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The New England Merchants in the Seventeenth Century
The New England Merchants in the Seventeenth Century
by Bernard Bailyn
Edition: Paperback
Price: $26.15
64 used & new from $0.68

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Loved it, silly as it sounds for a book about 17th c mercantilists, September 4, 2013
5 stars. Beginning a history book about Salem, authors recommended that readers start with this Bailyn book. So I put the other aside and ordered this from my library. I read this book in a state of willing thralldom. I have always loved history and I have always loved the details. Grand sweeping history is just not what fires my imagination. I like the dense accumulation of detail. Since reading this book several weeks ago I have read 2 more Bailyn books as well as two others which also focused on the 17th century. It will be many books from now before I venture into the 18th century.

I love Bailyn's writing. Another book which swept me off my feet was The Peopling of British North America: An Introduction, and the follow-up volume where Bailyn leaves introductory territory and makes his cases in detail - alas only one copy at a library within 50 miles and 2 people are in line already. I c a n n o t wait.

His writing: clear and flowing, no fluff or filler. I think he is around 90 years old and has written a good dozen or so books. The 17th century is my project for several months and I only hope that I can find other historians as brilliant and inspired. If anyone happens to read this review and can recommend excellent historians of the period, please leave a comment.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 22, 2014 5:52 AM PST


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Old cat, no teeth, not-so-smelly poo on this dry food, January 19, 2012
I adopted a 12 year old cat who had had all her teeth extracted before I adopted her. She cannot eat wet food because of diarrhea; dry food has to be wetted down to almost soft so she can gum it. I had been using Merrick no grain and her litter box smell inundated the apartment within 30 seconds. I have since found out that the richness of food is what makes the smell so unbearable (and I am an immediate litter box scooper, and I mean immediate!).

She likes this food, I have her very slowly losing weight because half a cup is just a little over 200 calories. I am retired and am home most of the time so I feed her small amounts on demand. And if she poops in the night, my apartment won't be awful in the morning from the smell.

My preference would have been a very low carb but high-quality wet food but her stomach cannot take it. I tried several quality dry foods before I found this.


Forks Over Knives
Forks Over Knives
DVD ~ T. Colin Campbell
Price: $13.01
73 used & new from $6.86

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The most important movie you will ever see., September 25, 2011
This review is from: Forks Over Knives (DVD)
I've been on this diet for 10 months. I was vegetarian for 25 years before but continued to eat eggs, cheese, cook with olive oil, ate some veggies but nothing like I eat now. I have a 15 oz. green smoothie (kale, chard, collards, dark lettuce and the peels from carrots and yams) every day--at least 6 cups of veggies in a broth which I make from discarded ends, stalks, etc. of other veggies. I also eat at least one salad a day.

I am almost 70. I fast-walk/jog for 45 minutes 5x/week. I have lost 45 pounds - piece of cake, er piece of marinated tofu. My cholesterol has gone from 213 to 145; my LDL from 112 to 68. I sleep well and need only 7 hours without a mid-day nap. My BP has always been good.

I wish I had started this way of eating 25 years ago.

I have speed-read thru the comments and I am thrilled with the numbers people report after being on this diet--and diet does not mean counting calories, weighing food, counting carbs, etc. Diet of whole food plant based means way of life.

You lose the cravings. Cheese was the hardest for me. Without exception, EVERY TIME I have slipped over the last 10 months--and it has only happened 3-4 times--I paid the price. My stomach, my digestion, my bathroom experience -- I paid the price. So why would 10 seconds of eating be worth the price of feeling bad for the next 12-24 hours?

When I quit smoking 23 years ago I had cravings for awhile. Took me 9 years to finally quit but quit I did. I learned how to get through the cravings for a cigarette without smoking. Same with cravings for a muffin or a chunk of cheddar. Eat an organic honey crisp apple and savor the flavor, eat it slowly. And in time, a few weeks perhaps, the cravings go away.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta had a special not long ago called The Last Heart Attack--sure you could find it archived on CNN to stream. Forks Over Knives goes further--not only heart attacks, but diabetes II, inflammatory disease, many cancers, hypertension.


Salt Of This Sea
Salt Of This Sea
DVD ~ Suheir Hammad
Price: $17.51
24 used & new from $4.99

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Errs on the side of PC, even a little far-fetched BUT..., August 6, 2011
This review is from: Salt Of This Sea (DVD)
An American woman from Brooklyn (grandparents Palestinian and evacuated (ousted is more precise) to a Lebanese refugee camp in 1948, parents born in Lebanon and emigrated to the US) comes to Israel to retrace her family's roots. She seeks the 315 Palestinian pounds her grandfather left behind in the bank. The money is long gone. The family house belongs to an Israeli woman. The house is still tiled with the tiles her grandfather laid down. She strikes up a friendship with two men in Ramallah, one of whom has not left Ramallah for 17 years. And has never seen the sea. We see her arrival at the airport and the humiliations she experiences. We see the roadblocks and the searches. The three commit a crime and escape to inner-Israel, Jewish Israel, where Arabs must have ID cards. It is an exhilarating road trip for awhile. A day at the sea, going to her grandfather's house and being invited to stay by the Israel woman who now owns it, and surprise surprise--these few days do not end well. Camping in ruins of an old Arab town which is now a national park, and this, too, does not end well.

This is the first Palestinian film by a woman. The "little murders" that occur at the hands of the occupiers are filtered through a woman's sensibility.

There is no other way: there must be a two state solution. This is not the message of the film. This is my opinion.


Born in Africa: The Quest for the Origins of Human Life
Born in Africa: The Quest for the Origins of Human Life
by Martin Meredith
Edition: Hardcover
54 used & new from $0.01

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good overview and a good read as well, June 27, 2011
Really enjoyed this book! Those paleoanthropologists are a bunch of ego-mad nasties, but that is merely an aside to the fast-paced bipedal romp through paleo-archeological findings of the 20th and early 21st century. As new hominid fossils are discovered, the family tree from Miocene apes to anatomically modern humans displays many new branches. For millions of years there was only slight variation and it took climate change and geological upheavals to shake some off the tree (i.e., extinction of species) and for better-adapted survivors to create new niches. So we have the back-story of anthropologists like Johanson who accuses his chief competitor of being a spy in the CIA to have him removed from Ethiopia, and then we have the bones, those wonderful hand and foot bones that tell the story of coming down from the trees. The glossary at the end is helpful and the bibliography is a great resource for continuing to read in the subject. This is the perfect book for the person just coming to read about human origins, and a good read to catch up on the most recent finds.


Binocular Vision: New & Selected Stories
Binocular Vision: New & Selected Stories
by Edith Pearlman
Edition: Paperback
Price: $10.99
187 used & new from $0.01

58 of 68 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars each story is a life on the page, March 28, 2011
I have not read all of the stories yet. I am not reading in order. Alongside other reading I am engaged in, every day I open Binocular Vision randomly, and that is the story I read that day. It takes an act of will to keep it to just one. I have probably read 20 stories (a little more than half) and wish there were hundreds still to read. Each one is a life on the page. They are gems, to describe them using an overused and unoriginal word. But gems they are, in 8 or 10 or 15 pages. In each story more than one time, I am stopped cold in my reading. I have to write sentences in my book journal so I can have those amazing sentences to read again sometime. How did I never discover Pearlman before the publication of this book? Well, now I know who she is and what she can do.


Ester and Ruzya: How My Grandmothers Survived Hitler's War and Stalin's Peace
Ester and Ruzya: How My Grandmothers Survived Hitler's War and Stalin's Peace
by Masha Gessen
Edition: Paperback
Price: $13.57
84 used & new from $0.01

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I second the amazon "wow" review from 2005, January 27, 2011
4.5 stars and the minus 1/2 star is only because I get peeved (sometimes a lot) when imagined dialogue is put into characters' mouths. But in all fairness, there's just no getting away from it when it is memoir or biography because the writer has the duty to keep the story moving and flowing and that means varying the pace and that means varying dialogue with description, and that means imagined dialogue.

This is a remarkable memoir/biography/history. What makes this immensely better than most books of the category is that Masha Gessen is a superb writer and a sublime historian. I not only learned about her grandmothers, Ester and Ruzya, but I learned about the 20th century: the Russian Revolution, WWI, the inter-war period, WW2 and the Holocaust, when Germany and Russia were allies trading bits of Poland between them (and which Jews were caught where and what it meant for survival) and then Germany making war on Russia (and which Jews were caught where and what it meant for survival), the rise of Zionism, life in the Stalin era, Israel, the fall of the Soviet Union. Makes me dizzy! But Gessen does it with rigor and brilliance and with all that as background we have the foreground of her two utterly remarkable grandmothers.


Julia
Julia
DVD ~ Tilda Swinton
Price: $9.99
52 used & new from $0.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Second viewing swept me off my feet again-snap crackle & pop, November 30, 2010
This review is from: Julia (DVD)
OK, Gloria is my favorite Cassavetes movie and the remake with Sharon Stone some years back is just plain awful. Julia is an homage to the original but a ride so wild, so savage, so over the top, it just makes your head spin. Gena Rowlands had some class (her clothes were gorgeous) whereas Tilda Swinton is about as unlovely as you can get. She stumbles, she is ugly, she is sloppy and guttery and you can practically smell the alcohol seeping out the pores of her skin. She is the only one, the only unbelievably stupid person in an ongoing AA meeting to actually believe a nearly crazy Latina alcoholic who wants to kidnap her son from his father. And so begins the journey. Kidnap the kid and get rich quick. How we can find any compassion in our hearts for this Julia--wicked, sly (but not clever), vulnerable only when sleeping, nasty piece of work--but we do. I would not say we are rooting for her but she touches our hearts against all odds and all evidence.

Zonca's earlier movie The Dream Life of Angels is one of my favorites, and I was thrilled when there was a new movie. I loved it that he had a co-director and someone else billed as a collaborator--sure wish I knew the backstory to those credits. Dream Life gets mentioned pretty often considering the short memory span of movie-goers so for some cinephiles, his work shines on despite limited theatrical release.

I waited a few years between viewings. It is never like the first time but a few years with some thousands of films in between, the movie will have some freshness. Aside from the Gloria aspects, I was reminded of Toback and his crazy-wonderful movies like Fingers and A Guy and Two Girls where the action is fast and furious and feels as if the words just flew out of the actors' mouths and didn't come from a script.

I've loved Swinton in several movies: The Deep End, Michael Clayton and the newest in Italian (which she produced) called I Am Love. I don't think there are too many leading ladies (not character actors) but leading ladies who will allow themselves to be photographed so unattractively, to show the ravages of an aging body and face, to give themselves over to the demands of a brutal script.


Great House: A Novel
Great House: A Novel
by Nicole Krauss
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $20.30
312 used & new from $0.01

9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a masterpiece so rare, November 24, 2010
This review is from: Great House: A Novel (Hardcover)
Read this a few days ago and since then every novel I try to start is just dead weight. I've given up for now and am reading science and working thru my New Yorker and NYRB pile. Nothing compares.

There are several excellent reviews here at Amazon and I can't add anything to them except my own personal response to Great House. Krauss swept me off my feet, held me breathless, captured me totally. What does she do that most writers do not do? Most writers, even good writers, are flat on the page. Krauss pulls me in and under and I come alive in the swirling words. I read a few of the critical reviews here and people find her pretentious--I find her anything but pretentious. She is absolutely present, well, her characters are absolutely present. I was reminded of Clarice Lispector, of Kafka, of Stefan Zweig, the best of Paul Auster, the best of Cynthia Ozick or Nadine Gordimer. This is the company Nicole Krauss keeps.

Within the first 2 or 3 pages I knew this was going to be an amazing journey. Many times I can begin a book and know early on that it will be a wonderful or exciting experience, but this other feeling--of goose bumps and hyper-sensitivity and exhilaration--is so rare. I wish I had copied sentences and whole passages but I couldn't drag myself away. I read and read, took a sleep break, and continued reading.

This is probably an odd review and I might delete it.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 29, 2010 3:42 PM PST


A Very Private Gentleman: A Novel
A Very Private Gentleman: A Novel
by Martin Booth
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.98
65 used & new from $0.01

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Never expected such a subtle and layered thriller, September 14, 2010
Not quite 5, but almost. I don't know why I am quibbling over parts of stars or star dust! When I can, when my TBR stack is not dangerously teetering on my night table, I like to read the books that are recently made into movies. Read The Ghost Writer a couple of months ago and actually liked the movie better. Haven't seen The American but from what I gather from video clips and reviews, it digresses sharply from the novel upon which it is based.

The novel. Did not let me down for one page from beginning to end and I hate the mid-book sag or slump. I didn't care that much about the intricacies and minutiae of gun stocks and silencers and etcetera BUT the character Mr. Farfala did; he cared a lot.

I was totally caught up in his life. His secretive nature. His paranoia. His mind's workings to be ready and alert and aware at all times. How he goes about the business of being non-existent except where an existence of physicality is necessary in order not to call attention to himself. If he hid himself away, he would be noticed. The fine line he walks to be in the world but that no one should have any idea at all who he is, what he is.

His descriptions of Italy and Italians and food and so many aspects of Italian culture were thoroughly enjoyable. He could spot a foreigner because Italians don't wear suede shoes in the summer. For example.

I didn't care much for his asides on religion or God or belief, but I have zero interest in musings on spirituality. His conversations with the priest serve the purpose of equalizing their relationship as an intellectual one versus, say, father confessor and confessee. These short bursts of spiritual chit-chat lost some star power for me.

Up until the very end, we don't know what will happen. Booth gives no clues, or none that I sussed out. This was a really wonderful read. Usually with thrillers or mysteries or espionage novels, when I close the book it's over. But here, he keeps coming to mind. I think about his apartment, his slow life in bella Italia. It helps if you can figure out the bits of Italian--I knew or could put together about 75% and the remainder I just ignored.

I can see why a reader of thrillers might find this book slow--what happens happens in slo-mo. If you want fast-paced and adrenaline rushes, this is not the book for you. But if you appreciate a literary turn of mind, writing that is really superior to most of the stuff out there about this kind of character, then you will like this.


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