Monday, June 25, 2012

The Growing Seasons: An American Boyhood Before the WarThe Growing Seasons: An American Boyhood Before the War by Samuel Hynes

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I picked this book up because my Dad was born in 1927.  He died in 1995 and I never learned much about his everyday life or the the people he knew.  This is a midwestern book and Dad grew up in Michigan so I see a lot of cultural similarities.  Compared to my own boyhood years (I'm 55 this year), life and times hadn't changed too much, except that I had a lot more stuff than he probably did.

The author knows how to take the reader down the streets of Minneapolis and the lanes of the country.  His treatment of his awakening to the world of women is tasteful, humorous, and so real that I will likely read (parts of) it to my wife.

The books ends with his enlistment as a Marine aviator as WWII broke out.  My own father tried once to enlist in the Marines, but was underage.  The second time he was successful.

Now I'll have to read his Flights of Passage.

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A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the FutureA Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future by Daniel H. Pink

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a book that I will share with family and select friends at work. A good overview of contemporary changes in business and culture.  It promotes a hopeful future for those who can make the shift to more right-brained thinking as well as for artists (think the Eneagram) like me who have felt forced into chasing exclusively left-brained goals for too long.

I listened to the audiobook read by the author.  Try it.  You will feel his passion for opening a whole new world to his readers.

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Evolution's Captain: The Dark Fate of the Man Who Sailed Charles Darwin Around the WorldEvolution's Captain: The Dark Fate of the Man Who Sailed Charles Darwin Around the World by Peter Nichols

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

An innovative approach to a controversial issue through examining the life of the captain of the HMS Beagle.  Part one covers the career of Captain FitzRoy and provides a detailed understanding of his character and personality.  Also included is the early life of Charles Darwin.  It helps the reader view the humanity of one who has become larger than life.

The second half is weaker.  The content shifts to Darwin and his change from devout Christian to founder of atheistic evolution.  This could have been portrayed more thoroughly considering that this is the major focus of the rest of the book.  I saw Captain FitzRoy becoming a figure representing those who will become extinct because they hold onto a supposedly inadequate and inconsistent belief system.  While his kind die out, the more fit (atheistic evolutionists?) survive.

The author describes the seas of the southern latitudes in a way that I could feel the spray and the gales, but his attempt to address the evolution-creation controversy left me in the doldrums.

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