Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Prometheus Bound by Aeschylus

Prometheus BoundPrometheus Bound by Aeschylus
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The god who gave us science and education is unjustly punished by those who wish to maintain and hoard power. What a modern story.

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Friday, December 21, 2012

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

Ella EnchantedElla Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A super fun modern fairy tale about the drawbacks of obedience and the benefits of cleverness.

Haven't seen the movie yet, but now I'm excited to see it.

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Sunday, December 16, 2012

Reaching for the Moon by Buzz Aldrin

Reaching for the MoonReaching for the Moon by Buzz Aldrin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a little mini-memoir for kids about Buzz Aldrin's early life, becoming a pilot and a scientist, and then (after first being rejected) becoming an astronaut. His first space flight was Gemini XII in 1966 and according to Wikipedia, it was the 26th spaceflight of all time. His second spaceflight was the more famous Apollo 11 that made the first moon landing with commander Neil Armstrong in 1969. Pretty exciting!

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Saturday, December 15, 2012

Little Town on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Little Town on the Prairie (Little House)Little Town on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This covers about two years. Mary goes off to college which is a really exciting. The family moves to the town for the winter and they have tons of social events.

Laura is maybe 14 at the beginning of the book, and 15 at the end, and she has so much drama at school and at church and with boys. There's a really one-dimensional character Nellie. She's still more interested in playing than in boys.

There's one racist scene that makes this unideal as a kid's book or for reading out loud.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

Twilight (Twilight, #1)Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There is not one literary sentence in this book, but none of the sentences made me groan in protest. The plot is fun and excellently paced. Hard to put down until it was finished.

And yes, sure, the relationship in the book is super messed up, as one would expect it would be given the circumstances. But to be fair, the participants have legitimate supernatural excuses.

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Monday, December 10, 2012

Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan

Sarah, Plain and Tall (Sarah, Plain and Tall, #1)Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Read it for the first time as an adult. Takes place on the prairie, where "Papa," aka Jacob, and his two children, Anna and Caleb, are getting to know a woman named Sarah.

First of all, it's written in a really lovely way. The author really conveys the children's feeling of longing and love.

Sarah is kind of a mail-order bride. She corresponds a bit with the father in the story and the kids before "coming to visit," and it's clear she can leave if she wants, but her hometown in Maine is pretty far from the prairie. Since the story is told from the perspective of the children, we have no idea if the father in the story actually woos Sarah in any discernible way. He does treat her with the utmost respect though, which is not totally reciprocated by her, but well.

Sarah is really obsessed with the ocean. I know a lot of people love the ocean, but if she loved it so much, couldn't she find a man anywhere on the entire East Coast? Plus, her beloved aunts and everything and everyone she's ever known? Certainly there might be a good reason to leave Maine, but why not correspond with some bachelors in, say, Virginia?

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Sunday, December 9, 2012

Jesus' Son by Denis Johnson

Jesus' SonJesus' Son by Denis Johnson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I first read this in 2007 or 2008, but I didn’t fully appreciate it like I did when I reread it recently. Just so insane and beautiful and scary and sad. Even funny.

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Saturday, December 8, 2012

The Sweetest Thing by Jill Shalvis

The Sweetest Thing (Lucky Harbor, #2)The Sweetest Thing by Jill Shalvis
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Fun romance with no dramatic tension whatsoever. Tempted to read what happens next though it's pretty obviously an uncomplicated romance between the third sister and the policeman.

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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

By the Shores of Silver Lake by Laura Ingalls Wilder

By the Shores of Silver Lake (Little House, #5)By the Shores of Silver Lake by Laura Ingalls Wilder
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Things have not been going well since the second novel when the Ingalls family got malaria or the third novel where their new wheat farm was ravaged by a grasshopper plague. This book opens with the Ingalls family recovering from Scarlet Fever. So the solution is to move back West again! Seriously, this is the third move and each place has resulted in worse and worse conditions. Really what was wrong with that first place in The Big Woods? It looks pretty good in retrospect. Even their dog Jack is getting tired of this nonsense.

Oh, and Mary is blind now. She didn't make a full recovery from the Scarlet Fever. Laura isn't too worried about it. I get that Laura is only about 12 years old, but a little sympathy here?

Anyway, this time Pa works for a train company, forces his family to run an impromptu bed and breakfast, and seeks to claim a homestead near a wolf den where his daughters Laura and Carrie almost get eaten. Nonetheless, he neglects to watch his baby Grace when outdoors. Can’t wait to see what horrors await the family in the next book! There are some suggestions that child marriage might be next.

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Saturday, December 1, 2012

Don't Sweat the Small Stuff by Richard Carlson

Don't Sweat the Small Stuff ... and it's all small stuff: Simple Ways to Keep the Little Things from Taking Over Your LifeDon't Sweat the Small Stuff ... and it's all small stuff: Simple Ways to Keep the Little Things from Taking Over Your Life by Richard Carlson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book offers 100 pieces of advice. All the advice is good but some of it is repetitive, and the book lacks internal structure. For example, "12.Let Others Be 'Right Most of the Time" and "30. Choose Your Battles Wisely" are basically the same. Several of them are about feeling and expressing gratitude, patience, giving, and having some quiet contemplative time in your life.

It might be especially good for kids since the very short 100 sections could be read one at a time at bedtime or in the morning before school.

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Friday, November 30, 2012

Eumenides by Aeschylus

Eumenides (Ορέστεια, #3)Eumenides by Aeschylus
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Orestes's trial is a total scam. Orestes was either equally or *more* wrong in killing his mother Clytaemnestra than she was in killing her husband Agamemnon, Orestes's father.

Also, total sexist nonsense that the child doesn't share the mother's blood, and ridiculous set up having Athena- who didn't have a mother- judge the trial. The jury is obviously all male. And Agamemnon was such a bad father that he killed his own daughter.

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Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Libation Bearers by Aeschylus

The Libation Bearers (Ορέστεια, #2)The Libation Bearers by Aeschylus
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This one is really intense, even compared to the first one, "Agamemnon."

[2500-Year Old] Spoiler Alert:
Orestes kills his mother after she begs him not to. His motives are a bit dubious. Does he not know his father killed his sister Iphigenia? Is he actually just mad his mother sent him to live outside of the castle? Is he just a super religious opportunist who has to follow the Oracle or risk life-failure? Maybe all of these things.

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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Agamemnon by Aeschylus

Agamemnon (Oresteia, #1)Agamemnon by Aeschylus
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have a lot of sympathy for Clytaemnestra. Reading a more generalized Greek mythology in high school I loved the character of Cassandra, but Aeschylus doesn't really have a lot of patience for her, and that's fine.

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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

On the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder

On the Banks of Plum Creek (Little House, #4)On the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Starts off well, as the family moves into what is essentially a hobbit house, but unbelievably they don't like this and spend a bunch of money they don't have to buy wood for a new house on credit. Terrible plan, Pa!

Leeches, grasshoppers, and little children bullies galore. Not my favorite one.

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Lords of Finance by Liaquat Ahamed

Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the WorldLords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World by Liaquat Ahamed
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The topic is interesting and the writing is great, and if someone had cut this book in half it would have been 5 stars. As it is, it is nearly unreadable. The first time I tried I quit 50% of the way, but I own a copy so I tried again. The only way I made it through is by powering through the audiobook, meaning that when I zoned out I just rewound a bit a kept going. Every sentence definitely didn't get in my brain.

On the other hand, if you love monetary policy, this is the book for you.

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Friday, November 23, 2012

Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Little House on the Prairie (Little House, #2)Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is crazy to read as an adult. It's largely about the white settlers breaking treaties with the Native Americans and expanding Westward into their territory. Of course, I missed the importance of all this when I read it as a kid obviously. It's definitely worth an adult-reread. The father moves the family from Wisconsin to future Kansas over treacherous terrain and then builds a new house from scratch, including all the furniture. Unfortunately, he builds the house basically on top of a Native American trail so they proceed to have a lot of interesting interactions with numerous different tribes.

I'd give it 5 stars now, but I'm sticking with my childhood rating of 4. (I kept a reading journal as a kid. Are you surprised?)

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Thursday, November 22, 2012

Simply Irresistible by Jill Shalvis

Simply Irresistible (Lucky Harbor, #1)Simply Irresistible by Jill Shalvis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The literary equivalent of chocolate bonbons for your brain. This book is no stress. Just a happy little romance. There's also some heartwarming sister-reunion stuff.

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Monday, November 19, 2012

The Ironwood Tree by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi

The Ironwood Tree (The Spiderwick Chronicles, #4)The Ironwood Tree by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Guess it's getting a little repetitive now without delightful twists or turns to make it more entertaining for an adult. Aspects of Snow White in this one, but not a lot of fairy fun.

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Sunday, November 18, 2012

Lucinda's Secret by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi

Lucinda's Secret (The Spiderwick Chronicles, #3)Lucinda's Secret by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This filled in a little background information about the childrens' aunt Lucinda and her father who made the Field Guide. While it progressed the narrative, nothing was really resolved in this one and the ending left a little still in the air. Definitely not a stand-alone book.

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Friday, November 16, 2012

The Field Guide by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi

The Field Guide (The Spiderwick Chronicles, #1)The Field Guide by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I like that the characters are not the typical children's book characters. I like that the older sister Mallory is a tough girl without being the one that gets in trouble. It would be nice if she had interests besides fencing, but at least fencing is interesting. I like that the typically "nerdy" sibling Simon isn't actually nerdy but a vaguely obsessive animal-lover. Interested to see how Jared develops. Sounds like he might be interested in art.

The story itself is pretty cute though still maybe a little scary for little ones. This one is a little unresolved- it's more of an introduction to the characters and their situation in a house filled with magic.

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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind by Shunryu Suzuki

Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind: Informal Talks on Zen Meditation and PracticeZen Mind, Beginner's Mind: Informal Talks on Zen Meditation and Practice by Shunryu Suzuki
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I took a Buddhism class in college and this was part of our required reading. At the time, it made no sense to me. This is because this book did not explain how to meditate. Since then, I've read books about how to meditate, I've attempted meditation (hundreds of times at this point), and I've read about consciousness. So now it makes sense. Even so, it was a horrible choice for an introductory Buddhism course with no discussion of meditation. It's also a poor book if you haven't already learned about meditation and attempted it, especially because he doesn't give any explicit directions about meditation beyond sitting in the correct posture. Meditation itself is barely implied. You only know that what he's talking about if you already have a background in it.

There's no explanation of how Zen is a school of (East Asian) Mahayana Buddhism, or that there are even branches of Buddhism with different beliefs. Is zazen just another word for meditation or is there something unique about it? Meditation with no purpose? I can't really figure it out from the text. You will acquire something from this practice but you can't practice it in order to acquire something or it is not zazan? Ah, koans even where we don't expect them. "Intellectually my talk makes no sense." Well, I agree with that.

Despite the name, this is an intermediate or advanced meditation book, with an emphasis on zen practice specifically which like I said is just one kind. There are some interesting thoughts here worth considering. Some of it reminds me a lot of Christianity.

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Monday, November 12, 2012

Self-Reliance by Ralph Waldo Emerson

Self-RelianceSelf-Reliance by Ralph Waldo Emerson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

As for the first half of the essay: If you are an excellent person and follow the advice in this essay, then it's probably going to work out well. If you're a horrible person, or if you think you're an excellent person but you're really kind of a low-grade specimen, and follow this essay, it's a recipe to be a huge jerk.

I like the second half of the essay better. I appreciate it's anti-consumerist bent. Even it's anti-technology section has some good points.

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Sunday, November 11, 2012

Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Little House in the Big Woods (Little House, #1)Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Takes place in the semi-wilderness of 1870s in Wisconsin, US. Takes us through a year in the life of a middle sister age 4 (celebrates her 5th birthday during the book). There are at least 4 stories just about bears in this book.

I think I like this book even better as an adult. It's like a survival guide for the zombie apocalypse or a pandemic.

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Thursday, November 8, 2012

Beezus and Ramona by Beverly Cleary

Beezus and Ramona (Ramona, #1)Beezus and Ramona by Beverly Cleary
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I remember liking this a lot as a kid but it doesn't really survive well into adulthood. Beatrice (Beezuz) is the older sister, 9 years old, and Ramona is about 4. Ramona drives Beezus and everyone else crazy. At the time of my reread, I know kids that are 4, so I can relate to a lot of the bad behavior and frustrations, but Ramona is really a next level awful toddler.

Another thing that stands out so many years later is how much freedom the two girls have to wander the town. Beezus is in 5th grade and Ramona is a completely untrustworthy preschooler. They go to the library and playground on their own. Even when the police have to find Ramona (not a spoiler, it happens as a flashback from before the book), the police don't mind or arrest the parents. What a fun time to be a parent. Now we're required to hover constantly, buried under Common Core, and then judgmentally accused of being helicopter parents.

A few random notes about the book: The chapters aren't really that related but function more like short stories. I also learned that the Ramona Quimby series is originally a Henry Huggins spin-off though I've never actually heard of that series before. Henry makes a very brief appearance in this book, and he didn't make as much of an impression as his dog did.

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Thursday, November 1, 2012

A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan

A Visit from the Goon SquadA Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love the first chapter, and I probably would have been happy to read a novel about just the first character. Still, I liked how the novel moved around a group of friends and acquaintances and their different perspectives on each other, music, and life as time passed. And since the first character was my favorite, I was glad to see how she'd changed with age in a subsequent chapter. Her transformation was totally believable.

As many other people have commented, this is pretty much a short story collection with overlapping characters and themes, but I love short story collections, so that definitely wasn't a problem for me.

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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Denial of Death by Ernest Becker

The Denial of DeathThe Denial of Death by Ernest Becker
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I'm not a psychology student so perhaps some portion of this is correct? Seems like a lot of it is wrong though. And it definitely doesn't help me with anything.

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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Yoga for Physical and Mental Fitness by Sachindra K. Majundar

Introduction to YogaIntroduction to Yoga by Sachindra K. Majundar
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Actually, my copy is called Yoga for Physical and Mental Fitness, but I think it’s the same book. It has photographs of yoga poses and explanations of how it ties in with meditation.

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Monday, October 15, 2012

3:16 by Max Lucado

3:16: The Numbers of Hope3:16: The Numbers of Hope by Max Lucado
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book is helpful if you don't know the basic premise of Evangelical Christianity. If you're already an Evangelical, you will probably enjoy this book like a warm hug or comfort food. If you don't fit either of those categories this book probably won't enlighten or persuade you (even if you're looking to be persuaded) as there isn't much substance to it.

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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett

Waiting for GodotWaiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Even if this is deep, and I'm not actually totally sure that it is, it wasn't particularly enjoyable to me. I know this sounds like "I like Byron. I give him a 42, but I can't dance to it." - Dead Poets Society. Nonetheless, I'll stick with my view for now.

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Saturday, October 6, 2012

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

How to Win Friends and Influence PeopleHow to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I avoided this book for a while despite numerous recommendations because I have friends and I wasn't particularly interested in manipulating people. However, I read a particularly good recommendation recently (possibly in the Bill Bryson book Home?) and I decided to bite the bullet and read it.

Rather than being morally dubious as I suspected, I think the book gave a lot of good advice on how best to be a kind, considerate, thoughtful human being. Yes, it also gave advice on how to convince other people of your point, but I think mostly by following some of the same advice regarding showing other people respect.

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Monday, October 1, 2012

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

Catch-22 (Catch-22, #1)Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I'm really torn about this one. There are many great sentences that highlight the absurdities of life. But I just didn't care about any of the characters or anything they cared about. The story itself fell flat for me too. And the very anti-war theme was a bit unsettling in a World War II setting.

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A Gate at the Stairs by Lorrie Moore

A Gate at the StairsA Gate at the Stairs by Lorrie Moore
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I like Lorrie Moore's short stories so I really wanted to like this novel, but no. The bones of the book is good. Her relationship with her employer is very realistic and the dynamics between the two of them and the baby are very realistic and interesting. The husband is an interesting villain but completely without any nuance. Her brother seems a little outside the story, but okay, whatever. But the worst part in the story is the boyfriend. He would have been so much better without the (sort of a spoiler alert) dramatic twist. Totally over the top and not realistic at all. Finally, the ending where she addresses the reader directly is not sassy or cute, it's awful.

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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Boundaries in Marriage by Henry Cloud, John Townsend

Boundaries in MarriageBoundaries in Marriage by Henry CloudJohn Townsend 
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Christian advice on marriage. Not terrible advice even if you're not Christian (or are Christian but are dubious of Biblical marriage advice). Focuses on how to respect each other and cultivate real love based on mutual respect and empathy. There was nothing novel for me but clearly, a lot of people could benefit from these views.

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The Farthest Shore by Ursula K. Le Guin

The Farthest Shore (Earthsea Cycle, #3)The Farthest Shore by Ursula K. Le Guin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This one is my favorite of the trilogy so far. So many of these epic fantasy books focus on an adventure story about the struggle between good and evil, but this one also focuses heavily on the struggle of life, the fear of death, and how death plays a role in "the balance." It is a unique perspective and maybe a commentary on religion? In Earthsea, there is no magic without death and the afterlife has a noticeable Buddhist influence.

Of course, Earthsea might not have anything to do with Earth, but it's clear that either way, Le Guin makes an argument for the necessity of death. This argument isn't totally developed in the book which is disappointing because modern science is really seeking life-extension technologies and even cures for death (see studies on telomeres, attempts to record human consciousness in computers, along with all of Google's anti-death projects).

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Monday, September 17, 2012

The Tombs of Atuan by Ursula K. Le Guin

The Tombs of Atuan (Earthsea Cycle, #2)The Tombs of Atuan by Ursula K. Le Guin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I liked this one much better than the first. I liked the focus on the development of Arha as she learned more about the world around her. And the Tombs are magical.

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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Warlord of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs

The Warlord of Mars (Barsoom, #3)The Warlord of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I was hoping that the third book in this series would rescue all the time I'd invested on the first two, but it felt like a repeat of the second one, except that I preferred the second one.

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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Sign of Four by Arthur Conan Doyle

The Sign of FourThe Sign of Four by Arthur Conan Doyle
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The book makes no mystery of the fact that there will be four co-conspirators. The mystery isn't as interesting as in the first one, and the criminal's back story isn't either. This one is more of romance if anything.

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Monday, July 30, 2012

The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan

The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four MealsThe Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When I first read this book in 2007, I gave it 4 stars. Since then I've read other books on the farming-industrial complex, and on a reread I found a lot to appreciate about this book in particular. It's a well-researched, thorough look at different ways we can choose to eat an omnivore diet. It talks about the corn industry, the chicken/egg industry, the beef industry, small sustainable farms and farmers' markets, and hunting and gathering in America.

My reread reminded me to pay more attention to what I'm eating since after 10 years I've slipped back a little to including some processed foods in our diet again.

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Thursday, July 26, 2012

A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle

A Study in ScarletA Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I first read this when I was 12, and apparently, I loved it then, so I'll leave the five stars I gave it back then. I reread it as an adult because my dad had The Complete Sherlock Holmes and it's the first in the collection. Maybe more of a 4 star, because seriously why is this story all over Utah, and why doesn't the murderer just use a fake name? But delightful in its vengefulness.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Gods of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs

The Gods of Mars (Barsoom, #2)The Gods of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I was bored. I wanted John Carter to find Dejah Thoris and make this into a romance instead of an adventure/ pulp sci fi. Maybe I would have preferred it be more fantasy-sci fi, with more emphasis on a magical world or fantastic technologies... or anything. I don't know. It took me forever to read because I was so bored, and my eyes would glaze over entire paragraphs.

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Some very on-point blog posts

A nice little post on how to decide which books to keep and which to donate.

"All you have to do is look at something and see how it makes you feel. If your initial reaction is sadness or guilt or indifference, you don’t keep it. If it makes you feel glad, you keep it. Simple, yes, but effective."
http://smallnotebook.org/2012/07/17/declutter-the-reading-list/

Although, I'm not sure if I actually agree, since looking at my dad's books does make me sad, but I definitely want to keep them, but maybe I can loosely apply this idea.

And a blog that posts photos of New Yorkers reading on the subway! I don't ride the subway much anymore, but when I did, I spent most of the time reading.
http://undergroundnewyorkpubliclibrary.com/

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Polling and the Public by Herbert B. Asher

Polling and the Public: What Every Citizen Should KnowPolling and the Public: What Every Citizen Should Know by Herbert B. Asher
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is actually one of my graduate school books, so I figured I would review it before getting rid of it. Since it's 11 years old now, it's probably better to read more recent editions of the book. The main points of the book are probably the same, but newer editions might have more recent examples and perhaps review more advanced poll-taking technology and analysis.

The main points are not that enlightening. Polls can be useful or they can be misleading either by accident or on purpose. It might give the public a way to participate beyond elections, or it can manipulate the public.

Furthermore, some people don't care about the issues they are being polled about, and these "nonattitudes" might be misconstrued by the pollsters. Some people might care very deeply about the issue, but be undecided. Pollsters can mislead through not only question wording, but also question wording, and this is more difficult to detect.

The book also explains sampling error and types of sampling in some detail. This is useful mainly if you're planning on conducting your own poll. A 4% sampling error is usually adequate, but obviously not very determinative when 52% of respondents feel one way (really means 48-56% of respondents feel that way). The error of subsets of the sample might actually be much higher. The method of interviewing affects the results, the timing might affect the results, the release of the poll results might influence the public's actions.

Mostly, I enjoyed the political cartoons in the book. ISBN: 1-56802-582-3.

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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

Memoirs of a GeishaMemoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Really entertaining, but left me kind of cold. The voice really sounds like that of a woman, and the time, place, and circumstances of the main character's life are really interesting. But there's a lack of depth to the story generally and also in the characters. I also didn't really enjoy the ending that much, though I think I should have as it's supposed to be liberating.

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Monday, July 16, 2012

The Lonely American by Jacqueline Olds, Richard S. Schwartz

The Lonely American: Drifting Apart in the Twenty-first CenturyThe Lonely American: Drifting Apart in the Twenty-first Century by Jacqueline Olds, Richard S. Schwartz
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Being too busy is bad, but even worse is checking out of social life. When this happens people get depressed, then use alcohol, drugs, or pharmaceuticals to deal with their depression. Therapy is better but still unideal. The authors admit this is a societal problem - both being too busy and being isolated- but then sort of vaguely suggest we just force ourselves to socialize.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Blasphemy by Douglas Preston

Blasphemy (Wyman Ford #2)Blasphemy by Douglas Preston
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Probably 3.5 stars. Started out really well but eventually I got bored of the obvious "surprise" coming and the religious war really dragged too.

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Monday, July 2, 2012

Tyrannosaur Canyon by Douglas Preston

Tyrannosaur Canyon (Wyman Ford #1)Tyrannosaur Canyon by Douglas Preston
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Maybe 3.5? I did like it. It was almost a relaxing read for an action/ adventure story. I loved the parts about dinosaurs. The government's reaction to what was happening seemed a bit of a stretch though.

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