Olsson's Book Bits

by Greta Olsson

Murder at Morses Pond by Linda Rosecrance
ISBN O-786O-1656-6
Paperback, 35O pages
Pinnacle Books, 2OO4
True Crime

Dirk Greineder murdered May, his wife of 32 years. This book states the facts of the case, and then repeats the same information endlessly in a day-by-day account of Dirk's trial. I found the whole tiresome and boring. I do not recommend this book.

Vanish by Tess Gerritsen
ISBN O-345-47698-O
Paperback, 4O1 pages
Ballantine Books. 2OO5

The Chicago Sun-Times published: "Spellbinding...There's no denying the power of Gerritsen's storytelling. Bestselling thriller...action-packed, entertaining and compulsively readable." The opening is catchy. A nameless woman appears to be just another body at the morgue - until the corpse opens its eyes. The "corpse" is taken to a hospital, where she shoots a security guard, takes hostages, and psychologically tortures FBI agent Gabriel Dean, whose wife, a hostage, is pregnant and about to give birth. Someone wrote that the book would long haunt the reader. Not so in my case. I had to thumb through the work to recall the rest of the story for this review. Child prostitution slavery was also involved. This story is better than murder at the pond, but not as good as the third tale. It did teach me something about guns: duplex rounds, in which more than one bullet is loaded into a single cartridge case. "Duplex rounds are designed for greater lethality."

Digital Fortress by Dan Brown
ISBN O-312-99542-3
Paperback, 53O pages
St. Martin's, 1998

One critic called this book a realistic techno thriller and another wrote that it will rivet cyber-minded readers. I find Dan Brown exciting, but believe that computer addicts and cryptographers will applaud Dan Brown's genius more than the rest of us. Quite simply, a code-breaking machine comes across a code that it can't break. There is a code so complex that it could cripple U.S. Intelligence. Susan Fletcher is betrayed again and again but is willing to risk her life for her agency and her country to beat the enemy. A highly intelligent plot. A+++ again for Dan Brown of Da Vinci fame. I can highly recommend his tale. Best of the books reviewed here. Best of Brown's last three.

Angels and Demons by Dan Brown
ISBN 0-671-02736-0
Paperback, 569 pages
Pocket Books, 2OO1

Dan Brown, a cool cat writer, dwells on an alliteration of C's: Catholic Church, a cryptic symbol on the chest of a murdered physicist; a "frantic hunt through sealed crypts, dangerous catacombs, and deserted cathedrals". Robert Langdon, a Harvard symbologist, with the help of Vittoria Ventra, a scientist herself and daughter of the murdered man, hunts for a time-bomb but is side-tracked by the kidnapping of the four top cardinals, one of whom is the most likely to be elected the next pope. In true Dan Brown style, there are miraculous escapes - but four in one day is beyond human endurance in my thinking. A gripping thriller: who will win? The Catholic church or the Illuminati, who seek a deadly vendetta against the church?. This book is certainly up to the Da Vinci Code standard. I found it a fascinating read.

The Emperor Who Ate The Bible
And More Strange Facts And Useless Information
by Scot Morris
ISBN O-385-26755-X
Paperback, 152 pages
Doubleday, 1991

The facts are certainly varied! "In one survey of first graders a large percentage chose Diarrhea as the most poetic sounding female name." "Hummingbirds can't walk." "Joan of Arc was historically insignificant until the nineteenth century when Napoleon needed a hero-figure to arouse French nationalism, and resurrected her legend. At the time of her martyrdom Joan was not even French. She was born in 1412 in Domremy, an independent state then totally outside of French jurisdiction." "A rat can go without water longer than a camel can." "Vivien Leigh refused to continue playing love scenes with her costar in Gone With The Wind unless he did something about his bad breath. It seems that Clark Gable's dentures were so bad they produced a foul odor and Leigh found it difficult to act smitten anywhere near him." "What's the difference between neurotic and psychotic? Many distinctions have been drawn, but we like this, by Dr. Karl Menninger. 'Neurotic means he's not as sensible as I am. Psychotic means he's even worse than my brother-in-law.'" You get the idea behind this work.

The Third Eye by T. Lobsang Rampa ISBN O-345-34O38-8
Paperback, 218 pages
Ballantine Books, 1956

Both honest men and charlatans have claimed special spiritual powers. I believe the honest men report accurately that they have experienced astral projection, levitation, or a visitation with someone who died. The question is was the experience REAL or the result of epilepsy, as one psychiatrist once explained, or some malfunction of the brain?

No one can doubt T. Lobsang Rampa's sincerity in detailing his rigorous spirital training and physical ordeal to become a Tibetan monk, taken in the Chakpori Lamasery, the temple of Tibetan medicine. His account is absolutely fascinating. It's another stay-up-all-night book. The use of hypnotism, yoga pressure points for painless operations, and astrology are surprising. Lobsang's having to deal with real dead bodies in the field and also in a tomb gave him a far better medical education, he claims, than when he took even more training in Western medical schools. Lobsang traveled extensively, trained, and worked in many foreign countries, as was predicted by the monks who cast his life horoscope.

An example of an interesting bit: "In Tibet, bodies cannot be buried in the ground. The work would be too hard because of the rocky soil, and the thinness of the earth covering. Nor is cremation possible on economic grounds. Wood is scarce, and to burn a body, timber would have to be imported from India and carried to Tibet across the mountains on the backs of yaks. The cost would be fantastic. Water disposal was not permissible either, for to cast dead bodies into the streams and rivers would pollute the drinking water of the living. There is no other method open to use than air disposal, in which as described, birds consume the flesh and the bones. It differs from the Western method in two ways. Westerners bury bodies and let the worms take the place of birds. The second difference is that in the Western world, the knowledge of the cause of death is buried with the body and no one knows if the death certificate really has stated the correct cause. Our Body Breakers make sure that they know what a person died of!" In other words, men check on what doctors report.

"Everyone is disposed of in this way except the highest lamas, who are Previous Incarnations. These are embalmed and placed in a glass-fronted box where they can be seen in a temple, or embalmed and covered with gold."

Lobsang talks about how plentiful gold is in Tibet, and how the people do not value it except for its practical use. He was told that he was an Incarnation and spoke of being absolutely fascinated with one statue only to learn that it was of him in a previous life.

I highly recommend this book. If you have been to Tibet and walked on the slippery stairs or walks covered with spilled yak butter, you will feel for Lobsang when he describes his experiences with the same. A+++!

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