Book Review: Salt and Saffron by Kamila Shamsie


Around The World For a Good Book selection for: Pakistan Author: Kamila Shamsie Title: Salt and Saffron Publication Info: Bloomsbury USA (2000) ISBN: 1582340935 Summary/Review: This contemporary novel tells the story of Aliya, a Pakistani woman of an aristocratic family who becomes reacquainted with family members – first in London and then in Karachi –…

Book Review: Outposts by Simon Winchester


Author: Simon Winchester Title: Outposts: Journeys to the Surviving Relics of the British Empire (2005, originally published 1984) Publication Info:D 4449(6) Harper Audio ISBN: 0060797185 Previously read by the same author: The Professor and the Madman Krakatoa The Meaning of Everything The Map That Changed the World A Crack in the Edge of the World…

Concert Review: Butterflyfish


On Saturday, June 27th we saw the new band Butterflyfish at the Wellesley Village Church.  We were enticed by a listserv description of the band that plays a mix of folks, gospel, bluegrass, and country (and reggae, not mentioned in the invite) targeted to children and families: There is an underlying theme of spirituality –…

Seashore Trolley Museum


As a Father’s Day treat, Susan & Peter took me to the Seashore Trolley Museum in Arundel, ME.  Admission was free for Dads with their children and Peter was free himself by virtue of being under five. Click for complete gallery of Seashore Trolley Museum photos. There are two surprising things about the Museum that…

Beer Review: Peak Organic Pomegranate Wheat Ale


Beer:  Pomegranate Wheat Ale with Acai Brewer: Peak Organic Brewing Co. Source: 12 oz. bottle Rating: ** (6.5 of 10) Comments: It’s organic!  It has pomegranate!  It has acai!  Holy moley, there’s a lot of novelty to this beer! Luckily, it also has a good flavor as all the elements are well-balanced (there’s corriander spice…

Meme: iTunes/mp3 library


Via Wordishness Number of Songs: 12,267 Number of Albums: 1223 Most Recently Played Song: “Run Run Away” – Slade Most Played Song: “Wind and Rain” – Crooked Still Most Recently Added Album: Modern Sounds in Country & Western Music – Ray Charles First Song Alphabetically: “A-Punk” – Vampire Weekend Last Song Alphabetically: “Zooropa” – U2…

The Flat is Where It’s At!


If a Jamaica Pond tour isn’t enough for one weekend, head to Charles/MGH station on Sunday June 28th as Boston By Foot presents the Tour of the Month, The Flat of Beacon Hill.  This special tour will focus on the lesser known and once unfashionable area built on made land along the Charles River.  Stepping…

FREE Tour of Jamaica Pond on Saturday!


The Jamaica Plain Historical Society debuts its newest neighborhood tour of Jamaica Pond this Saturday, June 27th at 11 am.  The 90-minute walking tour will discuss the residential, industrial, and recreational history of this scenic gem.  The tour departs from the bandstand near the intersection of Pond Street and Jamaicaway, and yours truly will be…

Book Reviews: Company of Liars by Karen Maitland


Author: Karen Maitland Title: Company of Liars Publication Info: Delacorte Press (2008) ISBN: 978-0385341691 Summary/Review: Set in Medieval England just as the deadly pestilence is landing on the shores of that island nation, Company of Liars follows the travels of a group of nine who band together for safety as the first hope to find…

Book Review: The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran


Around The World For a Good Book selection for: Lebanon Author: Kahlil Gibran Title: The Prophet Publication Info: Alfred A. Knopf (1973), Edition: 91st.  Originally published 1923. ISBN: 394404289 Summary/Review: I selected The Prophet as an Around the World For A Good Book choice for Lebanon but really I’ve been meaning to read this book…

Book Review: Wife of the Gods by Kwei J. Quartey


Around The World For a Good Book selection for: Ghana Author: Kwei J. Quartey Title: Wife of the Gods Publication Info: New York : Random House, 2009. ISBN: 9781400067596 Summary/Review: Wife of the Gods is a murder mystery set in the Volta Region of Ghana, the first in what will be a series about Inspector…

Boston Walking Tours 2009


Last year I posted a list of walking tours in the Boston area in hopes of encouraging people to get out and explore the history, architecture, culture, topography, and nature of the area.  I’ve updated the list and links for 2009, once again giving primacy of place to the two organizations in which I volunteer…

Beer Review: Smithwick’s


Beer:  Smithwick’s Ale Brewer: Guinness Ltd. Source: Draught Rating: *** (7.0 of 10) Comments:  I should probably revisit old beers more often.  I first tried Smithwick’s in it’s home town of Kilkenny, Ireland in 1998 and was not too impressed and gave it a 5.7 grade.  Back in those days I was not yet into…

Book Review: The Last Fish Tale by Mark Kurlansky


Author: Mark Kurlansky Title: The Last Fish Tale Publication Info: Blackstone Audiobooks, Inc. (2008) ISBN: 1433214776 Summary/Review: Mark Kurlansky, author of excellent books about Cod and Salt, takes on the unique fishing town of Gloucester, Massachusetts in this work.  Kurlansky approaches Gloucester from all angles with a historical survey stretching back to colonial times (and…

Book Review: The Cul-De-Sac Syndrome by John F. Wasik


Author: John F. Wasik Title: The Cul-De-Sac Syndrome Publication Info: New York : Bloomberg Press, c2009. ISBN: 9781576603208 Summary/Review: A new and timely book explores the housing crisis that has contributed to worldwide economic collapse over the past year.  Wasik deals out a fair share of blame to Wall Street, banks, home buyers, and governments,…

Book Review: The John Cheever Audio Collection by John Cheever


Author: John Cheever Title: The John Cheever Audio Collection Publication Info: Harper / Caedmon Audio (June 2003) ISBN: 0060554835 Summary/Review: Preparing for career week in high school, the guidance counselor asked what type of job I wanted to have.  I told him I wanted to be an author.  He asked what type of writing I…

Book Review: Skeletons at the Feast by Chris Bohjalian


Author: Chris Bohjalian Title: Skeletons at the Feast Publication Info: Books on Tape, 2008 ISBN: 9781415948910 Summary/Review: The William & Mary Alumni Boston Chapter selected this novel set in German-occupied Poland at the end of the Second World War.  It tells the story of three different journeys that intertwine and complement one another.  First there…

Book Review: The Invisible Hook by Peter T. Leeson


Author: Peter T. Leeson Title: The invisible hook : the hidden economics of pirates Publication Info: Princeton : Princeton University Press, c2009. ISBN: 9780691137476 Summary/Review: I awaited the release of this book with great anticipation as it contains three elements I can’t resists: pirates, quirky application of social sciences,  and a terrific pun in the…

Book Review: The Enchantress of Florence by Salman Rushdie


Author: Salman Rushdie Title: The Enchantress of Florence Publication Info: Overdrive Publications (2008), Audio CD ISBN: 1436119375 Summary/Review: The  story in the book is about a visit by a Florentine man to the court of the Mughal emperor Akbar, claiming to be a long lost relative.  But the The Enchantress of Florence is about stories…