Wednesday, September 30, 2015

What Should A Clever Moose Eat? | John Pastor

*Image and ebook provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


Prof. John Pastor has studies the ecology of the North Woods for many years. In What Should a Clever Moose Eat? he presents a collection of essays that address the ecology of the North Words from the creation of its landscape by glaciers in the Ice Age to the current relations between species of plants and animals. There is also a section at the end dedicated to how fragile everything is and how we cannot fully know how Climate Change is going to affect everything. 


At the very beginning of this book, Pastor says that he has attempted to write this book so that it is approachable and understandable to a wide audience of people, not just those who have degrees in natural sciences. As a humanities major, I greatly appreciated this and kept it in mind when I was reading. There were still a few essays where I did more skimming than reading, but overall, I do believe that Pastor achieved his goal of making this book a good read for even the uninitiated. Just as Pastor says about nature, "Nature is always more interesting than the hypotheses we first propose", so to is this book more interesting than a non-scientist would think.

The book is still pretty academic, but if you've spent any time in a forest, a lot of the essays are feel less so. Pastor talks a lot about little things that we've always noticed and maybe never thought much about (i.e. why some trees form smooth leaves and others jagged). Most importantly, Pastor talks about how everything in the North Woods is connected, though this may be more a consequence of nature being a web of connections than a purposeful way of writing. 

In all, not all of the essays were able to keep my interest and there were times that the book felt like a chore to read, but I know I will not be able to look at trees the same way again. I will be filled with even more of a sense of wonder about them. Goodness knows, while reading this book, I started looking at the weeping willows on my way to work and wondering about how their long scraggly leaves had evolved. I also thought that I'd like to use this book for parents to help answer a lot of natural sciences questions their children may ask. 

I happily give this book 4 hoots because it has changed the way I look at the world, in a good way. 


Saturday, September 26, 2015

The Empire Striketh Back | Ian Doescher | Mini-Review

I cannot tell you the number of times I either laughed out loud or had to fight back a strong laugh.* Once again, I found Doescher giving new life to the Star Wars series: giving characters more character, writing delightful verbal spats between Han and Leia, and addressing some architectural decisions (seriously, why are there so many giant rooms with places to fall to your death?). Doescher also did an interesting thing to Yoda's dialogue. As Doescher writes in his epilogue, how do you make Yoda's lines distinct when everyone sounds like Yoda? This problem is resolved by having Yoda speak in the 5-7-5 haiku format. I absolutely loved it! This was a wonderful sequel to William Shakespeare's Star Wars and I have already bought the next book in the series!


*Monday mornings on the bus, people generally don't want to hear you laughing. 

Monday, September 14, 2015

Extraordinary Engines | Nick Gevers


A 2008 anthology of Steampunk. Several short stories written by some of the best Steampunk authors. The collection includes stories of robots, alternate universes, war machines, spirits and more.


I am very grateful to this book. After a lot of so-so books and a handful of non-fiction, I've been itching to read something different, something that would reignite my imagination and get me excited about reading again. Extraordinary Engines did just that for me. 

This book labels itself as "the definitive Steampunk anthology" and I can readily say that there wasn't a single story in the book that left me disappointed. If there was disappointment, it was only because they were short stories and not full books themselves. I've actually looked up some books by the authors presented and have them on my wishlist. 

So if you are a Steampunk enthusiast, or just looking for a diversion, I highly recommend Extraordinary Engines. You will find something in this book for you. 4 hoots!

                Hoot! Hoot!

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Bloggiesta 2015

Okay, this post is a lot more delayed than it should have been. I have been having a really hard time catching my breath. I've been doing regular posts for Blogger's Bookshelf. I've only been in my new apartment for a month (or less). On top of it, I start a new job next week! So much stuff! Which is why I'm going to dedicate my Bloggiesta to setting up a schedule. Even if I just post a mini-review or a non-review post, I need to do this more regularly. I need a schedule.

So, because I am also going to be very busy this Bloggiesta with starting a new job, I'm going to keep my Bloggiesta goals short and simple:

1) Host a Bloggiesta Twitter Chat on Saturday.
     a) Do research for the Twitter Chat.
     b) Come up with questions for the Twitter Chat.

2) Set up a posting schedule that I can stick to that will not cause reading burn out.

I know, this ain't much, it's about the same as a kid's to-do list, but until I get my schedule figured out, it's all I'm gonna have time for. So, have a fun Bloggiesta! I will see you all there!