Fun Facts Friday: Jane Austen
Fun Facts Friday , Latest Posts / December 16, 2011

Today is the birthday of author Jane Austen (16 December 1775 – 18 July 1817). Ms. Austen is one of the most wildly read authors in English literature whose social commentary has taken on a life of its own. Jane Austen. Drawn by Cassandra Austen circa 1810 Books by Jane Austen 1 ) Jane Austen was the seventh of eight children. 2 ) Jane wrote six complete novels Northanger Abbey, Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, Emma and Persuasion. She got to see four of them published. 3 ) Cassandra Leigh Austen married into a lower class, but still gave Jane the sense of social class which one can take from her novels. 4 ) Jane sharpened her comic abilities on her Oxford educated brothers. 5 ) Jane was part of the “Romantic Movement” of the time which was a counter to the conservative movement. 6 ) Pride and Prejudice, which deals with feelings, could be considered part of the Romantic Movement even though it is still rational. 7 ) Jane’s brother Frank was a career man in the British navy. Through him Jane gained her knowledge of life at sea which she wrote about in Persuasion. 8…

Thoughts on: Hitler’s Ashes by John T. Cox
4 Stars , Fiction , Latest Posts / December 15, 2011

Hitler’s Ashes: How Hitler’s Assassination Leads to the Development of Germany’s Atomic Bomb by John T. Cox is a very imaginative alternative history story. The premise, Operation Valkyrie (the plot to assassinate Hitler) has succeeded and Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg is the new leader of Germany.

BookTalk: What Would You Gift Your Favorite Literary Character?
Latest Posts / December 14, 2011

A recent #booktalk question posted by Huffington Post Books (@HuffPostBooks) was: what gift would you give to your favorite book character, or the author who wrote that book? I answered off the top of my head and the good folks at Huffington Post Books (one of my favorite bookish sites) chose to include your humble servant in their article. Thank you Huff Post – ’till we tweet again. Zohar – Man of la Book

Dumb is Cool, It Starts Early – A Venting Post
Latest Posts , Opinion / December 14, 2011

I am very proud of my son (4.5) and daughter (7). They are both wonderful children. This year my daughter started first grade and she took on reading like a hurricane, she even participated in an Author Q&A segment on her old man’s blog. In four short months she went from reading books with three words on a page to reading chapter books. Both my wife and I are amazed and are thankful for her wonderful teacher as well as content in seeing our labor (we take homework very seriously in our house) bearing fruits. This has been a tough year and the way our daughter is loving her school, teacher and classmates as well as being popular is one of the brightest spots in our lives currently. Yesterday my wife picked up our daughter and her friend from school. Our daughter proudly opened up a book and her friend made a nasty comment. Of course my wife intervened immediately but that has gotten me thinking (a dangerous past time…). Something really has to be done to make “smart” cool. I remember in my high-school when someone readily admitted to getting a “D” but the “A” students were embarrassed to…

Thoughts on: Mission to Mach 2 by Earl Haney and Lee Courtnage

About: Mission to Mach 2: A Fighter Pilot’s Memoir of Supersonic Flight by Earl Haney and Lee Courtnage is Mr. Haney’s memoir about his military career. The memoir mostly focus on Haney’s fascinating Air-Force career. 228 pages Publisher: Mcfarland ISBN: 0786463163 My rating for Mission to Mach 2 – 4 Buy & Save on Mission to Mach 2 through the ManOfLa­Book affil­i­ate account on: Ama­zon | Kin­dle| Book Depos­i­tory US | Book Depos­i­tory UK Thoughts: Mission to Mach 2: A Fighter Pilot’s Memoir of Supersonic Flight by Earl Haney and Lee Courtnage is an exciting book, very readable and engaging. Earl Haney, known in the Air Force as Mr. Earl, flew supersonic jets during the Cold War, Vietnam and afterwards. Mr. Earl was a pilot in an amazing time, even though let’s be honest, is there really not an amazing time to be a fighter pilot? The age of supersonic jet planes was matured during Mr. Earl’s service and he got to fly many of the new airplanes putting himself in mortal danger and his courage and stamina stretched to their limits. Mr. Earl also tells about his time in the world famous “Thunderbirds” where he flew the F-100 plane, as well as exciting stories from his combat days, test…

Thoughts on: Luck and Circumstance by Michael Lindsay-Hogg

Luck and Circumstance: A Coming of Age in Hollywood, New York, and Points Beyond by Michael Lindsay-Hogg is a refreshing and amusing book in which the author talks about his lifelong haunts with honesty. The author might or might not be the son of Orson Welles, an imposing figure which comes and goes through-out Mr. Lindsay-Hogg’s life in a way which makes him seem both benevolent and detached.

Thoughts on: The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
4 Stars , Classics , Fiction , Latest Posts / December 10, 2011

About: The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde is a fictional book now considered a classic. The story appeared in Lippincott’s Monthly Magazine on 20 June 1890 but Wilde modified the story before publishing it in 1891. See my Fun Facts Friday postabout this book to learn more. 304 pages Publisher: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press; Annotated edition ISBN-10: 0674057929 My rating for The Picture of Dorian Gray – 4 Buy & Save on The Picture of Dorian Gray through the ManOfLa­Book affil­i­ate account on: Ama­zon | Kin­dle| Book Depos­i­tory US | Book Depos­i­tory UK More books by Oscar Wilde Thoughts: The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde (official website) is a strange book. While its themes are certainly sophisticated and poignant, the book itself, I felt, was crude as if Wilde wrote it in anger.. The last chapter tied up everything together and made very astute observations. The story, in some form I felt, is certainly relevant today and especially during the time of super-consumerism holiday season. A time which I find distasteful, stressful and quite confusing. To Dorian Gray, his beauty and vanity become the tools which destroy his soul. He can no longer love, only lust. He can no longer be passionate, only a…

Thoughts on: A More Perfect Heaven by Dava Sobel
4 Stars , Fiction , Latest Posts , Non-Fiction / December 8, 2011

About: A More Perfect Heaven: How Copernicus Revolutionized the Cosmos by Dava Sobel is part fiction part non-fiction book. The book includes a play in two acts in the middle. 288 pages Publisher: Walker & Company ISBN: 0802717934 My rating for A More Perfect Heaven – 4 Buy & Save on A More Perfect Heaven through the ManOfLa­Book affil­i­ate account on: Ama­zon | Kin­dle| Book Depos­i­tory US | Book Depos­i­tory UK More books by Dava Sobel Thoughts: A More Perfect Heaven: How Copernicus Revolutionized the Cosmos by Dava Sobel (website) is a very readable book about reclusive cleric Nicolaus Copernicus. The historical narrative and introduction (for me) to the Poland Copernicus lived in were very interesting. I am fascinated by writings about these super-geniuses which have changed the world we live in, stood up to norms and the effects of their discoveries still affect our daily lives. Part of me knows that I will never understand their actual writings, most of it looks like Greek to me and, of course, some of it is in actual Greek. “[T]he counter-revolution that sprang up in immediate reaction to Copernicus’s ideas also continues to make waves. State and local governments still claim the right to control what can be taught of scientific theories…

Thoughts on: The Street Sweeper by Elliot Perlman
5 Stars , Fiction , Historical Fiction , Latest Posts / December 6, 2011

About: The Street Sweeper by Australian historian Elliot Perlman is a fictional book which deals with the American struggle for civil rights and the Holocaust. The book beautifully ties together the idea that we are all human and touch each other’s lives. The pub­lisher is giv­ing away one advanced reader copy (ARC)  of this book— enter at the end of the post. 640 pages Publisher: Riverhead Hardcover ISBN: 1594488479 My rating for The Street Sweeper – 5 Buy & Save on The Street Sweeper through the ManOfLa­Book affil­i­ate account on: Ama­zon | Kin­dle| Book Depos­i­tory US | Book Depos­i­tory UK More books by Elliot Perlman Thoughts: The Street Sweeper by Elliot Perlman is storytelling at its best. The book manages to bring complex ideas to the forefront of the reader’s attention such as what is history, how do we record it or pass it along as well as the importance of firsthand accounts. A well written and sweeping book which touches many subjects and ties them all together in a humane sense rather than the meticulous books we read about history. However, the main point of the book, for me, was the importance of remembering history, not as dry dates and figures but from the point of view of people who are real people,…

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