Thursday, December 5, 2019

The Lost Family - Jenna Blum

This was a quick read.  A man who loses his wife and twin daughters during the Holocaust moves to American where he becomes a chef, remarries and has another child.  Their marriage and family is overshadowed by his past.  The story didn't go anywhere yet it was pleasant reading. Okay for the beach, even if it is the middle of winter.

Published: 2018  Read: December 2019  Genre: Fiction

Saturday, November 23, 2019

The Battle for God - Karen Anderson

I highly recommend this book for an understanding of how the fundamentalist branches of the major Judeo-Christian religions - Christianity, Judaism and Islam - evolved and the impact of their presence is having on our world today.  It gave me insight and understanding of world events in a context I was not familiar with, putting the puzzle pieces together to provide a larger view of the major conflicts between the different sides.  A thoughtful, deeply researched and well documented read.

Published:2000  Read: November 2019  Genre: Non-fiction, religion

Journey - James A Michener

Brought this book along on an airplane flight and finished over half in a couple hours.  It's a story that Michener excised from his tome Alaska but wanted to preserve as a record of the exploration of Canada during the 1887-1889 Gold Rush days.

In the story, a pompous, self-impressed English lord takes his nephew, a fellow explorer, the nephew's friend and an Irish servant from England to Canada to the gold fields of the Klondike.  Well, he attempts to anyway.  His stubborn arrogance dooms their journey.  It's a historical account that illuminates the attitudes of the aristocracy and the courage and perseverance of men seeking to achieve a formidable goal. 

It was a good read and I especially enjoyed the author's background notes on the book and the writing process.

Published: 1989 Read: November 2019  Genre: Historical fiction

Sunday, November 3, 2019

What the Dog Saw - Malcolm Gladwell

A delightful read of essays with a different take on everyday experiences.  I enjoy the author's writing and his other books (Blink, Tipping Point).  This one is easier to take in.  I had several marked pages quoted below:

p 44 There are five known fundamental tastes in the human palate:  salty, sweet, sour, bitter and umami.  Umami is the proteiny, full-bodied taste of chicken soup, cured meats, aged cheese, mother's milk, soy sauce, mushrooms or seaweed.
p. 154 [a puzzle vs a mystery] If things go wrong with  puzzle, identifying the culprit is easy; its the person who withheld information.  Mysteries, though, are a lot murkier; sometimes the information we've been given is inadequate and sometimes ; mysteries don't always come to satisfying conclusions.  Puzzles are "transmitter dependent" they turn on what we are told; mysteries are "listener dependent" they turn on the skill of the listener.
Theory of risk homeostasis - Gerald Wild - Target Risk book
He also referenced the list of 11 most important poems in the American canon.  Fun to look up.

Published: 2009  Read: October 2019  Genre: Essay non-fiction