Showing posts with label Books. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Books. Show all posts

Saturday, December 31, 2016

The Fraser Cain Experiment

Screen Cap from Universe Today.
Fraser Cain and the Universe Today are offering a free ebook, 101 Astronomical Events in 2017 by David Dickinson. If you are a reader on Universe Today, you are likely very familiar with Mr. Dickinson's work.

According to Mr. Cain this is a test:

"Will you download and actually use it? If so, then expect us to release a new edition every year."

I'd personally love that. Go check out the Universe Today website and enjoy a free ebook. If you like it, don't forget to share with your friends, families and local astronomy clubs. Double down and reshare Mr. Cain's post while you are at it.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention the other quality projects Mr. Cain is involved in. Try out Astronomy Cast with Dr. Pamela Gay and Fraser Cain for a week dose of astronomy. The Bad Astronomy, Universe Today forums have moved to CosmoQuest.com and continues to be an active and vibrant community. And of course, CosmoQuest.org is still running high quality, citizen science experiments.

Editor's note - there is no link directly to the book from unpwnd.com. There is a choice of pdf or epub plus Mr. Cain is running this as an experiment. Unpwnd loves the high quality productions of Mr. Cain, Universe Today and Cosmoquest and would like to see him receive as much traffic as possible for future reference.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Summer Reading List

It's started already. The summer reading list is coming together. Neither book is in my usual comfort zone, but each is especially compelling.

First up, Josef Ferri's Trying to Catch the Wind. December of last year, I started working at a West Side school and ran into Mr. Ferri teaching at our school. His autobiographical story launches right in the middle of Buffalo's Westside, in the height of the 60's. Mr. Ferri's work is an atypical love story with humble beginnings and is driven across the county during one of the most tumultuous eras in American history.

Mr. Ferri advises: "If people open their hearts, a new love is possible."

Having spend weeks in his graceful presence, I know that he lives these words, daily. It's more than a quote, they are words he lives by.

My second choice was selected in that open heart and mind advice. Esmeralda Santiago's Cuando Era Puertorriqueña is another autobiographical story of change and tension.

Again, we are taken back to the 1960's, this time lead by a young Puerto Rican woman and her family transplanted from the island to New York City.

I could have purchased this item in English, but I wanted to share the love of reading and literature with students at my school. The text and language is crisp and the learning experience is wonderful. I may struggle at times, but so far it has been well worth the difficulty.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Topophilia... Sounds strange, feels about right.

I'm hitting the books this weekend, so no documents or sketches tonight. Only a qoute from a book:

"Tuan coined the term topophilia, which is the love of the land and the title of one of geography’s best-selling books." Urban Geography, Kaplan, p. 12

All oif my little doodles and plans shows that I have "topophilia". It's interesting to learn new terms and words for things you have already experienced but didn't have a name for. Cool.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Blue Earth Remembered

I had high hopes for Blue Earth Remembered by Alastair Reynolds. This book is atypical for Reynolds normal interplanetary, interstellar romps. It is based in Africa and revolves around Geoffrey Akinya, desire to be free of his family's business ventures and intrigues. It is not to be so, a death in the family puts a blot on the family name and Geoffrey is off to the moon to clean up and prevent further damage to the clan. 

Geoffrey is in a race against time to prevent is grandmother's secrets from coming to light after her death. 

This novel is refreshing, breaking many of the science fiction tropes that are so common today. Africa is the hotbed of politics, power and science. Family politics puts the crunch on Geoffrey's dreams of studying elephants on Earth. From a very humble start, this novel kicks into high gear the interstellar journeys and technological implications that Alastair Reynolds is known for and thrives on. 

The Martian by Andy Weir

Yesterday, I started reading The Martian by Andy Weir.

This is a gripping novel about biologist and astronaut Mark Watney surviving Mars after an accident leaves him alone and stranded. Watney must overcome challenge after challenge, none of which seem contrived to hold on until... What?

No one back home knows Watney is alive, there is no rescue coming. He has supplies for a 50+ day mission for six, machinery that isn't designed to last more than 30 days and no hope. Watney has to make his own way, with only his know-how and the equipment left behind.

Watney comes to us via logs and down to Mars first person narratives, which are heart pounding, humorous and chilling by turns. No hands are waved on this techno-thriller, the story is pack full of details and observations that could right from NASA. No surprise here, Andy Weir is a life long programmer for a national laboratory and space enthusiast.

Pick up a copy today; soft bound, Kindle or Bluray.

Monday, January 4, 2016

New Year, New Plan

This year, my goal is to be up at 6 am everyday. Between 6-8, I will read for 20 minutes and listen to one podcast.

Today's choices were Astronomy Cast's Stellar Collisions and Alastair Reynold's Blue Remembered Earth.

If you have any suggestions for books or podcast, leave them in the comments. 

Friday, January 1, 2016

First Book of 2016 - Blue Remembered Earth

I selected a science fiction title by Alastair Reynolds as my first read of 2016.


Blue Remembered Earth is Earth bound, a tiny vignette of science fiction by an author who paints on galactic scales. I picked up my copy as Christmas gift from my parents.

You can pick up a copy at your local book store, or Amazon.com.


Since I got the Fire, 7" this year, I was sort of surprised by how much I liked having a physical book to hold. But if you like reading online or from your tablet or phone, Amazon.com's - Read eBooks using the FREE Kindle Reading App on Most Devices offer is hard to resist.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Bedtime stories

The kids always fight bedtime stories because bed comes after story.
But I hooked them in the first two paragraphs. This sentence sealed the deal:
“Three children played in the garden; Alta was ten, Jason was twelve and Varina was three hundred and seven.”


The Delikon by H. M. Hoover is one of my favorites and now it has my kids hooked, too.

Monday, June 1, 2015

All the right things, in three parts. Item two.

Image by LearningLark at Flicker.com. CC license.
Years ago, I worked in a bookstore called “The Paper Cutter”. As a receiving clerk, one of my duties was to field phone calls. One particular type of call really bothered me.

Caller: “Do you have the Cliff-notes for Fahrenheit 451?”
Me: “Lord, no! Do you know what that book is about?” Caller: “No. You read it?” Me: “Of course.” Caller: “Can you tell me about it?” Me: “Just read it. Seriously, if you come in before my shift is over, I’ll buy you a copy.”
I was good to my word and purchased that title for a few people who came in before 5 PM. I wish more people loved reading as much I as I do.


Sunday, May 31, 2015

All the right things, in three parts. Item one.

I was on the hunt for a book last weekend. It has been so long since I bought a physical book. We ventured out to Barnes and Nobles and I tried to find something I would enjoy. As tried to browse, the kids were hounding me for books for them. I couldn’t say “no” to them and said so. I blew double what I budgeted for my book and I was lucky it was that little.
I seem to recall a trip to a local five and dime called “The Tec” on Main Street, where my parent’s had this same conversation with me. My dad said “I can’t say no to a book for you.” There was no mark language back then, but “for you” might as well have been underlined and bolded.

Somethings are important. Instilling a love of reading in your kids is one of them, and I am glad that my parent’s gave that to me.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

It’s been a while…

It’s been a while since I read to the kids. We are back to Magic Kingdom For Sale/Sold, by Terry Brooks. This is one of my favorites.
The kids are amazed by the smash-up qualities of the book. Ben Holiday is a lawyer from Chicago who has lost his wife in an accident. In despair, he purchases a Magic Kingdom from Rosen’s Department Store. And enters a world of demons and dragons as the ruler of all who will follow.
Reading aloud to your kids is important. Tonight, I managed to read Catherine to sleep. My boys begged another, unrelated story from me.
That second one was a little more grown up, Paladin of the Lost Hour by Harlan Ellison. You can click the link and read along, courtesy of Harlan himself.