in all blogs
Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Adult books, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 47
For years I've been thinking about writing a memoirish book of essays about my experience as a maritial arts student. I even had a working title, Black Belt Essays. I even wrote and published two said essays. But that's as far as I've gotten with this project because of the time issues I keep writing about on Tuesdays and poor discipline and whine, whine, whine.
Just moments ago, I learned that someone else has written my book. Susan Schorn
has written Smile At Strangers and Other Lessons in the Art of Living Fearlessly
, which will be published next month. #@!! This is all because I am slow and inept!
Of course, my weak grasp of zennyness tells me that wanting, as in wanting to have written that book, as in wanting someone else not to have written it first, leads to unhappiness. Damn straight about that. But soon this moment of wanting and unhappiness will be in the past and over, and I will be on to another moment in which I will be slow and inept about other things. Yeah. I'm sitting here waiting for that. And waiting.
Oh. Here's a cheery thought. Schorn's book is about karate
, and mine would have been about taekwondo
. Plus, she teaches karate, while I can barely manage to maintain my own taekwondo skills, let alone teach anyone else. (I've already written one essay on that subject
and am sure I can probably wring two or three more on it.) So if we both end up writing martial arts memoirs, they wouldn't be anything
Now, that's a relief. I'm into that better feeling moment already.
World Book Night is a week from tomorrow, and a couple of days ago I finished reading The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh, the book I'll be giving. I chose this book on the recommendation of a family member. As it turns out, the protagonist, Victoria, is a young woman in her late teens who has just left the foster care system. We follow two story lines in alternating chapters, one about Victoria's childhood involvement with Elizabeth, the foster mother who teaches her the language of flowers, and the second about her experience as she tries (or I should say, is almost forced) to make a life for herself. The young character makes this a book of particular interest to me, because I like to ponder the differences between a children's/YA book with a child/YA character and an adult book with a child/YA character.
Flowers is a good book in which Diffenbaugh, a first-time novelist, shows a lot of control. For instance, in places she teeters on the edge of what I like to call the Magical Mommy, treating motherhood as some kind of mystical experience that has the potential to cure all. But she juuuust pulls back. Victoria is also only able to maintain herself because she happens to run into people who take to her and offer significant help. Coincidence is never good in fiction, but I was able to accept it here because the people who help her are outsiders. (And maybe because my experience of the world suggests that many young people like Victoria only succeed at all because someone helped them help.)
Diffenbaugh also does a good job showing why Victoria is filled with anger and does ugly things. In lots of books with characters like that the behavior is just there without enough development to make what they're doing make sense. Readers are expected to accept it and move on with the story.
What readers of this blog might find particularly interesting about this book is that while it's an adult book, I thought it seemed very much like a YA problem novel--a teenager, usually a girl, has a specific problem that, after much struggle, she overcomes. If you removed the Victorian language of flowers from The Language of Flowers, I think it would have seemed even more like a bare bones YA problem novel.
I think this is a novel that could end up on library book lists for teenagers, just as I thought Alice Bliss would.
Nancy Springer, author of Rowan Hood and a number of other children's books, published an adult book this past Tuesday. In a guest post at Sharon's Garden of Book Reviews, Nancy describes Dark Lie as not for kids and very much for adults. "...It's a psychological suspense thriller, for gosh sake, with deep insights and dark shadows and creepy people and sexual weirdness..." I can take or leave deep insights but creepy people and sexual weirdness are always a draw for me.
Because I enjoy telling humiliating stories about myself, I'll refer you to this nearly ten year old blog post describing how I came to meet Nancy. Note that I'm only saying that I've met her. I don't claim to know her.
As it turns out, I have one of her Enola Holmes books upstairs in my To Be Read pile.
I've been thinking of giving a copy of one of my books to a therapist who is working with our ill family member, to give her an idea of what said family member was like decades ago. Except, of course, she wasn't like the woman I wrote about in this way and that way and a couple of other ways. So what would I say to the therapist when I give her the book? "Except for A,B,C, and D you can see what she was like back in her thirties, but she wasn't really like that a couple of decades later"?
I just read this post by Karen Russell at The Orion Blog. Russell is the author of Swamplandia, which I've been thinking about reading because it's an adult book with a child main character, and I'm always interested in how that happens. What's the difference between an adult book with a child main character and a children's book?
But that's not the point today.
Russell begins her post with Whenever I’m asked about the ratio of the real to the fantastic in my work, I will shamelessly plagiarize Flannery O’Connor, who said, “The truth is not distorted here, but rather a distortion is used to get at truth.” I struggle with this whole idea of "the truth" of fiction. I'm more interested in theme and story then some concept of the truth of fiction. But I like this idea of distorting the truth of a writer's experience to support theme and story.
So perhaps I will give the book to the therapist with a note that the reality of our lives was distorted to support the story.
The Map of My Dead Pilots: The Dangerous Game of Flying in Alaska
by Colleen Mondor
Lyons Press 2011, purchased copy
This book is simply the worst marketing campaign ever for arctic aviation. So you want to be an Alaskan pilot? Because it’s cold, lonely, boring, erratic, stressful, exhausting (very, very cold needs another mention), and you may die. Blending the adventure stories of plane trips both successful and unsuccessful with personal narratives, Colleen Mondor brings the reader into the last frozen frontier. With money at stake, planes fly in weather too cold, with cargo too heavy to be legal or safe. Everyone personally knows some pilot who died, yet the collected stories of deadly accidents don’t change the rules or risks. Published as adult nonfiction, there is crossover appeal for teens in the subject and — let’s be honest here — shorter page count then many nonfiction titles. There is some language throughout the book, but nothing that teens won’t have heard, read, and likely said before.
Personally, I read the book on a deadline, and now feel that it deserves a less rushed reader. Because when I could stop, I was able to process much more of the weight of what I had just read. For example, one anecdote detailed how the operations department was expected to lie on the official documentation for the flight — but in her job the author would write the correct weight on scrap paper, for only cargo and the pilot to see. Based on that real
number, they would make the decision whether to take the flight. In a way, that number was the only thing that had substance, reality — in that everything else was faked (like the numbers), uncertain (like the weather) or precarious (like the aging planes): all but that one scrap of paper that would get thrown away. That’s something to think about, right? And that’s this book.
My fellow book blogger and good friend Colleen Mondor
agreed to stop by to answer some questions about her book and new authorhood: When did you start writing and/or seeing yourself as a writer?
I really started thinking that I could write as part of who I intended to be (as opposed to writing all through school and being told it was “a nice hobby”) after I left graduate school and realized that all the research I had done for my thesis was too valuable to shelve. The thesis was the longest thing I had ever written (160+ pages) that made sense and had a real beginning and ending. Once I had it in my hands I believed I could be more than just someone who writes after I do my “real work” every day (as I had always been told growing up) and that’s when I got serious. (I should note that my thesis was on pilot error accidents among Alaskan bush commuters — so it played right into Map.)Who inspires you personally or
And, also, didn't there used to be a list of top adult books for teens? Does that exist somewhere? Is Flavia on that, at least, even if she's been passed by for an Alex, an award given to "ten books written for adults that have special appeal to young adults, ages 12 through 18?"
I am, of course, speaking of Flavia de Luce, the eleven-year-old heroine of a series of mysteries set in early 1950's England written by Alan Bradley. She is an incredible creation, one who can carry a book on her narrow shoulders. She sometimes does, because her plots aren't always as powerful as she is. She is both incredibly sophisticated, in terms of her knowledge of chemistry and murder, and touchingly innocent--her knowledge of sex is pretty much nil and in her most recent outing, I am Half-sick of Shadows, she is on the fence about the existence of Santa.
Though these books are not serials (I spit on serials), there are some intriguing questions hovering over all of them. What really happened to Flavia's mother, the late, lamented Harriet? Why is there so much conflict between Flavia and her older sisters? Is Flavia merely an unreliable narrator, perceiving her sisters as hating her, though in each book at least one of them does something significant for her? Or is there some family mystery there waiting to be revealed? Dogger, the shell-shocked war veteran who takes care of the whole family, appears to be able to do just about anything. What's that about?
I was reading quite a good book on plot at the same time I was reading I am Half-sick of Shadows. I couldn't help noticing that while I was being told in my plot book to get the story going right away, Flavia's murder mystery didn't actually start until halfway through the book. But, then, the laws of chemistry are the only rules she recognizes.
The Guardian obit for author Barry Unsworth mentions a number of books he wrote but, of course, not the one I read, Losing Nelson. It was good, too. Though not a children's book. Not even YA.
There are a lot of misfit-boy stories out there. There are a lot of misfit-boy-who-likes-comics-or-some-other-formerly-outsider-interest out there. It's a scenario that I probably liked the first few times I saw it, but, you know me. My tolerance for familiarity isn't all that great. The Boy Who Couldn't Sleep And Never Had To
by D.C. Pierson
is very well done, but I almost gave up on it early on, because even though it is funny and poignant, lots of those misfit-boy stories are funny and poignant. I felt I'd read it before.
I stuck with it, though, and the payoff was that Pierson has mashed up that well known misfit-boy story with a science fiction tale. The science fiction aspect actually comes right out of the comic book world the main character, Darren, and his friend, Eric (the boy who couldn't sleep), have been creating. This is what gives The Boy Who Couldn't Sleep And Never Had To
a feel of the new. That's what kept me reading.
Pierson is a subtle and impressive writer. An example: Darren, our main character, has an older brother who is like something out of A Clockwork Orange
, which is mentioned at one point. (The brother is probably modeling himself on Fight Club
, but I haven't seen that, so I can't be sure.) Big Bro' really is repugnant. Yet, he goes to Outback with his father and younger brother every week. The three of them take off at Christmas time. In what passes as a generous act, he gives his younger brother drugs and doesn't make him pay for them. In this chilling guy is something rather family oriented. A reader can feel that if he doesn't get killed or imprisoned, he could turn out okay.
I found The Boy Who Couldn't Sleep And Never Had To
in the YA section of my local library. Yet it appears to have been published as an adult book
. It seems a YA book to me. Yes, Darren is telling his story after it occurs--a couple of years after it occurs, when he's a freshman in college. We're hardly talking a whole lot of adult perspective on the experience here. Yes, there's a lot of rank language and drug use and some real sex, not just the thinking about it kind. I can't recall having read a YA with drug use, but certainly rank language and sex appears in the genre. I can't think of a real reason why this couldn't have been published as YA. I do think it can be viewed as coming-of-age--"Oh, I had a life-changing, grown-up experience." Personally, I think adult readers like that kind of thing more than teenagers do, so maybe these kinds of books get published as adult because that's where their biggest fans may be.Plot Project
: I don't think Darren's story is about something he wants
and struggles to get. It's much more about a disturbance to his world--he finds out that his new friend never sleeps, is sort of a living and breathing science fiction character. What possibilities does that open?
I stumbled upon a "book blogger hop," a term I'd never heard before, at Crazy for Books. It looks as if a book blogger hop is simply a situation in which a bunch of bloggers all do posts on the same subject. Maybe it's a meme? Does the word "hop" relate to the 1950s dance, making a blogger hop a sort of social gathering? Yes, yes, once again I am overthinking.
So hops occur regularly at Crazy for Books and involve all the participating bloggers responding to a writing prompt. I have a bad history with things like writing prompts and themed issues of literary journals. I am rarely able to come up with material when I'm asked.
This week's hop prompt is an interesting one for me. What book series do you never want to see end? Ha-ha, you're thinking. You're going to come up dry again, Gail, because you hate series. No, I do not hate series. I really, really dislike serials, which is a different thing. What is striking about this blog prompt is that I can actually answer the question.
I am hoping that Lonely Werewolf Girl and Curse of the Wolf Girl by Martin Millar will be more than a novel and sequel. I really would enjoy a full-blown series here. I'm sure I could read at least two more novels. And I hope that taking part in this hop, as I am doing, will give the books a little more attention. Right now I feel as if Sheila Ruth at Wands and Worlds and I are close to being Wolf Girl's entire fan base.
as I was, once upon a time, I just started The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society and I suspect the authors are channeling her. Will be interesting to see where it goes.
(I see that Nancy Pearl sees more of a Helene Hanff thing going on. That's good too.)
You will enjoy Diary: Malcolm Gladwell a great deal more if you have listened to Gladwell reading his book Outliers. Which I have done. In fact, if you haven't at least read one of Gladwell's books, you might not enjoy this Vanity Fair piece at all.
Sorry. I just had to send this link to somebody.
Jim Trelease's Read-Aloud Handbook had a very big impact at Chez Gauthier. I went to hear Trelease speak at our local elementary school when my oldest child was still a toddler. I brought his book home with me. His contention that boys model their behavior on their fathers and need to see their fathers (as well as other men) read, meant that the Gauthier boys had both parents reading to them (on alternating days) for years. They continued to read, themselves, into adolsecence, a point where conventional wisdom tells us that many males stop reading. And, surprise, today they tend to share their father's books and magazines rather than their mother's.
This makes me wonder what would have become of them if they hadn't had a reading father to model themselves upon or, even, a reading father who didn't know he needed to provide a model for his children. (This is what I call proactive parenting versus reactive parenting, by the way. But this isn't a parenting blog, so I won't say anymore about that.)
Just a few months ago I gave a young teaching family member a copy of The Read-Aloud Handbook for Christmas because I just can't let it go.
The book really has significance for me, so I'm happy to direct you to Jen Robinson's "reaction" to it.
Silent in the Grave by Deanna Raybourne
I am thoroughly YA'd out, so decided to finish this book, which I'd started before the challenge. Victorian historical mystery, a bit along the lines of the Amelia Peabody books, though without an archeological emphasis. It was fun, I'll probably read the rest of the series.
326 pages (out of 509)
Reading: 2 hours, 27 minutes
Blogging: 2 minutes
Mozart and the Whale by Jerry and Mary Newport.
I think I read a non-fiction book about autism during every challenge. Not deliberately, there's just always at least one in my pile.
I didn't think much of the movie "Mozart and the Whale," but it did get me interested in reading the book, which is really not the same story. The real characters were much older when they met, for one thing, and already had a lot of life experiences behind them. This is not just their love story, but also their autobiographies.
I had some trouble getting into this book. One problem is that two different people are writing in turn and it's hard to tell when the points of view have changed (this was an ARC -- perhaps they made it clearer in the finished book.) The other problem was that the sections by Jerry Newport were so full of worn-out phrases. It was a nagging irritation.
But I persisted and wound up relating to a lot of what I read. And it was intriguing to read the points of view of two autistic adults, who share a lot in common yet also have many differences.
Like many autobiographies I read, this one sometimes felt too... elliptical, is the word that comes to mind. So much happened to them and they just drop little bits and pieces of it into the narrative, leaving me with tons of questions. How someone got from point A to point B is often a mystery. It reminds me of confusing autobiographies of children's book authors I read when I was younger.
Two bits of trivia
1)The "Mozart" of the title, Mary's costume at the Halloween party where they met, was not Wolfgang Amadeus -- it was his sister, the thwarted prodigy Nannerl. I find that very touching.
2) I can't find any verification of this, but I'm almost certain that the opening of the show "the Big Bang Theory" was inspired by a paragraph in this book. Or possibly, since both came out in 2007, the other way around?
Reading: 129 minutes
Blogging: 31 minutes
The Wizard of Karres by Mercedes Lackey, Eric Flint and Dave Freer.
I was awakened earlier than I'd hoped by a force of nature, aka my darling child, so got a few last licks in after all. This is an other-authors sequel to one of my favorites, The Witches of Karres by James H. Schmitz. I haven't gotten far enough in to have a real opinion yet; they've certainly done a decent job of imitating the style and seem to have a handle on the characters, but I'm not sure the places they're taking the story feel right. But I may be impossible to please on this point.
Will do my finish line post in a while, there's lots of housecleaning (literally and figuratively) to take care of.
23 pages (out of 313)
Reading: 33 minutes
Blogging: on my own time
I haven't read a novel in three months. Really. Three months.
But yesterday I sat by Lake Huron and reveled in Orson Scott Card's Seventh Son. All the way to the end.
I don't read sequels.
But today I informed my library that I must have Red Prophet -- book #2 in the aforementioned Tales of Alvin Maker series.
That is all for now.
Check out the comments section after reading What 'To Kill a Mockingbird' Isn't in the Wall Street Journal. Jeezum Crow, people do not want anyone messin' with their Atticus.
To Kill a Mockingbird was one of the first adult books I read when in my early teens. I did not read it for school. This was before the schools got hold of TKAM, while it was still an adult book. I remember thinking it was quite an experience. When I reread it as an adult, years later, it seemed very much a father worship book to me.
I would really need to read it again before I'd describe it as a children's book. Do people get to take a vote and determine how already published books should be classified?
Again, this link came from ArtsJournal.
You might recall that not long ago I was raving about Orson Scott Card's Seventh Son. Couldn't wait to read the sequel.
Well. Red Prophet
has been on my nightstand for the better part of two weeks now, and I'm all the way up to...page 11. The thing is, I've been reading up on Native images and stereotypes in American culture -- mostly here
-- and I must be starting to get it, because in less than a dozen pages the descriptions of the Indians in Red Prophet
are turning me right off. Given the setting, I can't say the white characters' racism is inappropriate. It's probably accurate, and it may even turn out to be an integral element of the story. But for me, right at this moment, it's not much fun to wade through.
Those of you who've read the series -- should I stick with this installment? Are there going to be other perspectives to counterbalance Hooch's attitude toward the Reds?
Helen Dunmore, who wrote The Tide Knot, a children's novel I liked, has a book on the Man Booker Longlist. The Betrayal.
I can't say I've been delighted with the Booker books I've read, but still. Huzzah!
Link from Blog of a Bookslut.
In 2001 at Johns Hopkins Hospital, Peter Pronovost did a little experiment. You see, a number of patients would get infections from central lines put in to, you know, help them get better. But the infections would, of course, make the patients worse. So he came up with a five step checklist for putting in a central line with basic directives, which were as simple as washing hands with antibiotic soap.
Pronovost then asked nurses to observe doctors for a month and record how often they carried out each step. In more than a third of patients, they skipped at least one. After recording that explosive bit of data, for the next year the hospital asked and authorized the nurses to stop the doctors if they saw them skipping a step on the checklist.
The results were so dramatic that they weren't sure whether to believe them: the ten-day line-infection went from 11 percent to zero... So they followed patients for fifteen more months. Only two line infections occurred in that entire period.
This remarkable story is from the book, The Checkist Manifesto: How to get Things Right
, by Atul Gawande. The author's theory is that many jobs - especially in the medical profession - have become so complicated, that training and intelligence aren't enough to achieve the best results. He offers a solution in the humble checklist.
The main comparisons he explores are two professions that have incredible amounts of potential scenarios, along with incredible consequences for failure - physicians and pilots. What he finds in his research is a huge difference in how each profession handles the problem, with implications for change for many industries. While doctors tend to bristle at being followed with a checklist - it's why the nurses had to be authorized to stop the doctors in the above example - pilots embrace their checklists, which are standard to the airlines. In fact, pilots are taught not
to go with their instinct as problems arise but to turn to the checklist first. That doesn't mean that instincts, training, and quick-thinking aren't valued for the pilots. Instead, the idea is to take the guesswork out of basic steps and protocols so that the pilots can do their jobs with more focus.
The author shares another story from the airline industry, about a plane that suffered a complete engine shut-down in January 2008. Luckily, the plane landed safely enough that the passengers were fine, but the industry was puzzled as to the cause. The possibilities were researched, a theory was proposed, and new guidelines were established for particular flights. A new checklist was distributed and within a month of the recommendations, pilots had it in hand and were using it. How do we know? Because in November 2008, the same situation presented itself and the pilots were able to use the new checklist to recover the engines.
While new procedures can take years to establish themselves in medicine, compare that to this scenario of identifying a problem, recommending a solution, and distributing the information within a year. The author also shows uses for the checklist in financial and legal industries, but all have shied away for the solution as being too simple.
Will this next generation of thinkers be able to get beyond that mindset? I hope so, and that's why I would recommend this book to high schoolers in hopes that they can change the way we approach problems in a society only growing in complexity.
Nonfiction Monday is hosted today at Rasco from RIF
Links to material on Amazon.com contained within this post may be affiliate links for the Amazon Associates program, for which this site may receive a referral fee.
The Wave: In Pursuit of the Rogues, Freaks and Giants of the Ocean, by Susan Casey, isn’t about lazy, relaxed days of beachfront surfing. Oh no, sir. The dudes featured in this title routinely chase forty foot waves, dreaming of the challenging sixty-footers, and longing for that Holy Grail, the one-hundred-foot surfable wave. The stories of these amazing men — and yes, men dominate the extreme sport — are interspersed with interviews with the scientists who study the ocean and historical information about the world’s craziest waves. The adventure stories are gripping and keep readers coasting through the scientific sections with a drive to learn more about ocean waves than perhaps thought possible.
My only minor problem was that it was sometimes hard to follow the chronology of the surfers' storylines, as there was a lot of jumping around to describe past exploits. The photographs in the insert were arranged according to the waves discussed, but not necessarily the ride mentioned in the book — which was a bit confusing. The pictures in the insert added to many descriptions in the the chapters, and I would have loved to see many more photos, even if it is impossible to truly capture the intensity of these towering walls of water. Overall, The Wave is a fascinating book that will have appeal for teens as well as adults. Personally, my shoreside stares over the ocean will be forever altered knowing the fierceness that lies in the sea.
Nonfiction Monday is hosted today at Apples With Many Seeds.
Links to material on Amazon.com contained within this post may be affiliate links for the Amazon Associates program, for which this site may receive a referral fee.
While I was at that Margo Lanagan talk, I learned that Tender Morsels was published as an adult book in Australia. There will be a YA edition down under, but it isn't out yet. There are also adult and YA editions of the book in England.
England also did an adult and kid version of the Harry Potter books.
I think adult readers would be very interested in Tender Morsels. I think they'd be interested in Octavian Nothing, too. Same with The Book Thief. Fortunately, we live in a free country here in the U.S. of A., so they can read them if they want to.
But they'll never want to if they don't know about them. Sure these books are famous in kidlit circles. But most adult readers are not part of our circle. They have to know these books exist. I hate to say it, but they need to be marketed to.
I know I'm a lone voice on the subject of adults and picture books and will probably remain so. But, come on! They market YA to adults in other countries. I'm not suggesting something revolutionary.
Or do we Americans figure adults over here bought Harry Potter and Twilight without anyone having to make a special effort so we just aren't going to?
Life in the “real” world is hazy, and it is piled full of superfluous things that have little bearing on survival. Modern conveniences equate with disposability. When things break, we throw them away. When friendships break, we throw them away. After all, there are so many people. We don't watch the weather; we change the thermostat. We don't take care of ourselves; we leave that to the doctors and the lawyers. We don't take care of the people around us; we pay taxes and expect the government to do the caretaking. We place our trust in our locks and alarm systems. People come and go at dizzying speeds, and most encounters are frustratingly superficial. When I remember to ask someone, "How are you?" I seldom slow my pace to listen to the response. Reality is sometimes difficult to find in the “real” world. A Pearl in the Storm: How I Found My Heart in the Middle of the Ocean
, by Tori Murden McClure is an amazing story of endurance, strength, drive, tenacity, pride and humility. This book was recommended by a patron at my library, and by the time my hold came up, I had forgotten all about it. I almost put it back, because I couldn't imagine why I had wanted to read about the first woman to row across the ocean. I'm glad I gave it a try, because it was interesting and inspirational. An adult biography, it would be perfect for high schoolers as well.
In 1998, Tori McClure rowed across the Atlantic Ocean in a custom rowboat with a tiny cabin. She charted her journey in hours and miles rowed, in the lessons learned, and in the insights discovered. She rowed alongside whales and playful dolphins, through storms and rogue waves. When things broke, she fixed them. When things broke beyond repair, she did without - even when those things were considered essential.
She starts her story with a strong statement of will, "I felt proud not to be searching for life in the absent corners of weekends." She ends her story with a realization, "Our helplessness makes us human. Love is what makes our humanity bearable." And in between those two points, she shares the remarkable story of her life and ocean journey. Not to be missed.
Nonfiction Monday is hosted today at All About Children's Books
by David Small
(W.W. Norton & Co.)
First I read the words, and I said, "Wow." Then I re-read the pictures, and...what was left to say?
As much as the story, the art is bleak and often disturbing, yet fascinating -- like David and his brother huddled over the forbidden images in their father's medical books, you can't look away. Perhaps because converting emotions into words is essentially a process of translation, while images (especially images like these) forge a much more direct connection between artist and audience. The emotion is laid plain in the brush strokes themselves, with little need for explanation or description.
We talk sometimes about getting inside a character's head, or reaching the heart of a story. Instead, Small's memoir goes straight to the gut, so that reading Stitches actually feels different from reading other books. With its economy of words, it forces the reader to process the images into language, leaving you momentarily speechless. And is there any more just reaction to the story of a boy who lost - and then found - his own voice?
View Next 21 Posts
A SHORT HISTORY OF NEARLY EVERYTHING
by Bill Bryson
The idea was to see if it isn't possible to understand and appreciate - marvel at, enjoy even - the wonder and accomplishments of science at a leve that isn't too technical or demanding, but isn't entirely superficial either.
Yes, it is eminently possible. If a self-proclaimed science-hater like me can whiz through nearly 500 pages from protons to hominids and like it, anybody can. The key: this is not a book rammed full of formulas, equations, and tedium. It's about people, and the brilliant, stumbling, sometimes accidental and/or lethal paths we've followed to in an attempt to educate ourselves about how we and the universe around us work. Bryson never forgets he's telling a story, not whacking you over the head with a parade of facts, and he's got a heckuva knack for putting numbers and concepts of cosmic proportions into language the average lunk can wrap his head around:
Our own attempts to penetrate toward the middle [of the Earth] have been modest indeed.... If the planet were an apple, we wouldn't yet have broken the skin.
I can't remember the last time I've been so simultaneously bemused and informed on such a vast scale. And now I can proudly proclaim, I have a clue. (Mrs. Morr would be so proud.)
Currently reading:Love is the Higher Law
by David Levithan