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text 2018-09-14 17:31
Things found in books
The Ebony Swan - Phyllis A. Whitney

I love finding things people leave in books but this is the first time I've found something that I left in a book almost 30 years ago!  

 

 

I am sick so I decided to stay in my pajamas and rest in bed.  I had pulled out this book to read next because I was sure it was the book I'd had the longest.  It is also a hardcover book and they take up too much room in my shelves.  I started reading it and came across a piece of paper printed in red that looked like a $5 bill.  They were called Safety Bucks.  It is from my first job as a teen which I got when I was 17.  I think this was from 1989 when I was 18.  I really didn't remember much about these but my husband just said they could be used to buy things at the hotel.  I think they were earned for not being injured on the job for a certain length of time.  

 

 

This is the time when I met my husband (he worked there too) and in September 1st, 1991 we were married.  

 

 

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review 2018-05-10 18:47
Y2K compliant SAP: "A Life in Code - A Personal History of Technology" By Ellen Ullman
Life in Code: A Personal History of Technology - Ellen Ullman

If you want to get a glimpse of what was the Y2K Bug craze in 1999 Ullman’s chapter on it is a must.

 

Millenniums may ask: “What was the Y2K bug?” Well, as one who was actively working in IT at the time, it basically was the number of seriously heavyweight IT-reliant- and IT-provider-based organizations running crapped out, moth-eaten, disaster-ready systems for critical public service and infrastructure functions, systems that were originally developed for Noah's GPSing around Ararat, beggars belief. The problem with the earlier Y2K and other system's potential 1970s-based clock issue and its siblings was and is their potential for cascading. The Y2K bug did, indeed, bite a lot of systems, but it did not go critical and ignite a runaway reaction. However, before the event absolutely no-one on the planet knew for sure whether it would or not.

 

 

If you're into Computer Science of the Personal Kind, read on

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text 2015-10-17 19:48
Inside Out: A Personal History of Pink Floyd - Nick Mason,Philip Dodd

Über die gesamte Geschichte von Pink Floyd, von Anfang an. Da Pink Floyd eine von meinen Lieblingsband ist, musste ich das mal lesen.

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review 2015-04-03 16:31
Nonfiction Review: Personal History
Personal History - Katharine Graham

One of my book groups recently chose Katharine Graham’s autobiography, Personal History. I don’t normally write a review of a book that I haven’t finished, but I spent almost three weeks reading through page 405 of this hefty tome, so I think I got a good perspective on both its positive characteristics and its flaws.

 

In case you aren’t familiar with her, Katharine Graham was the renowned owner of The Washington Post for many decades. Having inherited it from her father and her husband, Katharine took over the job of publisher of what became one of the nation’s top newspapers at a time when it was very rare for women to even be involved in business at all, let alone in such a powerful position. However, as an autobiography, Personal History covers her entire life, not just her time with The Washington Post.

 

In fact, the book begins well before her birth, with background and histories of both her mother’s and father’s sides of the family, going back many generations. Her father’s family was Jewish, with roots in France, while her mother’s family was Lutheran, originally from Germany. Their interfaith marriage was unusual for the time, but her parents were prosperous and popular public figures, first in New York state and later in Washington, DC, as her father became more involved with politics. Katharine had a privileged childhood, surrounded by wealth and opportunity, with her family splitting their time between multiple huge houses in the city and the country.

 

When Graham’s father first purchased The Washington Post, it was the smallest and least profitable of 5 major newspapers in the DC area, but he was determined to make it successful. Under first his leadership, then that of Katharine’s husband, Phil Graham, and finally, with Katharine herself at the helm, the family newspaper eventually became the top-notch, respected newspaper that it is today. Along the way, Katharine experienced a fair amount of tragedy in her life as well, including the death of her husband.

 

At 625 pages, Personal History is a very long book but also a very dense book, packed full of details, names, dates, and other minutiae. Despite its title, it is far more than just a personal history of Katharine’s life but also a chronicle of her family history, a detailed history of The Washington Post (and the family also owned Newsweek), and an intricate insider’s view of politics from the 1920’s through the 1980’s.

 

For my taste, there was just too much packed into one book. While I found much of it interesting, it was a very slow read, and I would have preferred more personal and less business. The best part of the book was when she wrote about her husband’s illness and eventual death because those sections were imbued with an emotion that was often lacking from the rest of the book. I’m not a fan of celebrity memoirs/autobiographies to begin with – I’d rather read about “regular” people – and the constant name-dropping in this book was tiresome to me. Finally, the book could have used a good editor to help cull and shorten it a bit to highlight the best of it. I had to wonder whether her editor was afraid to suggest too many changes to such a high-ranking, renowned journalist/publisher!

 

Not everyone agrees with me. For instance, the Pulitzer committee must have thought highly of Personal History because it won the Pulitzer Prize for Biography/Autobiography in 1998. Although I wasn’t able to attend our book group discussion, I heard that ratings on our 10-point scale ranged from 3 to 9.5! Most readers in our group agreed the writing wasn’t great but some felt the fascinating content outweighed that.

 

This book is fascinating, in many respects. Besides Katharine’s personal life story, you can see the entire history of modern politics in this book. The Grahams were very close to several U.S. Presidents, and that inside view is interesting – being in the hotel room when Jack Kennedy decided on his running mate at the Democratic National Convention, being whisked off to Lyndon Johnson’s Texas ranch for an impromptu weekend, etc. And, of course, The Washington Post was instrumental in breaking the news of Watergate. Katharine’s story also presents an interesting view of the changing role of women from the 1950’s to the present day.

 

All in all, I learned a lot reading (65% of) this book and found some of it very interesting; however, it was dense and overcrowded with details and not an easy read. I enjoyed it enough to spend a few weeks on it for my book group…but not enough to spend another couple of weeks finishing it! If you have a particular interest in U.S. politics, journalism, or the role of women in the workplace, then you will probably like this book more than if you are just looking for an interesting read.

 

625 pages, Alfred A. Knopf

Source: bookbybook.blogspot.com/2015/04/nonfiction-review-personal-history.html
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review 2015-01-15 00:00
Look Back In Horror: A Personal History of Horror Film
Look Back In Horror: A Personal History of Horror Film - J. Malcolm Stewart Everyone who loves horror probably saw a horror movie at a young age that left an impression and started them on a life long love affair with the genre. Look Back In Horror: A Personal History of Horror Film by J Malcolm Stewart is one writer’s love letter to his favorite genre. Some of the things this book touches on is the films that managed to scare J. Malcolm as he was growing up, top 50 scream queens and the movies of Mario Bava.

Look Back in Horror starts with J. Malcom explaining why he loves horror. He mentions how he has spent many nights watching movies that we were told were bad for us and then goes on to say that he finds horror fans to be the most even-tempered, honest and nicest people to be around. He goes on to say that horror fans prefer to acknowledge and confront the darkness that is in us and then points out that you have to go through the darkness to get to the light. After reading his intro I realized that J. Malcom felt the same way about horror that I did and I was really looking forward to reading the rest of the book.

There is a lot I learned from this book, its like an encyclopedia of knowledge on scream queens. It also gave a good retrospect on the career of Mario Bava. I didn’t know a lot about the work of Bava with the exception of Black Sunday and Black Sabbath which every horror fan should see. I have to say here Black Sunday is a movie that I would love to see remade, many directors have copied it, but I wonder if the mood of the original can be recaptured in an updated movie. This book also brings up movies I never knew about called The Whip And The Body and Planet Of The Vampires. Mario Bava is a director that gets his due in Look Back In Horror.

I love the fact that J. Malcom brings up the movie Equinox. Equinox is a lost gem from 1970, that most horror fans probably haven’t seen. J. Malcom mentions seeing this movie on Creature Feature many years ago and it stuck with him. As he described the movie I realized that I saw it once on late night tv years ago and I agree it is a classic. The movie deals with a bunch of hippies in the sixties running away from a devil like creature in the woods. This movie is a great example of why horror is a great genre. Its creepy and campy at the same time. I was happy to see it mentioned here as J. Malcom’s gateway to the world of horror.

There are a lot of movies mentioned in this book that some horror fans might not be aware of which shows how big of a horror fan that J. Malcom is. I loved the fact that Vampira gets mentioned in the top 50 scream queens since she doesn’t get the attention she deserves. Also liked that Felissa Rose from Sleepaway Camp gets a mention even though I think the movie is one of the worst horror films ever, I liked parts 2 and 3 though. Look Back In Horror is a celebration on what makes horror a fun genre.
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