Reading from the end.

Edward O. Wilson’s small work Genesis: The Deep Origin of Societies can be summed up nicely if you read from the last chapter to the beginning. Wilson argues that social interaction is related to the size of a species’ brain size.

I don’t know if I agree with this or not. Wilson provides a sketch of evolutionary biology, beginning with cells and ending with homo sapiens.

A nice, easy read for an introduction to evolution and biology.

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Spetakkel

Spetakkel appears on page 162 of the book Fly Girls by Keith O’Brien. O’Brien quotes a woman from Kragnes Township in Minnesota. Spetakkel is defined as “rambunctious” in English, yet sounds better in Norwegian. This word was used to describe one of the first well-known and daring female pilots, Florence Klingensmith.

Have you ever heard of Florence Klingensmith? I am going to guess probably not. Neither had I until I read Keith O’Brien’s work. The only other person I had ever heard about in the book was Amelia Earhart.

O’Brien’s book is about the first aviatrixes in the United States beginning in the 1920’s. Earhart’s fame and untimely disappearance in the 1930’s overshadowed all of their lives, deaths, and accomplishments. O’Brien does a magnificent job of bringing them all back to life and the truth of their deaths.

These women accomplished the same and more than some men (sorry, fellas) yet history has forgotten them.

Washington Black by Esi Edugyan

My reaction to this book: Wow, just, Wow. One of the librarians at my local library said she can’t wait to read this book. Now I understand why. This book is better than the local news.

The story of George Washington Black, known as “Wash”, begins in Barbados and ends in Morocco. The story begins with how he sees the world and understands of it through what he learns about himself and his past. Wash undertakes many journeys, both physical and emotional, due to what happened to him on Barbados. Wash’s story gives a very different perspective to the world of the early 1800s.

A must read for history and science fans.

The Tenderness of Wolves

I’m going to answer one of the questions from the reader’s guide.  (Something different).

Parker describes the “sickness if long thinking” as a state where a wild animal cannot be tamed by a human or humans because it always remembers where it is from and desires to go back.  Even though Parker relates it to a wolf cub he told Mrs. Ross he took care of, most of the humans in the book have some sort of sickness of long thinking.

One of them is  Jammet, the murder victim.  Even though there is never any narration or point-of-view from Jammet, what is subsequently revealed about him is that he suffers from this and this may have been the cause of his murder.  Jammet is who he is, he adapts for the person, the people, the circumstance that he is in.  Francis reveals that he and Jammet were lovers while it is also revealed Jammet had a family and children.  Jammet is the prime example of a human that acts like a wild animal; Jammet cannot be tamed and cannot and does not change his character for anyone.  By staying on his own and living in Dove River, a type of outpost, Jammet fulfills his desires to be out in nature and be free of any obligation.

Caleb’s Crossing

Even though this book is a work of fiction, Caleb’s Crossing could easily be used as a jumping off point to teach early American history, women’s studies, Native American history, colonial history, and much more.

It was fascinating to read this as I have visited both Plimoth Plantation in Massachusetts and the Mashantuckut Pequot Museum in Ledyard, Connecticut.  This is one of the many parts of American history I shake my head in sorry at and feel like Western civilization trampled and nearly killed off peoples who could have helped this country on a different course.  What Geraldine Brooks writes about is a “missing” piece of American history.  I will especially never look at Harvard University the same way again.

The Sorrow of War: Bao Ninh

I found this book in a thrift store and don’t usually buy books yet I am glad I did.

I caught most of Ken Burn’s recent documentary on the Vietnam War.  The documentary was eye-opening.  I had a professor in college who was a Vietnam Veteran and most of what we read in the class was literature from Americans who served in Vietnam.  As the years have gone by, I have realized that there was a lot in those books that I missed.  I saw this book and I grabbed it.

Kien is lucky.  The book just begs to be read and read and read.  The heartbreak is there and raw from the first page.  The images Ninh shares, the raw emotions, the humanity comes through every word.

The Jungle of Screaming Souls.

No matter where you stand on war, the Vietnam War, politics, this book is a must read.  Bro Ninh captures and the translator beautifully brings into English Kien’s world.

Station Eleven

Reading this book was forgetting where you were sitting reading it.  Everything dropped away.

It was an official book selection for a local library’s One Book, One Town.  That’s how I found it.

This is a reminder of how we are all connected and don’t remind it.  This is a reminder of how fragile society can be, yet rebuild at the same time if given the will of people to survive.