Wright writes a charming history of the early years of Algonquin Park that focuses on the people that lived and worked in the park. Because she grew uWright writes a charming history of the early years of Algonquin Park that focuses on the people that lived and worked in the park. Because she grew up in the park, Wright's account is a mixture of autobiography, biography, folklore, and history. Excellent source for the historian and an interesting local history read for the Ontario history fiend. ...more
I'm still not sure if I like Mindy Kaling. I appreciate her, and I respect her, but I don't think we'd ever be friends. This kind of author assessmentI'm still not sure if I like Mindy Kaling. I appreciate her, and I respect her, but I don't think we'd ever be friends. This kind of author assessment is not always relevant, but with this kind of personal writing, I think it does matter. It affects how one interacts with the text.
I enjoyed parts of this book immensely. Grew annoyed with others, particularly her devotion to traditional romantic standards and tropes.
The best quote is from the last essay for which the book is named:
"Because confidence is like respect; you have to earn it."
I found the connection she draws between entitlement and confidence to be solid, and this is one of the only sections of the book where she actually tackles feminist issues (which is the stuff I like lots and wished there was more of in this book). ...more
This is a useful biography that mixes text with direct passages from interviews conducted with George Leader by the author. The content will be of parThis is a useful biography that mixes text with direct passages from interviews conducted with George Leader by the author. The content will be of particular interest to those researching the substance behind some of Pennsylvania's policies in the mid-twentieth century. For my own personal use, the most useful parts were those in which Wolensky interviews Leader about his environmental record and the reasoning behind state park creation during his administration. ...more
As a primary source, this recount of a trip to the American West, originally published in 1865, by Samuel Bowles is a gem. Others might enjoy it for eAs a primary source, this recount of a trip to the American West, originally published in 1865, by Samuel Bowles is a gem. Others might enjoy it for entertainment purposes as well. As for me, I've read so many accounts of the American West by rich, sexist, racist, classist, etc 19th century white dudes that I'm pretty over the genre. The narrative does have its moments though, short snippets that are humorous or just so over-the-top that they catch one's attention.
It took me six months to read though. Take that as you will. ...more
Ralph Bice grew up in Algonquin Park and was a guide there his entire life. This is one of the only firsthand accounts of Algonquin Provincial Parks (Ralph Bice grew up in Algonquin Park and was a guide there his entire life. This is one of the only firsthand accounts of Algonquin Provincial Parks (and provincial/state parks in general), which makes it invaluable as a source for a park historian. I particularly appreciate that Ralph has no reason to whitewash the changes that have happened in the park. He talks bluntly about the effects that the lumber industry and overfishing/hunting have had on the park. It is also a good teaching resource for demonstrating that park lands and human civilization are interconnected, not intrinsically separate. ...more
This is not a particularly good book. However, what makes it a mediocre book is also what lends it its charm. Hepburn is not a good writer. Large portThis is not a particularly good book. However, what makes it a mediocre book is also what lends it its charm. Hepburn is not a good writer. Large portions of it are little more than a stream of consciousness. Chapter titles serve as guideposts, but typically ramble, sometimes it is difficult to keep up with Katherine's mind. Yet at the same time there is something beautifully honest about the way that it is written and there are some poignant moments hidden within the text.
By the end, I had grown to really like her. What a lovely, strong, and unique individual.
Sure parts are hard to get through, and I wish she had given more detail about a lot of parts of her life, but, she obviously wanted to keep some things private, which has to be respected.
Like others have mentioned, I think I liked this third book the best out of the trilogy. I found the way in which the narrative was organized, startinLike others have mentioned, I think I liked this third book the best out of the trilogy. I found the way in which the narrative was organized, starting from a low point and then going back in time to explain how the negative situation had come into being was quite brilliant and effective.
I witnessed a similar downfall effect my parents, who lost their dream property and business in the country, and eventually our home. And thus, the decline narrative that Maxwell presents resonated quite loudly for me. He also presents a though-provoking tale that illustrates the way in which humans often negatively effect the lives of animals, whether purposefully or not.
Overall, "Raven Seek Thy Brother", is a deeply saddening, but stimulating, story about an ill-fated dream and the danger of overreach. A somber end to the fanciful world introduced in Ring of Bright Water.
The last page of the book caused me to bawl uncontrollably. I had not realized until that moment how deeply intertwined I had become mentally with the world of Camusfearna and its destiny. This kind of emotional attachment is certainly the mark of a great piece of writing. ...more
I'm surprised how few people read this follow-up to Ring of Bright Water. Although The Rocks Remain does not have the same fresh zest or superb charmI'm surprised how few people read this follow-up to Ring of Bright Water. Although The Rocks Remain does not have the same fresh zest or superb charm of Ring of Bright Water, largely because he deviates from the world of Camusfearna in several chapters, it is still a really good book. I didn't overly enjoy the chapters set in Morocco and Majorca. However, the chapters that take place at Camusfearna illustrate the complex nature of the man/animal relationship quite effectively and Maxwell does not shy away from tackling the uglier side of this relationship. While some writers may have brushed over or ignored the negative aspects of man-animal relationships or ignored them completely in order to present a Disney-like relationship, Maxwell confronts darker subjects, like the attacks made by his otters on his staff, with candor and honesty. The book ends beautifully, yet depressingly, with a forthright analysis of man's confusing and upsetting tendency to kill other species for sport or simply out of blind hatred or dismissal of an animal's inherit value and Maxwell's hope that Mossey and Monday will not die at the hands of man like so many tamed otters before them. Like Ring of Bright Water, the Rocks Remain also brings up a lot of questions surrounding the ethics of taming wild animals, the answers to which do not lie between the covers of this particular piece of writing. ...more
I watched the movie Ring of Bright Water several years ago and was absolutely taken by the story. I am what one may call an extreme animal lover and aI watched the movie Ring of Bright Water several years ago and was absolutely taken by the story. I am what one may call an extreme animal lover and am drawn to such accounts. Due to my upbringing, I'm also fascinated by individuals who choose to live outside of the hub of society. In Ring of Bright Water, Maxwell recounts the early years at "Camusfearna", an isolated house in a remote part of Scotland and his subsequent adventures and misadventures raising three otters.
The way in which Maxwell goes about describing his otters is absolutely captivating. The love and affection he felt for these creatures radiates from the page. Yet, it is often clear that Maxwell is very much from his time. He is quite quick to recognize that many readers will find this affection for an animal to be absurd, a kind of apology that one would be hard-pressed to find in the writings of fervent animals lovers today. Some of his actions regarding wild animals, such as the trapping of the wild cat kitten, also seem terribly misguided and would likely not be acceptable today. Yet, because Maxwell straddles both sides of the animal/human relationship, being a former whaler on one hand and a doting pet owner on the other, I think that he is able to give some interesting critiques of this relationship that one may not get from those who reside firmly on one side or the other. I found his description of taking Mijbil home from the Middle East to be quite surprising. Imagine having an otter on your lap during an international (or domestic) flight today! It would most certainly not "fly."
Maxwell also provides some beautiful and thought-provoking commentary on nature in general. This truly is a beautiful book and such a quick read that anyone even slightly interested should give it a go. ...more
As a history grad student the social-turn in history during the 1970s is drilled into our minds in our historiography courses, however, rarely are weAs a history grad student the social-turn in history during the 1970s is drilled into our minds in our historiography courses, however, rarely are we ever called to read one of these early woman's, minority, etc. histories. Thus, I found it kind of fun to finally sit down and read one of these works. The Private Franklin, as the title suggests, follows the life of Benjamin Franklin by way of his personal relationships with his family, friends, and enemies. I found this book to be quite easy-to-read and entertaining. The approach is refreshing. The portraiture of Franklin, while perhaps not surprising, is at times disheartening. The most powerful moment in the book to me is the end of the chapter "Your a Feck Shonet Wife," which chronicles his long-neglected wife's death. Lopez and Herbert end the chapter powerfully... "The lady, in his memory, was smiling and pleased." (173) Lopez and Herbert also strike down the claims of Franklin's womanizing, which they say there is no evidence for. My only tip for anyone reading this book is to brush up on your basic knowledge of Franklin's professional and political life because it can be a bit confusing to keep track of the backdrop of Franklin's actions in front of which his personal activities are occurring. ...more
I did not expect a tome like Mann's Wallenstein to be an easy read, but this was quite the challenge. I am rather surprised that it has such high ratiI did not expect a tome like Mann's Wallenstein to be an easy read, but this was quite the challenge. I am rather surprised that it has such high ratings on here. Yet, as a historian one must admire Mann's feat. To be able to pick a topic that you love and write nearly 1,000 pages, leaving no source unmentioned is a historian's dream. It is clear at times that he is just enumerating nearly word for word what a certain "juicy" source has provided him. However, editors exist for a reason. Mann somehow accomplishes the feat of giving too little information and giving far too much information at the same time. He provides the reader little comprehensible background information, leaving one very confused. My numerous undergrad European history courses helped me little, I was completely confused throughout the entire reading and still am. Who was Questenberg? Piccolomini? Arnim? Wallenstein, even? I have no clue. Someone picking up Wallenstein with little knowledge of the Thirty Years War will find this book the opposite of helpful. I can see Mann's Wallenstein being a classic piece of literature for the learned Europeanist, though. The English version is not helped by the translation. Although Mann states in the intro that anything lost in translation is his fault and not that of the translator, I have to say that the translation is fairly atrocious. Most sentences are awkward, many not grammatically correct, making the slog through this book even more difficult. At times Mann's unique style of writing/personality do shine through, suggesting that the German version is more enjoyable. In conclusion, if you want a challenge, go for it, but make sure you've brushed up on your 30 Years War and Wallenstein history beforehand. 883 pages are behind me...excuse me while I look up who this Wallenstein guy is on Wikipedia. ...more
Before reading this book I was not a Grace Kelly fan. In fact, I have never seen a Grace Kelly film. I only knew that she was a famous classic film stBefore reading this book I was not a Grace Kelly fan. In fact, I have never seen a Grace Kelly film. I only knew that she was a famous classic film star who married into Monaco royalty. Therefore, I had no real expectations going into this book and I really did not expect it to be an absolutely thrilling read. And it wasn't. James Spada claims that he his book exposes the juicy tidbits of Grace Kelly's existence, if this is true then I would hate to read those accounts that come before this one. When writing a biography, one should attempt to make the figure that you are writing about as fascinating as possible, even the most common life, treated by a good writer can be made enthralling. Spada's account makes Kelly seem rather dull and immature. I found myself wondering why anyone would idolize this woman. She was bored by Monaco life? Oh, poor thing! Eye roll. Spada's treatment is surface level at best, there is no deep analysis of the actions taken by Kelly and those around her. He often falls back on celebratory language that makes one want to gag. He goes on and on about how handsome Grace found Prince Rainier when they met: we have all seen the photos, ain't no one going to think that dude is hot. In the last year of her life, according to Spada, the most important thing to happen to Kelly was that she "got fat."(questionable in and of itself, maybe by Hollywood standards)He decides to include some absurd account about Grace wearing some odd bra thing that strapped in her voluminous rolls. Then she drove off a cliff. The end. Give me a break.
I have to believe that Grace Kelly was more interesting than this book gives her credit. I would like to see an actual writer tackle a similar project. Perhaps there is a better biography out there, I must admit I'm not up on the literature....more
"Sisters in the Wilderness" was a quick and enjoyable read. However, it was nothing amazing; the writing is fairly generic. I really have nothing else"Sisters in the Wilderness" was a quick and enjoyable read. However, it was nothing amazing; the writing is fairly generic. I really have nothing else to say about it. It is worth reading, but not overly memorable. I now have to grade 11 essays on this book. Ugh!...more