Friday, July 30, 2010

Dancing On Ice : A Stirring Tale of Adventure, Risk And Reckless Folly
by Jeremy Scott

There have been a whole slew of books written about polar exploration and most of them I have found to be quite compelling and well written. I thought I had found another winner. Not so.
Dancing On Ice is a tale about fourteen young men (all in their twenties) who go to the Arctic in order to find a better air route between Europe and America. They are led by Gino Watkins known for his climbing, shooting, hunting, and kayaking skills.
The story takes place in 1930 and these Brits really only know how to party, drink and dance the nights away. Their whole reason for going in the first place was to have a bit of fun. Most of them really had no idea of what they wanted to do with their lives and this trip sounded intriguing.
I stopped reading the book after sixty-three pages. It started out being interesting and then it just got dry. The editing is very, very sloppy. The same set of mistakes is repeated over and over again.
There are photographs that I believe the author lifted from another book on the Arctic, because I have seen them, many times, before.
There haven't been any professional reviews done and now I know why.
Forget about this one.

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Butterfly Mosque : A Young American Woman's Journey To Love And Islam
by G. Willow Wilson

Growing up as a child of atheist parents, Willow would always have questions about other faiths and never got any answers. While she was at college, she took a course in Islamic studies and voila, that was it. She starts learning the Arabic language and then converts, secretly. But, the only way to really immerse yourself in the Muslim world is to live in the Middle East. Willow goes to Cairo to teach English, meets and falls in love with Omar, who teaches physics and embraces a new life.
This sounds more like fiction than non-fiction, but it's all true. I really wanted to like this book, and in the beginning, I did. Her writing is good, but not gorgeous as most reviewers have said. After reading 170 pages, I became irritated by her. As if living in Eygpt was not enough, Willow went to Iran for one month to see what that country was like.
I think she is extremely naive and gullible. Why would an American female want to give up her freedom and live in a culture that subjugates women?
The book is neither uplifting nor inspiring. It's just plain annoying.
Not recommended.

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Art Detective: Fakes, Frauds, And Finds And The Search For Lost Treasures
by Philip Mould

Philip Mould is an authority on British portraiture and a fixture on the British version of the BBC's Antiques Roadshow. He travels all over the world to buy art for his gallery and writes about how his restorers perform marvelous wizardry to reveal what was originally painted. I found that stuff to be fascinating, but unfortunately, the book started to flatline after several chapters.
Mould writes about six different paintings and their backgrounds (all with some sort of mystery), but there's no oomph in them. I found the writing to be boring and just not exciting.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Medium Raw : A Bloody Valentine To The World Of Food And The People Who Cook
by Anthony Bourdain

If you enjoy reading books, where the "f" word is very pervasive, then this one is for you. Why Bourdain feels that expletive is so necessary to state his point of view becomes old fast. Ten years ago, he wrote Kitchen Confidential and this is pretty much the same thing. It's just another rant about the food world with or without his involvement.
After thirty-eight pages, I got tired of reading about his boozing and drug addiction. How some reviewers think this book is more refined and he is mellower is a joke. I guess you have be a fan and I am certainly not one of them.
Don't bother picking this book up, anywhere.