Saturday, November 30, 2013

Ramble: Three is the Magic Number

The old house still smelled like it's past life, when it was a small winter mansion for the James Ringling, the brother of the famous Circus Man, John Ringling. Italian tiles, worn from years of use, no longer clicked with the heels of the 1920 flapper and her beau. Now, flip-flops slapped against the reddish floor as a parade of New College Students made their way to the dining room - turned - classroom. Professor Hassold stood in the hallway and handed me back one of many research papers. I frowned at the grade and asked for an explanation.

"Your writing is terrible" She said, watery blue eyes sharp despite her age. She always told the truth, whether you asked or not. "You need to read more."

My mouth dropped open a bit and I stammered, "I read three to five book a week" I gulped.

"Hmmp" she said, mouth pinched, "Then you aren't reading the right books" She entered the dining room, calling her class to order, my stunned reply already forgotten.

I remember the walk back to my dorm and the puzzlement swirling in my brain. Read more? How would I find time to read more? Every spare moment I had was devoted to curling up on my bed, head propped on a pile of pillows, devouring book after book.

I stood in front of my bookshelf, only a small sampling of my books showing. Most were stored at my Dad's apartment, 200 miles away. I ran a finger over the spins, mouthing the titles.

Then it hit me: all these books were fiction, mostly young adult or science fiction. No classics. No history or art or sociology or plays or poetry. A handful of Christian books I purchased but hadn't read. A stack of gender books I eagerly snatched up at a book sale, feeling very intellectual for buying them, but again, I hadn't read them.

I understood then, what my professor meant. My writing would only ever be as good as the book I read. And since I mostly read mass produced science fiction, you can imagine what my academic writing was like.

Then and there, I instituted the Rule of Three. The Rule of Three states for every fiction book I read, I must also read one non-fiction and one Christian.

Now, all you have to do it scan my Books I've Read blog to know, I don't follow this rule closely. It's more that for every five to eight fiction, I read something non-fiction, Christian or otherwise.

However, I have noticed recently, I fell into a strange, yet marvelous pattern. I'm always reading more than one book at a time (why is a tale for a different day), but by combing this quirk and the Rule of Three, I've managed to more closely follow the rule.

I read Three Books at a time: One Fiction, one Non-Fiction, one Christian.

I've been doing this for several weeks and it's marvelous. I feel I'm finally making a dent in my non-fiction collection (and by dent, I mean I've read two out of about a thousand and I'm down with that).

I mention this because last night, I finished both the Christian book (which I've been reading for about four months) and the non-fiction (which I've been reading for about a week). Now, I get to pick TWO new books from my shelves to dive into....oh, the glorious choice!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Review: Castle by David Macaulay

Synopsis: Using the a fictional town in Wales, Maccauley walks the reader through the building of an English castle in the late 1200s. With generous illustrations, diagrams and charts, this book starts from the picking of the plot to the end of the castle's life.

Review: I enjoyed this. Informative, creative, with excellent drawings and diagrams that made it easy to understand, this was a good book. I wish it had a floor plan of the entire castle and maybe some more said about how they made the glass and iron fittings, but in all, I would recommend this book to anyone interested in medieval castles. In particular, I feel this is a good read for a child, 6-11.

Bookmarks: 7 of 10

Awards: Caldecott Honor, 1978

ISBN: 0-395-25784-0
Date Finished: 11-26-2013
Pages: 84

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Review: The Philosopher's Kitchen: Recipes from Ancient Greece and Rome for the Modern Cook by Francine Segan

Synopsis: "Pleasure is the beginning and end of living happily," aid the Greek philosopher Epicurus two thousand years ago. Certainly the dazzlingly varied, subtly seasoned cuisine of ancient Greece and Rome measured up to the highest standards of eating pleasure. The Philosopher's Kitchen offered seductive, modern interpretations of these dishes rediscovered in a variety of sources, from writings of Plato, Aristotle, Homer, and Cicero to the oldest known surviving cookbook. Here is a rich array of culinary delights, ab ovo usque ab malum - "from eggs to fruit," as the Romans said. Mussels in Cumin-Sherry Sauce, Chestnut-Mint Puree, Chicken Breasts with Hazelnut Pesto, Lamb with Pomegranate-Glazed Onions, and Walnut Cake with Fig Jam are just a few of the delicious, healthy, and gorgeous recipes in this book that will delight and surprise the modern cook. Francine Segan also allow us a glimpse into the ancient world by putting each recipe in its cultural context, taking us to Greek feasts and Romance banquets, and revealing customs, expressions, and superstitions that are still very much a part of modern life. She share tips on entertaining, even including sample invitations a host can use to summon friends to a Roman spread of his or her own. Organized for easy, efficient use and luxuriously illustrated with Tim Turner's stunning photographs, The Philosopher's Kitchen is a glorious buffet for the senses and the soul. (From the back of the book)

Review: This was part of the recent estate sale lot. It's not a book I would pick for myself - thinking it pretentious, snooty and a bit expensive (at $35) for a cookbook. However, I was pleasantly surprised and more than a little glad it was part of my haul. Instead of ridiculous foodie nonsense and expensive ingredients, this felt more like a cookbook with hand-written notes. Each recipe was easy to follow, with no special jargon or equipment needed. Surrounding it, Segan included tidbits about ancient ingredients, food preparation techniques, rituals, traditions and of course, quotes from Philosophers about food, pleasure and the stomach. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys unique recipes with history on the side. Personally, I can't wait for my fig tree to fruit next year, not that I finally have a few fig recipe I want to try.

Bookmarks: 7.5 of 10

Awards: None

ISBN: 1-4000-6099-0
Date Finished: 11-24-2013
Pages: 250

Review: Delavier's Mixed Martial Arts Anatomy by Frederic Delavier

Synopsis: From powerful blows to explosive kicks, Delavier's Mixed Martial Arts Anatomy takes you inside the action and impact of one of the world's most popular, grueling, and challenging sports. Over 230 full-color photos and anatomical illustrations allow you to go inside more than 120 exercises specifically selected for the neuromuscular demands of the sport. You'll see how muscles interact with surrounding joints and skeletal structures and how variations and sequencing can isolate specific muscle to enhance the full arsenal of combat skills. Delavier's Mized Martial Arts Anatomy features an anatomomorphological approach to allow you to choose the most effective exercise for you body type, physical conditioning, and fighting style. From boxing to ground fighting, you'll enhance your strength and minimize your weakness with more than 20 proven programs. Featuring the lasts exercises for injury prevention and foam roller techniques for muscle regeneration, it's all here and all in the stunning detail that only Federic Delavier can provide. (from the back of the book)

Review: I was surprised when I was awarded this book. As you may guess, I’m not an MMA fighter, nor have I aspirations to be. Given the subject matter of this book, I expected to be lost. I was not. The fact someone with my lack of knowledge easily followed this book speaks volumes to me. Delavier did an amazing job of keeping the text jargon-free while still making it specific to MMA goals.
Divided into three parts, this book is clear, logical and easy to understand. Detailed, specific movements are difficult to translate into written word, but Delavier does so in clear, precise terms. Between the layout of the text and the marvelously detailed anatomical drawings, replicating these movements is simple (and yes, I tried a few, much to my husband’s amusement.). In particular, the instructions helped me understand what each movement was for, not just what muscle, but what move, what goal, why it was important as a fighter. For example, page 98 is instructions for Leg Lifts on a Pull-up Bar. This is to strengthen the “rectus femoris, psoas, iliacus, abdominal muscles, and arms,” (Delavier 98). It’s under the Kicks and Knee Strikes chapter. But the author instructions you to do the leg exercise will contracting the arm muscles because when you in an actual fight, you will most likely be contracting you arms at the same time as you legs in this move. This is brilliant!
As a female, I feel compelled to add in a woman’s viewpoint. As no time did I feel this book was angled towards only male MMA fighters. Yes, most of the models were men. This makes sense. Most MMA fighters are male. But all instructions are gender-neutral and open to either sex.
Delavier included citations and reference to medical studies about muscle power, control etc. This gave me confidence in his instructions. He also included many points of warning about how to prevent injury in the gym and in the ring. While fighting is throwing a punch, it’s also about withstanding a punch, and Delavier encouraged the reader to prepare for that.
I also found the programs at the end very helpful. Part 1 is general instructions, Part 2 the individual exercise, and Part 3 puts it all together. This gave a beginner like me much confidence.  At the same time, it’s obvious an experience fighter would be able to use the instructions to create a program tailored to them. Delavier did an excellent job of writing a work that spans novice to professional with ease.
My only qualm, and it’ a small one, is that some of the male models wore shorts entirely too small for a man – I’m looking at you, shoulder-star-tattoo dude on page 88.
In the end, I would recommend this book, not only to MMA fighters (if I knew any) but to anyone interested in learning specific way to increase strength, power and endurance. While this book is most definitely written for fighters, the information is helpful to anyone looking to become more athletic.
The received this book free as part of LibraryThings’ Early Reviewers Program in exchange for my fair and honest opinion
Bookmarks: 8 of 10
Awards: None
ISBN: 978-1-4504-6359-1
Date Finished: 11-23-2013
Pages: 143

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Review: Williamsburg Decorating with Style by the Colonial Williamsburg Founation

Synopsis: A treasury of home design from America's favorite historic restoration, Williamsburg Decorating with Style, shows that the most contemporary way to decorate is by looking for inspiration from the past. (from the back of the book)

Review: This was part of this recent acquisition from an estate sale. It's not a book I would normally by (or even pick up in the store), but given my recent obsession with all things Revolutionary, I decided to read it. Mostly, it was as I expected - gorgeous photos demonstrating decorating ideas based on the colonial style from 1750-1800. The written portion was interesting, containing a few sparse historical details intermingled with glamorous descriptions of style. At times, it felt more like an advertisement for the Williamsburg reproduction line than a decorating book. And I was sadly disappointed in the lack of historic details - but then, I may have been expecting too much from a book. It never advertised itself as a historic book, but a decorating one. This is an interesting work, one I'm happy I read, but I wouldn't rely on it solely for decorating ideas.

Bookmarks: 6.5 of 10

Awards: None

Date Finished: 11-22-2013
Pages: 176

Monday, November 25, 2013

Aquisitions: Another Estate Sale

I purchased another lot from an estate sale, my last for the year, I think - unless Dear Husband gives me permission. This one was about 100-150 books for $12. Even though I will donate/give away/turn in for credit about 80%, I'm still left with 25-40 books for $12. That's good enough for me.
This was an eclectic collection. Books on spirituality, angels and human potential mixed with 1950s dime-store westerns and coffee table books on cars and submarines. There was even a set of high school year books.

This collection, more than some others, makes me wonder about the previous owners. Many of these books seemed to have been inherited from other family members. Several were stamped with names of people long gone. Holding a book clearly treasured by someone, knowing they are dead and there loved possession now resides with some one they never knew seems odd to me. It makes me wonder who will someday hold my collection of books. What will they think of the works I've amassed? Will they love the same ones I do? Will my books go to one person or be scattered among many?

This does not make me sad. When I am died, I won't care. And I like to think my books will live many lives in many different library, read by many eyes and perhaps even loved by more than just me. Books have that power, I think, to live beyond us.

And for the record, I kept every one of the dime-store westerns. I do enjoy a good cheesy book on occasion.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Review: Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened by Allie Brosh

Synopsis: Written by the author of the blog with the same name, this book includes some fan favorites from the blog as well as new chapters.

Review: How to describe this book? First, hilarious. I had to put it down several times because laughter caused my eyes to blur with tears and render me unable to breathe. Second, truthful. We all have do and say these weird, embarrassing things, but Brosh, by being truthful about her own crazy, reminds us we aren't alone with our weird embarrassing things. Third, comforting. In particular, her portions on Depression and Identity hit home for me, as I struggle with both. Her words gave me a way of explaining it to others that made sense, without the dark doom'n'gloom that my previous attempts invoked.
In the end, I would recommend this book to most people, but each for different reasons. Some, for the humor, some for the connection and some to let them know they are not alone in their struggles.

Bookmarks: 8 of 10

Awards: None (Yet)

ISBN: 978-1-4516-6617-5
Date Finished: 11-20-2013
Pages: 369

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Review: The Muse of the Revolution: The Secret Pen of Mercy Otis Warren and the Founding of a Nation by Nancy Rubin Stuart

Synopsis: "Praised by her mentor John Adams, Mercy Otis Warren was America's first woman playwright and female historian of the American Revolution. In the unprecedented biography, Nancy Rubin Stuart reveals how Warren's provocative writing made her an exception among the largely voiceless women of the eighteenth century." (from the back of the book)

Review: I dressed up as Mercy Otis Warren for Halloween. Yea, I know - nerdy - but that's how I roll. I figured, since all I'd ever read about her was a Wikipedia page, I should learn more. I am SO glad I did. In addition to downloading her complete works on my kindle ($3, thanks to Amazon), I purchase this biography. It was enlightening to read about her. Stuart did an excellent job of portraying Warren truthfully - a caring, tempestuous, high-strung, warm, witty, loving, forceful genius who was stalwart and constant during a time of turmoil and danger. My only qualm with Stuart's work is the tendency to jump around in the earlier chapters. This is perhaps to overlapping storyline and time frames, but it was mildly confusing. However, as the book procedure, this ceased to be an issue. While the focus was on Warren, Stuart does an excellent job of explain the time and history and events surrounding Mercy. I was glad of this. I didn't realize my knowledge of the Revolution and it's aftermath was so lacking. I highly recommend to anyone who enjoys a well told biography!

Bookmarks: 7.5 of 10

Awards: None

ISBN: 978-0-8070-5517-5
Date Finished: 11-11-2013
Pages: 314

Monday, November 18, 2013

Ramble: The Graphic Novel

They call it Graphic Novel because Comic seems demeaning. But they are comics - which, in their simplest form, are the use of words and pictures to tell a story. Why should story told via Comic be considered not a true work of literature?

As I delve into the stacks of Comics I purchase last week, I'm learning how powerful these stories can be. Something about the images, the words floating over the picture, the movement, color and style - it's a unique form of story telling. I quite enjoy it.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Review: Grimm Fairy Tales, Volume 1-7 by Zenoscope Entertainment

Synopsis: This is the first 7 issues of Zenoscope's Grimm Fairy Tale collection. Centered around a woman names Sela, each issue tells a fairy tale, but not how you remembered. Sela has the power to make anyone feel as if they are in the fairy tale, often one that relates to there life. Sela uses her power to help set people on the path of truth and goodness. But she often contends with Belinda, a woman of the same power who uses her to inflict harm and misery.

Review: I picked this up from our local comic book shop, because I'm a sucker for anything fairy tale related. This was not what I expected it to be, but so much better! Dark, twisted, eerie, yet with shards of truth, goodness and lightness - these are exquisite tales. I enjoy the thread of the battle between Sela and Belinda (and who they represent) that ties all the stories together. I like how some tales end horribly, badly, wrongly, that people don't always learn their lesson and sometimes, they chose the wrong path. I love the color, design and feels of the drawings - elegant, gorgeous, but with a  hint of madness. These are not happy stories. They are not children's tale. They are not for the faint of heart, the sentimental, the squeamish. They are, however, wonderful stories. I am quite rabid to get my hands on Volume 8-14.

Bookmarks: 8 of 10

Awards: None

ISBN: 978-0-9786874-0-3
Date Finished: 11-14-2013
Pages: 150 per Graphic Novel

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Review: You're Already Amazing: Embracing Who You Are, Becoming All God Created You to Be by Holley Gerth

Synopsis: With this heart-to-heart message, Holley Gerth invited you to embrace one very important truth - that you are already amazing. Like a trusted friend, Holley gently shows you how to forget the lies and expectations the world feeds you and instead believe that God loves you and has bigger plans for your life than you've even imagined. (from the back of the book)

Review: This was the book assigned to my Women's Group at Church. It's not a book I would choose myself, being that I generally eschew fluffy girly crap. However, I was pleasantly surprised with this book. While it had remnants to the girly-fluff, Gerth's advice was bold, honest, straightforward - and logical. Gerth speaks directly to the woman who has been bombarded by the lies our world tells about worth and value, helping her to understand our worth comes from God. This is an important lesson. The reason I gave it 6.5 instead of 7 was because of the lack of Bible. There was some, but I would have liked to see more. However, I would recommend this book to someone who is struggling with their self-worth and needs to be reminded who God thinks they are.

Bookmarks: 6.5 of 10

Awards: None

ISBN: 978-0-8007-2060-5
Date Finished: 11-6-2013
Pages: 219

Monday, November 11, 2013

Review: Silent Dances by A.C. Crisping and Kathleen O'Malley (Starbridge, Book 2)

Synopsis: Deaf since birth, Tesa is the perfect ambassador to the alien Grus, whose sonic cries can shatter human ears. But her mission is harder than it looks. The Grus are not alone on their world. They have deadly enemies, both natural and otherwise. And if Tesa is to save all life on the planet, she will have to make peace with not one alien species...but two. (from the back of the book)

Review: As with Starbridge, this book started out a bit slow. It was nice to see two characters from Book 1, but they had minor bits. Most of the book centered on a new world with new people. Tesa was a marvellous character. Crispin and O'Malley did an excellent job creating a breathing person, who changed and grew as the story went on. In particular, Tesa's struggle with being Deaf was a unique twist that enhanced the depth of the whole book. The story itself was excellent - full of life, twists, danger, emotions and reality. A strong, satisfying read. I would highly recommend this work to anyone who want to dive into a good story!

Bookmarks: 7.5 of 10

Awards: None

ISBN: 0-441-78330-9
Date Finished: 11-4-2013
Pages: 275

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Aquisitions: Getting My Nerd On

Yesterday, we stopped by this local comic book shop. I purchased a rather substantial amount of comic books, manga and graphic novels. This is because I wish to explore this genre, as I find it fascinating!

Here is what I purchased:

Graphic Novels:

Grimms Fairy Tales by Zenoscope, Volumes 1-7

Robyn Hood: Wanted by Zenoscope, Omnibus

Grimms Fairy Tales: Zombies and Demons, Unleash Tie-In, by Zenoscope, Omnibus

Grimms Fairy Tales: Unleashed, Volume 1 by Zenoscope

Grimms Fairy Tales: Bad Girls by Zenoscope

My Little Pony Annual 2013: Equestria Girls

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, Volumes 1 and 2

My Little Pony: Pony Tales, Volume 1

Mara by Brian Wood et al, by Imagine Comics


WitchHunter by Jung-Man Cho, Volume 1-4

I can't wait to dig and see what the noise is about. Already, I've started the Grimms Fairy Tales and it's SO addictive!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Review: Courageous Children and Women of the American Revolution through Primary Sources by John Micklos, Jr.

Synopsis: The American Revolution could not have been won without the unsung heroes - courage women and children. Women served as nurses and spies. Some even fought in battle. Children supported the cause, too. Although the fighting age was supposed to be sixteen, many young men joined the army. Women and children made great sacrifices to help America win its freedom. (from the back of the book)

Review: I purchased this book for the title. I missed the part about it being a children's book. To that end, I was disappointed in the presentation of the information. While the facts are clear, the language is unnecessary simplistic. I feel a child reading about this subject might handle larger words and more complex sentences. However, the information is clear, concise and factual. I learned names and stories I'd never heard. It's an excellent starting point to research more about this subject and I particularly enjoyed the bibliography in the back - something you almost NEVER find in a children's book. In all, this was organized like an adult history book, but intended for young readers. My only qualm is the language was so simplistic it detracted from the overall qualities of the book.

Bookmarks: 6.5 of 10

Awards: None

ISBN: 978-1-4644-0189-3
Date Finished: 11-3-2013
Pages: 48

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Review: The Judge: An Untrue Tale by Harve Zemach, ill. by Margot Zemach

Synopsis: Five prisoners march before a Judge, each asking for release because they didn't know they broke the law, they "only said what they saw". Each warn the Judge of something big and scary coming, but the Judge won't listen. Who's right - the prisoners or the Judge?

Review: Cute and witty, this is a pleasant read. The syntax is reminiscent of Dr. Seuss, with rhymes and word play. The illustrations have a clever watercolor feel that I'm sure children will like. I admit I'm uncertain why it's considered such a classic. It's good, but not that good. Children will enjoy it, but I doubt it will be any one's favorite.

Bookmarks: 6 of 10

Awards: Caldecott Honor, 1970

ISBN: 0374439621
Date Finished: 11-3-2013
Pages: 27

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Review: The Sum of All Kisses by Julie Quinn (Smythe-Smith Quartet, Book 3)

Synopsis: He thinks she's an annoying know-it-all. Hugh Prentice has never had patience for dramatic females, and if Lady Sarah Pleinsworth has ever been acquainted with the words shy or retiring, she's long since tossed them out the window. Besides, even if Hugh did grow to enjoy her company, it wouldn't matter. A reckless duel has left this brilliant mathematician with a ruined leg, and now, unable to run, ride or even waltz, he could never court a woman like Sarah, much less dream of marrying her.
She thinks he's just plain mad. Sarah has never forgiven Hugh for the duel he fought three years earlier, the on that forced her cousin into exile, nearly destroying her family. But even if she could find a way to forgive him, it wouldn't matter. She doesn't car that his leg is less than perfect, it's his personality she can't abide. But when the pair is forced to spend a week in close company, they discover that first impressions are not always reliable. And when one kiss leads to two, three and four, the mathematician may lose count and the lay may, for the first time, find herself speechless. (From the back of the book)

Review: Once again, Julia Quinn has written a book of sparkling wit, humor and romance. I love how she intertwines her stories and has previous characters show up, or even play pivitol parts. The two main characters, Hugh and Sarah, are excellent characters - flawed, well-rounded, with depth and distinct personas. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good romance novel.

Bookmarks: 7 of 10

Awards: None

ISBN: 78-0-06-207292-4
Date Finished: 11-2-2013
Pages: 373

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Aquisitions: In Which I Lament My Lack of TIme

For Halloween, I was Mercy Otis Warren, an influential authoress during the Revolutionary War. Naturally, I bought books about women during this time period. This was somewhat influences by several trips to Colonial Williamsburg and the purchase of a period-accurate gown for my costume. Because that's how nerds party, yo.

Anyhoo, I've also made several trip to Paperback, Inc to trade in part of the horde I still have. This means I've brought home several volumes for my collections. And then there is the 6-month thing I signed up for from Persephone Books in the UK - They send me a new book each month. These are gorgeous volumes, of course, lovely selected, thoughtfully published, and creatively bound. Dreamy books, really.

The problem with buying books, really, is time. I have so many good ones and I despair of ever having time to read even a third of them. I suppose, one day, when I am old and retired, I shall do nothing but read all day.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Review: Magic Tree House, Books 1-5 by Mary Pope Osborne

Synopsis:  Jack and his sister Annie discover a tree house full of books. When they wish to see a place, the magic tree house transports them there. But who created this marvelous place? Who owns the books? What does it have to do with the letter M they find written all around?

Review: I picked up these books as a thrift store, paying pennies, managing with a little work, to get 1-12 of the series. I wanted to read them because they are an excellent example of books for ages 5-8. I have story idea for that age group and wanted to read something similar.
As it turned out, these are quite good. The characters of Jack and Annie have distinct personalities, with some depth, I enjoyed the "big reveal" at the end of book 4 (who created the tree house and why), and any story about books and magic thrills me. The writing and plot were simple, but not dumb-down, and have more depth than I would have ascribed to a young readers book such as this series.  In the end, I'm glad I read these and I intend to collect all 50 and read them. I highly recommend for kids ago 5-6. These are excellent starter chapter books and since they have some historical and natural fact in them, an excellent place to start discussions.

Bookmarks:  7 of 10

Awards: None

ISBN: 0-590-62352-4 (Book 1)
Date Finished: 10-31-2013
Pages: 65-70 per book.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Rambles: My New Reading Hero, and the Idea He Gave Me

I saw a random pin on Pinterest about Theodore Roosevelt. This pin claimed he read a book a day, at least, even when President. I thought, surely, this is one of those internet falsehood. But, curiosity drove me and I sought the truth.

Turns out, he did. President Roosevelt was a voracious reader. According to the Theodore Roosevelt Center, TR was a "voracious reader, reading on average a book a day even while President. He usually read several books at a time, rotating between them depending on his activities and/or his mood. Roosevelt read widely in genres ranging from classic and contemporary fiction & poetry to ancient philosophy, military histories and natural history studies. He read in many different languages, including German, French, Italian and Latin."

This man is my new reading hero.

On this website, there is a link to the inventory of TR's books. As I was reading this, I began to ponder.

If I can download the complete works of a single author, I should be able to download the contents of a single person's library. For example, if I wish to read what TR read, I would simply download his library - an electronic copy of every book he owned. Or, for example, I might download Thomas Jefferson's or Tupac Shakur's or Emily Dickinson's. How thrilling to read the written works that influenced, inspired or sharped someone you admire?

I expect, of course, this will be available shortly. Between Amazon, B&N, the Library Systems in America and the Gutenberg Project, most books will soon be available electronically. It's only a matter of grouping them according to library.

I wonder if I could get a job doing that?

I doubt it, but what I don't doubt is that if TR can read that many books while being President, than I can manage to read 100 books in a year. That's 2 a week. I can manage that.

Review: Starbridge by A.C. Crispin (Starbridge, Book 1)

Synopsis: We are not alone. Across the galaxy, there are eleven known intelligent races. Mankind is the twelfth. We are about to meet our neighbors. (from the back of the book)

Review: This book, along with four sequels, was among the Sci-Fi book horde I purchased a month or so ago. It look mildly interesting and I had the set (or so I thought), so I kept it, not really intending to read it anytime soon. I mean, look at the cover! So cheesy!
But then, Jim C. Hines, a favorite author, mentioned he was reading it to his son. Since I admire Hines' work so greatly, I reassessed my initial appraisal of the series. After this first book, I see what Hines is speaking about (not that I doubted him).
I enjoyed this book greatly! The beginning is a bit slow and the story doesn't pick up pace until things go wrong. A story about humanities First Contact, this could easily shift into a parade of cliches. But it doesn't. It felt truthful, as if things might actually happen this way. I felt Mahree was a bit young, but her character grew up in the story and I like how Crispin handled that. In the end, this is a fabulous sci-fi tale, with all the charm of an old classic and all the wit and twists of a good story. I highly recommend if you want a solid sci-fi tale!

Bookmarks: 7.5 of 10

Awards: Non

ISBN: 0-441-78329-5
Date Finished: 10-29-2013
Pages: 309