Thursday, September 27, 2012

Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement, by Kathryn Joyce

Beacon Press, ISBN 9780807010709, March 2009

Kathryn Joyce takes us on an alarming, enlightening, startling journey through an American subculture most of us are unaware of. Most of us are aware of the influence of the "Christian right" in Republican politics. What's less obvious is that a significant part of that "Christian right" are not our run of the mill evangelical Christians, people who may be more supportive of morality- based laws, and less supportive of sex education, contraception, and teaching the facts of evolution, but who aren't all that different from the mainstream, especially the mainline Protestant mainstream. That's not the "Christian right" that Ms. Joyce is writing about.

Monday, September 24, 2012

The Great Cake Mystery:Precious Ramotswe's Very First Case: A Number 1 Ladies' Detective Agency Book for Young Readers, by Alexander McCall Smith

Anchor, ISBN 9780307743893, April 2012

This is exactly what the title says: an absolutely charming story of Precious Ramotswe's first case, her first impulse to be a detective and solve a problem someone brings to her.

Precious is just a school girl, and this very first case concerns who is stealing the special treats the children bring to school, to eat in the school yard after the plain, nutritious lunch provided by the school. These treats are important to the children, and when they start disappearing, they are eager to identify and punish a culprit. Precious is troubled by the fact that there is no real evidence against the accused boy, and she starts asking questions and looking around, trying to find a way to identify the real thief.

This is a fun little book, and I while I think the intended age group will enjoy it, it will be an enjoyable read for their parents who enjoy the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, as well.


I borrowed this book from the local library.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science, by Richard Holmes (author), Gildart Jackson (narrator)

Blackstone Audio, ISBN 9781455114320, June 2011

This is a fascinating account of the growth of science in Romantic Age of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Holmes looks at the period through the lives of ground-breaking scientists, and illuminates the intersections between science, literature, and art during the period.

Among the scientists discussed in detail are Joseph Banks, William and Caroline Herschel, Humphrey Davy, Michael Faraday, and a collection of truly nutty but ground-breaking (or is that, and ground-breaking) balloonists.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Copyright Gone Mad: DMCA and the Drive to Make a Pay-Per-View World

Expanded from my Google+ post earlier today

YouTube Flags Democrats' Convention Video on Copyright Grounds | Threat Level |

'via Blog this'

Another demonstration of the insanity and destructive nature of the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act.) If you have newsworthy content and upload it, automated software will decide it is copyrighted, flag it, and it will automatically be taken down. This time, it's the Democratic party's video of its own convention. A few days ago, it was the livestream of the Hugo Awards ceremony. A few weeks ago, it was NASA's own livestream of the Curiosity landing.

The Alexander Cipher:A Thriller (Daniel Knox #1, by Will Adams (author), David Colacci (narrator)

Grand Central Publishing, ISBN 9780446404709, March 2010

Once again, I listened to the audiobook, but because of Amazon's peculiarities, the link is to a paperback edition. The narrator is excellent.

Daniel Knox is an archaeologist who, due to some unfortunate events a few years previously, is currently earning his living as a dive instructor, currently employed by an  Egyptian gangster, Hassan. When he gallantly, if foolishly, rescues a young woman the gangster is raping, he finds himself on the run and in hiding, and is quickly abandoned by the young woman he "rescued," since she has figured out that she's slightly safer if Hassan doesn't think she wanted the "rescue."

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Long Earth, by Terry Pratchett & Stephen Baxter

Harper, 1st Edition, ISBN 9780062067753, June 2012

This collaboration between Pratchett and Baxter seems more Pratchett than Baxter, though a bit more serious in tone than most of Pratchett's solo work.

We start with two vignettes of people unexpectedly displaced--a young British soldier in France during WWII, and a young, very pregnant woman who lives in a Catholic orphanage in Madison, WI, somewhat closer to the present day. The young soldier finds himself in a place that looks very like France except for the total absence of any evidence of war or, indeed, human habitation. He meets up with some rather odd-looking people whom he concludes must be the Russians he's heard tell of, and finds that they are friendly, helpful, and great singing companions.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

A Fistful of Collars: A Chet and Bernie Mystery, by Spencer Quinn

Atria Books, ISBN 9781451665164, September 2012

Chet and Bernie are back, with a new case to solve, their ongoing financial difficulties, and a challenge in the form of a wonderful job offer for Bernie's girlfriend Susie, that will take her far away from Chet and Bernie.

Oh, and we also get a revealing new look at both Bernie and his ex-wife, casting fresh light on exactly why Leda took Charlie and left. Bernie's a great guy, but there are reasons Leda sometimes wants to do violence to him.