Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Hiding Place

by Corrie ten Boom with John and Elizabeth Sherrill

This book surprised me. I knew it was a great story--the tale of a Dutch woman whose family hid Jewish refugees in the early days of the Second World War, until they were caught and sent first to prison and later to a concentration camp. I had read the book years ago. What surprised me, when I picked the book off from my shelf to read for my daughter's schooling, was just how pleasant it was to read. The Sherrills and Ms. ten Boom have done a great job of presenting the sights and sounds, the people and events that makes up The Hiding Place. It's a suspenseful tale under-girded by a strong sense of faith and compassion.

LibraryThing link


Home Sweat Home

by Lynn Johnston

If you've been reading my reviews of the latter For Better or For Worse collections, you've probably caught my subtle hints that I've been increasingly disappointed with the quality of the strip. I pretty much read this, the most recent collection to date, merely so I could say that I've read them all. Oddly enough, this collection wasn't too bad. More jokes, less sermons. Or maybe I was just less cranky.

Oh, just check it out.
LibraryThing link

Labels: , ,

Friday, March 27, 2009

Made You Look

by Shari Graydon

Made You Look is Advertising 101 for kids. It draws the reader's attention to this industry that pervades our environment and examines how it attempts to get the dollars out of our collective pocket. Ms. Graydon livens up the study with a sprinkling of anecdotes and amusing illustrations. (Well, actually, Warren Clark did the illustrations.) Readers are also challenged to do their own analysis of the advertising that they see, hear and read every day.

Hey, Kids! Check it out!
LibraryThing link


Monday, March 23, 2009

For Whom the Bell Tolls

by Ernest Hemingway

This one has a real simple premise: an American has to blow up a bridge in the mountains of Spain during the country's civil war. So why does that little tale take 471 pages to tell? Because Mr. Hemingway is such a durn good writer, that's why. His characters drew me into the tale as they interacted with each other, conflicting and working together in the face of their goal and the overall fight against the fascists. They also found plenty of time to muse about life in general. But lest you think it was all characterization, Mr. Hemingway also craftily built the suspense until I suddenly found myself worrying whether they would get that obscenity bridge or not. I'll definitely have to read more from this guy.

Check. It. Out. Trust me on this.
LibraryThing link


Friday, March 13, 2009

The Metamorphosis

by Franz Kafka

One day, back in my youth, I decided to get me some culture. I was an avid science fiction fan and I had heard that there was this book--actual literature--about a man who turned into a cockroach. I determined to get a copy of that book and see how the author was able to transform such a concept into something that would be studied by university professors and the like. What fascinating cause did he devise for such a change? How deftly could he explain the biological differences between insect and mammal or the physical consequences of the mutated form? What excitement awaited as the protagonists unravelled the puzzle and either killed or saved the immense man-bug? I was disappointed. I procured a copy of the book, The Metamorphosis, and tried to devour it like an Isaac Asimov or Harlan Ellison tale. It was boring! Not one bit of pseudo-science! No explanation at all as to why this shmoe was roached. And let me tell you, Gregor Samsa made for one pathetic giant insect. I read the book once and let it gather dust.

Well, about twenty years have passed and now I've had to read the story again, as part of my daughter's schooling. I'm happy to report that I have grown up a bit. I may still find Mothra more entertaining, but I was able to appreciate the depth of the tale that escaped my younger self. It's a rather depressing tale, but quite human. Of course, the multitude of essays that compose the final two-thirds of the Bantam Classics edition are still boring. I don't know if that's because I'm still to stupid to understand them, or if maybe I've grown to wise to be impressed by such intellectual endeavors.

Check it out, if you're old enough.
LibraryThing link


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Labor's Untold Story

by Richard O. Boyer and Herbert M. Morais

You have to be careful when you read some history books. You have to read with caution, testing each paragraph, sometimes each sentence, to see if there might be some sort of agenda hidden amongst the author's prose. That's not a concern with this tome. Misters Boyer and Morais wear their agenda on their sleeves. Labor's Untold Story is the story of the labor movement from the left-wing point of view. J.P. Morgan, John D. Rockefeller and the Pinkerton Detective Agency are the bad guys; Gene Debs, Bill Haywood and the IWW are the heroes. The book covers the movement from the years immediately following the Civil War to the Eisenhower administration--the present day back when the book was first published. As a union member living a comfortable middle class American lifestyle, I read the book straddling the fence. I was a bit leery of rooting for the fervent socialists, even as I rejoiced over their occasional victories against the injustices perpetrated by the corporations and monopolists. But like any history written by the underdog, it is well worth reading, if for no other reason than to consider the well-known stories of history from a different perspective.

Yes, check it out.
LibraryThing link


Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Albert Einstein and the Theory of Relativity

by Robert Cwiklik

I didn't care much for this biography of Albert Einstein. Oh, it presented the facts of his life well enough. It also did a good job of explaining Einstein's theories and showing why they were so revolutionary. What turned me off was Mr. Cwiklik's style of presenting Einstein's life. He didn't engage the reader in the story, but instead came across as talking down to his audience. (I know, this is a biography for "young people", but it is possible to write at a child's level without sacrificing readability.) I also wondered how many of the personal thoughts and feelings were actually Einstein's and how many were author generated filler. So in the end, while I did learn something from the book, I was left wondering if I there was a better biography out there, somewhere.

Waiting room material, relatively speaking.
LibraryThing link


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Subscribe to Posts [Atom]