Fifteen things about me and books


“15 Things About Me and Books”  is a meme moving slowly across the biblioblogosphere started by John Scalzi in 2005.  I’ve seen it done by Steve Lawson, Michael Sauers, Jenica Rogers, Iris Jastram, and Angel Rivera.  Now it’s my turn. 1.  The first book I read on my own as a child was about cats. …

Book Review: The Book of Everything by Guus Kuijer


Author: Guus Kuijer Title: The Book of Everything Publication Info: Arthur A. Levine Books (2006) ISBN: 0439749182 Summary/Review: This short book is a brutally honest work of young adult literature set in Amsterdam a few years after the liberation and end of World War II.  Thomas only wishes to be happy but has to deal…

Lost Beer Reviews


I’m way behind on beer reviews with the last one posted in January and the one before that in November!  This does not mean I’ve stopped drinking beer.  In fact, I’ve scribbled down some notes and  calculated some ratings but never got around to making the posts.  Alas, too much time has passed for me…

My Reading List Goes Dutch


In three weeks I will be traveling to Amsterdam (Eyjafjallajökull-willing) and since it’s always good to know something about a place before one visits, I’ve added a number of books to my reading list by Dutch authors and/or books about Amsterdam and the Netherlands.  Many of these books come recommended by the excellent biblioblog The…

Book Review: Amsterdam by Geert Mak


Author:Geert Mak Title: Amsterdam Publication Info: Harvard University Press (1999) ISBN: 0674003314 Summary/Review: This is a highly-readable history of eight centuries of the history of Amsterdam.  Dutch journalist Mak makes great use of hooks upon which to build each chapter of Amsterdam’s history such as an archaeological artifact, a sketch by Rembrandt, primary source writings,…

Book Review: Fallen Founder: The Life of Aaron Burr by Nancy Isenberg


Author: Nancy Isenberg Title: Fallen Founder: The Life of Aaron Burr Publication Info: Penguin Audio (2007), Edition: Unabridged, Audio CD ISBN: 0143142283 Summary/Review: This biography attempts to make up for two-centuries of scholarship on Aaron Burr that’s been informed by myth and fiction.  Isenberg makes Burr’s case – while not ignoring his mistakes and flaws…

Concert Review: Boston Symphony Orchestra – Ligeti, Shostakovich and Tchaikovsky


On Saturday night, I enjoyed my first performance at Symphony Hall by the Boston Symphony Orchestra accompanied by my mother.  Assistant Conductor Julian Kuerti lead the orchestra on three lovely pieces by Eastern European composers: György Ligeti, Concert Românesc Dmitri Shostakovich, Piano Concerto No. 1 Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Symphony No. 2 Marc-André Hamelin performed on…

Patriots’ Day 2010


Here in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts we’re celebrating Patriots’ Day, or the 235th anniversary of the start of the American Revolution.  Today three generations of my family enjoyed watching the Boston Marathon as I went with my mother and son.  The fun started at Roxbury Crossing as we saw a pair of fighter jets fly…

Book Review: The Union of Their Dreams by Miriam Pawel


Author: Miriam Pawel Title: The Union of Their Dreams: Power, Hope, and Struggle in Cesar Chávez’s Farm Worker Movement Publication Info: Bloomsbury Press (2009) ISBN: 1596914602 Summary/Review: I’ve never known much about Cesar Chávez and the United Farm Worker’s union so I was pleased to receive a free copy of this book from the Library…

Book Review: Interpreter of Maladiesby Jhumpa Lahiri


Author: Jhumpa Lahiri Title: Interpreter of Maladies Publication Info: Mariner Books (1999) ISBN: 039592720X Previously read: The Namesake Summary/Review: Lahiri’s collection of short stories demonstrates that she is one fine writer.  The stories – mainly set in the Cambridge/Boston area or in India – cover some common themes such as the meetings of peoples of…

Book Review: Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller


Author: Donald Miller Title: Blue like jazz : nonreligious thoughts on Christian spirituality Publication Info: Nashville : T. Nelson, c2003. ISBN: 0785263705 Summary/Review: It’s hard to know what to make of this book.  At first it seems to be a hipster reflecting on Christian ideas in the secular world.  Then I learn that the author…

Book Review: Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery


Author: L.M. Montgomery Title: Anne of Green Gables Publication Info: Books in Motion (1999) ISBN: 1596077328 Summary/Review: I listened to the audiobook rendition of this classic novel while refoldering.  I read the book in print 20 years ago.  I guess it was atypical of a 16-year old boy to read this book, but I was…

Book Review: Patience With God by Frank Schaeffer


Author:  Frank Schaeffer Title: Patience With God Publication Info: Philadelphia : Da Capo Press, c2009. ISBN: 9780306818547 Summary/Review: You ever get the feeling that Fundamenatalist Christians and the New Atheists are two sides of the same coin, both steeped in literalism and blind to any other point of view?  That’s the basic premise of this…

Words I Don’t Know


I’ve never been the scholarly type who looks up words that I don’t know, an especially bad habit for an English and History major.  I get a lot from context clues, but there are still a lot of words I read and just don’t know what they mean.  This doesn’t stop me from using the…

Boston & Me: 30 Years Together


This week marks yet another anniversary in which the number of years being marked is increasingly baffling.  30 years ago on Easter weekend my father took my sister and I for my first visit to the city of Boston (Easter was on April 6th that year so let’s just say we arrived on April 5th)….