Short and succinct, but sufficient for its purpose.
Couldn't help myself.
I appreciated the brevity of the book, and though it doesn't cover new ground,Short and succinct, but sufficient for its purpose.
Couldn't help myself.
I appreciated the brevity of the book, and though it doesn't cover new ground, the Fanning's direct approach was effective. I think it had one of the clearest discussions on the how-to of cover letters I've ever read, and the most useful for me.
Admittedly, I'm comparing it mostly to those monster.com job search advice briefs, but I don't regret the dollar I spent on this....more
Great new ways of looking at words: some of which have mostly dropped out of usage, and many which seem to have become standard. Poor Bierce would beGreat new ways of looking at words: some of which have mostly dropped out of usage, and many which seem to have become standard. Poor Bierce would be in paroxysms of horror. While it may not be your go-to for modern literary language, you may want to take a look—it'll make you think about your words, and not just accept the common parlance.
For example: Demean (v) is related to demeanor and therefore should be neutral, it's used in place of debased.
Also amusing how many problems can be charged to the newspapers. ...more
Annoyed that I can't find my edition, but there's only so much I'm willing to do with there are more than 200 editions. :P
And no rating because it doeAnnoyed that I can't find my edition, but there's only so much I'm willing to do with there are more than 200 editions. :P
And no rating because it doesn't really rate on the scale. It is what it is and the free ebook available from GR isn't great...looks like scanning issues. Not unreadable though, unless you despise King James era English, and this is pretty convoluted even for that. Reader beware....more
I think Battles would be the guy in the office party (probably a spouse) who corners everyone who stands still so he can lecture at them. He's from thI think Battles would be the guy in the office party (probably a spouse) who corners everyone who stands still so he can lecture at them. He's from the local university, and he sincerely thinks you're interested.
You wish you were because the topic is interesting enough and you have plenty of things to say about it, but he just wants to recite the bibliography of his thesis at you, and you can't tell what he thinks about it, or get a word in edgewise....more
It's been awhile since I read this book, and it's been fairly well buried in my brain-attic, but I can dig out enough.
First, I liked this as a kind ofIt's been awhile since I read this book, and it's been fairly well buried in my brain-attic, but I can dig out enough.
First, I liked this as a kind of reference book for authors and world-builders. Neuroscience certainly isn't my forte, but the technical aspects are accessible and the text is readable enough for the layperson. Powell doesn't seem to be a wholehearted 'believer,' either, she cites studies and maintains some skepticism. But this book more aims to legitimize paranormal scientific studies rather than investigate them, I still maintained rather more skepticism than the author.
But there are plenty of interesting ideas here: how it's possible 'brain power' may not be entirely limited to inside the skull (not in a woo-woo way, but more like 'why not?', since something measurable has been observed), or just how difficult it may be to study something that works on a level we can't see.
Overall, I found it interesting, without being especially earthshaking or compelling. But like I said, for authors it might be a good resource for extrapolation, if you want to write on the paranormal end of things.
I do remember one claim Powell made; in finding legitimate studies, she had to go to paranormal researchers and declassified documents from the CIA, and I thought—the former may be too invested, and if the latter declassified such studies, surely they're the ones that didn't work! It's the CIA, we all know they're keeping the good stuff to themselves. ...more
The Orchid Thief is a little odd, in that it covers so much: tracing not simply Laroche's theft of the wild ghost orchid, but the history of orchid coThe Orchid Thief is a little odd, in that it covers so much: tracing not simply Laroche's theft of the wild ghost orchid, but the history of orchid collecting (with a call-back to Paxton who played a significant role in At Home: A Short History of Private Life), the science of orchid growing, the history and place of the Seminole tribe, and Florida's culture and environment.
Susan Orlean handles even that many topics with a deft hand, however, and even though the connecting thread of Larcoche's story seemed to be buried in the long sections of history and science, I still found it readable. It did take me only four hours, so your mileage may vary.
Orlean has the voice of novelist, so distinct and curious, so it took me a little to realize how quickly we jumped right into the story; no orientation available. Laroche himself seems almost too eccentric to be completely real, and Orlean's repeated descriptions of a hacking, foulmouthed, 'clothing-hanger' thin white guy did little to dispel that impression.
The evocation of Florida's swamp and her star orchid enthusiasts were fascinating, and the description of tramping through the swamp goopfully convincing.
If I had any complaint about this book, it might be that I found Orlean's repeated questioning of why people would collect orchids—or anything at all—so passionately, a little, I don't know, disingenuous? Obsession has been such a powerful theme since as far back as oral history. She eventually concludes it has to do with making a make-shift community, even family, out of the great wide world while holding on to your individuality and all I could think was duh.
There is something of an answer in the back of the book, which includes a readers' guide with author interview and 'Reading Group Questions' (what a state of society, when we have to tell people what to ask!) and reinforces my prejudice against knowing anything about an author other than the words they write in their books. It isn't entirely fair, but for the example of this book, Orleans is asked if she'd ever 'novelize her experiences' (paraphrased).
"I never have. People have asked me this, but I think real life is so interesting. I don't think I could have imagined a character as eccentric and fascinating as John Laroche."
My response to this is less about Orlean, and more to the culture of our society that insists there's less inherent value and truthfulness in fiction than there is in 'real life'. But how else does perception work? We all tell stories; Orlean admits that this work is about a fascinating character and story.
As a devoted reader of fiction, it's simply an attitude that disappoints me. Orlean is a journalist, so she's clearly coming from a different perspective. And it's in part, undoubtedly a failure in the way we teach fiction in school—which has long done little more than drive people away from literature in droves. But I've read about characters far more eccentric than Laroche and the character he's given in the book pegged by the first page. Again, this isn't wrong on Orlean's part. Just, I think, a lack of imagination that maybe points to something rather more problematic in our cultural milieu.
I should say none of the above general criticism of society affected my star rating. Three stars just means "I liked it" and that's all. I wasn't particularly blown away, and while I enjoyed the prose I don't feel I need to read it again. I just...liked it.
P.S. Apparently there was difficulty finding an orchid for the cover that wasn't 'too sexual'. How...Victorian. Orchids have never particularly affected me that me that way, but does the general reading public have that much difficulty controlling themselves? I mean, I'm sure they can see the illusion without losing it in the bookstore stacks....more
So I thought it would be mostly interviews where we found out what these famous writer's considered a bFirst, I didn't dislike this book. "it was ok"
So I thought it would be mostly interviews where we found out what these famous writer's considered a book that changed their lives, but most of the interviews seemed to focus on the books they wrote that changed there lives. Which okay, pretty interesting.
How curious that pretty much all of the fiction/poetry authors, especially the men, seemed much more pretentious, and the historians not so much. But Grace Pauley sounds lovely, and I'll have to look her up....more
This is intense, but also inspiring. Lansing definitely has a poetic bent and does so well illustrating these men and their circumstances that it wasThis is intense, but also inspiring. Lansing definitely has a poetic bent and does so well illustrating these men and their circumstances that it was almost like reading fiction: I was so caught up in the suspense, I had no interest in looking up the story anywhere else. Who cares about factual reliability (not that this isn't) when the story is so strong?...more