This is an excellent overview of our current systems of agriculture and food. Instead of simple rules like "Eat organic!" or "Buy local!" this is a muThis is an excellent overview of our current systems of agriculture and food. Instead of simple rules like "Eat organic!" or "Buy local!" this is a much more integrated view of everything, and how we can start thinking about food and farming in a more complete way. ...more
This started off kind of slowly but then suddenly got really crazy. I think what I like best about this book is the polite, everyday conversation andThis started off kind of slowly but then suddenly got really crazy. I think what I like best about this book is the polite, everyday conversation and dinner parties followed by SUDDEN DEATH. This is classic horror, and I wish the genre would get away from Stephen King and return to these types of stories. Dorian starts off as an innocent young lad, but by the end of the book he is jumping at his own shadow for fear of his own death and terror at what he has become. There's just a little bit of the supernatural, but most of the horror comes from Dorian's own mind. The ending was perfect....more
I loved this book so much more than I thought I would. I usually hear Thoreau talked about in terms of introversion, environmentalism, and civil disobI loved this book so much more than I thought I would. I usually hear Thoreau talked about in terms of introversion, environmentalism, and civil disobedience. Walden definitely captured the introversion and environmentalism, but it is SO MUCH MORE and nobody ever talks about those other things.
First of all, I feel like Thoreau is a kindred spirit. I hesitate to say that because that's what people say and then go off into the wilderness and possibly die (Into the Wild...") or other extremes. But I say this because of Thoreau's excitement about nature. He loves it, he reveres it, he loves to be in it, but most of all he is just so fundamentally interested in everything that he can spend hours and hours walking/observing/thinking about and playing with nature.
A couple of examples:
At one point, Thoreau becomes fascinated with a loon that visits the pond. He finds the loon's call fascinating, as well as the fact that he dives in one place and comes up somewhere else, totally far away from the point of descent. So what does he do? He gets out onto the pond and tries to follow the loon. He sees where the loon descends, then attempts to paddle his way to where he predicts the loon will ascend. He does this for HOURS. He never catches up with the loon, and the only thing that prevents him from continuing this game is that "he uttered one of those prolonged howls, as if calling on the god of loons to aid him, and immediately there came a wind from the east and rippled the surface, and filled the whole air with misty rain, and I was impressed as if it were the prayer of the loon answered, and his god was angry with me; and so I left him disappearing far away on the tumultuous surface."
Another time, he spots a barred owl perched on a tree. "When I made most noise he would stretch out his neck, and erect his neck feathers, and open his eyes wide; but their lids soon fell again, and he began to nod. I too felt a slumberous influence after watching him half an hour, as he sat thus with his eyes half open, like a cat, winged brother of a cat."
He is just able to identify with and imagine everything so clearly. It's refreshing and wonderful.
I could go on with many other examples (more owls, squirrels, partridges, rabbits...), but then this review would get to be ridiculously long.
Okay, first I have to praise the author for SO MUCH RESEARCH going into this book. Holy crap. Not only did she have so many details about life, reWOW.
Okay, first I have to praise the author for SO MUCH RESEARCH going into this book. Holy crap. Not only did she have so many details about life, religion, politics, and customs in the Middle Ages, but even the language -- and lots of it. There were whole conversations in Old English and sections of Latin and some linguistics and I don't even know. Wow.
So aside from that, the story itself was amazing. It follows one girl's adventure (if that's the right word?) as a time-traveling historian, and as the first person to travel to the Middle Ages, which had been deemed too unsafe due to Black Death. The premise itself is pretty interesting -- people time-traveled to learn about history, rather than trying to change something or carry warnings or see into the future or whatever. The characters were great: realistic, human, with their own convictions and downfalls. A few were caricatured but not in an overly-obnoxious way (e.g. Mr. Gilchrist and Mrs. Gaddson being evil and completely overbearing, but even they were still believable).
It did take a little while to get going, and it felt repetitive even halfway through, but it was still a pretty quick/easy read for 578 pages. It probably helped that I just did not want to put it down by about page 300. I had goosebumps when I finished.
I love this book. I love Patrick Rothfuss. I love the characters (even though I also sometimes hate them, but that's how you know it's good), I love tI love this book. I love Patrick Rothfuss. I love the characters (even though I also sometimes hate them, but that's how you know it's good), I love the world, I love the story. Highly recommend this for anyone who is interested in epic fantasy!...more
I stopped reading for years during/after my undergraduate education. Part of this was because of time (or lack thereof), and part of this wasSO EPIC.
I stopped reading for years during/after my undergraduate education. Part of this was because of time (or lack thereof), and part of this was because when I did read, I hated it (probably because it was required for a course).
This was the first book that got me excited about reading again. It's wonderful and imaginative and twisted and terrible all at the same time. I love the characters (even if I love to hate them) and the writing and the plot.
I love George R.R. Martin for restoring my love for reading, even though he is totally crazy....more
I won this through a Goodreads First Reads giveaway. I was interested in this book because for me, Latin America is completely nebulous in terms of whI won this through a Goodreads First Reads giveaway. I was interested in this book because for me, Latin America is completely nebulous in terms of what life is like there. Klovers did an excellent job of capturing this. When she describes her first few months in Ecuador, it was pretty depressing; by the end, however, you definitely get a sense of hope (and perspective!), which I really appreciate in these kinds of books.
The book starts off with her deciding to live in Latin America because, while it was her area of expertise in terms of advising US officials, she hadn't immersed herself in the region. She went to Ecuador to teach in a poverty-stricken area at a Catholic center, where students are encouraged to learn only what they need for their trade and are discouraged from learning for the sake of learning. Klovers is my hero for going against this at times, despite the grousing of those in charge.
But more remarkably, I feel a connection to her students and sincerely hope they are able to persevere against their odds. I hope Silvia is never a victim of domestic violence. I hope Dolores finds friends and a support system. I hope Edison's sister heals. I hope William owns that furniture shop and, maybe once he gets tired of it, runs for president of Ecuador. I'm sure Darwin will turn out to be a fine man.
I would definitely recommend this to anyone interested in learning more about life in Latin America, adventures in difficult parts of the world, human nature, or just looking for a good read....more
This was a really great, accessible overview of math. It included some history and philosophy about the subject, rather than just discussing what it iThis was a really great, accessible overview of math. It included some history and philosophy about the subject, rather than just discussing what it is and why it's important. Even better, its value was discussed from more than an applied viewpoint (which is probably the only viewpoint most people have heard about since elementary school).
Although it started off a little slowly, the book does a good job covering a broad variety of topics and generating interest in the kinds of questions being asked. Because each chapter is succinct and interspersed with humorous bits, it's a very easy read -- even during the later, mind-expanding chapters. Definitely recommend for anyone curious about the field but a little intimidated....more
SO GOOD. This one was even better than the first, and I can't wait for the third book to come out. I love the characters, the plot, the romances (notSO GOOD. This one was even better than the first, and I can't wait for the third book to come out. I love the characters, the plot, the romances (not too much, not too little), the fight scenes (so many people fail at writing fight scenes, so srsly this is big brownie points for me). It's YA without being vapid, like so many other YA books/series lately.
I also happen to be watching the first season of Sailor Moon, so I feel like this was an appropriate time to read it. Love the parallels....more
I won this book from a Goodreads First Reads giveaway. I was expecting a fictionalized memoir that would be mostly sad and a little uplifting at the eI won this book from a Goodreads First Reads giveaway. I was expecting a fictionalized memoir that would be mostly sad and a little uplifting at the end maybe, as these things usually go. The books I've read like this focus on persevering through life's experiences, while illustrating some of the darker sides of humanity.
This book was definitely better than what I expected.
First of all, the story is about the Khmer Rouge revolution in Cambodia (1975-1979), which I have never encountered in fiction ever. Second, the story is told from the perspective of a seven year old (at least when the revolution begins) girl. Because of this, what she thinks of her experiences may seem oversimplified at first, but the more you see the world through her eyes, the more you realize that these thoughts are actually very perceptive of human nature.
The revolution itself is portrayed realistically from the standpoint of both the social elite (the main character, Raami, is descended from royalty) and the peasants. Raami and her family are shuffled around, told their education is worthless, that the Organization will cure all illnesses and afflictions -- but who is The Organization issuing these orders and proclamations? Raami doesn't know for a very long time. Her idea about what it might be (a god? Or a leader of one of the villages?) is entertaining but also not surprising. If I had no idea what communism was, I would probably wonder the same thing based on the way the revolutionary soldiers kept talking about it. The people behind the revolution were usually portrayed as naive and immature, wanting everyone to be the same based on what they knew, and afraid of anything else. A few people (loyal to the Cause) were genuine, but corruption was rampant in every village Raami and her family were taken to, and it is a strong reminder why communism has failed so many times.
With this setting as a backdrop, Raami continues to think of life in relation to childhood stories and lore, told either from her father, her mother, her nurse, or from religion. This gives the whole story a slight fairy-tale flavor, which wanes as Raami matures but is always present in some capacity. She is surprisingly resilient to everything that occurs during the revolution, even when she blames herself for disasters or is starving and overworked. Overall, she is a very inspirational character.
I also want to say that this must have been an extremely difficult story for the author to tell. I realize it is a fictionalized memoir, and I'm not sure how much of it parallels her own experience, but I can only imagine what it would be like to live through this as a child, then live through it again in the re-telling. I'm very glad she was able to write this. I spent a lot of time with this book not only because it was a compelling story, but because the perspective and writing were so well done.
I would definitely recommend this to anyone interested in historical fiction, memoirs, human nature, contemporary fiction, and/or fiction with a little bit of magic/folklore....more