Friday, August 05, 2016

Prisoners of Geography

by Tim Marshall

I recently figured out that the thread that ties together most of my reading is that I want to know how stuff works. Whether I'm perusing a book of maps, reading a magazine article on bird migration, or delving into the history of America in the 1850's, I'm driven to find out how things are put together and what they do once they're running.

I figured this out while pondering just why I had to read this book. Prisoners of Geography attempts to explain how the physical landscape has affected the history and will shape the future of different areas of the world. Of course, when Mr. Marshall speaks of geography, he not only covers the natural formations of land and sea, but also those lines that governments have drawn on their maps, sometimes to the detriment of the people living in the regions depicted there. It was an interesting take on history and politics, well worth reading.

Check it out!
LibraryThing link

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Saturday, July 30, 2016

Lutheran Bible Companion, Volume 2

Edward A. Engelbrecht, General Editor

As you might guess, since volume 1 of the Companion covered the Old Testament, this volume is a guide to the New Testament. It also covers the Apocrypha, and adds a few general articles and a Bible Dictionary. 'Tis another nice reference book to have on my shelf.

LibraryThing link

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Sunday, July 24, 2016

Small Favor

by Jim Butcher

This time out, Harry Dresden has ticked off Titania, the fae Queen of Summer. She's sent out her agents to kill him. In the meantime, Harry has to find the missing mob boss Marcone and unravel a plot by the Denarians, a group of fallen angels. It's all told in Mr. Butcher's amusing and engaging style.

check it out
LibraryThing link

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Saturday, July 16, 2016

Les Misérables

by Victor Hugo

Reading this book was a humbling experience. I really, really should have gone back to college for a humanities degree; or at least taken time to google the gazillion references M. Hugo makes to French history, European history, ancient history and classical literature. At least I got the religious allusions. Anyway, Les Misérables is the story of Jean Valjean, a man who, as a young man, was arrested and convicted for stealing a loaf of bread. He spends the rest of his life either in prison or looking over his shoulder for the people who want to put him back in prison. It's a remarkable novel and a great bargain. Because, you see, while Jean Valjean is the hero of the novel, almost all of the supporting characters get their own novels, intertwined with Jean Valjean's novel. Okay, maybe only a couple get novels. The rest get novellas. All together in one very thick book. Written in some of the best flowery prose the 19th Century produced. You should get a copy and then put on your shelf after you read it, just like I did.

LibraryThing link

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Monday, July 04, 2016

Ecclesiastes

by James Bollhagen

Sheesh! It really does take me a year to finish these things!

Dr. Bollhagen takes us on a journey through the Biblical book of Ecclesiastes. Like the other Concordia Commentaries, it's deep and scholarly and Christological. And way over my head, of course. Still it was well worth reading, even if I read it in small doses.

On my shelf!
LibraryThing link

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Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Spacetrawler: Brogham's Teeth

by Christopher Baldwin

In book two of the Spacetrawler saga, the gang has split up. Each face various challenges to stay alive and free the Eebs. (Except Dustin. Dustin's too annoying to be killed and couldn't care less about the Eebs.) In the process, the secret of the Eebs is discovered and it turns out to be one more monkey wrench in the works....

It's on my shelf!
LibraryThing link

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Monday, May 09, 2016

Spacetrawler: The Human Seat

by Christopher Baldwin

I discovered the webcomic Spacetrawler late in the game. I dimly recall that it was recommended (by a site I dimly forget) for those who enjoyed Firefly. I checked it out from the beginning strip and after a few pages added it to my web feed. A bit later I discovered that it was no longer active1. Alas! Anyway, I started to read through the saga, as computer time permitted. But since I was not allotted a lot of free computer time, I progressed slowly. Fortunately I've been able to obtain the first volume of the collected strips and can now pull it off the shelf at my leisure.

Spacetrawler tells the tale of six humans who have been kidnapped by aliens. You see, the galaxy is run by the Galactic Organizational Body. Earth has a seat on this congress, but it is unclaimed as we humans are not yet a space faring race. In fact, the entire solar system has been declared off-limits by the G.O.B. because we lack the advanced technology to join them. The G.O.B., on the other hand has loads of advanced technology--almost all of it created by a race called the Eebs. You'd think that would make the Eebs the masters of the galaxy. Wrong. Legally, Eebs are classified as "less than sentient" and thus are slaves to the rest of the galaxy. Most beings are cool with that, but you have a few with a higher morality. Some of them have banded together as Interplanet Amity and are fighting for species equality and justice. They're not doing too well. That's why they kidnapped the humans. Amity hopes that the humans can adopt the role of Earth's representatives, claim the planet's seat on the G.O.B. and lobby to get the Eebs declared as sentient.

In The Human Seat, things don't go as planned.

Why do I love the book? Probably because it's like the Marx Brothers in space. Well, maybe not quite that crazy. The story does go along peppered with jokes and hijinks. But there's also a dark edge to the series that cuts the laughter short from time to time. Even so, I want to keep reading to find out what happens next.

LibraryThing link

1) But there is good news. New adventures of Spacetrawler should begin in September 2016!

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