Oh, geography! So many facets and environments to read about. This book combines 19th century arctic exploration with survival on the frozen Arctic OcOh, geography! So many facets and environments to read about. This book combines 19th century arctic exploration with survival on the frozen Arctic Ocean and northern Siberia. George De Long first experiences the Arctic on a naval rescue mission near the coast of Greenland. He later decides to attempt reaching the North Pole via the Bering Strait. The prevailing thought of the day was that there was an "open polar sea" at the North Pole that was warmed by a current much like the Gulf Stream and was not saline. Gordon Bennett, eccentric newspaper publisher and gilded age millionaire, funds the expedition in hopes of ramping up sales, much as his successful ploy of sending Stanley to Africa to find Livingstone (who was NOT lost) had.
This is a well-researched and written account of the Jeannette expedition and analysis of its impact on a world still anxious to fill in the blank spaces on the globe. Jeannette puts the "open polar sea" notion to rest, opening the way for further explorations with dogs and sleds over the ice....more
Butler is primarily known as a sci if writer, but this reads more like historical fiction to me (notwithstanding the time travel). What a viewpoint! AButler is primarily known as a sci if writer, but this reads more like historical fiction to me (notwithstanding the time travel). What a viewpoint! A woman of color from 1976 LA is transported back to the antebellum south to save her white ancestor multiple times. Butler's extensive research in slave chronicles is apparent, and the bird's eye view of America's "peculiar institution" is harrowing. This title should be required reading for for women's or African American studies....more
Read for class discussion with a 10th grade English class. Not a big Rand fan, but it will be interesting to hear the students' ideas. Seems like thatRead for class discussion with a 10th grade English class. Not a big Rand fan, but it will be interesting to hear the students' ideas. Seems like that is the appropriate audience. Rand is too black and white in her approach for me....more
1968 was a signal year for my culinary development. There may have been rioting in Chicago and unrest on college campuses, but I was learning to cook1968 was a signal year for my culinary development. There may have been rioting in Chicago and unrest on college campuses, but I was learning to cook in small town Kentucky. My librarian aunt gave me the Fanny Farmer Cookbook, and I carefully penned some favorite recipes on the endpapers, including ones I recorded that year while observing/assisting a Chinese professor make lunch (stir fry chicken, pepper steak, sautéed cabbage; I continue to make the recipes today sans MSG). Fanny Farmer, stained and rebound in green buckram, still sits on my ever diminishing cookbook shelf. Fall 1968 brought required (girls only) high school home economics class where we learned to make buttered toast and peach cobbler.
Reading this book brought back all these memories. It described the way my grandmother and aunts cooked and how their kitchen habits were shaped. Recently I read an old newspaper clipping that recorded my grandparents’ wedding at home circa 1901. “Dainty” refreshments followed the ceremony.
Perfection Salad explores how the post industrial revolution and big food companies influenced American cooking. Food became a scientific endeavor, home economists started out as scientists, white sauce was de rigueur, and Fanny Farmer was the kitchen expert long before anyone had ever heard of Julia Child. Toasted marshmallows stuffed with raisins, anyone?
This is a great read for anyone who remembers her/his Victorian grandmother and her cooking style or had aunts who perpetuated this type of cooking into the 20th century or who is interested in American food history or wants to know what the modern locavore food movement is all about.
The meat of the message here is sandwiched between disconnected first and last chapters that don’t relate well to the book overall. If not for this disconnect, I’d give the book a solid 5 stars. ...more
How well can the human brain, developed over eons of processing non-digital information, be expected to keep up with the ever more wireless, and proliHow well can the human brain, developed over eons of processing non-digital information, be expected to keep up with the ever more wireless, and prolific streams of information that have every potential to overwhelm it? The answer, according to the neuroscientists and other attention scientists Richtel references in Deadly Wandering is, unfortunately, not very well. Richtel explores the tension going on in the brain between two different aspects of the attention system: top-down and bottom-up types of attention. Top-down attention is what one uses when reading for an assignment or studying for a test. It includes focus and goal orientation, or driving safely on a wet road. Bottom-up is the equivalent to a tap on your shoulder, the sound of your name or the bing of an incoming text. Your attention is captured instantly, alerting you to stimuli that might be necessary for survival, or might be as unnecessary as a Facebook status update. The two are in a constant balancing act, causing conflict and clashes within the brain. Richtel’s research is informative and scary.
Cell phones and cars are ubiquitous. Each requires a different kind of focus, and most drivers know that distracted driving is unsafe (maybe for others, but not, of course, for them). Richter puts faces to the tragedy of distracted driving. We learn the back stories of several of the principal participants: Reggie, the 19-year-old driver, the two rocket scientists who died in the collision, and Terryl, a fierce and dedicated victim’s advocate. The case takes over two years before winding up in front of a judge, who is asked to chart unexplored legal waters with criminal charges against Reggie. Human brains are not the only thing that hasn’t kept pace with technology. The laws concerning technological offences such as distracted driving were still in their infancy. In 2006 Utah, when Reggie veered over the yellow line and caused the deaths of the two scientists, texting while driving was not illegal.
I loved how Richtel interwove science, technology, law, and the human element in this cautionary retelling. I do take exception to the typos and apparent of copy editing. Les Miserables was not written about early 1900s France, Reggie was not born in 1978. Sometimes a sentence seemed familiar, and I realized I’d read the same string of words four or five pages previously. Maybe the book was rushed to publication?
I remember reading Heyer's regency romances in 8th grade (along with Mary Stewart and Victoria Holt), and this one held up well enough. The unbelievabI remember reading Heyer's regency romances in 8th grade (along with Mary Stewart and Victoria Holt), and this one held up well enough. The unbelievable ending was a teeny disappointing, though....more