#Readers of #sci-fi will most likely enjoy this novel by esteemed scientist Carl Sagan, even if it is a bit dated by current standards. Written in the mid-1980s, the story revolves around Dr. Ellie Arroway and her connection to mathematics and the stars. These interests lead to a career in radio astronomy, especially working with the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI), a field that the author worked in as well.
When a signal is received from the Vega star system by Ellie and her team, the forces for and against the revelation of more intelligent life forms in the galaxy shape up quickly and intensely. Some of the story parallels the 1997 movie version and parts of it were dropped or altered in the film. Overall, it offers a good exploration of the human reaction to such a discovery (assuming that this has not happened already, but is kept secret).
However, I found the book’s ending/resolution to be somewhat weak. Also, I am divided on whether I like the book or the movie better. Enjoy! 3 Stars.
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#Readers of #thrillers, this stand alone novel by award-winning author Olen Steinhauer takes place a few months after the Arab Spring. An American embassy official is murdered in Budapest and may figure into a CIA plan to meddle in Libya’s growing revolution. The wife of the murdered official, Sophie Kohl, wants to know who killed him, despite not being the most faithful spouse. Sophie and four other characters, mostly in the intelligence circles of the U.S. and Egypt, each tell their version of the events leading up to the murder. Then, there is betrayal, the devilish element that runs rampant throughout the story, which makes it a character in and of itself. Presenting a story from different points of view makes it harder to follow, at times, but is entirely effective in spinning an intriguing espionage tale. Certainly in the vein of Graham Greene, but falls a little short. 3.5 Stars.
#Readers and lovers of #mysteries should certainly enjoy all the stories of the famed detective penned by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Most are narrated by Dr. Watson, the faithful sidekick of Sherlock, and provide insights to the detective’s methods of detection and resolution. I like the longer stories better, as they offer more character development, more action, and better plot points. My favorite story is The Hound of the Baskervilles, one of four “novels” that feature Holmes and Watson. 4 Stars.