Saturday, March 31, 2018
Thursday, March 29, 2018
I see online that a movie version of the story was released in October of 2017.
Wednesday, March 28, 2018
Monday, March 26, 2018
Thursday, March 22, 2018
Kepler’s Witch: An Astronomer's Discovery of Cosmic Order Amid Religious War, Political Intrigue, and the Heresy Trial of His Mother by James A. Connor, 402 pages
Johannes Kepler was a devout German Lutheran whose free-thinking, stubborn and conceited ways got him ex-communicated from the Lutheran church but respected (albeit with little pay and exiled from the country by the Catholic church) as a court expert. As the title alludes to, his intelligent hard-headedness likely came from his mother who was tried as a witch in spite of opportunities to apologize and potentially remove herself from harm. His mother, in spite of the book title, is a fairly minor character in this account.
The biography was written well and kept my interest as the pages of Kepler’s life unfolded. I would have liked a little more straight chronology rather than the time-jumping and doubling back done by the narration, but perhaps the repetition required by the non-linear narration made me notice and better remember some of the more important aspects of Kepler’s influence on our understanding of cosmic order today.
I’m glad I took the time to read and learn.
Tuesday, March 20, 2018
I’m smarter now than I when I made the commitment to open to the first page if only because I know how wrong my initial impressions and lack of enthusiasm about this book were. First of all, Galileo considered himself to be a mathematician. Secondly, this book is non-fiction. Thirdly, the title is a ruse; the book is totally a biography of Galileo in which his daughter is but a character.
Galileo lived in Italy, and I really like Italy and peeking into the religious/political landscape of different time periods. And best of all, I read through the book quickly, with excitement, frustration, anger, and fear based on what my now favorite mathematician was going through . Before reading this book, I had no idea how much Galileo Galilei happened upon, observed, and understood in ways no one else ever had. And I had no idea how difficult it was for him to make sure that the truth he saw didn’t die with him.
My husband will not have to read this book because I couldn’t keep it to myself. Without his even asking, I gave him thorough and energetic reports of pretty much every chapter. Lucky man!
Monday, March 19, 2018
Chasing Light: Michelle Obama Through the Lens of a White House Photographer by Amanda Lucidon, 222 pages
It is a wonderful glimpse into the public life of an American First Lady. It not only contains lots of photographs, but also some behind-the-scenes stories from Ms. Lucidon.
Aah, those were the days!
Saturday, March 17, 2018
Friday, March 16, 2018
The main adventure happens as Ken (the young American scientist) and the ancient boy he calls Long Toes find themselves depending on each other for minute-by-minute survival in the Kenyan wilderness. Each of them is a mystery who fascinates and terrifies the other.
Meanwhile, Ngili, the young Kenyan scientist, finds himself pulled into family, political responsibilities and conflict that influence the lives and futures of all who live in the nation.
The storyline includes lions, poachers, drug rings, professional back-stabbing, political meltdown, science, business, ethics, international conflict, bigotry, hatred, death, murder, war, sex, friendship, and wonder . . . action-packed. I loved the idea that a piece of earth and early humanity might be preserved through time and was appalled but unsurprised at the ugly sides of our humanity, regardless of evolutionary stage. Perhaps someone will turn this book into a movie. I think it could be done well.
Wednesday, March 14, 2018
The author received his Ph.D. from Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, MO, but was raised in Egypt. He has taught the New Testament in institutes and seminaries in several countries for 40 years. He is a Middle Eastern Christian, knows the cultures, speaks the languages, and is able to read early Syriac and Aramaic Christian literature about the Gospels.
Monday, March 12, 2018
I was happily surprised to discover that this is the story of New York City at the beginning of the 20th Century. It was a time before U.S. laws that protected laborers, children, and people with disabilities, back when parents could easily prevent their children from going to school, when women and children could fairly easily be sold by their families, when electricity and indoor plumbing were not yet standard amenities, when fire hoses were a recent invention, and when the city was quickly absorbing wilderness lands where early settlers lived.
Coralie’s father owns the Museum of Extraordinary Things; on her tenth birthday, she realizes that she is a living wonder to be displayed. Towering, lanky Eddie (a 25-year-old photo journalist) comes to the city as little Ezekiel, fleeing the Jewish pogroms in Ukraine that left his village and mother as burned ashes. The story brings other memorable characters to life as well, including a hermit and his wolf friend, a Jewish finder of lost love, a wolf man, a beautiful Irish woman who has been burned beyond recognition, and immigrant garment makers who are locked into their workplaces for up to 18 hours a day, seven days a week while being paid wages that keep them on the verge of starvation. The book is an interesting mix of historical truth, a fictional murder mystery, a love story, fascinating descriptions of living and non-living museum wonders, and young people and a city transitioning into new times.
I would have been happiest to read through the pages at a faster pace than my drive times allowed me to listen to the audio version. The version I heard was well read by Judith Light, Grace Gummer, and Zach Appleman. I would not only recommend this book, but I already have urged my husband to listen to the audiobook that I had checked out. I treated myself to a second listen while he enjoyed the unfolding tale for the first time.
Saturday, March 10, 2018
Friday, March 9, 2018
Through these pages, with the assistance of journalist Michele Fitoussi, almost 50-year-old Malika Oufkir (former Moroccan princess) tells about her life.
I’m glad that Malika got to tell her family’s story to the world and that I read it. My heart hurts for humanity that the experiences in the book actually happened.
Saturday, March 3, 2018
Friday, March 2, 2018
The Soul Is Here For Its Own Joy: Sacred Poems from Many Cultures-Edited with Introduction by Robert Bly, 268 pages
After my initial few seconds of disappointment, I was excited to read such a variety of voices. When I write, I’m certainly inspired by others, and Bly is one poet who inspires me. What a treat, to read his arrangement of poems, to interact with words that inspire him!
The book features poems by authors familiar to me such as Ranier Maria Rilke, Emily Dickinson, and William Butler Yeats, and it also contains old works from Eastern minds (such as Rumi, Lalla, and Hafez) who were new to me. The collection includes selections from more than 30 different poets from different times and lands. Each poem incorporates a concept of soul, a favorite topic of mine. I appreciated the section divisions, Bly’s brief introductions to each one, and the fact that Bly translated many of the poems himself.
I’ve finished the book that now sits with several dog-eared pages to which I intend to return. Don't worry; this one is my own. I didn't deface a library book. I promise.