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Lancing a Windmill

There's something Quixotic in all of us.

NEW BLOG – Tell Me Your Story

I’m starting up a new blog to go with my big, ambitious, long-term history reading project. Here’s a sneak peek at what I’ll be doing

The Goal:

Read a history book from every country in the world, by an author from that country.

I don’t want American histories of France or British histories of India or Africa.

I want to read a history of Angola by someone from Angola, a French history by a French author, a Burmese history from a Burmese author. Most people don’t even know that Burkina Faso is a country, but I want to read a history book about Burkina Faso by someone from Burkina Faso.

I’ll blog about the books I’ve read, the things I’ve noticed and learned, the differences between those countries (and their histories) and my country, tell you some cool historical stories you might not know (like the Emu War in Australia, or the war where a country came back with one more soldier than they left with), and try my best to host an interview with someone from every country I read a book from.

It’s ambitious, it’s unreasonable, it’s a little crazy, but it’s my goal.

Please feel free to follow along here!

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I haven’t blogged since September

The title pretty well sums it up.

Rachel does a really good job of blogging about more of the day-to-day stuff and the funny things that John does. Whether or not she’s blogged yet about weeping openly while watching Charlotte’s Web with a 2yo, I’m not entirely sure.

I tend to stick to the books I’ve read.

So here’s a brief look at what I’ve read since September’s read, The Anatomy of Buzz:

Aimless Love by Billy Collins

Billy Collins has always been one of my favorite poets, and Aimless Love was his newest book, so I picked it up. Realistically, It wasn’t as good as his older stuff, and I’ve kind of felt that way about Billy Collins’s work. It was a very good collection though, with lots of older poems and some newer ones at the end.

4 stars.

aimless love.jpeg

When Mormons Doubt by Jon Ogden

I really enjoyed this one.
Short enough to read in a day, accessible enough for almost anyone to understand, and real enough to be appreciated and needed by Ogden’s 3 target audiences.
If you’re a fairly mainstream Mormon, this book will give you some easy- to- digest principles to help you understand why someone you care about has left the Church. However, it does also contain some scholarly details about Church and Bible history that may be gritty, but needn’t damage your testimony.
If you’re an unorthodox Mormon, this book will help you get on the same page and speak the same “language” as those who honestly are trying to understand your distance from orthodoxy.
If you’re a former Mormon, this book will give you some solid steps on how to dissolve the bitterness and misery that so stereotypically afflict those who have left, in regards to their interactions with believers.

Ogden does not encourage the reader to stay, not leave, but rather to seek truth, beauty, and goodness, wherever that takes us.

4 stars for excellent delivery and timeliness.
Some formatting issues, but I may have an advance copy. Occasionally, a paragraph or section may seem a bit out of place or tangentially but not directly related.
Once or twice, I wasn’t sure what direction a section was headed, but I couldn’t tell you now what sections they were.

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Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Rife with plot holes and disappointing dialogue, description, and character development, Frankenstein was (and I wish I were kidding) probably the worst book I’ve ever convinced myself to read all the way through.
#1 – It’s not a horror like we’ve all been led to believe.
#2 – The plot goes like this: A crusty old sailor pulls Victor Frankenstein out of the icy water. Frankenstein tells the man to write down his story. The crusty sailor is entranced by Victor’s swelling voice and “lustrous eyes”, and writes down everything.
Frankenstein is a whiny rich boy who studies philosophy so he can get even richer by inheritance. He reanimates some corpses he’s sewn together and the monster immediately runs away, making sure to put on some clothing first. The monster hides in someone’s shed and learns fluent French, memorizes Paradise Lost, and vows to kill his maker unless given a wife. Victor can’t bring himself to make a female monster, because they might have monster babies, so he runs away, faints a lot, and gets killed by the monster in the end.
#3 – It’s painfully obvious to me that Mary Shelley was not an experienced writer. Her character development is weak, her plot development is weak and deeply flawed, and her writing was immature at best.
1 star. Not scary. Waste of time.
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The Anatomy of Buzz

Emanuel Rosen outlines briefly and effectively how to get people talking about a product or service.

Continue reading “The Anatomy of Buzz”

Heartbeat

Sharon Creech’s Heartbeat is not a novel/poetry book to be missed.

Continue reading “Heartbeat”

Ways of Going Home

This was a very Chilean book. Continue reading “Ways of Going Home”

Formas de volver a casa

Qué libro más chileno. Me encantó.
No había pensado en pan allulla, Colo-Colo, los autos Peugeot, ni las rejas en harto tiempo ya. Necesitaba esos recordatorios.
Continue reading “Formas de volver a casa”

Elsewhere

One of the advantages of working in the used bookstore is getting a look at the books before they go out to the shelves. Continue reading “Elsewhere”

In which I end my Blindfold Challenge

I’m giving up on my Blindfold Challenge.

Continue reading “In which I end my Blindfold Challenge”

Pontoon

Evelyn dies and wishes to be cremated, her ashes placed into a green bowling ball and dropped into Lake Wobegon. A wedding on a pontoon with a flying Elvis and giant duck decoys is planned at the same time. Meanwhile 24 Danish pastors are passing through because they denied the divinity of Jesus.

Pontoon was a whirlwind of an experience.

Continue reading “Pontoon”

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