A tremendously well-written and illustrated book, weaving together the lives and careers of three prominent scientists (Goodall, Fossey, and Galdikas)A tremendously well-written and illustrated book, weaving together the lives and careers of three prominent scientists (Goodall, Fossey, and Galdikas), who changed the way we view primates, and the human race. The stories are entertaining, engaging and funny (with some consolidation and adaptation for the book), and the science is made accessible and clear. This is a perfect book for both younger and older readers - excellent and obvious ties to other texts, with many interdisciplinary opportunities. The afterword and bibliography will make you want to learn much more about these remarkable women, and their work. ...more
If I wasn't packing for a conference, I'd write a more thorough review - this will have to hold its place for now:
I read a lot, and I read a lot of YAIf I wasn't packing for a conference, I'd write a more thorough review - this will have to hold its place for now:
I read a lot, and I read a lot of YA. Not only is this probably the best book I've read all year, it's one of the best I've ever read. To label it only as "YA," though, is to miss the point of the book. This is a coming-of-age story that is going to be on award lists next year, and I hope will be widely read for years to come. Andrew Smith has always written strong books that impact readers, but he hits it out of the park with this novel, and he absolutely nails the adolescent male mindset (think lots of sexual thoughts, like, a ton). I want to go back and read it all again, and I read this one slowly, because I wanted to savor it.
Read it. Read it. Read it. You will not be disappointed....more
I don't agree with much of what O'Reilly has to say, but I have to admit that he writes a thorough, engaging book. This is a younger readers' companioI don't agree with much of what O'Reilly has to say, but I have to admit that he writes a thorough, engaging book. This is a younger readers' companion to his adult bestseller, and a title that should be in every school library. Very comprehensive and straight-forward, with excellent research and resources. ...more
Highly entertaining account of a dark period in history, the politically motivated arrests and trials of the Templar knights, a legion of highly trainHighly entertaining account of a dark period in history, the politically motivated arrests and trials of the Templar knights, a legion of highly trained and devout soldiers who fought the Crusades. The novel presents a great balance of historical fact and creative license, and the preface and afterwords offer tremendous bookends to the story. Because of the complex politics that surrounded the trials, there are points when the plot becomes thicker and a little more convoluted. The artwork is incredible, particularly the action sequences, but again, with a more complex plot come more characters; as a result, there were moments when I found myself confusing characters, and blending some together. Still, once the heist gets going (think a Middle Ages version of Ocean's Eleven), the plot picks up speed, and the book races towards a great conclusion. Highly recommended, for history buffs and beyond. ...more
"One of the last times I spoke with my father, we were talking about...I don't know, the state of the world, something...and he said, 'You know, this"One of the last times I spoke with my father, we were talking about...I don't know, the state of the world, something...and he said, 'You know, this country was always pretty much a whorehouse, but at least it used to have some promise. Now it's just a shithole.' And I think now maybe he was talking about something else, something more specific, something more personal to him...this house? This family? His marriage? Himself? I don't know. But there was something sad in his voice - or no, not sad, he always sounded sad - something more hopeless than that. As if it had already happened. As if whatever was disappearing had already disappeared. As if it was too late. As if it was already over. And no one saw it go. This country, this experiment, America, this hubris: what a lament, if no one saw it go. Here today, gone tomorrow. Dissipation is actually much worse than cataclysm."
The Weston house in Pawhuska, OK, has seen more tragedy and sadness, and hidden more secrets, than any structure should have a right to. The Weston family is dysfunctional with a capital "D," led by Violet, the family matriarch, a woman addicted to pain pills and mourning the loss of her husband (who appears then disappears early in the play). As Violet's three daughters gather at the house, along with other family members, all manner of hideous, long-buried secrets come bubbling to the surface.
Like all the best plays, this one gets better with each reading. Having just read Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, I think I've completed an effective Horrible American Family text pair. While Albee confines his characters' destructive forces to a single married couple, Letts shows how lies, secrets, and unfulfilled dreams can filter through generations, without losing any of their poisonous impact. That Letts mixes such tragedy with incredible humor is a testament to his amazing writing talents. This play is easily one of the most powerful and important pieces of American drama in the last generation, and can easily stand alongside the best work of O'Neill, Williams and Miller. The Westons, like the Tyrones and the Compsons, show us the worst that families can come to, while still allowing us to see the truths that exist in all homes. ...more
With the Tony awards coming up, I'm apparently on a dysfunctional family/American drama kick. I'll probably re-read August: Osage County next (writtenWith the Tony awards coming up, I'm apparently on a dysfunctional family/American drama kick. I'll probably re-read August: Osage County next (written by Tracy Letts, who played George in the recent Broadway revival of Who's Afraid).
This is still one of the most powerful pieces of American drama I've read, even if the "revelation" at play's end doesn't have quite the impact it did when I first read it years ago. The tremendous dialogue, the complex interrelationships between all four individuals, the pacing, and the careful balance between dark comedy and tragedy; the play still provides a punch to the gut every time I read it. ...more