Monthly Archives: June 2018

Bird Sense: What It’s Like to Be a Bird by Tim Birkhead

Covering all the senses plus magnetic sense and emotions, Bird Sense explains what we know about how birds see/hear/taste/etc. The author is extremely passionate about birds and that comes through in the writing. I was pleasantly surprised just how much I enjoyed it. I don’t know a whole lot about birds and this book was still easy to understand. I learned a ton. I highly recommend it to anyone with any interest in birds.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2018: 64
Pages Read in 2018: 16,006
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Filed under Non-Fiction, Reason: Pre-Reading for Cameron

The Bible Smuggler by Louise A. Vernon

The Bible Smuggler tells the story of William Tyndale translating the New Testament into English through the eyes of his young page boy. It is written in a very engaging manner and reads quickly. The book is pretty fair in its presentation of those who did not want the Bible translated into English. It ends a decade before Tyndale was put to death, though a very short end page provides that information. I highly recommend it to kids on up to adults who are interested in Tyndale or the Bible.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2018: 63
Pages Read in 2018: 15,717
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Filed under Historical Fiction, Reason: Pre-Reading for Fritz

Taj Mahal: Passion and Genius at the Heart of the Moghul Empire by Diana Preston

Shah Jahan is the most recognized member of the Moghul Empire because of the Taj Mahal, the incredible mausoleum he built for his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Taj Mahal covers several generations of the Moghul Empire. It is much more about the people than the Taj Mahal, though it does spend a few chapters on it. I found most of the book to be quite interesting and learned a whole lot. I recommend this book to adults interested in the Taj Mahal or the Moghul Empire.

4 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2018: 62
Pages Read in 2018: 15,578
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Filed under Non-Fiction, Reason: Pre-Reading for Cameron

Afghanistan by Donkey: A Year in a War Zone by Anna Badkhen

A journalist embedded with NATO troops in Afghanistan in 2011, Anna Badkhen spent most of her time getting to know the regular people of Afghanistan. Their fears, their concerns, how they lived their lives, what they thought about the Taliban, what they knew about Bin Laden and 9/11, and how the seemingly never-ending wars were affecting them. What she found is often heartbreaking and sometimes surprising. Most of her account is fascinating. I suspect she meant each chapter to be a standalone article, however, because she constantly repeated information that had been in previous chapters. This got quite tiresome. I recommend reading this book to anyone who wants to get a glimpse of the everyday life of Afghans under the shadow of war.

3 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2018: 61
Pages Read in 2018: 15,236
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Filed under Non-Fiction, Reason: Pre-Reading for Fritz

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by JK Rowling

Goblet of Fire is tied for my least favorite Harry Potter book. I find all the set-up for the rest of the series a bit tedious (although necessary) and Hermione’s S.P.E.W. thing seems like it’s just there to make the book longer. Even with those issues, I still enjoy the book. I just like most of the other books a lot more. I very highly recommend the entire Harry Potter series to absolutely everyone!

4 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2018: 60
Pages Read in 2018: 15,133
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Filed under Fantasy, Reason: I Like the Series

1453: The Holy War for Constantinople and the Clash of Islam and the West by Roger Crowley

In 1453, Mehmet led his Ottoman army to Constantinople and began a siege against the city that ultimately ended in the fall of the Roman Empire in the east on May 29, 1453. 1453 briefly covers the centuries leading up to that fateful year and then covers the months leading to the final battle in detail. Parts were quite interesting while other parts dragged a bit. I recommend this book to anyone wanting to know more about the decline of the Byzantine Empire and particularly about its very end.

4 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2018: 59
Pages Read in 2018: 14,399
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Filed under History, Reason: Pre-Reading for Cameron

Ringworld by Larry Niven

Louis Wu, Teela Brown, Speaker-to-Animals, and Nessus embark on a trip to Ringworld, a place three million times the area of Earth. What they find there is not what they expected at all.

Ringworld is strange and sometimes enjoyable. The worlds and aliens can be quite confusing at first to keep straight. Louis and Teela’s relationship is downright bizarre and a little creepy since he’s 10 times older than she is and had a relationship with her great-great-grandmother. For people who like sci-fi, it’s probably a great pick.

3 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2018: 58
Pages Read in 2018: 14,067
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Filed under Reason: Mind Voyages, Science Fiction