Sunday, September 5, 2010
Rated 4.3 Stars
This book is very well written in a very light and easy to read style. I am enjoying it and since I've been fighting (and losing) an ongoing war with the critters I am hoping knowing them better might give me an edge.
Intrepid international explorer, biologist, and photographer Mark W. Moffett, "the Indiana Jones of entomology," takes us around the globe on a strange and colorful journey in search of the hidden world of ants. With tales from Nigeria, Indonesia, the Amazon, Australia, California, and elsewhere, Moffett recounts his entomological exploits and provides fascinating details on how ants live and how they dominate their ecosystems through strikingly human behaviors, yet at a different scale and at a faster tempo. Moffett's spectacular close-up photographs shrink us down to size, so that we can observe ants in familiar roles: working as farmers, warriors, builders, big-game hunters, and slave owners. We find them in marketplaces and on assembly lines. We discover them dealing with issues we think of as uniquely human-from hygiene and recycling to warfare and terrorism. Adventures among Ants introduces some of the world's most awe-inspiring species, and at the same time, offers a startling new perspective on the limits of our own perceptions.
* Ants are world-class road builders, handling complex traffic problems on thoroughfares that dwarf our highway systems
* Ants take slaves from conquered armies and create societies dependent on their labor
* Ants with the largest societies often deploy complex military tactics
* Some ants have evolved from hunter-gatherers into farmers, domesticating other animals and growing specific crops for food
Rated 5+ Srars
1. God is an Englishman
Adam Swann, scion of an army family, returns home in 1858 after service with Her Majesty's army in the Crimea and India, determined to build his fortune in the dog-eat-dog world of Victorian commerce. Swann is soon captivated by Henrietta, the high-spirited daughter of a local mill owner. As Swann works to build his name, he and Henrietta share adventures, reversal, and fortune.
2. Theirs was the Kingdom
The 1880s in England were a laissez-faire decade of national optimism and prosperity, of rampant colonialism, typhoid epidemics, and a Diamond Jubilee. This follow-up novel continues the saga of the Victorian giant of commerce Adam Swann, his tough-minded wife Henrietta, and their five children. This prolific tale records the triumphs and tragedies of a memorable family and a nation at the height of its imperial power.
3. Give us This Day
Sweeping Adam Swann and three generations of his family into the tide of events that followed Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee in 1897, this stirring novel confronts them, and England, with the social upheaval of a rapidly changing world. The same revolutionary ferment that stirs up labor unrest also births the English suffragette movement, taking the family idealist, Giles, to Parliament. With conflicting interests, two of his brothers usher the family's firm into the twentieth century and another Swann brother, Alex, a professional soldier, attempts to introduce an outmoded army to modern tactics. Like their aging father, these Swanns strive energetically to wed personal dreams to national values-even as the rumble of the guns of August 1914 signals the end of the world as they and their country have known it.
Rated 4.5 Stars
This is the fifth book in the Billy Boyle series and I think it's the best one yet. It's a fascinating picture of the intelligence world during WWII and the author is very skillful in depicting the impact of war on London--the bricks from bombed buildings piled neatly on the streets, families living in Tube stations, "the odor of the Blitz." Destruction aside, Billy never forgets that "Even in the midst of war, murder is unacceptable."
Billy is sent to London in the midst of a Luftwaffe bombing offensive to investigate the murder of a Soviet official. There's reason to believe that the crime could be connected to the recent discovery of mass graves in the Katyn Forest, where thousands of Polish officers were executed. Is a killer is out there, targeting Soviet officials in revenge for the Katyn Massacre? If so, the diplomatic stakes couldn't be higher as the uneasy relationship between the Soviets and the other allied powers hangs in the balance. Further complicating matters, Scotland Yard names Billy's friend Kaz, now working for the Polish government in exile, as the prime suspect. Billy must track the killer through London's criminal underworld and save his friend.
Rated 4 Stars
This book got some pretty bad reviews on Amazon but I stayed up reading until after midnight to finish this book last night. That's very unusual for me. I thought it was a real page turner but I didn't quite buy into all the secret's the house its self had. I guess I need to go back and read the book that featured the builder.
Publisher Summary - bestselling author Stephen White returns to his beloved Alan Gregory series with a taut, ripped-from-the-headlines crime story.
Stephen White's most recent bestseller, The Siege, featured his series character Sam Purdy in a relentlessly paced stand-alone thriller that critics hailed as "brilliantly conceived and executed" (Publishers Weekly) and "the best and most interesting terrorism thriller I've seen." (The Washington Post) Now, in The Last Lie, White returns to his Alan Gregory series roots with the popular characters and Boulder setting that first launched him onto the bestseller lists and attracted legions of fiercely loyal fans.
Shortly after Alan and Lauren welcome their affluent new neighbors-a legal legend in women's rights law and his beautiful wife-the couple hosts a housewarming party that ends in quiet disaster. One of their guests, a young widow, elects to spend the night after indulging in too much wine, only to wake the next morning with no memory beyond getting ready for bed. Was she drugged? Raped? Lauren, a deputy district attorney, and detective Sam Purdy are both privy to facts they can't share with Alan, but Alan soon discovers that he has a most unusual perspective into what truly happened after the housewarming party. Before Alan can discover all the pieces to the puzzle, an important witness to the events is murdered. Alan fears that other witnesses-people he loves-will be next. Smart, topical, and deftly plotted, The Last Lie delivers the pulse-pounding return of one of contemporary fiction's most enduring heroes.