I want freedom for the full expression of my personality. Mahatma Gandhi

Alexander Hamilton

Alexander Hamilton - Ron Chernow




This is my first book review on BookLikes, and I'm happy that it is for Alexander Hamilton. This is a five star book. This is one of those books that you wish would never end, and when it does, you have to sit and absorb everything you just read.


Ron Chernow writes his biography so that it reads almost like a novel. You can really get into Hamilton's story and feel like you know the Founding Fathers and those they interact with. We see how Hamilton had to fight some of the biggest names in American history to get his ideas heard, and how he worked tirelessly to defend the Constitution and keep the Union together.


I learned a lot about the people of this time in history. I was a little surprised to find out how they would attack each other anonymously in the press and how there was talk of some of the states seceding. The politics of the time surprised me as well. I didn't realize that the partisan fighting was so severe. 


After reading everything that Hamilton did for the young country - including his essential work in constructing America's financial system which ensured that the bankrupt country would be able to get credit - I realized how much Hamilton's work has been responsible for the country that America has become.


I highly recommend this book. I'm not at all surprised that this book inspired Lin-Manuel Miranda to write his award winning play.





One of my friends has been to see the Broadway play 'Hamilton'. The play is sold out for years, and I asked him how he got tickets. He said, "It's best if you don't know."


Hmmm...anyway, he gave me the music from the play, and I'm hooked. I just ordered the book Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow, and I can't wait to read it. The play was written from the book, and Ron Chernow was consulted to keep the play mostly accurate. 


I haven't had a chance to listen to all of the music yet, but here is one of my favorite songs so far from 'Hamilton'.





Book Madness, sponsored by Out of Print, is over. Sixty-four contemporary books went head to head, but in the end, only one could win. The final competition was between Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling and The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. The championship round was won by Harry Potter by a score of 86% to 14%. Congratulations to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows!


On a personal note, this was not the book I chose to win. It was in my final four, however. While I will not be winning books or gift certificates, I did do a lot better this year than I did last year. And I bought t-shirts with the discount I got for entering. It was a lot of fun, and I'll enter again next year.


Out of Print is once again hosting their book madness competition with prizes of books and gift cards for those who win. This year 64 works of 21st century literature are competing head to head. It was very hard to choose between some of the books, but my overall choice for winner is The Kite Runner.


Sixty-four books competed head to head in Book Madness. The voting was fast and furious, but in the end, only one book was left standing. The winner of this year's Book Madness from Out of Print is:






We have finally come to the championship round in Book Madness. The winner will be announced tomorrow. My bracket will have a total of 39 mistakes, so no gift card for me. My first choice of book, Animal Farm, didn't make the cut. But it was fun. It was very hard to choose between some of the books, but I enjoyed playing.


The championship round is:


Alice in Wonderland vs To Kill a Mockingbird


Today was voting for the final four. All my bracket books have been eliminated, but I'm voting anyway. Here are the choices:


Alice in Wonderland vs The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes


To Kill a Mockingbird vs The Great Gatsby


I voted for Alice in Wonderland and the The Great Gatsby. Which books would you have voted for?






Update on Book Madness:


Aaargh! Animal Farm has been voted out! We voted on the elite eight today. I now have 27 mistakes on my bracket, and all my books have been voted off. So I will only have more mistakes from this point on.


The good news is that I have read most of the books on the list and like almost all of them. So reading is the real reward (said the person who has zero chance at the $500 gift card).








Update on Book Madness:


We voted today! The winner of the $500 gift certificate is the one with the most accurate bracket. As of right now, I have 19 mistakes on my bracket. I think I can safely say that I'm not winning a gift certificate.


But the good news is that Animal Farm is still in the running. And more good news - as bad as I've done so far on Book Madness, I've still done better here than when I've tried this with basketball teams.





Update on Book Madness:


We started out with 64 books and the first round of votes is over. Half the books are eliminated. Today I found out which books are left. Out of the 32 books that are left, there are 7 books I didn't vote for on my brackets. That's not too bad, but the best news is that Animal Farm is still in the running.


This is one of the books I own in Brasilian Portuguese. I hope it wins.



These are my new "banned books" socks. I got them at 20% off for participating in book madness at Out of Print. I also got to vote today for the first round. I'm well on my way to a $500.00 gift certificate to Out of Print (well...maybe). My final book, the one that will win it all for me, is Animal Farm. Go, George Orwell!



I finished my bracket for the book madness tournament from Out of Print. This is a company that celebrates books through fashion and accessories. Also, for each product sold, one book is donated to a community in need. I like to shop here, and now they are having a tournament with a $500 gift card for the bracket that is the most accurate.


If anyone is interested, here is the address:




There's not much time left, the brackets need to be finished by the 22nd.



On the Ley Line


As Richard Lyman looked around the fund raising party at the Department Head’s town house, he saw Martin Kendall and his young wife enter the room. He was struck again, as he was every time he set eyes on Mrs. Kendall. Not that there was anything particularly striking about her. She might be considered above average, and possibly even pretty, by the other professors in this college town in Kansas. The college where he worked previously had many beautiful women, much prettier than her, but Mrs. Kendall still caught his attention. She had a very subtle sensuality about her.


Richard knew he shouldn’t be looking at any married women at his new job. After what had happened at his previous job as adjunct professor of the paranormal sciences in California…well, but that was ancient history, wasn’t it? He had a chance to redeem himself here in Kansas. Still, throughout the party, his eyes would stray to Mrs. Kendall and her much older husband. She would make eye contact with Richard and give him a hint of a smile. Was she interested?


As Richard imbibed drink after drink, he couldn’t help but contrast himself to Mr. Kendall. The rich man was invited in order to help fund paranormal research the college was hoping to start this winter. He had a keen interest in all things paranormal and could be found hanging around the department at all hours. He was rich, yes, but old, boorish, and not very bright. He had inherited his money, along with his farms, from his father. Martin Kendall was much too stupid to have earned his fortune on his own.


“Richard Lyman! It’s so nice to see you again. We are truly excited to have a professor all the way from California teaching here in our little college, aren’t we Martin? You know, we simply must have you over for dinner some time. Are you free Tuesday? What do you say, Richard? Shall we call it a date?”


Throughout the monologue, Richard found himself staring at Mrs. Kendall’s face. What was it about her? And wait, was that a wink?


“Yes, yes, Tuesday would be wonderful. I would love to join the two of you on Tuesday.”


“We look forward to it, as well. Come Martin.”


The next day Richard decided to seek out Josh, the handyman at his apartment building who had mentioned at one point that he had gone to high school with Becky Kendall.


“Oh yes,” replied Josh to Richard’s inquiries, “I’ve known Becky since the ninth grade. I’ve been in love with her since then, too. But Becky, she’s always preferred guys with money. I think that’s why she married Martin. That, and the fact that he probably doesn’t know about her wild reputation in school. I’d have married her in a minute, but a lot of the guys in school wouldn’t have anything to do with her after they slept with her. In fact, they had a running joke about her. Whenever she’d walk down the school halls, they’d start yelling out, ‘Put on your sunglasses!’”




“Yeah, the joke was that if you weren’t wearing sunglasses, she’d…well…you know, screw your eyes out.”




Josh went on to explain that neither he nor Becky attended college. They had only graduated three years ago, and Becky had married right out of high school. Josh was needed on his family’s ranch in order to try to save it. Not that it had worked out. The ranch was gone, and Josh worked as a handyman in order to make ends meet.


“Only in Kansas,” thought Richard.


As Tuesday approached, Richard had determined to behave himself. But, once seated across from Becky Kendall, all his resolve seemed to melt. He quickly formulated a plan in order to be alone with Becky. The plan was insane and, in his right mind, Richard would never have attempted such an idiotic idea. But, as they say, it wasn’t his brain doing the thinking.


“Martin, you realize that Friday is All Hallows’ Eve?”


“Yes, yes, Richard, it is, isn’t it? Yes, the time of year when the veil between the material world and the afterlife is thinned. Exciting to think about that. Souls able to pass between the worlds. That would interesting to witness. Maybe someday I’ll try to figure out how to see that.”


“Someday, Martin? Why, there’s no time like the present. I was looking at a map of ley lines, and it seems that one of your farms has a ley line running through it. The combination of the two, ley line and All Hallows’ Eve, would be just what we need to witness the souls coming through the veil. What do you say, Martin? Should we meet at your farm on Friday?”


“What? I’m familiar with the map of ley lines. There’s nothing going through my farms, the lines are south of them. Like I said, someday I’ll figure out how to see the souls coming through the veil. Now eat up, you haven’t touched your cauliflower.”


“No, Martin…no, new ley lines have been discovered. I know that I saw a new one going through one of your farms…new…you wouldn’t know about it, I just found out. I really think we need to spend Friday night at your farm. It’s the perfect time, the perfect place. What do we have to lose, Martin? We can try it, right?”


“Calm down, Richard! I guess we can go to the farm on Friday. But I’m sure I’d know if a new ley line had been discovered. No, no, calm yourself. It’s fine, we can go to the farm on Friday.”


“Good, good. Do you have tents?”


“Josh borrowed them for a camping trip,” said Becky, with her eyes firmly on Richard. “I’ll just ring him up and he can meet us in the field and help us assemble them on Friday.”


Josh was helping Martin set up the tents while Richard was busy pouring drinks. Becky sat off to the side with a barely concealed smile on her face. She had already built a small fire to keep the night chill away.


“This all seems very odd,” said Josh. “Why are all of you out here again?”


“We’re going to witness souls passing through the veil between the worlds,” replied Martin. “Would you like to join us?”


“No! No, um…I’m sure that Josh has better things to do…” Richard sputtered.


“I could…”


“No, no, you go right home so your mother doesn’t worry. You can come back out in the morning to hear all about our sightings, but for now, you need to go,” said Richard as he hustled Josh back to his car.


“What’s all this Richard? Do we need to drink this much, or even anything at all? Why not enjoy the evening and keep our wits about us so we can notice any souls that might be coming through the veil?”


“Well, Martin, this is to…um…keep ourselves in the right frame of mind, and to keep our brains loose, and…”


“Never mind, it’s a bit chilly and the whiskey suddenly seems like a good idea.”


“Oh, good! I mean, have some more.”


Sometimes a gamble pays off. Becky was very interested. After practically carrying Martin into one of the tents, Richard and Becky listened to his snoring they entered the other tent. The two of them tried to be quiet, but it wouldn’t have mattered as Martin had passed out.


Josh, however, had not passed out. He was also not at home with his mother. He had been very suspicious of what was going on and stayed behind to check things out. He saw the consumption of the whiskey. He saw Richard and Becky taking Martin into one of the tents. He saw the two of them enter the other tent. It was all so unfair. He had always loved Becky. It just hadn’t occurred to him that she might have sex with anyone other than her husband now that she was married. Josh could take it no longer. He went up to the tent containing the lovers.


“Becky,” he whispered loudly. “Becky, I know what you are doing and it’s not right. I’m going to tell unless you give me a kiss.”


The tent went quiet. Then there was the sound of furious whispering.


“I’ll only give you a kiss if you close your eyes,” whispered Becky. “I can’t bear to have you look at me after what I’ve done.”


Josh agreed, closed his eyes, and planted his lips on…her bare butt! Richard and Becky started laughing uproariously. Josh could not bear the humiliation and ran for his car. He drove around and brooded until he had come up with a plan.


Josh drove to his parents’ house and went into the garage. Packed away with other memorabilia, his father had kept one of his branding irons. Josh grabbed it and drove back out to the field. He put the branding iron in the fire, and he went back to the lovers’ tent.


“Becky,” he whispered, “that was terribly vulgar. I’m back and this time I want a kiss. If I don’t get what I want, I’ll tell your husband what you’ve done.”


As Richard and Becky whispered and laughed in the tent, Josh got the branding iron out of the fire.


“Close your eyes, Josh, and you’ll get your kiss. I promise,” whispered Becky.


“OK, they’re closed,” lied Josh.


Out of the tent came Richard’s hairy buttocks. He even had the nerve to fart in Josh’s face! Josh stabbed the hairy butt with the red hot branding iron, and Richard screamed out bloody murder.



“What? Is this it? Are the souls here? Where are they? What is going on?” yelled Martin as he rushed out of his tent.


As Richard entered the teachers’ lounge, he was struck again by how pretty Mrs. Meyers looked. Not that he was going to act on it, of course. Kansas was ancient history after all, and he had a chance to redeem himself here in Alabama.









Yay! I just found out that my favorite author of all time is writing a new book! William Dalrymple's new book will be titled "The Anarchy", and I can't wait until it is out. This book traces the rise of the East India Company from a private company “five-windows wide and run by 35 people” to a coloniser of nations. It prequels his last three works White Mughals, The Last Mughal and Return Of A King. 


My friends and I are all dancing in the street at this news! 




By the way, Bollywood rule number one - if you start dancing in the street, every single person you meet will know all the steps.

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