What We Have Read 3

From our reader’s journal:

Elizabeth Bear

The team of Michelangelo Kusanagi-Jones and Vincent Katherinessen are diplomatic envoys of the Old Earth Colonial Coalition. They enter into diplomatic negotiations on renegade planet New Amazonia, where women are solely in power. Discussions take a complex turn…

Lots of cool ideas in passing, including licensed clothes, smart fogs, and house organisms.

An Accidental American
Alex Carr

Set in the time of the American Embassy bombing in Beirut 1983, and later the run-up to the second war with Iraq. John Valsamis is a US intelligence agent with a buried secret, now using forged documents to justify a war. Nicole Blake is a forger drawn in his web, and must fight to find the truth.

Owen & Mzee
Isabella Hatkoff, Craig Hatkoff, Dr. Paula Kahumbu

Owen is a baby hippopotamus, orphaned after a tsunami leaves him stranded on a reef near Malinki, Kenya. After a difficult rescue, he arrives at Haller Park and gradually develops a friendship with an ancient tortoise, Mzee. The photographs will melt the heart of the most embittered skeptical soul and make one go “Awwwww, that’s so cute!”

Terry Pratchett

The master of comic dialog takes on the matter of Opera, and Phantom residing in, ably assisted by favorite characters Granny Weatherwax and Gytha Ogg.

Buda’s Wagon — Brief History of the Car Bomb
Mike Davis

Relates the development of the car bomb, from the horse-drawn wagon exploding on Wall Street September 1920, truck bombs of the Stern Gang, multiple car bombs of Palestine, embassy car bombs pioneered by Viet Cong, ANFO created by the New Year’s Gang in 1970, on and on up through Iraq. Much of this history is unknown or forgotten by general US public, including myself.

Some truck bombs in Middle East are reaching kiloton-levels of destruction.

Several states have assisted in training insurgents to use car bombs against common enemies, only to have that country attacked later on: US with the mujahedin, Israel, India with Black Tigers.

The tremendous asymmetrical advantage of this tactic, coupled with provocation of leading countries, will insure the car bomb continues its lethal attacks on cities.

Red Ranger Came Calling
Berkeley Breathed

Tells the story related by his father, when nine years old and big fan of a Saturday cinematic hero of the time, Buck Tweed, the Red Ranger of Mars. For Christmas 1939 the boy wants nothing more than the Official Buck Tweed Two-Speed Crime-Stopper Star-Hopper bicycle, and the book tells of his encounter with an unusual person, and how he learns to shade the truth. Surprise photo at the end is perfect. Exaggerated expressions in the air-brushed artwork will be fun for parental units.

The First Tortilla
Rudolfo Anaya, illustrated by Amy Cordova

Similar to his story of the first farolito, this book imagines the creation of the first corn tortilla. Written in English and Spanish side by side.

The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck
Beatrix Potter

After seeing the movie “Miss Potter“, I needed to go back and read some of the tales missed during childhood. The duck wants to go off the farm to lay her eggs, and encounters a pointy-eared gentleman.

The Americanization of Benjamin Franklin
Gordon S Wood

Franklin retires from business a wealthy man in 1748 to become a gentleman, and explores natural philosophy and gradually becomes involved in public service. Albany Plan of Union involves colonies uniting for mutual defense against French and Indians, assemblyman, postmaster. He travels to England to agitates for Pennsylvania becoming a royal colony, in a attempt to correct the Penn’s lack of fair taxation. In 1763, Franklin is a strong Loyalist, looking forward to strong ties between England and colonies, with expansion into Ohio Valley. The population and economic wealth of the colonies would soon surpass the mother country, creating a strong empire. He finds London intoxicating, and contemplates remaining in the
city for the rest of his days. What would change Franklin from the strong supporter of the monarchy to the firmest patriot of the rebellion, and risk his life, reputation, and worldly goods? This book traces the steps.

Lassie, Get Help!!
Danny Shanahan

Cartoons for the New Yorker, drawn when the artist was living in Corrales, NM.


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