Looking for a book

This is a test of the power of the internet:

About 10 years ago, I read a book with a couple of really funny lines, and I’d really like to know what the book was. As I recall, it was sort of Carl Hiassenish. One line was something like “he wore an old blue blazer kind of smile, practiced and worn in.” Another line went something like “the wind cut through his clothes like a saw through ribs.” I’ve Googled approximately three million variations of these phrases, but no luck so far. Any idea what book this could have been?

A History of the World in 6 Glasses

I’m reading an interesting book: A History of the World in 6 Glasses, by Tom Standage. According to the author’s extensive research, six drinks – beer, wine, spirits, coffee, tea, and Coca Cola – have shaped the world in ways that I could never have imagined. I’m not a history buff, but somehow the retelling of previously dull facts and events through these six drinks is absolutely fascinating. For example, one drink that holds pride of place in American history – think Boston Tea Party – had a “partner” that I’d never before heard mentioned in conjunction with it. The book has a few repetitive passages here and there, but overall it’s a great read.


Now here is an idea whose time has come: PaperBackSwap is an online used book store, where you can trade the books you don’t want for the ones you do. There are no membership or per-book fees – you just list your books, wait for someone to order one, mail it,* and earn a book credit, which you then use to order a book for free.

*The USPS media rate is $1.59 for a typical paperback, which is much cheaper than the 3.50 shipping charge for used books at Amazon.

Dan Brown

I just finished re-reading Angels & Demons (the prequel to The Da Vinci Code), and I was struck once again by two things: Angels & Demons is far and away a better book, and Dan Brown isn’t a very good writer. I mean yes, of course, the plots are fascinating and the detail second to none, but his writing style is almost childlike at times. In Angels & Demons, for example, at one point the protagonist learns a little factoid about wind resistance, and the author foreshadows its importance, but not very well – it just sounds stupid. Have you noticed anything like this chez Dan Brown?

A Secret to Longevity: Vegetarianism

A doctor of Chinese medicine who studied the lives and eating habits of centenarians explains in his new book that vegetarians (and even semi-vegetarians) had fewer degenerative diseases and cancers than those who ate meat every day.
The book has hundreds of other tips divided into 6 chapters: What you eat, How you heal, Where you are, What you do, Who you are, and Bringing it all together. It’s an interesting look at the similarities in lifestyle and eating habits between people who live to be a hundred.
Secrets of Longevity: Hundreds of ways to live to be 100, by Maoshing Ni

Kids’ Books

I still reread my favorite kids’ books from time to time, and I still have some of the original copies from when I was a kid. My favorites:

What are your favorite kids’ books?

Harry Potter

I’m a voracious reader, though not for what some might call “good” literature, meaning the classics or anything intellectual. Don’t get me wrong – I don’t think there’s anything bad about reading light, fluffy fiction that does nothing more than entertain and pass the time, but I’ve been told that I’m mistaken. 😉

Anyway, I love science fiction, and I adore Harry Potter. While waiting for the 7th and final installation in the Harry Potter series, I’ve been spending a lot of time visiting sites and forums, and buying books that analyze the Harry Potter universe. The best site, by far, is of course J.K.Rowling’s site, which not only has all kinds of good info about the ooks and the author herself, but also makes a game of it, with clues and different kinds of hidden treasures scattered around. Great fun!

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