Sweet Caroline – a book review. Author Christopher Anderson

Hi Bloggers, during my time in Tumbler Ridge I picked up a book that was on the free book exchange shelves. The book was Sweet Caroline. The book is about the daughter of John F Kennedy. Image result for sweet caroline book

So firstly, I’m not American, I’m not that into politics, and I really couldn’t imagine myself getting into a book that was related to this subject – its just too ‘peripheral’ to snag my interest. In this case, I just started reading a free book. The writing was pretty good and soon enough I was quite entertained and interested by the story.

Source – Wikipedia

 

 

 

So I suppose its worth saying, I went to the Kennedy memorial location when I was in Dallas, TX some years ago. Why was that something I wanted to see? Well, as a young lad growing up in Australia, JFK, America and all of that seemed so surreal and distant that it was a curiosity, a point of vague interest. Something really significant happened in a distant land before I was even born. I do recall however watching a documentary, and having my dad comment on whether there was some conspiracy, I even remember seeing the footage of the shooting, and the subsequent shooting of Lee Harvey Oswald.

https://www.jfk.org/the-museum/ Here’s the link to the Dallas museum. Worth a look for sure.

So of course the story was well known around the world. Going to the Texas School Book Repository building, from which JFK was allegedly shot, was a must do in my mind. Now days its a museum and it contains a very good display of JFK’s history, family life, politics and significant events. There is also a large cement structure nearby that serves as a memorial. On the roadway where he was shot, there are two X marks on the pavement. These are the locations where he was actually shot. We dodged traffic to get a photo when we were there, standing on the X or whatever.

Ok, back to the book. Its a good read. Much of the focus early on is about JFK and Jackie Kennedy. The nanny, the kids, the numerous affairs that JFK was supposed to have had. The Kennedy family, the rich kid playground of Martha’s Vineyard, and Hyannis Port. The Kennedy family had its share of fortune and plenty of tragedy too. It seems as if being a Kennedy could amount to some sort of curse based on the things that went on. She was especially close to her brother John, who’s plane crashed at sea in about 1999. I remember being in Australia and getting the news. It was a bit peripheral, and I had no idea which Kennedy had died, or even that it was JFK’s son.

It seems as if Caroline is a very decent person, with a family of her own, and numerous charitable endeavours, as well as being the US ambassador to Japan. I can certainly appreciate why she would be considered very dear in the hearts of many Americans.

I would say this book is really worth a read.

Advertisements

Book Review – A Walk in the Woods, by Bill Bryson

Hi bloggers, I haven’t done a book review in a little while. So I bought this book a little while ago – more on that in a minute. It turned up on the kitchen counter tonight. I asked the ex if she had read it, and she said yes, she has. She then said that she gave it to her mum to take back to Australia when she last visited. Seems the my ex-mum in law thought we needed it so she posted it back!

So, how did I come across this book? Well, I was in the States, travelling for work, on a training trip. I travelled to Atlanta, Georgia for the training. It was actually in a small town about an hour out of Atlanta. It was my first time in GA, so that was kind of exciting. I picked the book up at the Atlanta airport. I needed something to read on the way home to Canada.

What I do remember from that trip is that I picked up a nasty, nasty stomach bug. Here’s how it went down: We went out one night, to this swishy wine makers estate. There was some appetizers, and a nice meal in a really fancy setting. The place was about an hours bus ride from the place we were staying. Image result for a walk in the woods book

On the way back, I had a terribly uncomfortable full feeling. It was somewhere between ‘I ate too much’ and ‘I need to potty’ and ‘I don’t feel quite right’. But never the less, all I could do was ride the bus and get back to the hotel. Some people in the group actually went out that night to continue to enjoy drinks or whatever. I was not feeling up to it. I will spare you the details, but lets just say I practically exploded. Both ends. I was very ill. Seemed like a lot of the others on that trip ended up with the same bug.

Anyway, I survived, and I’m here to write about it.

Ok, the book. Its a good read. The guy has a genuinely good sense of humour. Well written, he seems like a really average guy who took on a pretty major undertaking. As most would know now the book is a movie. In any case, I recommend it and I give the book 4 out of 5 stars.

 

 

Book Review – Trespassing Across America by Ken Ilgunas

Hi Bloggers, if you’ve been following anything I’ve blogged about, you know I like to read books. I literally inhaled a couple over my long weekend. I read Trespassing Across America over a couple of days. It’s a great read.

First thing I’ll say about this is that the author is most definitely a poet. His words roll off the pages, like a grassy undulating field on the wide big sky prairie that he is trundling across. With aching hips, and blistered toes, every step is a challenge in this man’s quest for, I don’t know exactly what. There! Did you see how I did that – made the start of this paragraph poetic? That’s what this author does, but its just magic. I read a couple of paragraphs to a friend and it was sure appreciated.

SAM_2765

Anyway, the book is based on the author’s experience which starts in a dishwashing job in the middle of the north slope, Alaska, on an oil field camp. He describes it as shitty, because, well, it is. But that sets his mind in motion, and provides him with enough of a disdain for the oil industry that he’s ready to get out and make a kind of a statement-slash-personal journey of it.

What I like about the read is his endearing honesty. He’s no super hero, athlete, enviro-warrior or whatever, he’s just a regular guy with a half-baked idea, and is told by a lot of people how it couldn’t or shouldn’t be done, and he gets off his arse, and gets it done. I think that’s awesome. Really. Along the way he meets a ton of people, gets interviewed by CBC, and a number of other media outlets, runs a blog from his I-pad, and gets a bunch of help along the way. He even ended up on one of those late night talk shows.

I really appreciate his writing style, and sense of humour, and really think that this is a great read. I don’t do stars, but if I did, this would get 4 and 1/2, no bullshit.

Enjoy this book if you can get your mitts on it!

 

.

Book Review – The Taliban Don’t Wave by Robert Semrau

Hi Bloggers,

I’m excited to bring you this book review, because this is a really good book, its also written by a Canadian infantryman who was serving in Afghanistan. Further to that, the author comes from Saskatchewan, Canada, which is now my home province. He talks about Moose Jaw/Saskatoon and other Sasky stuff that I can kind of relate to.

But first, a weird little side bar. I like to sometimes reach out to authors on Facebook or whatever. So I went and looked for Robert Semrau, just to say ‘hi’ and that I liked his book and appreciate his service to country. So I did just that, and I was kind of excited when, some days after I found him, I sent him a friend request, and I got a message.

Image result for the taliban dont wave

So this is cool right? I am on Facebook messaging back and forth with this person, and soon he’s telling me that he’s in Yemen, and in hospital after a car crash, and he needs $1200 for treatment, and the Canadian Gov’t wouldn’t help him out. So, rather than reaching for my non-existent cheque book in my non existent bank account with non-existent wads of cash, I put a few questions to him. Questions that any Sask lad could easily pull out of their arse, such as ‘what was the name of your hockey team when you were growing up’, and ‘what school did you go to, and what is the mascot?’ Well readers, very soon the person went off line. Fucking scammers. Like really? Imagine trying to make a buck out of the story of someone else who has put everything on the line?

Ok, back to the book. The story is really about how Captain Semrau was charged with a mercy killing on the battlefield. The wounded Taliban soldier was apparently full of holes and death was inevitable, and it would appear that morally, this was probably the right thing to do. I’m not judging, I’ve never been to war, never served in the military, never been shot at or seen my friends shot to bits. I won’t give the story away, but my personal thoughts are that while there should be due process, it seems slightly redundant to me that someone should be held to account to this degree (murder charge), while others are being actively praised for battlefield kills as snipers or infantry or whatever. Again, not judging, its just not my thing.

While I thought that there would be more lengthy discussion on the court case, the time waiting for a verdict, the unbearable stress of having a possible life sentence over his head (there were these things), I was glad to read that the story was much more about the experience of being in Afghanistan, as a soldier deployed to assist in training the Afghanistan national army. In fact, the book was almost all about the events leading up to that point, which made for great reading.

There are plenty of laughs along the way too, it would seem that the Captain has a good sense of humour and that really makes for an entertaining read. I picked the book up at the airport on a trip recently and I had it read pretty much by the time I had returned home. Captain Semrau, I salute you.

Book Review – Its Only the Himalayas by S. Bedford

Hi Bloggers, I picked up this book at the library, and I think I had it read after about only 4 sittings.

* Shit I just had to grab the pizza out of the oven, I was so busy blogging that I could smell it but kind of forgot about it, so its kinda well done around the edges. *

Ok back to the book review. Ok, so there’s this chick from Toronto who’s a waitress and she has this friend who has just finished uni as a Nurse and they decide to set off on an around the world trip as backpackers. Firstly, I think this is absolutely awesome, and I’ll be letting my kids know when they are old enough that there is no experience like travel and I will encourage them to do the same. I think it takes an amount of guts and a sense of adventure for a couple of young Canuck gals to disappear into the very bowels of continents like Africa and Asia. Good job ladies.

Image result for it's only the himalayas

So the book is the first publication by this author, which I also think is awesome. A young person getting it done. The book is not too thick (pages wise) so I think this is a good thing too. I like a good quick read similar to how I like a good quick *** stops to cut the pizza up *** .

Ok so the writer takes on a journey that includes adventures such as camping in Africa, visiting a Buddhist monastery in Tibet, consuming a magic mushroom shake in Thailand, having more alcohol than what is really safe or necessary, indulging in airplane sex, getting into a messy threesome, ladies that shoot things out of their pussies, and a bunch of other stuff that kept me snickering along through the story.

I like how the author displays a sense of irreverence, (kinda like me really). She’s a skeptic, she’s a smartarse, and she’s searching for her inner peace, or sense of self, or a pair of dry socks after a rain shower. I also like that the author is Canadian, like me!

Book review – Cabin Porn

Hi Bloggers, lets start by saying this book is NOT what you might be thinking. If you clicked on the post because you’re a frikkin deviate, don’t worry, you’re in good company (along with the rest of the self-accepting world). However, if you were looking for some kinky euro porn, you might have to navigate to some other website. Fortunately for you, there is tons of that shit on the net, so knock yourself out!

Meanwhile, I’m going to do a semi-serious book review, because I do take myself semi-seriously as a book consumer and a blogger.

Ok, so the book: two words: Fekkin Gorgeous. Actually I’m going to take artistic license with this one and add to those two words: inspirational, beautiful, well written, intelligent, well set out, etc. I’ll keep it simple. The pictures are amazing. Really this book would appeal to anyone whether you were into cabins or not.

While I’m at it, who’s not into cabins, or at least romanticising about cabins? I can imaging myself planning one, building one, going out to camp in it.

Ok, even if you are not into cabins (and I cant imagine anyone in this category), you will be entertained by the amazing photography and well written side stories about the history of and people behind these structures.

Without giving too much away, the book is set up in different sections, such as ‘how to build a homestead,’ or ‘how to build a yurt,’ or a simple shelter etc.  Its also nice that you can literally open this book at any page and enjoy the archive of cabins that the authors have put together.

This image is from the book.

These guys even have a website:

http://cabinporn.com/

Its really worth a look.

 

Book Review – Born to Run

Hi Bloggers, here’s my book review, and this time, no gratuitous nudie pics to make it more interesting. Don’t worry I haven’t become a prude, I just don’t have access to any thing like that (hostel computer), so you are just going to have to live with the fact that this will be like, a semi serious book review, written as if I am some kind of writer that has, like ‘integrity’ (omg I’m puking in my mouth here).

Whatever. This was a really good book. Maybe it was the best book I’ve ever read, or maybe I am just a bit excited about it, because it was a high quality read.

Breaks to clean up mess in kitchen of hostel. I just took a pasta pot that I was cooking in and tipped it into a strainer, but doh! the strainer was not over the sink it was over the floor. Resulted in my having to mop up that gooey shit that comes from pasta with paper towels. Lol. Fek. —

Ok, back to the book, or more interestingly, how I came across the book. Well, recently, I went to stay with J (my special friend) and her hubby J dog. He gave me the book and started raving about how it was a good read and how there was this barefoot running movement. So at that point, I’m like ‘ooohhh kaaay’, because firstly I’m not that into running (I have done one marathon, attempted another, and done a handful of half marathons, and I used to run about every day, but I left that behind for a life of weights in the gym.. ). Secondly, who the f- runs without shoes? I’ve seen the odd person in those vibram things, and in my apparent ignorance, I said to self ‘that must be really hard on your feet/legs etc’.

Image result for born to run book

Ok, back to the book. I’m not going to get all quoty and shit, but the general premise/story behind the book is that its written by this bloke who was a keen runner, and had a rash of injuries that I won’t bother to try and name, but they have to do with feet and legs. Ok, I’m not a fekkin podiatrist. Whatever. So old mate is a bit exhausted from feeling injured and has gone to a string of doctors and hasn’t really had his injuries resolved. Somewhere along the line he comes across the story of an indian tribe in Mexico that run, a lot. They are called Tamahumara.

Image result for mexian running indians

And it gets more interesting. There was a guy, who was a boxer among other things, and he disappeared into the Mexican hills ten years before, and he ran, like the Tamahumara Indians did. So the Born To Run author ends up tracking this guy down, and it all seems like quite the adventure.  He’s real, and this is the guy, below.

Image result for Micah True Autopsy

But what made this book even more interesting, was how it delved into human evolution. Like a scientist that won’t quit until the bugs under the microscope are completely understood. You have to give our author kudos for sticking to the plan to understand running evolution for humans. I don’t want to give the book’s secrets away, but urge you all, humans, to get this fucking book and consume it.

Lets just say, that, well the stuff in the book is credible and really makes you think, about how, we as humans, evolved to out run just about every other animal on the planet. Yes I know it sounds like a crock of shit, but it really is true, humans were bred for endurance, to wear down their pray. Easy to forget that when us lazy fucks have to park close to Starbucks to get our latte’s. It also tells us that running can be done from early life stages to late life stages, with little drop off in performance.

Also, it talks about running form, how bare feet really does make sense, the foot is arched, and in the modern world we have been running with heels striking first, not so for the barefooted ultra distance runners who run for survival and recreation, they land on the front of their foot. Apparently injury rates are much lower running like this. So today, I’m sitting on a Regina park bench, and this old guy, maybe 70 ish, comes striding past, and guess what? He’s landing his foot falls front of feet first.. hmmmm.

Anyway, I’m not here to tell you to run, do what you want, and I’m not on commission for the book, just sharing – this is a great read!

 

Book Review – The Five Thieves of Happiness

BOOK REVIEW
Hi everyone, here’s my first book review, hope you enjoy it. The perfect companion for lazing in the sun on a freezing winter day, or perhaps lounging in the tropical sun is “The Five Thieves of Happiness”. This is a good read for anyone who ever wondered what it takes to be happy. The book is fairly thin so its something you could get through in a few sittings (or sun loungings) if you are a regular reader.
The author breaks down the five thieves: Control, Conceit, Consumption, Coveting, and Comfort. There is also an on line tool that you can use to do a quick quiz to see what your top thief of happiness is. Mine is comfort, as in get out of my comfort zone to experience new things, which is what this blog is about really. Anyway the book also gives us ideas on how to deal with these pesky thieves. Read on. I’ll be posting some more book reviews from my spot on the lawn, or the beach, or wherever.
I’ll take requests too. I have a library card and everything.
Book review March 2017