This book is a light breath of fresh air. It is part graphic novel, part blog, part fiction, part non-fiction but it all works together. Scheuer's wriThis book is a light breath of fresh air. It is part graphic novel, part blog, part fiction, part non-fiction but it all works together. Scheuer's writing is heavily interspersed with cartoons and photos of her flock which adds a real connection to the stories. She has lived a parallel life to me in her learning curve about chicken keeping. She seems to be almost as enraptured as I am by the flock's antics. So many of her stories are ones that I have written myself in my own blog. My only complaint is in Scheuer's attempts to pawn off her roosters to someone else. She should read this article about taking responsibility for your flock - roos and all: http://www.nwedible.com/2013/05/you-a... Other than that, it is a pleasing little read (it will take you no longer than 3 hours to read) that provides a glimpse into the lives of us dedicated chicken lovers. Bup!...more
Here is another account of the great implosion of cycling. Macur's spin is to analyze the blame placed on Armstrong to see if his absolute fall from gHere is another account of the great implosion of cycling. Macur's spin is to analyze the blame placed on Armstrong to see if his absolute fall from grace is justified. She organizes her book into the five kinds of lying that were used (and bought into) to hide cycling's prevalent use of Performance Enhancing Drugs - lies about Armstrong's family, lies about the sport, lies within the media, lies within the cycling brotherhood and lies about Armstrong's heroics. From buying off the UCI to destroying other peoples' careers, from poker-face lying to the media to hiding behind the cloak of being a cancer survivor, Armstrong became more of a force to be reckoned with when he was off the bike. His rise to super-stardom was well-crafted and calculated. In his wake, he hurt those closest to him and kicked others when they were caught. The downside of Macur's account lies in the thousands of facts, interviews and tidbits that she tries to bring together cohesively. As it is in real life, the truths are not revealed chronologically and, in her telling, the lack of chronology is confusing, as are the hundreds of people involved in both the cover-ups and the downfall. I have read so many versions of this same story now and the pieces fit together tighter with each book. With Macur's book, I have come away with the sense that Armstrong was doping no more than the rest of pro-cycling but that his teams simply did it better. But, more importantly, I have a deeper appreciation of the socio-pathic tendencies of Armstrong and his off-the-bike bullying, threats and superior virtue attitude. I felt joy in watching his self-actualized empire crumble around him....more
For such a thin little book, Chicken packs in a huge amount of information. It traces the 10 000 year history of chickens co-habitating with humans, fFor such a thin little book, Chicken packs in a huge amount of information. It traces the 10 000 year history of chickens co-habitating with humans, from chicken bones found in ancient middens to cave art and Egyptian drawings. For thousands of years, Chickens have had an impact on humans for entertainment (cock fighting), nourishment, and companionship. Following their glorification in the post-war era to their current state of degradation in factory farms, Potts gives a complete and concise account of their lives and enslavement. Proving that their intelligence and sensibilities are far beyond our comprehension, Potts leaves you with a drive to stop consuming factory produced chicken products - from battery laid eggs to mcnuggets; from dog food to featherless meat birds. Anyone can easily see that our current mistreatment of chickens is cruel and unsustainable. A great read!...more
This over-hyped novel disappointed me from page 10 onward. Firstly, it is filled with literary references and name-dropping which had the lovely effecThis over-hyped novel disappointed me from page 10 onward. Firstly, it is filled with literary references and name-dropping which had the lovely effect of making me feel inadequate and ill-prepared, during my leisure time no less, for being its humble reader. Secondly, the whole book is written in the present tense which has a very off-putting effect, making time seem to stand still. In the beginning of the book, A.J., the main character, is a crotchety, bitter old widower at the ripe age of 39 and he seems impervious to the look-at-the-bright-side appeal of Amelia, the newly-hired publisher representative who comes to his bookstore. Methinks some romance is going to come of this get-off-on-the-wrong-foot meeting of these two character foils. Now, enter a two-year old orphan, abandoned in the bookshop, and easily accepted into the crotchety old man's life, barely causing a ripple due to her pretty eyes and tight ringlets. Luckily A.J. is able to learn how to parent by using Google! The plot thickens slightly with a stolen E.A. Poe first edition but that is kind of it, other than the unrequited love interest. The whole story is told with a condescending tone as A.J., the most elitist and judgemental of readers, 'graduates' his book club members from one genre to another and 'promotes' them into new areas - as if readers have to become worthy of reading certain books! The true flaw in this book is the characterization. A.J. goes from a crotchety drunk to amazing father without explanation. His bookstore moves from dusty, elitist cavern to the central hub of the island community. The abandoned 2 year old adapts to the suicide of her mother and her new living arrangements without tears. Ismay gets rid of her cheating husband and moves on without regret. All of these developments occur without the required sweat and tears. Zevin over-simplifies the ability of people to get on with their lives after tragedy so that she doesn't have to deal with the mess of real life. A generously given 2 star read. ...more
As a chicken keeper and a bona-fida crazy chicken lady, I can attest that there is nothing that parallels the joy of raising backyard chickens. PersonAs a chicken keeper and a bona-fida crazy chicken lady, I can attest that there is nothing that parallels the joy of raising backyard chickens. Personally, I can sit on my porch with a cup of tea and watch 'chicken TV' for hours. But Danaan has taken this kind of adoration a step too far in this book. Her "wealth of knowledge" about chickens comes from watching her three hens in her city-lot coop and she makes it all seem pretty ideal. Her daily chores are as simple as opening a door and sprinkling organic feed on the round. Everything else is apparently paradise.
But what about illness and predators? What about bumblefoot and internal lays? What about rooster antics and the aggressive pecking order? Where is the info about processing unwanted roosters and dealing with dead hens? There is chapter upon chapter of information that Danaan doesn't write because she simply doesn't know. Instead of writing practical information about the real work of keeping chickens, she fills the book with musings on gods, steps of meditation, yogi philosophies and other nonsense.
Yes, chickens are wonderful and their eggs are daily gifts. Yes, they need to be treated humanely and given a life where they can peck and scratch for seeds and grubs. But they also require keepers who can deal with eagles, owls, mink and racoons as well as impacted crops, bumblefoot surgery and nest abandonment. Danaan also needs to realize that, while chicken mating isn't pretty, it is part of the chicken life cycle. Although she has chosen to raise her flock without a rooster, roosters serve an important role in the safety and nourishment needs of a flock. It is important to include information about both sexes if you are writing a non-fiction book about a species!
Who reads this kind of crap? At least I know who writes it so I never have to waste my reading time again. The prologue describes, in all its gruesomeWho reads this kind of crap? At least I know who writes it so I never have to waste my reading time again. The prologue describes, in all its gruesome glory, a messy hippy home birthing scene which results in the death of the child and the brain damage in the mother. But, miraculously, a women walks in from the mist and blows air onto the child's face, reviving it back to life. (nothing is done for the mother, btw) (Ready for more?) Chapter one takes place some 30 years later and the first scene describes some woman's menstrual cramps and irregular monthly bleeding in the same type of gruesome detail. I hardly want to be subjected to these descriptions. Maybe sharing these bodily functions is part of some kind of 'woman bonding ritual' that I have missed at 'finishing school'. And I was done. What a relief!
PS this book was initially published as "The Shadow Wife" so now you can take two books off your to-be-read list!...more
From cover to cover, this is a bleak story with only brief glimmers of hope or optimism. Around 600 pages into this tome, I began to worry that it wouFrom cover to cover, this is a bleak story with only brief glimmers of hope or optimism. Around 600 pages into this tome, I began to worry that it would end happily or even tidily. But Tartt did nothing so predictable and it ended with as many loose ends as possible - which has caused a month to go by before my ponderings allowed me to review it. It is lyrically written with beautifully crafted language and characters. I felt as if I was eavesdropping on an intimate conversation between lovers during a cross-country train journey. Tartt's style has a stream-of-consciousness quality where she touches briefly on some topic then returns to it again much later with a little more detail. Some point initially seems irrelevant but then becomes quite significant 200 pages later - making me wonder if perhaps all 771 pages were necessary after all. My only complaint was the description of the museum bombing. The scene was described so elaborately and the chaos and confusion were so well written that I became disoriented and didn't realize that Theo had actually taken The Goldfinch with him. It wasn't until later on, when Theo took the painting out of its hiding place, that I realized he had pinched it. Theo's extensive use of drugs wore on me but it eventually became clear that all of his interactions with The Goldfinch were during some state of confusion - either drug-related or otherwise - but all his interactions with Pippa were unenhanced, when he had clarity of mind. Although his interactions with Pippa are awkward and embarrassing, they are far more positive and hope-inspiring than his lost hours and days in the depressing fog of opiates, madly obsessing about the painting. The intimidating length of this novel caused me to read it through audiobook - which I highly recommend (once again!). David Pittu is an extremely talented narrator, using convincing female voices and expert accents in Ukranian, Vegas-ian, German and New Yorker. The hours simply slipped by with David and I was disappointed to have it end....more