Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A Book in Review: Minders of Make-Believe

Minders of Make-Believe By: Leonard S. Marcus
Non-fiction: history, litature, children 315 pages
Book Count: 47

This book is on the history of children's books in America. It starts with colonial America and ends with "Harry Potter". It looks at what types of books were writen. Who were the powers behind thoose choices. And how the idea of children's books has changed both in the minds of parents and experts in the field (publishers, teachers, libarians.) It was a very indept study that has extensive endnotes. It is suprizing to see how in such a short time the idea of kids books has changed again and agian. It was intresting learning how old or new some books are that are popular today as well as how they often were seen as contriversal when they were made or how they almost weren't made.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A Book in Review: B is for Beer

B is for Beer By: Tom Robbins
Fiction: Children/Adult 125 pages
Book count: 46

First a note on the book's category. The cover itself says that it is "A Children's Book for Grown-ups" and "A Grown-up Book for Children". It is a story about a 5-6 year old girl and uses a writing style one could use in writing books for children. It however, has content more like in an adult book. Not just in a this is a lot of heavy subject matter for kids (alchol, divorce, broken homes, religion/philosophy), but also in the way it is presented. That being said this is by far the best fiction book I have read about how beer is made. And although, if you follow the children's fiction rule that the main character should never be younger then the reader, it isn't a children's book, it could easily be read by a pre-teen, for enjoyment.

This is the story of Gracie Perkel who wants to know more about beer. Every time she talks about it to an adult she either gets in trouble or doesn't get any answers. Finial, when upset on her birthday she drinks down a beer, throws up and is visited by the beer fairy. The beer fairy takes her on a magical trip (in a very "A Christmas Carol" type way.) On the trip she learns some of the history of beer, how it is made, good and bad things that it causes and why some people drink it. (But, she never meets a sugar elf.)

Friday, July 17, 2009

A Book in Review: Black Belt Patrioism

Black Belt Patrioism By: Chuck Norris
Non-fiction: politics 189 pages
Book Count: 45

OK, I only read the book in order to post "Chuck Norris Facts" so. . .

Chuck Norris can sneeze with his eyes open.
Chuck Norris can eat just one Lay's potato chip.
Chuck Norris does not sleep. He waits.
Chuck Norris can win a game of Connect Four in only three moves.
When Chuck Norris falls in water, Chuck Norris doesn't get wet. Water gets Chuck Norris.
Chuck Norris can divide by zero.
Chuck Norris always knows the EXACT location of Carmen SanDiego.
Chuck Norris can drink an entire gallon of milk in thirty-seven seconds.
Some people wear Superman pajamas. Superman wears Chuck Norris pajamas.
Chuck Norris can slam a revolving door.
There is no such thing as global warming. Chuck Norris was cold, so he turned the sun up.
Chuck Norris can lead a horse to water AND make it drink.
Chuck Norris can judge a book by its cover.
Chuck Norris doesn't actually write books, the words assemble themselves out of fear.

Now that that is done about the book itself. This book is mostly what one would think it would be. As everyone that didn't know before the last presidential election now knows too, Chuck Norris is a Conservative, Christian, Republican that believes we should go back to a government that only has the powers explicitly granted it in the Constitution. This book goes over the main changes that he thinks should happen for his ideal government to be in place in America. As a political book by a celebrity I found it a lot better researched then one would expect. He referenced little known parts of American history and quoted the founding fathers a lot. All of this was noted in extensive end notes, appendices, etc. It also had a number of sections on his life, such as his conversion story and his work out schedule. (Which, includes the Total Gym.)

Sunday, July 12, 2009

A Book in Review: An Edible History of Humanity

An Edible History of Humanity By: Tom Standage
Non-fiction: history, food 242 pages
book count: 44

This book deals with how food has changed history by looking at key times of history and ways that food has changed things. It deals with the change to farming, early civilizations, the spice trade, imperialism, the new world food exchange, war, created famines and the green revolution. It has lots of info relating on the subject. There were two things that I found odd in the book. First, the author feels that the switch from hunter gatherers to farmers was nutritional bad and gave people less free time. He has a lot of data that correlates with the nutritional issues, but not a lot on the time part. And that is the part of his argument that most others in the field would disagree with and so should have the most data backing it. (Note: I didn't read all of the notes in the back of the book, this is only based on the body of the book.) Also, a lot of the book deals with the fears that there will be too many people for the amount food there is, at different points in history. Although, this was a fear at many times and some still are afraid of the number of people in the world, he does point out the slowing of the growth and the most likely population implosion that will happen within a generation or two, and notes that that will also create issues dealing with food, but doesn't deal with it much in his food in the future area.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies By: Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith
Fiction: classic, fantasy 317
Book Count: 43

First, I haven't studied Jane Austen's work since high school so I don't remember exactly how much this story is changed from the original. However, given all of the zombies, ninjas and fighting, it still reads like the book. (Only way more fun.) The main story is the same as the original. The main difference is that England has been plagued by zombies. The Bennet sisters are trained warriors that have sworn an oath to defend England from the zombies. They have trained in China and Elizabeth is one of the best warriors in the area. And there is of course the love/hate thing with Mr. Darcy, Jane and Mr. Bingley, Mr. Wickham and the rest of them. And at the end there is even a discussion guide like one would normally find in a classic novel.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Christmas in August

Att: Friends and Family

Starting in August I plan to start our Christmas shopping. So, if you are some one that we normally get gifts for and there is something special that you want, let me know soon. As for people shopping for us I still have my online list. If you have a online list that I do not know about, please tell me what site it's on.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Happy 4th of July!

And a belated Canada Day for all the people with the queen still on their money.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Reasons (Excuses) Why I Haven’t Written Today

(Note: this was writen for a blog contest, not actualy what today has been, but a combination of a few days.)

* I was busy writing this list.
* I need to do more research.
*”MOM! The cat puked on the floor!”
* Great writers like to read, so I’ll just finish this chapter.
* It’s lunch time, you can’t write on an empty stomach.
* How in the world did the kids color on the ceiling?
* The garden needs weeding.
* Where did all the pens go?
*”MOM! The cat puked on the floor again!”
* I really should work out some.
* I don’t like this font, I need to find a better one before I can write anything.
* The kids are being too noisy to think.
* Oh, the mail’s here.
*The kids are too quiet, they must be into something.
*I’ll just check my email.
* And while I’m here I’ll read my blogs.
* I should do some shopping.
* While I’m out I need to buy something for dinner.
* I need to do the dishes now.
* It’s family time, I can’t write now.
* It’s too late to write now.