Non-Fiction Archives

  1. Best Short Hikes in Redwood National and State Parks / Jerry Rohde and Gisela Rohde

    Cover of Best Short Hikes in Redwood National & State Parks
    I spent the last week driving down the Oregon coast. My nominal destination was Redwood National Park in northern California. I realized I had a week of nothing planned, and I’d never been to the redwoods before, so I packed up some stuff and took off. Let me tell you, the Oregon coast is gorgeous. As far as scenery goes, it ranks up there with the South Island of New Zealand and the northern shore of Lake Superior. Truly spectacular. I’ll be using a review of one of the guidebooks on Oregon to talk about that portion. Anyway, I got to Redwood National Park and spent a day and a…
  2. Identity Crisis / Jim Harper

    Cover of Identity Crisis
    Like Beyond Fear, Bruce Schneier’s book on technology and security, this book sits at point where technology and political interest cross. Jim Harper at the time of the book’s writing was Director of Information Policy Studies at the Cato Institute. Cato is one of those Washington think tanks to which most folks, even those of us who follow politics, don’t really pay much attention. They all have agendas. It’s hard to read their work sometimes because their biases are so pervasive. That goes for the self-described libertarian Cato Institute. Nevertheless, this is a pretty good book. One of my college professors, Phillip Windley, posted a talk that Jim Harper gave…
  3. Adam’s Fallacy / Duncan K. Foley

    Cover of Adam's Fallacy
    I’m extremely interested in economics. My interest lies primarily in the application of economics toward solving social and political problems. Problems like poverty, instability, health care, and the environment all intersect with economics to a great degree. Pretty much every problem these days has a component of economics involved. I took a micro-economics course a couple of years ago, and worked through a macro-economics textbook on my own. The micro-textbook (and indeed the professor teaching the class as well) irritated me greatly with their insistence that capitalism is an end to itself, that the market set price for a commodity was a moral end. He espoused a neat utilitarian philosophy.…
  4. American Taboo / Philip Weiss

    Cover of American Taboo
    A couple of years ago I looked in the paper one day and realized that Philip Weiss would be signing copies of his book at Elliott Bay Books. I thought it would be too awesome to get a book signed, To Philip Weiss, from Philip Weiss. I’d never heard of the guy before. Unfortunately I didn’t find out about the event until too late. I know, I should pay better attention to my monthly email of Elliott Bay events. Last year I stumbled onto Philip Weiss’ blog, which I began reading. He was a reporter and blogger for the New York Observer at the time. His blog deals mostly with…
  5. Send: The Essential Guide to Email for Office and Home / David Shipley and Will Schwalbe

    Cover of Send
    The Random House rep brought a couple of copies and no one seemed to want either of the ARCs, so because I love free books, I grabbed one. That may be because of the audience. In a big bookstore, very few employees are using email for business purposes. And despite the subtitle, the book is primarily about writing email in a business environment. Unlike my co-workers this spring, I’ve got some history with writing lots of email in a business environment. Plus, it’d be an easy read I thought. First thing Send covers is the ubiquity of email and some of the temptations of using it for everything. The authors…
  6. Perilous Times / Geoffrey R. Stone

    Cover of Perilous Times
    Perilous Times won the 2004 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for History, but I’m surprised it hasn’t gotten wider acclaim, much like A Bright Shining Lie, And the Band Played On, and Hitler’s Willing Executioners have. Of course, those works brought information to light that previously hadn’t been widely known. Perilous Times covers ground that has been tread before, but from much different directions. Geoffrey Stone’s book is a detailed examination of the United States treatment of free speech during wartime. I put that term in quotes because several of the eras discussed weren’t times of war, declared or otherwise. In the late 1790s, fear of an impending war with…
  7. For God and Country / James Yee

    Cover of For God and Country
    I tend to be a sucker for stories of the righteous being downtrodden and still winning. It’s no surprise that I liked this story. In particular, I liked it because I am really tired of reading stories about those the Bush administration and it’s flunkies beat down, and when called to task the Bush administration wins. Well, this time they didn’t win. Legally, James Yee won on all points. He was still drummed out of the Army, but that happens often enough for simple office politics. For those who didn’t follow the story in the newspapers, here’s the basic story as recounted in this book. James Yee is the son…
  8. Share the Care, revised ed. / Cappy Capossela and Sheila Warnock

    Cover of Share The Care
    My mother’s A.L.S. is progressing pretty fast. She first noticed problems with her speech in November, and had her last steak in March. She cannot chew and can barely swallow at this time. Her speech is strained and getting more unintelligible. She’s having to make huge changes in her life, and despite having a number of people offer their help, she’s becoming increasingly overwhelmed. Whenever I’ve met with the patient care coordinator with the A.L.S.A. Evergreen Chapter, she’s repeatedly pushed the book Share the Care, and their web site, sharethecaregiving. Now I know why. We have a number of people who are willing to help my mother. But some things…
  9. Behold the Beauty of the Lord / Henri J. M. Nouwen

    Cover of Behold The Beauty Of The Lord
    Back in the 1990s, there was a fad where companies made prints with lots of swirly lines and dots and stuff. The claim was that if one crossed their eyes just so and focused in front of the picture or behind it or something, that a drawing of an animal or a sailboat would appear. I think it was all just a scheme to get a leg up on me. These pictures didn’t exist inside the whorls. Even with 3-D glasses, I doubt I would ever have been able to see these supposed pictures. That’s kind of how I feel reading Henri Nouwen’s Behold the Beauty of the Lord. I’m…
  10. A Short Guide to Writing about History / Richard Marius

    Cover of A Short Guide to Writing about History
    I confess that I didn’t read this because I wanted to write about history. I haven’t taken a history class since the 1980s, so a guide to writing history term papers is something I very much do not need. I’ve a few books that I acquired after others’ decisions to divest themselves of their collections. I’ll often take the collection lock, stock and barrel. Which is where I got this one. It’s sat on my shelf unread for half a decade. After reading Cannery Village I poked around my book collection and noticed this thin volume sitting there. So I decided to read it to see what rules Cannery Village…