It's been years since I've read Steinbeck, and it was a pleasure to realize that he still does it for me. While this tale is firmly set in the post WW...moreIt's been years since I've read Steinbeck, and it was a pleasure to realize that he still does it for me. While this tale is firmly set in the post WWII years, there is a timelessness about it. He had such compassion for his characters--even the least likable among them. You come away from the experience knowing a little more than you did about what makes people tick. Having spent some time myself exploring the Central Coast highways and byways, I also loved all the geographic detail, trying to imagine the locales he described so beautifully.(less)
I probably would not have read this except a friend wanted me to. She found it among her husband's father's things. A frontispiece dedication indicate...moreI probably would not have read this except a friend wanted me to. She found it among her husband's father's things. A frontispiece dedication indicated that "Leo" received it as a Christmas gift from friends in December 1912.The flowery pieces, mostly closing arguments by famous attorneys in famous cases from the late 19th century were shocking because they attempted to persuade jurors,, not by reason of forensic evidence or legal precedent, but mostly by philosophical and religious premises addressing motivation. Clearly legal argument has made tremendous progress during the past century. Of particularly interest, the last case involving prosecution of Susan B. Anthony for illegally voting.(less)
I've been promising myself for years that I would read Darwin's original treatise, and finally got around to it as it is now available as a free Kindl...moreI've been promising myself for years that I would read Darwin's original treatise, and finally got around to it as it is now available as a free Kindle book. Finished it just in time for Darwin's upcoming birthday on Feb 12th. I did not find it an easy read because of the archaic language and the redundancies of content, but I am very glad I did read it because I now can more fully appreciate how difficult it must have been for Darwin to formulate this theory in all its complexity given the state of Biology at the time, and how brave he was it setting it all down. The book's publication created a maelstrom of anger and controversy that still hasn't settled down some 150 years later.
Now I want to read further to determine in what respects Darwin's various "suspicions" about how natural selection and evolution worked were proved or disproved by subsequent findings. How thrilling it would have been for him to see the emergence of Molecular Biology as a field of study and the untangling of genetic code.(less)
This is one of the first English mystery stories ever written and it is an amazingly enjoyable read. It's very humorous and quite iconoclastic for its...moreThis is one of the first English mystery stories ever written and it is an amazingly enjoyable read. It's very humorous and quite iconoclastic for its time. It is available for free as Kindle classic and I recommend it.(less)
I was able to read one whole year of Pepys life--1666--as a free Kindle book. I then reviewed the rest of the diary and the entirety of Pepys life via...moreI was able to read one whole year of Pepys life--1666--as a free Kindle book. I then reviewed the rest of the diary and the entirety of Pepys life via the website: http://www.pepysdiary.com/about/
This is a fascinating glimpse at what upper-class life must have been like during the Restoration years in London. There is a real benefit is reading a day-by-day, slodging-through-ordinary life account like this that cannot be matched in chronological narratives that cover wider periods, focusing just on noteworthy events. I came away with real respect for this very hard-working, hard worrying, and hard partying historic figure.
It's a wonder how anybody got anything done ever because these people spent their entire day in transit trying to catch their business acquaintances at home or in the office or in some public place, constantly getting waylaid by other people in so doing. There are long passages devoted to his efforts to secure a coach or a ferry, or to navigating streets that are muddy, trying to get somewhere. There were no phones or other means to check ahead before leaving the house!
Samuel Pepys was a man of immense responsibility and privilege, who took great joy in his own accomplishments, wealth, and in his many entertainments and infidelities. He was also tortured by various fears concerning his and his family's health, and was extremely paranoid about the state of the economy, the unstable political times, the Plague, and other matters--mostly with good cause. The month of September concerns the horrific fire that wiped out a good part of the City of London and Mr. Pepys involvement in trying to bring order to the City and preserve his own belongings.(less)