Saturday, December 1, 2007
Sibley was born in Detroit and gradually moved west to pursue the ever popular career of a fur trader. At a young age, Sibley began to establish himself as an expert on managing the beaver at Mackinaw Island. After creating a name for himself, Sibley departed Mackinaw (not realizing that it would eventually develop into a tourist trap with fudge shops, tandem bikes, shitty knickknacks, and absolutely no beaver pelts) and eventually made his way to the land around Fort Snelling where he became a prolific manager of fur trade along the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers. Now most of the fur trading was done with the natives in the area and Sibley developed strong ties to the natives, learning their tounges and even fathering a child from a Native American. These ties proved incredibly advantageous in his future while creating treaties and armies which more or less destroyed the native population. After serving in the territorial legislature, Sibley was elected the state's first governor. His term was short, but he continued to shape the future of the young state through numerous treaties, his Generalship during he Dakota War of 1862, his chairmanship of the Minnesota Historical Society, and his service as a Regent for the U of MN.
Completed November 2007
Sunday, November 18, 2007
Completed mid November
Completed sometime in October
Sunday, October 28, 2007
This book also creates some good value in one of the last chapters when he bad mouths all those strict adherers to grammar. This chapter would have been very excellent in creating arguments against all my past grammar teachers. It also refutes Ms. Bandamere's favorite quote that "Love is transitory but grammar is forever."
I recommend this book.
Completed sometime in October
Monday, October 15, 2007
The book was quite random and very witty. There may be little redeeming social value in reading this book, but it is definitely entertaining. I laughed out loud multiple times and was relieved to have some easy reading.
It looks like Jacobs just released another book similar to the Know It All. In his new book, he undertakes another Herculean task, living for one year, literally interpreting the bible. It looks quite humorous. This guy must have a very understanding wife.
I originally read this book as a sophomore in college and was deeply touched by this book. Honestly, I feel few books have made such impressions on me as Into the Wild. The story of Chris (Supertramp) McCandless, abandoning a secure lifestyle for a life of simplicity and adventure intrigued me. This book served as a catalyst for some of my recent adventures and partly is the cause of my desire for independence (but not a desire for celibacy like Chris).
When my team at work suggested we read this together, I was uncertain what I would get out of a second reading of the story. Like my original reading, I quickly inhaled the book in 2 days, but I admit that my perceptions of Chris changed the second time around. Originally I admired his willingness to not get attached to people, but this time around I was bothered by the disrespect he exhibited towards his parents. Additionally, his stories of adventure (which are incredibly mind boggling and bold) lost some of there mystifying qualities. Perhaps because I have since wandered the globe and met others like Chris, I wasn't quite as moved. Despite these comments, I'm still amazed by Chris and admire how he truly experienced his life. This is a phenomenal story.
If you are too lazy to read a quick book, the movie has just been released. But if you fall in that category, you probably shouldn't waste your time reading the book because you wouldn't appreciate it.
Tuesday, October 2, 2007
After my first reading of Richard Dawkins in August, I was inspired to read some of his work that originally made him famous. Dawkins, the famed evolutionary biologist, first published The Selfish Gene 30 years ago. Despite being around for multiple decades and selling millions of copies, I had never heard of this book until recently. It appears that I did a real good job of ignoring everything related to the field of biology. I have always been fascinated by physical science but have related biological sciences to the memorization of the steps of the Krebs cycle from 10th grade. I wish Mr. Lipke would have been able to spend more time inspiring me on the wonders of biology because this book truly blew my mind.
Even though I know next to nothing about biology (I’ve read some elementary readings on evolution), I was able to comprehend Dawkins from page 1 to 250. Dawkins suggests that evolution shouldn’t be looked at from the level of species. It isn’t necessarily best to describe how humans evolved. Instead, it would be more accurate to describe how genes evolved. Our bodies (or the body of any species for that matter) simply serve as the machine genes use to replicate itself. Genes are just like King Henry the VIII: they want as many heirs as possible. Genes that are good at replicating outlast those that don’t…hence survival of the fittest.
My little blurb does not serve this book justice. This book seriously changed how I look at our world around us, and I’m excited to read some more of Dawkins’ books. The theory of evolution is truly beautiful and sheds such lucidity on how things came to be…at least much more than Genesis (and not the Phil Collins’ band) does so.Completed early October
Completed: End of September
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Completed: Mid September
I think this is one of the better travel guides you are going to find on the market, exclusively on Argentina. Compared to the Lonely Planet Guide--the king of travel guide companies--this book is much larger and thus has much more information to offer. Additionally, I feel this book is aimed more at people looking for an adventure. While the Lonely Planet Guide may recommend only flying to a certain destination because busing would be long and unsafe, the Rough Guide would suggest hitchhiking as a realistic alternative. I like the books that don't treat me like a helpless 13 year old girl from suburbia (I don't blame the Lonely Planet for focusing on this demographic because many travelers could fall in the same category as our 13 year old friend).
If you are going to Argentina and looking for adventure and lots of info, I'd recommend this book. However, I couldn't find a real new edition of this book, so my 2005 edition was already out of date when it came to prices and other ever changing information (museum hours, penguin migratory patterns). Additionally, this book doesn't cover all places and all cities, but what then would be the purpose of travel?
Completed: Early September
I read this book on a bus riding through the Patagonia, roughly 3 days after leaving Buenos Aires. Before reading this book, I really liked Buenos Aires. After going through these poems, I feel like Buenos Aires is one of the greatest cities in the world. This book made me so infatuated with the city, I shorten my time in Patagonia, giving myself time to return to Buenos Aires to spend another day there, wandering the streets and understanding the stanzas of Borges.
I typically do not read much poetry, but this book of poems took control of me. I read each poem multiple times, and some I must have read a dozen times. He so well captures the essence of the city, I feel as if I'm standing with him in the street, inhaling the dusty air. I cannot wait to go through these poems again, but with a Spanish-English dictionary. If I could enjoy them so much without understanding all the words, I'm optimistic I'll find even more excitement towards the city with a stronger comprehension of the words.
Completed: Early September
To fulfill these objectives, I purchased an early work from the famous Colombian author Gabriel Márquez. El Coronel is a short novel of Márquez which tells the story of an old, retired Colonel, broke and living in poverty while supporting a desperate wife, waiting to receive his pension. The pension never comes, and the Colonel realizes he lived a miserable life.
I admit that at times I had difficulty following this book, my language abilities just aren't strong enough to easily read a Spanish language novel without a dictionary. Márquez definitely writes with a larger vocabulary than just about any Spanish language magazine (this should be a given). I ultimately read this book twice to fully comprehend it.
As for a recommendation, I enjoyed it (when I fully comprehended what I was reading). Unless you are a good Spanish speaker, I'd recommend finding a translated copy.
Completed: End of August
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
I originally heard about this book from Ryan Peterson and got further interested after seeing a BBC documentary on him. (Watch the documentary here). The documentary blew my mind. This young man can do math without having to think! After watching the documentary, I instantly went out and bought his book. After reading his book, I'm going to do something rather unusual: I recommend seeing the movie over the book.
The book focuses more on his personal life and his struggles while the documentary is more focused on his rare abilities. Though a good story which really raised my awareness to autism. However, I was looking more for some jaw dropping stories on amazing feats of the mind. Still a good book but not what I was looking for.
Completed: End of August
Thursday, August 16, 2007
This is a very quick read and quite entertaining. If you don't have the four hours to read the book, I hear it is now out on DVD and Blueray.
It seems like all European countries were enamored with imperialism 100 years ago, but I never knew that small little Belgium could cause so much harm. Before reading this book, the name Belgium conjured up images of waffles; now, unfortunately, I'll just think of lies and slavery. Apparently, King Leopold was rather pissed off that he was the king of such a small country. To compensate for his size, he decided to take over a huge chunk of Africa, many times larger than his home country. He then used the local population to exploit the land for all it had, including the lives of the people. This slavery and murder went on for a number of years, but the rest of the world didn't swat an eye because the King did a brilliant job as marketing his exploitation as a humanitarian mission where Belgium wasn't even benefiting. Belgium did benefit, but most of the money went directly to Leopold where he squandered it on teenage hookers. Towards the end of his life he started getting some harsh criticism, but largely because of his little girl fetish, not the killing spree going on in his name.
I'd recommend this book to anyone, especially those fascinated by the horrors of imperialism and the heroism of the few individuals who were willing to take on a King.
Completed: Sometime in August
This was another free book from the Target corporate library. It has been sitting on my shelf for the past year, and I only read it because I wanted to be able to say I've read all the books in my library. Despite my hesitancy to read it, I found it a quick, enjoyable read; however, I don't know if I'd choose to read it unless I had some motivation such as reading everything in my library.
The book was published in 2003 by some guys from the Boston Consulting Group. It talks about how people will pay a premium for certain higher priced products. The book comes to its point through a number of case studies. It gives the history of such companies as Panera, Chipotle, Samuel Adams, BMW, Callaway, and Victoria's Secrets and discusses how these companies were able to be successful selling in mass higher priced items. If anything, it was fascinating to read about the histories of these companies. I especially am excited to have more knowledge on Victoria's Secret. I never thought the business of women's underwear could be so fascinating. I even now have a desire to go to one of their stores to get a better understanding, but I don't want to be labeled as a pervert.
Completed: Sometime in July
(If you haven't noticed, instead of publishing an entry the day I finish the book, I'm now waiting many weeks and not only am having trouble remembering the high points of some of these books but I'm not sure if I'm even remembering all the books I have read)
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Completed July 2007
Completed July 2007
Monday, July 2, 2007
Kaplan GMAT Premium Edition 2007: Worst book ever. I would never recommend this book. I paid $40+ this book, expecting it to teach me the ins and outs of the GMAT. Unfortunately, the book was filled with typos and foolish editing mistakes. It is hard to trust a book for teaching you grammar when it isn't properly edited. Additionally, the book repeated questions. If you pay $40+, you should get recycled questions one chapter from the next. Lastly, the practice tests that came with the book did not produce any scores close to my actual GMAT scores. The other materials I used did mimic my scores. Don't waste your time with this book.
Kaplan 800: Even though the first Kaplan book sucked, I bought a second one which was focused just on the hardest questions. I only bought this because the other companies didn't have equivalent books that just focused on difficult questions. This was a decent book. Obviously, a different bunch of people edited the book.
Princeton Review Cracking the GMAT: I didn't buy this book but borrowed it from a friend. This was the Princeton Review's equivalent of the Kaplan book that sucked. Fortunately, this book was much better. Not only did I trust the material, but the book gave better explanations on the answers. DISCLAIMER: I was previously employed by the Princeton Review.
Completed June 28, 2007
Completed June 2007
Completed: May 2007
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
This book gives a pretty good look at the life of James J. Hill, the Empire Builder of the Northwest. If you aren't fascinated with the history of the Great Northern railroad and the exploiting of a nation's resources, this probably isn't the book for you. Instead, just be aware that James Hill was filthy rich, incredibly influential, and the owner of the huge mansion atop the hill on Summit Avenue in St. Paul.
Complete May 16, 2007
Tuesday, May 8, 2007
Completed May 7, 2007
Completed May 3, 2007
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Completed: April 26, 2007
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
Completed: April 21, 2007
Complete April 13, 2007
Wednesday, April 4, 2007
Completed April 9, 2007
Completed: March 28, 2007
Completed March 19, 2007
Completed March 18, 2007
Sunday, March 4, 2007
Completed: March 3, 2007
Thursday, February 22, 2007
Completed February 21, 2007
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
Completed February 20, 2007
Completed February 15, 2007
Sunday, February 11, 2007
Saturday, February 3, 2007
Completed February 2, 2007
Monday, January 29, 2007
After a fiction streak, I desperately needed to move onto something nonfiction. For this, I picked perhaps one of the most renowned nonfiction works of our time. Now, I have read parts of this book before and—based on the select passages I read—was eager to read the book in its entirety. However, after completely reading Hawking’s brief history, I admit I was a little let down. Even though he is the smartest man alive (it is rare that I can say that without any sarcasm), I think there are a number of astronomy and physics textbooks that do a better job explaining the universe. Then again, the book is titled a “brief” history, making it difficult to fully develop some core principals of physics. This book does offer the unique perspective in that it was written by Stephen Hawking. Any other book on these topics may mention that Stephen proved item A. However, in this book Hawking actually can say, “So I was going to the bathroom when I realized item A.” The personal stories add so much. Actually, his personal stories would be the only reason I’d recommend this book, especially his story about betting some Penthouse magazines over the existence of black holes. I don’t know about you, but I can’t help but laugh when I think of Stephen Hawking going to a convenience store (or smut shop) to buy some porn.Date Completed: January 27, 2007
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
I once had an English teacher who said that he loved James Joyce but never finished reading one of Joyce’s novels. Ever since hearing that, I’ve been curious to experience one of his works. For this reason, about five years ago I purchased this book at a used book sale. Since a few days ago, it hadn’t moved from my closet; it just intimidated me each morning when picking out clothes to wear. Because of this project, I finally decided to give the book a shot. It was nothing to be afraid of. The story more or less follows the development of a young Irish artist, hence the title of the book. I greatly enjoyed the first half of the book when he was a younger man (grade school years). During this first part, Joyce takes advantage of his signature stream of conscious style. Unfortunately, as the “Young Man” develops, Joyce uses less and less stream of conscious. By the time Stephen reaches his college years, he talks incessantly about philosophy, and I found myself losing track of the story—partly because I was bored and partly because I didn’t understand everything he was talking about. In other words, I enjoyed the first part of the story when Stephen is six or seven, but by the time he is 20-something, I couldn’t handle his intelligence. That proves my maturity level.
Completed: January 22, 2007
Saturday, January 20, 2007
Completed: January 18, 2007
I would classify this book as a historical fiction fantasy fairytale. I read this book off the recommendation of my roommate Pete. This is a different version of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves with the characters being based off of actual medieval figures, controversial historical figures. This book was a lot of fun to read, making it very quick and easy. Pete claims this to be his favorite book. I don’t know if I’d go that far, but I’d still recommend it if you are interested in learning a little history while reading a popular fairytale.Completed: January 16, 2007
After A History of God, I needed something light and fun. This proved to be the perfect book; a Christmas present from my family in
I admit…I wasn’t ready for this book. I have been spending a lot of time lately studying different religions and trying to understand my religious views. I read this book hoping to get a better understanding of the relationship between the three major monotheistic religions. To my surprise, this book was considerably more detailed than I expected. If you want to read about different philosophical debates between Islamic rulers in the 9th century, this is the book for you. There was so much information and much of it I have already lost. If anything, it did further add to my belief that man created God, not the other way around.Completed: January 6, 2007
From the first chapter of this book, I developed a personal relationship with the characters. I got so caught up in their lives and misfortunes that I couldn’t get to sleep at night; I would lie awake and worry about Alexi until I finally would turn on my lights and start reading again. Never have I had such a personal relationship with characters in any novel. Besides the deep connection I developed with these characters, I was also deeply touched by the numerous philosophical/religious debates commingled with the story. Oftentimes I would read a chapter and then find myself searching wikipedia for a further analysis on discourse I just read. This is probably one of the greatest works I have ever read; a good start to the year.Save as Draft
Date completed: January 2, 2007 (Started on December 24, 2006)