Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Recent Books

Jose Rizal: life, works, and writings of a genuis, writer, scientist, and national hero, Gregorio Zaide
This book was given to me by my uncle while we were visiting the Philippines. Not knowing much about Rizal, I eagerly read. The book reads quickly, is interesting, and seems to thoroughly cover his life. Rizal seemed like an amazing man.
Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin
This book is a biography of Lincoln, starting with his 1860 presidential campaign. Goodwin paints a picture of Lincoln as a political genius. The title refers to his cabinet made up of radical abolitionists, Republicans, Whigs, and Democrats. Pretty interesting. His Treasury Secretary even campaigned against Lincoln while holding his post.
Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
Very good story. A biography about the controversial life and death of Chris McCandless in Alaska. As off the wall as he may seem, I strongly relate to that pull for freedom and wilderness. I also saw the movie and liked it as well.
Born on a Blue Day by Daniel Paul Tammet
It is kind of a weird idea to read a biography of someone a year younger than me. Tammet is an autistic man with Auspergers Syndrome and gifted with an amazing memory, synesthesia, the ability to learn languages, and incredible insight into the mind of someone with autism.
The war by Ken Burns and Geoffrey Ward
This book was based on the PBS special on WWII. It lacked a traditional theme, and instead follows citizens from four towns across the US and details their experiences. It covers a wide scope of WWII, and instead of following strategy and generals, looks at suffering, brutality, racism, arrogance, futility, death and life for the common soldier. Very moving.
The Foxfire Books an anthology from Foxfire Magazine
A collection of interviews from the sixties with Appalachian citizens on daily life in times past, meant to capture lore and information before it disappears. It has everything from building a log cabin, butchering a hog, and snake stories, to old recipes. There are 12 books in the collection, and I have only read the first.

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