It is not possible to overstate what this one man, Lawrence Anthony, accomplished in his relatively short life. After reading Babylon's Ark and The ElIt is not possible to overstate what this one man, Lawrence Anthony, accomplished in his relatively short life. After reading Babylon's Ark and The Elephant Whisperer I now have a new larger-than-life-size hero to admire. This book is not a fun read, but an important one as we are all citizens of this sorely abused planet, and being informed of the state she is in is something we need to pay attention to. Lawrence Anthony followed his heart to the war-torn city of Baghdad and along with several courageous individuals performed miracles in the direst of circumstances. Read this - prepare to be heart broken, but also to be completely up-lifted. This is an important book....more
The inspiring story of one man's efforts to revive and preserve the natural order of this piece of Zululand and in the process to reintroduce wild eleThe inspiring story of one man's efforts to revive and preserve the natural order of this piece of Zululand and in the process to reintroduce wild elephants to an area that had not seen them in almost 100 years. I loved what he said about this amazing place:
"I fell in love with it from the moment I went walkabout. It's something I still do, jump in the Land Rover and drive out onto the open savannahs or into the thickest, most thorn-scrubbed veldt I can find, and go for a walk. There is nothing more energizing than inhaling the tang of wilderness, loamy after rain, pungent with the richness of earth shuddering with life, or taking in the brisk dry cleanness of winter. In the outback, life is lived for the instant. The land thrums with exuberance when everything is green and lush and is stoically resilient when it isn't. In the bush, simple acts give intense atavistic pleasures, such as sliding a sprig of grass into the tiny slot of a scorpion hole and feeling a tug that pound for pound would rival a game fish. Even today that triggers memories of my born-free adolescence as vividly as a lovelorn youth recalling his first heart-thudding kiss."
And this, "But perhaps the most important lesson I learned is that there are no walls between humans and the elephants except those we put up ourselves, ant that until we allow not only elephants, but all living creatures their place in the sun, we can never be whole ourselves."
"Wild. If there is one thing I disapprove of it's the unnatural capture and taming of wild animals, whether an elephant or a bird. To me, the only good cage is an empty cage."
Mostly disappointing experiences of four World War II British war brides. Their personal stories are compelling though a stronger writer and/or editorMostly disappointing experiences of four World War II British war brides. Their personal stories are compelling though a stronger writer and/or editor could have improved the overall readability. Still a good history of the post WWII era....more
I admire the author's extensive and exhaustive research that went in to the writing of this book. The subject was most interesting, and each of the foI admire the author's extensive and exhaustive research that went in to the writing of this book. The subject was most interesting, and each of the four women featured had a remarkable story to tell. And that perhaps is where it fell down for me. The constant switching from one protagonist to another often left me confused and backtracking. Add to that, it just seemed too long and detail oriented.
For anyone wanting to have a good overview of both sides in the Civil War (and not necessarily just from a female perspective) this should be invaluable....more
Hampton Sides research and writing of this incredible book is nothing short of brilliant. The story of the heroic men who undertook this monumental voHampton Sides research and writing of this incredible book is nothing short of brilliant. The story of the heroic men who undertook this monumental voyage in 1879 with high hopes of reaching the North Pole is told with riveting prose. This is an important book and one to be revered and respected....more
This is one of those rare instances where the movie is better than the book. Dame Judi Dench gave an Oscar worthy performance playing the role of PhilThis is one of those rare instances where the movie is better than the book. Dame Judi Dench gave an Oscar worthy performance playing the role of Philomena, who as a young, pregnant and unmarried woman was forced to birth her child in a 1950's Catholic convent. The mistreatment she received at the hands of the nuns and the "sale" of her young son, against her wishes, made for a moving and heartbreaking film.
Reading some of the other reviews here on Goodreads portrays the book in a not so good light. The focus of Martin Sixsmith's book is on the son's life after his adoption by an American couple, where as the movie concentrated more on Philomena's search for her lost son. I must admit I was more interested in Philomena's story and pretty much just skimmed over the story of Anthony/Michael. ...more
This is a book I originally read when it was new - and that is close to fifty years ago(at least forty). It completely charmed me then, and I will occThis is a book I originally read when it was new - and that is close to fifty years ago(at least forty). It completely charmed me then, and I will occasionally reread it, just to be reminded of a more innocent time when "good" was easier to define and the paths our lives took seemed to be more clearly marked.
As we usher in a new year, I share the last paragraph, which co-incidentally occurs on the last night of an old year (I think it is about 1910):
"One after another the old years go; one after another the new years come. We have no way of knowing what changes each will bring, but we go forward with faith that God will never ask of us more than we are capable of, and that what we earn, what we deserve, we shall receive in the coming year and all the years ahead."...more
What an interesting premise for this mixture of pure novel and serious biography. I loved the letters (emails!) exchanged between Kit and Louisa. It fWhat an interesting premise for this mixture of pure novel and serious biography. I loved the letters (emails!) exchanged between Kit and Louisa. It felt like Bakke really inhabited her voice and managed to bring her very much to life. She obviously did an enormous amount of research and provided considerable background on Miss Alcott, as well as her family and famous neighbors (Emerson, Thoreau, Hawthorne).
I loved the historical aspect of the novel. My quibble with it would probably be where the author's own political activism became too much the vehicle for the Alcott story.
I knew I was in for a treat reading about Josh and his family within the first few pages of this delightful memoir, and then when he described his lifI knew I was in for a treat reading about Josh and his family within the first few pages of this delightful memoir, and then when he described his life before Fern and after Fern I was completely hooked. "It was the picture of Fern pushing Wilbur in a stroller that first caught my eye. And then there was a picture of her sitting on a milking stool, watching Wilbur in his sty with a love in her eyes that lit my head on fire. She was so beautiful that I forgot where I was and wound up kissing a dusty page in a library book. I wanted to be that pig. I would even have worn the bonnet."
If only all children could be born into families with parents as wise and loving and fun as Josh's - I think the world would probably not be in the mess it is now. An example: "He (his dad) lifted one of the cardboard books that my mom had borrowed from the library and read it to me before kissing my forehead and turning out the light. When he turned and saw my mom watching, he smiled. "I never get tired of this." He'd begun reading to me about eight months before I was born."
The complete title of this book gives you a really good idea of what it is about - Josh talks a lot about his experiences in libraries, both as a patron and later as a librarian - he provides a vast amount of information about the extreme difficulties of living with Tourette's - and through it all the power of family and marital love shines through. My favorite part was when he reminisced about a weekend when his dad was going to take the family fishing. He told the four kids that they could each bring one friend. They chose each other! I don't believe I have ever read of family love expressed any better.
This book is funny, irreverent, informative, often sad, totally human and a true delight.