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Recent Reviews | More Review Fun

Some Recent Hot Reviews

"Hot" is a compromise between recency and thumbs-up votes.

"Always closer to the exit than the altar, or so my mother said. And now I have
cast myself out: into the wilderness, into this city and its rapids. What enormous
energy it takes, to fling yourself out of the nest."

I really loved this! So very different from anything else I have read - it feels like a sensory immersion, so don't be afraid to jump into it even if the description of a "novel in verse" or a "noir narrative" is off-putting for you. It's actually a combination of poetry and prose, and it works beautifully. The main character is a soldier from Nova Scotia who fought in WWII and has been broken by his experiences there. Suffering from PTSD, he feels he is beyond redemption and cannot go home. Instead, he travels to the US - first to New York and then to Los Angeles. The setting and time period allows film noir history to be interwoven into the storyline, and this is a treat for those of us who love these films. The title of the novel in fact comes from a film technique used in a lot of those films:

"The paper said he could try out on movie reviews,
so he went to see Deadly Is The Female in the Cameo, or the Star,
One of those theaters next to the Arcade.
He thought about it all night. That long take
inside the getaway car: one shot that lasted three minutes easy
and was just real life, right there.
It made sense of some things, how you get caught up in stuff,
like the guns, when he says, 'I feel good when I'm shooting them.
I feel awful good inside, like I'm somebody.'

The McCarthy Era also features, and the Bunker Hill Urban Renewal Plan - the book feels like a time capsule of those years, wrapped up and presented to the reader inside of another narrative. Clever. And interesting. Delivering not just a sense of place but a sense of time:

"The news was all about McCarthy, still.
Back in March he'd watched Ed Murrow, taking him down,
right there on television in the Amigos bar,
and then the hearings started
and the army counsel, Joseph Welch, was lifting his sad eyes
to the junior senator of Wisconsin, and repeating,
slow and firm: 'Have you no sense of decency, sir?
At long last, have you no sense of decency?'"

I just cannot say enough about how beautiful and nuanced this novel is. A perfect marriage of structure and narrative that delivers at every level. Just one more quote that illustrates what I was saying about sensory immersion:

"Evening still hot, but a breeze off the sea
And the smell of French fries, candy, girl's perfume.
The lights are so beautiful, and he picks out a rhythym
in the screams and laughter, the rumble
of the rides, the metal's screeling, through the hundred
different fairground tunes, the thousand calls and shouts,
the noise of America at play
with the crush of the Atlantic
breaking under the boardwalk,
steady and slow:
To be young, and in this world. Alive!"
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2 vote Crazymamie | 7 other reviews | Apr 22, 2019 |
There is so much to say about Milkman that it would be easy to write a thesis: a perfect candidate for courageous book clubs and reading groups.

The image Burns has created is chilling when every spoken word, every gesture, quirk or mannerism can be interpreted as being on the "wrong" side. And when an innocent reputation can be sabotaged simply by having an uninvited companion from the "other side" tag along on walks. The previously insignificant woman is now regarded as a threat, with gossip and rumour enlarging the infamy. The potential retribution is frightening, all the more so because it is threatened, imagined. Burns describes a way of life that is real, as it has been for many in communities and countries held in sway or influenced by terrorist groups.

Milkman is not an easy read. It is "middle sister's" stream of consciousness account consisting of long unbroken passages, long sentences and long paragraphs. It also contains local idiom, not exactly dialect, but turns of phrase common in Northern Ireland. There are many occasions when middle sister's soliloquy induces a smile. While certainly not funny, her recovery after poisoning by tablet girl is one of those times. However challenging this innovative book is, the reward is clearly evident after reading the first few pages.

One of the interesting aspects of Burns' novel is that none of the characters are named. It was clever to give the villain the soubriquet of "milkman", a person who is often seen as an anonymous perpetrator, always around and seemingly harmless. It may be limited to Northern Ireland humour, but the child who doesn't resemble the rest of the family is jokingly attributed to the milkman.

Congratulations to Anna Burns for her well-deserved win of the Man Booker Prize with this clever, perceptive, intelligent book.
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2 vote VivienneR | 33 other reviews | Apr 19, 2019 |
Published in 1894, this book is a sequel to "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" (1876) and "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" (1884). It is a peculiar and clumsy work that shows none of the humor or brilliance of its predecessors; indeed, it is hard to imagine it to be written by Mark Twain. According to the plot, Tom, Huck, and slave Jim travel by hot air balloon across the Atlantic to Africa, where they observe the Sahara Desert, the Egyptian pyramids, and the Sphinx. In a running theme, Tom snottily tries to explain things to his ignorant traveling companions (like why the US states they pass over aren't different colors, as in the schoolbook maps); and they scoff and refuse to accept his explanations. The author's presentation of Jim is especially odious, as it presents the old racialist stereotypes. Apparently, Twain sought to satirize Jules Verne, but his effort falls flat-- it lacks humor, entertainment value, and depth, and fails to capture the interest of the reader. The author seems to have found his own work boring and tiresome, as he ends the book abruptly with a nonsensical finish. Little wonder that this book has so few reviews here and at Amazon and is scarcely remembered except by Twain scholars. "Tom Sawyer Abroad" is a failure and an embarrassment, and deserves to remain in obscurity.… (more)
2 vote danielx | 6 other reviews | Apr 17, 2019 |
In Journeys, Will Stone has translated some more Stefan Zweig for edification and enjoyment. This is my first reading of Zweig’s travelogues, and in some ways, they are surprising.

What is remarkable is how much they are out of date. The towns, like Avignon or Bruges, have not changed. If anything, huge effort has gone in to preserving and restoring anything that smacks of old. Avignon is still very much the city of popes, and Bruges the city of canals. But where Zweig describes a dour, sour and morbid atmosphere in the early 1900s, these locales have reinvented themselves into high living towns of fairs, plays, spectacles and tourism. Where the only thing Zweig finds inspiring in Bruges is a small collection of paintings in a room at St. John’s Hospital, and in Avignon some fountains celebrating historical figures, the towns today fill guidebooks with things to do, see and be a part of. His own hometown of Salzburg gets the same cursory treatment.

The other thing that stands out is the absence of humanity. In Zweig’s biographical works, it’s all people all the time. In these tours of cities, almost no one is named or quoted. There is reference to history and impressions of environment, but the city stories are surprisingly lacking in roundness. He is just passing through.

This is all the more puzzling because Zweig’s passion was travel. He loved nothing better than exploring new towns and writing about them. Yet aside from the historical value of seeing them a hundred years ago, these stories are nowhere as fulfilling as his people stories.

In other words, there are more sides to Stefan Zweig than a simple reading a book or two would proffer.

David Wineberg
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2 vote DavidWineberg | Apr 16, 2019 |
Sacred Mysteries is a book about Roman Catholic liturgical reforms, ideals, and ambitions, written by a Jesuit university instructor in the mid-1990s. It reflects a particular historical window, just over one full generation after the first set of ceremonial changes that resulted from the Second Vatican Council. Author Dennis Smolarski chooses to use the word "mysteries" interchangeably with "sacraments," and he calls the seven chief sacraments of Catholic tradition the "great mysteries," affording each its own chapter. When he discusses this lexical choice in his preface, he cites the usage of Eastern Orthodoxy and the Catholic Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy (1963). He raises--to dismiss it--the notion of mystery as an intellectual puzzle, but he seems content with mystery as an arena of the unknown or the unknowable, replete with emotive power. He certainly does not reference the pagan mysteries of antiquity, and he also misses the important English sense of "craft mystery," according to which a mystery is in fact a guild: an initiated social body of practical experts. The silence about these latter meanings leaves the book's repeating title conceit somewhat unfulfilled, considering how apposite they are.

Smolarski's opening chapters establish his method and perspective; then follow the chapters for the seven "great mysteries" and two more for sacramental services of funerals and blessings. The last chapter is dedicated to the topic of pitfalls and and "obfuscations." Each chapter on a given sacrament is divided into two sections. The first section is on "principles" and summarizes the historical development of the sacrament, along with theological considerations. The second section is on "practice" and discusses Catholic liturgical implementation at the close of the twentieth century.

Some of the liturgical history is worthwhile, and it is written in an accessible form, although there are certainly other books that have that topic as a more central focus. The text mentions in passing, as if it could hardly be questioned, that the eucharist "finds its origin in the family meal" (65). Leaving aside the fact that any and all eating and drinking by humans will in some sense descend from the act of family nourishment, I found that statement profoundly ignorant of (or dishonest about) the genuine historical origins of eucharistic ceremonies.

At one point, discussing the impertinence of popular American wedding customs, this book on Christian worship approvingly offers a quotation on genealogical obscurity from Antichrist Friedrich Nietzsche (115)! But a quick check of the end note shows that it is actually citing Nietzsche's Human All Too Human at secondhand from page 2 of Celebrating Marriage, edited by Paul Covino for Pastoral Press. I imagine Covino himself got it out of a book of assorted quotations and epigrams. But it still gave me quite a laugh.

I came to this book as an overheard recommendation by a member of the clergy in my own church, although we do not administer the Catholic sacraments as such. Implicitly, the idea was that the analogy to our sacraments (some of them identically named) was sufficiently close that ministers of the Thelemic Gnostic Catholic Church (EGC) could benefit from Smolarski's analyses. After a thorough reading, I would tend to disagree. First, the book is (properly, by its own lights) oriented toward Christian theology which is profoundly irrelevant to the work of our Thelemic sacraments. Second, it tends to deprecate and deride the Tridentine Catholic forms that were abrogated by the Vatican II reforms. To the extent that Roman Catholic liturgy has provided precedents for EGC ritual, it is exactly those older forms with their "ambience of prayer, awe, and mystery" (67) on which we draw. Finally, it is preoccupied with a specific process of institutional and liturgical reform that does not obtain in EGC.

I concur with Smolarski that liturgy is not reducible to entertainment and should avoid treating a congregation as a passive audience (e.g. 177). Secure in his large and mature institution, he is never in danger of the sort of terminological errors that are all too common in EGC, where officers will apply the jargon of modern entertainment to church ceremony, calling the ritual a "script," the rubric "stage directions," or the vestments "costumes." But he happens to hit on the one sore desideratum for liturgical discourse, a term for what stage performers call "blocking." There is no traditional ecclesiastical jargon to denote the positioning and movement of the officers in the worship space. Smolarski suggests choreography, which I think has a lot to recommend it.

Sacred Mysteries is probably a helpful book for the audience for whom it was actually written: Roman Catholic ministers and worship organizers. Despite the ongoing change that it emphasizes, it may not even be obsolete twenty years after its first publication.
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2 vote paradoxosalpha | Apr 16, 2019 |
This is one of the most valuable and thoughtful books I've run across. The first half runs through all the ways our planet and our species are being affected (and will be affected) by, let's face it, our own actions. Heat, hunger, drowning of cities and countries, fire, weather disasters, lack of freshwater and reduction of crop production, ocean death, unbreathable air, plagues, economic collapse, millions of climate refugees (tens, if not hundreds, of millions), wars - to name only some of the consequences. The second half of the book is a look at possible responses by both individuals and humanity as a whole. This gets quite philosophical and is for me what makes the book essential.

The author says something early on that is seemingly so minor that it took my breath away once it sank in: the human race evolved in a climate that no longer exists. At just 1°C above pre-industrial global temperature, our current situation, we are in completely new territory. The planet has been here before, and beyond, and we know what that meant (hundreds of feet in ocean rise, massive extinctions, etc.), but fragile human bodies have not. From here the book details the ways in which climate factors will affect both the individual human and the larger human body (civilizations, societal structures, borders, the economy) at 2°, 3°, 4°, and so on. Conceivably much hotter than that. As he puts it: ours is "a civilization enclosing itself in a gaseous suicide, a running car in a sealed garage".

After this horrific sketch, including all sorts of things I'd never considered, comes a look at the probability of the human race being able to generate the political will to avoid climate collapse. This is where depressives might want to walk away.

The futurist Alex Steffen is quoted as describing what we face in even contemplating being able to stabilize things:
The task of transitioning from dirty to clean electricity is smaller than
The challenge of electrifying almost everything that uses power, which is smaller than
The challenge of reducing energy demand, which is smaller than
The challenge of reinventing how goods and services are provided (given the existing dirty infrastructure and the labor markets everywhere using dirty energy).
And then there is the need to get to zero emissions from all other sources (deforestation, agriculture, livestock, landfills).
And the need to protect all human systems from the coming onslaught of natural disasters and extreme weather.
And the need to erect a system of global government, or at least international cooperation, to coordinate above.
All of which is smaller than
The cultural undertaking of imagining together a future that feels not only possible but worth fighting for.

Oh, and we have only a decade or two (maybe three) before we're past any possibility of stopping the process of a climate alteration that won't be reversed for millions of years. Not thousands, millions. And that's only if we start right now, because the clock is already running.

I did like his suggestion for dealing with climate skeptics: wouldn't it be better to think climate change actually is human-made and therefore potentially fixable? Of course, the rest of the book will make you feel it may not matter in the long run what they believe. Global cooperation to eliminate all use of fossil fuels? In the next decade or three? Yeah, right, like that's going to happen.

Really, I don't think I can do justice to the sweep of this book. The author is not an alarmist (that would be me). He's not even particularly careful about adding to the problem (drives a car, flies when he wants, eats meat, etc). But he's fascinated with the climate news he's been following for years, and this is his synopsis and analysis. And in case you think you have a good handle on what's happening and what can be done about it, I'd say that's doubtful. So read the book.
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2 vote auntmarge64 | 8 other reviews | Apr 16, 2019 |
This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: The Silmarillion
Series: The Lord of the Rings Prequel
Author: J.R.R. Tolkien
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy History
Pages: 367
Format: Digital Edition


A book that outlines, briefly, the world of Middle Earth from before its inception up until the conclusion of Return of the King.

Iluvatar made the Valar but one, Morgoth, decided to do his own thing. This set him in defiance of Iluvatar and against the other Valar. Iluvatar made the world and the Valar and Morgoth had their way with it. Iluvatar created the Elves and Morgoth tried to become king of the world. Iluvatar made Men and the rest of the Valar chained Morgoth forever. Sauron, one of Morgoth's most powerful underlyings, himself a lesser Valar, took up the cause of becoming King of the World in defiance of Iluvatar. He is destroyed by the last alliance of men, elves, dwarves and others and thus the history part of the book end.

There is another 60-70 pages of indexing where every name of every place and person mentioned is listed.

My Thoughts:

To be blunt, while I gave this 3stars, it was boring as all get out. It took me a bleeding week to power through this.

I gave it 3 stars because it is well written and gives the context for the story we know of as the Hobbit and then the trilogy named The Lord of the Rings. However, when I say it is well written, that is within the confines of it being a history book and nothing more.

I did not like this book. Being boring was its most egregious sin but I have to balance that statement with that this book was supposed to be this way. It is an oral history written down. If that kind of thing floats your boat, then dive on in and enjoy. Everyone else, don't bother.

I did not like this book because it was nothing but a chronicle of failure and despair. Great men and women (applying to all races here) rose up and were either broken, destroyed or backstabbed. When they did, rarely, succeed, we are then given a timeline of how their descendants descended into destruction. No hope from Tolkien. Everything turns bad.

I was hoping that the end of the world would be described, to show Iluvatar triumphing and restoring all but no such luck.

I read this back in highschool before I knew better. Now that I've read it as a mature adult, never again. I don't recommend this to the casual movie fan of the Lord of the Rings but only to diehard fans of Tolkien himself.


★★★☆☆… (more)
2 vote BookstoogeLT | 195 other reviews | Apr 15, 2019 |
Fascinating! To see how the master of biography works. In 1974, I was in class as graduate school where the professor was ecstatic about "The Power Broker". I don't remember the professor and certainly nothing of the course, but I well remember one of the most amazing works of biography ever -- followed by the equally great Lyndon Johnson volumes.

Caro is 83 and I'm 70. My fondest hope is that he's alive to finish volume 5 and I'm alive to read it!!… (more)
2 vote stevesmits | Apr 13, 2019 |
Perihelion Summer by Greg Egan is a standalone science fiction novella from Tor.com. The combination of author I like and imprint of consistently good novellas meant that I was definitely going to read this at some point. Happily I got an early copy, so I can share this review just before release.

The premise of this book is a fairly technical apocalypse, involving black holes. There are some maths and physics details near the start, but it’s not opaquely technical, in my opinion. Most of the story focuses on the characters dealing with the disaster and its aftermath and observing and interacting with others doing the same. There were a lot of thoughtful little bits included, which made the read more delightful. For example the headlines from various newspapers (which will be most appreciated by Australian and British readers, I think) and comments about Australian spying in Timor-Leste.

I found Matt’s relationship with his mother both interesting, in the difficulties it added to the book, and a bit incomprehensible, with regards to her attitude. I ended up thinking about her attitude a lot and I think it comes down to this: I can understand apocalypse-denial, but not once the apocalypse is actually happening. As a child of refugees, the idea of not leaving a doomed home to save yourself when you have the ability to just baffles me. I know the mother character’s feelings are reflecting real people’s attitudes but somehow it’s even worse when shown in such an extreme situation. Anyway, that part — Matt’s interactions with his family — gave me a lot of feelings, in the way that good books often do.

This was an excellent read and I couldn’t put it down, even though I had to sleep. I highly recommend it to fans of realistic (ish) apocalypse fiction and Greg Egan’s other books. It’s a brilliant combination of character dynamics and accessible science. I really must get around to reading more Greg Egan.

5 / 5 stars

You can read more of my reviews on my blog.
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2 vote Tsana | 1 other review | Apr 6, 2019 |
Spring follows a similar sort of recipe to the previous two in the seasonal quartet: a not-quite-resolved story involving characters who refuse to fit well into current society and who sometimes seem to have a touch of the allegorical about them; extended references to some of Smith's artistic heroes (Katherine Mansfield, Rilke, Tacita Dean and Charlie Chaplin); and gloriously ranting Dickensian prose-poems telling us about some of the many things that are wrong with society.

Having played around with the openings of A tale of two cities and A Christmas carol in the previous parts, this one riffs on the opening of Hard Times, which of course leads us into one of the big themes of the book: the increased obligation artists have to tell the truth in a society that seems to have given up valuing facts over lies. That side of the story is represented in particular by Richard, a TV director who made radical, hard-hitting dramas back in the seventies with his mentor and writing partner Patricia, but is finding it hard to see a way forward since her death.

The other big topic is the vast and all-but-invisible Gulag created in the service of Mrs May's Hostile Environment for (those suspected of being) foreigners, which is represented by Brittany, who works as a guard for a private security company at one of their Immigration Detention Centres, and seems to be losing the ability to live a normal life as a result.

All this is stirred up and shuffled around by one of Smith's always-wonderful mischievous agents of change, a young girl called Florence who sometimes seems to be a normal high-school student, and at other times turns into a kind of personification of spring. As usual, we're left in a little bit of doubt about where precisely all the bits have landed, and there seem to be two or three competing endings out there, including one in which Kingussie is a station on the Underground Railroad, but - as with the others in the series - it's not the narrative that drives this story, but the reader's engagement with Smith's argument about the dangers of sitting back and not doing our little bit to help fix things (however quixotic) when we see something wrong happening in the world around us.

It would be worth getting just for the Hockney cover-art, but there's a lot more to enjoy when you get past that, even if this is one of Smith's darker works.
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4 vote thorold | Apr 4, 2019 |
Superb popular science that brings the reader up-to-date on the latest research into genetics, a much, much different field than it was even a few years ago, when we all agreed on what the tree of life looked like and that all genetic manipulation occurred along our own branch of said tree. In fact, as Quammen shows, using a tree to illustrate the genetic history on our planet may no longer be meaningful at all.

The book begins with a background to genetic theory, up to and beyond Darwin and Wallace. But the author's primary emphasis is on two discoveries in the latter part of the 20th century that have turned traditional Darwinism on its head. One was the discovery by Carl Woese that there is a third major kingdom of life: that is, not just life without cellular nuclei (bacteria) and life with nuclei (everything else), but a third type of life that has characteristics of both. He named these one-celled creatures archaea, and many are found in extreme environments such as heat vents in the deepest parts of the oceans. The second major finding was that genes can move horizontally between living things, and between creatures in different kingdoms. This was a shocking idea: that, say, fungi DNA could find its way into a mammal's genetic code and be inheritable. And this kind of transfer (horizontal gene transfer) happened not only in the distant past but occurs today. This discovery began a massive effort to understand exactly how genetic changes have occurred over the several billion years of life on Earth and what the effect has been and will be for humans. Think about this: the number antibiotic-resistant bacteria is multiplying rapidly because of horizontal gene transfer. MRSA has been one result. So has the transfer from poultry to farm workers of antibiotic-resistant bacteria: bacteria that took one week to develop immunity in chickens and only a couple of months to horizontally transfer to the humans who work with the chickens.

It was also proven that various parts of Eukaryota cells (those with nuclei) were originally captured bacteria (cells without nuclei) that had survived and been retained as useful - well, if they didn't kill the host cell. This includes the mitochondria, an important organelle in our cells. And chloroplasts in plants. To put it very simply, our genetic structure is composed partially of DNA that moved in from bacteria and other creatures over millions of years: horizontal DNA transfer rather than vertical (passed down from parents and earlier forms in the human lineage).

I was blown away by these findings, most of which are accepted science now and being used as the basis for even deeper research. The next step, at least in the history of genetics, is to contemplate, as Woese did in his final years (d. 2012), where the three (or two, or five, depending on the scientist) kingdoms came from. What structure preceded them, and will we be able to tease out which kingdom came first? Did eukaryotic cells (including us) descend from archaea, a theory recently proposed? After the contemplation comes the experimentation, and I gather this is a major focus for many in the field today: that early morass of non-cellular "life" that gave birth to all else: what was it and how do we identify it?

Some have used the new genetic findings to discount Darwinism and to try to strengthen an intelligent design argument. The author addresses this, pointing out that what's really happening is that Darwinism has not been disproven but has now become only a part of the story, much like Newtonian physics: still useful but not a very deep explanation of what's happening. Oh, and this will disturb that last group: we now know that our cells contain DNA from both chimpanzees and Neanderthals (from matings, not from evolution of any type).

This is wonderful science writing: a very difficult subject made comprehensible and interesting to non-scientists. Very, very highly recommended.
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5 vote auntmarge64 | 5 other reviews | Apr 4, 2019 |
This is a FANTASTIC sequel. While it wasn't quite gripping enough for me to give it five stars, as it did drag a little at a few parts for me, it's definitely a fantastic example of how a narrative thread can be carried from one book into another without slipping or feeling like anything has gotten stale. We get new characters, closer glimpses at old ones, and a lot more development in the entire family saga set up in the first book.… (more)
2 vote TiffanyAK | 6 other reviews | Oct 21, 2018 |
Suzanne Woods Fisher, mostly know for her Amish or Historical Fiction, is trying contemporary Christian fiction. The story is compelling, showing a family whose life was changed dramatically by the death of the mother. They all grow and change while helping their dad get a camp set up on a Maine island. I wish I could go there.
1 vote eliorajoy | 4 other reviews | Apr 22, 2019 |
Chabert, a soldier of humble origins who has risen to become a distinguished colonel in Napoleon's army, is presumed dead after being seriously wounded at the battle of Eylau. He is thrown, unconscious, into a mass grave with other casualties, and survives only as a result of a string of gruesome chances that Balzac relates with some relish. His recovery in Prussia takes a long time, and accidents of war (and a spell in the madhouse when he tries to assert his real identity) prevent him getting back to France for even longer. When he does get back, his beloved emperor has long gone, the monarchy is restored, and of course he is officially dead, his wife has profitably (and fraudulently) settled his affairs, has married an aristocrat and has two children with her new husband. And no-one has the least interest in recognising him as anything other than an annoying and probably mad old vagrant.

With the help of a lawyer who's prepared to enter into an early version of a "no win no fee" deal, the colonel manages to get his wife to the negotiating table, but this is Balzac's Paris where everyone is out for what they can get: we know perfectly well what's likely to happen to an honourable old soldier thrown into this cesspit. And it does...

An elegant, economical satire on the values of Restoration France and the morality of the legal profession, in which Balzac uses absolutely every detail killingly. Javier Marías is quite right to keep banging on about this book.
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1 vote thorold | 13 other reviews | Apr 22, 2019 |
Othello was the Shakespeare tragedy that I chose to read for this year. I liked it reasonably well. I still didn’t like it as well as Hamlet, but I did like it better than Macbeth. Much of Othello is made up of characters plotting and carrying out those plots via dialogue, so it was more readable as a play than something like Macbeth where much of the story is action that isn’t shown on the page.

It does seem like, at least of the plays I’ve read, there are a lot of very similar themes, plot devices, and character types across the plays. The details of the stories may be different, but there are a lot of similarities. I’ve now read 4 Shakespeare plays in about 17 months, so I figure this makes me an expert. (Yes, I’m joking.) The familiarity of those themes made the story feel predictable and occasionally a bit tedious. I also get very frustrated with characters who believe the worst about somebody without tangible proof and without giving the other person a chance to explain themselves. Additionally, I had some trouble buying into the gullibility of Othello and some of the other characters. Aside from that, the story was very easy to follow and held my interest well. Given that this is a Shakespeare tragedy and I knew there would be many deaths by the end, I amused myself by predicting who would die and how.

When I finished reading the play, I immediately followed it up by watching one of the movie adaptations, the 1995 Kenneth Branagh version. When I did this with Hamlet, I enjoyed the experience but came away feeling like the version in my head from reading the play was slightly superior. In the case of Othello however, the movie was very much an improvement over my reading of the play. The actors played the characters far more convincingly than I had read them myself, especially Iago. Seeing how earnestly Iago spoke to the people he was deceiving made it easier to understand how they were deceived. I also felt Othello’s torment much more strongly through the actor’s portrayal of the character.

So, three stars for the reading experience, but I would give it 3.5 if not 4 stars if I were rating it based on the combined experience including the movie.
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1 vote YouKneeK | Apr 21, 2019 |
Another take on the Evelyn Nesbit/Harry Thaw/Stanford White murder case (see American Eve: http://www.librarything.com/work/5623076/reviews/67701226). In this case, author Simon Baatz is a professor of legal history, and devotes much more time than Paula Uruburu to the trial of Harry Thaw – despite the appearance of a winsome Evelyn on the cover, almost two thirds of The Girl on the Velvet Swing is about Harry, not Evelyn. There are some major differences in the two accounts; Uruburu takes it as a given that Stanford White raped an unconscious and underage Evelyn in his New York apartment; Baatz notes that Evelyn gave contradictory statements about the event and suggests that it was invented by Evelyn and the Thaw family to keep Harry out of the electric chair by giving him a motive for killing White. OTOH, Uruburu says Thaw whipped a naked Evelyn on their honeymoon in Austria, such that her blood stuck the bedsheets to her body, while Baatz suggests this is based on an affidavit more or less coerced from Evelyn by a lawyer working for White and didn’t really happen. This long after the fact, who knows?

Baatz’s account of Thaw’s escape from Matteawan State Hospital for the Criminally Insane is almost comic. According to Baatz, The Thaw family spent hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to get Harry out; deluging the local courts with various writs and working to get the hospital administrators removed and replaced with others more willing to sign discharge papers. Eventually, Harry got out on his own, slipping through a gate while a milk wagon was making a delivery and making his way to Canada. After considerable legal wrangling with the Canadian authorities, he was summarily deported and dumped on the US side of the border, turning up in New Hampshire until finally extradited back to New York. The legal catch was pretty amusing; the defense argued that Thaw hadn’t broken any laws in escaping; he didn’t assault any guards or bribe anybody. The prosecution claimed that Thaw had engaged in a conspiracy to escape (it’s pretty clear he had outside help) but the defense turned that on its head, arguing that if Thaw was insane and therefore unaware of the consequences of his actions, he couldn’t engage in a conspiracy, and if he wasn’t insane, what was he doing in Matteawan – and he was released from custody. Once again, Uruburu and Baatz differ in what happened next – Uruburu claims Thaw whipped a bellboy and Baatz says the whippee was a young student from Kansas whom Thaw had befriended. At any rate, Thaw’s family finally agreed he was at least a full bubble off level and had him recommitted.

The two books together are interesting in giving different points of view of the same situation. Baatz has gathered a number of Evelyn’s “cabinet” photographs, which were considered scandalous at the trial (in one you can see HER ANKLES. Shameless.). There are extensive references, mostly to newspaper articles of the trial but some to Nesbit’s autobiography, which I’ll have to track down. Definitely read both Baatz and Uruburu and see what you think.
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1 vote setnahkt | Apr 20, 2019 |
A intimate snapshot of UK aviation during the interwar period.

This is a fine companion volume to the book "Airspeed Aircraft" by H A Taylor. There is also a great description of the R100/R101 debacle written at time when there was still some sensitivity about the program.
One other aspect was the number of famous UK aviation personalities and their roles interwoven throughout the book provides a contemporary account that will not be necessarily seen in other published accounts of the people or their companies. A good example would be the story of Alan Cobham.

Highly recommended for anyone who has an interest in UK aviation during the interwar period.
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1 vote jetcal1 | 5 other reviews | Apr 20, 2019 |
If your interest lies in French aircraft,buy this book

Excellent volume for the money. Good balance of text and illustrations.
1 vote jetcal1 | 1 other review | Apr 20, 2019 |
The Finest Single Reference Available On Naval Attack Aircraft.

An excellent history of USN Attack aircraft. The chapters start with the changing requirements during WWII and the BuAer missteps as they struggled to find the right mix of size and capability within the VB, VS, and VT communities along with the impact the changes in the VF community were having in gradually blending various capabilities into a single aircraft.
The history of the A-6, A-7, and F-18 were particularly spot on and unbiased. The history of the A-12 is probably as complete as it could be at the time of the writing. Having spun wrenches on the J52, J57, J79, TF30, TF41, and the F404 and interacted with a significant number of these aircraft on the flight line and the flight deck (A-4 onshore only, missed the RA-5 by one cruise.) I was pleased to catch a little bit more than what I was able read in the contemporary press or heard as various bits of rumor. The early nuclear operations get excellent coverage as well as the T40 derived failures. Pleasant surprises were the little tidbits on the seagoing Neptune and the Seaplane Striking Force. (Surprising considering they were "hook free".) I was a little surprised to see no reference to the "Lehman Wing" which was done with two A-6 squadrons (VA-75 and VA-85) and completely sans A-7 in 1983. Too bad the lessons were forgot in my opinion as the Navy has had no deep strike aircraft now for 20 years and NavAir has never recovered.
(As much as I disliked the F-18 from a mission standpoint, I loved having the F404 in my shop. Turnaround time was typically 25% of a TF30 or a J52 and you could do more to it as far as getting it back out the door instead of canning it up and sending it off the ship. That's great when you only own four rails and have to share space with the buddy stores. Turnaround time was such that I only had to work my crew more than 24 hours straight only twice in six months.)
Mr. Thomason is undoubtedly the doyen of technical and aircraft development writing about US Naval Aviation. (Apologies to Mr. Tillman.) If you're looking for squadron operational histories you'll probably be a little disappointed.
If you want a chronological history of the technical development and overlapping histories of post war naval attack aircraft this is a great purchase.
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1 vote jetcal1 | 2 other reviews | Apr 20, 2019 |
Three Men in a Boat was originally published in 1889 and was one of my classic selections this quarter. I try to read one or two classics per quarter in the middle of what is otherwise a steady diet of SF&F. This particular choice was a more spur-of-the-moment decision, influenced by the references to it in Connie Willis’ To Say Nothing of the Dog.

It’s quite a short book at around 185 pages and chock full of amusing anecdotes. It doesn’t have much of an actual story to it. Three friends decide to spend a fortnight traveling by boat up the Thames river for health and relaxation. This is literally the extent of the plot. There are no mysteries or twists and turns or anything like that. It also takes a while before the trip commences. The first two characters finally get into the boat after about 25% of the book, and the third man finally makes it into the boat after about 40%.

Even after the boat trip begins, there are many diversions as the characters reminisce about past events that they experienced or heard about. The narrative flows in an almost stream-of-consciousness manner as one anecdote leads to another and then to another before the author returns to the “present” to briefly describe a little more of their boat journey.

The lack of a story kept me from getting very engrossed, but I did laugh a lot while reading it. Most of the anecdotes were quite funny, although some of them were a bit slaptick-ish. The author had a humorous, sarcastic writing voice that I enjoyed and he was full of observations about human nature that modern readers can still easily relate to. I’m rating it at 3.5 stars and rounding down to 3 on Goodreads.
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1 vote YouKneeK | 213 other reviews | Apr 19, 2019 |
This is undoubtedly the "go to" volume for Soviet technical evaluation and flight testing of German WWII aircraft.
However, there are other aspects of the book that may actually be more important. The sections covering the following topics receive excellent coverage:
1. German post WWI flight operations in Russia
2. Russian aircraft purchases in the 20's and '30's.
3. The Post Non-Aggression Pact mission to Germany by the Soviet Union with coverage of analysis performed by the Soviet engineers.
4. Development activities in post war East Germany including the in-depth coverage of the EF-131 and Baade 152 aircraft and their predecessors.
5. Jet engine development including the genesis of the Kuznetsov NK-12.
6. Discussion of the influence of German war booty and engineers on Soviet aircraft development
7. Acknowledgement of post-Soviet era German aircraft in Russia. (That chapter is a tad bit thin.)
I was disappointed that the book lacks an index and a table of contents. However, it's a minor quibble in terms of the overall quality.
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1 vote jetcal1 | 1 other review | Apr 19, 2019 |
This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Malice
Series: The Faithful and the Fallen #1
Author: John Gwynne
Rating: 2.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 641
Format: Digital Edition


A thousand years ago there was a god-war between the Creator and his highest created being, Asroth. Asroth and his allies came to the physical world to destroy what they could. In the god-war Asroth and his minions were banished to the realm of the spirit. Not content to exist, Asroth sent a star from heaven to the earth from which both giants and men fashioned items. Being from Asroth, such items corrupted their bearers. Eventually, giant warred against giant and man against man and each against the other. The Creator finally had enough and sent a cataclysm that destroyed much of the world.

The remnant of humanity that survived washed up on the shores of the Banished Lands and started the 7 kingdoms. Now, 1000 years later, a prophecy is found that foretells of another god-war in which the Creator will have his champion of Light and Asroth his Dark Champion. It also reveals that Asroth will try to return to the physical realm to completely destroy it to simply spite the Creator.

One of the Princes' of the land is convinced he is the Champion of Light and determines to unite the various kingdoms into an Empire, the better to fight Asroth. We also follow a young village boy who is growing up and his challenges as he works toward becoming a warrior.

Eventually the Prince murders his father, attacks the giants and takes one of the objects of power and the readers realize, even while the Prince does not, that he is the Dark Champion. The young boy saves a small company from treachery by the Prince and it is obvious that he is the Champion of Light.

My Thoughts:

This book went all over the place in terms of rating from me. I enjoyed parts tremendously and would think “Oh, 4 stars easily” then I'd consider dnf'ing and at other points I thought “Not even Robert Jordan and Sanderson were this arrogant in their books”. So this might turn into something a bit longer than I intended.

I deliberately cut the synopsis down to it's absolute minimum because Gwynne doesn't. Gwynne makes things as complicated as possible in several ways. First off, he introduces over 35 named characters within the first 10% of the book. I counted and listed them on Librarything because it was NEVER obvious who was a main character and who was just somebody that Gwynne gave a name and backstory to. The second part of the complication was Gwynne's shifting of Point of View every chapter. Sometimes a chapter would be 2 pages and at others 20. But it was always from somebody else than the previous POV. Finally, Gwynne had no problem with worldbuilding. He'd give as much character time to some one who we'd never see again as to some of the more central characters.

I found all of these authorial choices frustrating and incredibly anger inducing. The thread of the story was obscured by all the loose ends and dead ends, etc. I WILL NOT pay attention to 45 characters (that was my rough count by the end of the book) just because the author wants to be clever. It was overwhelming and even now, writing this, I'm getting steamed all over again. Even the Malazan books were easier to keep track of than this and that is not any sort of praise if you've read my Malazan Re-read reviews. I felt like I was juggling 45 balls never knowing which one had the live grenade inside that I needed to pay attention to. Juggling 45 live grenades is very stress inducing, let me tell you! I also felt like Gwynne was wasting my time as this book was almost 700 pages. Why did I need to know about Jack the boy farmer and his whole family when he dies 3 chapters later? It just came across as the author telling me that every idea he had was more important than the time I was spending on reading about them.

On the positive side, I absolutely loved the story. Two Chosen Ones is awesome. It is obvious to the reader that the Prince is the dark champion but to those around the Prince it seems like he truly is the Champion of Light. He is trying to unite the humans, comes up with new fighting tactics, achieves goals no one thought possible and wants to protect the land from Asroth. Knowing that Asroth is the arch-deceiver, it is no surprise that no one thinks they're the bad guy. I like Epic Fantasy and this is definitely Epic Fantasy. The politics going on between the kingdoms is great and adds a real depth to the story too.

A few final negative thoughts though. I'd been warned that Gwynne takes his time and that reviewer wasn't kidding. This meanders, but once again that is a product of Gwynne placing world building above all else. Secondly, this book doesn't have a beginning, middle and end plot point. There is no goal. Even Robert Jordan and his first Wheel of Time book, The Eye of the World, told a complete story. This was just 1/4th of a story artificially cut into a separate book.

I do plan on reading the next book. I am desperately hoping that there is not another list of 40 new characters to juggle. If there is, then I'll be parting ways from Gwynne after that. All of the before mentioned issues might not bother you, but they bother me immensely.

★★☆☆½… (more)
1 vote BookstoogeLT | 16 other reviews | Apr 19, 2019 |
This book is a fantastic follow on to the fabulous plot and cast of characters found in Touch The Dark. Again Cassie’s unique brand of terrified courage in the face of total chaos provides the backdrop to some of the most intense inter-character relationships I’ve ever seen on paper. Hot and steamy, while totally true, doesn’t begin to cover the depth and detail of emotion packed into every exchange. Another masterpiece to add to this authors accomplishments to date. The complicated relationship between Cassie and John Pritkin has brought me loyally back to this series more times than I can remember, and each time I crack the cover it’s just as good as the first time I picked it up nearly a decade ago.… (more)
1 vote Bethsinitaly | 39 other reviews | Apr 18, 2019 |
Millie is working as a temp in the office of a design company. She answers phones and collates papers and dislikes her co-workers, who return the favor. Despite the mind-numbing boredom, she hopes to be made permanent and the signs are looking good. She thinks about how much her life will be improved by the modest bump in pay and begins her program to become The New Me, better than the old one, a person who doesn't spend all her time watching TV on her laptop and drinking, but who does things like yoga and reading and keeping her apartment tidy.

Halle Butler has written about a character who would fit right in with anything written by Ottessa Moshfegh. Millie is an unpleasant, suffocating person to spend time with and this novel was a delight. There was a sense of things being able to go in any number of directions, most of them very bad. Butler's writing was sharp as knives and nails the atmosphere of office life, a place where we are obligated to be, doing things we don't enjoy, in the company of people we'd rather not be around.
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1 vote RidgewayGirl | 2 other reviews | Apr 18, 2019 |
The novel version of the 1974 film Zardoz, written by the same person who wrote and directed the film itself.

Zardoz has, I think, something of a reputation as an inexplicable bit of baffling weirdness. But when I watched the movie, decades after it was made, the main feeling I had about it was a sense of familiarity. I read a lot of 1970s science fiction in my youth, and a lot of it felt exactly like this: pseudo-profound and slightly surreal and entirely too obsessed with sex. The whole thing made me feel oddly nostalgic.

So when I saw the book version at a library sale a while back, I thought it might be fun to revisit it in this form. Maybe I'd feel some sense of nostalgia for my nostalgia.

But, eh. It's not an awful example of the kind of thing it is, but it's not great, either. Also, the kind of thing it is hasn't aged very well, and my nostalgia does have some limits. Even though it's only about 130 pages long, I was getting tired of it by the end. The simple truth is, it's just not nearly as entertaining when you can't see Sean Connery running around in that, erm, highly memorable costume.
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1 vote bragan | 3 other reviews | Apr 18, 2019 |

Recent Firsts

"First" are first reviews for previously-unreviewed works.

This volume gathers seventeen timeless Disney classics, featuring vintage artwork, from storybooks of the 1950s and 1960s. Familiar tales such as “Cinderella” and “Peter Pan” are joined by several rediscovered tales including “Goofy, Movie Star, “Once Upon a Wintertime,” and “Scamp’s Adventure.” Certain to delight readers of all ages, this is a volume of treasured “once upon a time” tales meant for parents and children to experience together.

Highly recommended.
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  jfe16 | Apr 21, 2019 |

Man skal ikke gå ned på udstyr, så man skal selvfølgelig have både en "heat defuser" og en "olive stoner" i sit hus. Måske også noget der kan omsætte fl. oz., fahrenheit og selv-raising flour til brugbare opskrifter? Hun ser ud til at stave tomatsuppe Gaspacho her, men Gazpacho online.
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  bnielsen | Apr 20, 2019 |
The story of early Rome complete with lots of photos and drawings of the major buildings as they are and how they were.
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  cbinstead | Apr 22, 2019 |
Well, if Picard's coming back - what better time to read about his history?

This is a nice backstory showing Picard's beginning as a commander - as a CAPTAIN, that is - even younger than Kirk! It's a decent space opera yarn, and with details of crew and their development. On to the next one!
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  mrklingon | Apr 22, 2019 |
A collection of seventeen stories culled from three decades of the multiple award-winning “Asimov’s Science Fiction” magazine, featuring an eclectic assortment of both classic and contemporary tales that originally appeared in the pages of the visionary magazine. Renowned science fiction authors such as Isaac Asimov, Robert Silverberg, Kim Stanley Robinson, Connie Willis, and Ursula K. LeGuin provided stories for this volume; also included are the Locus Award-winning stories “Robot Dreams” and “Itsy Bitsy Spider.” These visionary tales are a must-read for all devotees of the genre.

Highly recommended.
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  jfe16 | Apr 22, 2019 |
Good adaptation - nicely done, glad it was included in the Humble Bundle.

While I understand the detractors vis a vis JJ's reboot, I can enjoy Star Trek wherever I find it. The graphic novel has a lot of nice visuals interpreted from the movie, and adds in a few details to flesh out the story.
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  mrklingon | Apr 22, 2019 |
Not good - gave to goodwill
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  ctann | Apr 20, 2019 |
It seemed like many of the characters in this book were keeping secrets. I suspected early on who the perpetrator was.

Kane withholds the loss of his leg. He suffers survivor's guilt as well, it seems and puts himself down because his fiancee at the time of his injury walks away from him. But he did gain a good friend in John out of his war experiences.

Maggie is hiding her relationship to Vicky. (A child put up for adoption locating a birth parent and moving close to them but not revealing the identity/relationship seems a common theme in these books--I don't know why. Fear of further rejection, I guess.) But as always, when the secret is found out, it creates more problems.

Vicky's never told her husband about the child she had as a teenager and put up for adoption. She's scared what will happen if it comes out.

Henry seems to have "dirt" on many people: Vicky, the university president, another professor at the university, and Beth. He's also kept the secret of being Maggie's father and Vicky's teenage boyfriend--something Maggie only finds out after Henry's death.

Phillip Johnson (university president) and another instructor both have things from their past they'd like to keep hidden, as does Beth.
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  JenniferRobb | Apr 21, 2019 |
Un bon moment en compagnie de Tron, (pour ceux qui apprécient ce sympathique commissaire aristocratico-poète-naïf).
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  Nikoz | Apr 21, 2019 |
During Nazi-occupied France, a French police officer and a SS agent ten up to solves a series of murders of young girls. Involves kidnapping, abuse, and pornography. Explicit and depressing. DNF.
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  cmbohn | Apr 22, 2019 |
It goes in directions it should have probably waited to go, but DeFalco can hardly be blamed considering the unease of Spider-Girl's future at the time, and he still managed to pull off an entertaining story.
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  Birdo82 | Apr 20, 2019 |
Marxist Explanations of the USSR

Though leftists (especially Marxists!) are as guilty of closing ranks when attacked by outsiders as anyone, they (again, most especially Marxists) were also well aware early on of the problematical nature of the USSR. Liberal leftists and trendy radicals, however (in my experience), were the easiest to dupe into believing that the USSR was a model to follow.

This excellent book gives a detailed history and discussion of the evolution of the Marxist critique of the Soviet Union. Is the USSR an example of 'State Capitalism' or is it merely a 'degenerated' workers' state? If the former then it is no longer an entity that Communists and the broader Left automatically need defend. If the latter? Well, rally round the red flag boys...

And what if it has an entirely new 'mode of production' with a 'new class' to boot? A new Mode of Production was often thought to be the worst possibility. If an entirely new economic formation arises -that is neither capitalist nor socialist (and it is also not a return to some earlier economic system)- then it was feared that Marxism, which does not predict any new mode of production (besides socialism), would be falsified. On the other hand, I think that any purported new class could be palmed off as being merely circumstantial by arguing that it parasitical on the real relations of production peculiar to the USSR in its unique situation, - and thus it is not theoretically decisive.

A New Mode of Production, I think, was always the beating heart of the matter. Thus, whether one called it an entirely new 'bureaucratic collectivism' or a reversion to pre-modern 'oriental despotism' the status of Marxist theory was equally thought to be in question. After all, even a reversion to an earlier economic mode of production might indicate that Marxist 'progressivism' had been falsified.

I know; being interested in this sort of thing is a confession of age. But back in the seventies we were all focused on these issues. Today, I fear it is only quaint.
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  pomonomo2003 | Apr 21, 2019 |
Fun! Did you know that archive.org has books you can check out? Even comic... er, graphic novels?
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  mrklingon | Apr 22, 2019 |
Decent story, so-so mystery.
I enjoy his era, his politics and the smart talk. The "mysteries" such as they are seem to pile on suspects till they pick one - maybe that's just me. I certainly enjoy the books and have no intention to stop reading them.
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  mrklingon | Apr 22, 2019 |
This is probably a very good book for supervisors, but it really didn't speak to me as a spiritual director (under supervision) attempting to discern if this would be a good next step for me. Perhaps I was really just wishing for more of a pathway in direction. At any rate, it wasn't helpful to me....

The last entry, a conversation between Geraldine Holton and Robin Shohet, was the most helpful in identifying the types of questions we can be asking ourselves to free ourselves from self-doubt.

It was one of the worst books I have seen on kindle. Clearly, Morehouse Publishing needs to join the 21st century. I think they just scanned pages and threw them into an electronic medium.
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  kaulsu | Apr 21, 2019 |
Indeholder "Vibeke Schmidt: Forord", "Indledning", "I krig slår man ihjel", " Findes der en modstand mod at dræbe?", " Overvindelse af modstand mod at dræbe", " Afstand", " Autoritet og gruppe", " Kulturel afstand", " Moralsk afstand", " Religiøs afstand", " Perceptionsmæssig afstand", " Social afstand", " Mekanisk afstand", " Drabets anatomi", " Bekymringen over at skulle slå ihjel", " Nedskydningen", " Fortrydelse", " Bearbejdning og accept", " Kan teorierne anvendes?", " Frygt", "Mennesket - det centrale nervesystem", " Hjernen", " Perception", " Stress", " Stress-tilvænning", " Kroppens stressniveauer", " Stressniveau GRÅ", " Stressniveau SORT", "Forberedelse til krig", " Religion", " Uddannelse", " Soldater er eliteidrætsudøvere", " Søvn", " At træne i at slå ihjel", "Kamp", " Lyd i kamp", " Fysiske ændringer", " Kontrol af blære og tarm", " Fysik", " Sanse- og perceptionsændringer", " Tunnelsyn", " Klarsyn", " Lyd", " Slowmotion", " Fast motion", " Fremmedgørelse - uvedkommende tanker", " Midlertidig lammelse", " Tanke- og reaktionsmæssige ændringer", " Automatpilot", " Hukommelsestab", " Hukommelsesforvrængninger", "Hjemkomst", " Normale reaktioner", " Flashbacks", " Irriteret eller opfarende", " Søvnproblemer", " Problemer med at komme i gang igen", " Associationer", " Tanker og følelser", " Skyldfølelse", " Egne tab", " Psykologiske skader", " Før Første Verdenskrig", " Første Verdenskrig", " Anden Verdenskrig", " Efter Anden Verdenskrig", " Korea-krigen", " Vietnam-krigen", " Efter Vietnam-krigen", " PTSD", " Hvad sker der i hjernen?", " Offentligheden og psykologiske kampskader", "Hvad gør vi ved det?", " Kampuddannelse", " Tillid", " Dynamiske øvelser", " Taktisk åndedræt", " Visualisering", " Debriefinger", " Personlig forberedelse", " Motivation", "Afslutning", "Bilag", " Indledende spørgeskema", " Opfølgende spørgeskema", "Kilder", "Notater".

Meget nøgtern og lige-ud-ad-landevejen bog om det at være soldat og have det som sit job at kunne slå andre ihjel.
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  bnielsen | Apr 22, 2019 |
Top Hook thankfully does not suffer from the same extraordinarily dull and prolonged start (that took almost half the book to get going) as Peacemaker did. Rather within 50-70 pages the story manages to find it legs and begin jogging forwards gaining momentum towards a rather gripping tail end that has you glued to the pages to find out how things will unravel.

The ending is good winding up the subplots for the most part and leaving open plenty of room to continue the larger story arc without trimming this books plot short and abruptly as some books suffer from. My only complaint is that I would have liked to see more of what happened to Ray Suter after his large part in the prior book and the first half of this one it was a bit of a shame that he seemed to fade away after the development in his subplot. Especially considering the detail that went into various other parts of the story.

I was about ready to give up on the author after the stumbling mess that Peacemaker was but Top Hook now has me interested in seeing what happens in the next installment.
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  HenriMoreaux | Apr 22, 2019 |
dust jacket
  Sheila01 | Apr 21, 2019 |
About a teenager who's bounced around in foster care and is now living in a group home while he waits for his next placement. He's something of a loner and a bit distanced from other people, but has this ongoing fascination with Native Americans, especially the Dakota (or Sioux) tribe. He knows the history, legends, customs, religious beliefs, etc. His most treasured possessions are a real peace pipe and some authentic moccasins. But his differences get him into trouble, adults in the institution and at school see his moccasins and his general attitude as troublemaking. He really dislikes the system (kind of reminded me of Holden Caulfield) but rather than becoming bitter or fighting, turns his attentions inward to his dream: to become a Dakota tribe member. Literally. A dream spurs him to believe this is his destiny, and when he talks about it too much people start to think he's mentally unstable and he winds up in an institution for what's supposed to be a short stay. Not really a surprise. In fact the way he rambled on about his fixation with Dakota culture to people made me wonder at first if he was neurodivergent or an unreliable narrator. Nope. He just needs a place to fit in, and wants to live among the people he feels an affinity for- the Dakota. All these adults around him think he's simply crazy, for wanting to live in a different manner. And for doing things like trying to make a real dugout canoe, or attempting to dye his skin darker.

So he steals another kid's motorcycle (rationalizing to himself why this is okay, as he holds himself to a high standard of honor gleaned from his reading about Dakota culture) after fixing it up some, and runs away to a nearby reservation. It's not exactly as he imagined, but he actually gets to meet the chief, who after listening to him carefully and posing some questions, has him undergo ritual purification and isolation in a four-day fast to seek a vision that will direct his future.

The ending was satisfying, although I would have enjoyed the other direction I hoped it might go in. The story is not told completely linear- it goes from present to past and back again a few times- but in large chunks so not annoyingly. I did wish there was more time spent on what happened after he got to the reservation, instead a bulk of the story is about his frustrations in the group home and what leads up to his decision to run away. I found the character of his social worker a bit puzzling- it's pleasant that she was a new, "green" social worker and nice to the kid- he really needed that- but she just didn't feel like a real person to me. The other background characters are a bit flat- the chief is a good one- but then it's all told through the close viewpoint of the main character, so perhaps that's why.

from the Dogear Diary
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  jeane | Apr 22, 2019 |
Most of what I know about Queen Victoria, I learned from this book. I checked it repeatedly as a child to look at the illustrations and read her journal entries, both offering glimpses of what royal life felt like for the creator. Possibly my favorite parts was the description of how she resisted meeting her betrothed; then, on the stairs, in their first meeting, she fell in love.

I remember this as a romantic book with Russian ballerinas and notes of resistance against fate.… (more)
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  aspirit | Apr 19, 2019 |
Save your money.

Another person posted:
"If you want an excellent book on these projects, it is recommend that the historian purchase Kev Darling's American X & Y Planes, Vol. 1: Experimental Aircraft to 1945 (Crowood Aviation)" - So I purchased Vol I and Vol II. They're reasonably inexpensive and from Crowood which usually means a pretty workman like job if not outstanding.

The descriptions are brief and for many aircraft there is no illustration. I was disappointed to say the least. Save your money.… (more)
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  jetcal1 | Apr 20, 2019 |
dust jacket
  Sheila01 | Apr 21, 2019 |
  Sheila01 | Apr 21, 2019 |
dust jacket
  Sheila01 | Apr 21, 2019 |
Basada en la história d´una indigent a Barcelona.
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  Martapagessala | Apr 22, 2019 |
Best work available on the ME 163
This two volume set is probably the final word on the ME 163.Highly recommended.
I must say the prices for this book have risen like the Komets rate of climb.
This two volume set was undoubtedly at the time of publication the last word on the ME-163. If you have an interest in the aircraft, purchase of these two volumes and "Top Secret Bird: The Luftwaffe's Me-163 Comet"by Wolfgang Spate who was with Erprobungs-Kommando and responsible for it's development will give an excellent basic 3 volume library that should be adequate for the vast majority of people with an interest in the aircraft.
Highly recommended, if now a tad expensive for mere mortals.
If your interests include the Russian investigation of the Komet, check out this book as well; "German Aircraft in the Soviet Union and Russia" by Yefim Gordon.
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  jetcal1 | Apr 20, 2019 |
A good one volume introduction to the last hurrah from Fairey.
Good, easy to understand technical descriptions. The description of ground resonance is easily one of the best non-technical descriptions I've read. The author also provides a good background on the consolidation of the industry and the impact caused by the airlines and RAF making their acquisition decisions. The final chapters on the influence of the Rotodyne are also of interest.
This is my first purchase of a work by Mr. Gibbings. I have placed his volume on the Scimitar on my wish list.
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  jetcal1 | Apr 19, 2019 |
> Par 3e millénaire (In: Revue 3e millénaire, n°123, Printemps 2017 - Qu'est-ce que l'attention ?. p. 94.) : Odon Vallet, Petit lexique des idées fausses sur la religion [Rubrique livres]
Les idées fausses ont depuis toujours proliféré dans le domaine où elles sont le plus pernicieuses, porteuses de haines et de malentendus : celui des religions. Elles concernent alors le noyau identitaire de chaque culture, et sont si bien enracinées qu’il semble impossible, surtout en un temps où le vocabulaire religieux envahit l’actualité la plus guerrière, d’aborder rationnellement ce terrain périlleux. C’est pourtant ce que fait ici Odon Vallet. Dans cette édition mise à jour de ce Petit lexique devenu un classique, il corrige les approximations véhiculées par la rumeur ou les médias, qu’il s’agisse du voile prétendument islamique, de la laïcité ou de l’antisémitisme...
2016 - Albin Michel - 180 p.
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  Joop-le-philosophe | Apr 20, 2019 |
Erotica with a fantasy/sci-fi bent. We have a man into SM who has sex with a clone that he buys. Another man who makes clones of himself one to engage in sex and also to explore all the other things in his life that he can't get done. A cat that poses as a human. A dating service that uses some virtual reality stuff until the virtual reality gets a mind of it's own. Interesting set of stories, does tend to have an SM bent to it all too frequently.… (more)
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  ChrisWeir | Apr 21, 2019 |
winner smith books in Canada first novel award Thomas raddal award shortlisted for gg award and commonwealth award
  mahallett | Apr 20, 2019 |
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