"Finally," this is what all my goodread friends are saying. I started this book seven months ago. What took me so long. First, I don't actually read t"Finally," this is what all my goodread friends are saying. I started this book seven months ago. What took me so long. First, I don't actually read that much. Secondly, I often found myself pausing while reading to look up some piece of information. I was led down many a wikipedia trail reading this book. Finally, the printer printed on big pages in a small font.
Ok all my excuses are finished, what about the book. I personally prefer learning about history through the lens of biography. Given that caveat, I consider The First American to be one of the best historical books I've ever read. We get an intimate portrait of the greatest thinker of his time if not one of the greatest thinkers in all of history. The author exposes us to a very human Franklin. We see witness his sadness at the breaking of relations with his son, who chose loyalty to the crown over loyalty to his father.
Beyond Franklin himself we encounter a treasure of information about the milieu that produced the revolution and eventually, the United States. I learned more about what lead to the revolution reading this book than I did in all the schooling I had. I highly recommend it to anybody with an interest in the period
"Go on doing great things and loving pretty women" ...more
When I started reading The Joy of Less I quickly had the idea I was reading a blog transferred to book form. I was. Francine Jay has a blog called mis When I started reading The Joy of Less I quickly had the idea I was reading a blog transferred to book form. I was. Francine Jay has a blog called missminimalist.com. The transition from blog to book has gone well in this case.
The book begins with a series of short chapters taken from the blog that provide a slight overview of the philosophy of minimalism and how having less can actually make us happier.
She then takes us through a series of practical steps defined by a nice acronym. Following these steps will help you clean out the clutter and keep it out.
The big mid section lets the book down. It seems that in order to make up enough material for a book some padding was needed. She goes room by room through a house walking through the steps and how they apply to that room. One or two room examples would have been enough but she goes through every room in the house. It becomes tedious quickly.
It ends with a section minimizing your schedule and the final chapter is an uplifting and encouraging attempt to get us to look at the bigger picture.
Though it's clearly aimed at the suburban wife I actually took a lot from this book.
Ultimately this isn't a book about organizing what you have just so the mess is cleaned up. It's a call for a totally new look on life. One that throws off the ideas of American consumerism and helps us to look at more important things. I recommend it....more
The Artist as a Young Man consists of a series of autobiographical snippets as the author comes of age in Ireland at the turn of the century. It conce
The Artist as a Young Man consists of a series of autobiographical snippets as the author comes of age in Ireland at the turn of the century. It concerns itself with his sexual, artistic, and spiritual awakenings. To be fair, it's not much concerned with plot. I can sum up what I think happened quickly. A young artistically gifted man grows up under a religious education. He then comes into some money when his family sells their land. He spends it on prostitutes. He then has a religious conversion, almost becomes a priest, falls in love, and wanders out into the world to become an artist. None of that matters.
Joyce focuses on wordcraft. He writes far more like poetry than prose. In fact, the artist in the book describes himself as a poet not a prose writer. The results are magnificent.
His soul was all dewy wet. Over his limbs in sleep pale cool waves of light had passed. He lay still, as if his soul lay amid cool waters, conscious of faint sweet music. His mind was waking slowly to a tremulous morning knowledge, a morning inspiration.
This book has been extensively studied. There are cliff notes and I am sure many hours have been spent by dusty professors rambling on about the meaning of this and the symbolism of that. It seems to me almost an offense to read this book in that way. As if one sees a butterfly and contemplates the symbolic aspects of lines. No! You just enjoy the beauty.
It was not thought nor vision, though he knew vaguely that her figure was passing homeward through the city. Vaguely first and then more sharply he smelt her body. A conscious unrest seethed in his blood. Yes, it was her body he smelt: a wild and languid smell: the tepid limbs over which his music had flowed desirously and the secret soft linen upon which her flesh distilled odour and a dew.
The past is consumed in the present and the present is living only because it brings forth the future.
And the air is thick with their company as they call to me, their kinsman, making ready to go, shaking the wings of their exultant and terrible youth.
I want to make one comment not about the book but about how I read it. My printing is a 1928 modern libraries printing. Who supersized our books? This book is 6 1/2 inches by 4 1/2 inches. It's a perfect small size to slip into a bag or even a large pocket. Yes the printers used a smallish font but we have reading glasses these days. I look over at my bookshelves and the hardcovers I have are huge. Even paperbacks are now being printed in odd sizes. I know they do this to charge more. I wish they'd think more about the reading experience.
My first introduction to the character of Kurt Wallander was not the books or the popular BBC versions starring Kenneth Branagh. A local pbs station sMy first introduction to the character of Kurt Wallander was not the books or the popular BBC versions starring Kenneth Branagh. A local pbs station shows foreign mysteries one day week. Despite being in Swedish and subtitled I enjoyed the character. With the success of the BBC version I decided to finally pick up a Wallander book. The Pyramid features a series of stories that take Wallander from a new cop in 1969 till right before the start of the first Wallander novel. These stories are not traditional who done its. We follow Wallander from an unsure young cop with dreams of being a great detective, through his mentoring and maturation to a dedicated, even obsessed, but burned out cop. Along the way see the deterioration of his marriage and the ups and downs of his relationship with his eccentric painter father. ...more
Controlling and greedy and with a healthy distaste for war, Henry VII turned post War of the Roses England into one of the richest kingdoms in Europe.Controlling and greedy and with a healthy distaste for war, Henry VII turned post War of the Roses England into one of the richest kingdoms in Europe. Thomas Penn makes would could have been a boring story of mundane political machinations into an interesting read. ...more
I am not that big of a fan of hard science fiction. I prefer space opera, fantasy and pew pew pew. It’s a thousand years in the future and humanity ha I am not that big of a fan of hard science fiction. I prefer space opera, fantasy and pew pew pew. It’s a thousand years in the future and humanity has expanded to many worlds but has never encountered another sentient species. This all changes. A solar sail arrives from a previously unreachable star system. The single crew member is dead but extremely alien in physiology. The Human Empire sends out an expedition to find a way to the planet and make first contact. There are a couple of things that could have ruined my enjoyment of this book. For the general setting the authors have have chosen to take the 19th century British Empire and stick it a thousand years in the future, complete with the morality and sexual ideas of the time. They have chaplains on the ships doing services. There is a Russian planet full of people with russian accents. Heck, the main engineer is Scottish. I paused early on in reading and thought to myself, “I should find this absurd.” But I didn’t. The characters are one dimensional and thin. The book moves at a very deliberate pace as things are worked out slowly. But all that is secondary to the purpose of the book. The authors put a great deal of effort in making the science realistic. It deals in depth with what space flight and combat would actually be like. The alien race is cleverly thought out and relatable enough to still be able to interact with the humans. ...more
Warning may contain spoilers. Though the spoilers are so foreshadowed I'd be surprised if you didn't figure them out.
I've long been a fan of Stephen KWarning may contain spoilers. Though the spoilers are so foreshadowed I'd be surprised if you didn't figure them out.
I've long been a fan of Stephen King. When at his best, King tells us about the human experience. People who never read him will find this odd. They will only think of gore and supernatural horror. For example, Tommyknockers written at the height of his own cocaine addiction is about addiction. A Bag of Bones from one angle is just a haunted house story, but on a deeper level is about dealing with the loss of a loved one.
In the four stories comprising Full Dark, No Stars King mostly forgoes the supernatural tales sprung from very real darkness in the world.
In 1922 a farmer has grown tired of his wife and her constant nagging to sell up and move to the city. He enlists the help of his fourteen year old son to kill her and cover up the murder. The guild haunts them both to their deaths.
In Big Driver, a woman is raped, brutally assaulted, and left for dead. Knowing that other women are in danger she decides to take matters into her own hands and hunt down her attacker. Big Driver deals with how horrible events force on us can change us into something we never imagined.
Fair Extension is the week spot and luckily short. In essence it's a retelling of the story of Job. Instead of just God and Satan deciding to mess with Job, in this retelling a “fair extension” is made. Dave Streeter makes a deal with a man named Edvil (Get it) to have his own life extended at the expense of his best friend. Dave has secretly hated his more successful best friend all his life.
Finally A Good Marriage takes us into the lives of Darcy and Bob Anderson. A happily married couple, Darcy is terrified to find out that her husband is actually a serial killer who over thirty years has killed eleven women. Bob finds out she knows and convinces her he can stop. She knows this isn't true and eventually has to kill him a...more