Saturday, May 24, 2008

Eats, Shoots and Leaves ~ by Lynne Truss, 2004

Last year, I mentioned this book in a post about grammar and punctuation, but I didn't think of making it a "real" book review. Here's what I said:

Does bad grammar make you [sic]? Me, too. To read an editor's post about misused quotation marks, followed by her readers' comments on bad grammar, click here:

After you read that, get yourself a copy of Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation by Lynne Truss. The book is hilarious!

To teach a class on grammar and punctuation I used a program called "I saw a dollar walking down the street." Don't you just want to ask, "Which way was it going?"

So now, belatedly, here's a review of the book.

Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation by Lynne Truss was published in 2003 in Great Britain, followed by the American edition in 2004. It's nonfiction, of course, and sounds terribly boring because it's about punctuation. But it isn't at ALL boring, I promise.

I'm adding this larger picture of the book's cover so you can see that the panda on the ladder is painting out (whiting out) that comma between "Eats" and "Shoots." (Click to enlarge the picture.) The title comes from information about pandas, that a panda "eats shoots and leaves." Bamboo shoots, that is, and bamboo leaves. If you put a comma where it doesn't belong, it appears that the panda eats (something), then shoots (notice the gun in the other panda's paw), and leaves (the scene of the crime). Gotta be careful about those commas. Wow, they can really change the meaning of a sentence!

I already wrote that the book is hilarious, so you know I had fun reading it. For that reason I give it a high rating.

Rated: 9/10, an excellent book.

When bloggers meet ...

... "lunch" with June and her friend from Atlanta turned into five hours of talking and sharing. This photo of us was taken at the Back Inn Cafe in Chattanooga's Art District, where we started with lunch. June's the trim and fit one on the right. Next, a hop across the river to the Northshore, where Susan and I met in August (see First face-to-face meeting with an old friend).

We visited Coolidge Park (where we rode the carousel and watched children play in the interactive fountain, shown below), A Novel Idea (which is a bookstore on the Northshore), New Moon Gallery (where we delighted in perusing the great bumper stickers available), and Greenlife Grocery (where they bought cheese for later). June and her friend aren't through with the Northshore yet; tomorrow they plan to see Coolidge Park from above when they cross Chattanooga's walking bridge. We may have met face-to-face for the first time today, but it became clear that we're old friends after all. June's blog is Spatter.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Read All About It! ~ by Laura Bush and Jenna Bush, 2008

Read All About It! ~ by Laura Bush and Jenna Bush, 2008, picture book, 7/10

Tyrone doesn't "prefer" books until one day during story hour he actually listens and discovers he likes it. Characters from the books begin to come alive, but the way the story is written, it's not exactly clear how "alive" they are. For example, "Jasper -- a real ghost -- appeared." A real ghost? Then Ben Franklin "stepped into our classroom, flying a kite" and "a fire-breathing dragon flew in the window." When a pudgy pig sat down next to Tyrone on the reading carpet (see the book's cover), it wasn't as a character from the story Miss Libro was reading to the class. No, this pig ate school lunches and had to be taught manners. When the characters step out of character (pun intended), it isn't clear that they only "come alive" within their OWN stories.

The point of the book, though, is that Tyrone does learn that books are more interesting than he had realized. It's for that reason that I rate the book as highly as I do.

Rated: 7/10, a good book

Note: Cady hasn't seen the book yet, but I have sent her an email telling her that I have it for her. Look for Cady's review in the near future.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Kersplatypus ~ Cady's review

This 2003 photo from Taronga Zoo in Sydney shows the world's first platypus twin puggles born in captivity. Cute, aren't they? Well, maybe not, but definitely interesting. Kersplatypus is a picture book by Susan K. Mitchell about a lost baby platypus who became a person of interest to Brushtail Possum, Kookaburra, Wallaby, Blue-Tongued Skink, and Old Bandicoot. Setting out on a walkabout, they tried to figure out where he belonged.

The possum noticed fur on his body and claws on his toes and decided he must belong in a tree. When he tried to climb a tree, he fell KERSPLAT. Kookaburra noticed the webbed feet and duck bill and thought he should fly, but when he tried that ... you guessed it ... KERSPLAT, once again. And so it went, with the various creatures trying to help the funny looking animal. When they came to water, however, the little creature was at home. He splished and splashed and dipped and dove ... and saw something familiar swimming his way. "Mama!" cried Platypus.

Cady, my granddaughter and assistant book reviewer, sent me two reviews at the same time, back in April. First she reviewed And Tango Makes Three (short and sweet), and then she tackled Kersplatypus. From what she wrote***, I'd say she likes the book, wouldn't you?

(Click to enlarge the pages.)

Though Cady didn't mention the educational section in the back of the book, I know she read it. That's where children, parents, and teachers can find
Fun facts about platypuses

Information about all these animals: platypus (fur and duck-like bill), brushtail possum (fur and prehensile tail), kookaburra (feathers), wallaby (fur), blue-tongued skink (scaly skin), and bandicoot (fur)

Animal classification: bird, mammal, reptile, fish, amphibian, or insect

Discussion questions, such as "Who were the animals that were most helpful to the baby platypus?"
Kersplatypus ~ by Susan K. Mitchell, 2008, picture book for children
Rated: 9/10, an excellent book

*** In case you have trouble reading Cady's pages or can't enlarge them, here's what she wrote:
Cady's Book Review:

By: Susan K. Mitchell.
Illustrated By: Sherry Rogers.
I thought that the
story was so interresting
I felt like I was the
platypus in the story.
Or I could of felt like
one of the platypus
es friends. The blue
tounge skink would
laugh, laugh, laugh
every time the
platypus would mess
up trying to find
his home. I am
truely amazed by
this book that I want
everyone who reads
this letter to read
read, read till you
feel that you are
becomming the
charecter in your

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Paul Von Ward

Hi Bonnie,

I have just linked your blogspot to the Reincarnation Experiment under the Book Review section. If you post the photo of us on your site, I'll also add it to the website.

Thanks again for your time and attention to this book, Paul

Paul Von Ward

The trouble with asking someone to take a photo with my cell phone is that they don't always know what they are doing ... even when I explain. If you think that top photo was bad, look at the one at the bottom. Two fuzzy photos from Saturday, when I met Paul Von Ward. (Paul, don't bother uploading these; we can try again the next time we meet.)

I reviewed his book The Soul Genome on Saturday before going to hear him speak at a meeting of CHIONS, The Chattanooga Institute of Noetic Science.

Friday, May 9, 2008

The Soul Genome ~ by Paul Von Ward, 2008

Title, author, copyright date, and genre?
The Soul Genome: Science and Reincarnation ~ by Paul Von Ward, 2008, speculative science

Summarize the book
Paul Von Ward attempts to show that reincarnation can and should be studied scientifically and not as an offshoot of New Age spirituality or religion. Right off the bat I have a problem trying to categorize this book. offers these category strings:

1. Religion and Spirituality > New Age > Reincarnation
2. Science > History and Philosophy
Interesting. How many books have you read that are categorized as both Religion and Science?

Share some quotes from the book

"This book's hypothesis posits that an infant begins life with its past-life legacy. With it as a foundation, the infant interacts with its new environment and social network to create its own unique contribution to the ongoing process of evolution" (p. 78).

"[T]he complete set of physical patterns existing at the moment of death would comprise the legacy genotype that reappears the moment of the next conception" (p. 84).

"I believe the evidence suggests that ... the learning from previous lives provides each of us with an innate legacy to build upon. It does not matter who or what we might have been in a previous life. We cannot change that. What really matters is to consciously develop in this one the legacy each of us would like for his or her soul genome ... to energetically transfer into a new-human form" (p. 205).
What do you think will be your lasting impression of this book?
Von Ward pulled together a number of cases where people living today seem to have many attributes of people who lived in the past. Not only were their interests the same or similar, but even physical features had imprinted on the current incarnation of a soul. The author argues that we have a soul genome by which we inherit traits from our former lives, as well as the chromosomes that transmit physical traits from our biological parents. His argument is interesting, for the most part, but I still haven't figured out why it matters.

Would you recommend it?
Mentioning every example in his experiment every time he delved into another aspect of his theory began to get tedious, especially since I was having a hard time remembering all the details of each case that I'd read in bits and pieces throughout the book. I think The Soul Genome would have been more readable if he had followed all angles of the theory through one case at a time. I enjoyed reading his book Our Solarian Legacy (2001) more, but if you are interested in reincarnation, you should take a look at this one.

How would you rate this book?
Rates 8/10, a very good book.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Cady reading ~ And Tango Makes Three

It's taken me two and a half weeks to remember I have a photo of Cady reading And Tango Makes Three, which I had intended to use with her review of the book. Duh! However, since I've been so involved with other things that I haven't gotten anything posted here since her review, I guess I'll forgive myself. Want to see what I've been doing? Here's part of it:

This is the "before" photo of gardening in my postage-stamp-sized bit of earth, and I'll post an "after" photo when I finish edging and filling it in with good dark soil. It's "dirty" work, but somebody's got to do it!