This isn't the first time I've felt this way about a hockey book, that it failed to deliver what I was looking for, but I can't say it's wasn't an enj...moreThis isn't the first time I've felt this way about a hockey book, that it failed to deliver what I was looking for, but I can't say it's wasn't an enjoyable read. 'Searching for Bobby Orr' is, in the author's words, not an 'authorized biography,' nor a 'traditional sports biography,' and I couldn't disagree at all. There aren't any interviews with Orr himself, his family, or his friends. But it tells a good tale. Starting when Bobby Orr was a boy in Parry Sound, the book follows him through his Junior days, to his ascendancy into the NHL and superstardom.
However, I knew that story already. I knew that Orr scored the overtime winning goal against the Blues in the 1970 Stanley Cup final, and could be seen diving across the ice. I knew that Orr set amazing records like being +125 with 102 assists in the 1971 season, and that he won the NHL scoring record twice, the only defencemen to ever win.
But I was a little more fuzzy on other parts of Orr's career, such as him being basically broke when he retired, his agent Alan Eagleson having squandered much of the fortune (which he'd eventually go to jail for, amongst other things). And this is the part of Bobby Orr I wished to learn about when I started reading this book. I had read another Stephen Brunt book, 'Gretzky's Tears' about the Great One being traded to Los Angeles in 1988, and was expecting a similar dissection of a crucial change in the NHL and hockey world.
Unfortunately, 'Searching for Bobby Orr' never really broached the subject other than to mention, in passing, that Eagleson went to jail for mail-fraud. The book was an enjoyable look at Bobby Orr's playing career, detailing many of his more important games, his Stanley Cup triumphs, and his award-winning seasons. But I was much more interested in the scandal, the fraud, and Eagleson going to jail. I felt as if I was reading a biography of Richard Nixon, that mentioned in the last paragraph that 'Nixon then resigned the Presidency because of a hotel, and retired to California.'
In this regard, it reminded me of 'King of Russia' by Dave King, about his experiences coaching in the KHL in Russia. Sure, it was an enjoyable read, but it didn't focus on what I was most interested in. In that case, I wanted to learn more about the social and economic difference of playing in Russia, not merely a summary of his season there. I still enjoyed reading both books, but felt they missed the mark on what they could have been.(less)
Once again, Bill Bryson takes what could be a rather boring topic, and makes it interesting. I suppose it isn't that the topic is necessarily boring,...moreOnce again, Bill Bryson takes what could be a rather boring topic, and makes it interesting. I suppose it isn't that the topic is necessarily boring, but that people write about it in such boring fashion. Bryson uses language, research, and wit, to make a for a great, informative read.
It's fascinating to read about the nuances of Enlgish, most of which make no sense. Why are 'five' and 'good' prnounced diferently? Why do Britons say 'lift' but Americans say 'elevator'? Why do we pronounce 'colonel' with an 'arr' sound? And where does the word 'fuck' come from, and why does it have so many meanings?
Not only did I learn a few things, but also had fun doing so; I even laughed out loud a few times. I don't ever remember laughing in high school English...(less)
This was a book I was really looking forward to, and I suppose it many ways it didn't disappoint. The arguments made are persuasive, and backed with t...moreThis was a book I was really looking forward to, and I suppose it many ways it didn't disappoint. The arguments made are persuasive, and backed with tons of facts and figures. The problem was that because it was written over 15 years ago, most of the examples and case studies are so dated, the book just didn't have the same impact an updated version might.
Rosentraub talks about some players making over $3 Million per year in baseball (2013 league average was $3,600,000), and how small markets like Pittsburgh and Cincinnati have some difficult decisions ahead of them re whether or not to build a new stadium for their baseball teams (they both did so, as well as new football stadiums, over ten years ago, and Pittsburgh also built a hockey arena).
So while the arguments hold true today, and the logic behind them are the same today, the numbers are so out of whack, it was almost difficult to take seriously at times. It would be like someone complaining about the price of gasoline, saying "could you imagine it one day being 50 cents a liter?!"(less)
Author Thomas Thwaites embarks on a journey to build a toaster, something we use almost everyday, but likely have little to no understanding of how it...moreAuthor Thomas Thwaites embarks on a journey to build a toaster, something we use almost everyday, but likely have little to no understanding of how it works or how it is made.
His mission isn’t just to acquire the different parts and put them together, a difficult task in itself, but also to make each part from scratch. Of course ‘from scratch’ can be difficult to define. He quotes Carl Sagan who once said, if you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.” For the purpose of this book however, Thwaites decides he wants to build all the pieces from raw materials, such as the casing, the heating element, and the wiring, and then put them all together to make a functioning toaster.
The problems arise immediately, as he discovers it is nearly impossible to acquire copper, steel or oil on a domestic scale. As a representative from BP told him, “we’re just not set up for the scale you’re working at. If you wanted a tanker full, we could maybe help…” Then of course, most people also lack the necessary tools to turn raw ore into copper or oil into plastic. Even with the knowledge of how to do so, these are herculean tasks.
The most intriguing part of the book for me was how people are so interconnected and reliant on others to have the things we use everyday. Our overall knowledge may be much greater than the average person two hundred years ago, but if transported back in time, we’d be incapable of reproducing any of the devices we take for granted today.
In the end, Thwaites’ toaster cost $2000, with only 22 different parts, doesn’t’ work very well, and quite frankly looks terrible. But he was able to make a toaster; sort of.
It was an enjoyable read overall, but didn’t delve deep enough into the actual making of the toaster. Instead, most of the book talks about acquiring the raw materials and turning them into metals and plastics. Personally, I was more interested in hearing about the difficult of making copper wiring, or creating the spring that will pop the toast up, and then trying to put them all together to make a functioning electrical appliance. (less)