Olsson's Book Bits

by Greta Olsson

A Life On The Wire - Al Pacino
by Andrew Yule
Copyright 1991 and 1992
312 Pages, Paperback
ISBN 1-56171-161-6

Throughout his work, Yule stresses Pacino's genius as an actor, and his ability to become a character that he's playing. I highly recommend your reading this book and then seeing his movie, 88 minutes. You'll watch a "real university professor" and unfortunately by comparison some flat, two-dimensional actresses who cannot hold a candle to him.

"In 1972 aerialist Karl Wallenda, patriarch of the Great Wallendas, stood by helplessly and watched as his son-in-law plummeted to his death, the same fate that had already struck another son-in-law and a nephew. The very next day the old man was back on the high wire, scorning a safety net. Six years later Karl plunged to his own death, blown off his frail wire as he attempted to walk the sky between two high-rise hotels in San Juan, Puerto Rico." Obviously he misjudged the strength of the wind.

"Al Pacino had followed the Wallendas' career since the first tragedies, unable to get them out of his mind. Now, following the death of Wallenda, Sr., his grandson had immediately declared that the rest of the family would continue flying. 'Life is always on the wire,' he explained. 'The rest is just waiting.'"

"To Al Pacino, it was as if his personal creed had just been articulated." Pacino's own life turned out to be as varied, colorful, and dramatic as the Wallendas' ... from extreme poverty to great wealth, from miserable failure to tremendous success, etc. etc. etc.

I bought several of Pacino's DVDs, and saw things that I had not noticed before. You also may have this experience. You will learn something from his 1310.

Angel Cats, Divine Messengers Of Comfort by Allen and Linda Anderson
Hard Cover, 172 pages
Copyright 2004
ISBN 13: 978-1-60671-009-8

The book is a series of short stories about very unusual cats. Loving cats and delighted with this Christmas present, I plunged into the work and immediately found myself almost non-stop crying over the sweet, tender experiences in the first 60 or so pages.

The story that bothered me as possibly being invented was of a single cat belonging to an elderly woman who threw herself off a high floor in her building. She died. Her devoted cat followed her and survived. It would have made sense to me if the woman had taken the cat into her arms, protecting it when she jumped ... and at the same time wanting its company in death.

I phoned the gift giver, a New York police lieutenant who loves cats as much as I do, as to what he thought. He believes that cats are sensitive, and can love humans to a far greater extent than they are given credit for. This very practical man believed the story. (Joe has been in the police force for more than 30 years. His dad, also a police officer, was shot in the line of duty.)

I wasn't sure I'd be able to finish the book, but the author suddenly switched gears and got lighter. I continued to the end even though I finished it in tears again. A very touching work.

In the Name of Love by Ann Rule
Paperback, 414 Pages
ISBN: 0-671-79356-X

Susan Harris was a very attractive woman who married extremely well to a good-looking, 40 yr. old, self-made California millionaire who had everything: "booming businesses, yachts, a mansion, a beautiful wife, and a voice to rival Elvis."

Susan, originally from modest means, married up but truly loved her wonderful husband. They were very happy until one day he simply disappeared. Some suspected her of murdering him for the money, and others questioned the types he associated with in his various businesses. It took eight years and even Ann Rule's help to find the answer to this mystery.

Salt of the Earth by Jack Olsen
Paperback, 376 Pages
ISBN: 0-312-95998-2

Olsen is a well-known crime writer, but I did not find this work as gripping as other books. It may have been the tension that I was under, or possibly I just didn't care for this story. It has a similar theme as Rule's book above, but with the disappearance of a daughter and the hunt for her killer. I don't remember the case well enough to discuss it intelligently for you. Don't let me stop you. You may be in tune with Jack Olsen more than I was at the time. I've liked him before and thought him a good story teller.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
by Stieg Larsson
Random House
Large Print, 793 Pages
Translated from Swedish by Reg Keeland
Copyright 2008
ISBN: 078-O-7393-8415-2

After almost 81 years of hearing (usually salespeople) comment that they have never seen Olsson spelled with two s's, I can't tell you what a JOY it was to see fellow swede, Larsson, not only spell his own name as my father did "to simplify Ohlsson," but many of his characters also use the double S. Thus I have to be most positive about his unusual story and recommend it highly.

Like the two books above, it is about strong women. The cover says, "Contagiously exciting, it's about society at its most hidden, and about intimate lives of a brilliantly realized cast of characters, all of them forced to face the darker aspects of their world and of their own lives."

OK, I'd recommend the book even without the two s's!!!

Asleep In The Fast Lane by Lydia Dotto
Hard cover, 328 Pages
ISBN: O-7737-2286-6

I thought this book was about drivers literally falling asleep while driving for too long a time, or too late at night. Not so. It's an in-depth study of sleep and its lack, and the effects on us physically and emotionally.

The book talks about going without sleep for 50 hours and then three days, the effect of even 5 or 10 minutes of sleep under hard conditions, circadian rhythms, what the army studied, what airlines needed to find out. For example, one plane was due to land in L.A., but the pilots fell asleep and the plane was 100 miles out to sea before an airport was able to activate the cockpit's alarm and wake them up. Luckily they had enough fuel to get back to land. The book has many fascinating accounts.

You may not wish to fly any more after reading it, but there is information that you should know.

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