Book Review:The Lost Goddess

Tom Knox’s latest scientific-historical thriller, The Lost Goddess, creates constant tension through the use of dual narratives that eventually come together in a rather disturbing, and unfortunately, unfulfilling manner.
The book opens with archaeologist Julia Kerrigan excavating the limestone cave systems in a remote part of France. She unearths a hopefully career-defining discovery: ancient skulls marked by one distinct feature. They all have small holes, purposefully drilled in the frontal lobe area, prehistoric trepanation. Thus Knox's first narrative revolves around Kerrigan trying to solve the mystery of the skulls, which leads her on a scientific path of discovery that is bisected at every turn with misdirection and murder.

Did You Know There Was a Hobbit Day?

Me either.

But apparently there is, as I got an email this morning notifying me that September 21, marks the 75th anniversary of the publication of The Hobbit, and tomorrow is Bilbo Baggins's birthday, traditionally celebrated by Tolkien fans as "Hobbit Day." While I won't be donning  any Hobbit gear, drinking any mead, or celebrating a Second Breakfast this weekend, this occasion does give me an excuse to wax philosophical on one of the reasons I think Tolkien's fantasy world still has a hold on popular culture after all these years.

Pioneer Life, Tea Parties and the Modern Man

At a recent library sale my wife happened to pick up a book entitled, Pioneer Life in Western Pennsylvania. It was published in 1940 and was part of a series written in conjunction with the Western Pennsylvania Historic Survey. My wife knows me well as I have always had a thing for old books; the poetry of the prose; the simple style of illustration; the colorful political incorrectness, all make them a pleasure to read. I have only gotten about a third of the way through this book, but I am already seeing some interesting touch points between the lives of the pioneers and the idealized image of early America that many in the Tea Party movement hold dear.

Lessons from My Father

My dad was a small business owner for almost 25 years. From the age of 9 through college I worked with him. This small retail establishment was in many ways my school. I didn't learn math or literature or science there. I learned people. There has never been a more valuable thing to understand if you want to be successful in this world. And I don't just mean financially, I mean making a real difference.
Unfortunately I forgot just about everything I learned.

Book Review: Diary- a Novel

Author Chuck Palahniuk is always an interesting read. Over the years I have read a handful of his works such as (of course) Fight Club as well as Choke and Survivor. Diary came out in 2003 and has similarities to his other works, but does stand out as one of the more revelatory novels in the Palahnuik cannon.

“It's so hard to forget pain, but it's even harder to remember sweetness. We have no scar to show for happiness. We learn so little from peace.”

The book is written, obviously enough, as a diary. Misty Wilmot, a once-aspiring artist is now working as a waitress in a seaside hotel on Waytansea Island, which stands in for a Martha's Vineyard tragically gone wrong.  Her husband is in a coma after an apparent suicide attempt. The book thus opens as a "coma diary" that she is writing to her husband as she wonders if he will ever come out of it. As the book unfolds Misty, and her latent artistic talent, become pawns in a twisted and slightly supernatural conspiracy that threatens not only her husband's life but hers and many others.

Book Review: Eaters of the Dead

I’ll put the bottom line up front for this review: Eaters of The Dead, by Michael Crichton, blends history, fantasy and science in a way that makes the read both enjoyable and educational. The novel tells the story of the real life adventure of a 10th-century Muslim who travels with a group of Vikings. The first portion of the novel is a factual retelling of Ahmad ibn Fadlan's personal account of his journey north and his experiences with, and observations of, the Northmen. The second portion of the novel is a slightly reworked version of what is probably the most important epic poem outside of Homer- Beowulf.

Climbing the Classics

I do not usually post pictures here, but this was too appropriate and too good to pass up. I think this may be our new third floor staircase soon.