Adventures In Books – August 2017 Edition

Not all adventures happen in far-off lands, sometimes they happen while sitting on the couch enjoying a good book.

These aren’t meant to be in-depth, full reviews that you can find on Goodreads or Amazon or elsewhere. These are my takes on some books I have finished recently, They are meant as my own logbook (much like this site has been in the past). If you know me and know what I like, I hope you find the reviews helpful in your own reading adventures.

THE SIXTH EXTINCTION – By Elizabeth Kolbert

The Sixth Extinction is not your happy-ever-after story but neither is it all doom and gloom. I found the book on a list Bill Gates put out and figured the guy appreciates great writing and isn’t into crap. Or at least he doesn’t post about it.

It also won a Pulitzer Prize, which is a safe bet when looking for good writing. The book delivers level-headed views on the history of extinctions on our planet and puts our current decrease in biodiversity diversity in the frame of lager events.

You might have guessed that she pins a lot of what’s happening in the natural world to what we humans are doing as we twiddle about from here to there and consume, as all animals do. What I found eye-opening were her remarks on how the ease of travel, and of which flora and fauna hitch rides (purposefully or by accident), is working toward decreasing variety and virtually brings the physically separated continents back to one.

The book is not thick and she keeps the scientific aspect on a solid level; not too dumb and not too over-the-head. I appreciate that, even though I was forced to look up a number of words, which, to me, is good in a book. It expanded my knowledge. I realize it also might make me even more of a bore at parties, spouting off facts about this bat or that frog dying off. Or that there used to be no mosquitoes in Hawaii.

Light on specific solutions (it’s not meant to be that kind of book) but long on background, footnotes and a full index, the scientifically curious among you will enjoy this book. The chapters are independent, although there is a little past-referencing near the end, making it easy to chew through a chapter and maybe pick up that delicious Summer novel you started. Return as often as you like and you’re not lost.

Find it at Powell’sAmazon or at your local library.


A good Summer book. Although I had lent it out and spent about six months between starting it and finishing, I was able to dive back in thanks to memorable characters. I also tend to like stories with less rather than more characters, especially when the author fills them in.

The story circles around a bookshop owner in Paris (I know, obvious at first) but most of the story takes place as he travels south through France to confront his past. His bookshop happens to be a barge, a working barge and with the help of a couple of companions acquired along his path, Perdu, the lead character, is able to work through what he has avoided confronting for over two decades.

It’s a story of love and loss and dealing with crap like that. It’s romanic but not mushy and hits on themes a lot of us have encountered at least once or twice in our lives.

The Little Paris Bookshop is also a happy read. All ends well (which is not a spoiler, as you can’t see the end from the beginning and you’ll probably forget all about this review when you get to the end) so if you’re looking for something medium-bodied and a little soulful, this should do the trick. If you like books there are discussions that you will enjoy referencing. If you like traveling in France, you’ll love this book’s view from the rivers and canals (and a little bit of the Southern Coast).

Thanks to my wife for turning me onto this one. She’s like Bill Gates, but better.

Find it at Powell’sAmazon or your local library.

Look for more book reviews as I finish what’s on my shelf.

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