Brrr...this was a chilly read and at times a chilling read. One of the last chapters, The Big Blow, had me shivering in my seat. However, the story of...moreBrrr...this was a chilly read and at times a chilling read. One of the last chapters, The Big Blow, had me shivering in my seat. However, the story of this frozen expedition to the North Pole warmed my interest with its straight-up account of twelve men and two dogs who attempt to reach the Pole in 1967 riding Ski-doo snowmobiles pulling sleds of equipment and food. The account is well-written, no chasing of snow rabbits or other distractions, the reader learns a variety of interesting and pertinent facts about an expedition of this nature survives, makes things work when they shouldn't and gets a lot of luck along the way. This expedition had no serious injuries miraculously.
Well worth the read even though it takes place almost 50 years ago.
After reading Matterhorn, I never suspected any other war account could shake its #1 War Classic status in my mind. This book does. I'm still not read...moreAfter reading Matterhorn, I never suspected any other war account could shake its #1 War Classic status in my mind. This book does. I'm still not ready to bump Matterhorn down; however, this book at least equals it considering that it is a particularly engaging non-fiction account.
Here are a few outstanding aspects of this narration of the Somali firefight:
(1) The author includes the perspective of Somalians as well as UN Peacekeepers. (2) The author does a wonderful job of eliminating his own bias - until the Epilogue and Afterward. Even then he doesn't push his opinion and recognizes his lack of expert status. (3) The different decisions of the armed force branch commanders and officers is shown so that the reader can see how their viewpoints effected their ultimate decisions. I found myself amazed that anyone could win a war with so many divisional objectives in play.
My only knock on this book is that I would have liked to have seen even more of the Somali perspective. Seeing the viewpoint of each of the factions would have been great, however, its not likely there would be many Somalis willing to speak out. I believe Bowden created a masterpiece from what was available.
WARNING: Book contains graphic violence. Do not attempt to read if you aren't able to visualize modern war as it really is.
4.5 stars and a high recommendation to Around the World readers.
What it is: A beautifully written memoir about an 60-ish woman who has lost her husband to an auto accident - not physically, but mentally and emotion...moreWhat it is: A beautifully written memoir about an 60-ish woman who has lost her husband to an auto accident - not physically, but mentally and emotionally. The brain trauma left Rich unable to care for himself and too difficult to be cared for by Abigail.
What it isn't: A place for Abigail to vent, feel sorry for herself and be the hero.
What it is: An account of the healing that takes place in Abigail's life with aid of her three dogs. A straight forward discussion of the reality of her life. Simple writing at its best.
What it isn't: A sensational story. Abigail just tells it what it is, with no frills. There isn't anything exceptional as far as adventure or aha moments.
Sample writing: If you were to look into our apartment in the late morning, or early afternoon, or toward suppertime, you might find us together sleeping. Of course a good rainy day is preferable, but even on sunny summer days, the dogs and I get into bed. Rosie dives under the quilt on my right, Harry on my left, and we jam ourselves together. After a little bit Harry starts to snore, Rosie rests her chin on my ankle, the blanket rises and falls with our breathing, and I feel only gratitude. We are doing something as necessary to our well-being as food or air or water. We are steeping ourselves, reassuring ourselves, renewing ourselves, three creatures of two species, finding comfort in the simple exchange of body warmth.(less)
This is a heartwarming story of a pit bull that the Levin family adopted. It also nicely weaves in the other story of twins they adopted when past the...moreThis is a heartwarming story of a pit bull that the Levin family adopted. It also nicely weaves in the other story of twins they adopted when past the normal age of being adoptive parents. There are many comparisons between Oogy's adoption and the twins adoption, primarily, adjustment and belonging after what could be considered a rough start coming into the world. This is definitely true in Oogy's case, not so much in the twins.
Although this is a short, easy read (listen in my case, my first on my Christmas Kindle!), the book left me a little disappointed because (view spoiler)[ the climax of the story is how Pit Bull ( a breed with a reputation for violence) could turn out so gentle, loving after being used as a bait dog for other fighter dogs. While, I believe Levin does a nice job of intertwining his family's story and Oogy's, Oogy's surgeries and health problems don't actually carry the book enough to solidly hold the reader's interest after learning about his traumatic introduction into this world. (hide spoiler)]
I loved Durrell's My Family and Other Animals so much that I eagerly anticipated listening to this book. While it contains some of the humor the autho...moreI loved Durrell's My Family and Other Animals so much that I eagerly anticipated listening to this book. While it contains some of the humor the author is famous for, it read more like a commercial for his zoo IMO. That's not to say that the history of the creation of the zoo, some funny incidents in relation to the zoo and the cause of the zoo overall aren't reading about, its just that I was expecting more being that Gerald Durrell wrote it. So while it was a good book, its not the Durrell reading experience I expected and therefore not the Durrell book I will be recommending to others.(less)
I really debated between 3 stars and 4 stars for this book. What I liked about this thoughtful and educational book I really liked, but what I didn't...moreI really debated between 3 stars and 4 stars for this book. What I liked about this thoughtful and educational book I really liked, but what I didn't like, I really didn't like.
The author, Robert Sirico, is a priest in Kalamazoo, Michigan, a town about an hour from where I live. He is known by my boss, who lent me this audiobook. The narration is fine for this edition.
Robert Sirico grew up in an ethnically rich section of New York City. He describes as a little boy looking through his window a few feet over to peer through into his Jewish neighbors window to see the lady of the house preparing delicious food. Perhaps, having grown up in this hardworking but economically-challenged environment led to Sirico's conversion into liberalism and consequent trek to its bastions for further education. To make a long story short, Sirico threw himself into liberal causes was left questioning some of the ideology and found himself re-thinking what he believed and why. In turn, he did an about-face and founded the Acton Institute.
While I enjoy being challenged pondering his discussions on charity, how to help the poor, why socialism doesn't work, etc., I did find myself highly annoyed at his belief that globalism is endorsed by the Bible. Certainly, I can understand how religious institutions have profited by globalism, but find no Biblical proof that globalism has a Christian basis.
However, in a nutshell, if you are interested in economics, the book makes for interesting and entertaining debate.
An excellent, concise account of the life of Christian Gerhartsreiter, a German immigrant who pulled one of the most incredible con jobs of all time....moreAn excellent, concise account of the life of Christian Gerhartsreiter, a German immigrant who pulled one of the most incredible con jobs of all time. Not being a huge fan of true crime, I put off listening to this book until I received notification from my library that they would not be renewing their association at the end of the year with the audiobook company providing the download for this book. so, out of necessity I started listening. I am glad I did, because the story is incredible, both from the standpoint that people of all walks of life could be so duped by whopping lies and because of the cleverness of Christian Gerhartsreiter. Granted, there is nothing to admire about his cleverness, but it was astounding how a chronic liar like Gerhartsreiter could come up with lies so quickly. In addition, he told separate individuals often those who attended the same club, different stories about why he was going to be gone, about his background, jobs, etc and no one ever questioned him. Conclusive proof that we don't talk to each other or know each other at the same level that people did before technology took over our planet.
Anyhow, I recommend this book to true crime fans as well as readers who are interested in sociology, human psychology or a fast-paced entertaining book. The narration by Erik Singer was well-done. I highly recommend the audiobook.
What a heartwarming and at times funny way to visit the seedier side of London's East End slums post WWII. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this audi...moreWhat a heartwarming and at times funny way to visit the seedier side of London's East End slums post WWII. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this audiobook with narration by Nicola Barber whose cockney accent is good enough to sound cockney, but yet understandable for those of us who can barely understand a true cockney!
I cried for young Mary who was introduced into prostitution at the tender age of 14 years old; I rooted for Conchita who birthed a 28-week old baby, couldn't understand a word of English and whose mothering instincts were so strong that she....well, you will have to read it and find out. I laughed as Sister Evangelina used a very unorthodox means of making a social outcast laugh and therefore trust her in order to nurse her back to health. In fact, I'm still laughing about this one...
This is a book that I would feel comfortable recommending to anyone. I am so happy that it is part of a series because I eagerly look forward to reading the others. (This from a person who almost runs from series.)