Tuesday, October 7, 2008
GREASY RIDER by Greg Melville
Published by Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
Take two men, a 1985 Mercedes diesel station wagon, a grease car conversion kit, and the first cross country automobile trip made by H. Nelson Jackson as inspiration, mix it all together and you have a funny, informative, and thought provoking look at the future energy independence of our nation.
One of the things I liked most about this book is that it did not preach any one environmental doctrine. There is never one answer to a problem as complex as the one facing our environment today. This book takes a good hard look at our attitudes and how they work to move us forward or hold as back in the “fossil fuel age”. Not only does it give us a very humorous look at two men on a cross country trip and what it takes for them to make it without relying on anything but used fry oil. It also gives us a beautiful snapshot of out vast country and the way one answer in one region most likely is not the answer in another.
It looks at different philosophies from a place of inquiry. Finding the merits of each idea and trying to find a common ground and complete understanding of what a particular environmental philosophy is trying to really say.
The book switches back and forth from the actual road trip memoir to specific tasks designed to learn more about different ways to become more energy efficient. I liked this on the level that everything in the book was very interesting to read. On another level however I sometimes found this distracting and seemed to slow down my reading progress. Overall the information throughout was great. At the end of the book a comprehensive list of sources is offered to learn more about what was discussed in the book.
I would suggest this book to anyone, period. We must make changes in the way we live. We can no longer live with the illusion that life can continue as it presently does at the rate that we are consuming our natural resources. The best thing about this book is that it puts many ideas into perspective and how all of the little pieces fit together. I hope readers will embrace this book for everything that it offers. The more we as citizens of the earth explore what is going on around us the better the outcome for all of us.
Monday, October 6, 2008
GUERNICA by Dave Boling
One of the things that I love about books is their ability to change my perception of the world. This book is no exception to the rule. I will forever be changed because of the journey through its pages. The writing took me to this place in spirit.
The book starts out with a view of the town “Guernica” shortly after a terrible event has occurred. You see the broken remains of many of the people but mostly the pain and sorrow of Justo (WHO-stow) who is the character that much of the book’s story revolves around if at times only remotely. Now that the book has set up the future it returns to the past to give you a much better picture of the people of the village of Guernica and the Ansotegui family.
Justo is the strong man of the town and also oldest of three brothers who has to care for them and the family’s farm. Becoming the “father figure” at such a young age in many ways made him the boy that never quite grew up having to bypass his boyhood to become a man to young. As the story progresses you see the story of his family and the joy that is what being Basque is all about. If there is a culture that can find an excuse to be happy any time and anywhere it is the Basques.
The book takes a fictional family and places it during a very real, very deadly, and horrific act that was perpetuated against them in the name of the Spanish Civil War. The bombing of this town was done by Nazi planes using it mainly as a training mission of young flyers to prepare for the impending WWII. The town had more bombs dropped on it in one afternoon than were dropped during the entirety of WWI.
This bombing is one portion of what this book is about. Unfortunately history books often only tell us the statistics of war. This book beautifully tells you about the people of war, especially a very proud people who refused to be victims of war.
I fell in love with all of the characters in the book. They were not perfect people, they had troubles, and they had flaws. But they did their best to overcome and maintain who they were as people and as a culture.
To be honest I could not read any other books for awhile after I read this one. I just did not want to let go of the characters. I even went out and got some books on Basque cooking and made a Basque meal for my birthday. The Basque people like to celebrate and if you would like to read about the celebration of life even under the shadow of adversity you will love this book.
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Nan A. Talese, Publisher
I had not been reading a whole lot lately and decided that I would ease my way back into my 20 plus ARC pile. I chose this book out of the pile mainly because it was only 224 pages long and I figured I could blow through it fairly fast. What follows are my thoughts on this book. Please read the entire review before deciding on this book.
I was hoping for something reasonably light. What I found was a well written book with lots of characters that I did not like. All of them had issues and not a tremendous amount of redeeming qualities. The early reviews likened this book to “To Kill A Mockingbird” and I spent most of the book wondering why. I truly fought my way through the book. The entire book was about the frustrations that the 9 year old protagonist was feeling. It starts out with his mother, his sister, and himself fleeing their cottage in England because of an abusive father that was stalking the family. They run away to Rome to stay with the mother “Hannah’s” friends from years before. The troubles just seemed to get from bad to worse. Slowly throughout the book certain truths started to become more and more apparent to the reader. Even though the story was sad and frustrating I found myself wanting to read more and more. I wanted to have something good start to happen. I wanted the truth to finally come out. Finally when I was done I could feel satisfied. The ending was the best that could have come out of a very bad situation. During the book I got the sense of being a voyeur watching a train wreck taking place. It was painful yet I just could not look away.
After I was done reading the book I started to really think about the character of the boy Lawrence that Matthew Kneale created. I don’t think I have ever seen a better job of creating the voice of a nine year old child hopelessly trying to hold his family together. Torn between his needs as a child and his desire to care for his mother was so perfect that I was unaware of anything but his view of his world. Then in the end the difficulty of overcoming the situation that he was placed in was perfectly portrayed.
If this book is not put on the classic shelf I expect that a hole will exist there than can never quite be filled. If you are looking for a light beach read this is not the book for you. If you want a book that makes you feel and explore the relationships of life this is for you. Highly Recommended
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Saturday, September 13, 2008
By Da Chen
Published by Harper Collins
Most Americans are aware of Fairy Tales based from a European background. Native American tales and African tales are also becoming more popular. The Chinese Tale, however. is not so well known in the west. This is a beautifully written book that describes what happens when a young Chinese girl reaches 15 and learns the truth about her father’s death. She now must face the challenges of avenging his death and the potential marriage to a man she has never met. All the while feeling the pressures of her mother and her community to do what is right.
If you have ever seen the movie “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” it will help you to imagine what the beauty of Da Chen’s written words express. Through his words I can feel myself spinning in the air and flying through the trees.
As in all good tales this one has a moral to the story and an ending that will leave you surprised and satisfied. I had no idea what was coming in the ending until it came and I loved it. This book is only 229 small pages long. It gets you into the story quickly and resolves things equally fast. This is a great book for anyone who wants a good read with lots of heart.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
From Boston Bibliophile....
Today's topic: LibraryThing authors. Who are your LibraryThing authors? What books of theirs do you have? Do you ever comment on an author's LT page? Have you received any comments from an author on your LT account?
I don't have any Library Thing authors. I need to get some, I need some, I feel so alone. Please Please I need some authors. (sorry, mild attempt at humor). I guess I need to check out that feature.
Friday, August 22, 2008
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
By Eric Van Lustbader
This book is timed just perfectly for a presidential election year. The time setting is of an outgoing administration that has held office for the last eight years and the soon to be new administration. The president on his way out does not really want to relinquish power while the president elect definitely has some different plans in mind. Shortly before the new president takes office his soon to be “first daughter” is abducted. Who did it and why? That is what the main character Jack McClure must find out. He himself is recovering from the accidental death of his own daughter who was the best friend of Alli, the first-daughter. The president –elect feels there is no one better for the job, against the wishes of the secret service. One unique quality that Jack has is dyslexia. While it is and has been a hindrance to him throughout most of his life, it also gives him the ability to see a situation three dimensionally often finding the answers long before anyone else.
The book opens with a bang and you are instantly caught up in finding out what is going to happen. I at times felt slightly disappointed in the writing because it seemed to me that a character was acting odd and I did not see why this author would write about them is such an odd way. Hah! I eventually found out why some of the characters seemed odd to me. It all made sense in the end. I had no idea some of the things that were coming and enjoyed every minute of it.
Not only was this a book about an abduction it also was about spirituality and religion. Throughout the book the characters were dealing with the idea of the impact of religion on their lives. How they justify their behavior with their beliefs and how much the government should allow religion to determine the direction of legislation. This was thought provoking and gave the book much more depth than your average everyday mystery/thriller.
Much in the book will seem to mirror the present political climate in the U.S. Only you can decide how much is fact and how much is fiction. The rest we will never know.
I enjoyed this book.
Monday, August 18, 2008
This week Boston Bibliophile asks:
Today's question: LT and RL (real life)- do you have friends in real life that you met through LibraryThing? Have you attended any LT meet-ups in your area? Would you be open to attending meet-ups or is LT strictly an online thing for you?
Sad to say I do not have any real life friends that are on Library Thing. I have met some really nice people there and love to hear what they have to say on all of the different forums but as of yet I don't know of any that live close to me and you would think I would since I live in Los Angeles. I have told my friends about Library Thing but somehow they just don't seem to get how cool it is. I am the only one of my real time friends that does admit to a book addiction. I hope to get more people interested though. I think what I like about the people that I have met so far on LT is that they in general seem to behave themselves and avoid bad online behavior when responding to other peoples posts that they may not agree with. I appreciate not having to read posts that turn in to flame wars just to keep up with what is going on in the book world.
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
So Long at the Fair A Novel
By Christina Schwarz
I originally was interested in reading this book because of the title and the location. I was born and raised in North Eastern Ohio in 1962 so the life that the main characters of this book lived is very much like my memories of growing up.
On the first look this book is about adultery but it goes a lot deeper than that. There are two main time lines that take place and also an additional one thrown in just for some added flavor. Sometimes keeping these time lines clear can be difficult since a few of the characters show up in more than one time line but they have changed just enough that you need to double check often to see who it is that is being referred to. I found that the book grabbed me right away with just enough information to keep me reading to find out what happens. The main time frame of the book actually takes place over one morning and afternoon. This being said you realize that much of the book is filled with background information and time to get to know and understand the motivations behind the many characters.
There are two groups of characters in this book that you discover early on are two generations of several families in one small town. It seems that what happens to them is seemingly unrelated. The 1960’s time line has mystery and revenge. The later time line has adultery. Other than the fact that the people are related you find yourself wondering why they are important to each other. This I think is where a reader will benefit if they have a little bit of life behind them. The reason I say this is that while on the outside this is a book about all of the things listed above, on closer examination this is a book about life and how things can often go wrong. What is happening to the main characters Ginny and Jon is something that is not new. These are issues that many of us will face in some way in our lives whether or not we want to admit it or not. When we are younger we often think that our parents have no idea what the “real world” is like but as we get older we realize the valuable resource they are and often have overcome even greater self-imposed obstacles than we had. I liked the fact that this book shows the different paths that people can choose when hardship hits and how that will ultimately impact the rest of their lives.
The ending is not at all what I expected. I did not like it at first. I did however come to love the ending once I had some time to think about it. I found this book to be very thought provoking. The writing was well done and I don’t think William Faulkner could have done a better job with the time lines. If you are looking for a book to just be fluff about adultery you will find it in this book. But, it you want to look for something deeper you will also find it in this book. Open up to these characters all of whom are just trying to find their way through a difficult world. I think a reader who looks will find much deeper messages here than they would have realized on the first look. Recommended
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Today from Boston Bibliophile:
Today's question: Favorite bookstores. What's your favorite bookstore? Is it an online store or a bricks-and-mortar store? How often do you go book shopping? Is your favorite bookstore (or bookstores) listed as a favorite in LT? Do you attend events at local bookstores? Do you use LT to find events?
I really don't think I can say that I have a favorite bookstore. Where I live there are Barnes and Nobles and Borders just about everywhere so If I am book shopping that is where I end up. I do most of my book shopping on line. Mostly with Amazon but also straight from the publishers web site as well. Since I became a Mom 4 years ago I seldom have the chance to just hang and browse at a bookstore like I used to. If I take my daughter into a bookstore it is only if I know exactly what I want in advance and go right for it. Oh, how I look forward to the future when I can browse again. As far as the events listing on LT I look at it from time to time but have not gone to any of the events. I want to soon and am waiting for just the right one to get me started.
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Monday, August 4, 2008
FrameShifting: A Path to Wholeness
By David K. Banner PhD
Loving Healing Press, Publisher
In this book the author explores the world of the ego. He presents ideas as to what it is and how to recognize when our egos are running our life, which is most of the time. Throughout the book the author also presents many different ways to learn to move from a more egocentric frame to one that allows us to live in a more unified way with everything else.
In this book you will not find firm concrete answers to the question of the ego but you will discover tools that the author has used in his own process. Each of the tools are discussed enough to let the reader have an idea of what they are about but he does not go into detail about each one. They include such programs as The Course in Miracles, The Avatar Program, and the Enneagram to have a better understanding of our own Ego and how it presents itself in the world. What the author does in this work is show you how he has taken from many programs throughout his journey to arrive at the place he is at now. He describes in somewhat self-conscious detail his own journey. He also encourages the reader to explore and do the same. He never insists on a particular program but offers ideas to the reader on where they can look and what they may find when they get there.
I enjoyed this book and found more than anything that it was inspiring to me. I have already done a little work with Avatar and other similar programs and after reading this book I feel encouraged to explore a bit more and to find more time for meditation in my life. I think a key word here is that this book is in a self-help kind of category of work. It is not meant to do the work for you but it assists you in helping yourself. I recommend it to anyone wanting to examine the way they relate to the world and do something about it.
Saturday, August 2, 2008
The Good Thief A Novel
By Hannah Tinti
The Dial Press
From the back of the book “Benjamin Nab appears one day at the orphanage where Ren has spent the eleven years of his young life. Convincing the monks he is Ren’s long-lost brother, Benjamin sweeps the boy away into a vibrant world of adventure, filled with outrageous scam artists, grave robbers, and petty thieves. But is Benjamin Nab really who he claims to be? As Ren begins to find clues to his hidden parentage, he comes to suspect that Benjamin holds the key not only to his future but to his past as well.”
I completely enjoyed this book. I instantly became sympathetic to the plight of Ren and all of the situations that he found himself in. The writing of the book itself was great. There were many interesting characters within the pages and yet the author was able to make each and every one of them rich and full without excessively long descriptions. What I liked was that for some of them the description was enough to get you interested in the character but it was limited. Then later in the book that limited information would blossom into much more such as in the character of “Dolly”. The author never came right out with the medical diagnosis of his situation but it was alluded to. Other characters the author described using one word descriptions that pack enough punch that you understood much of the person’s situation and could move on. This style of working with characters really made me feel a part of the book as well. I felt like I was right along the journey with them.
In many places within the story I found myself laughing out loud over plot twists that I never saw coming. I would be reading along thinking “alright I got that, now what is next” then boom she would throw something new in the mix that would not only make me laugh out loud but forever would change the tapestry of the story.
I highly recommend this book. The story was interesting, eventful, funny, sad, and in the end satisfying.
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
By Olivia Brooks-Scrivanich
As a reader I will admit that the title of this book caught my attention and was one of the main reasons that I decided to read this book. It just sounded silly. I kept wondering why the Pear was named Fiscal Pear. (The book does not directly answer this question by the way you just have to ponder it awhile after reading the book.) Now very quickly you realize that this book is not a slick new replica of Harry Potter or some other children’s best seller. It is a book that seems to come from bits and pieces of the Authors everyday life added to a fantasy battle between good and evil.
The characters are very simply written and not a lot of time is spent on character and story development. The writing is clear, concise, and gets to the point. The main thing that came to me as I was reading it was that I would feel completely at ease reading it aloud to a group of kids around the campfire on their first group camp-out. I found myself throughout the story imagining myself being the story teller by the fire passing this cute tale along to giggling, wiggling, 8, 9, and 10 year olds. In this book anything can happen. That is the main thing that I think this book has to offer. The story is not confined to rules. The story shifts to become what it needs to become to reach its destination.
The characters in this book find themselves able to accomplish much more than they had anticipated and that help is available to them if they just seek it out. These are important lessons that everyone needs to learn and remember. If as a reader you are looking for something that is unique and out of the ordinary I think you will find it with this book.
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
ONE MORE YEAR
By Sana Krasikov
Spiegel & Grau Publishing
I really love short stories. This book is a compilation of eight short stories all based around Russian immigrants, their lives here in the US and in some cases when they returned to Russia. Having grown up in a small town in the mid-west I was seldom given the opportunity to meet anyone who had moved here from another country so recently. Most people I knew were at least second generation like myself. When I moved to California one of the most exciting things for me was to meet people who had just recently come to this country. Each group comes with its own way of being in this world. What I have seen of people who came from Russia or surrounding countries was so much like what Sana Krasikov portrays in this book. The authenticity of the writing shouted at me.
The writing in this book was perfect. I was able to immediately get involved with each new character and by the end I felt that while the story could go on farther I was still left with the satisfaction of a complete story. Most of the main characters were women with the same struggles that women of all nationalities experience especially in a new country.
The only thing that I did struggle with in this book was also one of its greatest strengths. The stories were mostly sad and frustrating. I often left each one feeling much the way the main character was feeling. Since I tend to read mostly happy ending types of work I had to work a little harder to hang in there with this book. Like salt in a wound, however, it stings but ultimately it will assist in the healing. I think that it is important that we don’t always look at the pretty side but the things that temper humanity to make it stronger.
This weeks question from Boston Bibliophile...
Today's question: Cataloging sources. What cataloging sources do you use most? Any particular reason? Any idiosyncratic choices, or foreign sources, or sources you like better than others? Are you able to find most things through LT's almost 700 sources?
For the most part I do my searches to catalog books with Amazon. Every so often I need to use Library of Congress numbers to catalog a book but only if it is much older. For my oldest books I have had to hand enter them I have quite a few older books in storage as well that when I get around to entering them I suspect I will have to hand enter them as well unless I can find a good antique site to help me.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Yesterday Boston Bibliophile posted the following question. Yes, I know, I know, I am a day late.
Today's topic: Recommendations. Do you use LT's recommendations feature? Have you found any good books by using it? Do you use the anti-recommendations, or the "special sauce" recommendations? How do you find out about books you want to read?
Actually for me this is pretty easy. I have never used any of the recommendation aids on Library Thing. Since I purchase mostly non-fiction I usually do a search on Amazon to find books on the subject that I am interested in. Then I look around on all of my sources as to where I want to get my chosen book from. I also use personal recommendations a lot. Since I have been getting a lot of ARC's lately I have not been looking around much for additional reading.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
This week Boston Bibliophile posts the following question:
Today's topic: Book-swapping. Do you do it? What site(s) do you use? How did you find out about them? What do you think of them? Do you use LT's book-swapping column feature for information on what to swap? Do you participate in any of the LT communities that discuss bookswapping, like the Bookmooch group for example?
The only book-swapping site that I use is Bookmooch. It is where I started and I have been satisfied so I have not looked anywhere else. I found out about them on LT when I was playing around one day and I thought it was such a great opportunity to find some odd out of print books I wanted and move along some that were taking up too much space. I have gotten a lot of great things from there and hopefully everyone I have sent books is happy as well. Who knew someone would love my books on the chinese language. I have had one bad experience with a person who changes there mind on wether or not they want to part with the books they offered but other than that everyone has been great. I am not participating in any discussions about swapping books. I really enjoy one more way to move books around to people who really want them.
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
By Penelope Przekop
Emerald Book Co. 241 pages
From the back of the book “ Twenty-One-Year-Old Narcoleptic Angel Duet knows her father harbors secrets. He loves and protects her, but his suspicious refusal to discuss her mother’s death drives Angel to worship an image created from the little history she does have: her father’s sketchy stories and her mother’s treasured photography, studies of clouds that have hung in their foyer for more than twenty years.” Now add to that a new step mother, some new friends that expose Angel to drugs and the world of homosexuality, and an affair.
When I first read the summary of what the book was about I felt a little unsure if I wanted to read it or not. It sounded not unlike a 1980’s episode of General Hospital. I obviously persisted and found this to be a really enjoyable book. To start with the cover is just beautiful. As you read the book you will also discover the meaning in the symbolism of the cover which makes you appreciate the beauty even more. The writing draws you into the story quickly with a teaser on the very first page. You immediately want to discover what it has to do with the rest of the story. The characters were all very interesting. While each of them is very different, they each share a common theme of caring about Angel. The Narcolepsy itself is more like a landscape than an illness. While I don’t know anything about narcolepsy I felt that I was educated as to what it might be like. This gave a great framework for the story to bring up many of the deeper issues that would unfold with the story. I especially liked the fact that no matter what the more apparent issues each character had they all seemed to end up struggling with the same things. This was a good thought provoking book that forces the reader to take a look at their own personal form of narcolepsy.
Here is the most recent Tuesday Thingers question posted by Boston Biliophile.
Since we're past the Fourth of July and the summer season has officially started, what are your plans for the summer? Vacations, trips? Trips that involve reading? Reading plans? If you're going somewhere, do you do any reading to prepare? Do you read local literature as part of your trip? Have you thought about using the LT Local feature to help plan your book-buying?
This coming weekend we are planning on a short trip to Sacramento to visit family. I hope to get a little bit of reading done on the drive but I don't plan on it. Since we are visiting family I really don't see much reading getting done at all. Other than that it is just work as usual. I hope that after the school year starts we might get a short camping trip in. Maybe that could be a reading holiday. Now that I think of it wouldn't it be great to have library spas. Wheat grass juice, pedicure and 1000's of books at your finger tips.
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
Since some of us in America may be busy or traveling this holiday week, I thought I would keep things simple for Tuesday Thingers. Think of this as "Popularity of Books on LT, Part Three".
Here is the Top 100 Most Popular Books on LibraryThing. Bold what you own, italicize what you've read. Star what you liked. Star multiple times what you loved!
I hope all the American participants have a great Fourth of July weekend!
1. Harry Potter and the sorcerer's stone by J.K. Rowling (32,484)*****
2. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Book 6) by J.K. Rowling (29,939)*****
3. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Book 5) by J.K. Rowling (28,728)*****
4. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Book 2) by J.K. Rowling (27,926)*****
5. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Book 3) by J.K. Rowling (27,643)*****
6. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Book 4) by J.K. Rowling (27,641)*****
7. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown (23,266)
8. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien (21,325)***
9. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Book 7) by J.K. Rowling (20,485)*****
10. 1984 by George Orwell (19,735)
11. Pride and Prejudice (Bantam Classics) by Jane Austen (19,583)
12. The catcher in the rye by J.D. Salinger (19,082)**
13. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (17,586)
14. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (16,210)
15. The lord of the rings by J.R.R. Tolkien (15,483)
16. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (14,566)
17. Jane Eyre (Penguin Classics) by Charlotte Bronte (14,449)
18. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon (13,946)
19. Life of Pi by Yann Martel (13,272)
20. Animal Farm by George Orwell (13,091)
21. Angels & demons by Dan Brown (13,089)
22. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (13,005)
23. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte (12,777)
24. One Hundred Years of Solitude (Oprah's Book Club) by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (12,634)
25. The Fellowship of the Ring (The Lord of the Rings, Part 1) by J.R.R. Tolkien (12,276)
26. Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden (12,147)
27. The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger (11,976)
28. The Two Towers (The Lord of the Rings, Part 2) by J.R.R. Tolkien (11,512)
29. The Odyssey by Homer (11,483)
30. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller (11,392)
31. Slaughterhouse-five by Kurt Vonnegut (11,360)
32. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky (11,257)
33. The return of the king : being the third part of The lord of the rings by J.R.R. Tolkien (11,082)
34. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (10,979)****
35. American Gods: A Novel by Neil Gaiman (10,823)
36. The chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis (10,603)
37. The hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy by Douglas Adams (10,537)
38. Lord of the Flies by William Golding (10,435)
39. The lovely bones : a novel by Alice Sebold (10,125)
40. Ender's Game (Ender, Book 1) by Orson Scott Card (10,092)
41. The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials, Book 1) by Philip Pullman (9,827)
42. Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Neil Gaiman (9,745)
43. Dune by Frank Herbert (9,671)
44. Emma by Jane Austen (9,610)
45. Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (9,598)
46. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Bantam Classics) by Mark Twain (9,593)
47. Anna Karenina (Oprah's Book Club) by Leo Tolstoy (9,433)
48. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke (9,413)
49. Middlesex: A Novel by Jeffrey Eugenides (9,343)
50. Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire (9,336)
51. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov (9,274)
52. The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien (9,246)
53. The Iliad by Homer (9,153)
54. The Stranger by Albert Camus (9,084)
55. Sense and Sensibility (Penguin Classics) by Jane Austen (9,080)
56. Great Expectations (Penguin Classics) by Charles Dickens (9,027)
57. The Handmaid's Tale: A Novel by Margaret Atwood (8,960)
58. On the Road by Jack Kerouac (8,904)
59. Freakonomics [Revised and Expanded]: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by Steven D. Levitt (8,813)
60. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupery - (8,764)
61. The lion, the witch and the wardrobe by C. S. Lewis (8,421)
62. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle (8,417)
63. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman (8,368)
64. The Grapes of Wrath (Centennial Edition) by John Steinbeck (8,255)
65. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (8,214)
66. The Name of the Rose: including Postscript to the Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco (8,191)
67. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne (8,169)
68. Moby Dick by Herman Melville (8,129)
69. The complete works by William Shakespeare (8,096)
70. Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by Jared Diamond (7,843)
71. Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris (7,834)
72. The Poisonwood Bible: A Novel (Perennial Classics) by Barbara Kingsolver (7,829)
73. Hamlet (Folger Shakespeare Library) by William Shakespeare (7,808)
74. Of Mice and Men (Penguin Great Books of the 20th Century) by John Steinbeck (7,807)
75. A Tale of Two Cities (Penguin Classics) by Charles Dickens (7,793)
76. The Alchemist (Plus) by Paulo Coelho (7,710)
77. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath (7,648)
78. The Picture of Dorian Gray (Barnes & Noble Classics Series) (Barnes & Noble Classics) by Oscar Wilde (7,598)
79. The Elements of Style, Fourth Edition by William Strunk (7,569)
80. Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (7,557)
81. The Subtle Knife (His Dark Materials, Book 2) by Philip Pullman (7,534)
82. Atonement: A Novel by Ian McEwan (7,530)
83. The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky (7,512)
84. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd (7,436)
85. Dracula by Bram Stoker (7,238)
86. Heart of Darkness (Dover Thrift Editions) by Joseph Conrad (7,153)
87. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess (7,055)
88. Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (7,052)
89. The amber spyglass by Philip Pullman (7,043)
90. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (Penguin Classics) by James Joyce (6,933)
91. The Unbearable Lightness of Being: A Novel (Perennial Classics) by Milan Kundera (6,901
92. Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse (6,899)
93. Neuromancer by William Gibson (6,890)
94. The Canterbury Tales (Penguin Classics) by Geoffrey Chaucer (6,868)
95. Persuasion (Penguin Classics) by Jane Austen (6,862)
96. Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman (6,841)
97. The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova (6,794)
98. Angela's Ashes: A Memoir by Frank McCourt (6,715)
99. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers (6,708)
100. The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli (6,697)
Monday, June 30, 2008
By Ray Robertson
387 pages, ISBN 097767990X
From the back of the book – “ For Bill Hansen, things couldn’t be better. He’s got a beautiful folk-singer girlfriend, a job at Toronto’s coolest bookstore and, most of all, he’s got Yorkville, which in 1966 is nothing short of paradise for a boy from the suburbs. And then Bill meets the charismatic Thomas Graham, who draws Bill into an obsessive quest to create what he calls “interstellar North American Music” and the Duckhead Secret Society is born and launched on a whirlwind tour of bars, taverns and dives across America. But in the haze of harder and harder drugs, it all starts to come undone. As Bill recounts the rise and fall of Thomas Grahm and his musical vision, he simultaneously tells the story of frustrated idealism and the passing of an entire generation.”
This book was inspired by the singer Gram Parsons and while I am sure is not identical to his life there are enough important details to consider that if it is not a fact it certainly could have happened. I was born in 1962 so I watched this era of our history through the rose colored glasses of childhood. I could visualize each and every one of the characters as they would have been at the time. Not so much because of my memory but for the wonderful descriptions in the writing. The story was told by Bill but every so often you got a little snapshot into the child hood of Thomas. This was an important part of the writing style because you may never have understood Thomas otherwise without giving him his own voice in the book. Overall the writing was fun and interesting to read. I liked the fact that the author did not find it necessary to go deeply into descriptive love scenes or excessive use of foul language. Those additions would not have added in anyway to the story because that was not what the story was about. The only complaint that I had with the books writing was that occasionally I had trouble following who was saying what during a conversation. I had to re-read a few times but did not find it exceptionally distracting.
What I liked most about this book was the look at how charismatic individuals can sometimes enter and affect our lives. I have known many such individuals as Thomas through the years, some make it and some don’t. They often glow so brightly for a short time and then just kind of vanish. Thomas is no exception to this rule. The other characters try so hard to maintain their belief in what they are doing and in Thomas even when by doing so they are putting themselves at risk. This book is a perfect example of what addiction and co-dependency look like. At one point while I was reading I remembered how I felt when I was reading “The Outsiders” back in high school. I would find myself wanting to scream at the characters, “Stop! Don’t you see how stupid you are being”, but that was the whole point of the book. Sometimes we just don’t see that the road we are taking is not getting us where we wanted to go.
While I did like this book a lot it was not a book that I had to keep my head in until I was finished. I think that had more to do with the subject than it had to do with the writing. The one thing though that I think is important to also mention is that while the 60’s may seem like an era gone by it planted seeds in the young children that watched it from their playpens. I was to young to be influenced by the drugs during the 60’s but I was very much influenced by the message that it had to give and that is also what you will get from this book.
Saturday, June 28, 2008
Guaguin, Life, Art, Inspiration, by Yann le Pichon - I was just thinking today that next to Van Gogh, Gauguin is my favorite impressionist and Voila! the universe provides.
Verdura, Vegetables Italian Style, by Viana La Place - I am a true believer if we all learned how to prepare vegetables better we would eat more.
The Family Mark Twain, by Mark Twain - This volume has four complete works, 16 complete short stories, and assorted other extracts.
I am a home schooling parent and I just love it when I can add some classic resources to our library.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
I am reviewing two books together in this post because I think these are both such valuable books to anyone who wants to take control once again to the foods that they consume. For too many years we have been a world of blind consumers that are willing to eat just about anything that has the word food written on it. I still want to know what "Processed Cheese Food" really is, or maybe I don't. Each of these books gets 5 stars from me and have successfully changed the way I eat from the land and the sea.
ANIMAL, VEGETABLE, MIRACLE, A Year of Food Life
By Barbara Kingsolver with Steven L. Hopp, and Camille Kingsolver
This book for me was like returning home. After years of living in Tucson AZ the author and her family decide to return to their roots and learn to live off of the land and other sustainable sources. I grew up on a small farm and many of the experiences that the author talks about have such a familiar ring to me that I could not help but laugh out loud.
This book takes you through an entire year of planting, harvesting and storing their own produce from their garden and their own hand raised meat and eggs. When they were unable to produce for themselves the food stuffs that they needed, they purchased locally with very few exceptions. It was good to be reminded that in most parts of the country fruit is not available year round unless it is trucked in from somewhere else. During the coldest winter months in most of the country there are no crops being produced. In order to be able to eat locally produced food it is necessary to know how to store food and plan for those cold months. While this seems like a lot of work there is no feeling like finishing up a day of canning by seeing the “fruits” of your labor happily lined up on a pantry shelf.
Each chapter of this book takes you through a different month of local food production as well as discussing the many reasons why it is absolutely necessary that we start to look at the foods that we consume with new eyes. As well as the words of Barbara Kingsolver you will also see a section written by her husband, Steven L. Hopp on the realities of commercial farming and its impact on the environment as well as our health. Camille Kingsolver, the author’s daughter also adds a wonderful array of recipes that will answer the age old question of “now that I have a basket full of wonderful vegetables what on earth do I do with them?” I am especially thankful for the information on cooking asparagus. I have now discovered the pure joy of eating fresh local asparagus all by itself or with other foods.
I really liked reading the story of this first year learning to eat locally. While the author makes it clear that it is hard work sometimes it is not that difficult. You just have to make different choices than you are used to. You eat what is in season, by the time you are sick of it something else is in season so you eat that when it is fresh. At one point she talks about the abundance that can come from the zucchini. She comments on the need to lock your car doors not because someone will steal your car but that they may pass on their excess squash to you. I remember some years in Ohio when that was very true of tomatoes. Everyone always planted more than was necessary and the glut of tomatoes would keep your fingers in tomato juice until you knew it could never end.
After reading this book I thought to myself that I could be preparing meals from locally grown produce at least several times a week. To my surprise I had no problem eating almost everything locally. Now I have to admit that I live in Southern California and we have organically grown farmers markets available to us everyday of the week, every week of the year. In Los Angeles we have no excuse to be eating oranges grown in Florida. After about a week of eating local I clearly noticed an increase in energy and more ability to focus. I know that this was due to eating clean healthy local foods. One of the other benefits to eating local produce is that you get to know the farmers personally. You are supporting a person, a family, a real farm. Not a corporate CEO who has never seen dirt under his nails.
This book was an inspiration to me. The writing style is very enjoyable as well as being informative. It made me want to make the effort to rethink my food purchase choices. It is an honest account of how a family makes a conscious choice about their health, and the health of the world around them.
By Taras Grescoe
I was really looking forward to reading this book and I was not disappointed. When it comes to eating seafood responsibly I have always felt at a loss for information. First of all I grew up in North Eastern Ohio and the only “local” fish there came from Lake Erie and there was a time that no one would eat fish from Lake Erie. I also am allergic to just about every kind of shell fish. So beyond the Gortons Fisherman my palate is unrefined to say the least. After reading this book I have a much better understanding of how the oceans of our world are being affected by the lack of understanding on the part of most of its people. This book, over the course of 10 chapters takes the reader through the problems facing our most endangered species of fish as well as the many reasons why these fish are endangered. It is not one simple problem but the answer is actually not that difficult to implement even though it is not popular every where. The answer is being informed and not accepting practices that are destroying our oceans. If we don’t buy products that are not ethically produced there will be no market for them. I liked the fact that every chapter had a focus on a specific fish and its ecosystem. What the challenges were for that ecosystem and what could be done about it. Because of this chapter by chapter approach when I want to reference the book again in the future I will have a much easier time finding the information I need. It seems to me after reading this book that the two main culprits in the problems facing our oceans is ignorant indiffference on the part of the consumer and the greed of those that see the ocean as a source of income and not a way of life. I will never look at seafood the same way again. While I am not a big seafood consumer myself I now want to explore eating the fishes that are sustainable and incorporate them into my family’s diet. After all fish is brain food. I liked this book a lot even though it was not a fast read. I had to work my way through each chapter because it was filled with so much information. The author does include a good index in the back as well as an appendix to resources. There also is a section on which fish to eat and which to avoid. My only real complaint is that I wish it had a good recipe for sardines.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Do you have any unique books in your library- books only you have on LT? How many? Did you find cataloging information on your unique books, or did you hand-enter them? Do they fall into a particular category or categories, or are they a mix of different things? Have you ever looked at the "You and none other" feature on your statistics page, which shows books owned by only you and one other user? Ever made an LT friend by seeing what you share with only one other user?
I have about 33 books on LT that I am the only one to list. Most of the books I was able to find an ISBN for or I used the Library of Congress number. I hand entered four of them which includes the favorite rare book I have. The most rare book I have is called "The People's Horse, Cattle, Sheep and Swine, Doctor" by William H. Clark. Published in 1892 by M. T. Richardson, New York. I bought this book at an outdoor flea market in Rogers Ohio for about $2.00. I have looked for it on the Internet and have found a couple of copies for sale with antique book sites. This is actually a very interesting book that I am sure graced the shelf of many well read herdsman. As a kid I remember that you never called the vet out to your farm unless things got really messy. Most of us farmers just dealt with it ourselves with the aid of books like this and handed down knowledge. The neat thing with this book is the former owner had clipped out newspaper articles on animal husbandry and placed them in the book as a kind of filing system. I have not moved them since they make this book so much more fun. I also have quite a few books that I share with one other person but I have had no luck getting anyone to respond when I sent them messages about these books. My obscure books are in all categories in my library, but most of them are in the Chinese Medicine group.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
What’s the most popular book in your library? Have you read it? What did you think? How many users have it? What’s the most popular book you don’t have? How does a book’s popularity figure into your decisions about what to read.
I am also one of the many who owns "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone". I do not own "The DaVinci Code" I have read the entire Harry Potter series many of them several times and own every video that is out. I think the main thing that drew me to Harry Potter was the whole wizards thing. I love the idea of not limiting ourselves and I think that is what Harry Potter does best. I had heard many good things about this book but it was the fact that I was trying to get a young girl to start to read "something" so I picked up my first two copies. (One for me and one for her) I don't think she ever read it but I got hooked. If a person takes a trip around my library they will find mostly non-fiction so popularity normally does not hold much sway for me. I am however starting to step back into the wonderful world of fiction and am wondering why I ever left. (I think it is because I get so lost in books I needed to come up and breath with non-fiction for a while) So in short I read what I like even if the world agrees with me.
Saturday, June 14, 2008
Set in Papau New Guinea and also Boston the author starts the book mostly working two different time lines and places at once. I sometimes find this style to be annoying because I feel pulled away from one place before I have finished can be distracting. Kira Salak’s work, however, was very well done in this style. It allowed you to get to know the main character, Marika, in small snapshots just like you would a new friend. You were able to receive bits and pieces here and there slowly helping you to understand the main character better. I was immediately in love with Papau New Guinea and am appreciative of the opportunity to know more about it. I found all of the characters to be believable and I especially liked having the second voice of Pogo throughout much of the book. It gave the story a mirror for Marika and also a way to view the people of PNG.
If you enjoy fiction that takes you around the world and people learning to overcome their pain you will like this book. I recommend it.
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Sunday, May 11, 2008
This book follows a step by step approach to implement a business practice that is also a spiritual practice. A place where profit, awakening, sustainability, and service can work together to make a work place that gives everyone who experiences it an opportunity to grow spiritually instead of a workplace that restricts the time you have to spend on your spiritual life.
While the book itself is not long in length it is filled with a series of very short chapters that explain each and every point made. I found that instead of making the same statement over and over in slightly different ways the writing style of this book was more about using an economy of words to make a point. Yet it was necessary to take your time and ponder over each and every sentence to be sure not to miss a single point. Most chapters ended with the opportunity to put into practice the point that was made in that chapter.
Having come from Years of work in the food service industry I would have loved to have worked in a workplace much like the one the Engelhart’s have created. Now that I have my on business as a sole proprietor I hope to find ways to also incorporate some of their principles in the work I do. While I do not have any employees in my business I know that I can implement these practices with my clients and the way I approach business on a daily basis.
This book is a must read for anyone who struggles with the desire to maintain their spirituality while following their passion in the business of their choice. Being a spiritual business owner is the change that the world needs at this time while many other businesses have lost their ability to serve the communities that they are earning their living from.
Saturday, April 19, 2008
Second: "Plum Wine" by Angela Davis-Gardner.
This love story confronts the issues of how our own personal pain from past experience affects our ability to love in the future. The setting of this book takes you to post Hiroshima Japan. The affects on the people of this place and how it has affected others around the world. Not only does it look at war it also embraces the issues that are placed on children who are not given the love that most children take for granted. Sometimes we can overcome our past and sometimes we cannot. I especially liked the setting of Japan and the descriptions of the beauty of the land. Being able to have a small window into the world of another culture was a pleasure for me. While this was a Love Story it was more about our ability to look at what responsibility we each have to take in our own personal decisions. I believe this to be the best part of this book. While the stories themselves were adequate it was the ability to cause the reader to explore their own feelings regarding themselves and the world that truly made it worth the read.