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What Are You Reading? > REVIEWS for OCT 2020: Smart is Cool Day

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message 1: by Book Concierge (new)

Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 2693 comments Mod
Read any good books lately that fit our monthly theme?

Here's the place to share your opinions / reactions / recommendations.

Our October theme was suggested by Jaret: "Smart Is Cool" Day - read a book where you learned something; Fiction or nonfiction


message 2: by Donna (new)

Donna | 416 comments Did you know that the honor for the shortest term for a US Secretary of State goes to Elihu Benjamin Washburne? Nope, I didn't either. His term lasted 11 days, from March 5, 1869 – March 16, 1869. I learned this from reading the fiction book Nothing to See Here, which I LOVED!

message 3: by SouthWestZippy (new)

SouthWestZippy | 160 comments I learned that Max Evans worked or lived in many of the towns I have lived in plus a Rodeo Cowboy by the name of Tuffy Copper is in the book. I have meet him and a few of his family, I was not expecting him to be in the book.

For the Love of a Horse by Max Evans
For the Love of a Horse by Max Evans
5 stars
I enjoyed this book very much. I know about and I have lived in a few of the New Mexico and Texas towns Max Evans lived or worked at. I am able to relate and picture them in my head as I read. I am blessed with having seen many of his paintings hanging in my friends and family walls. This is the second book of his I have read and I enjoyed reading Madam Millie: Bordellos from Silver City to Ketchikan too so I am will be looking to read his other books.
The book is a collection of short stories of the horses that came and went in his life as well as a little background of his childhood, friends and family. Wonderful pictures throughout the book of people and horses. For the animal lovers who can't take the death by another animal type stories, you might want to stay clear of the book, they are not graphic but paint the ugly ways of life.

message 4: by Carol (new)

Carol | 2360 comments I learned things from this book that will never make any rational sense.

The Book of Matt Hidden Truths About the Murder of Matthew Shepard by Stephen Jimenez
The Book of Matt - Stephen Jimenez

From the Book Description
”There were two enormous tragedies that stemmed from this case. The first obvious tragedy is that a young man lost his life. Regardless of the criminal activity that Matthew Shepard was involved in, no human being deserves to be treated in the same fashion that he was. The second tragedy was how pathetic and how poorly the media handled this case. It has been painfully obvious to me for many years now that the media had absolutely no interest in learning or reporting the facts of this case. The media simply wanted to sensationalize this homicide as a hate crime instead of reporting it for what it really was about: DRUGS.”Former Laramie Detective Ben Fritzen, a lead investigator on the Matthew Shepard murder

I have read several books and seen 2 movies documenting the tragic, grotesque, and senseless death of this young man. To date everyone still has an opinion but no one has an explanation …the complete truth, nor can they really answer the question of “why”? Why did it happen? Why this particular man?… and what... if any... were the events leading up to it? Drugs were, and still are, thought to be the reality, but the media and almost everyone else was convinced that it was simply because Matthew was gay and dared to say it.

From the Book “Fifteen years ago Aaron McKinney swung his .357 Magnum for the final time like a baseball bat into the skull of Matthew Shepard. Shepard was tied low to a post, arms behind his back, in a prairie fringe of Laramie, Wyoming. The murder was so vicious, the aftermath so sensational, that the story first told to explain it became gospel before anyone could measure it against reality. That story was born, in part, of shock and grief and the fact that gay men…this one really only a boy… like Shepard have been violently preyed upon by heterosexuals. It was also born of straight culture and secrets. This is not a left-wing or a right-wing thing. It is not a gay or straight thing…, it is not a religious versus atheist thing…It’s being a human being thing. . .

It’s now been 22 years since this happened and we have to wonder just how much has attitudes changed? No matter what your feelings are about homosexuality…you have to see that this goes way beyond the realms of sex and who you can or can not love…it more than likely had nothing what-so-ever to do with Matthews sexual orientation and more to do with the attitude that “you are different than me and don’t believe in the same things I do so therefore you are not only totally wrong…you have to… actually really need to… die for it.”

The last line of the book reads …“What is clear is that Matthew was as complicated and flawed an individual as we all are and that in no way invalidates his humanity, his right to life or the reaction to his murder.” As I finished the last page I thought to myself…I hope that this sad testimony to intolerance is not what we have become as a people. I do sincerely hope not.

message 5: by SouthWestZippy (new)

SouthWestZippy | 160 comments I learned only eight men survived out of the 20 men on the Essex and it was not pretty what they had to do in order to help them to survive.

In the Heart of the Sea The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex by Nathaniel Philbrick
4 stars
I have never read Moby Dick and after reading this book, I am going to pass on reading it. I have had enough of whale ships and sea stories. Nathaniel Philbrick did a wonderful job on the research and the background information and nothing was over the top. I was not sure if I would be able to handle a whale story but Philbrick kept me interested most of the book. Humans and whale both want to survive and both will do anything to do so.

message 6: by Mystique (new)

Mystique Jessica | 52 comments Who Will Cry When You Die? Life Lessons from the Monk Who Sold His Ferrari by Robin S. Sharma

Book: Who will cry when you will die?
Author: Robin Sharma
Genre: Non-fiction, Motivational


This book is full of sparks. It is a wake-up alarm to the soul. I must not categorize this book by saying that, whenever you feel low, you can hold this read. Instead of this, I see this book like daily lessons that we often overlook. The author’s writing style is pretty lucid. All preaches are easily understandable through short stories and famous sayings. In this book, he uses the quotes of famous personalities, like Thomas Edison, Mahatma Gandhi, Bernard Shaw, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and the list goes on. He also recommended many books related to various topics for more enlightenment and richness in life.
When you sit down and read this book, you cannot take it all at once. The best way to read this literary art by reading some of the chapters every day, then you soak it all. The lessons taught by the author are worth learning when you start applying those teachings in your daily life. Later, you will have no regrets on your deathbed. For me, it is a daily dose of self-awareness. It helps you to see your current life differently and encourage you to make a difference in your future life.

message 7: by Book Concierge (new)

Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 2693 comments Mod
Learned more about conservation efforts re the Northern White, Southern White and Black Rhinos. Also learned about the warfare in Uganda and Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The Last Rhinos My Battle to Save One of the World's Greatest Creatures by Lawrence Anthony
The Last Rhinos – Lawrence Anthony & Graham Spence – 3.5***
Lawrence Anthony has been called the Indiana Jones of conservationism. He certainly lives up to that moniker in this memoir of his efforts to save the last remaining Northern White Rhinos in the wild. Anthony went to great lengths to plan a rescue of these magnificent beasts. I only wish that more of the book was focused on the animals rather than on the negotiations with government officials and rebel group leaders.
My full review HERE

message 8: by Koren (new)

Koren  (koren56) | 511 comments The Residence: Inside the Private World of the White House by Kate Anderson Brower
5 stars

I learned lots of things about the people that work at the White House and what it's like to take care of the people that live there. Very interesting!

message 9: by Koren (new)

Koren  (koren56) | 511 comments Love, Zac: Small-Town Football and the Life and Death of an American Boy by Reid Forgrave
5 stars
Love, Zac Small-Town Football and the Life and Death of an American Boy by Reid Forgrave

I almost didnt read this book. From the first pages we know that this is going to be an incredibly sad book. We know that a young man dies from chronic traumatic encephalopathy- a condition brought on from having too many concussions, usually caused by playing football. (For those not living in the US, this is American football, not what we call soccer). The author does a good job of relating the history of concussions in football and of telling us about the family dynamics and the history of the town. Even though this is a sad book I think it is important information, especially if we have sons and grandsons playing the sport.

message 10: by SouthWestZippy (new)

SouthWestZippy | 160 comments I learned some new things that have recently declassified and that even to this day people are still affected by this horrific act.

The Only Plane in the Sky An Oral History of 9/11 by Garrett M. Graff
The only plane in the Sky by Garrett M. Graff
5 stars and added to favorites
I knew going in that this was not going to be a easy quick read. I also prepared myself for very real, raw, straight forward stories and I still was not prepared enough. I could not put the book down, I felt I owed them all to keep going on and work my way through it all. Garrett M. Graff did a wonderful research job of bringing this oral history together. The book is broken down into locations, events, times and tries very hard to stay in a timeline. The stories are brief and poignant. This by far is the best book I have read so far about September 11, 2001.

message 11: by SouthWestZippy (last edited Oct 31, 2020 03:51PM) (new)

SouthWestZippy | 160 comments I learned this is a series of three. Now I get to try and find the first two.

Fury and the White Mare by Albert G. Miller
Fury and the White Mare by Albert G. Miller
5 stars
I found this book at a book sale and did not know it was a series so I have not read the first two of the series. Good children's book. I liked the story line and most of the characters, one grumpy old man was annoying. Another book I wish I had know about when I was younger. Happy to have read it as an adult but would have loved it as a child.

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