Monthly Archives: January 2017

Book Beginnings and Friday 56 – Hidden Figures (Jan 27)

This is the first of these posts I’ve written in 2017 and the book I have chosen is Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly. I just picked up this book a couple of days ago as I would like to read it before seeing the recent movie of the same name which was inspired by this book. The movie looks good, but I usually prefer to read the book first.

Goodreads has the following description:

hidden-figuresBefore John Glenn orbited the Earth or Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, a group of professionals worked as “Human Computers,” calculating the flight paths that would enable these historic achievements. Among these were a coterie of bright, talented African-American women. Segregated from their white counterparts by Jim Crow laws, these “colored computers,” as they were known, used slide rules, adding machines, and pencil and paper to support America’s fledgling aeronautics industry, and helped write the equations that would launch rockets, and astronauts, into space.

Drawing on the oral histories of scores of these “computers,” personal recollections, interviews with NASA executives and engineers, archival documents, correspondence, and reporting from the era, Hidden Figures recalls America’s greatest adventure and NASA’s groundbreaking successes through the experiences of five spunky, courageous, intelligent, determined, and patriotic women: Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, Christine Darden, and Gloria Champine.

Moving from World War II through NASA’s golden age, touching on the civil rights era, the Space Race, the Cold War, and the women’s rights movement, Hidden Figures interweaves a rich history of scientific achievement and technological innovation with the intimate stories of five women whose work forever changed the world—and whose lives show how out of one of America’s most painful histories came one of its proudest moments.

Now for this week’s excerpts:

bb-buttonBook Beginnings is hosted by Gilion at Rose City Reader, who invites anyone to join in, saying: ‘Please join me every Friday to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.  Please remember to include the title of the book and the author. Leave a link to your post.  If you don’t have a blog, but want to participate, please leave a comment with your Book Beginning.’

The beginning of Hidden Figures:

Melvin Butler, the personnel officer at Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory, had a problem, the scope and nature of which was made plain in a May 1943 telegram to the civil service’s chief of field operations.

This is kind of a curious beginning more than anything else. I wonder what the problem is. Hopefully I’ll find out soon.

friday-562.jpgThe Friday 56 is a book meme hosted by Freda’s Voice and the rules are as follows:

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56.
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it) that grabs you.
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post below in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url.

It’s that simple.

From page 56 of Hidden Figures:

Of course, while moving the air over the object was similar to flying through the air, it wasn’t identical, so one of the first concepts Dorothy had to master was the Reynolds number, a bit of mathematical jujitsu that measured how closely the performance of a wind tunnel came to mimicking actual flight.

I’ve never had to do any mathematical jujitsu before, but hopefully it worked our for Dorothy. I’m hoping to start this book soon and may get the opportunity next week as I’ll be away for a few days. I’ll need to remember to take it with me anyway.

WWW Wednesday (Jan 25)

www-wednesdayI missed out on posting this last week, so this will cover the last two weeks. WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme hosted at Taking on a World of Words and I have decided to give it a go again. Here is what you have to do to participate:

Answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments section the host page for others to look at.

The Three Ws are:

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

Currently Reading:

I have three books on the go at the moment –

  1. Life of the Beloved: Spiritual Living in a Secular World by Henri J.M. Nouwen. This is the second book for this year’s Renovaré Book Club. I’m only reading small portions each week, but it’s a good way to read Nouwen.
  2. Orkney Twilight by Clare Carson. I’m half-way through this one and it is starting to get intriguing as things are starting to come together. I’m enjoying all the references to many of the familiar places I grew up around.
  3. Silence by Shusaku Endo. I want to read this before seeing the movie, but at the rate I’m going I’ll end up having to watch it on DVD!

Recently Finished:

I finished the following three books in the last couple of weeks:

  1. Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris. I had started this one a while ago and figured it was time to finish it. Lots of great stories, any of which made me laugh.
  2. Rescuing Jesus: How People of Color, Women, and Queer Christians are Reclaiming Evangelicalism by Deborah Jian Lee. This was one of my Christmas gifts this year and it was a great read, with plenty to think about afterwards.
  3. The Case of Alan Turing: The Extraordinary and Tragic Story of the Legendary Codebreaker by Éric Liberge, Arnaud Delalande, David Homel (translation). I borrowed this graphic novel from the library and it was an short, but engaging, read.

Up Next:

stardustI’m thinking that I’ll probably try Stardust by Neil Gaiman. It has been on my TBR list for too long.

Top Ten Tuesday – Unread (Jan 24)

toptentuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week a different topic is posted inviting the participants to come up with a list of ten things to do with the topic.

This week’s topic is ‘FREEBIE’, which means I can choose anything. I checked out the list of previous Top Tens and decided to go with ‘Top Ten Books on my Shelves tat Remain Unread.’ I buy a lot of books with good intention, but unfortunately there are some really good ones on my shelves that for some reason or another I haven’t got around to reading yet. By listing these ones here it may give me the inspiration to actually crack them open and get them read. We’ll see! In addition to this, one of the challenges I signed up for this year is The 2017 Mount TBR Challenge, which I’m also hoping will inspire to get some of these unread books read.

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  1. Magnus – George Mackay Brown
  2. Stardust – Neil Gaiman
  3. A New Kind of Christianity – Brian McLaren
  4. The Living – Annie Dillard
  5. The Ragamuffin Gospel – Brennan Manning
  6. A Life of Jesus – Shusaku Endo
  7. The Silmarillion – J.R.R. Tolkien
  8. In The First Circle – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
  9. The Last Crossing – Guy Vanderhaeghe
  10. Heretics/Orthodoxy – G.K. Chesterton (I guess that this is technically two books, but it is still a volume that sits unread on my shelf)

Quite a few of these have bookmarks in them, which means that I did start them once upon a time, but for some reason I never got back to them. I’ll have to start them from the beginning again, as I can’t remember much about any of them. The Solzhenitsyn one seems the most daunting, whereas the Gaiman one looks like the easiest of the pile. I should choose one of them soon and get started. Check my Reading Challenges page for my progress, of which I hope there will be some at least.

Bookmark Monday – Coffee (Jan 23)

bookmark-mondayBookmark Monday is a weekly meme hosted by Aloi from guiltless reading. Take a picture of one of your favourite bookmarks, post it on your blog, and head over to guiltless reading to share a to your post.

This week’s bookmark is another one from our local library, this time one featuring coffee, as opposed to the tea one I shared a couple of weeks ago. I used to drink a minimum of 6 cups of coffee a day, but now I’m down to a couple of cups of decaf. The caffeinated version was just affecting me too much in a negative way, so I went cold turkey and have never looked back.

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Teaser Tuesday – Rescuing Jesus (Jan 17)

tuesdayTeaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by Ambrosia at The Purple Booker. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Here are my teasers for this week:

rescuing-jesusThen, just hours before Danny broke the news to his congregation, with his body feeling “ready to explode”, he took another blood pressure reading and saw that his systolic blood pressure was 196. Danny’s mind raced.

From page 257 of Rescuing Jesus: How People of Color, Women, and Queer Christians are Reclaiming Evangelicalism by Deborah Jian Lee.

Bookmark Monday – Box (Jan 16)

bookmark-mondayBookmark Monday is a weekly meme hosted by Aloi from guiltless reading. Take a picture of one of your favourite bookmarks, post it on your blog, and head over to guiltless reading to share a to your post.

I couldn’t decide which bookmark to use this week, so I just took a picture of the box of bookmarks that sits on one of our bookshelves. We’re never stuck for something to keep our place in whatever we happen to be reading.

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WWW Wednesday (Jan 11)

www-wednesdayI used to participate in WWW Wednesday a long time ago, but somewhere along the line I stopped for some reason. It’s a book meme that I really liked because it kind of kept me accountable in my reading. It’s now hosted at Taking on a World of Words and I have decided to give it a go again. Here is what you have to do to participate:

Answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments section the host page for others to look at.

The Three Ws are:

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

Currently Reading: I have three books on the go right now:

  1. Rescuing Jesus: How People of Color, Women, and Queer Christians are Reclaiming Evangelicalism by Deborah Jian Lee. I got this one for Christmas and am slowly making my way through it. It is quite informative and thought-provoking.
  2. Life of the Beloved: Spiritual Living in a Secular World by Henri J.M. Nouwen. This is the second book for this year’s Renovaré Book Club. I’ll be reading it slowly over time and joining in some of the online discussions.
  3. Orkney Twilight by Clare Carson. I discovered this one by chance on the Kobo website when I typed in ‘Orkney’ in the search engine. The price was right and I was intrigued enough by it to give it a go.

Recently Finished:

pyongyangI just finished one book this week. It was a graphic novel I borrowed from the library called Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea by Guy Delisle. It wasn’t too bad, but I was a little disappointed by the tone of the writer.

Up Next:
wenjackdriveI haven’t quite decided yet, but it will either be Wenjack by Joseph Boyden (another of this year’s Christmas gifts) or Drive by James Sallis (borrowed from the library). But then again I might just pick something completely different!

 

 

Teaser Tuesday – Orkney Twilight (Jan 10)

tuesdayTeaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by Ambrosia at The Purple Booker. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Here are my teasers for this week:

orkney-twilightBut that year an insistent north-easterly had churned up the sea, and the ferry had pitched and lurched across the turbulent Pentland Firth. Liz and the girls had stayed below, turning green.

At about 8% of the way through Orkney Twilight by Claire Carson.

Bookmark Monday – Teatime (Jan 9)

bookmark-mondayBookmark Monday is a weekly meme hosted by Aloi from guiltless reading. Take a picture of one of your favourite bookmarks, post it on your blog, and head over to guiltless reading to share a to your post.

I stopped drinking caffeinated coffee about 6 or 7 months ago, so now I drink a lot of tea instead. I used to drink a lot of coffee, probably too much, but I don’t really miss at all these days. I picked up the following tea themed bookmark at our local library last week. The book it is sitting on is one that has been waiting to be read for a few years now. Maybe I need to brew some tea from the teabag sitting on it and finally get started on it!

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My 2017 Reading Challenges

too-busy-to-readAfter deciding that I wanted to sign up for a few different book challenges this year it took me a while to decide which ones I wanted to do. Finding The Master List of 2017 Reading Challenges was a big help, but it was also a hindrance as there were so many great looking challenges to choose from.

In the end I chose the following four challenges and I think I came up with a fairly diverse bunch:

I also signed up of the annual 50 Book Pledge (my profile), where I pledged to read 75 books this year.

I’ll endeavour to post updates of my progress as often as I can. I’m looking forward to a great year of reading.

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