Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Nevermore: Money, Mozart, Earth from Space, Lila, and the Battle of Kursk

Reported by Meygan

Nevermore began with Money: The Unauthorized Biography by Felix Martin. Our Nevermore reader states this book starts out really interesting and raises the issue of what IS money. The beginning of the book begins with the theory of money from the point of view Adam Smith, John Locke, and even Aristotle. 

Mozart in the Jungle by Blair Tindall was discussed next. This is a memoir of a young woman who tries to make it as a classical musician in New York. This book isn’t as happy and hopeful as one would think. In it, the woman writes about how sometimes a person has to sleep with someone to get to the very top and yes, sometimes there are drugs involved when trying to become a famous musician. There is a TV series about this book with the same title. The Nevermore reader said, “I can’t believe I am saying this, but the TV series is better than the book!” He says it is because the characters in the TV series have some bit of admirableness to them while not so much in the book. He also said that if you are a parent of a young person who aspires to be a classical musician then you may end up taking their musical instrument away after reading this book!

Next was You Are Here: Around the World in 92 Minutes: Photographs from the International Space Station by Chris Hadfield. This book features pictures from all over the world that were taken from space. There are several lines of information about each picture, explaining where the picture was taken and some background information to the area. The reader said it is outstandingly different than what you’d expect. He said it could easily be read in a half hour or less and it features a map with a page number listed for where each picture was taken.

Lila by Marilynne Robinson was discussed next. In this novel, Lila, who is homeless, walks into a church to get out from the rain where she meets minister John Ames. They quickly fall in love and marry. But Lila’s past wasn’t always the easiest. When she was a toddler, she was stolen by a drifter who took her in as her own. While they do form a sisterly bond, there are dark moments too.  The Nevermore reader said this is a pitiful book and sad because they are gypsies who must steal everything in order to survive. Someone pointed out that the author writes non-traditional Christian fiction and can be compared to Flannery O’Conner because they both use faith to tell dark stories. The Nevermore reader said aside from the kind preacher, she didn’t get much faith out of it because it is such a dark book. (Note: the book takes place in Gilead, the setting of two of Robinson's previous books, Gilead  and Home.)

The last book discussed was Armor and Blood: The Battle of Kursk: The Turning Point of World War II by Dennis Showalter. This book was very much enjoyed, but we were warned that if we wanted just an overview of WWII then this book was not for us. This book is full of detail (lots and lot of detail!). There are pictures, so that does help those who need a break! The reader said he would argue that the Battle of Kursk wasn’t the turning point of the war, despite the title. The reader also brought along information about German and Russian casualties, tanks that were used, and other various information about the Battle of Kursk.  

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