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review 2020-01-15 23:21
We Are the Weather / Jonathan Safran Foer
We Are the Weather - Jonathan Safran Foer

Some people reject the fact, overwhelmingly supported by scientists, that our planet is warming because of human activity. But do those of us who accept the reality of human-caused climate change truly believe it? If we did, surely we would be roused to act on what we know. Will future generations distinguish between those who didn’t believe in the science of global warming and those who said they accepted the science but failed to change their lives in response?

In We Are the Weather, Jonathan Safran Foer explores the central global dilemma of our time in a surprising, deeply personal, and urgent new way. The task of saving the planet will involve a great reckoning with ourselves—with our all-too-human reluctance to sacrifice immediate comfort for the sake of the future. We have, he reveals, turned our planet into a farm for growing animal products, and the consequences are catastrophic. Only collective action will save our home and way of life. And it all starts with what we eat—and don’t eat—for breakfast.


This is not a bad book--it is just not what I thought I was getting. I heard the author interviewed on CBC radio, which prompted me to put a hold on it at the public library and I had to wait for quite a while to get a hold of it. I hadn’t realized that it was mostly a memoir, detailing the author’s struggle to adhere to his own beliefs about what he could personally do about climate change.

I struggle with knowing what I can do about such a huge issue and I was hoping for advice. Most recommendations are either nebulous or on a higher level (i.e. governmental) than I am capable of influencing. This sounded like it had practical strategies.

I don’t disagree with the author, I will try to reduce my dietary impact on the environment. I just felt that he had already covered this in a previous book and that the contents of this book could have been expressed in an essay, rather than an entire hardcover book.

My disappointment is my own and your experience of the book may be entirely different. In fact, I hope your experience is entirely different.

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text 2019-12-15 15:16
24 Festive Tasks: Door 11 - Thanksgiving: Book
The Christmas Stories of Louisa May Alcott - Louisa May Alcott,Susie Berneis


Much of a muchness, but it's one that fits the book task for this square -- people being kind and charitable to the poor; especially to darling little children who are bearing their own poverty with preternatural meekness and patience.  Bottom line, if you've read the Christmas episode from Little Women, which of course is contained in this collection as well, you've read the basic model for about 3/4 of the other stories, too ... and given the semi-autobiographical background of Little Women, you've then also read a by far the most authentic expression of the theme.


That said, a sizeable portion of these stories are also either explicitly or implicitly set in New England (Boston and elsewhere), AND in at least one of them a turkey makes a fairly prominent appearance.  So I'd say we're well and truly within the parameters of the Thanksgiving square book task.


(Book: Read a book with an autumnal cover, set in New England, where a turkey shows up in the story, with a turkey or pumpkin on the cover, or with the theme of coming together to help a community or family in need.)



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text 2019-10-22 20:33
Halloween Bingo 2019: Twenty Third Extra Square
Evil Has a Name - Full Cast,Peter McDonnell,Steven Kramer,Various Authors,Paul Holes,Jim Clemente


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review 2019-10-21 00:31
My Life: J.G. Bennett and G.I. Gurdjieff: The Memoirs of Elizabeth Bennett - Elizabeth Bennett

"My Life: J.G. Bennett and G.I. Gurdjieff: The Memoirs of Elizabeth Bennett" is an incomplete memoir by the author. It spans from her formative years as the daughter of a house master at Eton College, the health challenges she faced as a little girl and adolescent, the 5 years she spent in service with the Women's Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF) during the Second World War, to her meeting with J.G. Bennett near the end of the war --- a man 20 years her senior best described as far-seeing in thought, attitude, and action, with whom she would later share her life and bear him 4 children -- and the charismatic mystic and teacher G.I. Gurdjieff.

The memoir is focused more on relating the experiences Elizabeth Bennett had with Gurdjieff in France in the late 1940s (til his death in 1949), as well as with Bennett (whom she referred to as 'Mr. B') through the mid-1950s. There are also numerous color drawings made by Elizabeth Bennett herself during various phases of her life (she passed away in August 1991 from cancer; she was 72) and what loose ends there are in the memoir are filled in by her 2 sons. On the whole, this is a very readable book, written in a very honest, straightforward manner.

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review 2019-10-03 21:40
Chase Darkness With Me / Billy Jensen
Chase Darkness with Me: How One True-Crime Writer Started Solving Murders - Billy Jensen

Have you ever wanted to solve a murder? Gather the clues the police overlooked? Put together the pieces? Identify the suspect?

Journalist Billy Jensen spent fifteen years investigating unsolved murders, fighting for the families of victims. Every story he wrote had one thing in common―they didn't have an ending. The killer was still out there.

But after the sudden death of a friend, crime writer and author of I'll Be Gone in the Dark, Michelle McNamara, Billy became fed up. Following a dark night, he came up with a plan. A plan to investigate past the point when the cops had given up. A plan to solve the murders himself.

You'll ride shotgun as Billy identifies the Halloween Mask Murderer, finds a missing girl in the California Redwoods, and investigates the only other murder in New York City on 9/11. You'll hear intimate details of the hunts for two of the most terrifying serial killers in history: his friend Michelle McNamara's pursuit of the Golden State Killer and his own quest to find the murderer of the Allenstown Four. And Billy gives you the tools―and the rules―to help solve murders yourself.


3 to 3.5 stars??

I’m very conflicted about this book. On the one hand, I read it cover to cover as quickly as I could. On the other hand, there were a bunch of things that bothered me about it. The author was one of the people responsible for getting Michelle McNamara’s book I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer finished and ready for publication. And I appreciate that, because I loved that book. Jensen admits that he’s not the writer that McNamara was and I’d agree with him on that assessment.

Here’s one of my issues--he tries to keep so many balls in the air, juggling a variety of crimes, like some ADD true crime addict. I can’t help but speculate that he would do more conspicuous good if he’d limit himself a bit and concentrate on one or two cases at a time.

Another thing that bugs me: what his wife and family have to put up with, i.e. what seems like a lot of absence and neglect. They must be very forgiving people, because I don’t think I’d put up with it. I don’t think that this is someone to be taking life advice from, not if you value your relationships anyway.

There’s absolutely no doubt that there are a plethora of true crime podcasts, radio shows, and books in the market right now and that more and more people are attempting to make their mark by solving cold cases. What I truly did appreciate was the chapter on how to conduct yourself should you choose to follow in their footsteps. Advice to be professional, not using people’s names in public forums like Facebook and Twitter when they are leads or suspects, not doxxing your competitors, and in general being polite and staying as neutral as possible. If you are going to do this, do it the right way and don’t be an internet troll. Think carefully about it, as this isn’t just a hobby, it has the potential to ruin people’s lives if you come to the wrong conclusions.

Although I can’t say that I’m not intrigued by this phenomenon, I do recognize that I don’t have the obsessive nature required to do a good job of these tasks. I think I will stick to family genealogy research and leave crime to those better suited to that pursuit.

In the meanwhile, I’m enjoying the modern take on the true crime book. If you enjoyed this book, I would highly recommend I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer and True Crime Addict: How I Lost Myself in the Mysterious Disappearance of Maura Murray.

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