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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 2014-09-10 00:00
Confessions of a Sewer Rat: A Personal History of Censorship & the Irish Cinem
Confessions of a Sewer Rat: A Personal H... Confessions of a Sewer Rat: A Personal History of Censorship & the Irish Cinem - Ciaran Carty Published in 1995 it is sometimes funny to read about now-established up-and-coming then actors and directors. There are three threads to the story, first about him getting stroppy about books, that ends up with him getting back those books (including To Kill a Mockingbird, formerly banned in this country now almost compulsory reading in schools) and in a cascade effect having the banned literature laws reviewed.

So when he discovers that the films he's reviewing are being cut, often for very shallow reasons he decides to publicise this, name and shame and see what he could do about at least starting a debate on the topic, particularly when he's denounced as a "Sewer rat". The son of a newspaper editor he knows many of the people in the country and it also shows how Ireland often has a too small error lurking.

The third part discusses the beginnings of the modern film-making culture in Ireland, including a lot of plaudits for Michael D Higgins, our current president.

In many ways it's a story of the coming-of-age of Ireland and it's change from being caught up in an attempt to forge a society that it's heart really only had "Not English" as a basis to a more modern society. We still have a distance to go but we'll get there, I hope.
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