A quick and well-written history of spices. There are no recipes, but the text does cover which spices were valued most at different times and for wha...moreA quick and well-written history of spices. There are no recipes, but the text does cover which spices were valued most at different times and for what reasons. (less)
This is another exciting Dan Brown novel. The premise is easy to believe, especially when considering the political football over the US national debt...moreThis is another exciting Dan Brown novel. The premise is easy to believe, especially when considering the political football over the US national debt. Brown marvelously develops the mystery and suspense throughout the novel. However, unlike DaVinci Code and Angels and Demons, this book does not maintain the mystery long. Even the identity of the principal villain is quickly discernible and the book effectively takes a change away from mystery and towards action. The action is not nearly as satisfying as the mystery and buildup, but it definitely keeps the novel moving at a quick pace. The imagery is set up for a movie, in the same mold as Digital Fortress with action sequencing primed for cinema rather than literature. By contrast, DaVinci Code and Angels and Demons reads better than being seen. Either way, this is a very well-written book.(less)
This includes some really interesting entries that are unique to the title. These include Fire, Sweet Potato, Trees, and more. The entries are short a...moreThis includes some really interesting entries that are unique to the title. These include Fire, Sweet Potato, Trees, and more. The entries are short and concise. Unfortunately, this is a large series and is not really designed for cover-to-cover reading, and most people would not consult an encyclopedia when considering the role of sweet potatoes in world history.(less)
I do not understand how other people who have written reviews for this book can claim "if you liked the Godfather, you will like this book." The Godfa...moreI do not understand how other people who have written reviews for this book can claim "if you liked the Godfather, you will like this book." The Godfather is barely mentioned in this babbling work. All it shows is that Americans' fascination with organized crime will buy anything that appears related to the topic. In order to save some folks who may consider reading this, Puzo says four things about the Godfather in this book. One, he thinks the Godfather is his worst novel and he does not care for it. Two, the move belong to the studio, not him. Three, the most famous quote from the book (A lawyer with a briefcase can steal more money than 1,000 robbers with guns) was left out of the movie despite the support of studio executives to include it. Four, The novel parallels the Vietnam War. Too bad he does not elaborate on this fourth point, he merely comments on a single reviewer who thought there were parallels. Puzo says the parallels were intentional.
So, what does Puzo talk about in this book? He talks about how to gamble. He talks about how a failed writer barely supported his family. He talks about how families should go through bankruptcy. In fact, a good portion of the book is devoted to personal bankruptcy, but not his own. Puzo became rich from the Godfather, a novel he barely edited or revised. He talks about sexual mores. I enjoyed the his comparison of diamonds to zirconiums with dildos to the real thing. In between he has brief little stories about a Vietnam veteran who suffered head trauma. Each story ends with the punchline, "....you wold think so to, if you were shot in the head." Ultimately, I guess this book compares gambling to the Vietnam War in such a way that I cannot understand. (less)
This book effectively challenges every popular conception pertaining to personal finance and investment. Condensed into a very small book, the authors...moreThis book effectively challenges every popular conception pertaining to personal finance and investment. Condensed into a very small book, the authors systematically argue against active investing and get-rich quick dreams that many investors harbor.
The book is guided by five questions that does not so much answer questions but prepares investors for when meeting financial advisers. The book gives some practical advice - avoid active money managers - but generally offers advice on what to look for in an adviser.
The book is short on details preferring simple sentences to explanations. There are no suggested readings, bibliography, or notes. Readers are expected to trust the authors. Judging by the considerable mass of positive reviews (which is why I read the book), a lot of people do trust them. The only negative reviews concerned the shortness of explanation and lack of further readings.
Recommended for those investors who have not taken any courses in finance or business. Even those who have taken such courses can probably benefit. (less)
Presenting a unique aspect of Native American culture, Moore has created a humorous drama. There are some entertaining scenes and Old Man Coyote is a...morePresenting a unique aspect of Native American culture, Moore has created a humorous drama. There are some entertaining scenes and Old Man Coyote is a fascinating character. However, there are some issues with the plot that deserve lower rankings. Foremost is the love between the hero and a girl. With minimal conversation and a night of hot passion, the reader is supposed to believe the hero throws away his job to go on a hair-brained quest across the United States to rescue the girl's baby from a gang of outlaw bikers. He then pursues this quest to the Egyptian underworld????
The interesting intermingling of Egyptian and Crow religions should give the reader concern if Moore is accurately reflecting Crow beliefs or just invented them. I have some doubts that a shape-shifting god has a detachable penis that he gave to a snake when he shifted into a woman???
The writing style is much better. The plot moves along quickly with some humorous shenanigans from Coyote. The author changes focus on the many characters at appropriate times. There is some character development, as in the case of the intimidating black giant named Minty Fresh; but it still does not really explain the motivations behind their actions. As long as the reader does not think too much about the storyline or consider the discussion questions at the end (which would make him or her think about the storyline), the book is a good leisurely read.(less)
This was a fascinating tale about the study of snails. The chapters are short, concise, and informative. There is also a human element. Most reviewers...moreThis was a fascinating tale about the study of snails. The chapters are short, concise, and informative. There is also a human element. Most reviewers refer to it was an emotional bond between a sick author and a pet snail; but the human element is even more basic, just care and concern for the subject, something frequently lacking in studies. Each chapter provides delightful new insights into snails. I especially like the part that snails have over 2,000 teeth. Although the bit about 1/3 of all snails can shoot love darts is also fascinating.
That being said, there is a downside to the book. There is so little information about the author or the author's malady. A brief chapter at the end simply says it is a common disease in Europe that has not crossed the pond. If she suffered for 3-7 years, I would think there would be a bit more evidence. Other problems is a lack of information about why the author was in the wilds of New England - far away from everyone she knew. Who was the mysterious caretaker? How did she survive? She exhausted herself rolling over in bed; but was somehow able to browse through large scientific tomes on snails. Something does not sound quite right. While I thought the book was delightful, fascinating, and heart-warming, I never abandoned my initial impression that this was a graduate student who was responding to professor criticism to slow down in her writing and add more depth and detail to her writings. (less)
A cute and engaging book, there is seemingly no plot making it difficult to evaluate and review. Rather than a central storyline, the chapters are mor...moreA cute and engaging book, there is seemingly no plot making it difficult to evaluate and review. Rather than a central storyline, the chapters are more like stand alone short stories poking fun at the lead character. Overall, the book pokes fun at the eccentricities of academicians and amplifies them. The lead character staked his reputation on the overly-thorough Portuguese Irregular Verbs book, and is forever seeking respect due for such a vaulted work. However, he is constantly foiled in a series of seemingly mundane circumstances. The stories are memorable because the character is so memorable, as most readers will have encountered a person like him in college. (less)