Santa Cruz, CA, United States | Member Since 2012
Tremendously engaging as a novel and informative as a picture of WWII among military women. This was the best selling lesbian novel ever.
Women's Barracks gives a portrait of the many experiences and relationships that form among the women of the free French army. Like Band of Brothers with French sisters.
The lack of "pulp" is what struck me. The Lesbian relationships are not presented with any raised eyebrows, or winks. Not common in the Fifties. It's not nearly as sensational as the cover would have you believe.
"To Repair the World" is a collection of calls-to-action Paul Farmer has delivered to medical schools around the country.
Farmer's speeches were designed to inspire the next generation of doctors and health care activists— but they will put a fire under anyone's pants.
In his words, "Resist the impoverishment of aspiration."
The man has remarkable rhetorical gifts, but the power of Farmer's speech comes from the compassion and empathy he’s gained from his experience working in communities without adequate health care.
In the introduction, President Bill Clinton writes of learning about Paul Farmer in a New Yorker profile and calling his daughter Chelsea to ask if she knew of him.
Chelsea told her father that Farmer is "our generation's Albert Schweizer." Good comparison. Schweizer's "reverence for life" translates into Farmer's assertion that health care should be seen as a human right— that all deserve care.
Farmer has an evidence-based conviction: poverty and disease are solvable problems. Faced with a mountain of incalcitrance, you don't grab a pick ax and start chipping away— you invent a new way to bring it all down.
Randolph’s protagonist, Mary Rasmussen, is that woman. She was born and raised on a ranch in the middle of Nowhere, Nebraska—aka The Sandhills. The story opens with Mary in the hospital, waking up to discover that she’s missing a leg, and her husband is dead. Her isolation and despair drive her to marry a preacher who makes her life unbearable.
I was wondering the whole time if she was going to murder him in his sleep— but I won’t spoil what actually happens…
There’s not ONE American folk or country music fan, there’s not one American rock or pop critic, who hasn’t paid homage to this man or fallen in love with his many songs and musicial discoveries.
Finally, we have a biography that has all the humor, warmth, and campfire-style storytelling that captures everything Mike Seeger has brought to the table of American culture.
This is the case that broke open the COINTELPRO operation at the FBI and all of J. Edgar Hoover’s dirty tricks.
With the Aaron Swartz tragedy so fresh in our minds, it's worthwhile to re-visit the machinations of institutional persecution and cover-up that comes right from the top.
Fred Hampton is still a household name in the black community and anyone who ever filed a “Freedom of Information Act" request.
I helped organize a national tour of the movie based on Hampton's case in the 1970s... it was seared into my mind. I’m delighted to find Haas's excellent new book on the whole saga.
The story is enthralling— scary, suspenseful, funny— young people hanging onto the edge of their seats by sheer wit and passion. It’s hard to believe they were so young, in their late teens. and taking on the world. Inspiring.
Excellent narration by George Newborn who brings emotion and clarity to the reading.
Elizabeth McKenzie has written one of those rare books that seems to capture adolescence like a photograph.
Stop that Girl gets it all right; outsized action that rings true, gnarled family relationships that are at once damaging and fortifying, and emotional showdowns both ridiculous and cathartic.
Ann Ransom, the narrator, is a classic child heroine. Brave, sarcastic, and just a bit precocious. She's driven to please her family members even when those around her have competing demands and takes on the role of confidant and caregiver from an early age.
Like anyone who's found themselves in this situation, she does her best to cope, but it's not always what the adult world would expect-- Running off with her new baby sister in a crowded airport to get away from the arguing adults, for example.
Ann's family moves around throughout her life looking for a place where they feel they belong, and California becomes an unstated character in the book. The oil fields, the swimming pools and cul-de-sacs. I felt the presence of my home sate in every line.
I know narrator Elizabeth Evans from "Mermaids" and "Jesus Land." She does such a nice job with adolescent heroines. She gives them tenderness and an iron core.
Lonesome Animals reminds me of True Grit, but told from the perspective of the bounty hunter. Like Charles Portis's classic, it's plenty funny, quite serious, and sometimes brutal.
This book is all about the hunter “coming out of retirement” for one last case. In this instance, to stop a serial killer targeting Native Americans. A Western crime mystery with tough villains, oddball characters and an even odder hero.
I love our hero's tactics for catching criminals—when he’s “waiting out” someone and grows impatient, he throws live grenades, starts a fire, or rolls boulders in their direction. A loved one dies when she’s too slow to pepper his sausage— And that’s just the prologue!
Narrated with complete aplomb, by the author. What a magnificent reader.
Shawn Fanning and Napster overthrew the music industry—and if you don't think you're still reeling from that revolution, sit down and prepare to have your mind blown.
Fanning never went away. His legend in IT and the transformation of intellectual property on the Internet is something we take for granted now— but its origins are something out of a down and dirty mystery novel.
This is Joseph Menn's meticulous investigation of how Shawn unearthed the firmament— the eye-opening reveals are incredible. The tale of Fanning's shady uncle pushes the story into a true-crime investigation.
Take a listen!
If you've ever read stories about “gay dolphins” and the like, you can thank the work of evolutionary biologist Joan Roughgarden.
Roughgarden's book Evolution's Rainbow has caused huge amounts of controversy since it was first published in 2004, depicting a natural world in which animals' lives are teeming with the same variety in their sex lives and behaviors as any human being— but without the moral outrage.
Alfred Kinsey supposedly once said that "The only unnatural sex act is that which you cannot perform." Roughgarden takes that sentiment and runs with it, giving example after example of just how broad the spectrum of "natural" sex and gender really is in the animal world.
For instance, meet the bighorn sheep: macho males live apart from the females and have lots of anal sex to keep them occupied during the mating off-season. Then they rely on feminine males to broker sex between them and the ladies.
Same-sex swan couples happen to be far better parents than their hetero counterparts. Fish bros work together to get laid. Those doves aren’t actually monogamous. Through impeccable empirical evidence, Roughgarden opens up a world where humans aren’t the center of the universe, and animals have their own dramas and life cycles to get through.
Roughgarden also explores the world of science itself, shining a light on scientists who have refused to acknowledge that animals engage in homosexual behavior, or any gender roles that deviate from the classic Darwinian model of promiscuous males competing for picky females. Sometimes, it's just the opposite!
These three charming stories bridge the gap between the genres of erotica, romance, and literature. The perfect way to escape for an afternoon.
"One Long Hot Summer," by Elizabeth Coldwell
One Long Hot Summer begins like Romancing the Stone — a frustrated, newly single romance writer can’t finish her book, and needs sexual satisfaction. She goes on a beach vacation and is seduced by her friend’s twenty-one-year old son. Naughty!
When her ex shows up she must choose between going back to the self she’s known, or the new-found liberated woman she’s become.
"Just Another Lady," by Penelope Friday
A Regency England period bodice-ripper, this novella goes where the polite Miss Austen would never!
Elinor, a spinster with an ailing mother must marry her womanizing childhood friend for whom she’s always carried a flame. His cuckolded friends try to seduce her for revenge.
Elinor is all flutter and fluster through the whole story. I love the passage where she is willing to be seduced, but her corset is too difficult to remove!
"Safe Haven," by Shanna Germain
This is irresistable. The heroine has opened an animal rescue farm, but money troubles make her consider getting back with her rich ex-boyfriend. (Boo! Hiss!)
Cue the appearance of a gorgeous hunk with a puppy! Our girl has a torrid interlude, but must choose between her head and her heart. She'll never give up the puppy, though...
In this techno-Pagan world, there are malignant spirits who take human form, and ordinary people who access pagan magic. Our heroine must help her cousin, who has upset a "Malignant One," while falling in love with an investigator specializing in demonic possession.
Like all great Sci-Fi writers, Pollack hits the realistic emotional core of fantastic circumstances.
Love story? Check. Battle between good and evil? Absolutely.
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