Really enjoyed this. Supplements the main books well. Especially fun for me given my love of English football, and this book owes a lot to that clearlReally enjoyed this. Supplements the main books well. Especially fun for me given my love of English football, and this book owes a lot to that clearly. I have heard that Rowling is a Spurs fan, and I could believe that. I also think that the Chudley Cannons are supposed to be like Liverpool. Message me if you have questions about why I say that. Finally, as a historian, this book is fun too. Getting to make up your own history as an author has got to be a thrill....more
I read this because I am going to have my 8th graders read it during our WWII unit coming up. I expected it to be good, but I had to read it, of coursI read this because I am going to have my 8th graders read it during our WWII unit coming up. I expected it to be good, but I had to read it, of course, to really know and to teach it. It was really good. It was a really solid balance of history and storytelling. If a student reads this, they will get not only a great picture of the Navajo contribution to the war effort, but the American fight in the Pacific overall. The best part of this book, though, is the way it deals with subtlety. Of course, there is the main nuance of Navajos, who have been oppressed by Americans, fighting and giving their lives for America. But it goes beyond that, such as for example his portrayal of both hating the Japanese but also feel sorry for their people.
I hope my students enjoy this as much as I did....more
Well, Bill Bryson remains one of my favorite authors despite the less than glowing review I am about to give him. I have read maybe 2/3 of his books,Well, Bill Bryson remains one of my favorite authors despite the less than glowing review I am about to give him. I have read maybe 2/3 of his books, so I feel like I have some ground to stand on here. I also have read Notes from a Small Island, which is the sort of original version of this book, so I can't help but compare the two.
The first problem with the book is that he starts out by saying the route he is going to take, and even names it after himself, and then proceeds to hardly follow the route at all. He pretty much goes wherever he wants in Britain without much explanation at all. Also, there are times when he does give us explanation, like about his grandkids being born or having to go back to America for a legal issue. Ok, fine, but he still told us he was going to go to certain places and then some of them he just never does. Why not edit the book and take out the part saying he is going to go somewhere if he never ended up going there? For example, he says he is going to go to certain places in Scotland, but then he hardly spends any time there at all. I don't even think he mentioned Little Dribbling, or if he did it was super brief.
Second, he starts out by saying that he is going to try not to go to the same places he went to in Notes from a Small Island, but then he often does. And since Bill is, and he would admit this himself I am quite sure, turning into a cranky, somewhat nostalgic, old man, his comparison with the way a place used to be is usually pessimistic (more on this in a minute). Yes, he talks about positive changes, especially to the industrial northwestern cities, but again, he said at the beginning that he wasn't just going to revisit old things, but then he often does. A lot of the stories in this book are actually old stories from various points over the last 40 years of his living in different places in Britain. This kind of also meant that he could just sort of tell whatever random story he wanted. Now, I like his stories and diversions, but this book lacked focus more than most of his other books. As one example, when he visited Durham, he hardly talked about visiting the city at all. It was pretty much just him telling us about his friends in Durham and what they do.
The final main problem, and don't get me totally wrong, this was still an enjoyable book which really suffers by comparison to most of his other 5 star works, is that he is just downright cranky and even mean a lot in this book. I think the number of times he tells us that he wants to tell someone to F off is at least 15 in this book. Jeez dude, I thought you liked the place? He also has been some sort of ambassador for rural places in Britain, and I like clean and beautiful nature at least as much as he does, but he just often beats this issue like a dead horse. The number of times he complains about litter or development that shouldn't be there is way too much.
All in all, I think this was just too much a re-hash, which probably left him stuck in some positions as a writer that led to some of the issues I have mentioned. I this Bryson is his best when he is researching a topic and stays generally focused on that point--like in his Shakespeare book or especially in At Home. The next one I am going to read by him is One Summer which I hope will be more like that....more
Now is as good of a time to review this as any. Always tough to review a devotional, because you never really "finish" it, but Amy and used this for mNow is as good of a time to review this as any. Always tough to review a devotional, because you never really "finish" it, but Amy and used this for much of the summer and really enjoyed it. We both love prayer books, and have a big collection and have used many of them. The layout of this one is really nice, and it is really easy to use. I also like its blending of both ancient and modern as well as its high church and low church traditions. Well done, and may God continue to bless Claiborne and the Ordinary Radicals movement....more