[I've been 
reading]

Greg’s Microscope   book icon  
by Millicent Selsam (1963)

read: 23 August 2015
rating: [+]
categories: fiction, ya

This is a great kids' book that I had when I was a kid and didn’t even know that it was older than me. I picked it up again at the library to show to some young friends who were visiting. It’s great. It is a story of a kid who gets a microscope and has a good time learning things and experimenting with his family (mom and dad) and there are a lot of neat drawings of what things look like under a microscope glass.

Curious Behavior Yawning, Laughing, Hiccupping, and Beyond   book icon  
by Robert Provine (2012)

read: 23 August 2015
rating: [+]
category: non-fiction

This book was fun. It looked like it might be. The author is a scientist who also enjoys a lot of “What if” sort of questions about a lot of human behaviors. This book is a combination of things he read about and researched, things he looked into personally and anecdata that he knows about things. He has a good sense of humor and his curiosity about, for example, what is really happening when we yawn or sneeze, made for very good reading. I was concerned this might be a dry academic text and it was not.

Stealing Lincoln’s Body   book icon  
by Thomas Craughwell (2008)

read: 12 August 2015
rating: [0]
category: non-fiction

Craughwell is definitely an amazing researcher. This book takes what is essentially a fairly short set of anecdotes and fills it in with enough detail that it becomes a full length book. How you feel about this depends on how much you enjoy reading lists of details. The outline of the story is fascinating. A few counterfeiters, grumpy about one of theirs being carted off to jail, devises a crazy plan to steal Lincoln’s body and hold it for ransom. The plot fails. A group is formed to protect the dead president’s body moving forward.

The book includes a lot of great details about why counterfeiting was such a big deal and about the reactions of the Lincoln family, but it also includes sometimes excruciating detail about the various events. How much money each of the counterfeiters had made during their various arrests, the location of different buildings and the travels of all of the involved people, where they were at what time. It’s cool that this information can be known, again Craughwell was a great researchers, but I question whether all of this needed to be in the book. I was 70 pages into this 200 page book before I even figured out what counterfeiting had to do with the theft of the President’s body. So, a good book for people really involved and interested in this topic. Maybe a little overlong for everyone else.

Bad Houses   book icon  
by Sara Ryan (2013)

read: 7 August 2015
rating: [+]
categories: fiction, graphic novel

Sara is a friend and I’d been meaning to read this for a while. It takes on some pretty heavy stuff, both general topics like addiction and bad parenting but also just STUFF. The things we have and why we have it. The central characters are two nearly-adults one of whom has a mom who is an estate sale organizer and other other of whom has a mom who is a hoarder. Things aren’t easy for either of them. They find each other. This book is beautifully illustrated by Carla Speed McNeil and all fits together as a really wonderful slice of life that is at once relatable but also contains people who we may have never met before.

Trees: National Champions   book icon  
by Barbara Bosworth (2005)

read: 7 August 2015
rating: [+]
category: non-fiction

Bosworth’s book is not just a nice coffee table picture book of lovely trees, though it is sort of that. It’s more that she looks at what it means to see and appreciate a big tree. One of the prologues talks about the difference between looking at a big tree and seeing a legacy and looking at a big tree and seeing a revenue stream. Her photos are not just tree porn, they are much more about looking at these selected best-in-class icons and seeing how they work within their landscapes. The book could almost just be a photo book about America because so many of her pictures just look like ... pictures of our country with a tree in them. She also talks a bit about why measuring trees, why caring about our big trees still matters. I’d be very curious to go back and see how some of these trees from 2005 are doing today,

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