Monday, October 20, 2014

Book Review: The Price of Justice by Laurence Leamer


Narrative non-fiction.  I read this for my local library's non-fiction book club (October 2014).  This is an excellent book and very heartbreaking too.  My best friend's stepfather died in a coal mining accident in the 1990s, but to my knowledge I do not think it had anything to do with Don Blankenship (or Massey) or the evils he has done to people.  I know most of the bigger cities and some of the smaller towns mentioned in this work, I have been to many of them, and as I said I am friends with the daughter of a coal miner, so it was very easy for me to picture these places and the people discussed in the book.  Regardless, even if you are not familiar with any of that, I do believe it would be an interesting book for those who want to know what people go through in coal mining, what it is like for the little businesses going against big operations, and also for anybody interested in law cases, the courts, and corruption.  Apparently a John Grisham book called The Appeal was based off of the real life events explained in this non-fiction work.  If you remember the Upper Big Branch mine explosion, these are the people and events leading up to that event (it is also discussed), through a fight of over 15 years, one which led all the way to the Supreme Court due to corruption in electing judges in the state supreme court of West Virginia.  I highly recommend this one, definitely a good read!

And so it goes...

Friday, October 17, 2014

Book Review: The Orchid Thief by Susan Orlean


Non-fiction.  I read this for the non-fiction book club at my local library (February 2014).  Let me start by saying this is nothing like the movie "Adaptation" which was supposedly based on this book.  The book is nothing like "Adaptation," I did not like "Adaptation," and this book was great fun.  I never knew there were so many kinds of orchids out there, the laws related to them, or how really funny and obsessed plant people can be, it was a great read!  The main person she followed is definitely a character, he is weird, shady, and definitely obsessive (and insults everybody he meets).  I now feel much better about my tiny love for gardening.  I also now see what obsession really is, and I now have a much greater appreciation for orchids.  After reading this book, when I see them in the store for $20 or less, it does not seem like that much to pay.  The orchid collecting wars that happened earlier in history blew my mind, I had absolutely no knowledge of that before reading this book.  They really are fascinating, and I can see how people become so engaged with collecting them.  Not enough that I am going to start harvesting them and keeping them my bathroom shower like some of these people in the book, but enough that I definitely take the time to look at them and wish that I had a few of my own.

And so it goes...

Book Review: The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt


Fiction.  This one I picked up because I read a review of it in the New York Times by Stephen King.  He seemed pretty enthusiastic about it, and I do like his books, so why not.  It was an excellent read, but the length is not for the feint of heart at over 700 pages.  It is a complex story with many layers, but it primarily focuses on relationships between people and what it means to be human, like most great books do.  There is an explosion at a museum, a stolen painting, the loss of a parent, an unlikely mentor relationship, furniture restoration, deceit, and all sorts of goodies.  If you are looking for a worthwhile book to spend time with, this is it.  And yes, it did win the Pulitzer for Fiction in 2014, and this time I actually agree with them.

And so it goes...

Book Review: David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell


Non-fiction.  From the title and description I thought this one sounded interesting, and it is in parts, but loads of it feels like the author is stretching it a bit.  I think it can provide some historical and mythological inspiration if you feel like and underdog yourself.  It was worth my time to read it, but I would not go around recommending it to the whole world as something they had to read.

And so it goes...

Book Review: Storm Kings by Lee Sandlin


Non-fiction.  I read this for the non-fiction book club at my local library (March 2014).  I thought this was a very cool and interesting book, where you do indeed learn about the first tornado chasers as the cover implies.  There is also tons of interesting information about how we came up with weather reports and devices for observing weather patterns, how tornadoes behave, and putting an end to a lot of nonsense: like that cities do not get hit by tornadoes, that there is a certain side of the house that is safer, or that opening windows helps equalize pressure (all not true).  I would recommend this if you want to learn a little about weather history or if you are fascinated by tornadoes.

And so it goes...

Book Review: Saturday Night Widows by Becky Aikman


Non-fiction.  I read this for my non-fiction book club at my local library (April 2014).  I did not care for this book.  I thought it was both boring and shallow.  Maybe I just couldn't relate because I am not a widow, I am not in the same age bracket as the women, and I do not have so much money and time to waste.  I thought the stuff they did was bizarre, like group underwear shopping when they tried stuff on and showed each other how awesome and empowered they supposedly were, or when they went out to the desert to a roughing it spa for privileged women who have the time and money for such an extravagant vacation.  I found not a single woman in this book relatable or interesting.  I think we have a bored reporter looking to write something, anything, and failing.  This book was not remotely my cup of tea.  I definitely do not recommend it, thank god it was free from the library and I did not pay to read it.

And so it goes...

Book Review: Unbowed by Wangari Maathai


Memoir, non-fiction.  Excellent book by an amazing woman!  Good for addressing gender roles, the environment, politics, manipulation, and perseverance.  This is an inspiring book I would recommend to all.  I was downright giddy that I had coincidentally planted a tree about three days before I begin reading this book.  Now I feel even more proud about planting that tree and all that it can stand for in this world.

And so it goes...

Blog Awards

Here are a few awards this blog has received thanks to some kind folks!

Friends and Favorites Award

Friends and Favorites Award
given 05/20/2009 by SquirrelQueen (http://squirrelqueen2.blogspot.com/)

One Lovely Blog Award

One Lovely Blog Award
given on 07/23/2009 by Juanita (http://juanitaharris.blogspot.com/)