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review 2017-02-25 20:54
In Search of the Golden Rainbow
In Search of the Golden Rainbow: A Once in a Lifetime Adventure - Charles Armistead

The allure of lost treasure fascinates everyone, yet no many try to actually find it.  Charles Armistead retells his time looking for such In Search of the Golden Rainbow with his father, great-uncle, and several business partners.  Yet while searching for gold, Armistead learns lessons about life and death.

 

Covering a period of nine months, Armistead describes his time while searching for a lost Mexican mine in the Oregon Mountains of New Mexico.  Over the course of 96 pages, Armistead relates many adventures and mishaps throughout in a smooth transition from one to another.  Yet because of nearly 40 years between the events and the writing only the incidents that made the biggest impression and the details both Armistead and his father could agree on were included in the book.  Although the book is clearly written for a teenage audience, its short length is a major downside and something I didn’t realize way back when my mother read me this book when I was a child.  While the book does have a religious message as well, Armistead doesn’t “preach” throughout it instead only bring in a religious message into the book at an appropriate connection to the events he is retelling.

 

In Search of the Golden Rainbow is over 35 years old, yet it is still an enjoyable read.  Armistead’s writing style provides a quick and easy read of his time looking for lost gold while also finding some spiritual truths.  If I had decided when I was a teen to read this book for myself instead of relying on my faulty childhood memories, I would have enjoyed it not only for the adventure but also that Armistead relayed spiritual lessons in a conversational way and not highhandedly.

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text 2017-02-24 11:19
Reading progress update: I've read 50 out of 115 pages.
Simply Dirac (Great Lives) - Helge Kragh Simply Dirac (Great Lives) - Helge Kragh

The author claims that the imbalance between occurrence of matter and anti-matter in the universe is understood; I didn't think so - must investigate further.

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review 2017-02-23 09:50
A Modest Genius, Hanne Strager
A Modest Genius: The Story of Darwin's L... A Modest Genius: The Story of Darwin's Life and How His Ideas Changed Everything - Sarah Darwin,Hanne Strager

This book tries to cover a lot of territory in a short space; biography of Darwin, discussion of his scientific ideas and how they fit into the history of evolutionary theory right up to the present, somewhat discordant look at the conflict between Christian fundamentalists' literalist take on Genesis vs. the scientific consensus of an ancient Earth and evolution of species, also right up to the present.

 

This inevitably means that the book is somewhat superficial and is probably weakest on the biographical front. The scientific angle is entry-level and probably good as such but will seem a little patronising to people already familiar with the basic ideas. It's also slightly out of date in that it pays no heed to modern epigenetics or the whole Gould vs. Dawkins controversy.

 

I wanted a much deeper insight into the character of the man, but that doesn't make it a bad book, just the wrong book. It might be just what you are looking for.

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text 2017-02-23 09:25
Reading progress update: I've read 30 out of 115 pages.
Simply Dirac (Great Lives) - Helge Kragh Simply Dirac (Great Lives) - Helge Kragh

The author's opinion that one doesn't need a physics background to follow this book seems to me to be hopelessly wrong; someone who hasn't at least read a good popular account of relativity theory and quantum mechanics is not gonna have a clue about the scientific discussion.

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text 2017-02-22 14:13
Reading progress update: I've read 85 out of 169 pages.
A Modest Genius: The Story of Darwin's L... A Modest Genius: The Story of Darwin's Life and How His Ideas Changed Everything - Sarah Darwin,Hanne Strager

The scientific discussion is pretty much entry-level; it's probably great for those who've never read anything on the subject before - but I have! Again, wrong book, not bad book. However, a few glimpses of the kind of thing I wanted have shone through; Darwin spending 8 years on mollusc anatomy and classification; writing a list of pros and cons on the topic of getting married. Suffering anxiety and depression.

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