John Steinbeck and his poodle Charley take off in a modified RV for a trip around the country.
Will the real Jennifer G please stand up? I seem to haveJohn Steinbeck and his poodle Charley take off in a modified RV for a trip around the country.
Will the real Jennifer G please stand up? I seem to have lost myself somewhere along the way.
When did I become a fan of Steinbeck? Because I now have to admit that I am. I held a grudge against him for years because of The Grapes of Wrath and Of Mice and Men, both of which I was forced to read in high school. I've been in denial for a couple of years but looking back through all the passages of this book that I flagged, I realized that I love the way this man writes.
I still don't forgive him for Lennie and can't imagine that I ever will, but if we both ignore that, we get along just fine. Better than fine.
It's been almost two years since I read this, but I do remember that Steinbeck's observations, conversations, and chronicles of daily left held me pretty much spellbound. I'll even let you in on a secret: the man had a sense of humor. Steinbeck! Dark, depressing Steinbeck! I literally laughed out loud several times as I read this. I remember a passage about hunting in New England (I think) that had me in stitches. Another section I had forgotten but flagged was about introducing Charley to sequoias and redwoods. "But from the start I had withheld from him any information about the giant redwoods. It seemed to me that a Long Island poodle who had made his devoirs to Sequoia sempervirens or Sequoia gigantea might be set apart from other dogs--might even be like that Galahad who saw the Grail. The concept is staggering."
Originally published in 1962, many of Steinbeck's observations still hold today. I was shaking my head at how little things change in the fundamentals.
"It occurs to me that, just as the Carthaginians hired mercenaries to do their fighting for them, we Americans bring in mercenaries to do our hard and humble work. I hope we many not be overwhelmed one day by peoples not too proud or too lazy or too soft to bend to the earth and pick up the things we eat."
"With all the polls and opinion posts, with newspapers more opinion than news so that we no longer know one from the other...."
I recommend this for a slice of American life in an earlier time and for a different look at an author who many seem to label as depressing....more
*Blackbeard's death *Building the first lighthouse on Hatteras *Trials and tribulations of the Wright Brothers on the islands until the first flight, in 1903 *A mystery ship stranded on the shoals *The sinking of the first German U boat in WWII (maybe that was the first German U boat sunk in the US) *Finding the wreck of the Civil War ironclad warship, Monitor *Corralling and protecting the wild horse population *The Lost Colony *Moving the Cape Hatteras lighthouse 1/2 mile inland *A massive whale beaching
There were many more that were pretty interesting, but those were my favorite stories.
I'm not a huge fan of nonfiction, but this book was very readable. It was a little dry, but by keeping each story to about five pages, the author kept my attention enough so that I read most of this book in one sitting. I really liked that the later chapters were based on interviews of people who were there. If you're from the area, or you're planning on visiting, this would be a great book to read....more
Art Spiegelman’s father, Vladek, was a Jew living in Poland in WWII. He made it through, and Maus I is Spiegelman’s story of his father’s life, as welArt Spiegelman’s father, Vladek, was a Jew living in Poland in WWII. He made it through, and Maus I is Spiegelman’s story of his father’s life, as well as an exploration of the way the lives of the survivors and their family members were never the same.
Okay, let’s look at the fact that this is a graphic novel first. It absolutely works. The Jews are mice, the Germans are cats, the French are frogs--you get the idea. This is a young adult book, so I think that helps kids/teens deal with the story a little better. A skeletal mouse is alarming enough, but it would be so much harder for a child to deal with if it had been a photo of a skeletal person. As an adult who knows something about what happened, I found that the form made me see with new eyes. We’ve all seen “Schindler’s List” or read one of the books written by survivors. But this form somehow hit me a little harder, almost as if I were learning about the Holocaust for the first time.
It still stays true to the horror and atrocity. Some of it is sort of passed over, but the moments when the violence is shown stand out that much more. I’ve read quite a few Holocaust novels, but the moments of random violence in Maus I hit me hard. Spiegelman took the “less is more” approach and it worked.
There were so many things I liked about this book. The historical part of the story opens with Vladek as a reasonably prosperous young mouse marrying into a wealthy family. I liked that this is where it started. I got to see how everything was slowly stripped away until they were desperate for any shelter and any food. That stripping away is something that I haven’t come across very often. I also liked that Vladek’s ingenuity and bravery played a part in his survival, but it was obvious that the biggest factor was just dumb luck. He built or found many different hiding places. The author includes drawings of these, and I’m so glad he did. I can make sense of a picture, but a description of a complicated system for hiding usually just leaves me confused. Vladek doesn’t skip over the fact that there were some Jews who sold out others in an effort to secure their own safety. That’s not something you come across very often either. Vladek tells his own story in his slightly broken but very readable English. I liked that too. I felt like I was hearing the story instead of just reading it. I got so wrapped up in the story that I was scared every time Vladek was trying to decide whether or not to trust someone. His very survival depended on making the right judgment.
This also looks at how the Holocaust affected those who came after. Vladek survived, but did he really? He and the other survivors have a lot of psychological problems that stayed with them for life. Their problems in turn affected the children they had later, to the point that the children feel survivor’s guilt and they hadn’t even been born in WWII.
I’d recommend this for anyone who wants a bit of a fresh look at a survivor’s story. I’d also recommend it as an introduction to the Holocaust for older children and teens. If you do decide to read this, have the second one nearby. Maus I ends on a cliffhanger....more
In 1925, Percy Fawcett, a seasoned Amazonian explorer, his son and son's friend set out to find a fabulous city in the Amazon that Fawcett calls onlyIn 1925, Percy Fawcett, a seasoned Amazonian explorer, his son and son's friend set out to find a fabulous city in the Amazon that Fawcett calls only "Z." The world had become fascinated with the expedition. Fawcett sent back a few reports, but then none of the men were ever heard from again.
Over the years, many other explorers have set out to solve the mystery of the Fawcett party. All were unsuccessful. Many died. Many theories about what had happened to the men were put forward. All were eventually disproved. David Grann stumbles onto the mystery and starts researching Fawcett and the city of Z.
I listened to this book and it just never grabbed me. I enjoy listening to Mark Deakins, so it wasn't his fault. It was just hard for me to keep up with everyone in the audio format. I couldn't keep up with who was in the Amazon looking for whom, which natives were good or bad, and whether I was in the past with Fawcett or in the present with Grann. I have a sneaking suspicion that my iPod skipped over a few sections but I didn't really notice because all the expeditions just blended into one big one for me.
I did like the end. There was some resolution to the "lost city" part of the story, and it was surprising.
I really don't have anything to add. I have a feeling that I would have liked this much more if I had actually read it. If you're interested, be sure to pick up a print copy....more
Obviously, whether or not these photographs truly changed the world can be debated. Whether or not you agree with the title, this is a collection of pObviously, whether or not these photographs truly changed the world can be debated. Whether or not you agree with the title, this is a collection of powerful photos. A lot of them are not easy to look at. But they're all important and help us to remember where we came from, very often places we should never go again. Many of these gave me goosebumps or left me teary-eyed. I highly recommend this collection....more
Ishmael Beah was about 12 years old when Sierra Leone's civil war found him. He and his brother were visiting friends in a neighboring town and got cuIshmael Beah was about 12 years old when Sierra Leone's civil war found him. He and his brother were visiting friends in a neighboring town and got cut off from their family. Their world descends into chaos and they are left trying to survive on their own.
Oh my gosh. This was just heartbreaking.
I started reading it one night, didn't even get to anything about him being a soldier, and had nightmares. I was afraid of what Ishmael was in for.
In that respect, it was actually easier to read than I was afraid it would be. He tells about his time in the war pretty quickly. There are quite a few flashbacks, but he only tells enough to show what his life was really like. He doesn't relive every waking moment. It was still tough to read, but not as bad as it could have been.
He and I are very close to the same age. He's almost exactly a year older than my sister. So when he gives a date for whenever something happened, it was easy for me to compare it to our lives. In 1997 he was on his way to speak to the UN about child soldiers. I was getting my heart broken in college. The war reached him in 1993. I was a freshman in high school, swimming along just fine in my niche. We were practically the same age but our lives were light years apart. It was somehow humbling. It's downright frightening to think this started when he was just a bit older than my youngest cousin is right now.
I was frustrated that this group of boys were basically coerced into the army because they were hungry and wanted some sense of community. Oh, there was a lot more to it than that, but before they became soldiers, they kept finding villages where they were not welcome and no one would feed them. I understand that the villagers were afraid they were soldiers, but still. Even if they were fed, no one invited them to stay. I tried to understand that if your family was hungry, you would not take in an extra mouth to feed. But it was so, so frustrating. It was a cycle that no one seemed interested in breaking.
Considering that these are memoirs, I don't consider this to be a spoiler, but just in case....(view spoiler)[The people who worked to "rehabilitate" the boy soldiers must be saints. I'm glad they are out there doing so much good in the world, but I could not be one of them. I couldn't handle it. They literally took beatings from these traumatized boys and came back to try to help them again the next day. There is a special place in heaven for them. (hide spoiler)]
This was not an easy read by any means but I still recommend it. We tend to lose sight of exactly how good our lives are and this is a stark reminder. I also feel that anyone who is willing to bare his or her soul in this kind of memoir should find a receptive audience to bear witness.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I felt like this did help me teach my English student a lot of basic English vocabulary in a short amount of time. But as a first-time volunteer tutorI felt like this did help me teach my English student a lot of basic English vocabulary in a short amount of time. But as a first-time volunteer tutor, I would have liked more guidance for myself. And this book's about 15 years old--the vocabulary's a little dated. Who sends aerogrammes any more? And what the heck's a courtesy booth?...more
Mostly for fans of the show's early seasons. The advice isn't really very practical, unless you want to re-create one of the rooms from the show--andMostly for fans of the show's early seasons. The advice isn't really very practical, unless you want to re-create one of the rooms from the show--and who wants to make Hildi's fake-flower-covered bathroom or record-covered walls?...more
A great big hint from my mother-in-law. I think we'd been married all of two MONTHS when we got this for Christmas! It's a beautiful book, but it didnA great big hint from my mother-in-law. I think we'd been married all of two MONTHS when we got this for Christmas! It's a beautiful book, but it didn't set any internal clocks to ticking! :-)...more