MacIntyre does a great job with this intricate, real-life spy thriller that played out over three decades. The story is exceptionally interesting - peMacIntyre does a great job with this intricate, real-life spy thriller that played out over three decades. The story is exceptionally interesting - personally, I was floored at how breathtakingly naive MI6 was in regards to Philby. I mean, it's paradoxical that a nest of spies could be so blindly trusting. Philby himself is despicable - an ideologue who tricked everyone around him and sent hundreds of people to their deaths for one of the most brutal and corrupt regimes in history. I wondered while reading if he were sociopathic; his facility for deception and seeming lack of morals would back that up.
Similar titles: Operation Valuable Fiend Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy...more
I liked this rather meditative set of anecdotes from the hospital. Not much heartwarming subject matter here - stories focus on death, dying, and theI liked this rather meditative set of anecdotes from the hospital. Not much heartwarming subject matter here - stories focus on death, dying, and the strange ways the mind and body can fail. Particularly haunting tales:
"Iron Maiden" - In which a woman in the psych ward demonstrates what lengths psychological pain can drive a person to.
"The Grand Inquisitor" - A second-hand tale, where an older doctor relates the story of an oncologist whose quest to find better treatments for leukemia torments others and himself.
I think this would be a good book for fans of poetry, as the stories all craft haunting images and evocative turns of phrase. They are very efficient tales in that respect - conveying a lot of meat in just a few words.
This book was...surprisingly hilarious. Caitlin Doughty brings to life the everyday activities of a crematory - plus some philosophical ruminations onThis book was...surprisingly hilarious. Caitlin Doughty brings to life the everyday activities of a crematory - plus some philosophical ruminations on our relationship to death and how that relationship may be broken in the modern age. Although not for the squeamish, this is a quick, fun read that also makes you think. I will certainly be looking up Doughty's group - The Order of the Good Death - on Facebook!
The Good: *While some may think of it as "preachy," I really liked the author's reflections on "the death industry" - and her condemnation of what it has done to our relationship with death. I personally have been thinking about requesting a green funeral for myself, so this is an area of personal interest.
*I liked the humorous tone and the zany cast of characters. This book made me chuckle often, which I did not expect from a book on cremation and its various foibles.
The Less Good: *The chapter on babies was a bit intense for me, as a new mother. Not gonna lie, I had to go watch my baby sleep for about five minutes after that.
Similar titles: Stiff Working Stiff Six Feet Under Putting Makeup on Dead People...more
I read this because I wanted to know more about the Boxer Rebellion after reading Gene Yang's Boxers and Saints (great books in their own right). And,I read this because I wanted to know more about the Boxer Rebellion after reading Gene Yang's Boxers and Saints (great books in their own right). And, while this book does not delve into the historical context of the rebellion, it does a great job of showing us some ordinary people who got caught up in it.
We meet Eva and Charles Price and their children through the letters Eva sends home from China. The Prices are missionaries, so their primary goal is to do some soul saving abroad, but they also help teach women to read and run a clinic for opium addicts. Sadly, these dedicated people endure one tragedy after another, and then the biggest one of all when the Boxer Rebellion overtakes them.
This is a very intimate portrait of family life as well as a glimpse into history and I enjoyed it very much. You may worry, given the age of the book, that it would be a bit racist -- but despite the occasional patronizing tone the Prices genuinely seem to care about the people they meet in China and want to help, rather than viewing them with contempt. It's weird that an editorial note comments that they "couldn't comprehend that their ideas were harmful to the people of China" -- I didn't see that at all. How could the idea of Christianity itself - absent from any compulsion to convert - be harmful? If I was looking for something that harmed China during that period, opium would be my number one candidate....more
It was great to see the characters from the first volume back again, as well as meeting new characters. These stories focus less on Jennifer Worth's wIt was great to see the characters from the first volume back again, as well as meeting new characters. These stories focus less on Jennifer Worth's work as a midwife and more on the people she met as a nurse, older people whose lives, in many cases, had been blighted by their pasts. Learning more about the workhouse system and what it did to people was eye-opening to say the least -- and descriptions of working-class life in the 40's and earlier made me feel lazy and extremely ungrateful. The luxury we live with now compared to what people had to live with a century ago is amazing. The story of Mr. Collett, in particular, nearly made me cry. Touching stories that left me wanting more. ...more
Being pregnant at the time of this writing, I find myself irresistibly drawn to stories of birth.
This book reminded me of nothing so much as the JamesBeing pregnant at the time of this writing, I find myself irresistibly drawn to stories of birth.
This book reminded me of nothing so much as the James Herriot books I loved when I was a kid, except instead of getting up at all hours to deliver lambs and calves, our author gets up at all hours to deliver human babies. The atmosphere of the period is conveyed wonderfully, and for modern little me, some facts are quite surprising - like that a tenement in the '50's could have a communal bathroom for several hundred families, yikes! I also loved the nuns, patients and nurses that the author so deftly presented. The only thing I wish is that there was more! Especially because the author mentions at several points being in unrequited love with an older man but never says who he is or what happened. Frustrating!
Recommended for fans of: James Herriot's works...more
This ambitious book covers the history of sugar and how it influenced and was influenced by human demographics, slavery, societal organization and revThis ambitious book covers the history of sugar and how it influenced and was influenced by human demographics, slavery, societal organization and revolution.
While interesting, I thought this book was perhaps trying too hard to tie everything together in a nice sugary bow. Also, trying to cover the globe-spanning history of sugar from 500 BC to the present may be too ambitious a task for a hundred-page book aimed at middle school students. As a result of cramming so much into such a small space, the book becomes more of a loosely connected bag of facts than a single historical narrative. And, despite their hammering the point home in many ways, I remain unconvinced that sugar is the web that ties history together. I know this is a kid's book, but that just seems like a gross oversimplification of history. Still, interesting and a thought-provoking read....more
Botha examines the professional life and often astounding successes of Frank Bender -- forensic artist and skull reconstruction prodigy -- from his fiBotha examines the professional life and often astounding successes of Frank Bender -- forensic artist and skull reconstruction prodigy -- from his first bust of an unidentified murder victim to his trip to Mexico to help identify victims of the feminicidios.
This book was fascinating -- I had read a little about Frank Bender before in "The Murder Room" and I enjoyed getting to know more about him. Bender's story is full of both successes and failures -- his bewildering and unsatisfying Mexico experience may be an example of the latter -- but it is certainly never boring. My one quibble with this book is that its nonlinear chronology occasionally becomes confusing when the author references events that he hasn't described yet. Still a great book for the fan of mystery, police procedural and true crime.
Recommended for fans of: The Murder Room Hellhound on His Trail The Lake of the Sleeping Children...more
An intriguing look at the turbulent waters of British history -- through nursery rhymes. The innocent rhymes many of us sang in our youth are rich witAn intriguing look at the turbulent waters of British history -- through nursery rhymes. The innocent rhymes many of us sang in our youth are rich with meaning and adult issues of which most of us were blissfully oblivious. The verdict -- a good, light read. Especially good for people with short attention spans and/or not much reading time as each chapter is about five pages long at the most. ...more