I enjoyed reading Mark's narratives of his grandparents and parents. I learned a lot about how Japanese were tre(3.5) Quite a book-worthy family tree!
I enjoyed reading Mark's narratives of his grandparents and parents. I learned a lot about how Japanese were treated in Canada during World War II (particularly in British Columbia). How awful this was, but how it was crucial to Mark ever coming into existence. The lives that his families lived were certainly eventful and worthy of being written down. The narrative is largely engaging, but could be a little more literary and definitely could benefit from more reflection from Mark. For most of the book, the narratives are very matter-of-fact, and could've been written by anyone. They could be even more meaningful coming from their descendant.
The main exception to this was his mother's narrative, particularly after she divorced his father. Her decline was clearly coming, painful to read, and revealed much more of Mark's emotion. I think he could've gone deeper into his feelings along the way (kind of reminded of Beautiful Boy: A Father's Journey Through His Son's Addiction, which did this part well, though the roles were reversed).
I was also surprised that forgiveness didn't play more of a role in this book. Particularly given the subtitle, I expected the forgiveness to describe early relations between his parents' families, but the forgiveness he spends far more time on is his forgiving himself for his relationship with his mother. This ties into my criticism above that he doesn't reflect on the narrative nearly as much as he could have.
The interweaving of narratives didn't seem to help my enjoyment either. I was pretty neutral. There might've been ways to interleave them more, show more parallels etc. But absent that, I'd recommend just keeping the narratives separate and immerse the reader in each of them, as again, they are very rich veins of narrative....more
I wonder how much material he got from each person to distill down to the meaty snippets we get: the core of the pa(4.0) Intriguing stories and photos
I wonder how much material he got from each person to distill down to the meaty snippets we get: the core of the pain, the loss, the pride, the fear. Some of these, I'd love to dive in and read the whole transcript.
Maybe it's a Rorschach phenomenon, because I hope my impression of how many people with really painful backgrounds are in here is not representative of the population as a whole, but there are a lot of people overcoming (or better have overcome) tough, tough childhoods....more
(3.5) Much I didn't know about the history of Monopoly (or monopoly?). Interesting.
I had heard that Darrow might not have come up with Monopoly himsel(3.5) Much I didn't know about the history of Monopoly (or monopoly?). Interesting.
I had heard that Darrow might not have come up with Monopoly himself, and that the original inspiration was a game to teach the dangers of unregulated capitalism. But didn't realize the real originator of the game was a woman--decades earlier than 1935--named Lizzie Magie. Nor that Quakers living in Atlantic City (that there were Quakers trying to build a community in Atlantic City itself was new to me) were the ones who really spread the monopoly game meme.
Mapping the threads of the game from Lizzie to Darrow and the other fragments (e.g. Finance, Inflation) would be a really cool visual. So would a series of the different gameboards through the ages (we have a fair bit of this in the book, but interrupted by lots of text ;) ).
The Anti-Monopoly lawsuit(s) very interesting as well. Hadn't heard that history either. Perhaps could have gone into the implications of that decision a bit more. What did it mean that Anti-Monopoly didn't infringe on the Monopoly trademark? Did that lead to all of the XXX-opoly games we see now? Were there any downstream effects?...more
The book reveals a sincere interest in the workings of the human body as well as the people Francis treats who inhabit them. The book is informat(4.0)
The book reveals a sincere interest in the workings of the human body as well as the people Francis treats who inhabit them. The book is informative, entertaining, engaging. He tends to focus on the pathology of each (cataracts/blindness of the eye, cancer of the breast), which makes sense given that he is a physician, and consistently chooses relevant history, literature and anecdotes that make each section far more than simply a physiology of the relevant part.
I think my primary disappointment was that he didn't delve deeper into each part of the body, nor cover more of it either. He could have chosen more territory as he's served many medical roles in his past and has been exposed to pretty much everything. This might've felt more comprehensive. Or he could have spent more time on each part, develop a few narratives or threads on each part. It probably would've been more profound with this approach. As it is, it felt a bit of a fleeting tour of just some of the body. ...more