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Mini Reviews

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I’ve recently read a few nonfiction books, but just didn’t have enough to say about them for full reviews.  So here’s my mini reviews:

Title: A History fo Egypt: From Earliest Times to the Present

Author: Jason Thompson

Publisher: Anchor Books 2008

Genre: Nonfiction — History

Pages: 382

Rating:  4 / 5 stars

Reading Challenges: Dewey — 960s; Fall into Reading

How I Got It: Library Loan

This is the type of history books that I should be reading.  This volume is a much more comprehensive history of a culture, people and country.  I enjoyed the depth and readability.  Good read.  And I learned much about the rise of Islam in the area (definitely a lacking area of my historical knowledge).

Title: Blue: 350 Inspiring Ways to Decorate with Blue

Author: Lisa Cregan

Publisher: Hearst Communications 2011

Genre: Nonfiction — Home decor

Pages: 272

Rating:  4 / 5 stars

Reading Challenges: Dewey — 740s; Fall into Reading; Color Coded — Blue

How I Got It: Library Loan

Such pretty pictures.  I would love to add more blue into our decor, but it seems the boys’ room is the only place I can get away with it.

Title: The Green Book

Publisher: Three Rivers Press 2007

Genre: Nonfiction — Enviroment

Pages: 204

Rating:  4 / 5 stars

Reading Challenges: Dewey — 330s; Fall into Reading; Color Coded — Green

How I Got It: Library Loan

Tips to live a greener lifestyle.  Okay introduction book, but some of the ways to green your lifestyle area bit hard to do without owning a business or at least your own house.  The testimonies from celebrities seemed a bit wonky to me.

Title: Active Liberty

Author: Stephen Breyer

Publisher: Alfred Knopf 2005

Genre: Nonfiction — Law

Pages: 164

Rating:  4 / 5 stars

Reading Challenges: Dewey — 340s; Fall into Reading

How I Got It: Library Loan

A great slim but dense volume on the differences between active and modern liberty and their applications.  I am a huge Constitutional Law geek.  I love reading about interpretations and applications of the various sections of the Constitution.  And Breyer definitely knows his Constitution.  I’ve never quite looked at it his way, but it was a nice analysis.

Title: Minigami

Author: Gay Merrill Gross

Publisher: Firefly Books 2005

Genre: Nonfiction — Paper Craft

Pages: 144

Rating: 3 / 5 stars

Reading Challenges: Dewey — 730s; Fall into Reading

How I Got It: Library Loan

I loved looking at all the pretty pictures, but origami is harder than I thought it would be.  I tried to do some of the designs and they weren’t that clean looking.  I imagine that practice would make cleaner designs.

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Posted by on December 11, 2012 in Book Reviews

 

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Pericles, Cymbeline, and Othello by Shakespeare

Title: Pericles, Cymbeline, Othello

Author: William Shakespeare

Genre: Classic Plays

Pages: 147, 137, 163

Rating: 3/5   3/5    5/5  stars

Reading Challenges: Shakespeare; Mount TBR; Fall into Reading

I finished three Shakespeare plays this week, and I have to say that I need a Shakespeare break.  The first two plays were just so-so for me.  Othello is brilliant, but I already knew that as I read it back in college and loved it.  Besides the brilliance of Othello and especially the character of Iago, I can’t find much to say about the plays.  Does that make me less of a bibliophile? I think I’m craving more time with interesting characters and maybe more action.  I don’t know…  I do know that my next selection is finishing The Wrinkle in Time that I started before flying out.

 
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Posted by on November 19, 2012 in Book Reviews

 

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As You Like It by Shakespeare

Title: As You Like It

Author: William Shakespeare

Genre: Classic Plays

Pages: 133

Rating:  3 / 5 stars

Reading Challenges: Shakespeare; Mount TBR; Fall into Reading

I must say that isn’t my favorite Shakespeare play.  It was good, but something just didn’t click with me.  After thinking on it awhile, I think I’ve decided that these aren’t the best characters Shakespeare ever wrote.  I couldn’t get behind the naiveté of Celia or the goody good of Rosalind.  They just weren’t the best characters.  And I’m sure that I’ve seen this story too many times by this time in my life.  I just didn’t really enjoy this one as much as the others…

 
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Posted by on November 18, 2012 in Book Reviews

 

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The Princess and the Bear by Mette Ivie Harrison

Title: The Princess and the Bear (Princess #2)

Author: Mette Ivie Harrison

Publisher: HarperTeen 2009

Genre: Fairy Tales

Pages: 327

Rating:   3/5 stars

Reading Challenges: Telling Tales; Fall into Reading

How I Got It: Library Loan

He was once a king, turned into a bear as punishment for his cruel and selfish deeds.

She was a once a princess, now living in the form of a hound.

Wary companions, they are sent—in human form—back to a time when magic went terribly astray. Together they must right the wrongs caused by this devastating power—if only they can find a way to trust each other.

But even as each becomes aware of an ever-growing attraction, the stakes are rising and they must find a way to eliminate this evil force—or risk losing each other forever.

Meh…  It wasn’t great, it wasn’t bad.  It was just meh.  I think I might have liked this book more if I read it back in middle school.  I wasn’t a big fan of either main character.  I didn’t necessarily like the back-and-forth points of view.  I wasn’t that emotionally invested with anyone.  I just didn’t love the book.  I think I will be stopping with the series now.  On to better reads…

Princess

  1. The Princess and the Hound
  2. The Princess and the Bear
  3. The Princess and the Snowbird
  4. The Princess and the Horse

 
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Posted by on October 24, 2012 in Book Reviews

 

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Slanted and Enchanted by Kayla Oakes

Title: Slanted and Enchanted: The Evolution of Indie Culture

Author: Kayla Oakes

Publisher: Holt 2009

Genre: Nonfiction

Pages: 256

Rating:  3/5 stars

Reading Challenges: A to Z — O; Dewey — 700s

How I Got It: Library Loan

As popular television shows adopt indie soundtracks and the signature style bleeds into mainstream fashion, the quirky individuality of the movement seems to be losing ground. In Slanted and Enchanted, Kaya Oakes demonstrates how this phase is part of the natural cycle of a culture that reinvents itself continuously to preserve its core ideals of experimentation, freedom, and collaboration.

Through interviews and profiles of the artists who have spearheaded the cause over the years—including Mike Watt, David Berman, Kathleen Hanna, and Dan Clowes—Oakes examines the collective creativity and cross-genre experimentation that are the hallmarks of this popular lifestyle trend. Her visits to music festivals, craft fairs, and smaller collectives around the country round out the story, providing a compelling portayal of indie life on the ground. Culminating in the current indie milieu of music, crafting, style, art, comics, and zines, Oakes reveals from whence indie came and where it will go next.

Not a bad book, but not really my cup of tea.  I read too much of this as sarcastic and/or pretentious.  I just couldn’t get into this book at all.  At many points, the author presupposes knowledge of indie movers and shakers.  I just don’t have that knowledge.  I felt lost and confused many times throughout.  I just kind of skimmed through this and immediately forgot it.

 
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Posted by on September 16, 2012 in Book Reviews

 

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The Lost Millennium by Florin Diacu

Title: The Lost Millennium: History’s Timetables Under Siege

Author: Florin Diacu

Publisher: John Hopkins 2005, 2011 (2nd edition)

Genre: Nonfiction – History

Pages: 237

Rating:   3/5 stars

Reading Challenges: Mixing it Up — History; Dewey — 900s

How I Got It: Library Loan

We measure history—its defining moments, landmark documents, and great figures—by dates. The French Revolution began in 1789, the Magna Carta was originally issued in 1215, and Julius Caesar died in the year 44 BC. What makes these dates correct, though? Is it possible that there is a massive gap in the historical record and that the calendar we use today is off by about 1,000 years? Sparked by a chance meeting at a conference in Mexico more than fifteen years ago, Florin Diacu sets off on a journey into the field of historical chronology to answer these fascinating questions.

This book reads like a detective story, describing in vivid detail Diacu’s adventure back in time as he explores the shocking theory of a lost millennium. He meets a colorful cast of characters along the way. Chief among them is Anatoli Fomenko, a Russian mathematician who supports drastically revising historical chronology based on his extensive research in ancient astronomy, linguistics, cartography, and a crucial manuscript by Ptolemy. Fomenko, however, is not the only one to puzzle over time; Isaac Newton, Voltaire, and Edmund Halley, among others, also enter into this captivating quest.


I usually love history books (any history book), but I found this one to be too dense for my liking.  I found Diacu’s questions on chronology fascinating, but the writing felt clunky to me.  I had to read and read some of the passages to get a real sense of his intent and methodology.  Maybe I have been spoiled with story-like history books (Mayflower, The Great Mortality, The Ghost Map) that I am now a foreigner to dense historical papers.  Whatever my problems, I just did love this book.  And while Diacu has his doubts about some of the revisionist theories of chronology, I find much of it too confusing too care.  This book is only for the deep academic and possible mathematicians…

 

 
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Posted by on September 12, 2012 in Book Reviews

 

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Liberty Defined by Ron Paul

Title: Liberty Defined: 50 Essential Issues that Affect Our Freedom

Author: Ron Paul

Publisher: Foundation for Rational Economics and Education 2011

Genre: Nonfiction – Politics

Pages: 328

Rating:  3/5 stars

Reading Challenges: Dewey — 320s

How I Got It: Library Loan

In Liberty Defined, congressman and #1 New York Times bestselling author Ron Paul returns with his most provocative, comprehensive, and compelling arguments for personal freedom to date.

This is a comprehensive guide to Dr. Paul’s position on fifty of the most important issues of our times, from Abortion to Zionism. Accessible, easy to digest, and fearless in its discussion of controversial topics, LIBERTY DEFINED sheds new light on a word that is losing its shape.

I picked this up on a whim.  Throughout the primaries, I was intrigued by Paul’s statements and seemingly exclusion treatment from the Republican Party.  So what’s wrong with this guy?  According to my reading of his book, plenty.  Now let me go back.  For the most part of this book, I was with him.  And then in each chapter, he seemingly goes of the deep end.  I just couldn’t follow through on most of his arguments.  I keep hearing myself going “yes, I completely understand” until I got to the ending paragraphs of each chapter.  Then my statements changed to “what the hell?  why did you just go there?”  Often his rational arguments start just fine and then he jumps tracks to a totally different argument to end.  My main problem is that most of his ideas are interesting but they could not be put in place given our current reality.  We need to start with our current reality and start making laws to achieve an ultimate end.  Bottom line: I will not be voting for Ron Paul in any election.

 
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Posted by on September 3, 2012 in Book Reviews

 

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