This book could be summarized as the prototypical story of unlikely band members who share the ups and downs of life on the road and unforgettable advThis book could be summarized as the prototypical story of unlikely band members who share the ups and downs of life on the road and unforgettable adventures along the way. The principal characters, however, defy the prototype. They include a pair of fire-fighting Flathead Indian sisters, three Spokane Indians with conflicting personalities (to say the least) and an evil guitar with a mind of its own.
One of the Spokane Indians, Thomas, is a fabulous story teller, and although all of the characters have stories to tell, his stories are central, essentially weaving those of the other characters into a fine, literary tapestry.
Alexie is well known for creating stunning metaphors and ironic humor, and Reservation Blues provides fine examples of his talent. I found that while I cared very little about the plot, this novel had the appeal of a fast-paced page turner. ...more
As a novice, I found this book very helpful. Now, when I watch tournaments on television, I can more easily follow the various strategies employed byAs a novice, I found this book very helpful. Now, when I watch tournaments on television, I can more easily follow the various strategies employed by familiar professionals.
Will Phil's tips improve my own game? It's hard to say. I guess I would need to play more than twice a year in order to give them a fair shake!...more
While I was reading this book, I couldn't stop talking about it. It had never occurred to me that some birds are born with their song in their genes,While I was reading this book, I couldn't stop talking about it. It had never occurred to me that some birds are born with their song in their genes, and others must learn to sing. The process of song learning, as described by the author, is fascinating. The significance of bird song encompasses so many things, from simple calls of communication, to pleas for a mate, to the defense of territory.
The book contains numerous sonograms which correspond to tracks on a CD of bird songs, which also comes with the book. I still refer to this book regularly, and I have all the bird songs on my mp3 player!...more
For those E.B. White readers who have thus far limited their reading enjoyment to his children’s classics, One Man’s Meat presents a perfect bridge toFor those E.B. White readers who have thus far limited their reading enjoyment to his children’s classics, One Man’s Meat presents a perfect bridge to the author’s legacy of non-fiction writing. Spanning from July of 1938 to January of 1943, the 50+ short essays contained in this volume chronicle the author’s back-breaking “retreat” from the literary circles of Manhattan to a farming life in the country. As these entries straddle “pre-war” and “at war” periods in American history, the author’s humorous tales from the farm are interspersed with rather serious musings. These tend to reference topics which continue to inspire debate today, nearly 70 years later: preemptive war, freedom of speech, the role of artists and writers during wartime, education, capitalism vs. socialism, patriotism vs. nationalism, property rights vs. land stewardship, city culture vs. country virtues. If we swap out the dates and the name of the war, we are left with a fantastic account of today’s most pressing issues, coupled with meaningful insights from one of America’s finest (and perhaps most undersung) 20th century authors....more
Full Title: 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus
Overall, 1491 provided a fascinating and fresh perspective on history as a lively, evFull Title: 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus
Overall, 1491 provided a fascinating and fresh perspective on history as a lively, evolving field of knowledge--not the stuff of dry textbooks at all. My primary criticism of the book is that it is difficult to keep a sense of chronology without taking notes; the book is divided into different cultures and the research and theories behind their histories--not a chronological ordering of developments in the continents. Of the many useful illustrations, I'm surprised a standard time line was not included.
Having read Charles C. Mann's 1491 and Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs, and Steel back to back, I'm inclined to favor Mann's book over Diamond's. Although it's probably not fair to compare them in this manner, I actually set up a spreadsheet comparing differences in suggested dates for pre-Colombian historical events in the Americas, along with theories to explain them. (I should note that Mann actually cites two of Diamond's books, and not from a position of disparagement. It's just tempting for me to compare these books because of their proximity to one another on my reading list, so indulge me!)
Mann's book has the advantage of being written a decade after that of Diamond, and while some of the "new revelations" are fifty or more years old, some of them are very, very new--having been revealed within the last few years, or in some cases, still in the research stage. This time gap makes Diamond's assertions about the Americas seem more conservative and dated than they probably were at the time of publication. (One exciting revelation became apparent just last year, missing the cutoff for both books--pre-Colombian chicken bones from Polynesian chickens were found in South America, proving that Polynesians arrived in South America before European explorers! While both books referenced the theory that Polynesian watercraft may have reached the Americas, Diamond expressed more skepticism than Mann.)
The other factor which made me favor Mann's book over Diamond's was that the former is written from a journalistic viewpoint, whereas the latter is written with the intent to persuade the reader to believe the author's central theory. That isn't to say that Mann's writing is disinterested or dispassionate; his writing is sprinkled with praise and criticism of the various accounts of pre-Colombian life in the Americas he selected for inclusion in his book. Diamond, on the other hand, tries to weave the histories of all the populated continents into parallel narratives--narratives in which the losers are defeated by the guns, germs, and steel of the winners, and then he explains why he thinks the winners happened upon their tools of victory before the losers could acquire them....more
From a geneticist’s lab in one of several countries to the breeders in the Netherlands to the growers in Ecuador, back to the Netherlands for auction
From a geneticist’s lab in one of several countries to the breeders in the Netherlands to the growers in Ecuador, back to the Netherlands for auction or directly to a wholesaler in Miami, to a florist near you, the arrangement in your living room is well traveled, to say the least. In Flower Confidential, Amy Stewart takes us on an insightful, behind-the-scenes journey through the floral industry, following the chain from beginning to end, around the world.
Along the way, we learn that flowers and the people who grow them are affected not only by our aesthetic preferences and consumer choices, but also by our political decisions ethical standards. Few people would be familiar with the 1970 amendment to the Plant Patent Act of 1930, as few would know the tragedy behind the iconic ‘Star Gazer’ lily, but virtually everyone would recognize the flower. Colorful clusters of mums have been a common sight in nurseries and florist shops for more than half a century, but few people living today remember that they suddenly disappeared during the forced internment of their propagators, Japanese Americans. When we send roses to Mom, it’s likely they’ve been nurtured and picked by another mom in Columbia or Ecuador; her story is worth reading, too. ...more