I never knew how funny Dave Barry is! I will have to look into more of his material. The two best vignettes were Fangs of Endearment: a Vampire novel which spoofed Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight Series, and I also really liked Tips for Visiting Miami which incorporates some data on crime in Miami (which I guess is kinda high). He has some more serious vignettes on health which include urging people to get their routine exams, like oscilloscopes.
Stephanie Pearl-McPhee uses the format of a travelogue to humorously describe knitter’s foibles (including the STASH). She also incudes a number of quizzes so you can find out what type of knitter, stasher, etc. you are. It was quiet funny and I actually learned a few things I hadn’t know (I am Not a process knitter).
Jesse Bering asks thoughtful questions in this examination of what acts or even thoughts are considered deviant in our culture. Are you ready to label someone deviant because you’re grossed out by the thought of their behavior, or because you’re concerned about the harm to the individual (or animal)? Nope, its Not 50 Shades of Gray. He draws a distinction between pedophilia and hebephilia (attraction to physically mature teenagers). He asks us to make choices that actually improve children’s lives, and not prioritize moralizing. Bering uses both logical arguments as well as scientific research.
Corvids outscore dogs and equal primates on a number of dimensions, with their tool use, and understanding that other creatures have minds (minds that can be deceived) capabilities. Also, Corvids engage in play, from repeatedly sliding down snowbanks, to using a piece of bark to surf the air via updrafts. They recognize individual humans, and have been know to gift humans with small tokens,
Initially, I really wanted a New Caledonian Crow for a pet (they seem to be the brightest of the lot). However, after reading the sections where the crows mob other individual birds, and mercilessly tease other animals, I changed my mind. The authors present a very balanced look at corvids, including the limitations of corvids as demonstrated by the research. Some of the sections on how corvid brains function, shed light on human brains (yes, these avian dinosaurs show convergent evolution with humans).
Maria Snyder crafts almost perfect fantasy novels featuring strong female protagonists.
Avry of Kazan is one of the last healers alive in the lands, she has been moving from town to town attempting to hide her gift because the healers have been blamed for spreading the devastating plague. Healers work by absorbing the injuries into their own bodies, but then healing 5 times more quickly.
Marauders and despots have followed in the wake of the devastation. Prince Ryne appears to be the only king capable of taking on the nefarious evil-doers. Unfortunately, he has contracted the plague, but is in frozen stasis, in case a healer can be found. Prince
Kerrick is searching for a healer to bring Ryne back to life.
Protagonist Sam works for as a programmer for an online dating company. As he is filling out an online application in the hopes of meeting the right one, he realizes that none of the questions really tap into really meaningful issues. Even if meaningful questions were included, most people would lie. So, proposes that he writes a new software algorithm that taps into people’s financial statements. The good news is that it works really successfully in matching up couples. The bad news is that it is too successful and long term monthly signups drop. He is fired, then the grandmother of his new girlfriend Meredith – the perfect match from his algorith – dies. Meredith spends HUGE amounts of time moping and mourning her grandmother’s death. In an effort to return his love Meredith to her usual self, Sam creates another algorithm based on digital conversations between Meredith and her grandmother to recreate a digital version of the grandmother.
The book seems more like a mouthpiece to explore these complicated issues. Unfortunately, there is a HUGE amount of whining by most of the characters (I’m usually pretty sympathetic, but the characters are so hopeless and pathetic). Might have been better reading the book instead of listening to it.
John Bradshaw (not to be confused with the guy who wrote about the family), challenges the conventional wisdom that dogs need to be dominated. He examines the myth that wolves live in a strict hierarchy with submission and dominance displays.
He contends that the wolves that had been studied, were captive wolves confined much closer together than what wolf groups experience in nature – also that the wolves that were studied were American Timber wolves, NOT the European Grey Wolf, the closest Canid ancestor from which ALL domestic dogs have descended (he explores the genetics of domestic dogs, and though it would have been possible to domesticate other canids – jackals, coyotes, dholes, foxes).
He notes that in the wilderness, groups of wolves form around familial bonds, with the supposed alpha pair, being the parents of the others in the group.
Bradshaw then outlines why punishment is ineffective in training animals (including dogs).
I enjoyed parts of this book immensely – however, the romance aspect of “oh, I couldn’t possibly be honest with him” drove me nuts. But the action was uptempo like Divergent, and the ending was good. I was told it was a cliffhanger, but I thought it was a good ending – everybody wound up where they should be, but new things were going to happen next! Can’t wait to read the next one.
Thought I’d try some high-brow humor. It was light fare, nothing gut-splitting like Lewis Black, but lots of chuckles. Plus there were a number of news stories, that eventually I decided they were fake ones like the Onion, but I wasn’t entirely sure, if they were reporting on stories, “Facts stranger than Fiction” sorta thing. Joan Rivers and Phyllis Diller were the funniest (imho).
Laura and her husband Dan’s attempts to conceive a child have taken a toll on their marriage. They move out to the countryside in Wales to remove some stress. Then Laura start interacting with characters from the past (some are ghosts invisible to others, while some are characters seem to be enacting past lives).
No – this book is Not as good as other Paula Brackston books I’ve read. It was difficult to identify with the main character Laura, and the parallel story was Not upbeat at all.
Nicola’s Russian grandfather was persecuted for his paranormal abilities, thus she has kept her paranormal talent hidden. By holding objects she is able to retrieve memories of people who have held the object. However, she decides to track down the origins of a family heirloom said to have been a gift from the Russian Empress Catherine. Nicola knows that the family tale is true, but will need to find proof for the object to have any value. She enlists the help of Rob a man she previously dated, but ran away from when their psychic talents got them noticed.
On the negative side: Rob is way too perfect, always there, super talented. Even worse though is the love-interest in the parallel tale of Anna and Edmund. Anna is repeatedly humiliated by Edmund and finds herself falling for him. Yuck! Gross! There are 2 surprises towards the ending of Anna’s tale. You can see the first one from a mile away. The other one surprised me.
I really enjoyed the atmosphere, the coziness of the settings – London, Scottland, Russia…
I also enjoyed the amount of authentic detail worked into the background of the book. For example, in the book Slains Castle was being renovated into apartments – which when I looked online, is actually the case. In the book Nicola and Rob visit a Russian chain restaurant named Stolle that serves pies (meat pies I think). Turns out such a chain actually does exist in Russia. Just neat!
Another wonderful tale by Neil Gaiman. The 7 year old protagonist has his world turned upside down and inside out, when malignant forces seep/invade his world. At the end of the Lane is the Hempstock farmhouse live the 3 crones who protect the world and keep problematic forces where they belong.
I found it delightful how central books were to the protagonists life, the part about jumping into trees or onto poles, reminded me of myself, I thought jumping into a tree would be quite feasible, though I’d never seen a real person do so. I wonder at Gaiman’s connection to his parents during childhood, given that so many of Gaiman’s tales feature disconnected parents. Especially since the dedication to his new wife Amanda Palmer, something to the effect – so you can understand … hmmm.
At the end of the novel, I had to return to the beginning chapter in an attempt to fill in a couple blanks. Was it his Father’s funeral?
Paleontologists have done for Dinosaurs as Astronomers have done for the Ex-Planet Pluto. Pluto is No longer considered a planet, and Brontosaurus is No longer the name of a dinosaur, rather it is the Ex-Name of Apatosaurus. What happened is that overly enthusiastic paleontologists discovered “new” species or even new genuses when they found slightly different skeletons. Othniel Marsh was quiet prolific in this respect.
Brian Swintek weaves the story of his childhood fascination wit h dinosaurs into this scientific history of dinosaurs and our knowledge about them. Like Swintek, I was myself was interested in dinosaurs as a kid, especially pterodactyls. I was entranced with the mural and skeleton of pteranodons in the New York Natural History Museum. You turned around a corner and entered a 3-story high exhibition room with a pteranodon skeleton aloft in the air, then as your rounded the corner fully you saw this 3 story mural of pteranodons perched on a cliffside with the beach and ocean behind them. I visited this museum 3 different times in my life separated by 10 years each time, and I always found myself entranced with this display.
Also, did you know that Dinosaurs still roam the earth? or should I say flit about. All birds are a subgroup of dinosaurs.
Bess starts off life in the 16th century, her happy peasant family life is disrupted when plague breaks out. After her older brother, her sweet sister, and father die of the plague, Bess’ Mom makes a deal with the local and evil warlock Gideon, which brings Bess back from the door of death. Then a witchhunter is called and accuses Bess of witchcraft, since she survived the plague, her mother confesses in order to spare her daughter and directs her daughter to study with Gideon. But when the town comes for her and plan to burn her the next day, she speaks invocation by the light of her cell windows. 300 years later she is still on the run from Gideon, who wants her to combine their powers. She is able to settle down for brief periods before he tracks her down.
Paula Brackston’s books are so captivating. I can’t wait for her next book in 2014, The Midnight Witch. Make sure you have plenty of time to read, because her books are hard to put down. This book was originally released as the Book of Shadows in 2009.
Another Grand Adventure in the Temeraire series.
The action starts in Japan, as Captain William Lawrence finds himself shipwrecked and has lost his memories of the last 8 years. Eventually Temeraire and the others find the Captain and they head off to China to enlist the help of the Chinese in the Brits fight against Napoleon. Then its off to Russia to help the Russians against Napoleon’s invasion. Unfortunately, the book ends on a cliffhanger, so hold on for the next volume in this wonderful series.
Temple Grandin does for Autism what Susan Cain did for Introversion. Grandin shows us the strengths associated with Autistic and Asperger’s syndrome, citing research showing superior ability to focus on details. She suggests that we quit seeing only the deficits, but acknowledge that some characteristics are actually strengths. Her attention is limited to high-functioning end of the spectrum while, the lower end of the spectrum is given short shrift. She backs up most of her arguments with scientific research (though a few times, she just says “That doesn’t make sense” without showing why). Interesting, but not as enjoyable as Animals in Translation.
A slice of Americana, specifically here in Missouri. Flagg tells her story through multiple vignettes. Its a charming story of small-town America, of radio announcer Neighbor Dorothy, and her family and neighbors. Next time someone asks for a gentle read, I need to remember Fannie Flagg, though there are some sad parts 80% of the way through. Its an engaging read.
Enthralling and Exciting. I did Not want to put this down. And the book stayed with me for days afterwards.
It also reminded me of several other books – the initiation and bullying kept reminding me of Ender’s Game, and The Giver, as well as somewhat like Tamora Pierce’s Alana series (and also Tom Brown’s Schooldays, and Lord of the Flies, but Not that bad). I enjoyed this book a lot, and look forward to the 2nd and 3rd books. I’m even considering purchasing Amazon’s companion minibooks told from Four’s perspective – and normally, I don’t buy books, I keep my collection at the Library.
This book starts out interesting enough. Did you know they’ve found cancer in Dinosaurs brains? and that mammals are more likely to get cancer than reptiles. But it ends there. No mysteries were unlocked, no important information to take away. I was really hoping for something along the lines of Racing to a Cure, where the author looks at a type of vaccine, where they take your fighter blood cells, expose them to the cancer and then inject them back in your body, and the fighter blood cells, then do a much better job of attacking the cancer.
This is a delightful tale set in a world, where both Dragons and Humans are chaffing under the peace treaty they signed 40 years ago. Before that, they were at war fighting over the dragons’ hunting grounds.
Seraphina is born into this conflicted empire trying to make her way.
Fast paced and great atmosphere! I really enjoyed this book.