Houston, TX, United States | Member Since 2005
Though I just finished 14 semester hours of Spanish, I had not learned to pronounce many words correctly nor could I respond to a native speaker coherently. This set of lessons has significantly improved my pronounciaton and my ability to respond in Spanish with a native speaker.
I would highly recommend all of the "Learning Spanish Like Crazy" lessons to any one serious about learning the language.
M. Patrick Mabry, Jr., Ph.D.
Reading this book was like taking a graduate course in the historical psychological and sociological causes of violence.
The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism by Doris Kearns Goodwin makes the reader/listener a fly on the wall at a volatile and pivotal period in American history. She uses newspaper articles, diaries, journals, letters, and memoirs to put her reader/listeners in venues where the progressive movement had its beginning and brightest moments. The book contrasts and compares two deeply interesting men: Theodore Roosevelt and Howard Taft. It also details the lives of the most prominent muckraker journalists including S. S. McClur, Ida Tarbell, Ray Baker in a way that makes you think that you are watching them actually work. She creates an extremely personal look at all the major political players in the period between the Gilded Age and the beginning of World War I.
Dr. William Davis is a passionate scientist and healer, who is convinced that wheat is the root of almost all that can go wrong with the body. He proceeds through maladies including but not limited to GERD, coronary artery disease, obesity, diabetes, Celiac disease, ED, and acne. Oh, I forgot arthritis. Davis supports each of these with whatever is available from anecdotal, correlational, or experimental research. His writing style is engaging and his anecdotes are inspiring. However, his leaps of faith based on correlational data make one realize that he must have missed the classes on correlational versus causal variance in the research course which he took. Still, the book caused me to do my own experiment and try his recommendations for ninety days. Here is to the new me.
The Irish Potato famine lasted from 1841 to 1849 and resulted in the deaths of millions of poor Irish farmers and their families. John Kelly, the author, uses newspaper reports, diary entries, and Irish literature written in that time to take the reader through those horrific years. He shows that the consequences of the famine were the result of the capitalistic, religious, and ethnic cultures of the time. If slavery was America's "Original Sin", The Potato famine was Great Britain's. As the reader moves through the period of the famine, it is obvious that greed, self interest, and ignorance combined to bring down the Irish peasants and land owners alike.
One part of Kelly's narrative that I found interesting was his description of the Irish immigrant experience in America and Canada as result of the famine. I recommend The Graves are Walking to any interested in understanding what shaped Irish culture from 1841 to this day.
American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America by Colin Woodard examines American history from a cultural perspective. The author suggests that North American is made up more by Nations than by states. Nations he argues are groups of people or regions sharing a common cultural, history and set of values. He posits that there are eleven such national regions in North America formed from the immigrant groups who had different heritages. Woodard describes how these different cultures divided the American people into slave owners versus abolitionists, central government advocates versus states’ rights proponents, and Tories versus revolutionaries. He argues that every major event and movement in American can be attributed to regional cultural differences that originated in our country’s early history and exist to the present.
I enjoyed examining American history from a different perspective than I have in other sources I have studied. I recommend it to anyone truly interested American history or cultural issues.
The Mary Russel series is a grand conceit that extends the Sherlock Holmes character into middle age where he first mentors then partners with and finally marries Ms. Mary Russell. She is thoroughly competent and very emancipated. Each story is told from Russell's point of view. The novelty of the stories is the way she includes historical characters both real and literary. In this seventh of the series Laurie R. King introduces Rudyard Kipling's Kim as an older British spy in 1924 India who has an adolescent son. The story plot is built around a mythical Indian prince who is up to no good. It was a delightful listen.
I usually enjoy the historical books that I read/listen to, but The Murder of the Century was an exception. The author filled it with so many pointless details that the reader/listener could not help but feel it would take a century just to finish it. Contributing to its tooth drilling tedium was the fact that the author claimed that the book was written to describe the yellow journalism wars of the Gilded Age, when in reality the book focused on one sorted murder and the sorted characters that were involved in it. If you need something to help you suffer for a sin you have committed, I recommend forcing yourself to read or listen to this study in crime and punishment. Your penitence will be paid in full as you reach the last page.
This is absolutely the best book that I have ever read on relationships. It is simple in its suggestions for improving the marriage relationship, and filled with practical illustrations and examples of how to get started. The author, Gary Chapman, a Christian psychologist, packs the book with composite stories from his practice. He answers the myriad of questions that I as a skeptic of such self help books had. I have given a copy of the book to my spouse and am anxious to see if she will be as excited by it as I was. I intend to give copies to my adult children and friends that I think might find it valuable.
This author has a real gift for blending a suspenseful mystery, romantic relationship and futuristic setting to keep the reader turning pages long after he/she should have gone to bed. The only short coming of the tale is that if the reader dislodges him/herself from the read, they realize that there are no characters as perfect as Roarke or as competent as Eve in the real world. Oh well, maybe that is why I did not want the story to end. When it did I had to return to dealing with the real world.
This is by far the best book on economics that I have read. Dr. Chang is clear, articulate, interesting and at times even humorous as he peels back the myths people believe regarding capitalism as well as the misunderstandings and false assumptions most folks labor under regarding this American sacred cow. He is in no way anti capitalism. Like Churchhill was about democracy, Chang argues that capitalism is the best of many poor economic choices. He does go into great detail explaining how he believes this sacred system could be tweaked and engineered to serve more of society with better outcomes. This liberal message did more to move me to the right in my economic philosophy than anything that I have read. He gave me hope that there can be a form of capitalism that does not produce more losers than winners. I am looking forward to reading his previous book, Bad Samaritans .
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