The Cooperating Witness
by Mike Avery (ebook, LibraryThing Early Review). This legal thriller/mystery is about the defense of a murder suspect, in a case that both the FBI and the mob have a lot of interest in. I liked and identified with both the mediocre, burned out defense attorney Bobby Coughlin and his ambitious, empathetic young intern Susan Sorella. Despite smooth prose and a few vivacious scenes of food and cooking, the writing is a bit dry. When Susan befriends another woman, their first conversation is just an exchange of curricula vitae, lacking real rapport. And a chapter from the POV of FBI agents is all bluster and procedure, like a bad cop show. But the story ends in an exciting trial that honors the rules of evidence without getting bogged down in them. 5 out of 8 sips of grappa.
by Joe Barrett (ebook, LibraryThing Early Review). This novel, which is about a tech tycoon who decides to ditch his smartphone and unplug from the world, begins with some of the funniest writing I've ever read. I laughed so hard it hurt, no exaggeration. Though this book isn't sci-fi, it reminded me of the droll farce of Douglas Adams's novels. I was really interested in how the unplugged lifestyle would work, and how the protagonist would manage all the idiots and manipulators in his life. The book dials the humor down a bit when the protagonist, finally liberated from distraction, looks inward and figures out who he wants to be. He gets involved in a social cause, a romance, and an identity mix-up that he doesn't want to resolve just yet. The climax has the nuttiness of a John Hughes movie until it crosses a line, and crosses it hard. Though I didn't enjoy the ending as much as the beginning, it makes its point well: attention is everything. 5 out of 8 defenestrated iPhones.
Winning the Game of Work: Career Happiness and Success on Your Own Terms
by Terry Boyle McDougall (ebook, LibraryThing Member Giveaweay): This is the first book I've received through the LT Giveaway program. The author, a career coach
, gives advice on finding your own path, listening to your internal cues while managing the "gremlin" on your shoulder, breaking away from your ingrained beliefs and others' expectations, avoiding perfectionism, dealing with toxicity, gaining recognition, delegating, and getting stuff done. I've heard a lot of this advice before from other sources such as the Jocko Podcast
, though the material on delegating is new to me and I think it will help. There is a lot of biographical fluff which can be skipped or skimmed as it's not vital for understanding the main points. Each chapter ends with a list of brainstorming questions; I didn't bother answering them, though others may find them useful. In general, this book can be helpful to those who feel stuck in their jobs or simply want to do better. 5 out of 8 pomodoro timers.
Pursuing Fedhisss: An Outer Space Odyssey
by William A. Glasser (ebook, LibraryThing Early Review): Two alien scientists named Urr and Fedhisss land in small town America. Fedhisss has destructive plans and Urr wants to stop him. This brief, breezy book feels like the extraterrestrial movies that were popular in the 1980s. It also takes time to raise questions on physics, metaphysics, and philosophy. It's fun, but the climax is not as exciting as I hoped it would be. 4 out of 8 slices of the best damn apple pie in the county.