Soldier, Lily, Peace & Pearls is the kind of story that appeals to me these days - people who are in way worse circumstances than I overcoming the...moreSoldier, Lily, Peace & Pearls is the kind of story that appeals to me these days - people who are in way worse circumstances than I overcoming the odds. I also found it historically interesting in that I remember the days of the Vietnamese 'boat people', and our church "adopted" a Vietnamese family around 1980 or so. This story gives me a better idea of what they must have gone through. The scene where the little girl needs to make a lightning-quick life-of-death decision for the survival of her family is one of the most powerful I've ever read. Also, the well-researched piece of the story that takes place during the bloody Rwanda War is just horrifying (hard to think human beings can act that way toward others but we are reminded every day that it's true). All told an excellent read. (less)
What else would you read after the book '1968'? ;) I'm doing research for a book I want to write some day that will take place in the Sixties, so of c...moreWhat else would you read after the book '1968'? ;) I'm doing research for a book I want to write some day that will take place in the Sixties, so of course I had to read this one when I saw it in the bookstore. It's divided up into "seasons" and covers all the great events of 1969 ('great' meaning, well, fabulous, and in many cases not-so-fabulous, or downright horrifying). Some of the events covered are the ongoing Vietnam war, hippies, the Moon Walk, the Manson murders, the Zodiac Killer, Woodstock, and the disastrous Altamonte concert. Quite readable and I highly recommend it!(less)
"What Were Once Miracles..." is a collection of funny 'articles' from the future - numerous futures, actually, depending on which reality it came from...more"What Were Once Miracles..." is a collection of funny 'articles' from the future - numerous futures, actually, depending on which reality it came from. I really enjoyed this book, Nayman has a sense of humour that is occasionally Douglas Adams-esque. Some of his political pieces are just the best - I think my favourite was the one about the political pundit who never got a single prediction right, and some of the 'obituaries' ("Lives Unlived") were a real riot too. A few minor niggles: There is in my opinion a bit of overuse on really weird names - a little goes a long way - and the title of the book is not clear as you're looking at it. I thought at first it was called "The Alternate Reality News Service." But apart from that, I had a lot of fun with this book. Folks who are into science and/or science-fiction will enjoy this book a lot.
And if you've ever wondered what the world would be like if Chelsea Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin or Rush Limbaugh were President, Nayman has answered each of those questions. His knowledge of science is fairly broad along with his knowledge of politics. Americans may find some of the Canadian political pieces a bit puzzling if they're not familiar with the names and current events here in Canada. All throughout, though, there is a running thread about the appearance of over a hundred variations of a particular human being when there's a malfunction in the Dimensional Portal(tm) and what to do with all of them (it could get touchy as they've *all* imprinted, rather like baby geese, on the first creature they see, as their Best Friend Forever).
Overall, a fun read. Also, the kind of book you can pick up and put down again if you want to read it in small chunks. (less)
It was a good overview of a truly vicious year and it covered more than just the US. Kurlansky offered an overall view of what was happening in other...moreIt was a good overview of a truly vicious year and it covered more than just the US. Kurlansky offered an overall view of what was happening in other parts of the world too - the then-Soviet Union, South America and Europe as well. Instead of going over the year in a linear fashion he covered various aspects in the chapters - devoted to a particular part of the world, or politics, or whatever. Quite informative and many times you will say (assuming you're old enough ;) "Hey, I remember that!"(less)
Funny book! Short and sweet - the main character, Howard Spoon, moves to Santa Fe, New Mexico because he read that's where the rich widows are. What h...moreFunny book! Short and sweet - the main character, Howard Spoon, moves to Santa Fe, New Mexico because he read that's where the rich widows are. What happens while he tries to nail an aging rich babe is just wicked. And men, you will positively *cringe* (while still laughing) at the tattoo-parlour scene!(less)
The book was as pop-psychology cheesy as I expected it to be, although it did make some valid points which I figured it would and that's why I read it...moreThe book was as pop-psychology cheesy as I expected it to be, although it did make some valid points which I figured it would and that's why I read it. However, I think I disagree that what we see in society today is 'narcissism', I would call it old-fashioned immaturity and self-absorption. The sometimes overdramatic approach to cataloguing America's self-impressed celebrities, wannabe celebrities and Facebook/MySpace publicity whores grated on my nerves. People in rich countries - all of them, not just the US - can afford to be more self-absorbed than those from poorer countries. However, the authors do a better job of chronicling the 'self-esteem' movements foisted upon/suffered by the "millenial' generation which was told it was special and wonderful and overflowing with, like specialness and wonderfulness just by virtue of being born. It makes the case...belatedly, actually...that true accomplishment comes from having attempted things and failed, and having *earned* ones kudos, rather than expecting a trophy just for showing up to the soccer game.
If you read this book with a semi-jaundiced eye it goes down better than if you take it too seriously. It's important to remember that every generation bashes the ones that come after it...just as the "greatest generation" bashed the Boomers(um, re the 'greatest generation' - sez who, and were they, coincidentally,from the generation dubbed the 'greatest'? And is this evidence of pre-millenial, pre-Boomer narcissism?), the Boomers bashed Generation X, and now *everyone* is bashing the millennials/Generation Y. Even Socrates used to complain about them damn youngsters and their crazy-ass chariot races.
The book's strongest point is its analysis of Gen Y and the self-esteem movement. It also makes some good points about social networking sites and how the Internet has created countless 'celebrities' who've done nothing more than create a silly YouTube video or, as in the case of Paris Hilton, well, ah, hmmmm...what exactly *is* it, again, that she's famous for?
So try to tear yourself away from your mirror long enough to give this a read. ;)(less)