The Daily Bongo

November 2013

Friday, November 22, 2013 -- Evening

Cover of History Decoded by Brad Meltzer
History Decoded by Brad Meltzer
A year or so ago, I was scanning the TV list for a new interesting show. I found it when I saw the description for Decoded. The series, which so far ran for two seasons, was the brainchild of Brad Meltzer, and it fit into my interests like a hand in a glove. The show featured Scott Rolle, Christine McKinley, and Buddy Levy who would investigate historical controversies for Meltzer. The show looked at a variety of difference historical topics, such as the White House cornerstone, secret Presidential codes, the Statue of Liberty, and Secret Societies. The show was fascinating, and the team took a very rational view of things. They researched the conspiracies and controversies, and they formed rational responses. Loved the show! I wish that it had a third season.

Fortunately, Meltzer collected the ten greatest conspiracies of all time in a new book History Decoded. Of course, I got the book, and it was just awesome. Each chapter had supplemental materials that illustrated the conspiracies, held in an envelope at the start of each chapter. Each section was short, but full of information. The countdown to the top ten:
  1. John Wilkes Booth
  2. Confederate Gold
  3. Georgia Guidestones
  4. D. B. Cooper
  5. White House Cornerstone
  6. Spear of Destiny
  7. Leonardo DaVinci
  8. Fort Knox Gold
  9. UFOs
  10. JFK Assassination
As I mentioned, conspiracies intrigue me, and the book did not disappoint. Meltzer, and co-author Keith Ferrell, did a great job of collecting and presenting the information. If you love history, and especially if you love conspiracies, you will want to read History Decoded. The only problem that I have with the book is that I want more.

Saturday, November 2, 2013 -- Evening

Cover of Die for Love by Elizabeth Peters
Die for Love by Elizabeth Peters
I have not been reading much lately. I have been very busy teaching three classes, and it hasn't left much time for anything else. I did manage to get some reading done. Since Elizabeth Peters died a few months ago, I have wanted to read some of the books that I haven't read for a while. I went back to the Jacqueline Kirby books, and read the third book in the series, Die for Love. This book is classic, hilarious Peters with satire of a romance writers conference.

Jacqueline Kirby wanted a vacation away from her Nebraska university, and while she was looking for a conference to attend, she found one in New York City for romance writers. Of course, Jacqueline had never read a romance novel. After reading one on the flight to New York, she realized that she could easily try her hand at writing one. The conference is the epitome of cartoon romance. Hattie Foster, Aunt Hattie, was one of those unscrupulous agents who used blackmail to keep her stable of writers working for her for mere peanuts. Hattie had all the big name authors, all the Valentines (writers with some form of Valentine in the name). Dubretta Dubrenstein, a sharp tongued reporter for the Daily Blank made it her job to expose Hattie, and when she had a heart attack and died at one of the conference soirees, Jacqueline immediately knew it was murder. With the a next to no help from flame, and fellow professor, James Whittier, Jacqueline set out to solve the mystery. When it became obvious that someone was out to get Dubretta's notebook, which Jacqueline has, and when Laurie, a romance conference hanger-on, got murdered, Jacqueline knew she had to stop the killer before she was next.

Elizabeth Peters did an excellent job with ribbing romance writers and romance writer conferences. Peter has both Vicky Bliss and Jacqueline attempting to write romance novels. The prose would just fly off their pens, and Peters gave us glimpses of the over the top dialog. Peters was an excellent writer, and in Die for Love, she gave a great mix of humor and mystery. I enjoyed the book a good deal, and I would highly recommend it to anyone who wants some laughs with a mystery.