Thursday, January 30, 2020
This brings back ancient childhood memories. Once every couple of weeks or so, my parents would pack us kids into the family station wagon, and we'd go to the local Carvel Soft Ice Cream Store (similar to this one) located in Shoemakersville, Pennsylvania, I was in sugar heaven.
Wednesday, January 29, 2020
The next day, she could hardly settle to anything. In the morning she fussed with her little garden, pruning this, repotting that, but her mind wasn’t on it. Then it started to rain, so she went inside and made some coffee and did what she had never done in her life: tried the newspaper crossword.
“What a stupid exercise,” said her daemon after five minutes. “Words belong in contexts, not pegged out like biological specimens.”
(from The Book of Dust, Book 1: La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman)
5½*/10. The full review is here.
Tuesday, January 28, 2020
Monday, January 27, 2020
Sunday, January 26, 2020
Saturday, January 25, 2020
Friday, January 24, 2020
Thursday, January 23, 2020
As a small boy, Norman had always enjoyed putting his chemistry set to ill use and blowing things up. But, as an adult he came to the conclusion that the problem with blowing things up was that it always left such chaos behind. Not that Norman was an altogether tidy man, but explosions do tend to leave behind quite an unwholesome jumble.
So, when now called upon to show his scientific stuff, as it were, Norman determined that he would create a clean bomb that would tidy up after itself.
And thus, with this goal in mind, and his thoughts that Alfred Nobel had invented dynamite and that Norman still was very keen to win a Nobel Prize, Normanite was born.
Normanite was unique in that it was an implosive, it sucked rather than blew.
(from The Chronicles of Banarnia, by Robert Rankin)
8*/10. The full review is here.
Monday, January 20, 2020
Sunday, January 19, 2020
Reading stats for 2019:
Books read: 72
Words read: 25,262 (per Goodreads)
Shortest book: 75 pages (Carl Sandburg)
Longest book: 1,252 pages (Brandon Sanderson)
Female Authors: 15
New Authors: 34
Highbrow Lit: 3 (Proust, Hawthorne, Barzun)
Saturday, January 18, 2020
Imagine that you are a government official charged with procuring the funds to fight one of two proven killers: terrorist attacks and heart disease. Which cause do you think the members of Congress will open up the coffers for? The likelihood of any given person being killed in a terrorist attack is far smaller than the likelihood that the same person will clog up his arteries with fatty food and die of heart disease. But a terrorist attack happens now; death by heart disease is some distant, quiet catastrophe. Terrorist attacks lie beyond our control; French fries do not.
(from Freakonomics by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner)
8½*/10. The complete review is here.
Thursday, January 16, 2020
Wednesday, January 15, 2020
Tuesday, January 14, 2020
Elizabeth was ready to argue, but a sharp pain in her side stopped her.
“Are you hurt?” Simon said.
She shook her head, but Simon wasn’t convinced. “Come on,” he said as he guided her to the bank of elevators, stopping only briefly at the front desk to get his key and bark some orders. “Uncanny,” he muttered.
“You and trouble.”
“It’s a gift.”
(from When The Walls Fell by Monique Martin)
5*/10. The full review is here.
Monday, January 13, 2020
Sunday, January 12, 2020
Saturday, January 11, 2020
Friday, January 10, 2020
“In any case,” Quick Ben said with a smile, “I don’t rival gods.”
“A wise decision.”
“But, sometimes, I beat them at their own game.”
Beauchelain studied the wizard, then slowly leaned back. “I find myself appreciating your company, Quick Ben. I am not easily entertained, but you have indeed proved a worthy diversion this night, and for that I thank you.”
“You’re quite welcome.”
“My companion, Korbal Broach, alas, would like to kill you.”
“Can’t please everyone.”
(from Memories of Ice by Steven Erikson)
8½*/10. The complete review is here.
Thursday, January 09, 2020
Wednesday, January 08, 2020
Tuesday, January 07, 2020
Monday, January 06, 2020
Sunday, January 05, 2020
This is not a cheerful book, but history has a way of intruding upon the present, and perhaps those who read it will have a clearer understanding of what the American Indian is, by knowing what he was. They may be surprised to hear words of gentle reasonableness coming from the mouths of Indians stereotyped in the American myth as ruthless savages. (…) The Indians knew that life was equated with the earth and its resources, that America was a paradise, and they could not comprehend why the intruders from the East were determined to destroy all that was Indian as well as America itself.
And if the readers of this book should ever chance to see the poverty, the hopelessness, and the squalor of a modern Indian reservation, they may find it possible to truly understand the reasons why.
(Dee Brown, in the introduction to this book)
(from Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown)
9½*/10. The complete review is here.