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Welcome to Utopia: Notes from a Small Town

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The author spent what must have been most of a year stying with the small town of Utopia to learn its characters. The resut seems to be a pretty realistic insight into the daily lives of the people who live there.This place is close to where I live and have grown up and I think the place was accurately reported, although I did not know the actualindividuals she wrote about.This is a very good look into small-town Texas ife in my opinion.
Dragonflies and Damselflies of the West

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Paulson has done an excellent job with both his eastern and western versions of his reference to dragonflies and damselflies. Organization, illustrations, and cross-referencing is very good.Both books have an introductory part, explaining overall basics of these insects. Both also have a general natural history section.After these sections, the references go through each species with text, range maps, flight season, good diagnostic photos, and more. The index is also very good.I gave my versions slightly less than a 5-star rating only because of the book binding. These are large heavy texts and would have been better produced in a standard hardback construction than the paperback versions I was able to find when I purchased them.Both the eastern and western references are very well worth having regardless of binding.
Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl: Written by Herself

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This is a good story and reads like an autobiography. The author conveys well the over-reaching ethical decadence and depravity caused by slavery as it interfered with her life, family, and friends for many decades. Unfortunately this version has illustrations on the cover and embedded within it that are completely unrelated to the story. One illustration, page 232 cannot be read even with a jeweler's headband, very poor illustrations. The author's name is in fine print in the introduction and on page 251 instead of somewhere on the cover, dust kacket, binding, or with the publishing information or title page. There is a lot about a person named Bob Carruthers both inside the book, and on the dust cover, complete with an Academy Award picture, apparently belonging to Bob Carrutheres. I find all this Bob Carruthers promotion a distraction from the real author, so I give this version ony 4 stars, not more.
The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner's Dilemma

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Good exciting story at adolescent level. Good characters, good ethics in the good characters, emphasizes teamwork to accomplish difficult goals.
Holes

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Great plot, good characters. Author builds in a lot of plot conclusion and irony at the end of the book.
To Kill A Mockingbird: Enhanced Edition

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This book is boring. I could not get past the first 50 pages. After the umpteenth time the boys run up to someone's front door and bang on it or leave a note, I lost interest. That is not good writing style.
The Highest Frontier

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This is a wel constructed plot of a very interesting fictional futue. The science fiction part is both technological communication, and biolological evolution. This is superimposed on an earth whose climate change and environmental degredation have continued to progress to nearly unlivable conditions. The plot is sprinkled with good characters who mostly try to improve the quality of life for their friends, community and school.The author had a good deal of knowledge of ecology, ecolgical trends, and biology prior to constructing the plot and then the story. The author has also continued the trend in increased partsan politics polarized citizen philosophies and increased college cost trends and the trend in single source media. With this background, the book is very believable and exciting to read.
Denial: Self-Deception, False Beliefs, and the Origins of the Human Mind

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This is an important and well documented book. It is the psychological evolution equivalent to Darwin's anatomical evolution theory.The documentation all along the way, is thorough and peer-reviewed.The author shows that our ability to think complex thoughts and to be aware of others did not parallel our anatomical evolution. His explanation of when and how we developed complex thought is not intuitive but seems proven. For this reason, the book should be read by most people.The author has delved in some of the human characteristics that David Brooks explained in his "The Social Animal" but extended greatly the detailed knowledge of how our thoughts are formed and processed.Decision makers who read this book, along with David Brook's book, will make better decisions.Sociable people will better understand their co-workers, friends and aquaintences.Sadly, there are no pictures or cartoons in the book as the subject matter doesn't lend itself well to that.
Impossible Odds: The Kidnapping of Jessica Buchanan and Her Dramatic Rescue by SEAL Team Six

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This memoir of teaching impoverished kids, being kidnaped, being a captive, and being rescued is well written and hard to put down once started. The author provides a very detailed glimpse into life in such impoverished places and the difficulty involved in helping the people in those areas create order out of chaos. Later in the book the author conveys what it is like to be in extended captivity, and the impressive ability of our military's ability to rescue Americans.
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