2006

A Series Of Unfortunate Events

Book the First - The Bad Beginning
Book the Second - The Reptile Room
Book the Third - The Wide Window
Book the Fourth - The Miserable Mill
Book the Fifth - The Austere Academy

Lemony Snicket

2/2006

I borrowed the first book in this series from the Ludlow library, finished it pretty quickly, then borrowed the second and third, then the fourth and fifth. They're slightly predictable, but i like the writing style, with all of the defined big words thrown in. After a break, i'll pick up the series and read more of the books.

Our Endangered Values

America's Moral Crisis

Jimmy Carter

2/2006

I recommend this book to all of my religious friends. Mr. Carter's first-hand experience with the Southern Baptists shed light on a disturbing fundamentalist influence on both Christianity and American politics. The chapters on nuclear arms and foreign politics are a little slow, and i was a little annoyed by the lack of citations and/or footnotes regarding the many facts and figures presented, but overall the best former president in my lifetime has put together a good book that i hope will make people see the error of being too rigid in their ideas about beliefs and politics.

The Truth

With Jokes

Al Franken

3/2006

I recommend this book to all of my republican friends. But i wonder if any of them would see it as real truth or just dismiss it as "liberal whining". The most frightening thing about this book is this quote from a senior advisor to George W. Bush in the summer of 2002:

"We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality."

Apparently the Bush administration decides how things will be and doesn't bother with research or facts. This book is pretty much all documented facts, so of course, the republican right probably thinks it's all made up. Sigh. Read this, you'll learn things that'll scare you.

Company


Max Barry

3/2006

I recommend this book to anyone who's worked in a cubicle for a bloated beaurocratic company with dim middle managers. It's a nice read, but the ending sorta comes up short. It works, but it doesn't really finalize anything. Still, kinda fun read.

A Series Of Unfortunate Events

Book the Sixth - The Ersatz Elevator
Book the Seventh - The Vile Village
Book the Eighth - The Hostile Hospital
Book the Ninth - The Carniverous Carnival
Book the Tenth - The Slippery Slope

Lemony Snicket

4/2006

I think the basic message of these books is that adults are stupid and that they think children are even stupider. Fun books!

The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy

The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy
The Restaurant At The End Of The Universe
Life, The Universe, And Everything
So Long, And Thanks For All The Fish
Mostly Harmless

Douglas Adams

5/2006

If more people would read these books instead of the bible, i think the world would be a better place.

When i saw the Hitchhiker's movie last year i thought that it cribbed from all of the first 3 books, but on rereading them all i realize that it was pretty faithful to the first one (with a happy ending tagged on). The 4th book is pretty much just a love story with very little space/time stuff. The 5th book (in the trilogy) gets back to wacky space/time stuff but has a bit of a downer ending (unless you're a Vogon).

The above pic and link are actually a compilation volume of all the books plus a short story about Zaphod (which i haven't read), but i read all the old paperbacks.

Guests of the Ayatollah

The First Battle in America's War with Militant Islam

Mark Bowden

7/2006

Great in-depth piece of journalism about the taking of the 53 American Embassy workers (some CIA) in Tehran in 1979. I learned a lot about both sides; what motivated the students (yes, they were mostly college students), the history of their struggle, how the Iranian mullahs took power, and mostly what the hostages went through day after day. It's an eye-opening look at what we face in the world today with militant extreme fundamental religious, uh, nuts.

Skeletons on the Zahara

Dean King

9/2006

This book started out a little slow, what with the backgrounds of a bunch of the sailors and history of the region, but eventually it settled into a good read about American sailors wrecking on the western African coast in 1815 and being taken as slaves. This is just a retelling of 2 accounts of the ordeal, one by the captain, one by another sailor, and it's pretty amazing what both the people who live in the Sahara and the foreign slaves have to deal with. They all claim to be civilized but look barbaric from the vantage point of time. Makes one wonder how "civilized" our current culture will be viewed.

The end of the book sort of condenses one of the sailors last months of ordeal into about 2 paragraphs, which is a bit annoying after having read so much of an in depth account of the captain's journey.

Adrift

Seventy-six Days Lost at Sea

Steven Callahan

9/2006

At first i was a little annoyed at all the "one with nature"ness of this book, but it's really an amazing diary of living for 76 days in a rubber life raft, constantly worried about getting water from a dying solar still and catching another fish to keep going.

One interesting thing was that after the ordeal, Steven didn't seem to have any post traumatic stress. He was simply overjoyed to be back among people again. Maybe this was because during his time adrift, Steven had a very good sense of himself and how his rational and emotional sides interacted. If you ever plan on being lost at sea, read this.

Bush Versus The Environment

Robert S. Devine

10/2006

I found this book at our summer house and was out of things to read so read it. It's kinda dry and my mind kept wandering off, but there are some good points and it paints a very scary picture of how the Bush administration operates in most things in heavy favor to big industry and corporations. Bordering on criminal in my opinion.

It should be noted that this was not a political book, just a look at the Bush administration's record on environmental issues (very very bad!) and the walls of secrecy behind which it operates.

Ultimate Techniques And Tactics

James Parinella and Eric Zaslow

12/2006

I didn't learn a whole lot from this book since i know the game pretty well, but there were a couple of good pointers in it. One of the authors, Eric Zaslow, was captain of Chicago Machine when i played on it and i always was underwhelmed by his overall offensive strategy. He and Jim Parinella don't offer much more aside from the way Machine played. What i found to be missing was overall positioning strategy, which really should be covered as one of the basics, both on offense and defense.

A Death In Belmont

Sebastian Junger

12/2006

Not as good as The Perfect Storm, but a very good read anyway. The coincidences (or just the confluence of influences of people on other people) throughout the book are almost eerie. The only detraction is that nothing (the murder in Belmont and the Boston Strangler murders, which are the focus of this book) is solved in the end, but that's just the way life is sometimes.

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