps the reading experience, my voice is like a cross between Patrick Stewart and James Earl Jones. Or perhaps my voice sounds absolutely nothing like them but that would be a cool voice to hear in your head while you read the book so knock yourself out.
  6. Thanks, @facook. Much appreciated. Hope the book proves worth your effort!
  7. About to sound hopelessly self-promotional, but since you mentioned trilogies, I'll post this for the whole team... Hostile Takeover (Volume One of the Hostile Takeover Thrillogy) is currently on promotion on Amazon. Kindle edition available FREE this weekend (Sat 5/22 - Sun 5/23). The book is currently ranked #1 in Amazon's "Suspense" category (nothing like offering something free to increase downloads), but it will likely drop back to the ranks of anonymity soon. The series is composed of thrillers (obviously) which are standalone stories but tied together with a few recurring characters and an underlying thread related to the bad guys. Some of our FBG readers have taken the dip and reported favorable results (THANKS, GUYS!!). All this to say, if you have a Kindle, feel free to download for zero dollars just in case you ever want to read it someday. Self-promotional commercial over. In books being read (the point of the thread), I'm in the middle of "Billion Dollar Loser" - story of the founder of WeWork and that spectacular flameout. About halfway through. Interesting. Shades of Wolf of Wall Street but not quite as compelling (significantly lower quantity of hookers and blow in this one). Still, seems worth the time thus far.
  8. Read the new Stephen King book - Later - last month. Enjoyable read. Fascinating that King has really chameleon'ed himself in his later years. It feels like maybe 50% of his books these days would fall under the "classic King" category (probably more like a third). No complaints here. I've always felt King is a masterful storyteller in whatever he puts his mind to (though he has had a couple of clunkers IMO...can't win 'em all). And even in writing outside his most popular niche of "horror", he still feels like King and is eminently readable. I'm now wrapping up another Wodehouse book - Thank You, Jeeves - which is fantastic as ever...though this particular volume would come under high scrutiny today given some of the subject matter (spoiler alert - two separate English gentlemen characters don blackface for various reasons). Not sure what's next on the horizon. I have some time on a beach coming up. Some sort of reading material will be held in the hand not gripping an umbrella drink.
  9. I've also just introduced myself to Wodehouse the past few months and didn't realize how dashed empty my life had been up to that point. The good news about the Bertie/Jeeves books is that Wodehouse's style didn't change much at all from the first to the last (whether this is a compliment or an indictment probably depends on who you ask, but I'm a big fan of the consistency). In other words, if you start with a later book, you aren't encountering characters who have changed dramatically over the series nor a writer whose style has "elevated" to a different reading experience. However, there are recurring characters that become slightly more meaningful if you've read the series from the beginning (and Bertie will sometimes refer to past events and how they've shaped his outlook in whatever unusual circumstance he now finds himself in). Whether you start with the first couple of books (which are set up as short stories) or the later novels (like Code of the Woosters, which actually maintains a novel-length narrative told in chapters), you're going to have a great time. Side note, you'll also find yourself wanting to use "dashed" and "rummy" and "what?" with considerably more frequency than before you read these books.
  10. Thanks, @Poke_4_Life! Very glad you enjoyed the books. The trilogy is complete but the door is certainly open to revisit a character (or two) in a future thriller, and that particular gentleman likely has more stories to be told. Having said that, I will confess that my next book (the current work-in-progress) is completely unrelated to the Hostile Takeover Thrillogy. It's going to be a mystery with plenty of humor, not quite as serious as the trilogy (though I did try to integrate enough humor in those three as well to prevent them from being "dark" since I prefer light moments even in "serious" thrillers). Thank you again - and to all our FBGs who have given the books a whirl - I really appreciate you guys.
  11. That's an entirely separate poll. Highly divisive cereal (and the most ready-made for a Seinfeld bit...they're not grapes, they're not nuts, what's the deal?). I used to eat them to feel healthy then realized how calorie-dense they are (though calories of relative quality). Cereal stays off my radar these days. So delicious, but I can't come anywhere near the recommended serving size and feel full. Oh, and I lost a tooth eating a bowl of FrankenBerry when I was little. Thought you all should be aware of this fact. Carry on.
  12. Bravo and congrats. Happy days ahead (with "happy" sometimes stepping aside in favor of exhausting, bewildering, frustrating and rewarding). All best to you and the whole expanded clan.
  13. Okay, this may come across as self-serving, but I'll put it out there anyway because I've had others in the financial services industry do this with positive results (Goldman, Merrill, etc.). I wrote a Christmas book a few years ago. Hardcover is out of print but I still have a few boxes for things like this. The Three Christmases of William Spencer hit #1 on Amazon's holiday book list and has 200+ 4/5 star reviews on Goodreads. Not saying that as a "look at me", just letting you know that it's legit and wouldn't embarrass you if given to clients. The "nice" edition is red linen, gold-embossed hardcover. It's fairly short (the audio book version is 57 minutes). And you can always check it out on Kindle for cheap. Anyway, if you're in a bind and want something different for your clients, I can sign/personalize books and ship them to you for personal distribution or directly to individuals. I'll typically sign something along the lines of "Warmest wishes for a merry Christmas and a thank you for your business on behalf of gruecd." (or whatever you want) Hardcover books are $14.95. I'll sign for free (FBG'ers get all the perks). But you'll need to cover shipping. For what it's worth, the book is fiction and family friendly (think "Chicken Soup for the Soul" warmth). There is a component of Christianity (the main character prays in the third story), but it's not a religious book. You can read more about it on Amazon. PM if interested. If not, no offense taken.
  14. That's great, DQ! Thanks for the shout out. Since this is our reading crew, I'll broadcast the news (please forgive the self-promotion). Very happy to announce that FINAL RECKONING was officially released on Dec 4th. Phew! This book wraps up the Hostile Takeover Thrillogy. If you've read the first two books (Hostile Takeover and Second Son), I hope you enjoy this one and find it a satisfying conclusion to the story. Beyond the thriller trilogy, if anyone is interested in a shorter, family-friendly Christmas story, please feel free to check out The Three Christmases of William Spencer. This was my first book and hit #1 on Amazon's holiday book sales once upon a time. 🎄 And if you want something completely different, Tango Six is a screenplay I wrote a year ago. It's an action adventure (similar vibe of action and humor to what you'd find in an Indiana Jones movie...but with fewer bullwhips). Not many people read screenplays, but if you like that sort of thing, please give it a shot. Who knows? Maybe one of these days it'll get picked up by a studio and become a real movie (um, if anyone happens to know a studio exec, I'm open to an introduction...). Thanks for the personal messages some of you have sent. Very glad you like the writing. Hope you enjoy the new one!
  15. Anybody else showing a zero for Chase Claypool this morning? Weird...
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