Great book with valuable advice in an easy to read format with easy to understand language. Most is common sense, but it's good to see it in writing a...moreGreat book with valuable advice in an easy to read format with easy to understand language. Most is common sense, but it's good to see it in writing and a lot if the explanatory notes made things make seen even more sensible. I would recommend this to anyone struggling with their weight or health who needs down-to-earth, sensible, easy to follow advice without technical jargon or someone trying to sell you something.(less)
I might die from the cuteness. Really, I read this book in about 15 minutes, but I've already gone though to look at the pictures several more times....moreI might die from the cuteness. Really, I read this book in about 15 minutes, but I've already gone though to look at the pictures several more times. And shown them to anyone unlucky enough to be in my general vicinity. I just loved these baby kitties, and it was really interesting to see species of cats rarely seen by people. Even though the focus of this book was on the pictures, I really would have liked more information. Some species, like the jaguar, had several paragraphs worth. Others, like the oncilla, might only have a sentence or two. I wanted more more more! Also, and this is me being particular, there was a lot of inconsistency that an editor should have fixed. (One thing I noticed repeatedly was that sometimes it would say "name" when there was only one baby, but sometimes it would say "names" like it had been copy/pasted from an entry with multiple babies. Sometimes info that appeared in every entry, like the zoo, name, status, etc. would randomly not appear.) Again, I know the focus is on pictures, but surely text editing should be important too. Anyway. I also liked that this book highlights conservation efforts and how they're going, as well as giving info on major wild cat conservation groups. And also donating proceeds to the cause. Hooray for that. I can't wait to go look at these pictures some more. I might need my own copy of this one!(less)
I see that a lot of people say this isn't Bryson's best, and I'd say that's true. However, the format is not the same as any of his other books either...moreI see that a lot of people say this isn't Bryson's best, and I'd say that's true. However, the format is not the same as any of his other books either, and that should be taken into consideration. It's also frustrating as a travel book, because it has zero pictures. Still, Bryson paints a picture with words of all these interesting places and makes you want to experience them for yourself. I felt like I was taking a little vacation not just in space, but in time. (West Germany? Let's go!) I do wonder how many of the museums are still open, how many of the natural features are still as beautiful/unvisited as they were in 1981. I'm glad I read this; it was strangely fun.(less)
Impossible not to like a Tony Horwitz book, but this is definitely my least favorite of all of them. I was really excited he wrote this because I know...moreImpossible not to like a Tony Horwitz book, but this is definitely my least favorite of all of them. I was really excited he wrote this because I know so little about Harpers Ferry (in fact, I think that is true about a lot of people who just saw one or two sentences about it in a grade school textbook), and living 40 miles from Harpers Ferry makes it kind of a big deal around here.
So, it was an interesting subject. I learned a lot about John Brown and his raid. But. It just couldn't touch Horwitz's other works because it was straight history, rather than his usual history/travel style. I think we get a lot more from his research when he adds that modern-day contrast. (For example, Blue Latitudes: Boldly Going Where Captain Cook Has Gone Before was fascinating because the reader could see the impact of Cook's "discoveries" of the Pacific islands even in the modern age.) Still, if he had included some interpretation at all (historical or modern), it would have been an improvement. This book felt like facts, facts, and more facts, but devoid of interpretation it really lacked the meaning it could have had.
Still, it was very well written, of course. And I would even go so far as to call it THE authoritative history of the Brown raid, since it relies so heavily on primary sources and leaves interpretation up to the reader. I really do recommend it for historical fact, just not for Horwitz fans looking for his unique spin.(less)
I was quite disappointed by this book. It's really not much of an autobiography at all. Instead, it is practically a point by point breakdown of the 2...moreI was quite disappointed by this book. It's really not much of an autobiography at all. Instead, it is practically a point by point breakdown of the 2008 Wimbledon final and, to a lesser extent, the 2010 U.S. Open final. The reader learns very little of Nadal's life, and what tidbits can be found are repeated frequently. (There is a lot about the closeness of the Nadal family, for instance. A LOT.) I did enjoy learning the meaning of his last name (which is the same meaning as mine, in a different language!) and that he likes Nutella and olives, and the insight into his game and life philosophy was interesting too. However, if I was looking for such a book, I would have expected a subtitle more along the lines of "A Look into My Game."
Also, it was quite a sucker punch when he said that the sportsman he most respected was Tiger Woods BECAUSE OF HIS GOOD ATTITUDE. Woods has one of the worst attitudes of any sportsman I've seen, always blaming something else for his mistakes and getting in a mood whenever he loses. So that was shocking.
Anyway, this book was interesting and informative, just not what I was hoping for at all. Probably the whole thing could be condensed to 50 pages. Still, it's going to be a must-read for any Nadal (or tennis) fan.(less)
I read an English translation of "I Did Not Interview the Dead." I believe it was a photocopy from my professor, so I don't know if an actual English...moreI read an English translation of "I Did Not Interview the Dead." I believe it was a photocopy from my professor, so I don't know if an actual English language version exists.(less)
This was quite a good book, and I can see why Library Journal (or was it Booklist?) compared Tony Perrottet to Bill Bryson. It had all the elements of...moreThis was quite a good book, and I can see why Library Journal (or was it Booklist?) compared Tony Perrottet to Bill Bryson. It had all the elements of travel and history with a touch of humor and personal philosophizing. The subject was quite an interesting one, but the book was remarkably tame considering. Perrottet obviously had out his thesaurus and made every effort to write a book about sex without all the standard vocabulary. Even the descriptions that would seem relevant and, frankly, necessary to cover this topic (even in a scholarly way) were noticeably absent. (An entire chapter on the Marquis de Sade makes him seem a bit eccentric rather than the man whose name gives us the word "sadism.") Still, any adult should be able to put the pieces together, and his writing is very readable with a good conversational tone. (It was easy to focus on, for example, while my grandfather was watching tv and while eating lunch in a break room full of chatterers.) The one thing that was a big let down (and this is probably and unfortunately unavoidable comparison to Bryson) was Perrottet's surface treatment of his 8 subjects. His chapters were all fascinating and left me wanting to know more, and based on his commentary it seemed like he probably knew more and just didn't include it. He's such a tease, I could probably make a suitable sex joke right now to go with his subject matter... Despite the fact that he left me wanting more, I still thought this was an entertaining, engaging, informative book that was tastefully done considering the racy material, and I do look forward to reading his other books.(less)
This was a very interesting book, but I think the subtitle was slightly misleading. There was almost zero coverage of Mitchell writing the book (thoug...moreThis was a very interesting book, but I think the subtitle was slightly misleading. There was almost zero coverage of Mitchell writing the book (though her and Marsh's time spent editing is covered) and the journey to Hollywood seemed abbreviated (considering the title). A more extensive interpretation of Macmillan's marketing strategy, why the editors got behind her manuscript, and why such a niche novel became a bestseller were strangely absent.
This was mostly a business/legal history of the novel. There was a lot of discussion of copyright laws, character and sequel rights, foreign legal issues, royalty and film contracts, trusts, and the like. This was all very fascinating, but not what I was expecting at all. (And boy do I feel outraged on Margaret Mitchell's behalf, even 75 years after the fact - Macmillan sure treated her unfairly!)
I think that I would have loved this book with either a lot more content or a lot less. I think a better balance between the minimal human interest element and the exhaustive business/legal aspect would have made this very strong book into a phenomenal one. Still, it was a good read if not the read I expected.
I would definitely recommend this to any GWTW fan or anyone with an interest in the history of the publishing industry or literary law. (less)
Many negative reviews of this book talk about inaccuracy and repetitiveness. The specific inaccuracies I've seen mentioned seem to have been corrected...moreMany negative reviews of this book talk about inaccuracy and repetitiveness. The specific inaccuracies I've seen mentioned seem to have been corrected between whatever earlier edition was reviewed and the edition I read. And while I found the book to be repetitive at times, I thought the repetition served the dual purpose of reinforcing concepts and illustrating different points that came up in different sections, so it was used effectively. Having commented on other people's opinions, here's mine:
For the first 2/3 of this book, I seriously thought it was going to get 5 stars. It's been awhile since I read a history book cover to cover (if you don't count Bill Bryson). I have read a lot of history in my life, what with my undergrad degree being in history and all. I've also read quite a bit of Tudor history, because it's a favorite of mine. For the first 200, 250 pages of this book, I was thinking, "This is the book I've been waiting for my entire life!" The bulk of the research for this book came from primary sources - manuscripts, letters, state papers, etc. Skidmore would put forward all the bits of evidence he had collected, then explain the conclusion he had drawn based on that evidence. I found that it all made a lot of sense, and I loved it even more because it felt like I had access to all the research and made the same conclusions based on that information. Absolutely stellar method of writing history, if you ask me.
With all the first-person viewpoints, it's impossible not to feel like you've been pulled into the 16th century. (I appreciated the inclusion of appendixes with parts of Leicester's Commonwealth, Dudley and Throckmorton's letters, and the coroner's report into Amy Dudley's death.) The section that dissects the coroner's report and possible causes of death took an abruptly modern shift, but it was definitely a necessity.
I started to lose my overjoyed love of this book around the fifth section, when the specter of Amy's death makes no appearance at all, and many decades are condensed into too few pages (especially compared with the first part of the book). The sixth section, which proposes an alternate explanation for Amy's death, felt too rushed, especially because Skidmore doesn't present all the evidence to support his conclusions as extensively as he did in the beginning. On the other hand, I found his theory very easy to believe. The how and who of Amy's death seems plausible, but not the why. I just didn't see the motive. (He also hinted at royal involvement without exploring the idea more. What a tease!) I also think he skirted around the issue of Amy wanting to be alone on the day she died.
Bottom line, it falls somewhere between amazing and okay. At least it's not inconsistent, because I thought the first 4 sections were amazing and the last 2 were okay. The research is astounding. It's (for the most part) entertaining and educational. It gives the amateur historian indirect access to primary sources that he wouldn't otherwise be able to see. Skidmore also allows the reader to feel like an active participant in his historical sleuthing. A better title might have been Elizabeth and Robert: The Marriage That Never Was. (The sections about Amy would make a good 100-page book. However, reading a book whose subtitle mentions a "dark scandal that rocked the throne," I thought there was precious little "rocking." Skidmore outlines dozens of other factors that prevented the couple's marriage; even if Amy had died of breast cancer, I doubt the queen would have married Dudley - at least that's what I gather from Skidmore's writing.) With a stronger finish, I think this could have gotten 5 stars. As it is, I still thought it was pretty great, and definitely a fascinating read.(less)
I thought it would never end. I have to say, in the interest of fairness, that I never would have read this book if it wasn't for book club. There is...moreI thought it would never end. I have to say, in the interest of fairness, that I never would have read this book if it wasn't for book club. There is ESP communication with animals, animals who "say" they've been reincarnated from Indian medicine women or will be reincarnated as llamas, animals who "dictate" poetry, animals who communicate after their deaths... the list goes on. There are signs. There's the Earth Mother. There is so much ridiculous New Age mumbo jumbo that it's hard to see past it.
If you can look past all of those things, you would see that Spring Farm CARES really is doing a wonderful thing in saving animals who would otherwise be put down, even if they do go about it in a strange way. Unfortunately, I think it's really hard to get a clear picture of their charity, because the narrative is so disjointed, jumping from year to year and back again. Added to that, it's almost like they assume the reader is already well acquainted with animal biology/veterinary medicine, the structure of their organization, and the process of running a farm.
Between rolling my eyes at the mumbo jumbo, fighting to keep up with the timeline, struggling to understand various technical details, and the abrupt ending, I found this to be a far from enjoyable read. Still, bravo for their good charity work.(less)
I made it to page 156/334, so keep in mind I'm reviewing a little less than the first half of the book here (all of Italy and part of India). I kept t...moreI made it to page 156/334, so keep in mind I'm reviewing a little less than the first half of the book here (all of Italy and part of India). I kept trying and trying and trying. I hated it. I have never been so surprised at my reaction to a book. Normally, I read everything, like everything, and even the things I don't like usually have some redeeming qualities that compel me to finish. Not here. Plus I especially love travel writing, and this one seemed to have a promising concept. Make that doubly disappointing.
Firstly, Gilbert is as unlikeable of a narrator as I've ever read. I know this is supposed to be a journey of self-discovery, but I just wanted to shout, "GET OVER YOURSELF ALREADY!" There is way too much introspective twaddle next to no description of her travel. The only thing that indicates she's in Italy, for example, is that she eats pasta and uses the occasional Italian word. Otherwise, she could be anywhere. The narrative is inactive. Internal philosophizing can only take you so far, especially when you're overly fond of metaphors and clearly think you're much, much deeper than you actually are.
The "characters" (if you can call the people she meets that) are flat, flat, flat. Sofie is a pretty, petite, blond Swede. Period. Luca Spaghetti just has a funny last name, and no discernible character traits. They're not friends or even people, they're just exploited as plot devices. And even that is being generous, because there is NO plot.
Oh, and if the imagined depth of her musings isn't bad enough, she quotes ancients and prolific authors like a name-dropping socialite. I mean, it's good practice to emphasize something every now and then, but every page it's Aristotle this and Virginia Woolf that. ENOUGH.
Every now and then she would break out with something that impressed me about her views (i.e. she doesn't believe in anti-depressants), but the next page she would be on a ridiculous train of thought that made me want to smack her.
I might still give the movie a try, since Julia Roberts is infinitely lovable and the trailers imply some actual travel happens (*gasp*), but I just couldn't get through one more page of this self-centered, self-inflated jibber jabber. As I said, surprised and disappointed.(less)
This is a truly remarkable book. Wright doesn't hide the truth, from Marine language and unsavory habits to the monotony of driving around the desert...moreThis is a truly remarkable book. Wright doesn't hide the truth, from Marine language and unsavory habits to the monotony of driving around the desert waiting to be attacked to the incompetence of some military leadership to the difficult choices and situations that soldiers encounter. It's not overtly anti-war or pro-war, but rather a snapshot of how it was for one unit during one small block of time.
I'm glad that I both read this book and watched the HBO mini-series. I felt like the book had a lot more in the way of explaining the purpose and procedure involved in the military maneuvers, while the mini-series illustrated that soldiers are just men, and unique individuals at that.
I would highly recommend this book, especially to military historians or those who like such strong realism that it feels like being in the narrative personally. Really, I think I would recommend this to almost anyone (as long as you can stand language, violence, and morally/ethically questionable action).(less)