Book review time.

Opinions, opinions.  You have been warned:

Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami:  This is my first Murakami novel and I enjoyed it immensely. Fun, self-indulgent (think Irving) with tips of the hat to noir and dystopic SF. An immersion in beautiful writing and lovely ideas.

Convict Conditioning:   How to Bust Free of All Weakness — Using the Lost Secrets of Supreme Survival Strength by Paul Wade:

This may be the book with the longest and silliest subtitle.

Premise: Strength through progressive calisthenics using body weight as told by a former prison inmate.

Actuality: A body-weight approach to fitness. Very sound tips on injury, great explanation of forms (starting with very beginner (e.g. wall push-ups) to cross-fit games exercises (e.g. hand-stand push-ups.) The prison story? Likely fake given the following disclaimer “names, histories and circumstances have been changed partially or completely.”

Quick read, sound advice, and realistic work out schedules (emphasis on going slowly as joints, tendons, and ligaments do not strengthen as quickly as muscles.) For some reason the paper book is outrageously expensive on Amazon but the Kindle price was significantly less. Recommended to me by a Fitocracy pal in the UK. I love it.

(Note, I am 43, female, and a recovering couch potato.)

Unique featureDiscussion and photos of early 20th century strongmen. 6 pack abs before the invention of the “crunch”!

This is likely going to join the pantheon of fitness books that focus on body-weight exercises and/or non-gym training.

Ghost:  Confessions of a Counter-Terrorism Agent by Fred Burton:

Where to begin with this book?

Fascinating content, candid description of how a the US counter-terrorism portion of the diplomatic service originally had 3 overworked agent, 2 of them fresh out of training. Interesting anecdotes about the writer’s career.

However, two huge flaws:
(1) Cluttered writing
The author repeats himself ad nauseum – the type of warm jacket he wears, the car he drives, the fact that he sees the world as black and white and the nature of his work is shades of gray.

(2) No narrative
Counter-terrorism grows across agencies, his own organization blossoms, technology changes – but these are mere punctuation and not part of the story. Ugh.

What was truly interesting came in quick glimpses of a mere second or two –
How does one reconcile letting a killer go free (and be on the payroll) for information which may save lives in the future.  How does one balance family with vocation?

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