Saturday, November 26, 2011

63. The Winding Road, #34

By:  Cynthia Harrod-Eagles
Rated: 4.5 Stard
Kindle Book

If this turns out to be the last book in this series I am going to be sad, sad, sad!

In spite of the fact that Polly, whom I have never cared for, features prominently in the book it was a very satisfying read.  Lost some beloved characters but they had all lived long full lives over many books.  And for the characters left to make their way into the future without us the book ended on a hopeful note.  What more can we ask?  Another book that's what!

Product Description

1925. England is prosperous; the nation has put the war behind it, and hope is in the air. The Jazz Age is in full swing in New York, where Polly Morland is the most feted beauty of the day. But a proposal of marriage from the powerful, enigmatic Ren Alexander takes her by surprise. Her cousin Lennie, expanding his interests from radio to television and talkies, worries that no one knows much about Ren; but his attempts to find out more threaten disaster. In London, the General Strike gives the country another chance to show its stiff upper lip, as everyone turns to and helps out. Emma drives an ambulance again, while Molly runs a canteen, and each unexpectedly finds love, and a new career. But the whirligig is slowing, shadows are gathering over Europe, and the good times are almost over. Morland Place is threatened by the worst disaster of its history, and the Old World reaches out a hand to pluck Polly from the New. The Wall Street Crash brings the fabulous decade to a shattering close, and nothing will ever be quite the same again; but new shoots emerge from the ruins, hope is reborn, and the Morlands prove again that family is everything, and will endure.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

62. The Winter Journey #20

By:  Cynthia Harrod Eagles
Rated:  5 Stars
Kindle e-book

Having talked a good friend into reading some of the books in this 34 book series I was reminded that I had not read all of them myself.  I think I suffered from burn out along about book 11 and then jumped to book 23, leaving me with about 15 more book still to read in this series.  Hey, I'm up to it.

I picked this book completely out of any order because part of it was about the Crimean Way and I have always found wars and conflict interesting.  It was another of the un-put-down-able books in this series.  I'm definitely going to have to get #21, The Outcasts though because it ended with a cliff hanger. 

Publisher's Description

The Great Exhibition brings all the Morlands to London - including a cousin from America. Charlotte is using her wealth and social position to build a hospital, and, aware of how badly sick people are nursed, defies convention to train a team of female nurses. When the Crimean war begins, and her brother Cavendish departs with his cavalry regiment and her husband is called on to serve with the Intelligence Department, Charlotte goes too. Not all the soldiers' courage or high spirits can save them from the brutal horrors of war, and as the bitter Russian winter sets in, Charlotte's nursing skills are desperately needed as the army falls victim to cholera, dysentry, frostbite and gangrene.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

61. The Secret Life of Pronouns : what our words say about us

By:  By James W. Pennebaker
Rated 3.5 Stars
From:  Library
Format:  book

This book is interesting but dry.  Very dry. I am pretty much a word geek and I love words and language although you couldn't tell it from my own writing. But then I don't presume to be a writer, just a commenter. I would have been a lot happier with this book  if the author had written it in a more interesting style.  As it was it was just a dry statement of facts.  It's the kind of book you would read for information only and not a book I, at any rate, would read for pleasure.

Product Description:

Draws on groundbreaking research in computational linguistics to explain what language choices reveal about feelings, self-concept, and social intelligence, in a lighthearted treatise that also explores the language personalities of famous individuals.

Discovering the secret life of the most forgettable words -- Ignoring the content, celebrating the style -- The words of sex, age, and power -- Personality : finding the person within -- Emotion detection -- Lying words -- The language of status, power, and leadership -- The language of love -- Seeing groups, companies, and communities through their words -- Word sleuthing -- Appendix: a handy guide for spotting and interpreting function words in the wild.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

60. Why do Bad Things Happen to Good People

By:  Harold Kushner
Rated 2 Stars
From:  Library
Format:  Book

I am giving this book 2 Stars instead on the 1 that it deserves simply I really did read the whole thing.  I did so because I really couldn't believe the author was really writing this stuff and kept reading on to see if he would get his head out of La-La land and come back to earth.

I have a very good friend to whom very bad things are happening right now and I am having a hard time understanding why such a bad thing has happened to such a fine person.  A friend recommend this book to help me understand, why we have had so many bad things happen to us, even though we are good people. It's obvious he didn't really read it, but only went by the title of the book. You could easily loose your faith and hope reading this book. I don't recommend it at all!! Page 67 says God does not cause bad things to happen and also, he is unable to stop bad things from happening. He states that all the supernatural events and miracles of the Bible are just stories to make God look good.

And this statement is outrageous: "Are you capable of forgiving and loving God even when you have found out that He is not perfect, even when He has let you down and disappointed you by permitting bad luck and sickness and cruelty in His world, and permitting some of those things to happen to you? Can you learn to love and forgive Him despite His limitations ...?

Give. Me. A. Break!   What's the point in being God if you're not really a God!  God's gotta do better than that if I'm going to be a believer.  Might as well believe in The Flying Spaghetti Monster.

Product Description:

When Harold Kushner’s three-year-old son was diagnosed with a degenerative disease and that he would only live until his early teens, he was faced with one of life’s most difficult questions: Why, God? Years later, Rabbi Kushner wrote this straightforward, elegant contemplation of the doubts and fears that arise when tragedy strikes. Kushner shares his wisdom as a rabbi, a parent, a reader, and a human being. Often imitated but never superseded, When Bad Things Happen to Good People is a classic that offers clear thinking and consolation in times of sorrow.
Since its original publication in 1981, When Bad Things Happen to Good People has brought solace and hope to millions of readers and its author has become a nationally known spiritual leader.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

58. Why Read Moby-Dick

By:  Nathaniel Philbrick
Rated 3 Stars
From:  Library
Format:  Book

 I am rating this book 3 stars because I actually finished it. I wouldn't have if it had not been a very slim book, 127 pages and written in a very readable style. The author, who seems to be to be a few fries short of a happy meal, obsessed on Melvillle's Moby Dick until he convinced me that I should never read it even if I was on a desert island and it was the only book around

Library catalog description:

"Shares expert guidelines on how to read and appreciate Herman Melville's classic work, offering insight into its history, characters, and themes while explaining its literary relevance in the modern world."

57. Turtle Feet : The Making and Unmaking of a Buddhist Monk

By:  Nikolai Grozni
Rated:  3 Stars
Source:  Library

Generally I love books about the Far East because I find it exotic and the people interesting.  While this was a very well written book and interesting, overall I was disappointed. The author spends way to much time on the exploits of his friend Tsar's religious/spiritual experiences as a novice monk.  This became yawn inducing.

People are universally people and with a bunch of guys living together and there are always going to be some there with bad tempers, some with mental problems, some who swear like sailors, some who love to talk about sex, some who use drugs and other's who are devout and sincere. Maybe the author thought some of us didn't already know this and it was important to point that out.

But there is so much more that he could have written about, things unique to his life in India and Tibet.  Maybe I was looking for another Kim or The Far Pavilions.  At any rate it's not a book I would go around recommending.

Publisher Summary:

 Traces the author's spontaneous decision to give up his life as a musical prodigy to become a Buddhist monk, a choice that led to his relocation to the Himalayas and his indoctrination into Buddhist culture, where he found unexpected humor, doubts, and new friends.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

59. The Wild Blue: The Men and Boys Who Flew the B-24s Over Germany

I am rating this book 5 Stars. Although it did not turn out to be exactly what I thought I was getting when I started it.  But hooray for me it turned out to be even better and far more of a biography of George McGovern but limited to his service with the USAAF during WW2. I am ashamed to say that I knew very little about George McGovern other than that he was a one time Presidential candidate. I need to read an actual biography about him as based on his wartime service he was truly a remarkable man. In the book McGovern also praises Tuskegee Fliers who flew escort missions with his squadron. This group of fliers is something else I am unfamiliar about and I need to go hunting through the library catalogue to find out what they have about them. Heaven help that I should be unfamiliar with something after my interest is piqued. :)

Publisher's Summary

The very young men who flew the B24s over Germany in World War II against terrible odds were an exemplary band of brothers. In The Wild Blue, Stephen Ambrose recounts their extraordinary brand of heroism, skill, daring, and comradeship.

Ambrose describes how the Army Air Forces recruited, trained, and chose those few who would undertake the most demanding and dangerous jobs in the war. These are the boys - turned pilots, bombardiers, navigators, and gunners of the B24s - who suffered over 50 percent casualties.

Ambrose carries us along in the crowded, uncomfortable, and dangerous B24s as their crews fought to the death through thick, black, deadly flak to reach their targets and destroy the German war machine or else went down in flames. Twenty-two-year-old George McGovern, who was to become a United States senator and a presidential candidate, flew 35 combat missions (all the Army would allow) and won the Distinguished Flying Cross. We meet him and his mates, his co-pilot killed in action, and crews of other planes - many of whom did not come back.

As Band of Brothers and Citizen Soldiers portrayed the bravery and ultimate victory of the American soldier from Normandy on to Germany, The Wild Blue makes clear the contribution these young men of the Army Air Forces stationed in Italy made to the Allied victory.