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review 2018-01-29 08:40
A History of the World in 6 Glasses by Tom Standage
A History of the World in 6 Glasses - Tom Standage

The author provides an interesting perspective on the influence that various drinks had on civilization, culture and the spread of ideas and empires from the Stone Age to the 21st Century.  He starts of with beer in Mesopotamia and Egypt; progresses to wine in Greece and Rome; then the concoction and trade of various types of alcoholic beverages distilled from fermented plant matter and industrial "leftovers" (e.g. molasses); to the distribution and sobering influence of coffee; to the export of and wars involving tea; to the invention and global popularity coca-cola; and finally to the source of all these beverage, water.  

This is history told in a light and breezy manner with a narrow subject and geological focus, and no depth.  It was entertaining, and the beverage perspective novel, but most of the historical information wasn't new to me (except the cola chapters).  The beer chapters were entertaining to read with witty turns of phrase, but this disappeared for the rest of the book, making for somewhat dull reading.  I don't particularly have an interest in alcohol, coffee or tea either, so this book might appeal more to someone who actually enjoys drinking the stuff.

 

OTHER BOOKS:

 

 

-Food in History by Reay Tannahill

-Untold History of the Potato - John Reader

-Salt: A World History by Mark Kurlansky

-Banana: Fate of the Fruit that Changed the World - Dan Koeppel

-Thirst - Steven Mithen

- Napoleon's Buttons: How 17 Molecules Changed History by Penny Le Couteur, Jay Burreson

 

   

 

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review 2017-12-29 01:05
A History of the World in 6 Glasses by Tom Standage
A History of the World in Six Glasses - Tom Standage

This book discusses the rise of six drinks as alternatives to water and some of it was actually rather interesting. Some of it was known to me, of course, but the couple of chapters for each drink gave a nice overview and I did learn a few things. I shouldn't have to praise this but no physical descriptions of the various personages discussed were proffered either.

 

I'm counting it as the book for DŇćngzhì Festival for 16 Festive Tasks: read a book that has a pink or white cover.

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text 2017-12-28 20:34
Reading progress update: I've read 202 out of 284 pages.
A History of the World in Six Glasses - Tom Standage

"Tea was the drink that fueled the workers in the first factories, places where both men and machines were, in their own ways, steam powered. "

This struck me as cute so I couldn't resist sharing. 

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review 2017-11-20 06:45
The Attacking Ocean by Brian Fagan
The Attacking Ocean: The Past, Present, and Future of Rising Sea Levels - Brian M. Fagan

TITLE:  The Attacking Ocean

 

AUTHOR:  Brian Fagan

 

DATE PUBLISHED:  2013

 

FORMAT:  ebook

 

ISBN-13:  9781608196951

________________________

 

 

In this book, Brian Fagan takes a look at the changing sea levels over the entire span of human civilization, from the end of the Ice Age to our current levels.  He also takes a look at the complex relationship between the growing human population and the oceans along which we live.  

 

Fagan provides a variety of case examples over a variety of ages all over the globe that show how rising ocean levels are as ancient as the Earth and that humans have usually adapted to the changing sea levels.  There is also some discussion on how the Netherlands and a few other countries have dealt with reclaiming or at least keeping the ocean at bay; and how feasible (politically and financially) these options are for poorer countries.   Fagan also briefly discusses the deleterious effect that the destruction of coastal estuaries, mangroves, barrier islands and wetlands, as well as excessive ground water pumping, has on mitigating the effects of storm surges, hurricanes, tsunamis and floods etc.  Fagan also provides a brief explanation why rising sea levels are important, for example: in terms of loss of agricultural land and increased salinity in ground water resulting in less food production;   loss of living land resulting in large migrations to other places that don’t want or can’t afford an excessive influx of people; the destruction of coastal cities/villages; and large financial expenditure to rebuild damaged infrastructure or flood barriers etc.

 

The book is fairly interesting and well written, but the various examples tend to have a lot of similarities, probably made unavoidable by the nature of the subject.  One interesting feature of this book is the second table of contents which arranges chapters in terms of regions rather than chronologically, providing an alternative reading order.  Maps of the different regions are provided but these don’t show up very well in the ebook.

 

 

 

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review 2017-09-27 20:27
Audio Much Better Than the Trying to Read the Book
World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War - Max Brooks

I have to say that a lot of people suggested that I listen to this book and what a great idea. I have to say that some of the voices sound a bit too stereotypical to my ears, but I really did enjoy listening to the so-called Zombie wars. 

 

I will say that you really do have to listen to this book. It doesn't work well at all as a written novel. I had to switch over since I almost DNFed it at one point. Reading interviews and questions and answers doesn't work in the long term. Your brain after a while just doesn't care and you find it hard to concentrate. Or at least me. When I have to read through Congressional transcripts it's the worse. I like to listen to congressional meetings or attend in person cause you don't get to hear the nuance in people's voices. 

 

I liked hearing about the so-called Patient Zero and how the virus spread and all of the places on the Earth that was touched. It was so scary reading about how the young boy's body was falling apart. I even got a little bit sick here and there listening to how cords had gone through his body to the bone. How cold his skin had gotten and how his blood now looked. When we hear about how the governments of the world even had a zombie protocol though it was surprising to me. 

 

I did think the narrator (who was Max Brooks) was not that great. He sounded so weird to my ears. I think certain statements/questions he asked needed more passion in his voice or more feeling. It just felt like he was reading the phone book to me sometimes. 

 

I was thrilled to figure out that one of the voices was Mark Hamill. He is the best! 

 

I will say though that I wanted to read more about what people did when the outbreak happened, how they managed to get through it. This was definitely an oral history, but I felt like it was missing parts. 

 

I did love the thinking that went into this by Max Brooks though. Cause it didn't even occur to me that zombies can just exist in water. That they don't need to breathe, so they can just hang out on the bottom of the ocean floor...forever. That the cold will stop them so heck move to a colder climate. Still not dead, but not real active anymore either. I also love how we learn about different things such as protocols, laws, how the world changed and new countries were formed, etc. 

 

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