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24 September 2011

This Organic Life by Joan Dye Gussow

This Organic Life: Confessions of a Suburban HomesteaderThis Organic Life: Confessions of a Suburban Homesteader by Joan Dye Gussow

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I read this book because I'm interested in what the author claims to be doing: homesteading in a non-rural setting. She presents some very good information on growing your own produce, and the trials that are faced in doing so. She seems to do an admirable job in producing fruit and vegetables on her suburban flood-prone plot, but it's a little hard to pick out the good information from the surrounding confessions! These confessions give a memoir-like tone to the book. There's a bitter undercurrent to the narrative which becomes a drag to push through. It's an understandable bitterness, what with the personal hardships touched upon in the book. The through-line weaves and wanders, jumping from current thoughts to loosely related journal entries written years earlier. Like I said, though, there is some great information, and a good presentation of someone trying to make a difference through her own life for the future world.

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20 September 2011

Voodoo Science by Robert Parks

Voodoo Science: The Road from Foolishness to FraudVoodoo Science: The Road from Foolishness to Fraud by Robert L. Park

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

My biggest criticism of this book is that it was dated. Having just finished a Dan Simmon's big space opera quartet, I was hoping to find a grounding in real science. Robert Park fit the bill. Director of some Washington bureau of science, Park takes us for a ride through the scientific process into the fringes of pseudoscience and fraudulent claims. I would have enjoyed more anecdotes; he spent a lot of time talking about three or four different cases. His chapter on space exploration was the most interesting to me. It was the first real criticism I've encountered, and it made sense. I'll have to keep my eyes out for a newer book of this sort.

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06 September 2011

The Rise of Endymion (Hyperion, #4)The Rise of Endymion by Dan Simmons

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I was not as impressed with Endymion or The Rise of Endymion as I was with Hyperion. I think that the voicing that Simmons chose to tell the story was weak, and that the points where he chose not to pursue verbose descriptions clashed theoretically with the points where verbose descriptions ran rampant. However, the conclusion Endymion (Hyperion, #3)was fantastic, and I'm glad from a plot standpoint that I chose to finish the quartet. Perhaps I charged through a little to quickly; I might've appreciated the last two books more if I'd waited some time after reading the first two. A great scifi/space opera tale, told through mostly good writing.