Gary F. (garythefowler) - Reviews

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4,000 Years of Uppity Women
4,000 Years of Uppity Women
Author: Vicki Leon
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 10
Review Date: 10/30/2013
Helpful Score: 1


Good fun! This book is a good intro to the entire "Uppity Women" series by the author: brief stories of many dozens of women from about 2500 B.C. to 1900 A.D., who stepped up and beyond the limitations and tradtions of their times. She has obviously done considerable research. The history is solid, but the writing style is far from stiff and scholarly: alternately casual, conversational, flippant, funny, punny, sometimes suggestive--or combinations of all of the above.


Acres of Diamonds
Acres of Diamonds
Author: Conwell, Russell H.
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 7/3/2013
Helpful Score: 1


A timeless inspirational classic, overlooked and underrated by some because it's a quick and easy read. Stories and vignettes told in a comfortable conversational manner, all pointing to the barely hidden opportunities available in all circumstances. This would be a great small gift for the young, the adventurous, or anyone ready for positive possibilities.


Because of Christ Inspirational Poetry: Floral Inspirations
Because of Christ Inspirational Poetry: Floral Inspirations
Author: Teresa C. Hawes
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 6/3/2013
Helpful Score: 2


Not lots of words, but just enough. It's the kind of calming poetry to slow down and relax into. Her faith is that strong quiet type that we often need in a noisy, rushing, competitive, and demanding time. Let her words and beautiful photos lead you to God's comfort and peace.


Beowulf
Beowulf
Author: Trans. Burton Raffel
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 7/21/2013
Helpful Score: 1


Disclaimer: I'm not a scholar in Anglo-Saxon literature, but I've read a few English versions of Beowulf and played with the old language a bit. Given that, I would say that this translation is clearly a product of the 1960's; so it offers a voice and tone not heard in more "scholarly" work. "Afterword" by Robert P. Creed is worthwhile, too.


The Bicentennial Man and other stories
The Bicentennial Man and other stories
Author: Isaac Asimov
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 2
Review Date: 10/14/2013


A fun 1976 collection of 12 short stories by the unique Asimov, each with its own creative twists. It was a bonus to find the title story, which was adapted to become a good-enough movie starring Robin Williams (1999); I didn't know Asimov had written that.
An easy and enjoyable read, good for entertainment for an evening or two, a few stimulating "aha's," and an occasional "ooo... very nice!"


Book Finds: How to Find, Buy, and Sell Used and Rare Books
Book Finds: How to Find, Buy, and Sell Used and Rare Books
Author: Ian C. Ellis
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.2/5 Stars.
 5
Review Date: 8/18/2013
Helpful Score: 1


A decent first book on book collecting, written not only for the collector, but also those looking to get into the selling and trading sectors as well. Good basic info on publishing and distribution processes, first editions, condition factors, helpful publications and reference resources. Habitual readers will benefit by learning fun and profitable ways to acquire and dispose of "inventory"--maybe even making a few good deals along the way.


The Boy Who Would Be Shakespeare: A Tale of Forgery and Folly
The Boy Who Would Be Shakespeare: A Tale of Forgery and Folly
Author: Doug Stewart
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 2
Review Date: 1/31/2014


Good fun, quick and easy read. From the DJ: "In the winter of 1795, a frustrated young writer named William-Henry Ireland stood petrified in his father's study as two of England's most esteemed scholars interrogated him about a tattered piece of paper that he claimed to have found in an old trunk. It was a note from William Shakespeare. Or was it? In the months that followed, Ireland produced a torrent of Shakespearean fabrications: letters, poetry, drawingseven an original full-length play... staged before a tumutuous full house at London's prestigious Drury Lane Theatre. The documents were forensically implausible, but the people who inspected them ached to see first hand what had flowed from Shakespeare's quill. And so they did."


Brave New World
Brave New World
Author: Aldous Huxley
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 769
Review Date: 1/16/2016
Helpful Score: 1


Still one of the essential dystopian novels. Now that it has been around for several decades, it's interesting to note how some pieces and details seem a bit prophetic, too. Creative use of the industrial revolution and mass production as the turning point, as epitomized by Ford, the Model T, and other clever imagery. (I further recommend not bothering with the sequel, "Brave New World Revisited," also by Huxley. I found it weak and disappointing: personal opinion only; haven't checked to see what the experts think.)


Cambridge (The Jarrold Groundcover Series)
Cambridge (The Jarrold Groundcover Series)
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 9/18/2013
Helpful Score: 1


A beautiful photo essay of the campus and town, with fun quotes and comments spanning several centures, and enough historical background to make it come alive. I almost feel I have visited there--and now I definitely want to!


A Canticle for Leibowitz
A Canticle for Leibowitz
Author: Walter M. Miller Jr.
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 49
Review Date: 9/24/2013
Helpful Score: 4


Excellent and groundbreaking novel, constantly in print since first in 1959. Three sections: postapocalyptic North America, 26th century, after the "simplification," and deep in a dark age; 600 years later, when "memorabilia" faithfully preserved in an isolated monastery becomes the seed for the resurrection of lost information and technology; and 600 years after that, when... Well, ya just gotta read it!


The Case of the Missing Books (Mobile Library , Bk 1)
The Case of the Missing Books (Mobile Library , Bk 1)
Author: Ian Sansom
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 2.9/5 Stars.
 79
Review Date: 1/21/2014


Great silly fun! One or two evenings--three at most--and well worth the diversion. Israel Armstrong travels from London to Tumdrum, in rural Ireland. There the adventures begin, entangled with odd and unlikely characters, confusing local dialect, and more adventure than he wants or deserves. It took me about 50 pages to get into it, but maybe I just had to slow down and settle into the style and pace. Glad I did. The unexpected mishaps, odd names, and creative right-on descriptions made me laugh out loud once it got going. Not like most of what sells these days, which makes it a welcome diversion. I recommend!


The Clan of the Cave Bear (Earth's Children, Bk 1)
The Clan of the Cave Bear (Earth's Children, Bk 1)
Author: Jean M. Auel
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.
 613
Review Date: 12/31/2015


The first in a series; very well told story. The author did extensive research on all of the appropriate topics to create a window into "then and there." The purist or scholar may notice just a few anachronistic details, but Auel acknowledges in her preface that she included some of those for the sake of the story line. Overall, this book plus its sequels provide a general understanding of the time and the region. It is easy to expect that some readers, starting with this, have gone on to explore prehistorical anthropology, geography, toolmaking, and much more. A long book, and a good read.


Dinner in the Clouds
Dinner in the Clouds
Author: Glenn Howe
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 5/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 11/3/2017


Dinner in the Clouds: Great International Airline Recipes, by Glenn I. Howe. Corona de Mar, California: Zeta Publishers Co., 1985. ISBN 0918376033. Hardcover, 128 pages including index; approx 11â x 9â. Introduction by Spencer Crump. Dust jacket.
For several decades, global travel on the great international airlines retained its earlier luxury even as it started to become accessible to more middle income travelers. Passengers âdressed up,â and full meals were served on real china with all the other refined accoutrements.
This fun volume remembers those days. Photos of the old planes, smiling passengers and stewardesses, and elegantly set tables. Brief histories of twenty major airlines in each chapter, plus the recipes from some of their signature meals.
Ah, the nostalgia...!


Dying for Change
Dying for Change
Author: Leith Anderson
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4.5/5 Stars.
 2
Review Date: 6/14/2013
Helpful Score: 1


Do not pass over this book only because it was written in 1990; it was still right on target when I read it in 2013. Insightful analysis of why some congregations and other ministries decline and die--with clear and comprehensible understanding of how they might deliberately go the other way instead. It's been said that many congregations choose to die rather than change (wait: isn't that a change, too?); but for those who choose to survve and serve into the future, this book will be very helpful.


THE ELEPHANT MAN
THE ELEPHANT MAN
Author: Christine Sparks
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 5
Review Date: 7/23/2013
Helpful Score: 1


Written and published in 1980, based on the well-received movie of the same name and year. Both the book and the movie were very effective, at least for me: I saw the movie in one sitting (of course!), and just today read the book in one sitting.
Historically accurate? Close but not quite; but that did not diminish my enjoyment.


Faith, Hope and Hilarity
Faith, Hope and Hilarity
Author: Dick Van Dyke
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 12/31/2014


Subtitled "The Child's Eye View of Religion." A fun collection that mixes children, faith, church, and more, with insight and humor. Some of these are well-known, and many more of them should be. Many of Phil Interlandi's cartoon illustrations add to the fun. Many possibilities to share in teaching and preaching.


Fun with Mathematics
Fun with Mathematics
Author: Jerome S. Meyer
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 7/15/2013
Helpful Score: 1


Fun? Yes, it is! Fun trivia; simple and insightful; reasoning puzzles and math contortions; interesting commentary and background on theories and personalities over the centuries. A good companion volume might be John Allen Paulos' 1988 "Innumeracy."


A Great Idea at the Time: The Rise, Fall, and Curious Afterlife of the Great Books
Review Date: 5/26/2013
Helpful Score: 1


Good fun, easy read. Beam is not as impressed with the Great Books as I am, but he makes some good points. Enjoyed the historical background on the set + sequels etc., and also much biographical info on Hutchens and Adler, the primary dreamers and promoters behind it.


The greatest faith ever known
The greatest faith ever known
Author: Fulton Oursler
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.8/5 Stars.
 2
Review Date: 7/22/2013
Helpful Score: 1


Inspiring and worth the time. In historical novel form, this is Oursler's retelling of the Book of Acts, also utilizing extra-Biblical sources for additional background and understanding.
Two things which most scholars would dispute: the Apostle Paul as the author of the letter to the Hebrews; and a last journey of Paul which included Gaul and Spain.
Nevertheless, a recommended read!


The Historian
The Historian
Author: Elizabeth Kostova
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 369
Review Date: 7/26/2013
Helpful Score: 3


It worked for me, a good vacation read a few months ago. It's a mix of history, mystery, old documents and languages, detective work, archaeology... sort of fits into a general movie genre that would include the two "National Treasure" movies, "Sahara," and the better ones of the Indiana Jones series. If you enjoy any of those categories, it might be worth your time.


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