The Whole Story Of Climate by E. Kirsten Peters 

Happy New Year! OK, it’s a little late for that, but I’m working on getting back into a regular routine and this is my first post of the new year. There was a lot of busyness over the holidays, there always is, and, I must say, it’s nice to get back to normal.

I altered my reading schedule significantly and ended up picking up a book I wasn’t looking for that turned out to be a surprise treat.

You may, or may not be, well read on the topic of climate change, but I think this book is well worth the read because of the author’s unique perspective and her vast knowledge of geology-FYI: your going to learn ALOT about glaciers-she also delves into some history by highlighting certain geologists and scientists who have contributed to our understanding of climate change.  

The author, E. Kirsten Peters, earned her doctorate at Harvard, taught at Washington State University and has even written two textbooks. This goes to show that this author is well qualified to speak about geology and the information she is sharing should be seriously considered. She has written other books too, mostly about geology, but this is the first and only book I have read of hers. I must say that I have learned so much from her through this book! I have definitely learned more about glaciers from this one book than probably all the science books I have read up till now. If the topic of glaciers should ever come up at a party, I will have something intelligent to add to the conversation. 🙂

This book is written from a geologists POV so she has a unique, and in my opinion very interesting, perspective to consider. She starts off by explaining who discovered the Ice Age , Louis Agassiz, and how he did it. Interestingly, he was actually trying to disprove this “heretical” view held by a friend of his and in the process he proved it to be true. The main point of the book is that climate changes naturally and there is a pattern to this change. Peters explains how climate has changed over time, and we learn through numerous examples that climate alternates between long periods of cold weather, followed by shorter periods of warm weather, only to return to cold weather again. She uses several different methods to illustrate this pattern– e.g. glacial ice, ice core samples and seafloor sediment to name but a few, but by no means is she saying that we have not contributed to climate change. In fact, she makes a point early on in the book to say that this is not her intent. The earth may have its own cycle of “endless change” as the subtitle states, but humans are contributing to climate change and in ways I did not even realize.

She tells us about a new hypothesis currently being discussed in scientific circles of how the early agricultural practices of slash- and-burn to clear ground for crops may have been contributing to climate change. Time will tell whether or not this method had a role in climate change, but it was interesting to learn how and why trees are “natural carbon banks”.  She also talks about the coal fires that have been burning for years and their effect on the atmosphere and the people who live near them.  There was a lot I was unaware of regarding coal fires so this was educational for me.

In fact, there was so much that was educational for me in this book!  I really enjoyed learning about the different methods scientists use to study, not just past climate, but the past, period. For example, I learned how air bubbles in the ice cores tell us how our atmosphere has changed, the pollen record tells us more about which trees were growing in the past, I learned how glacial ice plays a role in erosion and even how the remains of warm vs. cold tolerant  creatures on the seafloor reflect past conditions.

I think her book is easy to read and I like her writing style. She was balanced in her approach as she addressed different perspectives for a subject that can be quite controversial. There were a lot of details in this book, but I personally enjoyed this. This book may not appeal to everyone, but I felt that this book allowed me to zoom out to see the bigger picture and all the complexities that are involved. And that made it well worth the read.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Image result for happy thanksgiving reading and books

 

 My reading has slowed down somewhat, but that’s okay, it usually does this time of the year. I can’t believe Thanksgiving is already here, but here we are, and I am very thankful that I will be spending time with my family  today. With all the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, and sometimes life in general, it’s nice to just enjoy spending time with family and friends. I hope wherever you are today that you are able to spend some time with the people who matter most to you.

I wish everyone a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

WWW Wednesday, November 16

Happy Autumn, Everyone! I hope your enjoying all that this wonderful season has to offer: cooler temperatures, fall colors, butternut squash soup and pumpkin…everything! 🙂 And, I hope your reading some good books too! Its been a while since I posted a weekly book meme. I should try to participate in more of these because they are so much fun and there are quite a few out there to participate in. Here is a fun one hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Books. She is also participating in NaNoWriMo, so check out her blog to read more from her:)

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

 ————————————————————

A coworker recommended this book to me and then lent me her copy. I have had it for a while now, but I have only recently started reading it. So far, I find it incredibly well written and engaging. I think I am going to enjoy this book. It’s also happens to be my favorite genre: historical fiction!

It’s about Mary Todd Lincoln. It starts off with Mary in an insane asylum and when her son doesn’t support and defend her the way she expected, she starts to write about her life. She does this partly to combat the lies she reads about herself in the newspaper and partly to keep her sanity. I’m not very far into this book yet, but the writing is great and I find that I really want to know more about Mary.

Image result for mrs a lincoln book

I finished this book recently and I thought that it was a great! It’s was so informative and interesting; it was fascinating to learn more about our Solar System, and the science behind it all sheds some light on our origins. You can read my review of this book here if your interested. 🙂

 

Image result for how to read solar system chris north

 

Finally, I am eagerly looking forward to reading this novel for the Women’s Classic Literature Event. Once I finish my current book, I will be moving on to this one!

Image result for rebecca daphne du maurier

 This was fun! What are you reading? What do you plan to read next? Do you have any ‘Must Reads’ you would recommend? Tell me in the comments below.

 

How To Read The Solar System by Chris North and Paul Abel 

Science. It’s actually really interesting, but it’s also much more enjoyable to learn more about science when you choose to learn more rather than when you are compelled to learn more.

I have recently started reading more science books, namely astronomy, and I find the subject matter absolutely fascinating!

I just finished this book:

I read the first few chapters of this book while simultaneously reading other books, but, from Mars on, I focused exclusively on this book. 🙂  And, if your going to read this book you should definitely focus, take your time and enjoy learning more about the subject matter. By the time I finished reading this book I almost forgot what I had learned about the Aurora Borealis!

The book is written by Chris North and Paul Abel, who, as stated on the cover, are hosts of a BBC series called “The Sky at Night”.  However, since I am unfamiliar with both the series and these authors, I came to this book with fresh eyes which, at least for me,  turned out to be a good thing because I feel like I discovered a great gem of a book.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book! It’s an introductory book to our Solar System, and it’s 304 pages are filled with lots of good information about each of the planets and their respective moons. It also focuses on the Sun, comets, asteroids, minor planets and life in the Kuiper Belt. A nice added feature is that these authors provide helpful tips for the “amateur astronomer”to aid them in their observations of the planets. They briefly explain how using an optical filter or adjusting the size of the telescope will affect what you see. They also suggest when to view the planets and what you may see at that time.  This book also has a helpful glossary at the end, so if your not quite sure you understood what cryovolcanism meant, you can flip to the back for clarification. 🙂

I learned a lot from reading this book, not just about the planets, but also about the moons that orbit the planets in our Solar System. Many of these satellites are just as diverse and interesting as the planets they orbit-and some planets have an astonishingly large number of moons in their orbit! If you want to learn more about them, then this book will be a wonderful resource. I also learned that comets seem to be made of the same substance as the Sun and that other solar systems are not just like ours. Are we special? One of a kind? I guess this is why we spend so much time and money studying the Universe to try and answer this question.

I appreciated the detailed information these authors provided in this book. It wasn’t too much so as to overwhelm a newbie with its science, but it also went beyond mere basics. There was so much that I learned from this book that if I shared all that I learned, then this post would go on for quite a while. But, suffice it to say, each chapter gave me an opportunity to learn and consider something new. I enjoyed learning more about the chemical make up of the planets and how this affected their atmosphere and weather patterns. Jupiter has had a storm raging for hundreds of years now! I learned from this book that it’s famous  Great Red Spot is an “anticyclone” so “it spins anticlockwise”(P 190) and over time it has decreased in size. This is definitely one interesting planet!  It’s fascinating how life in space evolved from chemical reactions which, over time, led to the creation of our Sun and ultimately to our Solar System.

I enjoyed learning about comets and asteroids and I really enjoyed learning more about the Kuiper Belt. To me, this is deep space, and, not only do we know about it, but we have discovered dwarf planets out there! What will we discover next? And, what will we learn about our origins?

How To Read The Solar System is aimed at those who already have some knowledge and interest in astronomy and want to learn more. After reading Dava Sobel’s The Planets  I wanted to read something a little more in depth, and this book fit the bill. The writing isn’t as creative as Dava Sobel’s, and, I’m sad to say that this book has some typos which was distracting, but this book was incredibly informative and interesting. This book is a great introduction to astronomy for those who want to learn more and grow in their knowledge and understanding of the subject. I, for one, am very glad I took the time to read it!

Bookish Time Travel Tag

Thank you Ms. Arachne at A Canon of one’s own for the tag! I love historical fiction, so this will be fun! Also check out The Library Lizard’s blog too see where this tag began.

What is your favourite historical setting for a book?

Probably early America, but also anytime in English history and I also love reading about ancient Egypt.

What writer/s would you like to travel back in time to meet?

Henry David Thoreau and maybe Emily Dickinson  (if she would talk to me) and also Edith Wharton. I feel like I recently met Edith Wharton when I read The Age Of Innocence and I would like to get to know her more.

What book/s would you travel back in time and give to your younger self?

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. It is such a beautiful story of friendship and transformation.

 What book/s would you travel forward in time and give to your older self? Weird question, I know. But what I meant by it was more along the lines of – what book do you want to remind your older self of because it was really important to you?

For this question I would have to say it would be a book of poetry: The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson. There was a time when I read her poems, in this volume of poetry, all the time! It would remind me of that period in my life.

What is your favourite futuristic setting from a book?

I can’t think of a “favorite futuristic setting” but the most memorable would be A Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. If you have read this book, can you forget this society of order and control that restricts and punishes individual choice?

What is your favourite book that is set in a different time period (can be historical or futuristic)?

I loved Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks. It was about the plague in 17th century England and a village who took drastic steps not to spread contagion. It is also about a young woman’s journey to her own personal freedom and it has an ending that will completely surprise you.

 Spoiler Time: Do you ever skip ahead to the end of a book just to see what happens?

Sometimes I do, but not very often. I want to enjoy getting to the end.

If you had a Time Turner, where would you go and what would you do?

I would love to be part of the transcendental movement of early 19th century America. 

Favourite book (if you have one) that includes time travel or takes place in multiple time periods?

I love dual narratives and The Perfume Collector by Kathleen Tessaro has a dual narrative story that I loved. It is the story of two women, both on their own individual journey, of loss and heartache for one woman and of self discovery for the other, and how their lives intersect in an, albeit not surprising, but still very interesting way.

What book/series do you wish you could go back and read again for the first time?

This answer will be a repeat. It would have to be The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. This is one of my favorite books and it would be sweet to read it again for the first time.

This tag helped me to think about some books that I haven’t read in a while and it was fun to remember them. 🙂

So, I tag the following bloggers if this sounds interesting to them:

Laurie at Relevant Obscurity

Sally at Books by the Window

And anyone else who thinks this looks fun!

One year Blogiversary!

Wow, I have been blogging for a whole year now!

This has definitely been a great experience for me! I started this blog last October because I wanted a place to share some of my thoughts about the books that I was reading. This blog has given me a place to do just this, but, for me, the real bonus has been interacting with other book bloggers. I appreciate the variety of voices and opinions in the book blogging community! I have discovered new authors and genres and I have been encouraged to read more widely and to step out of my reading comfort zone. I may find myself reading a few more YA and dystopian novels in the near future and to consider the unique perspective they offer. And, for me, this will be broadening my horizons because I typically read mostly historical fiction…which I love and will continue to read! 🙂  

I am currently trying to read more Classic Literature written by women by participating in the Womens-classic-literature-event and, more recently, I have started to read more about science. I think Dava Sobel is to blame…and I thank her for it! 🙂 

It has been a wonderful reading journey so far. Thank you to everyone who has followed my blog and who has commented on it this past year.  I appreciate your comments, feedback and book suggestions! And, I look forward to more book reviews and ‘bookish’ discussions along the way.

Happy reading!

‘The Age Of Innocence’ by Edith Wharton

 ‘She was the lady in ‘blue’ when everyone else was wearing tan’… This slight play on the words from the theme song of The Nanny  came to mind while reading this story. There was just ‘something about Ellen’ that separated her from everyone else in the room.

And Wharton does a wonderful job of drawing me into this story from the very beginning. I was interested in Ellen as soon as I met her, mostly because she was known as “poor Ellen Olenska”; I wanted to know why she was referred to this way…I would find out, but first, we are given a closer look at the New York social society of the 1870’s.

The story takes place in New York during the 1870’s and follows the relationship between Newland Archer and Madame Olenska, his wife’s cousin. The novel provides great insight into the customs and conventions of the time and illustrates how these traditions affected not only their relationship with each other, but also, the impact they had in the lives of those around them as well.

This book reflects a chapter in American History that is now gone; a world where “taste” and “good form” reigned. A few times Madame Olenska sarcastically refers to New York society as “Heaven”. On the outside everything appears to be going well, but only because problems and pain were not openly shared with others; Madame Olenska was discouraged from talking about what happened with her husband. In this society of the rich and privileged, maybe not all, but many relationships were merely superficial.

The novel provides a glimpse of the world of the wealthy, to really see the standards-and glaring double standards- that were the rule of the day. It depicts a society where every relationship, social and personal, is, if not determined by, at least heavily influenced by convention. 

Madame Olenska, “poor Ellen Olenska”, is running away from a husband and a life that she wants to be free from (I will try very hard to keep this as much a spoiler-free post as I can). Newland wants to help her, but his society expects and demands adherence to certain standards. As he tries to help her his eyes are opened to the reality of the world he inhabits and he has to decide what, if anything, he is going to do about it. 

Madame Olenska may not be perfect, but she cares about her family and she cares about people; I’m only sorry we do not get into her head more, but we do get a good sense of what and how she feels. She wants to live her life among friends and family without having to submit to someone else’s expectations. She enjoys art, beauty and conversation; she enjoys the company of artistic people even in that ultra conservative  New York society!  She is also willing to reach out to someone in need when the “deity of “Good Form”” has forbidden it. However, this society has standards, strict standards for women which must be followed, and she is expected to conform.

In contrast, there is May, Madame Olenska’s cousin and Newland’s wife. She has been raised to live a certain way and she adheres to these social conventions. Throughout the novel I alternated between a certain amount of pity  for May and disappointment in her uncaring attitude towards her cousin’s pain. But then again, May would have her own, very personal, reasons for wanting her cousin to remain married. 

The story is engaging; the characters are not all likeable, but some, like Madame Olenska’s aunts are very interesting! I also liked how we were given glimpses of Ellen’s unconventional upbringing to see how that shaped the woman she became. Her relationship with her cousin May was complicated by her relationship with Newland, but then, how could it not be? My feelings about Newland are mixed. On the one hand, he supported Madame Olenska’s right to divorce her husband and he saw the double standards of his day and was willing to speak up about it. On the other hand, he used his marriage to May to maintain respectability. 

For me, the novel ended in both a surprising (which was good) and a sad way. First, the ending completely surprised me because I thought I knew what was going to happen…then surprise! Not what I expected.  Second, I was saddened to see how Newland’s life played out with his wife. It was not a bad life, but it could have been different…it could have been so much more.

What is it that we want out of life and what are we willing to sacrifice to live life on our own terms? These are very important questions to ask ourselves so that we dont look back at a life full of regrets.

Let me end this post by saying that this book was so good! It was more than a story about a relationship though, society was key in this story. It really was a look back in history, at a time now past, to see how people in  that society lived life. I say ‘that society’ because it illustrates the way of life for the wealthy, not the everyman, but it really is a fascinating read! If you haven’t read this book yet, you definitely should! You won’t be disappointed.