[at-l] what are you reading?

hiker 317 hiker317 at gmail.com
Sat Mar 10 15:47:49 CST 2012


I was carrying the stack of books back to my desk so that i might list them
for you, but i tripped over a fleece hat, scattering a dozen books, and now
the cat is climbing the wall in terror...

On Sat, Mar 10, 2012 at 11:13 AM, RockDancer <rockdancer97 at comcast.net>wrote:

> Every couple of years I ask this group what you are reading, thinking that
> we are like-minded in a lot of things. Here are the 8 books I’ve read since
> Jan. 1:****
>
> *The Sea Wolf *(1904) by Jack
> London
> ****
>
> The prose is tedious and flowery like a lot of Victorian novels, so it
> isn’t as exciting as I hoped it would be. But the topic of conversation
> between the speaker and the captain  is an argument of man vs. superman and
> who is more viable in the modern society. The character of Captain Wolf
> Larsen,has become an immortal touchstone for those who valued individual
> strength as a substitute for morality.****
>
> ** **
>
> *The Disappearing Spoon *(2010) by Sam Kean****
>
> This reminded me of a lot of science that I once knew, and it taught me
> some things as well. I leaned about the natural nuclear fission that
> occurred 2 billion years ago at Oklo, Gabon, Africa (near Franceville). It
> also made me look up some information on mercury and what changes it to
> methylmercury, the toxic form.****
>
> ** **
>
> *Galore *(2009) by Michael Crummy****
>
> This is a novel about the colony of Newfoundland (up to 1907) and the
> early Dominion period to about 1930, following the generations in a small
> village. The characters are quirky, just like you’d expect for
> Newfoundland. The defrocked priest is especially fun to follow, partly
> because he is more a source of comfort than the legitimate replacement that
> Rome sends to drive him away. Judah is the man cut from the belly of a
> whale, Mr. Gallery is the ghost that haunts his wife while looking for
> forgiveness. It has some touches of magical realism like “100 Years of
> Solitude”. It also reminded me of “The Shipping News” by Annie Proulx.****
>
>
> ****
>
> *Johnny Appleseed *(2011) by Howard Means****
>
> The NY Times favorably reviewed this one but as someone who has studied
> John Chapman there isn’t any new information here. Still it is a good
> consolidation of his life & his times. The 1954 biography by Robert Price
> (Man & Myth) contains more of the historical paperwork trail left by
> Appleseed but that book is flawed as well, persisting in a glowing
> appraisal of Appleseed’s life.****
>
> ** **
>
> *One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest *(1962) by Ken Kesey****
>
> I found this well-written, better than expected and more psychedelic too.
> Some descriptions just hum with visual imagery, like the flashing colors of
> waves seen from the boat on their fishing trip. This is Kesey’s first
> published book but I believe “Sometimes a Great Notion” was written long
> before and published later in 1963.****
>
> ** **
>
> *The Devil in the White City *(2004) by Erik Larson****
>
> Although this reads as a novel it is written by an historian, so each
> paragraph has source attributions. I’d love to be able to research & write
> history like Larson! The story contrasts the construction of the 1893
> Chicago Columbian Exhibition with the perversions of America’s first serial
> killer: Herman Webster Mudgett, also known at Dr. Henry Holmes. He
> confessed to 27 murders, most taking place in his “World’s Fair” hotel less
> than 2 miles from the Exhibition. Frederick Law Olmstead is heavily
> featured, this is the same time he was creating the Biltmore Estate in
> North Carolina.****
>
> ** **
>
> *The Big Year *(2004) by Mark Obmascik****
>
> The rest of the title is “A Tale of Man, Nature, and Fowl Obsession”. I
> found the writing a bit lacking but the content and pace of the book were
> terrific. There is a nice summary of the earlier big year efforts to help
> put 1998 into perspective. There are also hints of the scenes that were
> developed and altered to create the 2011 movie “The Big Year”. If you ever
> want to find an Elf Owl for your birding  Life List this book can tell you
> where to go. Attu is still a birding destination, birdtreks.com is
> offering a 2 week trip this year for $7650. ****
>
> ** **
>
> In the end my enthusiasm for doing a big year was diminished, that feeling
> crept in with the pursuit of the Himalayan Snowcock in the wrenching
> helicopter scene. On the other hand the story of the snowcock and how it
> got to Utah was very interesting.****
>
> ** **
>
> *Ivorybill Hunters *(2007) by Dr. Geoffrey Hill****
>
> The rest of the title is “The Search for Proof in a Flooded Wilderness”
> and summarizes the Florida panhandle investigations for 2005-2006. Another
> book, “The Grail Bird” focused on the search in Arkansas in 2005. Hill is
> an honest observer but his book raises the question of whether he was the
> right person to perform this investigation. His low-skill crew, and small
> budget meant that they made a lot of mistakes in looking for the birds.
> Still I appreciate his candor for showing his flaws and his insistence on
> sharing information. The Arkansas study was criticized for being too
> secretive. I’m certain that ivorybills are out there, somewhere. Hill
> continued his search in 2007 but I think he has gone back to his own bird
> evolution studies. Cornell is conducting surveys of previously dismissed
> watersheds in Florida and South Carolina.****
>
> ** **
>
> --Arthur****
>
> Arthur D. Gaudet****
>
> RockDancer on the Appalachian Trail****
>
> Rockdancer97 at comcast.net****
>
> ** **
>
> ** **
>
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