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Darwin

Charles Darwin: Destroyer of Myths by Andrew Norman

I have read many books about Darwin, even though I find his natural science so boring that there better be some caffeine involved.  I get my kicks from the controversy that his work created and that is ultimately keeps coming back year, after year. The whole big bang, bible/God, we came from monkeys debate never gets old for me and is a great way to check for compatibility in friends and lovers. What I am saying is that I could use one or two questions, relating to him, that would easily let me know if there is even a small chance that we will get on.

1st Question ~ “How do you feel about the Scopes Monkey Trial?” (If they don’t even know what that was, they can leave, they do not pass go, cya wouldn’t want to be ya.)

2nd Question ~ “Does the Origin of Species conflict with your religious values? Please explain in detail.

See? Two questions and if the person is fairly intelligent, ready to be honest, and open; you would have a really good preview of your compatibility.

Andrew Norman covers much of what has been done before, but I enjoyed it for two things that he chose to cover and covered well. Norman included more of Darwin’s childhood than I remember reading in past works.  Yes, the most important parts of his life were his journey and then Origin of Species, but how did he get to the point that he was doing these big things? Norman tells us.

Norman has a nice way of explaining things to laymen without talking down to his readers. For example, the passage on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge was interesting; it didn’t fly over my head or put me to sleep.

Read it if you have never read anything regarding Darwin.

Charles Darwin: Destroyer of Myths by Andrew Norman

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing (April 1, 2014)
  • ISBN-10: 1628737255
  • ISBN-13: 978-1628737257

Vanish Smile

Vanished Smile: The Mysterious Theft of Mona Lisa by R.A. Scotti

 

Oh, Mona Lisa, Mona Lisa, men have named you…

Great art heists or fabulous forgeries are fun to read, I think. At least I never pass them by, fiction or non-fiction, they are great ways to learn about not only the art, but museums and the cities they are in as well.

However, you have to either tell me a story, like maybe Chasing Mona Lisa by Carson Morton or you better cover more facts and do it in an engaging way than the last few books. Scotti isn’t able to pull this off and there were times that it read as if had been pulled word for word from other books I have read before. (not saying plagiarism, just fatal lack of creativity)

Pass on this one for another. Chasing Mona, while fiction, covered the same material and was a more entertaining narrative.

Vanished Smile: The Mysterious Theft of Mona Lisa by R.A. Scotti

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf; 1ST edition (April 7, 2009)
  • ISBN-10: 0307265803
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307265807

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SheBooks ~ Out of Dublin by Ethel Rohan

Dublin

I tend not to like short pieces because they leave me feeling unfulfilled and wanting more. However, when I learned about SheBooks this was the first title that caught my eye.  My Great-Great Grandparents came out of Ireland in the late 1800’s and settled in New York. Here was a contemporary emigration and not to the east coast, but to San Francisco, a city I have loved and lived in. I wondered why the author left and how she felt about NorCal. I worried that the short format wouldn’t allow me to grasp either answer.

Let me tell you, I cried. That’s right, Ethel Rohan was able to pluck my heart strings by bringing me back in my own time machine in less than 38 pages. It’s embarrassing; very few books make me cry, but this one had me balling and I’ll tell why.

This isn’t so much a story of going away as it is a story of coming home and taking care of those that took such wonderful care of you as a wee bairn. Rohan made every word count in recounting her childhood and the lengths she took to make her mother feel useful and uses just 4 teeny paragraphs to explain the burden that no child should have, little own, to themselves.

Fast forward to years later when first she loses her mother than perhaps the most heart wrenching of all, her father while back in Ireland. If was the most heartfelt, vulnerable, and touching few paragraphs of goodbye that I have ever read. Grab Out of Dublin if you love your family, if you have lost members of your family, or just because you could use a good cry. I did.

Out of Dublin by Ethel Rohan

Sort of Like Gwen's Signature

Shebooks ~ Every Woman Has A Story

Shebooks

Peggy Northrop, Laura Fraser, and Rachel Greenfield have gotten together and created something really special.  They gather short e-stories written for women, by women and they even have come up with a unique delivery/subscription system.

You can buy the books individually or for $7.95 a month, you can have access to their entire library and with up to 15 coming out every month, that is a lot of fiction, memoirs, and journalistic pieces.

Many readers love short stories and I fall into anther category where I can take them or leave them, but I am usually disappointed after being so used to the depth in novel and longer non-fiction. However, I have read two so far and the first actually made me cry and I bet the others in my line up will not let me down either.

So, have you read any of these? Shebooks Works

What do you think about Subscription Book services in General? Like Oyster if you have an iThing or now Kindle Unlimited if you have a Kindle. I tried Oyster out , but since I only have an iPod, I wasn’t really thrilled to read on it 24/7 and letting my kindles collect dust.  I just started the first free month of Kindle Unlimited and so far have been able to lessen the vast numbers on my wish lists, but haven’t really looked for more current or better known books to borrow yet.

 

My next few reviews will be of the of the offerings from Shebooks and I really don’t think I have ever approached short stories and pieces with such excitement.

 

Sort of Like Gwen's Signature

Storey Basics®

 

Container Vegetable mulch herbs

Storey Publishing has come out with a great idea of getting experienced authors to create small specialized books on just one topic. They are called Storey Basics® Books for Self-Reliance and so far I have read the first two you see here and I couldn’t be more thrilled with them.

They are written by people that know what they are talking about. While they cover the basics, they also have given me, a non-amateur gardener, some great tips. They have wonderful indexes so that you can get to where you need to go quickly and in the case of Saving Container Plants and Saving Seeds, they both include an extensive index of specific plants, including how hard they are to grow and propagate, how they pollinate,  issues to note, etc.

These two little 128 page Kindle books have replaced two large gardening chunksters that I had on my shelf. Why have the big books that often include tons of plants that I will never cross paths with when I can find what I need easily in smaller versions?

They are sold in paperback (retailing under $8) and e-book versions (retailing under $5) and don’t cover just gardening and herbs. There are books on quilting, growing Christmas trees, making vinegar, frozen yogurt, and more. The release dates seem to be staggered since last March to March of next year. Amazon already has more listed than the Storey website itself, so it is a nice way to see what’s coming soon.

Again, they are quick reads, yet well-covered and indexed, and have been written by experts in their fields.  (Rosemary Gladstar is the “Queen” of Herbs, sqweee!)So if you have been thinking of trying something new, check out either the Storey Basics® Books for Self-Reliance or Amazon and get busy. If you need a refresher course on a subject, they are a great place to start as well.

What first caught my attention about them was the one on quilting that comes out in September. My roommate is pretty darn good at quilting and I needed someway to catch up to her skill level quickly. Well, like I said the quilting one isn’t out yet so I tried the gardening ones to check them out thinking that I could be all, “I got this and I can vet these here beginner books on gardening.” Woops, I learned a few new things, like I have been propagating Hibiscuses all wrong, no wonder why they always die.

They won’t change your life, but they might make it a bit easier.  Which is pretty much my motto lately, so they are perfect. Now, don’t bother me, I’m propagating the hydrangeas and hibiscuses.

Storey Publishing gave some of the books in the series and I have bought a few to help complete the current selection. Next month, I will learn all about Vinegar so that I can share it with you and then September, my sewing machine will be busy sewing circles or whatever the Quilting Basics book tell us to do to master the art of kicking my roommate’s butt, I mean master quilting.

 

 

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Sew

This summer has been all about sewing for me between opening an Etsy shop, The Bookish Owl, and making a ton of colorful aprons for a new business in town.  Books are a great source for my ideas even if what I sew ends up looking nothing like what was on the page.

My roommate’s 12 year old son has been here a lot as well since school got out and we are always looking for things for him to do besides play video games. Seriously, you would think there is NOTHING except those damn games and reading, of course.

Now you may think that a boy wants nothing to do with sewing, but that is so not the case with him. He is a bit embarrassed, but realizes that it is not only a skill but a creative outlet that we can all do together. He has made plush animals and small quilts for gifts with a bit of help and I am always impressed and inspired by his choices. Let’s Sew Together is the perfect book for the three of us.

The projects are cute and yet not babyish, they are good for both sexes, appeal to teens and tweens, and introduce some techniques that I never would have tried or thought of! He loves to draw, so we now all have slippers with his drawings on the area over the toes, done over with embroidery. A bracelet was also made for a certain girl that I can’t mention. (boy crushes are so cute)

The book also includes a few pages with something else we all need to work on, eating healthier. I didn’t think that anyone could get me to eat Brussels Sprouts, even on penalty of death, but the recipe included was edible, even good and didn’t make me think of teeny, tiny, brains, like the Sprouts usually do.

My only issue with Let’s Sew Together is that there weren’t full-sized patterns included. In fact, it was a royal pain to scan the pages and then enlarge them by the necessary percentages, anywhere from 330% to 770%! Others may be better at the process than my roommate and I, but we struggled and yet didn’t want to spend the money taking it to the pros at a place like Kinko’s.

It isn’t often that I can find a craft book, little own a sewing book, that appeals to both the tween and I, but the projects that Rubyellen Bratcher included were perfect and inspiring for both of us. It will have an important place in are arsenal of what to do INSTEAD of video games. And nothing can replace the joy of crafting and sewing together. The three of us feed off of each other creatively all the time. One has a problem, with a possible solution…then another has a better solution, then the third has just the right color to pull it off.  The book complemented our synergy.

The 12 year-old will probably smack me if I don’t mention that his sewing doesn’t make him girly, it makes him a better catch.

Let’s Sew Together: Simple Projects the Whole Family Can Make by Rubyellen Bratcher

 

 

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Potter Craft (May 20, 2014)
  • ISBN-10: 0385345186
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385345187

 

Finally, while this is available as an e-book, I suggest that you get all craft/sewing books in paper format for the ease of use and acceptable access to patterns.  I love ebooks, but they aren’t perfect for every genre of reading and when it comes to inspiring creativity, you really need color and that tangible-ness.  

I received this book for free for an honest review from Blogging for Books.

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