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review 2020-02-16 22:18
Bush Runner / Mark Bourrie
Bush Runner : the Adventures of Pierre-Esprit Radisson - Mark Bourrie

Murderer. Salesman. Pirate. Adventurer. Cannibal. Co-founder of the Hudson's Bay Company.

Known to some as the first European to explore the upper Mississippi, and widely as the namesake of ships and hotel chains, Pierre-Esprit Radisson is perhaps best described, writes Mark Bourrie, as “an eager hustler with no known scruples.” Kidnapped by Mohawk warriors at the age of fifteen, Radisson assimilated and was adopted by a powerful family, only to escape to New York City after less than a year. After being recaptured, he defected from a raiding party to the Dutch and crossed the Atlantic to Holland—thus beginning a lifetime of seized opportunities and frustrated ambitions.

A guest among First Nations communities, French fur traders, and royal courts; witness to London’s Great Plague and Great Fire; and unwitting agent of the Jesuits’ corporate espionage, Radisson double-crossed the English, French, Dutch, and his adoptive Mohawk family alike, found himself marooned by pirates in Spain, and lived through shipwreck on the reefs of Venezuela. His most lasting venture as an Artic fur trader led to the founding of the Hudson’s Bay Company, which operates today, 350 years later, as North America’s oldest corporation.

 

I remember first hearing about Radisson and Groseilliers in about Grade 5, when I think they were called “explorers” or “fur traders.” I also recall my mother calling them Radishes and Gooseberries. Imagine my surprise to find that Groseilliers actually does mean gooseberries!

In many ways, Pierre-Esprit Radisson is a better and a worse man than you would expect from the few facts that I encountered in grade school. He seems to have been able to roll along with whatever situation he encountered, looking for an upside or an opportunity. He also seems to have had a natural aptitude for languages which stood him in good stead. On the poor side, he seemed to be motivated almost entirely by profit and was willing to abandon or double-cross his friends and business partners whenever it was convenient for him.

Why should we be interested in the man? As the author states in his introduction: He’s living with Indigenous people in North America. He’s with Charles II of England and his court of scoundrels, traitors, and ex-pirates. He’s in England during the Great Plague. He’s in London during the Great Fire. He’s set upon by spies. He’s in the Arctic. Then he’s with pirates in the Caribbean. After that, he’s at Versailles. And then the Arctic again. Along the way, he crosses paths with the most interesting people of his day. He’s the Forrest Gump of his time.

I can’t help but think that Radisson could have achieved a lot more if he hadn’t been quite so fixated on the fur trade. He could have lived a good life among the Iroquois or the Mohawk, but his restless nature wouldn’t let him settle. A bit of a conman, he couldn’t happily just live a normal life.

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review 2020-02-16 14:51
Adventures of a Computational Explorer
Adventures of a Computational Explorer - Stephen Wolfram

[I received a copy through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.]

I’ve been mulling over this review for a while now, and have to conclude that I’m still pretty much on the fence about this collection of essays and articles.

On the one hand, it makes no doubt that the author is a smart and clever person, with such an insatiable curiosity for a lot of things, and this for his whole life, that in itself, his writing is lifting and passion-inducing. I was absolutely fascinated, with the first essay, where he chronicles his participation to the “Arrival” movie (he was asked to come up with plausible science to use during certain scenes), partly because I liked this movie, and partly because I love physics even though I don’t have an actual scientific background.

On the other hand, there didn’t seem to be any thread truly linking these articles, and I felt more like I was grabbing posts at random from a blog, some of which (like the one above) were really exciting, and some others I had no interest about. (I’ll be very honest and say that I couldn’t care less about his filing system, for instance, or statistics about his e-mail activity habits...) Because of the originally standalone nature of these “chapters”, there was also a lot of repetition and overlap, such as the many mentions to Mathematica and Wolfram|Alpha. Again, on a blog with updates at different times, it’s OK, but as a book, it didn’t work so well. The whole, in the end, felt more “promotional”, where I had expected (and wanted) something that would appeal more to the computer/science geek in me.

Conclusion: 2.5 stars. Had more of the “chapters” been on the level of the first one, I would definitely have liked this collection much more.

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text 2020-02-14 03:18
The Adventurers Guild series
The Adventurers Guild - Zack Loran Clark,Nick Eliopulos,Johnny Heller
Twilight of the Elves - Zack Loran Clark,Nick Eliopulos
Night of Dangers - Zack Loran Clark,Nick Eliopulos

 

I listened to the first book in this series last summer and loved it. But I never got around to continuing the series. Last month, one of the girls at school told me that I had to read the second & third books because she loved them. I was able to borrow the audio of book 2 (Twilight of the Elves) but the third wasn't available in audio from the library. I loved the audio so much that I bought book 3 (Night of Dangers) from Audible.

 

This series is amazing and I loved it. It is a magical tale that emphasizes friendship and the importance of trust in the middle of a battle between the apprentices, monsters, and tricksters hiding in plain sight. In order to survive and win, the apprentices must come together and use their strengths to save each other and the town of Freestone.

 

The books are full of adventure, danger, compassion, and twists and turns you won't see coming. If you enjoy middle-grade fantasy stories, I predict you will love this series!

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review 2020-02-12 02:14
Boy X - Dan Smith

Audience: Middle Grade

Format: Hardcover/Library Copy

 

Light.
Bright. White. Light.

- opening words

 

Twelve-year-old Ash wakes up in an unfamiliar room with an IV in his arm and no memory of how he got there. As he searches for his mom, he discovers he has abilities that are beyond normal, hearing, vision, sense of smell. He witnesses people trying to escape in a helicopter and being shot down. He finds Isabel, who helps him find his mother and her father, but they are infected with a virus that could destroy the world’s population. Ash & Isabel race against the clock to stop the men who stole the virus and find the cure for their parents.

There is violence in this book including shooting, knives, and physical fighting. There are scary animals all over the island that Ash & Isabel encounter. Isabela is smart and capable and helps Ash navigate the jungle, even as his senses warn them of approaching danger. There is a lot of suspense and action that will appeal to kids. Isabel is a great example of a strong female heroine.



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review 2020-02-08 19:26
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer - Mark Twain,Guy Cardwell,John Seelye

I had read The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn as a young girl in school but we didn't read this book, which is the first of the series. I now know and understand why. It is highly inappropriate for young minds. In this modern age reading it, I found myself slightly offended at times. Too much mention of the n-word, calling my kinfolk Injun, and robbing people then having orgies. UGH.
Still, I get why it's a brilliant book.
A book for adults. Real literature that introduces you to Tom and Huck. You get their friendship and understand why they are they way they are. Tom seems like such a problematic lad, but this book helps you understand why. It was great having Tom's aspect.
So then I went to get a copy of Huck Finn. Now I want to reread that one. I loved it when we read it in school, but it was over 30 years ago! Time to find out if I love it still. Something tells me I will, and with a deeper understanding.

 

 

Source: www.fredasvoice.com/2020/02/the-adventures-of-tom-sawyer-by-mark.html
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