A fun adventure through Florida's history (especially central/south Florida). The draw is not the story, which is fairly straight forward and the charA fun adventure through Florida's history (especially central/south Florida). The draw is not the story, which is fairly straight forward and the characters are all pretty two dimensional. The real joy is the peek into the life of a cracker family (that is cow herders) when Florida was still the 'frontier'. I assume it was historically accurate. The narrative is driven by showing you what sort of issue faced people then: malaria, hurricanes, frosts, wolves, bears, panthers, hogs, etc.
So if you have any connection or interest in Florida history, I highly recommend it. If not, definitely a book to pass....more
A wonderful book, especially for anyone interested in the history of science or the early Enlightenment. From this book I really got a feel for life iA wonderful book, especially for anyone interested in the history of science or the early Enlightenment. From this book I really got a feel for life in the early 1700s in France. It does a good job of showing you what was thought, what was possible and what couldn't be conceived of. As someone that has read my share of history's of science, I'm chagrined to never have heard of Emilie du Chatelet. She was an amazing woman and her relationship with Voltaire was groundbreaking (given the time and upper class-ness) in its equality.
I also really enjoyed this look into early Enlightenment times and how ideas about life were changing. I'll pick out one thing that struck me. The idea of privacy was discussed. There wasn't really an expectation of personal privacy in the home. (As an example it was described how the king would sit on his royal 'throne' and go to the bathroom in a open setting amongst all his courtiers.) Emilie had a bathroom/tub done up so that she could partition it off for privacy. I was struck by this, especially since in today's digital age, the younger generation is moving, fully thought out or not, toward less privacy.
This was a very interesting book. I learned about brain function that I was unaware of previously, mostly the "Body Maps" in the sub-title. The discusThis was a very interesting book. I learned about brain function that I was unaware of previously, mostly the "Body Maps" in the sub-title. The discussion of how the two body maps (one for tracking the space we can reach and another for moving are different body parts in that space) work and the, sometimes mystifying, cases of when they fail to work correctly is illuminating. Under the heading of failures phenomena from the yipps to anorexia are covered. Also, the ruminations on where does consciousness arise, and positing that discussions of the mind separate from the body are meaningless, because the feedback/interaction between high-level brain function and low level sensory output from nerves through out the body gives rise to different perceptions of the world/reality.
Highly recommend to everyone, especially anyone that is interested in how the brain functions and questions of conciseness (although that part is a much smaller part of the book)....more
A wonderful collection of stories, that mostly are told from the perspective of pre-adolescent to adolescent girls about life as a poor cracker growinA wonderful collection of stories, that mostly are told from the perspective of pre-adolescent to adolescent girls about life as a poor cracker growing up in north Florida in the 50s, or so, era (although there are exceptions). I found most of the stories very moving. There is some wonderful stories of navigating the tricky waters of race as a young person.
Personal subject matter note: I was reminded of 'No Disrespect' and how in the world of the very poor, be it rural or urban, it tends to be a world where the home is populated only by women, what with the men being absent for one reason or another....more
Very good book. I ran across this in the library, and the title jumped out at me. I figured if it stunk, I could just put it down and move on the restVery good book. I ran across this in the library, and the title jumped out at me. I figured if it stunk, I could just put it down and move on the rest the books I got that trip. It turned out to be great. It is nice and compact, so you don't have to worry about making a big commitment. The basic premise of the book is that beyond good reporting, bad reporting, bias, etc. the very nature of news (something new we consume every day) has a dangerous effect on us. It gives many good examples of how 'news' has a problem conveying information about science, religion and other spheres in an accurate and helpful way. It has actually changed the way I consume 'news'. I've been making a point of actively ignoring stories that are transient or otherwise unuseful as described in the book. So take a look. Even if you don't agree with everything it will at least help you think about your news consumption more clearly....more
My opinion of this book oscillated. I found it fairly difficult to read at the beginning, since the protagonist was such a lump that let life happen tMy opinion of this book oscillated. I found it fairly difficult to read at the beginning, since the protagonist was such a lump that let life happen to him. If I wasn't reading it for my book club, I might have put it down then. As the story progressed I got more into the story and found it affecting. Then finally, it lost me again in the last couple of chapters. In sum, I'd say it was a decent book, that had some good stuff in it, but not a must read. In movie terms, skip it in the theater and rent it if you got nothing else going on. ...more
Well, I had hoped to write this review closer to having read the book, but I'll write this anyway, just without some of the examples I was hoping to rWell, I had hoped to write this review closer to having read the book, but I'll write this anyway, just without some of the examples I was hoping to remember.
Roughly the first 1/2 to 2/3 of the books covers the different explanations for why sex arose and the mating habits of various non-human species. One thing that is great about this book is it will relate a theory, then an insufficiency in the theory, then a counter theory, then additional findings, and back and forth and so on. If there isn't a consensus it just leaves the question open and for you to ponder yourself. For anyone interested in how science is done, numerous examples ideas blossoming, be attacked, rediscovered, etc. are recounted. Also, lots of different case studies are recounted. All the stories of different species behavior is entertaining in and of itself.
In the last part of the book, humans are closely examined. As long as you repeatedly the disclaimer at the beginning of that section, that you may be able to say something about males are more X on average and females are more Y on average, but individual instances of men and women, of course, may run counter. Also, that evolution has primed certain tendencies for each sex, but tendencies are not fate and thus, again, you can only talk about averages or generalities. If you remember that, and don't get your undies in a bunch, the discussion of how human nature is/was shaped by evolution is illuminating.
So I recommend this to everyone, especially those interested in how the brain works, how people work, and/or how science works....more