Monday, February 24, 2020

Seven Men: And the Secret of Their GreatnessSeven Men: And the Secret of Their Greatness by Eric Metaxas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Another Metaxas book in the books--and this was another good one, highlighting seven godly & righteous men whose lives were exemplary for many reasons: George Washington, William Wilberforce, Eric Liddell, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Jackie Robinson, Pope John Paul II, and Chuck Colson. Great insights into their lives & the impact they had on so many through the years. Read on my iPad; borrowed from the library.

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Sunday, February 23, 2020

Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic FutureElon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future by Ashlee Vance
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've had this book on my library wishlist for awhile--and was finally ready & able to get the audiobook version. What an amazing, complicated, whiz-bang, creative, smart-as-as-whip & hard-headed persister this man is. And to think that he landed in Canada looking for relatives to stay with (first one wasn't there any more--so he bought an all-Canada bus pass) and with very little money in his pocket! And has since gone on to be a part of revolutionizing internet payments/banking, rocketry, as well as the world of electric vehicles & efficient & usable large battery packs for vehicles. And then there's his boring/tunneling exploits and the hyper-loop concept (the book didn't focus on these last two industries, which are still emerging into viable businesses). Musk is a truly creative genius and out-of-the-box thinker/creator. He knows his stuff--and if he didn't know it, he learned it from interacting regularly with is engineers, picking their brains for the know-how. Amazing to hear how Space X and Tesla have been able to produce & deliver real products so much cheaper and more efficiently than other long-standing behemoths (like NASA, Lockheed & Boeing, as well as other major auto companies). Truly revolutionary stuff that has been done in the past 15-20 years on a scale unimaginable at the turn of the century. I think there's still a long ways to go in their continued development & improvement--in truly world-changing & improving ways. Enjoyed listening to this library audiobook on my iPhone.

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Behold the DreamersBehold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I didn't know what to expect with this book, but was pleasantly surprised. I found the characters, plot, and context very interesting--and the whole area of what/who "dreamers" are to be quite fascinating. Having been out of the country for years, the whole upsurge in the news & politics concerning dreamers was something I didn't quite understand. Having the book set in NYC and around the financial crash/crisis of 2008 and the fall of Lehman Brothers made for interesting conflicts & crises--ones that were very real and affected many. I loved the Cameroonian characters in this book--and especially their accents & rhythm in the audiobook version. I borrowed this from the library & read it on my iPhone.

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Thursday, February 13, 2020

The Body: A Guide for OccupantsThe Body: A Guide for Occupants by Bill Bryson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow!--what a book! Amazing tour through the whole body, section by section. Bryson makes it all so interesting, engaging, insightful, and awe-some. Yes, awesome in the sense that one has to just step back and give praise to the Creator who designed such an intricate, amazing, incredible, complex, unrivaled piece of machinery--the human body. Oh, wait, it's not just a hunk of random man-made's a divinely designed body, mind & soul that cannot be replicated. One of the common themes that crops up is--despite all the years of studying, the best minds still don't understand why or how this part of the body or mind works in such & such a way. A great treatise on all the amazing facts of how our bodies and minds work--and of the medical discoveries & the discoverers down through the centuries, as only a great writer like Bryson can pen. His writing just continue to get better in my opinion. I got this as a Christmas gift from one of my children--read it on my iPad. Check it out!

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Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Studio A: The Bob Dylan ReaderStudio A: The Bob Dylan Reader by Benjamin Hedin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What--another Bob Dylan book? Yes, are there enough books on Bob? This was a Bob Dylan Reader--so had selections of writings on His Bobness ranging from his earliest years to his later ones (hard to believe that Bob will turn 80 next May!). Why called Studio A, you ask? Well, if you know anything about Dylan, you know he recorded some of his finest music in Columbia's Studio A in NYC. The classic being Highway 61 Revisited (cover pic of the sitting Bob in Triumph T-shirt under a psychedelic floral patterned shirt)--with the likes of "Like a Rolling Stone" and "Tombstone Blues" and the inimitable (one of my all-time Bob favs) "Desolation Row." The book is broken up into the following parts/time periods:
1. I Was Young When I Left Home (1961-1969) "Once upon a time..." he was 20 years old in the Big Ole Apple
2. Blood on the Tracks (1970-1978): "T'was in another lifetime...
In a little hilltop village, they gambled for my clothes
I bargained for salvation and she gave me a lethal dose
I offered up my innocence I got repaid with scorn
Come in, she said
I'll give ya shelter from the storm"
3. Saved (1979-1996): He became the "Property of Jesus" and Won't Look Back...
"I was blinded by the devil,
Born already ruined,
Stone-cold dead
As I stepped out of the womb.
By His grace I have been touched,
By His word I have been healed,
By His hand I've been delivered,
By His spirit I've been sealed.
I've been saved
By the blood of the lamb"
4. When You Got Nothing, You Got Nothing To Lose (1997- ): Bob's still singing about "Trying to Get to Heaven" and to the "Highlands"...
"It's dark and it's dreary
I been pleading in vain
I'm old and I'm weary
My repentance is plain
Beyond the horizon o'er the treacherous sea
I still can't believe that you have set aside your love for me"

Thoroughly enjoyed the various articles from well-known Dylanologists--as well as others who are not as well-known. Benjamin Hedin did a great job in compiling a variety of meaningful articles & analysis of Dylan's music & sources, lyrics, poetry, and Dylan's great impact down through the years on music in general. Highly recommended for insights & appreciation of a great artist--and performing minstrel..."who is still on the road, heading for another joint."

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Monday, February 10, 2020

The Likely Resolutions of Oliver ClockThe Likely Resolutions of Oliver Clock by Jane Riley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Got this from our Amazon Prime Reads freebie selection. Really enjoyed it and the characters that Jane Riley brought alive. And, Oliver Clock, is truly a character--a funeral home director, taking over from his father who was the previous director, and having to still deal with his mother, who is still very much involved in the business. Oliver is just a tad obsessive-compulsive. Reminds me in many ways of another fictional character I loved reading about--Edward of 600 Hours of Edward & Edward Unspooled, by Craig Lancaster. Read this on my Kindle; borrowed from the library.

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Flat Broke with Two GoatFlat Broke with Two Goat by Jennifer McGaha
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Enjoyed this memoir of a couple who--due to financial woes/mismanagement--had to move out into the wooded hills to a leaky/smelly "old" cabin, and to forge a new way of life that was much more earthy and subsistence-level. This included trying to grow their own food, as well as raising first chickens, and then goats (and learning to make various cheeses, as well as soap). Sad story of her first abusive marriage--gets one's blood boiling for a variety of reasons, especially the level of physical abuse (violence). And then to see her 2nd marriage becoming characterized by financial abuse--very sad. But some great life lessons learned from the new lifestyle they took on--as well as a new appreciation for her ancestors and the hardships they struggled with to make ends meet. Listened to on my iPhone; borrowed from the library.

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The Pale Horseman (The Saxon Stories, #2)The Pale Horseman by Bernard Cornwell
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

So, this was my first Bernard Cornwell book, though I have been watching the Last Kingdom on Netflix for a bit now. We are in Season 3 now, and so it was good to read this book, even though it was Book 2. I’ll have to go back to read Book 1 at some point, and then look forward to reading Book 3. The book dragged at some points in the middle, but overall it was a pretty interesting read, and this is a fascinating time period. I read this on my iPhone; it was purchased at a nice low price.

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Saturday, February 08, 2020

Bringing the HeatBringing the Heat by Mark Bowden
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The inside scoop from a great writer who worked for the Philadelphia Inquirer's Sports Section for a few years, before becoming a best-selling author of books like Black Hawk Down. Loved learning more about the inside workings of an NFL team--in this case, the Philadelphia Eagles (not exactly friends of us New England Patriots!)--and of the players, coaches/trainers, owners, and wives/families. The days of the Minister of Defense--Reggie White--and Jerome Brown, and the razzle-dazzle (self-centered spotlight-must-be-on-me man) Randall (nicknamed "Ran-doll" by teammates) Cunningham, relative of Sam-the-Bam Cunningham, running back extraordinaire of the NE Patriots in the days of yore. Bowden did his research over 2-3 years and does a great job weaving all the stories of the main players into a tapestry. Bought this for a song on sale and read it on my Kindle.

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Friday, February 07, 2020

Good Talk: A Memoir in ConversationsGood Talk: A Memoir in Conversations by Mira Jacob
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My first Mira Jacob book--and I really had no idea what I was getting into! First off, I didn't realize it was fangled graphic novel, a mixture of drawings and photos. Very creatively done. Secondly, I had no idea that it was a novel tackling the issue of racism (& cultural superiority & appropriation) today in America--and especially the way East Indians (Indian Americans; South Asian Indians) have had to deal with these issues, increasingly after 9/11. Real life issues tackled in a humorous, but also serious manner. I gather it's autobiographical, though I've not yet really researched into Jacob's life & history. Borrowed from the library; read on my Kindle.

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