Sunday, May 20, 2018

Review: Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder

Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder by Caroline Fraser
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a great book! Yes, there is a great deal of non-Laura history included here, but it all goes in to show that while the Little House books were semi-autobiographical, they were not 100% accurate historically. Also, it's wise to remember that the books end with Laura at age (approx.) 20 and she lived another 65+ years after that point so her outlook on the world was bound to be somewhat different as an adult looking back at her childhood than had she written from kept diaries of her childhood.

Also, Rose...OMG that woman was a lunatic! What in the hell happened to her? How did Laura and Almanzo raise such a self-oriented, narcissistic piece of work? She was conniving and sneaky and delusional. I ended the book, as I admittedly started it, loathing her, but the surprise is that I didn't much like Laura as an adult either. However, I will add that knowing more about her adult outlook and political point of view make her much more 'real' than reading the kids' books ever has done for me. And I have read them dozens of times!!

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Review: God: A Human History

God: A Human History God: A Human History by Reza Aslan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a fascinating look at the history of our species' belief in God, from as far back as cave paintings and as current as today's theological wrangling among the major religions as well as between any of those religions and "science" as a belief system.

I'm not thoroughly convinced by some of his arguments about where humanity's religious bent arises, or how it has changed over time. It seems to be to be under-supported in some areas despite massive numbers of long footnotes (which I adore!) and sources. The parts of religion-history I know best--early Christian Church issues--are badly portrayed and simply not mentioned in huge swaths. However, the conclusion is interesting, and I learned a decent about about the history of Islam that dovetails in with what I already knew (not much) and now I'm interested in reading more about some of the earlier Muslim teachings.

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Saturday, April 28, 2018

Review: The Education of a Coroner: Lessons in Investigating Death

The Education of a Coroner: Lessons in Investigating Death The Education of a Coroner: Lessons in Investigating Death by John Bateson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was not enamored of the writing style here; it never got into enough details somehow, since there are a LOT of details about death in Marin County, California. Lots of good information, however, about suicide, and about the history of the Marin County law enforcement community in the last 40 or so years. Interesting. I'd like to meet this guy.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Review: Strange Piece of Paradise

Strange Piece of Paradise Strange Piece of Paradise by Terri Jentz
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

OK, this took me way too long to finish, but it was a good read. It wasn't till near the end that I got curious enough to take to the internet whereupon I had to think way back and remember that she had changed some names.

So, in 1977, Terri and a friend decided to bike across the U.S. from Oregon to the east coast. Within just a couple of days of the start of the trip, they are assaulted in their campsite, run over and then attacked with an axe by an unidentifiable man. Somehow, they both survive the attack and are found by a couple passing by at just the right time.

Some 15 years later, the author goes back to the small Oregon community in which this happened to see if she can figure out who did this. Ultimately, she's fairly certain she knows the culprit, but attempted murder can't (couldn't?) be prosecuted after the statue of limitations runs out (WTF). The book is a retelling of her search for answers, her discovery of people who have been connected with her throughout the years that she never knew, and how and why evil deeds are left unpunished.

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Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Review: White Night

White Night White Night by Jim Butcher
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Pretty fun. Harry's now a teacher, so this is settling him down, making him a little more philosophical. But he's also getting called on his anger problem (also called "Lasciel") and trying to deal with that. And vampires. Mean, nasty, creepy vampires. Again.

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Monday, February 12, 2018

Review: The Road to Little Dribbling: Adventures of an American in Britain

The Road to Little Dribbling: Adventures of an American in Britain The Road to Little Dribbling: Adventures of an American in Britain by Bill Bryson
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I normally can't stop laughing while reading Bryson's books. This one, however, regularly--like in every chapter--made m want to smack him.

He's just a cranky old man. Too bad; he used to be a fun travel companion. Now he's just a fuckin' grouch.

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Saturday, February 03, 2018

Review: Sorry, Wrong Answer: Trivia Questions That Even Know-It-Alls Get Wrong

Sorry, Wrong Answer: Trivia Questions That Even Know-It-Alls Get Wrong Sorry, Wrong Answer: Trivia Questions That Even Know-It-Alls Get Wrong by Rod L. Evans
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Really fun. Also a good book to read in short bursts with loads of interruptions which is what life has been like. I read this while sitting in assorted hospitals over the last few months.

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Monday, January 29, 2018

Review: Sixth Grave on the Edge

Sixth Grave on the Edge Sixth Grave on the Edge by Darynda Jones
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I lost track of the plot here because I stopped reading for a couple of days. When I got back, I couldn't remember who was after whom and why. However, the main series plot continues apace: Charley's learning new stuff about her "job" and getting a better idea of what the point of that job is ultimately. Plus steamy scenes between her and Reyes. And setting people up on dates. And so forth

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