Birdmen by Lawrence Goldstone

Posted by on Oct 28, 2014 in 2014, 3.5 stars, Book Review | 1 comment

Birdmen by Lawrence Goldstone

Birdmen: The Wright Brothers, Glenn Curtiss, and the Battle to Control the Skies by Lawrence Goldstone

Genre: Non Fiction
Publisher: Ballantine
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 386
Source: Copy provided by the publisher

The Short Version:
A history of the early years of aviation beyond the Wright Brothers and Kitty Hawk.

Why I Read It:
When I heard about this book it sounded interesting. I knew a bit about the Wright brothers but not much about the other early pioneers of aviation.

The Book:
From the publisher:

The feud between this nation’s great air pioneers, the Wright brothers and Glenn Curtiss, was a collision of unyielding and profoundly American personalities. On one side, a pair of tenacious siblings who together had solved the centuries-old riddle of powered, heavier-than-air flight. On the other, an audacious motorcycle racer whose innovative aircraft became synonymous in the public mind with death-defying stunts. For more than a decade, they battled each other in court, at air shows, and in the newspapers. The outcome of this contest of wills would shape the course of aviation history—and take a fearsome toll on the men involved.

My Thoughts:
I enjoyed this one. I knew the basics about the Wright brothers and the name Glenn Curtiss was familiar but I really didn’t know anything about their years long battles in the courts and in the eyes of the general public.

After Kitty Hawk the Wrights seemed to spend more time trying to protect what they saw as a very broad interpretation of the patent application they filed. They used the court system to claim royalties they felt other aviation pioneers owed them. In their eyes every plane that existed or flew owed them licensing and royalties.

On the other hand it was a time of rapid innovation and a large number of other inventors and daredevils were experimenting with aircraft and expanding the limits of flight. While the Wrights sought to protect what they’d done, these other people were developing their own methods and machines. Whether or not any of them really borrowed or stole ideas from any others may never be known.

The battles over the next decade took place in courtrooms as much as it did in the air over exhibitions and daring airshows. In the end the patent wars probably slowed down the development of aircraft and aviation but by the time World War I began the military became the primary driver of aircraft development.

I enjoyed learning about the early aviators and the near insane daredevils that risked (and lost) their lives to extending the limits of flying.

3.5 stars Rating 3.5/5

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It’s Monday What Are You Reading?

Posted by on Oct 27, 2014 in Blogging/Reading, What Are You Reading? | 3 comments

Monday Reading

This weekly reading roundup is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

Finished last week:

Birdmen by Lawrence Goldstone

Birdmen by Lawrence Goldstone

This was an interesting look at the early days and pioneers of aviation

Meet Mr. Mulliner by P.G. Wodehouse

Meet Mr. Mulliner by P.G. Wodehouse

I do enjoy Wodehouse. The stories are just light and entertaining.

Started Yesterday:

The Scent of Rain and Lightning by Nancy Pickard

The Scent of Rain and Lightning by Nancy Pickard

This is a mystery that has me hooked even though I just started it.

Pretty Deadly Vol. 1: The Shrike  by Kelly Sue DeConnick

Pretty Deadly Vol. 1: The Shrike by Kelly Sue DeConnick

This is a relatively new comic series by a local author.
Currently listening to:

Hell is Empty by Craig Johnson

Hell is Empty by Craig Johnson

This entry in the Walt Longmire series has him once again trailing the bad guys on his own in the wilderness. It’s making me cold just reading it.

Posts from last week:

100 Bullets: Vol. 2: Split Second Chance/a> by Brian Azzarello

Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art by Scott McCloud

What are you reading?

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Weekend Update – The State of the Library Stack Edition

Posted by on Oct 26, 2014 in Blogging/Reading, Weekend Update | 1 comment


The short and sweet version of the state of the library stack is that it’s taking over my desk and I’m running out of room.

Seriously I need to get busy and read instead of renew and limit myself to not checking out more until I finish with and return a few of these.

Of course there’s already another on on the hold shelf waiting for me that I’ll probably pick up this afternoon,

But after that.

Right . . .
Full Library Stack

Anyway – here’s the whole pile


These are the ones that I’ll be diving into first.

Library Stack 1

The Scent of Rain and Lightning by Nancy Pickard caught my eye because it’ll fit for the weather category of the What’s in a Name challenge but in addition to that it looks like a good suspense story.

Rest in Pieces: The Curious Fates of Famous Corpses is there because Jenn at Jenn’s Bookshelves told me about it.

Herbie’s Game is the fourth in the Junior Bender series by Timothy Hallinan and will get me caught up in the series.


Next up are a couple that I have on an ‘evaluate for purchase’ situation.

Library Stack 2

Last-Minute Knitted Gifts and More Last-Minute Knitted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson are full of quick knitted projects not that I’ll necessarily use for gifts but for myself when I want a quick project to work on. I’m pretty sure I’m going to buy both of these but I’ll take advantage of the time I have before they’re due back to look at them a bit closer.


Then we have the next books in a couple of my comics series

Library Stack 3

Queen & Country #02: Operation: Morningstar and Queen & Country #03: Operation: Crystal Ball by Greg Rucka are next in an espionage series that I started recently,

100 Bullets #03: Hang Up on the Hang Low by Brian Azzarello is next in a series that is part mystery part ethical dilemma and has me fascinated.


Next are a couple of graphic novels and a science fiction classic

Library Stack 4

The Underwater Welder and The Nobody are in my house because they’re by Jeff Lemire. I adored his Sweet Tooth comic series and just have to read more of his work.

The Invisible Man by H.G Wells is in the middle there because The Nobody is a retelling of that classic and I haven’t read the original yet. Time to fix that.


And the rest

Library Stack 5

The Directive is Matthew Quirk’s follow up to The 500 his first suspense thriller that I thoroughly enjoyed.

Out from Boneville (Bone #1) is a well known comic series that I learned about from Swapna at S. Krishna’s books and promptly requested from the library.

Pretty Deadly Volume 1 by Kelly Sue DeConnick is a fairly new comic series from Image Comics. I learned about this one when Chelsea Cain tweeted something about it. Both of these women are local authors.
So there you have it. I’m looking forward to reading all of these. I just need to figure out when. Clearly I’m going to need to give up sleeping.

How many books do you have out from the library??

Hope you’re having a great weekend!

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Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art by Scott McCloud

Posted by on Oct 24, 2014 in 2014, 3.5 stars, Book Review, Comics | 2 comments

Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud

Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art by Scott McCloud

Genre: Non Fiction
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Publication Date: 1994
Pages: 216
Source: Library

The Short Version:
McCloud uses comics to tell the history and art of comics.

Why I Read It:
When Swapna at S. Krishna’s Books mentioned it on Twitter a whole bunch of friend chimed in to say how good it was. I stopped that night and picked it up at the library.

The Book:
From the publisher:

Praised throughout the cartoon industry by such luminaries as Art Spiegelman, Matt Groening, and Will Eisner, this innovative comic book provides a detailed look at the history, meaning, and art of comics and cartooning.

My Thoughts:
As a relative newbie to reading comics and graphic novels in the past couple of years my initial exposure was rather hit and miss based on recommendations from a variety of friends. Since then I’ve become more confident in branching out to explore on my own and have found the world of comics and graphic novels fun and entertaining.

This book is great for stepping back and looking into the history, form and structure of comics. Although it was written twenty years ago it’s still very relevant and informative. McCloud starts out by attempting to define comics and from there goes into the history of what he calls ‘sequential art’.

Along the way he explores the various methods of conveying elements of time and space in static images. He also explores how the Japanese forms of the art developed differently than American and European comics.

It’s a bit of history, a bit of explanation of the vocabulary, a bit of fun exploration of the various styles and methods.

I learned a lot and I’m glad I read it.

3.5 stars Rating 3.5/5

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Nutshell Review: 100 Bullets Vol. 2: Split Second Chance by Brian Azzarello

Posted by on Oct 21, 2014 in 2014, 3 stars, Book Review, Brian Azzarello, Comics | 0 comments

100 Bullets Vol. 2: Split Second Chance by Brian Azzarello with art by Eduardo Risso

100 Bullets Vol. 2: Split Second Chance by Brian Azzarello

Genre: Crime Fiction, Comics
Series: #2 in the 100 Bullets series
Publisher: Vertigo
Publication Date: 2001
Pages: 223
Source: Library



The Book:
This volume 2 is a compilation of issues 6-14 of the comic series.
From the back cover:

Split Second Chance, the second collection of Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso’s acclaimed crime series 100 Bullets will bring you deeper than ever into their raw and unforgiving world of gutter crime and sanctioned retribution. With a seemingly simple gift — an untraceable gun and a hundred rounds of ammunition — the mysterious Agent Graves offers the powerless and wronged a chance at vengeance. But beyond the decision of whether or not to pull the trigger, a deeper question is beginning to emerge: just who is making this possible? — and why?

My Thoughts:
The first volume of this comic series introduced the concept of being gifted with an untraceable gun and 100 bullets along with the proof about who had done them wrong. What they chose to do with the information, weapon and ammunition was up to them.

That continues in this volume with some interesting outcomes. The thing I liked most about this volume however was the beginnings of looking into the back story of Agent Graves. Who is he? Why is he doing this? Where is he getting his information as well as the guns and ammunition. Who is funding this? Yes I have lots and lots of questions. The answers begin to be doled out in this volume. It’s clear that Azzarello isn’t going to answer them all at once and some of the answers will lead to further questions but he’s definitely expanded the story in this one.

It’s got a noir feel to it and that is greatly enhanced by Eduardo Risso’s artwork. Where the story lags a bit the artwork makes up for it.

I’ll be moving on to volume 3 relatively soon.

78db5-rating_3stars Rating 3/5

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