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review 2018-06-20 18:31
Orbit of Discovery: The All-Ohio Space Shuttle Mission
Orbit of Discovery: The All-Ohio Space Shuttle Mission - Don Thomas

From the beginning of the 20th-Century the state of Ohio has seemingly been on the forefront of manned flight from the Wright Brothers to Neil Armstrong to the flight of an “All-Ohio” crew of STS-70 aboard the shuttle Discovery.  Don Thomas in Orbit of Discovery relates the entire history of the mission from his assignment to the crew to the post-mission events as well as the event that is it best known for, the woodpecker attack that delayed the launch.

 

Thomas begins his book with the sudden halt in his pre-flight routine when a love sick woodpecker drilled holes in the foam of the external tank forcing weeks of delays that put him and the other four members of the crew spinning their wheels.  This pause allows Thomas to give an account about how he personally got to this point through his childhood dream of becoming an astronaut to his course of study in school to achieve that dream then his three time failures to join the program until finally succeeding on this fourth try.  He then goes into his time in the program before his flight on the shuttle Columbia and quick turn assignment to Discovery soon after his return.  Thomas then related the year long process of training and preparation for the mission until the sudden halt in the process when a woodpecker used the external tank to attract a mate.  After NASA was able to repair the foam, the mission returns to normal save for the humor inclusions of Woody Woodpecker throughout the flight in space and the numerous post-mission events that Thomas relates in detail.

 

The uniqueness of the mission’s delay as well as the fact that the crew was entirely made up of astronauts from one state—well one was given honorable citizenship—made for a good hook for any general reader who might have an interest in the space program.  Thomas with the assistance of Mike Bartell gives a very reader friendly look into what it was like to be an astronaut and the course of shuttle missions from assignment to post-flight events without becoming bogged down in technobabble.  At the end of the book is included an appendix for profiles for all the astronauts that came from Ohio which is in the spirit of the book and adds a nice bit of history for those interested.

 

Overall, Orbit of Discovery is a well-written and easy to read book that gives a first-hand account of everything that went into a space shuttle flight.  Don Thomas’ own story of his journey to finally getting to the program adds to the account in allowing the read to see how much dedication goes into becoming an astronaut.  For those interested in any way in the space program, this is a highly recommended book.

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review 2018-01-26 15:43
Marriage bargains across the sea
The Shuttle - Frances Hodgson Burnett

Like it happened to me with the two previous novels by this author, this book happened to me also. As in, there I was reading, and the gorgeous writing caught me and carried me through the pages.

 

The starting issue is difficult to read and heartbreaking. Mixing of cultures, a despicable man and a sweet, naive girl. Reading Nigel's though process was forever icky, and, like I mentioned in some progress update, an abridged manual for abusers. It is startling and scary how accurate many of his observations on human behavior are, and how he uses normal expectations and disbelief as a refuge in audacity (at one point he observes how he's being over-the-top in his villainy, and how it's to his advantage, because who would believe such a discourse happened in real life).

 

Once Betty enters the stage to stay, it becomes more like the standard Hodgson Burnett fare. Much like Sarah Crewe, she's a plucky, resourceful angel. It's one of those unbelievable characters that one still can't help but love and be charmed by.

 

It is a lovely book that tackles a thorny issue in a somewhat rosy but insightful way, and I liked it very much.

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text 2018-01-25 20:19
Reading progress update: I've read 360 out of 512 pages.
The Shuttle - Frances Hodgson Burnett

“No!” he said passionately. “By God, no!”
“You say that,” said the older man, “because you have not yet reached the end of your tether. Unhappy as you are, you are not unhappy enough. Of the two, you love yourself the more—your pride and your stubbornness.”

 

"The Tidal Wave" indeed. And now I know why the last chapter is "The Primeval Thing". I love how every chapter is titled. And I love Penzance's wisdom. To have the friendship of such a parson.

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text 2018-01-25 00:34
Reading progress update: I've read 285 out of 512 pages.
The Shuttle - Frances Hodgson Burnett

“When I saw you last you were a fierce nine-year-old American child. I use the word ‘fierce’ because—if you’ll pardon my saying so—there was a certain ferocity about you.”
“I have learned at various educational institutions to conceal it,” smiled Betty.

 *evil grin* Not the same as saying she lost it.

How Burnett enchants and engages me. I can't stop reading. The same happened to me with her previous books. The tide of the pages just carries me off.

Also, as she talked, it was plain that her habit of self-control and her sense of resource would be difficult to deal with. He was a survival of the type of man whose simple creed was that women should not possess resources, as when they possessed them they could rarely be made to behave themselves.

 *raised eyebrows* This guy is unrelentingly loath-worthy.

His personal theories concerning women presented to him two or three effective ways of managing them. You made love to them, you flattered them either subtly or grossly, you roughly or smoothly bullied them, or you harrowed them with haughty indifference—if your love-making had produced its proper effect—when it was necessary to lure or drive or trick them into submission. Women should be made useful in one way or another.

 Seriously, following his though-process is like reading an abuse manual

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quote 2018-01-24 02:36
“There are a good many girls who can be trusted to do things in these days,” she said. “Women have found out so much. Perhaps it is because the heroines of novels have informed them.”
The Shuttle - Frances Hodgson Burnett

Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Shuttle

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