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review 2017-06-27 02:40
Ghost Talkers by Mary Robinette Kowal
Ghost Talkers - Mary Robinette Kowal

Imagine a first world war where the English have recruited mediums and devised a method to have soldiers report intelligence from their dying moments before moving on. Of course, the Germans are trying to figure out the secret of how they do this, and this is the basis for the plot of the novel. Ginger Stuyvesant is an American heiress who is one of these mediums.

 

It was a quick read and I liked it overall but I can’t say that I ever really got fully absorbed by it. Little things kept distracting me. I’m not entirely sure whether they were even problems, exactly. Just little period details that made me wonder whether things would have happened quite like that. Maybe they would have. I do think the title could have been better.

 

Anyway, I read this for the booklikes-opoly Water Works square on a gamble since that one says to “Read a book with water on the cover, or where someone turns on the waterworks (i.e., cries) because of an emotional event.” I got lucky, and there were a few instances of people crying, usually as a result of a death. This wasn’t emotional weeping but more subdued crying, the kind that you just can’t seem to help, but I think it counts.

 

At 299 pages, this nets me another $6 for my bank, leaving with a current total of $156.

 

Previous updates:

187 of 299 pages (63 %)

82 of 299 pages (27 %)

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review 2017-06-26 10:14
The History and Uncertain Future of Handwriting - Anne Trubek

I was enjoying this until I hit p.50 "The most beautiful of these hands may well be Insular, developed in Ireland by Saint Patrick, who had learned half-uncial in Europe and brought it to Ireland in the latter half of the fifth century." the small postits came out and there's a "citation please" note on it. Because, even though she annotates almost everything else this one came out of nowhere.  Having studied Early Irish Script in college this is unfounded.  Patrick brought Christianity and Latin to Ireland and from that came the Insular script; Irish scribes are also supposed to have introduced spaces and some of the common abbreviations.  Plus, while the Book of Kells is in Insular Script and resides in Ireland, common scholarship attributes it to somewhere in Scotland.

 

So after this I took a lot of what she said with a grain of salt. It misses the modern calligraphy revival, the proliferation of calligraphy on Pinterest, the use of pseudo calligraphy in a lot of places and the new discoveries about things like journalling by hand, like Bullet Journals and the resurgence in fountain pens.  It's an interesting read but lacks a certain amount of true depth.

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review 2017-06-24 22:43
Not all that interesting.
The Making of Black Lives Matter: A Brie... The Making of Black Lives Matter: A Brief History of an Idea - Christopher J. Lebron

I was curious about the book as the title intrigued me. There are a lot of misconceptions about what "Black Lives Matter" means and while I've read a few other books that deal with the genesis of the movement I thought this would be a good text to read.

 

As the summary says it's an "intellectual history" of how we got here. While Black Lives Matter may be a relatively new concept in terms of how it appears as a hashtag, its movement on social media, the offline work activists do and where it goes from here, author Lebron looks at the historical origins of the movement, looking at history and intellectuals that would eventually give rise to the movement.

 

I suppose what should give it away is that it's an "intellectual history", which is a phrase taken right from the book flap and summaries of the book. Thinkers such as James Baldwin, Frederick Douglss, Ida B. Wells, Martin Luther King, Jr., and others are discussed.

 

I feel a little bad because I'm not sure how to review this. I don't disagree with his framing or arguments but was this text ever boring. It's quite academic while at the same time I wish it wasn't so concise. I'm not sure how long the text could be to fully address this but I found it very difficult to get into. He addresses events out of chronological order (contrasting current events like the death of Trayvon Martin with the lives of historical thinkers) which in itself wasn't bad in my point of view but it felt jarring to move back and forth and sometimes I wasn't quite sure what point he was trying to make.

 

What really throws it off for me is that this is really more about the history of BLM. The founders of Black Lives Matter (Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi) are barely mentioned and I suppose part of it is that I thought thought more about the actual event of how Black Lives Matter came to be (hence the title). I understand that this might not have been the author's aim so maybe my expectations and the actuality were a mismatch.

 

I certainly don't discourage people from reading it but it may or may not match what you think the book is about. I guess I had thought (since I make it a point not to read too many reviews or marketing material so as not to frame a book) that this book would be more like Wesley Lowrey's 'They Can't Kill Us All: Ferguson, Baltimore, and a New Era in America’s Racial Justice Movement', which is a more contemporary look based on Lowery's on the ground reporting. 

 

Borrowed from the library. It's a relatively slim book so it might be best to borrow first and see if you want it for your own collection.

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review 2017-06-24 21:45
Tell It to the World
Tell It to the World - C. Mervyn Maxwell

The beginnings and the early development of the Seventh-day Adventist church spans continents and over a century that sees a handful of disappointed believers grow into a worldwide church with millions of members.  Tell It to the World is a popular history by Mervyn Maxwell who used his long career teaching students to write church history in an engaging way.

 

The history begins with William Miller beginning his ministry about the coming of Christ in 1843-44 and how for years he remained in small towns until events brought his message to a much wider audience.  The events in the United States and around the world at the same time that contributed to the Great Second Advent Movement before the Great Disappointment gave background not only to the times but the individuals who would soon shape the Seventh-day Adventist church.  The aftermath of the Great Disappointment brought about division among Millerites and one small group formed what would become the Seventh-day Adventist church through Bible study and the Voice of Prophecy.  The slow process of organizing the church along the concurrent beginnings of missionary work first around the nation and then across the world are interwoven together to show how both helped and harmed one another until a more centralized structure brought things into place.  But this only took place after 16 years of crisis that brought reforms to the structure of the church that would allow it to continue to grow into the 20th Century.

 

Though the text is only 270 pages long, Maxwell packs a lot of information and anecdotes into the 32 chapters of the book that many Adventists would appreciate.  Being a popular history, this book shies away from scholarly prose but Maxwell’s professionalism makes sure that footnotes are peppered throughout the text so those who question statements or wanting to know more could examine his sources.  As stated above Maxwell used his long career in teaching to write so his students would enjoy reading and because the book was first published in the late 1970s, the ease of reading holds up very well.

 

Tell It to the World gives readers an ease to read history of the beginnings and early development of the Seventh-day Adventist church that is informative and riveting.  Mervyn Maxwell’s book brings to focus a lot of Adventist history that many lifelong and new members of the church will find inspiring and instructive.  If you’re a Seventh-day Adventist and haven’t read this before, I encourage you to do so.

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review 2017-06-23 10:58
Healing Inside and Outside
The History of New Innovations in Modern Medicine: The Threat of New Thought to Traditional Medicine - Dr. James D. Okun MD,Evangelita Goodwell

 

More than just the fascinating knowledge about  diseases and treatments such as Alzheimer's, psychosomatics, dialysis, Aesthetic Realism, and the discovery of penicillin, this book will bring you understanding about the opposites sides of life and people. It will help you to embrace the world and consequently to embrace yourself.  Connecting the inner and outside world, finding peace. The peace and serenity of the understanding about how to heal yourself inside and outside. I highly recommend this book to everyone

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