All About the Quetzal

The book is by the late journalist and author Jonathan Evan Maslow and it is titled Bird of Life, Bird of Death.

Mr. Maslow documents his travels for a month through Guatemala during the 1980’s.  I’m surprised I haven’t heard more about this book as Mr. Maslow talks about Guatemala’s past, present up to the 1980’s, and history as well and how all of these relate to the quetzal.

I’ve seen pictures of the quetzal and the quetzal is endangered.  They are beautiful birds and symbols of Guatemala’s past and a symbol for freedom because they cannot live in captivity.  Guatemala also has a very fascinating past as a country.

This book can be for a variety of people and interests.


Hidden Figures

This book is written by Margot Lee Shetterly.

Ms. Shetterly writes a book not only about women but local and national history combined together: how if it weren’t for the geography and history the women she writes about in the book may have never landed where they landed.  Ms. Shetterly writes about four women and their journeys as “human computers” for both NASA’s predecessor and then NASA itself.

All four women had to overcome racial and sexist bias as well as their own personal struggles.  The woman who computed John Glenn’s orbit was referred to as “the girl”.  Her name is Dorothy Vaughn and she helped to keep him alive.

Their strength and determination comes through in the pages and they serve as role models for all young women and women reading their biographies.

This book also gives a lot of “hidden” and unknown US history for those interested,


Nothing But the Truth

This book is by the award winning author Avi.  On the book I have it says: “A Documentary Novel”.  Everyone has read one at some point.

What is Avi’s full name?  Does anyone know?

The plot is about a young man named Phillip Malloy.  Depending on which part of the documentary you choose to believe, Phillip causes a disturbance during The Star Spangled Banner.  Avi leaves you holding to the end for the complete truth.

Yet truth is always in the eye of the beholder.

The Last Days of Night

This book is written by Graham Moore.  It is appropriate for Tweens and up.

This is a fiction book that fills in the history behind the history.

People know the name Thomas Edison.  A lot of people know the name Tesla and Westinghouse.  Mr. Moore brings their connections together based on the real life attorney of Paul Cravath.

The year is 1888 and electricity is in its infancy.  Edison and Westinghouse are in a race regarding the light bulb and Tesla can make or break their companies.  Paul Cravath walks the fine line between all three of these brilliant and ambitious men.

It’s a book you will not want to put down.

How to Love

This little guide is written by Which That Hahn.  It’s part of a larger series.

Buddhism is one area I’ve read about yet have never really delved into.  I found this little gem tucked in with a whole other group of books relating to Buddhist teachings.  I have heard of Mr. Hahn and this was the first time I read one of his books.

The writing is simple and the teachings deep and thought provoking.  They are open to people of all backgrounds.

Relations to the past

I was reading the section of Janet Wallach’s book Desert Queen about Gertrude Bell where her coworker A.T. Wilson was enraged against her due to a report she had filed.  On that day in my life, it spoke to me as I had just gone through a similar experience.

I have done a lot of reading on the Middle East post-World War II and knew the “basics” about the area pre-World War II.

This book opens the door on the Middle East and how it came to be formed pre-World War II and around World War I.

Gertrude Bell was born in the right place and at the right time.  Life didn’t grant her everything she wanted yet in that, life granted her infamy and the creation of a country.  From the comments I’ve seen on the Internet, many do not like her and what she did and what she was part of.  Yet she is an unknown in the story that created  the world as we know it today.

Bombs Dropping

I picked up A Constellation of Vital Phenomena over the summer when I saw that Sarah Jessica Parker was starting her own book club.  I put it down because it hurt to read and then when it was announced that the US had dropped bombs on Syria, I went and picked it up again and finished it.

Anthony Marra, the author, takes us through the lives of the characters living in Chechnya and how their lives are continuously intertwined during a war that is dragged on and on.  Marra gives a voice to the voiceless, the forgotten, that somewhere people’s lives are for the most part still continuing on and the small, heroic acts of courage that are forgotten.