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text 2017-09-23 10:09
Reading progress update: I've read 260 out of 346 pages.
Life and Letters of Charles Darwin - Volume 1: By Charles Darwin - Illustrated - Charles Darwin

Darwin wanted to know how plants colonised islands, so he did experiments with seeds to sea if they floated in salt water and if they would germinate after a week of such. He also tried feeding seeds to fish on the theory that they might be eaten by birds and the seeds then transported to new islands.

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text 2017-09-23 09:17
Reading progress update: I've read 131 out of 288 pages.
The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books - Martin Edwards

I'm through the first 10 chapters and there are a few titles I'm definitely going to hunt down, including (but not limited to), Case for Three Detectives by Leo Bruce, and Murder in Black and White by Evelyn Elder.  The former because I love humour and the latter because the format intrigues me, with the chance to solve the mystery myself.


Edwards writing stopped tripping me up; either it has smoothed out, or, and this is more likely, I just got used to it.  But his chapter openings cram so many titles and authors together, I often lose track of who's who and what's what.  Thank god for indices.



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text 2017-09-22 11:39
Reading progress update: I've read 75 out of 288 pages.
The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books - Martin Edwards

I know this is a British vs. American English thing, and I'm not suggesting at all that one is more or less correct than the other, but Edwards habit of referring to authors as founder members is driving me a little bonkers.  It's so clunky when I try to read it in my head; I want it to say founding member.  My brain tries to make it so, but my eyes trip over the discrepancy and I keep getting distracted.


Of course not so distracted that I'm not finding books and more books to add to my TBR lists...

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review 2017-09-21 22:35
Go Down Together by Jeff Guinn, narrated by Jonathan Hogan
Go Down Together: The True, Untold Story of Bonnie and Clyde - Recorded Books LLC,Jeff Guinn,Jonathan Hogan


Turns out that a lot of things I thought I knew about Bonnie and Clyde were not true. They were not a tall and handsome couple like Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway. They were also not very smart-both of them spent some in jail and for Clyde that was some hard time. I guess that old adage is right: crime does not pay.




I started to list here all the things I learned from this book, but then I realized that would be spoiling things for everyone else. I decided I'm just going to stick to the main points:


As I said above, they were not smart criminals. They were repeatedly jailed, chased, shot at, etc... They were often injured in these gunfights with police and when I say injured, I mean badly hurt. They were great at stealing cars though, and Clyde liked the Ford V-8's so much he wrote Henry Ford a fan letter about them.


They loved their families and made arrangements to see them often: which just illustrates how clueless and unprepared the law was for fugitives like these. They didn't stake out the houses of Clyde or Bonnie's mothers or their other relatives, until near the very end. If only they had done that, many lives could have been saved.


Clyde and Bonnie loved lavishing their relatives with money and gifts, (when they could), and they both liked to dress nicely. That was about the only luxury they could enjoy, because they were almost always on the run, never able to relax or enjoy themselves. Most of their robberies netted them so little in the way of booty, they were hardly worth the trouble.



Lastly, they truly did love each other. When Bonnie's leg was badly injured, (due to a car chase and subsequent wreck where battery acid leaked all over her), Clyde forever after carried her wherever she needed to go. Bonnie's poetry and writing all showed that she knew they would both come to a bad end, but she loved him and wanted to be with him, even in death. So, I guess that one part of the Hollywood myth is true.


I listened to the audio version of this book. It was detailed, but not too much, and the narrator even added a little humor when the time was right. I learned a lot.




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review 2017-09-21 17:07
Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal - Mary Roach

Several years ago, I listened to the audiobook version of Gulp.  My reaction at the time was “Fascinating, with just the right amount of yuck factor.” 


I re-read Gulp during the early part of September since it was picked as the first Flat Book Society read.  The chatty, anecdotal style that worked so well for the first listen, didn’t hold up as well to a (print) re-read.  The level of detail for many of the chapters seemed more appropriate for a podcast or a newspaper article than for a book, and perhaps would have been better if encountered in episodic form with a break between sections.


My least favorite parts were the early chapters discussing the history of Fletcherism (obsessive chewing) and the 19th century experiments on Alexis St. Martin (he of the fistulated stomach), both stories I’d previously encountered.  The book picked up a bit once Ms. Roach started talking about the Oral Processing Lab at Wageningen University in the Netherlands and other recent research into the digestive process.   I particularly liked the chapter debunking the story of Jonah and the "whale." While many find the closing chapter regarding stool transplants repugnant, as someone with a delicate digestion, I found the idea of recolonizing the digestive system fascinating.


If you can appreciate potty humor and are interested in a semi-random series of tidbits loosely connected to digestion, then you might want to pick up Gulp for your next audiobook or bathroom read.   

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