Dragonaria's Den of Inquiries

Converses75 Books Challenge for 2015

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Dragonaria's Den of Inquiries

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1dragonaria
Editat: oct. 31, 2015, 2:30am

I have no idea what I'm doing, but I'm going to take a shot at this anyway. I'm starting a thread so late in the year as a practice run, hopefully I can get everything worked out by January!

So, Den of Inquiries - I have a thing for Dragons, Dragons love Dens, Dens are often of iniquity, I have an inquiring mind and my reading often starts with a question to be answered or raises one and just goes from there - tada.

According to Azar Nafisi, Vladimir Nabokov said "Curiosity is insubordination in its purest form." And I am very curious...

2dragonaria
Editat: des. 30, 2015, 7:34am

Gluten-free Girl and the Chef
The Art of Indian Vegetarian Cooking
The Pleasures of Cooking for One
The Gluten-free Gourmet Cooks Fast and Healthy
Bon Appetit, y'all
Patricia Wells at Home in Provence
The Tucci Cookbook
Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail
A Return to Love
Being Mortal
The Dud Avocado
The Moosewood Cookbook
The Museum of Extraordinary Things
The Everyday DASH diet Cookbook
The Barefoot Sisters Walking Home
A Walk in the Woods
How to be an Explorer of the World
Halfway to the Sky
All the Light We Cannot See
Basic Economics
Wolf in White Van
Forks over Knives: the Plant-based Way to Health
The Ice Queen: a Novel
Killer Calories: a Savannah Reid Mystery
Freakonomics
Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant
The Shredded Chef
Serve Yourself
Vegan Slow Cooking for Two or Just for You
The Lost City of Z
Turn Off the Fat Genes
Ballet for Beginners
How To--Ballet
Blue Lily, Lily Blue
My First Ballet Book
Eat the Rich
Rueful Death
No Humans Involved
Ballet is the Best Exercise
The Abs Diet: the Six-week Plan to Flatten Your Stomach and Keep you Lean for Life
Ripper: a Novel
Libriomancer
American Shaolin
Little Meals: a Great New Way to Eat and Cook
Cinnamon and Gunpowder
The Bearkeeper's Daughter
Tales from Shakespeare
Cleopatra's Daughter
The Second Empress: a Novel of Napoleon's Court
Our Souls at Night
200 Best Panini Recipes
The Simple Art of EatingWell
The Iron King
Nefertiti: a Novel
Shattered
Rebel Queen
The Tao of Martha
Jason
The Witch With No Name
Dead Ice
Grand Sophy
Divergent
Insurgent
Allegiant
Four
8 Minutes in the Morning
Eating by the Book
For Packrats Only
The Okinawa Program
Body Defining
No Excuses! Fitness Workout
Madame Tussaud
It's Hard to Look Cool When Your Car's Full of Sheep
Size 12 is Not Fat
84 Charing Cross Road
Nine Parts of Desire
Reading Lolita in Tehran
Defying Hitler
Frames of Mind
Saga
Saga, Volume 2
17 Carnations by Andrew Morton
The Book Thief
The Republic of Imagination: America in Three Books
Essentials of Literary Criticism
The Diary of a Young Girl
The Savage God: A Study of Suicide
The Overseer
The World's Strongest Librarian
Anne Frank Remembered
Tales from the Secret Annex
Republic, Lost

3dragonaria
oct. 29, 2015, 6:13am

Okay, that worked...

4scaifea
oct. 29, 2015, 6:24am

Hi, and welcome to the group!

5dragonaria
oct. 29, 2015, 6:30am

Hi ya! and thank you! Excuse my fumbling about. I'm one of those "when all else fails, read the instructions" kind of people!

6drneutron
oct. 29, 2015, 1:21pm

Welcome! Looks like you blew past 75 already!

7laytonwoman3rd
oct. 29, 2015, 1:27pm

Hello, and welcome to this wonderful world!

8dragonaria
oct. 30, 2015, 4:57am

>6 drneutron: *gasp* a visit from the dr! Thank you for the welcome and for all the work you do keeping this crowd together! I've been lurking on your thread for a few years now, simply fascinated by the range of your reading. And yes, I think I did hit my 75, but most of it's cookbooks. Trying to get my fitness on and all that. Hopefully I can get in the swing of things with this practice thread and "next year" contribute something worthwhile. Please feel free to critique, correct and guide my humble efforts.

9dragonaria
oct. 30, 2015, 4:58am

>7 laytonwoman3rd: Thank you! Hope you'll visit often!

10dragonaria
oct. 31, 2015, 3:12am

82. 17 Carnations: The Royals, the Nazis and the Biggest Cover-Up in History

The biggest cover-up in history? Really? A very internationally tussled over matter, but hardly the biggest cover-up in history. The abdicated Edward VIII and his wife, Wallis Simpson (The Duke and Duchess of Windsor) are alleged to have been either spies and puppet-king-and-queen-in-waiting for Hitler, or petulant royals whinging about their mistreatment because they couldn't have their cake and eat it too. Either way, at the end of WWII the Allies sought to capture German Archive Documents (which they did) to use for various purposes. Among the documents collected were papers relating to the Duke and Duchess (The Windsor File) that indicated they were more than friendly toward Nazi Germany. The struggle for the documents to be destroyed or at the very least suppressed didn't sit well with the Americans.

The book reads like cross between a historical narrative and the National Inquirer. Not great, but interesting.

One great little nugget towards the end was a note from historian David Harris, stating "I remain perennially angry that the British government in the days of Queen Victoria destroyed precious records of the sixteenth century because they contained certain allegedly unpalatable references to the private life of queen Elizabeth."

Oh the things we shall never know.

11dragonaria
nov. 2, 2015, 2:51am

83. The Book Thief

Took me a while to get around to this one, but my current line of investigation into Germany before and during Hitler's reign brought it back in to focus.

A well written story, but a story told many times. The thing I most enjoyed was the way it was written in a quirky disjointed manner, mixing senses and personifying objects.

The movie was fairly faithful but it just tells the story and this book has to be read to be really appreciated.

12dragonaria
nov. 17, 2015, 5:59am

Not getting much reading done lately. Or much of anything else. Too much sadness in the world, too much stress over "holidays" that are supposed to be a time of joy. Ironically, this should be the perfect time to hide my head in a book.

13dragonaria
nov. 18, 2015, 4:17am

84. The Republic of Imagination: America in Three Books by Azar Nafisi

It's difficult to put into words exactly how wonderful, how important this book is to me. The importance of reading, imo, cannot be over estimated. More important than taking in the words, and the stories, is the reader applying their experiences and observations to what has been read and adding another dimension to what has been written.

"Any real change implies the break up of the world as one has always known it, the loss of all that gave one an identity, the end of safety. And at such a moment, unable to see and not daring to imagine what the future will now bring forth, one clings to what one knew, or dreamed that one possessed." ~ James Baldwin

We live in an ever changing world. ALWAYS changing, and writers - of fiction or non-fiction, literature or entertainment - capture those changes and dream a future beyond them.

14dragonaria
nov. 19, 2015, 12:50pm

85. Essentials of Literary Criticism by Philip Hobsbaum

Written in 1983, intended for use as a textbook. Lingers a bit too long on poetry for my needs, but a good guide.

I love to read, but what's the point of all my reading if I don't do anything with it? I want to be able to share my "finds" with other readers and either spark their interest and conversation, or warn them away from something I found unpalatable.

15dragonaria
nov. 26, 2015, 6:21am

86. The Diary of A Young Girl by Anne Frank

I'm sure I should have read this in school, but I was a bad student, so I never did. It isn't at all what I expected, considering the horrors that were perpetrated against the Jews. I expected starving and fear and despondency, instead it was filled with hopes and everyday aggravations and plans for the future.

16dragonaria
nov. 30, 2015, 7:57am

87. The Savage God: A Study of Suicide by A. Alvarez

This book popped up on a couple of "recommended for you" lists. It's not something I would normally have sought out, but I believe that books sometimes find the reader. It was an interesting look at the thoughts for and against the practice of suicide historically and also the treatment of it in literature. Then there are the individual cases, mostly literary, of people who have committed suicide beginning with Sylvia Plath and ending with the story of the writer's own failed attempt.

I can't say it's a book I would "recommend" to anyone, unless they were conducting their own research into suicide, but it was well written and thought provoking.

17dragonaria
des. 6, 2015, 8:56am

88. The Overseer by Jonathan Rabb

Given the state of the world today, it almost seems as if someone picked up this book and said "that sounds like a workable plan!"

Well written and intriguing, one I'd certainly recommend reading.

18dragonaria
des. 19, 2015, 5:24am

89. The World's Strongest Librarian by Josh Hanagarne

The copy I read is actually subtitled "A Book Lover's Adventure" which made the contents a bit of a surprise for me. I was expecting a reader's thoughts on books read, or a Librarian's thoughts. Not at all what I got.

Mr. Hanagarne broke my heart with tales of goings on in the Utah library. People sleeping in the aisle, letting their kids run wild and destroy books while they "watered their crops in Farmville", bringing non-service dogs in because why not? Very sad.

His personal story of dealing with Tourette's was actually an uplifting part of the tale. It's amazing the way he kept working for a way to deal with "Misty" and not let that be the focus of his life.

And there were some books and authors mentioned, so - good book!

My favorite part? "Adam would later tell me that he had autism. It had taken someone whose brain didn't work like anyone else's to ask me questions that nobody else had."

19dragonaria
Editat: des. 20, 2015, 6:54am

90. Anne Frank Remembered by Miep Gies

After reading Anne Frank's Diary of A Young Girl, I wondered how things were for those on the other side of bookcase door. It seems only Miep, one of the two office girls who helped hide the family, wrote of the experience. This may be, in part because, after the war Otto Frank - the only member of the Annex to survive - was "adopted" by Miep and her husband. He lived with them until he remarried.

While Anne's perspective of the hiding - the view of a young girl who was shuttered away just as she was beginning to understand there was a world beyond her own wants and needs - seemed to portray things in terms of inconveniences and a few scares, Miep's tells the more devastating story of violence, deprivation, suffering, and fear, things that she and the other hiders tried to keep from the families, and most especially Anne.

One passage really stood out for me. In describing a night Miep and Jan spent in the Annex with the families, she writes: " As I sat, I became aware of what it meant to be imprisoned in these small rooms. As this feeling registered, I felt a taste of the helpless fear that these people were filled with, day and night. Yes, for all of us it was wartime, but Henk (Anne's name for Jan) and I had the freedom to come and go as we pleased, to stay in or go out. These people were in a prison, a prison with locks inside the doors."

This freedom to come and go soon became curtailed as the war progressed, and grew worse before it ended. At one point food was rationed for each person to have no more than 500 calories a day. And with the loss of rail service they were lucky to find anything to eat at all.

Though they never discovered who had betrayed them, Miep and Jan always marked August 4 as a day of sad remembrance.

A couple of other notes that also caught my attention: "Black Friday" was a reference to a mass razias (round up) of Jews on October 2, 1942. And the day we now playfully call "Star Wars" day, May 4th, was designated as a Day of Mourning for the Dutch after the war.

20dragonaria
des. 22, 2015, 7:55am

I think this may be it for 2015 BUT I'll be starting a new line of inquiry in 2016! Hope to see you there!

21dragonaria
des. 25, 2015, 5:25am

Okay, Maybe one more

91. Tales From the Secret Annex by Anne Frank

A collection of short stories, essays, and some entries that may not have made it into her diary. I was amazed at how creative she was at such a young age, and also how amazingly insightful.

Fear

"...Now that the war is over, I know why my fear disappeared under the wide, wide heavens. When I was alone with nature, I realized, realized without actually knowing it - that fear is a sickness for which there is only one remedy. Anyone who is as afraid as I was then should look at nature and see that God is much closer than most people think."

22dragonaria
Editat: des. 30, 2015, 8:54am

...let me get the shoe-horn...

92. Republic, Lost by Lawrence Lessig

"So, ignorant we are. But we're not stupid. Indeed for all the reasons this book has collected, remaining ignorant about politics and our government is a perfectly rational response to the government we have. The question isn't what we know. The question is what we're capable of knowing, and doing..."

The saying "we get the government we deserve" isn't quite accurate. What nation "deserves" a corrupt government? Or a brutal dictatorship? We get the government we fight for. In that vein Republic, Lost is a valuable tool pointing out the "small" corruption that is distorting the current (and past?) American Government. From the Big-Wigs to the Local-Yokels it's all about one thing "show me the money!"

Lessig's information about how money influences campaigns and elected officers is dead on. His theories about how to fix the problems - not so much - as he found out himself. When I finished reading the book, I handed it off to my husband - a former state-level lobbyist - for his take, and told him "the information is good, but this guy has no clue about real life elections." http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/10/referendum-presidency-larry-...

I really want a good government. I'm 'studying' as much and as fast as I can to understand our problems and the possible solutions. For anyone else interested in the same, this book is worth reading. And while Lessig's tested Strategy failed, I think Strategy 4 has some real possibilities. If The People will fight to take back our government from the special interests.