Tag Archives: Book review

Book Review: A Mind at Play

5 Jun

The richness of Shannon’s biography creates an engaging review of the science. Like the content of Tuxedo Park by Jennet Conant, the science was so ground breaking… it was many years before declassification would make his work available to the public.  “How Claude Shannon Invented the Information Age”

I wish this book was available when I was studying engineering.  Being playful (including juggling) and a “hands on inventor” were foundational to his success.

My “STEM by meme” page (link above) lists books I have found outstanding providing context or “the story” behind text book study.

Book Review: The Library, A Catalogue of Wonders

15 May

 

At a time in history when many readers are choosing digital books…myself included for ease of travel, plus I love the highlighting ability…reading The Library, A Catalogue of Wonders is time well spent.

The research is extraordinary.  The text is thought provoking.  The outstanding anecdotes just keep coming and coming.   Stuart Kells comprehensively covers history of scrolls to libraries of hobbits.  For fragile/delicate books to survive over centuries subject to the elements, insects, fire, humidity, carelessness, war, theft, purging…  is amazing.

Did you know a “book worm” is an insect?  I had only heard it describe readers!

I also appreciated the information on shelving technology…had not thought of it before.

The Library pairs well with The Millionaire and the Bard (previously reviewed).  Kells thoroughly covers the works of Shakespeare.

See 23 of the world’s most enchanting libraries https://on.natgeo.com/2UKZdaH via @NatGeoTravel  These photographs are stunning!  Check it out.

Book Review (plus) The Sewing Machine by Natalie Fergie

13 Mar

 

Love this!  “One sewing machine, two families, three secrets, four generations and millions of stitches”.

This book was funded by readers through a new website:  Unbound.com…a modern version of Samuel Johnson’s idea funding publishing of his dictionary in 1755 in today’s jargon…crowd sourcing. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Dictionary_of_the_English_Language

  1. Elfcroft loves sewing and posts about charity projects about a dozen times a year.
  2. The owners of this very special sewing machine kept notebooks/journals/log of every task.  This created a marvelous record (including thread and fabric samples) of the needs and wants of life during the 20th century Scotland.
  3. I loved the inside story of Singer’s major manufacturing operation circa 1911.  Sewing machines empowered their owners to unleash talent and progress.
  4. Natalie brings the family legacy to the present with two paths…one using the machine as is, the second-recycling machine parts into art projects.
  5. The personal stories are as poignant as sewing is important.

Recommended!

Book Review: 17 Equations that Changed the World

3 Jan

17 Equations that Changed the World by Ian Stewart 2012

http://www.businessinsider.com/17-equations-that-changed-the-world-2014-3

My previous book review of Cosmic Numbers, The Numbers that Define Our Universe by James D Stein 2011… declared it “fantastic.”

I did not reread it immediately, because my young friend (recent Mechanical Engineering graduate) had also loaned me 17 Equations that Changed the World.  Going from numbers to equations is an order of magnitude (or more) level of difficulty.  Each chapter could be a book it self.  Ian Stewart does an amazing job putting the mathematical developments into historical context with an engaging narrative to pull the readers along.

The last three chapters were new territory for me with subjects of information theory, chaos theory and the Black-Scholes equation used by the financial services industry.  Wow!  I have questions…not for my readers…but as an inquiring mind.

Again, this book is a great recommendation for students young and old(er) interested in STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math).  I added a new page to this website with a STEM reading list.

BTW I asked Glenda where she got this book…thinking it was required reading with course work…No….how fun is this?  She found it at Shakespeare and Company Kilometer Zero, a bookstore in PARIS!

Book Review: Cosmic Numbers by JD Stein

28 Nov

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12467274-cosmic-numbers

https://read.amazon.com/kp/card?asin=B005FFPMY4&preview=inline&linkCode=kpe&ref_=cm_sw_r_kb_dp_z40gAb1RRJ250

Previous book reviews included a book with an author having my maiden name as well as a book with a photograph of my niece on the cover.  This recommendation is a challenge.  Stein explains the universe with numbers and why.

A new friend who is also a recent Mechanical Engineering graduate and world traveler loaned me Cosmic Numbers.  I studied physics, chemistry, thermodynamics and differential equations completing my engineering degree…in the last millennium.  Differential equations:  my least favorite subject.  Cosmic Numbers is fantastic!  I plan to reread it and go deeper.   To engage us with his passion for science and why it matters to us, Stein wisely includes personal stories with biographical stories of the scientists credited with the discoveries.  Check out page 147.  Stein includes a theory on why James Bond is also known as 007…

Do you know a young person interested in STEM?  Stein describes how twelve scientists came to their conclusions as well as building on the work of others.  Consider recommending this book to inspire interest in STEM.

Book Review: A Year of Biblical Womanhood

29 Aug

Love this!

This book has sat on my shelf for years.  This morning it captured my attention and held my attention all day.  Smart, witty, insightful, creative, knowledgable, curious, honest…

Rachel’s year of Biblical Womanhood was naturally organized with monthly themes based upon scripture.  Each month Rachel had a TO DO list for herself based upon scripture (sometimes the list included cooking, sewing, sleeping in a tent).  Occasionally, photos and her husband’s journal entries are included.  Raised evangelical, Rachel explored this subject with correspondence exchange with a Jewish woman, 3 day retreat at a monastery, Amish and Quaker experiences, extensive internet research, short stories of women of the Bible….and an extraordinary curiosity.

Fantastic resource!

Another review:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/23/a-year-of-biblical-womanhood_n_2006184.html

Book Review: A Country of Vast Designs

24 Jul

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6895978-a-country-of-vast-designs

Excellent reading for a period of American history that is rarely studied.

James K. Polk committed himself to being the most consequential single term US President 1845-1849 by adding Texas, California and Oregon territories; reestablishing an independent Treasury and reducing tariffs.  The territorial expansion fulfilled the national “Manifest Destiny”…the goal of being a nation from Atlantic to the Pacific Oceans (sea to shining sea).

Polk was an unlikely candidate having lost two races for Governor of Tennessee.  (However, he had been the Speaker of the House for Andrew Jackson and a one term Tennessee governor.)  He won the Democratic nomination on the sixth ballot!

James K. Polk accomplished great things in an era when letters were delivered by horseback.  Railroads were a novelty.  Newspapers were the media for the masses.  Imagine!  The author Robert W. Merry brought authenticity with many quotes from Polk’s diary, congressional records and newspapers of the day.

 

Book Review: Miramont’s Ghost

20 Jun

For my previous book review, I chose Matilda Empress because my niece is featured on the cover.

I chose Miramont’s Ghost because the author ‘Elizabeth Hall’ grabbed my attention.  Elizabeth being my middle name and Hall being my maiden name…I answered to ‘Elizabeth Hall” for over 30 years….no I am not the author….I like seeing my name on the cover 🙂

Miramont’s Ghost is historical fiction.  Most of the narrative is set in France in the early 1900s (before WWI).  It concludes at Miramont Castle in Colorado.  One theme dealt with the dilemma of Adrienne’s clairvoyance which disturbed her family and the community.  Later in the book, Adrienne pivots, realizing her insights could/should solve problems rather than “be the problem”.  This was a history subject I was not familiar with.  I enjoyed the drama revealed in this book.

Book Review: Matilda Empress

23 May

 

I judged this book by its cover!  It features my niece (one and the same with my previous post)!  Not only was she best in her class, but also a fashion model during high school working in New York, London, Paris, Tokyo, Seoul, Cape Town, Singapore and more.

Matilda Empress is historical fiction from an obscure period of British History.  Matilda was the daughter of Henry I and mother of Henry II.  The narrative is elegant with elaborate details of the days and times of 12th century England and Europe.  Descriptions of clothing, meals, medical treatment, religious customs/beliefs and more…evoke an appreciation of the life and times.

The author does a lovely job introducing each chapter.  I needed more information.  I was lost a few times.  I recommend reviewing (then referring to) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empress_Matilda  to follow the story which closely follows the historical time line.

My favorite character is Greta, Matilda’s lady’s maid… for her devotion, dedication and resourcefulness during decades of service.

 

Book Review: Sewing can be Dangerous by SR Mallery

25 Apr

Sewing can be Dangerous and other small threads…the title grabbed my attention.  As much time as I have spent sewing over the years, I never thought of it as dangerous.  Sooo…how is sewing dangerous?  S.R. Mallery’s collection of eleven short stories have fascinating characters from eleven times and places.

Danger exists in conditions in the garment district, delivering a warning message, communicating directions, disguising passports…to name a few.  My favorite short story is “Precious Gifts” set in the Washington Territory in the 1870s.    Mama bought a new Singer Perpendicular Action Sewing Machine.  You have to read the story to find out why she set up her new machine in the corn field.  The story tells of her passion for sewing, aiding a young Chinook Indian on his Spirit Quest, exchanging gifts and adverting a conflict due to her quilt making magic.  Love it!