100 Favorite Books of All-Time (90-81)


Today I continue with my list of 100 favorite books of all time. Previously: 100-91 90    T. H. White:A Biography by Sylvia Townsend Warner The life story of the author of one of my favorite all-time books (foreshadowing!) is in itself a great addition to art of biography.  Townsend Warner finds humanity in someone who…

Movie Round-Up


Persepolis (2007) This  film brings to life  Marjane Satrapi’s graphic memoirs in a beautifully animated form.  A lot of the detail from the books are left out, but it covers the high points. Man on Wire (2008) Exciting documentary that treats Phillipe Petit’s famous high-wire walk between the Twin Towers in 1974 as a heist…

The Best Beatles Songs You’ve Never Heard


The Beatles are an amazing band in that if you go through their catalog you can find dozens of songs that never see the light of day on classic rock radio but would be hit songs for many other bands from the 60’s. Paste magazine recently ran a series of articles called The Coolest Beatles…

Book Review: The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin


Somehow, despite majoring in History & English (both with an American focus) at college, I never managed to read The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin (1793).  A fellow guide on Boston By Foot’s Son of Boston tour gave me a copy for my birthday so I’ve finally redressed this glaring oversight. Franklin’s memoirs are thin for…

100 Favorite Books of All-Time (100-91)


As a new feature on Panorama of the Mountains, I’m going to create some all-time lists of things I like (music, movies, tv, etc) and post an installment each Friday.  First up, books!  Since I recently turned 35 and now have about 30 years of reading experience under my belt (not to mention cataloging every…

Beer Review: Dogfish Head Raison D’Etre


Beer: Raison D’Etre Brewer: Dogfish Head Source: 12 oz bottle Rating: ** (6 of 10) Comments:  This beer has a great punny name, but is a cute name enough to make a good beer?  It looks good colorwise, a deep reddish-brown although the head was thin and the carbonation was made up of some large…

Best laugh I’ve had all day


Walking across the Weeks Footbridge on Tuesday night, I witnessed a man (or a woman with heavy overcoat & shoulder pads, it was dark) setting up a tripod on the edge of the frozen Charles River. This person then proceeded to film himself standing on the banks of the river while spinning a hula hoop….

Riding Big Red


Last month, Boston’s transit authority the MBTA introduced a new “high-capacity car” on the Red Line which they call Big Red. Basically during rush hours a couple of car without any seats are placed at the center of the train. As an experienced commuter, I’ve long become accustomed to the limited circulation within MBTA subway…

Book Review: Transit Maps of the World by Mark Ovenden


“I’m going to snuggle in bed and read the geekiest book ever written, ” I proclaimed and went off to read Transit Maps of the World (2007) by Mark Ovenden. “That is a geeky book,” my wife confirmed. But it’s a book so wonderfully geeky that it goes all the way around to being cool…

Book Review: In The Summer Country by John Conlee


In The Summer Country (2007) is the fourth in a series of light-hearted novels based on Arthurian legend by John Conlee, who was one of my favorite professors and an adviser at the College of William & Mary.   The conceit of these novels are that they are told from the perspective of Arthur’s faithful hound…

2008 Year in Review: Memorable Events


This is the last 2008 year in review post, I promise.  Each year since 1996, I’ve made a list of the twenty most memorable events in my life of  the year just past.  The events may be good or bad,  silly or sad, life-changing or mundane, but mostly just memorable.  The most memorable aspect of…

Meme: 2008 End-of-Year


Via Caveat Lector, some questions to reflect on the year recently passed 1. What did you do in 2008 that you’d never done before? I rode the Ashmont-Mattapan High Speed Trolley.  Woke up to the sound of a yodeling pickle. 2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next…

Book Review: Jane Goodall: The Woman Who Redefined Man by Dale Peterson


In my childhood, I enjoyed National Geographic specials about a slight English woman who would sit in the Tanzanian forest by the Gombe River and observe chimpanzees.  In college I read one of her books, Through a Window: My Thirty Years With the Chimpanzees of Gombe and became even more deeply enamored with the woman…