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review 2017-04-25 07:42
The Card Catalog: Books, Cards, and Literary Treasures
The Card Catalog: Books, Cards, and Literary Treasures - Carla D. Hayden,Library of Congress

 This is probably the most pleasant, and by extension, interesting, history of something as mundane as a card catalog as I'm likely to ever run across.  From the first example of a book catalog, pressed into clay in cuneiform, to the modern day usage of MARC records, the text flows in a tight, succinct narrative that is neither chatty nor dry (and I'm sure nowhere near comprehensive).

 

Where the book truly shines is in its photographs and illustrations.  The author and publisher were generous with the photographs and they fill at least 1/3 of the pages.  Most of them are photos of the old cards and the books they belong to, but there are many old pictures of the Library of Congress and other related images.  The number of cards the Library of Congress had to deal with daily in the mid-50's is staggering.  I can't even imagine the logistics.

 

Did you know that the Library of Congress still has their old card catalog and it's still in use?   (Most of it.)  I think that's wonderful and the perfect example of how old and new methodologies can complement each other instead of competing.  

 

This isn't the kind of book that's going to have wide appeal, but for those that find the subject interesting, it's a beautiful book, thoughtfully put together.

 

 

Page count: 220
Dollars banked: $3.00

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review 2017-04-25 05:53
Paul Dirac, Peter Goddard (editor)
Paul Dirac: The Man and His Work - Abraham Pais

Note the sub-title: this book consists of four lectures about Dirac, his work and developments from it in physics and mathematics, plus Hawking's laughably ignorant memorial address. (He repeatedly insulted his hosts for delaying for 11 years an event that was, in fact, only one year beyond the minimum requirement of ten years post Dirac's death.)

 

Only the first lecture is really biographical and even that takes time out to discuss Dirac's scientific contributions. From there the book gets progressively more technically challenging, ending with a lecture on the Dirac operator and spinors that in detail is going to be incomprehensible to anyone without an advanced working knowledge of topology. (The gist is that we have no clue what spinors mean, geometrically, in the way we know what vectors and tensors are, for example.)

 

In between, there's good stuff on antimatter from prediction to present day understanding and similarly Dirac's magnetic monopoles then to now.

 

Much of this book will go over the heads of the casual reader and if you want anything more than a cursory biography, you will also need to look elsewhere, but for physicists, it's a worthwhile publication.

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review 2017-04-24 22:23
Review: The Girl Who Beat ISIS: Farida's Story
The Girl Who Beat ISIS: Farida's Story - Andrea C. Hoffmann,Farida Khalaf

 

I would like to thank Square Peg for providing me with an advanced reading copy of this book.

This is the story of what happened to Farida after she was captured: the beatings, the rapes, the markets where ISIS sold women like cattle, and Farida's realisation that the more resistant she became, the harder it was for her captors to continue their atrocities against her. So she struggled, she bit, she kicked, she accused her captors of going against their religion, until, one day, the door to her room was left unlocked. She took her chance and, with five younger girls in her charge, fled into the Syrian desert...

 

I honestly don't know what to say about this book, or even where to start with reviewing it. It feels wrong to try and break it down and comment on writing style, star rating, etc.

 

This book really brings home how easily your life can change. One day you're enjoying the long hot summer days and the next you and your family are fleeing for your lives. Farada could be your daughter, your sister, your niece, she deserves to be safe, to live without fear just like everyone else. The suffering she endured was atrocious, yet she never gave up. Her story is a remarkable story of hope, faith, courage, and strength. It's not an easy read, but it is important that experiences like Farada's are told. It is important that the world is made aware of the atrocities that are occurring in order to better understand the horrors that refugees are running from.

 

The Girl Who Beat ISIS is a book that everyone should read.

 

 

 

Reviews also posted to my blog: Scarlet's Web
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review 2017-04-24 17:11
ALL THINGS NEW by KELLY MINTER
All Things New - Bible Study Book: A Study on 2 Corinthians (Living Room) - Kelly Minter

I read this for a Bible study at my church. This was good but usually the Bible studies I read are, "Now what do you think about that verse" where this was "Name the 5 reasons Paul gave for writing to the Corinthian church". I guess the emphasis was on the word "study". It was good but with 5 sections each week it was a struggle to finish it during my lunch hour.

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review 2017-04-24 13:28
Charles Darwin - David C. King

Unfortunately, unlike its series companion about Einstein (by a different author) I can't recommend this book, even to its intended age group.

 

Most seriously, there are factual errors: Darwin was not the official naturalist aboard the Beagle. That role was taken by the ship's surgeon (as was often the case), who, jealous of Darwin, quit at the first opportunity and sailed home. (Fortunately FitzRoy was able to hire a new surgeon before continuing the voyage.)

 

Secondly, there are typographical problems that go beyond just the occasional spelling error into missed and repeated parts of sentences.

 

Thirdly, in a book that has separate, boxed definitions for such concepts as "geology", words like "ecosystem" go by without any explanation at all.

 

Not good, which is a shame, since Darwin and his science are so enormously important.

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