Piskor – Hip Hop Family Tree, v. 1

Hip Hop Family Tree: 1970s-1981, v.1, Fantagraphics Treasury edition by Ed Piskor
Date read: 24-26 April 2017
My rating: Leaving unrated
Challenges: 2017gnc, 2017nfc, 2017poss

Cover image of Hip Hop Family Tree: 1970s-1981, v.1, Fantagraphics Treasury edition by Ed Piskor

Library binding, 112 pages
Published 2016 by Fantagraphics; Fifth Fantagraphics Books edition
Source: Central Oregon Community College Barber Library [ML3531 .P37 1970-1981 v.1

This is what I wrote in Goodreads regarding this book:

I am not going to rate this as I am completely unqualified to rate it. I recognize a few names and a few song titles but most of this is all new to me and as succinctly as it is presented–is it even really a narrative?–provides me no additional info really. I was looking forward to the other volumes and maybe the narrative gets a bit more expansive but this was the early history and the more important to my [lack of] knowledge, in my opinion, so moving on.

I did enjoy it in a sense but with so little grounding in the culture of hip hop this title failed to provide me any real grounding. I have been using graphic novels the last couple of years to explore topics that I may not be ready or willing (with so many other interests) to read a standard, prose, nonfiction book on; e.g.,

These, and several others, have been variable in their ability to inform [entertain/surprise/…] me, but all were better than this one for me.

Recommended for fans of hip hop or folks with some knowledge of the genre and its artists but who want a bit more. I am not saying it is a bad book, just that it did not do what I needed it to do for me to get a better appreciation (and knowledge) of hip hop. No doubt it works better if you have a bit more of a starting background knowledge/awareness.

This is the 9th book in my 2017 10th Annual Graphic Novel/Manga Challenge [2017gnc]

Image for 2017 10th Annual Graphic Novel & Manga Reading Challenge

Designed by Nicola Mansfield

This is the 20th book read and 8th reviewed in my in my Nonfiction Reading Challenge 2017 [2017nfc].

I have read 11 books so far this year in my 2017 Books To Read Challenge (personal) [2017poss] but this is the first to be reviewed. That eleven includes this title and one I finished this morning, though. I have also read from 8 of the 16 different categories so far. Goal is “to complete 2 from each of the 16 categories and a total of 35.” Two categories are “complete” in that sense, re-reads (2) and beer and brewing (3), but that doesn’t mean I won’t read another book on those lists.

 

Lewis, et al. – March, Book One to Three

March, Book One to Three by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell (art)
Date read: One 12 January 2017; Two and Three 13 January 2017
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Challenges: 2017gnc, 2017look, 2017nfc

Cover image of March, Book One by John Lewis, et al.Cover image of March, Book Two by John Lewis, et al.Cover image of March, Book Three by John Lewis, et al.

Paperback, 121, 179, 246 pages
Published 2013, 2015, 2016 by Top Shelf Productions
Source: Central Oregon Community College Barber Library [E840.8 .L43 A3 2013 v.1 / 2015 v.2 / 2016 v.3]

My timing for reading books is kind of uncanny lately. We started reading Berger’s book the night before he died and thanks to COCC getting these and putting them on the new book shelf I was able to read Rep. John Lewis’ autobiographical graphic novel series just before that jackass Donald Trump attacked this icon of the civil rights movement and American hero.

I truly enjoyed these books. They did a wonderful job bringing together some things I have heard about vaguely over the years of my life but should have known more about.

President Obama’s first inauguration provides the bookends to the series, along with being woven throughout it.

The sense of personal duty to others and to the cause of justice and humanity is in the forefront of these books. One would be hard pressed to not come away with a profound respect for John Lewis and the many others who put their lives on the line to make America a better place.

The march on Washington, the lunch counter sit-ins, the Freedom Rides, Martin Luther King, Julian Bond, Malcolm X, SNCC, the Voting Rights Act, and many other events and icons of the civil rights movement are all here.

U.S. Representative John Lewis represents Georgia’s 5th congressional district which covers much of urban Atlanta. He was elected to this position in November 1986 and has held it ever since. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011 by President Obama.

I highly recommend this series. Being graphic novels they are a quick read but provide enough coverage of the people and events of the time that one could easily branch out to learn more about them as one wished.

If you are at all confused as to why people are upset Trump attacked this man then you need to read these books. Trump is the worst sort of jackass and learning about those he attacks will be one of the best ways to understand how truly damaged and damaging he is.

This is the 3rd – 5th books in my 2017 10th Annual Graphic Novel/Manga Challenge [2017gnc]

Image for 2017 10th Annual Graphic Novel & Manga Reading Challenge

Designed by Nicola Mansfield

This is the 3rd – 5th books in my Nonfiction Reading Challenge 2017 [2017nfc]
and 2nd – 4th reviews.

These books count for the categories: A book a friend recommended (Angel Rivera), Post-election understanding, and a microhistory, in my 2017 “the looking all around list” Self-Reading Challenge. With these categories I have now completed 16 of the goal of 30 out of 40 categories. Not bad for the first half of January.

Berger – Ways of Seeing

Ways of Seeing by John Berger
Date read: 01-10 January 2017
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Challenges: 2017look, 2017nfc

Cover image of Ways of Seeing by John Berger

Paperback, 166 pages
Published 1977 [©1973] by British Broadcasting Corp. and Penguin Books
Source: Central Oregon Community College Barber Library [N7430.5 .W39 1973]

I read this to Sara beginning in the evening of 1 January and the next day saw via Twitter that Berger had died.

There are seven essays, three of which are entirely visual, while the others contain lots of images to illustrate his points.

I quite enjoyed this book although at times I simply had to suspend belief, if you will, as his writing style here is very aphoristic. He makes many claims, most with little to no justification. When I understood what he was on about—happened several times—then I pretty much agreed. When I did not it was easier to begin questioning those claims.

Essay 7 on what he calls “Publicity” is about advertising (and perhaps slightly broader) and I understood almost all of it. And agreed with most all of it. But then I once did a couple semesters with Richard Stivers on technology and advertising and spent much time with his books, The Technology of Magic and The Culture of Cynicism, so was well prepared for Berger’s take.

The book is a very 1970s book in so many ways. That in no way diminishes its value today though.

If you can take the aphoristic writing style then it is highly recommended. I only gave it 3 stars for that reason. I prefer a little more “justification” with the claims I read. If one has to know enough about something to be able to understand, and potentially agree with, an author’s claims then what is the point of reading them in the first place?

This is the 2nd book in my Nonfiction Reading Challenge 2017 [2017nfc] and 1st review.

This book counts for the category A book of essays in my 2017 “the looking all around list” Self-Reading Challenge.

2017 Reading Challenges & Goals

This post will cover my 2017 Reading Challenges and goals, as I know of them going into the year.

Generic goals: [xx = # finished in 2016]

  • More poetry; re-reading encouraged here [2]
  • More erotica, sex & gender [3]
  • More literature [1]
  • More librariana [1 in progress; slowly]
  • Translations same-ish [14]
  • More ebooks [8]
  • Nonfiction same-ish [54]
  • More essays and short stories [1?, unknown for sure]

Books currently reading being read [2017curr]

Finish all 4 of the books I am supposedly currently reading.

  • Hornsey – Alcohol and its role in the evolution of human society
  • Glushko, et al. – The Discipline of Organizing
  • Wellings – Why Can’t I Meditate?
  • Calvino – Six Memos for the Next Millennium

2017 Books To Read Challenge (personal) [2017poss]

2017 Books To Read Challenge (personal) post

“… total of 85 books (which includes some 8 on pause) I challenge myself to complete 2 from each of the 16 categories and a total of 35”

2017 “the looking all around list” Self-Reading Challenge [2017look]

2017 “the looking all around list” Self-Reading Challenge

At least 30 of 40 categories read in.

2017 A Novel Idea selection (Deschutes Public Library, Bend, OR)

Homecoming by Yaa Gyasi [A Novel Idea] I finished this on 01 January 2017 and it was excellent.

Sara and me entering Deschutes Public Library for the 2017 A Novel Idea unveiling (Dec 2016). Photo courtesy DPL.

Sara and me entering Deschutes Public Library for the 2017 A Novel Idea unveiling (Dec 2016). Photo courtesy DPL.

2016-2017 Author! Author! Literary Series

Author! Author! or here

  • Dave Eggers : 19 January 2017 [not reading anything for this]
  • Anthony Doerr : 4 February 2017 : All the Light We Cannot See
  • Siddhartha Mukherjee : 10 April 2017 : The Emperor of All Maladies

Categories I am tracking in 2017:

  • fiction
  • nonfiction
  • ebooks
  • translations
  • beer
  • biography / memoir
  • Central Oregon
  • cookery
  • erotica
  • essays 
  • graphic novels
  • history
  • language 
  • librariana 
  • literature 
  • on pause 
  • philosophy 
  • photography
  • poetry 
  • post 2016 election
  • renewal 
  • re-reads 
  • science
  • sex & gender
  • short stories
  • tech & software [2016poss only]
  • together
  • wander 
  • YA & children

Challenges hosted elsewhere

2017 Goodreads Challenge

My goal is 100 this year, same as last year.

2017 10th Annual Graphic Novel/Manga Challenge [2017gnc]

Image for 2017 10th Annual Graphic Novel & Manga Reading Challenge

Designed by Nicola Mansfield

24 for Bronze Age

The next two I also did last year and hope to do again but I have yet to see if they are being hosted so these are placeholders for now. The reason I am putting these here considering they are already included in my goals is that they require me to write reviews to get credit. I do not review every book I read but I do want to try to get many written so these goals/challenges help with that.

Update 03 January 2017: It does not appear these challenges are happening this year. The host has not posted anything at their blog since October and has not answered any comments regarding this year’s challenges. [I certainly hope things are OK in their lives.]

So I will redo these on my own terms.

Nonfiction Reading Challenge 2017 [2017nfc]

Master level 16-20 books (top)

Read a minimum of 50 nonfiction books and review a minimum of 25 of these.

Books in Translation Reading Challenge 2017 [2017trans]

Linguist 10-12 books (top)

Read a minimum of 16 translations and review a minimum of 12 of these.

Wrap-up

So … lots of diversity in my 2017 reading goals. I am looking forward to this year of reading.

2016 Reading Challenges followup

This post covers my 2016 Reading Challenges and goals, as best as my data and time allow.

Personally set goals and some counts

Total number of books finished in 2016:  120

  • Nonfiction:  54
  • Fiction:  64
  • Graphic novels: 60
  • Ebooks:  8
  • Beer & Brewing:  15
  • Biography:  2
  • Central Oregon:  3
  • Cookery:  6
  • Erotica/Sex & Gender: 3
  • History: 5
  • Librariana:  0; 1 in progress very slowly
  • Literature/Language:  2
  • Memoir:  2
  • Philosophy:  3
  • Photography:  2
  • Poetry:  2
  • Renewal:  5
  • Science:  6
  • Tech/Software:  2
  • Translations: 14
  • Wander: 3
  • YA & Kids:  13

I know one book counted as both fiction and nonfiction: Aesop, Five Centuries of Illustrated Fables. No doubt some counts in some of the categories could be retroactively changed if I felt like reanalyzing many entries. For instance, science just went up by 2 [doubled] with just a quick look. Taking data as is though until I see a need to do otherwise. It has already received a fair bit of “fact checking” and cross-checking.

These were my generic goals for 2016:

  • More poetry; re-reading encouraged here,
  • More erotica, sex & gender.
  • Less graphic novels.
  • More literature.
  • Librariana? didn’t read any in 2015. “Who have I become?, one might ask.
  • Translations check.
  • Ebooks check.
  • Nonfiction check.
  • More essays and short stories.

How did I do on these?

Not so well. I read 1 less in poetry [3 vs 2 (2015 vs 2016)]; same number on erotica, sex & gender [3]; less than two-thirds as many graphic novels, so nailed this one [99 vs 60]; 7 less in lit [8 vs 1]; still 0 in librariana but I am working on one (very slowly); 7 less translations [21 vs 14]; 28 less ebooks [36 vs 8]; 14 less nonfiction [68 vs 54]; and as best I can tell no change in essays and short stories [0? vs 1?]. Not so well at all. The only one I actually accomplished was reading less graphic novels. ::sigh::

Books currently reading being read [2016current]

Finish all nine of the books I am supposedly currently reading.

  • Dunegan – Best Hikes Near Bend (A Falcon Guide)
  • Berlin – The Power of Ideas
  • Oliver – The Brewmaster’s Table
  • Bennett, ed. – Japanese love poems
  • Bishop – Living with Thunder
  • Gilbert – Collected poems [gave up]
  • Kabat-Zinn – Full Catastrophe Living
  • Farhi – The breathing book
  • Hornsey – Alcohol and its role in the evolution of human society

Finished 5 and gave up on one. Sara and I were reading that to each other and we both agreed to quit it. So calling this 5 for 9. Not great but acceptable.

2016 Books To Read Challenge (personal) [2016poss]

Read 12 of 44 possible

Read 11 of 12. Of the 11 categories I read books from this list in 7 of them [and one is currently being read from another for 8]. I read books in all those other categories, just not from this list. So calling this one close enough.

2016 Goodreads Challenge

My goal is 100 this year, up from 75 last year. I have been alternating between demolishing my goals and being a bit over here for several years.

Made this a while ago. Not quite as early or numbers as high as last year but I also read a lot less graphic novels. Total read is 120.

Challenges hosted elsewhere

Nonfiction Reading Challenge 2016 [2016nfc]

Master level 16-20 books (top) Reached 20 on 05 June 2016 [well, finished reading; not posted yet],

25 reviews posted. 54 nonfiction books read in total.

Books in Translation Reading Challenge 2016 [2016trans]

Linguist 10-12 books (top)

12 books reviewed. 14 translations read.

2016 9th Annual Graphic Novel/Manga Challenge [2016gnc]

  • 12 for Modern Age [Reached 31 January 2-16]
  • So 24 for Bronze Age [Reached 8 May 2016]
  • 52 for Silver Age [Reached 15 December 2016]

52 reviews posted but 60 graphic novels or manga read.

More breakdowns [books by month; from libraries]

These are the books I finished in 2016 by month (6 were started in 2015 and 1 in 2014!):

Author Title

January

  • Bennett, ed. Japanese love poems
  • Oliver The Brewmaster’s Table
  • Modan The Property
  • Fetter-Vorm Trinity
  • Berlin The Power of Ideas
  • Harris Integrating Reality
  • Hester Vegan Slow Cooking: For Two or Just for You
  • MacLean ApocalyptiGirl: Aria for the End Times
  • Lee and Hart Messenger: The Legend of Joan of Arc
  • Brrémaud and Bertolucci Love: The Fox
  • McKendry Aesop, Five Centuries of Illustrated Fables
  • Brontë, A The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
  • Modan exit wounds
  • Pond Over Easy
  • Tezuka Ode to Kirihoto
  • Way & Ba The Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite [1]
  • Abouet & Oubrerie Aya
  • Modan Maya makes a Mess
  • Way & Ba The Umbrella Academy: Dallas [2]
  • Foster Porter (Classic Beer Styles 5)

February

  • Wang Koko Be Good
  • Brrémaud and Bertolucci Love: The Tiger
  • Foster Brewing Porters & Stouts
  • Williams A Pictorial History of the Bend Country
  • Backes Cannabis Pharmacy
  • Modan Jamilti and Other Stories
  • Hayden The Story of My Tits
  • Alanguilan Elmer
  • Simone, et al. Red Sonja: Queen of Plagues (1)
  • Simone, et al. Red Sonja: The Art of Blood and Fire
  • Black The Anti-Inflammation Diet and Recipe Book
  • Morrison, et al. The Invisibles : say you want a revolution
  • Strong Brewing Better Beer
  • Waters Tipping the Velvet

March

  • Gunders Waste Free Kitchen Handbook
  • Thug Kitchen Thug Kitchen Party Grub
  • Dunlap-Shohl My degeneration: a journey through Parkinson’s
  • McQuaid Tasty
  • North & Henderson The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #1 (2015)
  • Delavier Delavier’s core training anatomy
  • Hennessy, Smith and McConnell The Comic Book Story of Beer
  • Vitrano The Nature and Value of Happiness
  • Hoffman Survival lessons

April

  • Tucholke Wink Poppy Midnight
  • Immonen & Immonen Moving Pictures

May

  • Miyazaki Princess Mononoke: The First Story
  • Rail Why Beer Matters
  • Tezuka Apollo’s Song
  • Lawson & Smith Sidewalk Flowers
  • Guojin The Only Child
  • Stuppy, et al. Wonders of the plant kingdom
  • Rail The meanings of craft beer
  • Miller Dave Miller’s Homebrewing Guide
  • Jackson The New World Guide to Beer
  • Kemp A bouquet of gardenias
  • Love Bayou, volume one
  • Dysart, et al. Neil Young’s Greendale

June

  • Yana Toboso Black Butler I
  • Yana Toboso Black Butler II
  • Stevenson Nimona
  • Dunegan Best Hikes Near Bend (A Falcon Guide)
  • Chapman The 5 Love Languages
  • Love and Love Shadow Rock
  • Love and Morgan Bayou, volume two
  • Toboso Black Butler III
  • Ratey Spark
  • Toboso Black Butler IV
  • Tonatiuh Funny Bones: Posada and His Day of the Dead Calaveras
  • Halloran The new bread basket
  • ACSM ACSM’s Health-Related Physical Fitness Assessment Manual

July

  • DeConnick, et al. Bitch Planet, Vol. 1: Extraordinary Machine(Bitch Planet (Collected Editions))
  • Miller Water: A Global History (The Edible Series)
  • Kissell Take Control of Upgrading to El Capitan

August

  • Martin, et al. A Game of Thrones: The Graphic Novel, volume 1
  • Herz & Conley Beer Pairing
  • Martin, et al. A Game of Thrones: The Graphic Novel, volume 2
  • Arcudi, et al. A god somewhere
  • McCool and Guevara Nevsky: a hero of the people
  • Martin, et al. A Game of Thrones: The Graphic Novel, volume 3
  • Martin, et al. A Game of Thrones: The Graphic Novel, volume 4
  • Ottaviani & Purvis The imitation game
  • Vaughan, et al. Paper Girls 1
  • Abel La Perdida
  • Carriger Prudence (The Custard Protocol; 1)
  • Carriger Imprudence (The Custard Protocol; 2)
  • Ottaviani & Wicks Primates: The fearless science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Birute Gladikas
  • Owens How to Build a Small Brewery
  • Orchard Bera the one-Headed Troll

September

  • Rowling The Tales of Beedle the Bard
  • Cantwell & Bouckaert Wood & Beer
  • McCoola & Carroll Baba Yaga’s Assistant
  • Hales, ed. Beer & Philosophy

October

  • Samanci Dare to disappoint: growing up in Turkey
  • Ellis, et al. Trees, volume one: In shadow
  • Schuiten & Peeters The leaning girl
  • Tsutsumi, et al. Out of Picture Volume 1: Art from the Outside Looking In

November

  • Stockton South Sister: a Central Oregon volcano
  • ATK Healthy Slow Cooker Revolution
  • Protz The ale trail
  • Smith The Wander Society
  • Krucoff Healing Yoga for Neck and Shoulder Pain: Easy, Effective Practices for Releasing Tension and Relieving Pain
  • Hensperger & Kaufmann The ultimate rice cooker cookbook
  • Sumner Brewing Science, Technology and Print, 1700-1880
  • Duarte Monsters! and Other Stories

December

  • Maltz, ed. intimate kisses
  • Milne The Complete Tales & Poems of Winnie-the-Pooh
  • Out of Picture Volume 2: Art from the Outside Looking In
  • Brown Andre the giant: Life and legend
  • Hanh How to walk
  • Brubaker & Phillips Fatale, Book 1: Death Chases Me (Fatale #1)
  • Brubaker & Phillips Fatale, Book 2: The Devil’s Business (Fatale #2)
  • Ottaviani & Big Time Attic Bone Sharps, Cowboys, and Thunder Lizards: Edward Drinker Cope, Othniel Charles Marsh, and the Gilded Age of Paleontology
  • Smith, et al. Long Walk to Valhalla
  • Colfer, et al. The Supernaturalist
  • Montellier & Mairowitz The Trial
  • Culbard, Edginton; Doyle The Hound of the Baskervilles
  • Bagieu Exquisite Corpse
  • Bishop Living with Thunder
  • Bryson Tasting whiskey
  • Dawson The Place WherE I Come From

Totals finished per month are:

  • Jan 20
  • Feb 14
  • Mar 9
  • Apr 2
  • May 12
  • Jun 13
  • Jul 3
  • Aug 15
  • Sep 4
  • Oct 4
  • Nov 8
  • Dec 16

Not entirely sure what happened in April, July September or October. Perhaps I simply was reading more longer books then and thus finished less. Or, I cut my right index finger to shreds along with minor finger and hand injuries in April so … who knows?

 From libraries:

  • Central Oregon Community College Barber Library: 12
  • Deschutes Public Library: 58
  • Summit (consortium): 7
  • OSU-Cascades: 3
  • Interlibrary Loan: 1 [suspect is a bit higher]

So, 81 of 120 books came from libraries. Not bad. Then again, several of these started out as books from the library that I/we went on to purchase.

Wrap-up:

There is always more can be said–genders of authors; but that is pretty much a mug’s game–and perhaps I have forgotten something I wanted to count or add but oh well. I have straightened out some categories to track for 2017–things to make life easier, or at least I hope. I already have two posts re books in 2017 up but at least one more will be coming.

Ottaviani & Wicks – Primates

Primates: The fearless science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Biruté Galdikas by Jim Ottaviano and Maris Wicks

Date read: 26 August 2016
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Challenges: 2016gnc 2016nfc

Cover image from Primates: The fearless science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Birute Gladikas by Jim Ottaviano and Maris Wicks

Hardback, 140 pages
Published 2013 by First Second
Source: Deschutes Public Library [Teen Graphic Novel OTTAVIANI JIM]

I really enjoyed this book, as I have the previous two Ottaviano books I have read: Feynman and The Imitation Game [Sorry, no actual review of Feynman.]  I have pretty much all other of his books on my to read list now.

This book tells the story of three fearless women: Jane Goodall and her chimpanzee research, Dian Fossey and her research into mountain gorillas, and of Biruté Galdikas and her research on orangutans. The book has four sections, in that order, with the fourth being on the three of them together. [All links in this paragraph to Wikipedia.]

All three women were protégés of Louis Leakey and they all became preeminent ethologists although they all started with little in the way of formal academic “qualifications.” In fact, all three made discoveries—repeated, recorded observations really [which is what much “discovery” consists of]—that radically changed how we think of ourselves and some of our closest relatives, much less the behavior and intelligence—tool use, anyone?—of animals in general.

The book is considered a young adult book but I fail to see why that is the case. Anyone older can certainly learn a great deal from this book and also appreciate it at the same time. But I guess it alerts us to the fact that it is appropriate for that age group and that is cool.

An afterword from the author discusses the fact versus fictionalized narrative issues, while the book ends with a picture of all three renowned scientists together, a bibliography and a colophon.

The artwork is in one sense fairly simplified but it is also extremely effective at relating the story. What I mean is that facial and body expression is used more prominently than over-detailed extraneous visual details. Thus, much of the rest is as minimal as needed to effectively help move the narrative along. I think the artwork is exceptionally done overall!

Highly recommended! For every one.

This is the 43rd book in my 2016 9th Annual Graphic Novel/Manga Challenge Sign-Ups

This is the 21st book in my Nonfiction Reading Challenge hosted at The Introverted Reader

 

Ottaviani & Purvis – The Imitation Game

The Imitation Game: Alan Turing Decoded by Jim Ottaviani & Leland Purvis (illustrator)

Date read: 15-16 August 2016
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Challenges: 2016gnc, 2016nfc

Cover image of The Imitation Game: Alan Turing Decoded by Jim Ottaviani & Leland Purvis

Hardback, 234 pages
Published 2016 by Abrams ComicArts
Source: Central Oregon Community College Barber Library [QA 29 .T8 O772 2016]

 

I enjoyed this, just as I enjoyed Ottaviani’s Feynman, which I read in 2012. I also just marked most of his books as To Read in Goodreads.

“I still work as a librarian by day, but stay up late writing comics about scientists.”

I didn’t know he was a librarian too!

Aha! That’s right. “He now works at the University of Michigan Library as coordinator of Deep Blue, the university’s institutional repository.[1][2]” [per Wikipedia].

The book consists of some prefatory material, 222 pages of graphic novel, an author’s note a bit over a page long, an annotated 3-page bibliography and recommended reading, and 6-pages of notes and references.

The graphic novel proper consists of the following sections: “Universal Computing” (pp. 1-66), “Top Secret Ultra” [think Bletchley Park] (pp. 67-152), and “The Imitation Game” (pp. 153-222) [links are to Wikipedia].

Highly recommended! If you know about Turing, and have, like me, perhaps read his papers on universal computing and the imitation game (philosophy and applied computer science undergrad), then this is still a great resource with all of the notes and references to specific works that might be of particular interest to you.

If you know little to nothing about Turing then this is a great introduction. Far better even than the recent (2014) movie, The Imitation Game, with Cumberbatch and Knightley. The presence of actual citations and sources are the basis for this claim.

This is the 41st book in my 2016 9th Annual Graphic Novel/Manga Challenge Sign-Ups

This is the 20th book in my Nonfiction Reading Challenge hosted at The Introverted Reader

This is actually way past 20 nonfiction books for me this year; I simply have failed at reviewing quite a few, or finishing reviews, which is essentially the same thing. Many were started.

McCool & Guevara – Nevsky: A Hero of the People

Nevsky: A Hero of the People : written by Ben McCool; drawn by Mario Guevara; colored by David Baron with Allen Passalaqua & Peter Pantazis; lettering by Shawn Lee. Based on the film Alexander Nevsky written & directed by Sergei Eisenstein.

Date read: 10 August 2016
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Challenges: 2016gnc

Cover image of McCool & Guevara - Nevsky: A Hero of the People

Hardback, 117 pages
Published 2012 by IDW
Source: Deschutes Public Library [Graphic Novel MCCOL BEN]

Summary:

“Alexander Nevsky is a medieval Russian hero-prince and saint, and passionate warrior; he is proud and honored to fight for his home nation of Russia. When the Teutonic Knights of the Holy Roman Empire attack his beloved homeland, he assembles the Novgorod people (Russian people) for battle, and faces the invading forces to save his people from tyranny and oppression. Against the odds– and against the nobility of Russia, who wanted to appease the invaders– Alexander Nevsky and his people’s army fight the evil Teutonic Knights in a famous epic battle on the ice”–Excerpt from back of dust jacket.

I quite enjoyed this and have requested the DVD of the movie it is adapted from, Sergei M. Eisenstein’s 1938 Alexander Nevsky with score by Sergei Prokofiev. So much film history here that I know I’m missing 80% of it and that’s OK.

I can’t find anything that recommends it for mature audiences but it does have a fair bit of violence and gore, and a definite anti-religious—particularly anti-Catholic—theme to be aware of.

I thought the artwork was particularly effective, in all settings from cities to huge citadels to snow-covered expanses of  wilderness. I thought the story told was a powerful and important one in its own right, but I greatly appreciated the four pages of context at the end, “The Life and Death Drama Behind Alexander Nevsky,” which situated the story in a pre-WWII context, and the two page interview with film historian and Eisenstein specialist, Naum Kleiman, on Eisenstein’s place in film history.

Highly recommended!

This is the 38th book in my 2016 9th Annual Graphic Novel/Manga Challenge Sign-Ups

Delavier’s Core Training Anatomy

Delavier’s Core Training Anatomy by Frédéric Delavier and Michael Gundill

Date read: 01-07 March 2016
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Challenges: 2016nfc

Cover image of Delavier's Core Training Anatomy book

Paperback, 144 pages
Published 2010 by Human Kinetics (“This book is a revised edition of Des Abdos D’Enfer, published in 2010 by Éditions Vigot.” — Half t.p. verso)
Source: Own

Contents:

  • Introduction
  • Part 1 20 Steps to Creating the Perfect Core workout Program
  • Part 2 Increase the Visibility of Your Abs
  • Part 3 Basic Exercises to Sculpt Your Abs
  • Part 4 Advanced Exercises and Techniques
  • Part 5 Exercises Using Machines and Accessories
    Part 6 Workout Programs for Abdominal and Core Muscles
  • Exercise Index

While the title of this book claims to be focused on core anatomy I am a bit disappointed in that coverage. It does cover the abs quite well. Of course, the abs are part of the core, and a few of the exercises also strengthen other core muscles, but there is otherwise absolutely no coverage of the other core muscles, or even a discussion of balancing the entire core. That seems odd for a book titled “core.” Perhaps the American publisher hosed the title; in French it is Abs of Hell.

Considering this as a book about the abdominal muscles and their care and keeping, it is quite good.

Part 1 considers 20 questions/factors so that you can either build and focus your own training plans, along with verifying theirs for yourself. Some of these factors are: Set your goals, how many workouts each week, how many sets, how many exercises for each muscle, how many reps per set, rest time between sets, choosing exercises that work for you, and so on. Many of these are pulled apart based on the four possible main goals that are elucidated: strengthening core, losing inches off waist, using as a cardio workout, and improving athletic performance.

Part 2 is a short section focusing on exactly what it says, Increase the Visibility of Your Abs. Not my concern so am happy that the coverage—while good—was short.

Part 3 Basic Exercises to Sculpt Your Abs goes through 17 exercises covering the rectus abdominis, obliques, stability, breathing exercises, stretching the abdominal muscles, the hip flexors, and the low back. Anatomical drawings showing the muscles in use, along with photos of the exercise being performed, really help to understand what is going on. Variations are provided for each exercise, some to make it easier and some to make it more difficult.

Part 4 Advanced Exercises and Techniques discusses isolating the upper from the lower abs and provides 7 exercises for the upper abdominals, lower abdominals, and the obliques.

Part 5 Exercises Using Machines and Accessories discusses home and professional machines and again provides 7 exercises for the upper abdominals, lower abdominals, and the obliques.

Part 6 Workout Programs for Abdominal and Core Muscles provides 8 programs under Six-Pack Programs, 4 under Programs for Well-Being, and 4* under Sport-Specific Core Programs. I put an * for sport-specific because there are actually 19 specific sport programs after 3 more general athletic-enhancing ones. Along with those, most of the programs I listed have a beginning and an advanced version, and sometimes even more. So quite a few programs are provided for the novice or anyone who simply doesn’t want to bother with making their own programs, at least starting out.

An Exercise Index is also provided.

The book is easy to understand and does a good job pointing out dangerous practices and how to do these exercises properly.

Most of the exercises require no equipment as that is where they chose to focus. They do bring a a few bits using hanging bars, stability balls, and a few ab machines but the vast majority are equipment free.

Highly recommended.

I previously reviewed Delavier’s Stretching Anatomy and have been meaning to get around to reading some others.

This is the 16th book in my Nonfiction Reading Challenge hosted at The Introverted Reader

McQuaid – Tasty

Tasty: The Art and Science of What We Eat by John McQuaid

Date read: 21 February – 05 March 2016
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Challenges: 2016nfc, 2016poss

Cover image of Tasty: The Art and Science of What We Eat by John McQuaid

Hardback, vii, 291 pages
Published 2015 by Scribner
Source: Own. Bought via Amazon July 2015 (released January 2015).

Contents:

  • 1 The Tongue Map
  • 2 The Birth of Flavor in Five Meals
  • 3 The Bitter Gene
  • 4 Flavor Cultures
  • 5 The Seduction
  • 6 Gusto and Disgust
  • 7 Quest for Fire
  • 8 The Great Bombardment
  • 9 The DNA of Deliciousness
  • Acknowledgments
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index

1 The Tongue Map

Covers the origin and spread of the infamous tongue map.

Edwin G. Boring, in his “magisterial survey of the science of the human senses,” Sensation and Perception in the History of Experimental Psychology (1942), reviewed an experiment (1901) by David P. Hänig (2):

“He [Hänig] found the threshold for detecting each taste varied around the edge of the tongue. The tip, for example, was more sensitive to sweetness and to salt than was the base.

It wasn’t clear what this meant—if anything—and the differences were very small. But Boring found this notion interesting and went to some lengths to illustrate it. He borrowed the data from Hänig’s study and turned it into a graph. The graph was just a visual aid; it had no units, and its curves were impressionistic. But the result was that—perhaps to dramatize the point, or perhaps inadvertently—Boring made small difference in perception appear huge.

The wayward chart became the basis for a famous diagram of the tongue, divided into zones for each taste: …. Linda Bartoshuk, a professor of psychology who has studied the map’s origins, believes it came about through a game of “telephone”: First, Boring exaggerated Hänig’s findings. Then researchers and textbook editors misinterpreted Boring’s graph, using the peaks of its curves to label specific areas on the tongue. A final round of confusion produced a diagram with taste boundaries clearer than those on a world map” (2-3).

“The old diagram has lost much of its cachet in recent years. But it still lingers in some areas of the culinary world, including coffee and wine tasting, which value tradition and continuity as much as science” (4).

The chapter goes on to explain the research that has proved the tongue map wrong and also discusses some other topics, such as the development of taste in children. We learn that  flavor science made great strides in the 20th century, and is progressing with astonishing speed in 21st.

Beginning early on, I found it quite interesting, but the endnotes are that asinine textual selection thing. Grrr.

2 The Birth of Flavor in Five Meals

“The first inklings of flavor appeared as early life-forms began to sense the world around them and the taste of nutrients floating by in seawater excited primitive nervous systems. … Five ancient meals, each taking place at a turning point in evolutionary history, help explain where the ensue of flavor, and Homo sapiens’ talent for culinary invention, came from” (17).

3 The Bitter Gene

While not exactly a hop head, I do like many bitter foods and drinks and—like most everyone—had to learn to like them. As a serious beer drinker, homebrewer, student of brewing, friend of hop growers, …, I am especially interested in bitterness and its detection.

There is a test to determine if one is a non-taster of bitterness, which includes about a quarter of the US population [PROP test, 6-n-propylthiouracil]. 58

The biology of flavor perception, and particularly bitterness, is crazy intriguing and as we learn more it will only get more so (68-71).

“… the preponderance of them [correlations] indicates that bitter taste biology influences the whole body. Since the DNA of taste receptors was decoded over the last decade, it has been found all over the body: along the digestive tract, in the pancreas and liver, in the brain, and in the testicles. (Smell receptors have also been isolated in the liver, heart, kidneys, sperm, and skin.)” (69).

4 Flavor Cultures [Fermentation]

5 The Seduction [Sweetness]

6 Gusto and Disgust

Brain damage, “wild children,” and other topics to show that “Feeling and observing disgust generate similar patterns of brain activity, and similar feelings” (146) because “Distaste and the “yuck” face are the products of an ancient circuit of firing neurons, blood flow, and neurotransmitter activity in the brain that includes the insula and orbitofrontal cortex. Disgust uses the same circuit.” (145).

“The insula, remember, is also a hub for many of the body’s internal states and feelings. … It also contains a distinct kind of neuron found only in the brains of humans, great apes, elephants, and whales and dolphins” (147).

Which goes to show that, “This means that visceral taste reactions underlie our most sophisticated behavior, animating our thoughts and judgments about everything from politics to money.” 148

7 Quest for Fire [capsaicin]

Quite interesting and includes a good bit on the search for the hottest peppers.

8 The Great Bombardment

Potato chips, fats, flavor’s deep connection to pleasure, and why there’s always room for dessert, among other topics.

9 The DNA of Deliciousness

Gastroscience, new mappings of the flavor space, and umami.

Wrap-up

I know I could’ve done a better job with this review but I want to re-read it in the not too distant future anyway. I also need to go back and get the sources I marked and read those. So it is what it is. Take my word, very intriguing.

I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend it for anyone interested in our senses of taste, aroma and flavor, but especially for anyone seriously tasting (and/or judging) beer, wine, coffee, etc.

This is the 15th book in my Nonfiction Reading Challenge hosted at The Introverted Reader

This book also is one of my 2016poss books.