My grandmother … said you could measure a life in as many ways
as there were to bake a pound cake,
but you still needed real butter and eggs
for a good one
— Rita Dove, This Life

on the shelf...

Planned books:

Current books:

  • Earth Unaware (The First Formic War)

    Earth Unaware (The First Formic War) by Orson Scott Card, Aaron Johnston

  • The Jungle Book

    The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling

Recent books:

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Some Nathaniel Philbrick…

I had the pleasure of listening to a lecture by Mr. Philbrick in the winter of 2011 at the Mary Washington Great Lives lecture series I so often refer to in these pages. He presented on Custer and Sitting Bull and I remember being captured by the depth of the subject matter and the ease and accessibility with which it was presented to the assembly. Since then I added some of his other books to my list and recently got through these two. While I can’t say that he is my favorite biographer– a title which is held solidly by Simon Winchester– I affirm that he writes in a manner which keeps attention and delivers a depth of material efficiently and interestingly.

Be warned that he does have a bit of an agenda which can come to the surface from time to time. This doesn’t bother me because I expect that from all writers, but if you’re someone who expects “just the facts, Ma’am” then you might want to keep that in mind.

Title: Mayflower. Nathaniel Philbrick.
Format: Audiobook (Unabridged). Thanks to Simply Audiobooks.
Rating: 2.7

I learned a lot about the conflict of King Phillip’s war which figured prominently in my education in New England but I admit I didn’t know much about. That said though, the bulk of the book reads like a history of the battles themselves and one finds only the occasional nugget of “higher” considerations throughout. The last section however, which covers the history of Plymouth after the region has grown a bit is quite interesting and well handled. Worth it. If for nothing besides the characterization of Miles Standish…

Title: Sea of Glory. Nathaniel Philbrick
Format: Audiobook (Unabridged). Thanks to Audible.
Rating: 2.8

I own to knowing absolutely nothing about the US Exploring Expedition before embarking on this book. To that end I found it both interesting and of immense use in plugging some obvious holes in my understanding and knowledge — especially with regards to expansionism and exploration during the American period of Manifest Destiny. Add to that the founding of Smithson’s famous institutions and it makes for quite a read. Definitely recommended.

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