John W. Kropf

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August 2011


Average rating: 3.71 · 24 ratings · 5 reviews · 2 distinct works
Unknown Sands: Journeys Aro...

3.71 avg rating — 24 ratings — published 2006
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Guide to U.S. Government Pr...

0.00 avg rating — 0 ratings — published 2012 — 2 editions
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A Modern History ...
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The Snow Leopard
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Childhood's End by Arthur C. Clarke
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The Course of Love by Alain de Botton
The Course of Love
by Alain de Botton (Goodreads Author)
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Thoughts about love and marriage illustrated by the story of Rabih and Kirsten. De Bottom covers the flash of romance to the work of marriage, children, infidelity and therapy. His main message that love is not an enthusiasm but a skill. Insightful a ...more
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American Diplomacy during the Second World War, 1941-1945 by Gaddis Smith
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Undreamed Shores by Michael Foss
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Read in contrast to Voyage Long and Strange and gives a good perspective on the English reluctance in the 16th Century to settle in America. Poetry may be responsible for helping inspire the first exploration
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It Takes One to Tango by Edward L. Rowny
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A Voyage Long and Strange by Tony Horwitz
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Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare
“His life was gentle; and the elements
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William Shakespeare
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All the Strange Hours by Loren Eiseley
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Late in the Day by Ursula K. Le Guin
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Late in the day shows Ursula Le Guin mastery as a poet. She can create multiple forms of poetry -- four line, verse, free-verse--and all with some nugget of insightful description. Her Hymn to Time opens up understandings that you might not find from ...more
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Topics Mentioning This Author

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Reading with Style: RG Plans 17 47 Sep 06, 2017 09:54AM  
Sherwood Anderson
“There is a time in the life of every boy when he for the first time takes the backward view of life. Perhaps that is the moment when he crosses the line into manhood. The boy is walking through the street of his town. He is thinking of the future and of the figure he will cut in the world. Ambitions and regrets awake within him. Suddenly something happens; he stops under a tree and waits as for a voice calling his name. Ghosts of old things creep into his consciousness; the voices outside of himself whisper a message concerning the limitations of life. From being quite sure of himself and his future he becomes not at all sure. If he be an imaginative boy a door is torn open and for the first time he looks out upon the world, seeing, as though they marched in procession before him, the countless figures of men who before his time have come out of nothingness into the world, lived their lives and again disappeared into nothingness. The sadness of sophistication has come to the boy. With a little gasp he sees himself as merely a leaf blown by the wind through the streets of his village. He knows that in spite of all the stout talk of his fellows he must live and die in uncertainty, a thing blown by the winds, a thing destined like corn to wilt in the sun.”
Sherwood Anderson, Winesburg, Ohio: A Group of Tales of Ohio Small Town Life

Edith Wharton
“I couldn't have spoken like this yesterday, because when we've been apart, and I'm looking forward to seeing you, every thought is burnt up in a great flame. But then you come; and you're so much more than I remembered, and what I want of you is so much more than an hour or two every now and then, with wastes of thirsty waiting between, that I can sit perfectly still beside you, like this, with that other vision in my mind, just quietly trusting it to come true.”
Edith Wharton, The Age of Innocence

Russell Baker
“Perhaps humans have always had this ridiculous belief in the absolute excellence of the present, this conviction that the world into which they have had the marvelous good luck to be born is the best world that ever was, the best that ever will be.”
Russell Baker

Edith Wharton
“There are lots of ways of being miserable, but there’s only one way of being comfortable, and that is to stop running round after happiness. If you make up your mind not to be happy there’s no reason why you shouldn’t have a fairly good time.”
Edith Wharton, Ethan Frome and Other Short Fiction

Theodore Roosevelt
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
Theodore Roosevelt

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message 1: by John

John Reading Down Under

In advance of the one trip I made to Australia, I bought some books. Bill Bryson was by far the most entertaining, Bruce Chatwin the most esoteric, Robert Hughes the most weighty. I still have yet to read Alan Moorehead's Rum Jungle but expect it will be rewarding based on his White Nile and Blue Nile books.


1. In a Sunburned Country, Bill Bryson (2000). Bryson has a way of taking the dangerous and making it quaint or enjoyable probably because he knows you're safe and comfortable reading in an armchair. Australia, he lets you know, is full of the ten most poisonous snakes in the world plus other deadly wildlife like Great White Sharks, crocodiles, box jellyfish, toxic jellyfish and sea-shells that attack you. The outback and surrounding sea are also deadly. You learn that a Prime Minister once was lost at sea after swimming on a local beach (possibly due to a rip tide). I read this book on the plane over. Bought used at he State Department bookstore.




2. The Songlines, Bruce Chatwin (1987). Chatwin is fascinating by the Aborigines travel over what they call Dream Tracks as well as their holy men. He weaves his travel around the island-continent with memoir, history, philosophy and tributes to other writers. Bought used at State Department bookstore.




3. Rum Jungle, Alan Moorehead (1954). Each chapter devoted to different regions of Australia. Black and white photos. Bought used at State Department bookstore.



4. The Fatal Shore, Robert Hughes (1987). A good scholarly history that sets the stage with Australia's founding as a penal colony. The combination of convicts, freemen, representatives of Her Majesty's Government and being a hemisphere away from England combine into a fascinating history. Bought used but forgot where.


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