Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Uncle Vanya

by Anton Checkov

 It's probably much better when you see it performed on stage, but I gotta call it waiting room material.

LibraryThing link

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Sunday, April 26, 2015

What If?

by Randall Munroe

I love science. Not enough to actually become a scientist, mind you. That would involve work and I found out years ago that doing the work involved in science takes all the fun out of it. No, I much prefer to read about science--to let other people tell me what they've found out. In one sense, that describes this book. Mr. Munroe responds to a variety of questions with answers just dripping in science. Unfortunately, the questions are so absurd that it makes the book of little practical use. I mean, sure you can use the book to jack up a card table or something, but that has nothing to do with science. I mean, a book of poetry would work just as well. Anyway, nobody asks about making card tables level or any such practical matter. Instead they ask questions like if one could safely swim in a spent nuclear fuel pool or how quickly you could drain the oceans with a 10-meter hole. Of course, once I read these questions, I then must know the answers. Mr. Munroe kindly supplies them. In fact, if the answer is a bit boring, he takes it upon himself to run with the original concept to make the results more interesting. Actually, it does get a bit disturbing, because one way or another, the scenarios postulated often end up in a great deal of death and/or mayhem. I don't know what that says about Mr. Munroe or the company he keeps. But it does make me grateful that this book is so very impractical.

Check it out!
LibraryThing link

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The New Street Photographer's Manifesto

by Tanya Nagar

My daughter picked up this book from the Library and I was intrigued enough to pick it up and give it a read. I never knew street photography--capturing "the human condition within public places"--was a thing. The book made it sound appealing, but I gave up aspirations of being a serious photographer long ago. Besides, I usually chicken out when I want to snap candid shots of people. Anyway, the book itself is simply written and lavishly illustrated, as one might expect from a book on photography. Excellent waiting room material.

LibraryThing link

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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

American Empire: The Victorious Opposition

by Harry Turtledove

First read in February of 2008.

Checked and rechecked it out.
LibraryThing link

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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Laughing All the Way

by Pat Detmer

The author gave me this book this past Christmas. 'Twas a delightful gift. It's a compilation of columns she had written for the Whidbey Island Marketplace from 2002-2005. In her column, she wrestled with the social issues of the day--exposing corruption, speaking truth to power, and advocating for the disenfranchised. ... Just kidding. Actually she just told jokes and made snarky comments about having a weekend home on the island. But it's funny, so that's why I'm keeping the book on my shelf rather than quietly donating it the Goodwill. Pat--I'll call her Pat rather than following my usual practice of using the author's title and surname, because I don't think I could type "Ms. Detmer" with a straight face--Pat does a great job of pulling out the character of the people and places she writes about. Even though it was a world unfamiliar to me, I felt I was laughing with friends rather than laughing at "those weird people over there". And laugh I did. I had to be verrry careful when reading the book over lunch. (Fortunately, no beverage was spewed.) So go ahead and grab a copy of this book. In the meantime, I'll be heading over to her website to see what other writings I can read.

It's on my shelf.
LibraryThing link

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Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Minority Report

by Philip K. Dick

This one's a collection of stories by Philip K. Dick. It's anchored by "Minority Report" and "We Can Remember it for You Wholesale", the two tales that were the basis of the movies Minority Report and Total Recall. Those are the best stories in the collection. The rest are entertaining enough, though I think I enjoyed them more for their nostalgia value. They very much have a 50's-60's feel to them.

Check it out.
LibraryThing link

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Wednesday, April 01, 2015

American Empire: The Center Cannot Hold

by Harry Turtledove

First read in December of 2007.
This one's lost its magic for me. I realized that this series really does spend way too much time updating backstories. I wonder if Mr. Turtledove expects people to pick up these books without having read the predecessors. Anyway, it makes for a great book to read at the bus stop or in a waiting room.

LibraryThing link

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