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Canadian History, Class Action Lawsuit, and WW2 Espionage

The Golden Spruce by John Vaillant:

  • this true story centers around a unique Sitka spruce, 165 feet tall and covered with luminous golden needles, in British Columbia’s Queen Charlotte Islands (Haida Gwaii)
  • the book covers the history of the Haida First Nation people of this area, West Coast traders, environmental issues, and battles with the timber industry
  • the central character is an almost superhuman logger turned activist Grant Hadwin who has many agendas
  • John does a fantastic job weaving together what may seem like dry topics into a fascinating read
  • I thoroughly enjoyed this book about a part of Canadian history that I embarrassingly had no knowledge of and yet is so engrained in West Coast lore
  • this part of Canada is remote, dangerous, economically rife, and beautiful, all at the same time
  • will the mystery ever be solved?


The Litigators by John Grisham:

  • the Chicago law firm of (Oscar) Finley & (Wally) Figg is a two-bit operation of ambulance chasers who bicker like an old married couple until a young fast track lawyer (David Zinc) stumbles into their firm, which also includes a young black woman keeping the firm together
  • they stumble into a class-action lawsuit against a corporate pharmaceutical giant that could make the partners rich without actually having to practice much law
  • this story ties in the nuances of class action legal drama into the world of Big Pharma, which has always been one of my nemesis in this world, so that aspect intrigued me
  • coming from a family of people who have been involved in the judicial system, I always enjoy these legal reads
  • this may not be Grisham’s best literary work, but it’s a fun read nonetheless, and you can’t help but cheer for this group of misfit lawyers


Eye of the Needle by Ken Follett:

  • set in the 1940s and close to D-Day (June 1944 – Normandy landings), this is the story of Henry Faber, a German spy nicknamed ‘Die Nadel – The Needle’ who is based in the UK
  • Faber is Germany’s top spy and holds the highest level of respect in Hitler’s regime as he tries to extract valuable espionage information out of the UK during a period of limited communication
  • although it’s a fiction book, it provided what appears to be a legitimate insight into what went on during this historical period of WW2
  • Follett has excellent character development throughout this story and it is a fast-paced read that keeps you on the edge of your seat

this book gave Follett his star status, was made into a movie featuring Donald Sutherland and is often regarded as one of the best thrillers to come out of WW2