Mostly interesting, there were a few drier spots, but luckily they weren't excruciatingly long or anything. I don't find Summerscale's writing inspiriMostly interesting, there were a few drier spots, but luckily they weren't excruciatingly long or anything. I don't find Summerscale's writing inspiring but overall it's fine. I appreciate how she followed the story through all the research she did, which must have been painstaking. Definitely a curious read, with plenty of notes and resources listed in the back. For a readalong, I'd recommend The Invention of Murder: How the Victorians Revelled in Death and Detection and Created Modern Crime, which is excellent and never boring. 3.5 stars...more
The stories are interesting, but the author's tendency to put herself into the text was off-putting and an annoyance. I found her pretentious and didnThe stories are interesting, but the author's tendency to put herself into the text was off-putting and an annoyance. I found her pretentious and didn't appreciate how she seemed to think herself an expert in psychology. I'm not saying she might not be correct in certain cases, but the way she presented her "diagnoses" made it sound like those were the concrete conclusions. I have my doubts. Very dated and uninspired, with, surprisingly, many typos....more
4.5 stars Chock-full of facts that range from the building of the Titanic to the 1985 expedition when it was finally found to why the ship's legacy sti4.5 stars Chock-full of facts that range from the building of the Titanic to the 1985 expedition when it was finally found to why the ship's legacy still lives on, THE TITANIC FOR DUMMIES is a nicely arranged, easy to read history for those who either have a passing interest or intermediate knowledge of the Titanic. Although aficionados on the infamous ocean liner most likely won't find anything new between the covers.
The author wrote this with the intent that each section could be read both straight-through or out of order, which can make it slightly repetitive if read front to back (as I did) or too quickly. I found that reading only a chapter or two at a time was a more enjoyable experience overall and kept me from getting overwhelmed by all the information. The writing is clear, easy to understand, and all encompassing to anything related to the Titanic. I enjoyed reading about some of the ludicrous myths, in which the author debunks most of them, the list of recommended documentaries to see, and well, most everything. I only noticed a few minuscule errors, most of which did not involve Titanic history and were mainly grammar, but nothing worth mentioning. The only negative I can find to the book is the lack of pictures, it only features three pages of color photographs, and a few more added diagrams of the ship. Throughout the book's text there also could have been more black and white photos included. The most glaring exclusion from the book is that there is no picture of the "Big Piece", a 15x25 foot, 20-ton piece of the hull that had been salvaged from the wreck site and was mentioned extensively throughout the book. I would have welcomed the addition instead of hopping online to see a picture of the famous piece. Also, at one time there was a table of Titanic's ten decks, with descriptions and what rooms were on those decks, that would have been better served with a diagram of the ship to help those of us who are more visually-inclined. Those are fairly minor complaints in comparison to the breadth of material this book covers however.
Highly informative, concise, and written for anyone of any age, I would recommend The Titanic for Dummies to anyone interested in learning more about the Titanic, it's a great primer that has left me more knowledgeable about a subject I've always been fascinated by.
Click here for some great photographs taken by passenger, Father Francis Browne, who disembarked from the Titanic when it docked in Cobh (then Queenstown), Ireland....more
Background: Over the fourteen years I've been a (ovo-lacto) vegetarian, I've often thought of becoming a vegan, but usually discarded it because it seeBackground: Over the fourteen years I've been a (ovo-lacto) vegetarian, I've often thought of becoming a vegan, but usually discarded it because it seemed like it would be too difficult, and really, how could I give up cheese? Especially my favorite comfort food, macaroni and cheese. Sure, there's soy cheese but it has been harder to find, not to mention, more expensive. However, I've recently discovered what rennet is and cannot stomach ever eating cheese again. This comes years after I'd already stopped eating gelatin when I found out where that came from. So, slowly but surely, I've been taking one step at a time towards becoming vegan. Now, I don't know if I'll ever become fully vegan, but that's where books like this one can help.
The Book: I can't tell you how awesome this book is. For the first one-hundred pages, it explains what veganism is, what certain foods are (tofu, which gets a bad rap, tempeh, soy, etc.) and how to properly prepare them, where to get nutrition, what to stock in the pantry, adapting non-vegan recipes to become vegan, and a heck of a lot more helpful information. The recipes make up the bulk of the book and have all the usual categories: breakfast, condiments, desserts, entrees, etc. The introduction page of each category includes what recipes are actually in that chapter, which is a nice feature. All the directions are clearly explained, most are easy to prepare, and don't contain too many 'odd' ingredients that are difficult to find (meaning most of the recipes aren't gourmet and are more on the simple side, which makes me happy). They also contain nutritional information per serving, how much prep time, and tips and variations. I've been very impressed with the page layout of the recipe section, which features a border that separates it from the information section, so even when closed you can clearly see where this portion starts and that makes it easier to find the recipes. In the last chapter, there's even is a list of emergency snacks for vegans on the road or otherwise stuck without their own pantry, which could be very helpful for newbies. From beginning to end, this is a well-organized book chockful of useful tidbits and interesting recipes that I'll be sure to go back to again and again. Highly recommended....more
Beatrice Turner was an enigma. Brought up in polite society by strict parents, she spent her life painting, writing in her journal, and watching the wBeatrice Turner was an enigma. Brought up in polite society by strict parents, she spent her life painting, writing in her journal, and watching the world change while she still wore Victorian garb. Considered an eccentric by her peers and then again by future generations, not many really knew who she was until after her death. In this slim volume, Beatrice's story is told through her surviving journals, self-portraits, sketches and other paintings. But through it all, there are still unanswered questions, so she remains a mystery to this day.
The book itself is basically good, Beatrice must have been a fascinating woman. She kept to herself but her journal reveals that she was a woman ahead of her time and I wish they hadn't burned her works, even if there were thousands of them. I guess it's a sign of the times, no one appreciated her or considered her a real artist, they just decided that because she was different, she's an outcast. The author writes well, but my biggest complaint was that there were too many unnecessary backgrounds told of people who didn't really matter to the story. Some of them I can see how it was needed but other than those few exceptions, it was just padding. Not that it's completely surprising since little is known about Beatrice, but those parts were pointless to the book as a whole. I'd stil say this is a worthwhile book that is fascinating, quick to read, and features many of Beatrice's paintings.
5 stars for Beatrice herself, 3 stars for the book, so a 4 average....more
A CAST OF KILLERS is a compelling look back into the 1922 unsolved murder of William Desmond Taylor. The author tells the story through the eyes of diA CAST OF KILLERS is a compelling look back into the 1922 unsolved murder of William Desmond Taylor. The author tells the story through the eyes of director King Vidor, using his actual research of the murder during the years sixty-six and sixty-seven.
Once I picked this up, I could not put it back down, or rather, I didn't want to put it down for a second. Sydney D. Kirkpatrick knows how to grab ahold of a reader and keep them locked into the book until the very end. To make sure nothing spoiled the book for me, I didn't look anything up online (as I'm apt to do) until after I had read the last sentence. This proved to be for the best. Unfortunately, this is not the definitive answer to an unsolved crime, but just Vidor's (and I assume the author's) theory in a case that will likely never be truly solved. Also, the newsletter called Taylorology, which specializes in the murder, found 175 errors and contradictions in the 1986 edition of the book (the one I read). According to their website, most of those errors were corrected in the Twentieth Anniversary Edition.
Still, I found the book to be absolutely riveting and was a good starting place to learn the basics of a crime I had never heard of before. A CAST OF KILLERS is written like a novel, therefore it's a fast read and very entertaining. I take the theory used in it with a grain of salt, but all-in-all, it was a worthwhile read....more