Factual Friday: Libraries
Fun Facts Friday , Latest Posts / April 15, 2011

By Matl (own work (photography)) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons This week is National Library Week (April 10 – 16, 2011) sponsored by the American Library Association (website | Twitter | Facebook). Pub­lic libraries are some of the few pub­lic build­ings the pub­lic actu­ally uses. Whether you are rich or poor, edu­cated or not and no mat­ter to which polit­i­cal party you donated to, you are always wel­come at your local library – they are the great equal­izer of our society. Probably due to that fact, libraries have been bombarded with budget cuts all over the world (but that’s OK as long as the politicians get a raise for the mass they created). National Library Week has been around since 1958 and some schools make it National Library Month. If you haven’t been to the library recently I encourage you to do so. A day at the library is a “fun day” in our house – the library provides games, the kids can play, read some books, flutz around on the kids’ computer and all for free. The librarians are always very helpful, even I, who has been in the IT industry for over 20 years, acknowledge their superiority over…

Book Review: A Fierce Radiance by Lauren Belfer

I got this book for free as part of the TLC Book Tour pro­mo­tion. The pub­lisher has made avail­able one (1) copy of “A Fierce Radiance” to be given out– enter at the end of the post. My rating for A Fierce Radiance – 5 About: “A Fierce Radiance” by Lauren Belfer (website) is a historical fiction book about the search for penicillin. The push came during World War II when the need for this miracle drug became as important as any weapon. 532 pages Publisher: Harper ISBN: 0061252514 Pur­chase “A Fierce Radiance” through the ManOfLa­Book affil­i­ate account on: Ama­zon |Book Depos­i­tory US | Book Depos­i­tory UK Thoughts: “A Fierce Radiance” by Lauren Belfer is a well written book which is compelling and interesting. There are spies, sex, big money, scrupulous industrialists, incorruptible scientist as well as corruptible ones. The book is suppose to me a mystery, but the real mystery is how Ms. Belfer succeeded in making a book about penicillin so interesting. Ms. Belfer tells us that on “D-Day, in June 1944, every medic going ashore in France carried penicillin in his pack”. That is an amazing achievement if you think about it. Before the ability to tame penicillin one…

Classic Lit for Kids – Getting Started
Latest Posts , Opinion / April 13, 2011

As a big proponent of public education (and a critic) I realize the tough jobs teachers face and, as a former part-time instructor, I know the difficult job at hand. However, schools no longer teach a comprehensive, deeper understanding of literature due to the pressure on teachers to teach for standardize tests at the expense of critical thinking abilities. Six years ago, that became my job. Last weekend I took my son (3) to Barnes & Noble for a cup of coffee (daddy), a Batman book (for him but that’s often disputed in our household) and a creme puff which he generously split with his old man. While at the store I was looking for a book for my daughter (6), because as you know, a parent cannot buy for one child without the other getting anything. The fact that mother and daughter went $hopping for a $ummer wardrobe the day before is, seemingly, inconsequential when it comes to bestowing Bat-gifts upon her younger brother. Due to my spectacular failures of intro-to-classics in the past (“Charlotte’s Web” and “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”) when she was younger I had to be extra careful. My beloved wife also had a few…

Sense and Senselessness or A DRM Love/Hate Story (OK, Hate)
Latest Posts , Opinion / April 12, 2011

Yesterday MediaBistro published an article quoting Richard Nash from Red Lemonade imprint stating that they are taking the unusual step of giving out eBooks for reviewers without Digital Rights Management (DRM) imprinted on them. Mr. Nash said: “Well, I don’t think consumer books should have DRM, so putting DRM on reviewers’ books is even dumber. I want to make it as easy as possible to get it to you, as easy as possible for you to read it, as easy as possible for you to assign it to a reviewer, as easy as possible for you to send it to a friend.” Do you get it, Mr. Nash’s thinking, common sense to you and me, is considered “unusual”. Newsflash if you’ve been in a cave/ivory tower/corporate America for the past 20 years. DRM has never worked. All DRM did is give honest consumers a hard time and waste the company’s money by fighting DRM pirates who are always one step ahead (at least). Not to mention that all you need is one person to crack the DRM and the file will be available to everybody. I can assure you that your DRM will be cracked in about 15 minutes after…

Book Review: Field Gray by Philip Kerr

I got this book for free. Article first published as Book Review: Field Gray by Philip Kerr on Blogcritics. The pub­lisher has made avail­able one (1) copy of “Field Gray” to be given out– enter at the end of the post My rating for Fields Gray – 5 About: “Field Gray” by Philip Kerr (website) is a fictional novel taking place alternatively between the 1931 and mid 1954, mostly in Berlin. The book is 7th novel starring Bernie Gunther (fan website). 448 pages Pub­lisher: Putnam Adult ISBN: 0399157417 Pur­chase “Field Gray” through the ManOfLa­Book affil­i­ate account on: Ama­zon |Book Depos­i­tory US | Book Depos­i­tory UK Thoughts: I seem to have no luck with series of books I like. I usually find them after several books have been published and feel compelled to play catch up. “Field Gray” by Philip Kerr is no exception on this front. The novel follows Bernie Gunther which has to be one of the most antiheroic antiheroes ever written. Joining Gunther are a bunch of offbeat characters none of which, it seems, have any redeeming qualities. Maybe that’s what the “gray” in the title refers to (besides the German army’s uniforms made by Hugo Boss) as there are…

Factual Friday: The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Fun Facts Friday , Latest Posts / April 8, 2011

Even though it took me a while to get into The Hunchback of Notre Dame I was very impressed with the book (book review) and thought the last 200 pages were certainly work trudging through some of it. 1) The original title of the book is “Notre Dame de Paris” which translates into “Our Lady of Paris” – a much more fitting title in my opinion. 2) Victor Hugo made it clear that the main character in the novel is the cathedral and not any of the characters. 3) Victor Hugo was strongly against the English title. 4) Dom Claude Frollo named the abandoned child he found in the chruch “Quasimodo” because he found him on Quasimodo Sunday. 5) “Quasi modo” in Latin translates to “almost standard” but actually means “similar to”. Believe it or not this name is in line with common medieval naming conventions. The Hunchback by Brian Bustard – Purchase a Print 6) Quasimodo has fifteen bells but his favorite is named “Big Marie” 7) In the novel, Esmeralda is 14-16 years old. 8 ) Esmeralda is charged with witchcraft, among other offenses. 9) One of the subplots is Esmeralda’s search for her mother. 10) There are…

Book Review: The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo
4 Stars , Classics , Fiction , Latest Posts / April 7, 2011

I bought this eBook (a Barnes & Noble Classic). My rating for The Hunchback of Notre Dame – 4 About: “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” by Victor Hugo (1802-1885 | Biography & Works) is a fictional story set in Paris, France and published in 1831. The novel became a classic and the Hunchback became a tragic hero as well as a cultural icon. Pur­chase “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” through the ManOfLa­Book affil­i­ate account on: Ama­zon |Book Depos­i­tory US | Book Depos­i­tory UK Victor Hugo circa 1880 Thoughts: “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” by Victor Hugo is a desperate and quite depressing novel. It is filled with the loneliness of 15th Century Paris, its dark corridors, streets and stench. The book tells the stories of three tragic and lonely figures. Claude Frollo, archdeacon of Notre Dame, La Esmeralda, an enchanting gypsy, and Quasimodo, the disfigured bell ringer as well as Frollo’s adopted son. Surprisingly, Quasimodo has a small role in the book which was originally titled “Notre-Dame de Paris” or “Our Lady of Paris” – a much more appropriate, yet less imaginative title. La Esmeralda and her goat Djali An Illustration for Notre Dame de Paris by Victor Hugo. Artist unknown….

Book Review: The Instructions by Adam Levin
4 Stars , Fiction , Latest Posts / April 6, 2011

I bought this book. My rating for The Instructions – 4 About: “The Instructions” by Adam Levin is a fictional book taking place over three days. This long book which tells a short story follows one very bright troublemaker in Junior High School. 1,030 pages Publisher: McSweeney’s ISBN: 9781934781821 Pur­chase “The Instructions” through the ManOfLa­Book affil­i­ate account on: Ama­zon |Book Depos­i­tory US | Book Depos­i­tory UK Thoughts: “The Instructions” by Adam Levin was a hard book to read and to get into, not due to its length but due to the difficulty of getting into the mind of a brilliant ten year old. However, once I got around that hurdle I found that not only did I enjoy reading the book, but I enjoyed even more thinking about it afterwards. If I had to pinpoint the one thing which I found enjoyable is the great care Mr. Levin took in picking his symbols, words and their meanings. For example: the name of the protagonist Gurion Ben-Judah Maccabee. Gurion is a lion’s cub, a lion which is the symbol of the tribe of Judah (Judah being Gurion’s father) and Maccabee, a famed family who reasserted the Jewish religion as the Seleucid Empire….

Book Review: Killing Rommel by Steven Pressfield
5 Stars , Fiction , Latest Posts / April 4, 2011

The story  is presented through the eyes of Lieutenant R. Lawrence Chapman (Chap) a fictional tank commander who was “loaned” to a famed commando unit called the Long Range Dessert Group (LDRG) to help asses the dessert for passable routes when the big invasion comes.

Chap quickly becomes friends with his the members of his new unit and meets some historical personalities which have since become legendary(Jake Easonsmith, Paddy Mayne, Ron Tinker, Nick Wilder, Vladimir “Popski ” Peniakoff and more). These personalities give historical authenticity to this fictional account of war. One of the group’s missions is to find out where Rommel is and call in an air-strike, hence the title of the book.

Blog Now Available on Kindle
Latest Posts , Uncategorized / April 3, 2011

As of this week, all of you avid readers can get ManOfLaBook.com on your Kindle – simply subscribe here and get a 14 day free trial and then pay $1.99 per month. Why $1.99? I don’t know – Amazon.com decided on that price (I get 30% which will go towards maintaining the blog and my library). Why should you pay for something you can get for free? That’s not up to me to say, is it? If you like my blog I’d appreciate if you’d write a few good words on Amazon.com. Thanks, Zohar – Man of la Book   — Please like and follow ManOfLaBook.com —

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