Title: Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates
Author: Brian Kilmeade
Page Count: 304
Publishing Date/Publisher: November 2015/Sentinel
Review: This was a very interesting book. I hadn’t heard about any naval battles the US took part in during its infancy, so I was surprised when I came across this book. Kilmeade goes into Jefferson’s struggles in keeping American ships from being taken over by pirates once the US lost the protection of the British Navy. No longer flying the British flag, the American ships were free game to the Tripoli pirates; no deal had been struck to pay the pirates off to assure ships could pass in safety.
No spoilers for the rest of it, you’ll have to read that for yourself.
I would have liked there to have been more discussion on Jefferson’s more problematic aspects in the beginning, but I understand that it probably wouldn’t have fit with the narrative flow very well. That, and given the author’s political stance, I don’t think he would have anyway.
I would still recommend it, that’s for sure. It was well written and engaging and I enjoyed reading it.
Title: HausMagick: Transform Your Home with Witchcraft
Author: Erica Feldmann
Page Count: 256
Publishing Date/Publisher: March 12, 2019 by HarperOne
Review: I happened upon this book by pure chance, or by destiny (however you want to look at it). I came into work, and there it was — sitting on my desk in a manila envelope. It was sent to me by a friend who works at our main library, and I guess as he was sorting through ARCs sent to us by various publishers, he thought it might be of interest to me.
Witchcraft isn’t my thing, but I decided to give the book a chance. Although I cannot really buy into the “magical” aspect of the rituals described in this book, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I could really get behind a lot of the ideas. At the core of this book are themes like mindfulness and setting positive intentions, and these principles really resonate with me. I do believe that people can set the tone or vibe for themselves and others around them, and this book has a strong focus on creating an environment that centers us and gives us peace.
This book covers a lot of different topics including astrology, crystals, and herbs. I enjoyed learning more about these various topics and I could appreciate the aesthetics of the photographs sprinkled throughout the book.
All in all, I am glad that this book happened upon my desk, and I even already have someone in mind who I will be recommending it to!
Title: Washington’s Spies
Author: Alexander Rose
Page Count: 402
Publishing Date/Publisher: December 2007/Bantam
Review: I don’t have too much to say about this book, to be honest. I enjoyed it and I also didn’t. It was interesting but also not. It lagged a little too much to recommend highly, but I don’t want to discourage people from reading it at the same time, if that makes sense.
It was informative, that’s for sure. I learned a lot about the use of spy rings during the Revolutionary War, which is something I hadn’t even thought before: it’s not like we go into detail about it in school. But reading about how they developed their codes for letters and the danger they put themselves under was interesting.
I’m not sure exactly what it is about this book that makes it interesting and not at the same time, but it is. It’s the Schrödinger’s cat of books. So I recommend it, but simultaneously don’t recommend it.
Title: The Atlas of Disease
Author: Sandra Hempel
Page Count: Unavailable
Publishing Date/Publisher: 4 October, White Lion Publishing
Review: This is a book that will only appeal to a certain group of readers, but since I am in that group, I found it fascinating. Sandra Hempel offers a concise history of various diseases that have plagued the Earth for centuries (and in some cases, millennia), and writes in a very clear manner. It’s not bogged down with too much academic terminology, making it accessible for the general public, not just those studying the topic.
The structure of the book itself is amazing, and the maps are so informative. Hempel includes old drawings/political cartoons of the diseases, which helps show the historical impact of the disease. She also doesn’t focus too much on one disease; each chapter is relatively short, yet still provides a great deal of information. It takes a great deal of talent to be able to have something be in depth and short at the same time.
Bottom line: if you like to study history and disease, this book is for you.
Title: Broker, Trader, Lawyer, Spy
Author: Eamon Javers
Page Count: Unavailable
Publishing Date/Publisher: February 2010, Harper Business
Review: Honestly, I wasn’t expecting to enjoy this book as much as I did since I don’t have much interest in economics or business practices, but I really loved reading it. Javers discusses the game of corporate spies by giving case studies and tells them like stories, which makes them very easy to read.
He also conducted many interviews with both active and no-longer active spies, which really helps add to his book. It adds a level of credibility. I also liked that he detailed the ways spies both follow people and how people can tell if they are the ones being followed.
All in all, I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend it, even if you aren’t into economics or business (both things honestly go over my head and I was still able to understand what he was talking about).
Title: A Beautiful Morning: How a Morning Ritual Can Feed Your Soul and Transform Your Life
Author: Ashley Ellington Brown
Page Count: 210
Publishing Date/Publisher: February 27, 2018 by Leo Press
Review: Mornings have always been tough for me. I have trouble waking up, and before I had a baby, I was notorious for hitting snooze several times before finally getting up. Now that I am an early riser (baby’s choice, not mine), I am trying to have a more positive outlook on starting the morning.
This book certainly gave me food for thought, but I found the interview portion (which makes up the majority of the book) to be a bit redundant. Many of the women have similar backgrounds (life coaches, artists, yoga instructors, etc.), so it was difficult for me to relate to them. I think the inclusion of people who lead lifestyles similar to my own would have made this book far more relatable to me.
The most useful information, in my opinion, was found in the final chapters of the book. These chapters summarized common themes shared by the interviewed women, and provided a list of suggested activities and exercises that can help you craft an enjoyable morning routine. I especially liked that the author recommends that you start small, changing only one little thing at a time, until you have a routine that relaxes you and puts you in a positive mindset for the rest of the day. I will be putting these ideas into practice as I create my own morning ritual.
Title: Killers on the Flower Moon
Author: David Grann
Page Count: N/A
Publishing Date/Publisher: April 2017, Doubleday
Review: I loved this book, I kept recommending it to everyone. David Grann has a very unique way of writing, and it flows so well. The history itself is compelling and tragic at the same time, and Grann does a great job at highlighting the injustice Native Americans faced at the hands of both the government and the general public.
Grann detailed the history of the Osages and how they came to be the richest people in the world, as well as the history of the FBI, excellently. It was very interesting to read about how the FBI started investigating murders- something we associate with them so much today thanks to TV shows like Bones.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in Native American history or their treatment in the early parts of the 1900s.