Wednesday, December 31, 2003
mostly a collection of Friedman’s NYT columns following Sept 11, but also includes a diary he kept during that time. Insightful, thought-provoking and well-written. (also see From Beirut to Jerusalem).
Tuesday, December 30, 2003
Monday, December 29, 2003
About Karl Rove. Whatever you think of Rove or the Bush administration, Rove has had an enormous impact on Texas politics during the last 20 yrs and on Bush’s success. This book is an interesting, quick read that describes Rove’s strategies and tactics which, while successful, often demonstrate a nasty “whatever it takes to win” mentality.
Sunday, December 28, 2003
Fascinating book about the problem of figuring out longitude while at sea, and the guy who successfully built clocks that would keep time on board ships to solve this problemt. Read the book to understand why clocks mattered :-)
Saturday, December 27, 2003
Hitchhikers Guide meets the Classics. This is this author’s first novel and it’s great – very clever, well-written, lots of word play, and thoroughly entertaining. Set in an altered version of London in 1985, literature is so important, there’s a division of the “police” that handles “literary crimes” (like forging Byronic verse), time-travel is common, and (some) people can move between the “real” world and the worlds in literature. The heroine is a “Literary Detective” chasing a bad guy who’s kidnapping characters out of literature. I’ve also read his second book Lost in a Good Book, and his third (can’t remember the title) but they weren’t as good.
Friday, December 26, 2003
Excellent story of William Perkin, who invented mauve, which was the first synthetic color, and which took the fashion world by storm. (Until that time, dyes were made from various natural sources – roots, leaves, insects, etc. – and were often expensive to get and produced inconsistent colors.) By demonstrating a very practical (and very profitable for him) use of chemistry, Perkin essentially created the field of industrial chemistry.
Thursday, December 25, 2003
Fantastic story about a boy in a life raft with a tiger. (yeah, I know… sounds silly. I looked at it on those front-of-the-store best-seller racks several times, but never bought it until a friend recommended it.) And I loved it. It’s a wonderful, creative, well written story.
Wednesday, December 24, 2003
This is my random gem of last year. Not sure where I stumbled into this book, but I loved it. William Least Heat Moon loses his job (as an English professor) and his wife walks out on him at about the same time, so he decides to travel around the country on the “blue highways” (those marked in blue on the maps). This book is about his 13,000 mile journey in a van he named Ghost Dancing. It’s a very well-written, insightful, often very funny travelog that’s generously sprinkled with quotes from Whitman (and others.) A great read.
Tuesday, December 23, 2003
Monday, December 22, 2003
Very clever, reasonably well written thrillers. Despite the hype about Da Vinci Code, I thought Angels & Demons was better. Also read his earlier 2 books, Deception Point and Digital Fortress, which were ok, but not as good.
Sunday, December 21, 2003
Astounding true story of a handful of Norwegians on a mission in 1942 to sabotage the world’s largest “heavy water” plant, which was being operated by the Germans in Norway. (“Heavy water” is a key ingredient for building atomic bombs.) This book reads like a good thriller and, at times, the suspense and coincidences, etc. might seem overdone – if it wasn’t true.
Saturday, December 20, 2003
Friday, December 19, 2003
Thursday, December 18, 2003
This is an enjoyable, funny, educational sprint through science’s “big questions” - how the universe was created, the laws of physics, how life was formed, the rise of homo sapiens, etc. Not as funny as A Walk in the Woods, but certainly more educational.
Wednesday, December 17, 2003
Monday, December 15, 2003
Subtitled: Global Adventures in Extreme Cuisine. This (in)famous chef (thanks to his other book, Kitchen Confidential) sets out on a far-flung journey to find the perfect meal - and ends up eating some meals that sound like episodes of Fear Factor. But it’s all very entertaining.
Saturday, December 13, 2003
Thursday, December 11, 2003
Wednesday, December 10, 2003
Monday, December 08, 2003
The story is that she was about to record yet another “Britney Spears wannabe CD” when she heard some of the classics of soul and she changed direction. This CD is fantastic. It’s hard to believe this is a 16-yr old British girl.