logo
Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: MbDNonFiction
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-04-25 07:42
The Card Catalog: Books, Cards, and Literary Treasures
The Card Catalog: Books, Cards, and Literary Treasures - Carla D. Hayden,Library of Congress

 This is probably the most pleasant, and by extension, interesting, history of something as mundane as a card catalog as I'm likely to ever run across.  From the first example of a book catalog, pressed into clay in cuneiform, to the modern day usage of MARC records, the text flows in a tight, succinct narrative that is neither chatty nor dry (and I'm sure nowhere near comprehensive).

 

Where the book truly shines is in its photographs and illustrations.  The author and publisher were generous with the photographs and they fill at least 1/3 of the pages.  Most of them are photos of the old cards and the books they belong to, but there are many old pictures of the Library of Congress and other related images.  The number of cards the Library of Congress had to deal with daily in the mid-50's is staggering.  I can't even imagine the logistics.

 

Did you know that the Library of Congress still has their old card catalog and it's still in use?   (Most of it.)  I think that's wonderful and the perfect example of how old and new methodologies can complement each other instead of competing.  

 

This isn't the kind of book that's going to have wide appeal, but for those that find the subject interesting, it's a beautiful book, thoughtfully put together.

 

 

Page count: 220
Dollars banked: $3.00

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-04-21 12:47
Fifty Days that Changed the World
Fifty Days That Changed The World - Hywell Williams

A beautiful book, with 50 well chosen, although as the editor freely admits, subjectively chosen, days that inarguably changed the world.

 

But the writing was dry, and overly focused on battlefield/military statistics for my personal tastes; I quickly lost track of who did what to whom, and when they did it - especially since the writer(s) often went back and forth in time in an attempt to flesh out events.

 

I was also surprised by the poor editing; call me naive but I expected better from a Folio Society publication.  Spaces missing between words and sentences that were incomplete or nonsensical did nothing to improve my opinion.  It's not a bad read; it's just not as good as I'd hoped.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-04-21 10:17
The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels
The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels - Ree Drummond

Ages ago, I picked up The Pioneer Woman Cooks while I was looking around for a new cookbook.  I can't say I've ever tried any of the recipes, but her stories about life on the ranch stuck with me, so when I saw this one at a book sale for $1 I figured 'why not?'  

 

I was in the mood for something memoir-ish to go alongside my monopoly read this morning, so I started this first, thinking to get a chapter or two in before picking up my other book, but not only did I get hopelessly sucked into Ree Drumond's story, it turned out that this was a much more fitting book for the monopoly square I'm on (WaterWorks).

 

This is Ree's story about how she met her husband, the man she adoringly refers to as The Marlboro Man - her very own real life cowboy.  I gotta tell you, I wan't even half-way through this book before I was half in love with the man myself.  He might be a certified saint in a Stetson.  On the flip side, Ree is probably harder on herself in the name of honesty and, likely, entertainment than could be strictly considered fair, but it works; oftentimes hilariously. She creates an incredibly compelling re-telling of her courtship, wedding, honeymoon (omg, what a nightmare honeymoon!) pregnancy, and first year of marriage.

 

I'm not going to claim the writing is outstanding; this definitely has that blog-turned-into-book feel, which it is, but for me, the story transcended any shortcomings in the writing (which, btw, was better edited than most of my reads nowadays).  I thoroughly enjoyed it.

 

As Ree spends an alarming amount of time turning on the WaterWorks in the second half of the book, in the form of crying, bawling, sobbing and blubbering (and wow, is it justified), I could not have picked a more tailor-made book for my monopoly square if I tried.

 

 

Page count: 319
Dollars banked: $3.00

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-04-12 03:59
Authorisms: Words Wrought by Writers
Authorisms: Words Wrought by Writers - Paul Dickson

Another glossary type reference, but without the narrative hook that made  Roger, Sausage & Whippet so very engrossing.

 

This one is all about words coined, or first used by, authors.  Shakespeare of course, although he doesn't have the showing you'd expect.  A lot of words we take for granted today as being newish, but were actually coined over 100 years ago.  (Jane Austen was the first to use base ball in a literary work.  Google, while not more than 100 years old, has actually been found in a collection of stories published in 1942 - used as a verb, btw - and long before Sergey Brin and Larry Page were born.)

 

The author is a neologist himself, something that is made quite clear by his unapologetic promotion of words he's claimed credit for.  By the end remarks, it seemed to me that it was very important to him that his name live on in connection with language.  It's good to have goals, I guess. 

 

Some of my favourite words from the collection:

 

Alogotransiphobia: fear of being caught on public transportation with nothing to read. (Created by George V. Higgins in 1992)

 

Bibliobibuli: drunk on books, as other men are drunk on whiskey or religion. (Created by H.L. Menken)

 

Page 99 Test: Ford Maddox Ford recommended that readers not judge a book by its first few pages, instead recommending that readers "open the book to page ninety-nine and the quality of the whole will be revealed to you."  Carried forth on the website page99test.com.

 

 

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-04-12 03:37
Roger, Sausage & Whippet: A miscellany of Trench Lingo from the Great War
Roger, Sausage and Whippet - Christopher Moore

When I first picked up this book, I figured I'd flip through it, stopping at words that caught my eye along the way and be finished up with it in a few hours; it's a glossary, after all.

 

But then I discovered that each lettered section begins with the reproduction of a letter from the front; a man named Charles, writing to his parents, his brother and his nephew.  These were good - they were better than good, they turned a freaking glossary into a narrative, and in addition to learning new words (and meanings for old words), I had to keep flipping so I could find out what happened to Charles next, always sure that I was going to get to 'Z' to find a bad news telegram or something.  I didn't.

 

I knocked off 1/2 a star because, while Charles makes it to 'Z', you never find out what happens to him in the rest of the war.  A letter at the very start makes it clear he survived, but with 2 years of the war left, 'Z' leaves the reader with something of a small cliffhanger.

 

Still, way better than your average glossary for readability!

 

More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?