Pillars of Literacy: Orcas Issues’ Book Reviews

Literacy, the pillar of our culture and community

Literacy, the pillar of our culture and community

Orcas Issues recognizes the bedrock value of literacy — writing and reading words woven into a unique and rich picture of others’ thoughts and experiences. For this reason, we’re adding a book review feature to Orcas Issues, and invite our readers and contributors to submit their reviews to this important “corner” of our world.

We recently read the following by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, British poet and critic (1772-1834) regarding the habits of readers and thought you’d enjoy his observations:

Readers may be divided into four classes:
1. Sponges, who absorb all that they read and return it in nearly the same state, only a little dirtied.
2. Sand-glasses, who retain nothing and are content to get through a book for the sake of getting through the time.
3. Strain-bags, who retain merely the dregs of what they read.
4. Mogul diamonds, equally rare and valuable, who profit by what they read, and enable others to profit by it also.

As always, your comments are appreciated.

Recent Book Reviews:

  • Winter Reading: What the White House is Reading Journalist's classic, ironically titled The Best and the Brightest February 7, 2017 –by Marc Tracy of the New York Times — On the day after Christmas, I was walking through Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport when I caught sight of a slightly rumpled man waiting for a flight. He seemed familiar, the way figures in dreams do. It was, I thought, Stephen K. Bannon, who had been named chief strategist to Donald J. Trump after serving as his campaign’s chief executive. When the man put on a Barbour jacket, ...
  • Maurine Talks Books | Hard at Work August 1, 2016 — from Maurine Bennett — Like many of you, I have been on vacation during this past month, hence the lag time in posting a new blog. But carpenters are pounding away on the lot next door, rebuilding a neighbor’s home, which reminds me that many people work harder in the summer than at any other time of year.  The pounding also reminds me of the years I spent as a laborer and carpenter apprentice myself.  Work is ...
  • To Protect and Serve | A Review of Norm Stamper’s Book June 1, 2016 PART 2: THE REVIEW — by Lin McNulty — As I read and review Orcas Islander Norm Stamper’s new book, To Protect and Serve: How to Fix America’s Police (Nation Books, 2016), the media is reporting that Edward Nero, the second Baltimore police officer to stand trial in the Freddie Gray case, was found not guilty of all charges in connection with Gray’s death in 2015. Nero, 30, was charged with second-degree intentional assault, reckless endangerment, and two counts of misconduct ...
  • Orcas Islander Norm Stamper Talks About Policing May 31, 2016 PART 1: THE INTERVIEW — by Lin McNulty — A litany of victim names, dates, cities, as well as the names of shooters, effortlessly, yet painfully, roll off his tongue like so much harsh vinegar. Norm Stamper is passionate and concerned about how his former career has progressed into the current para-military state across the nation. Following 34 years of service (culminating in positions as police chief in San Diego and Seattle), Stamper’s area of expertise, his passion, his life ...
  • Maurine Talks Books | Fashionable May 25, 2016 — from Maurine Bennett — Growing up with a fashionable mother who designed and made most of her own clothing (and ours), I had no choice but to adopt a love of textiles, clothing design and sewing from an early age. My alter-ego is a fashion designer, I am quite sure.  So I collect coffee table books about sewing and fashion, embellish and restyle vintage clothing, still read Vogue magazine, and think a vacation should always include a ...
  • MaurineTalksBooks: Black Lives Matter February 14, 2016 — from Maurine Barnett, MaurineTalksBooks.com — Growing up in a small, WASPy town, I had no idea of what slavery was, and what black lives were like until I read Uncle Tom’s Cabin in sixth grade. It had a profound impact on me, and I began to support the civil rights movement in the 1960s. There are so many amazing writers of the black experience; I feel I have only begun to scratch the surface. I have already ...
  • MaurineTalksBooks Highlights the Best Books of 2015 January 4, 2016 — from Maurine Barnett, MaurineTalksBooks.com — This is the time of year that every newspaper, web site, magazine, and public radio station announces their “favorite books of the year”, so who am I to not chime in with my opinion, too? More of my favorite reads this past year (not all were published in 2015) are non-fiction, but there are a couple of standouts in the fiction category too. My reviews of each are shorter this month, so ...
  • Gov. Jay Inslee Talks Reading July 25, 2015 — by Valerie Easton for Crosscut.com — Jay Inslee is a home-grown governor. His Dad was a biology teacher at Garfield and Sealth high schools, and Inslee’s first foray into public service was when he fought for a new public high school during the years he lived near Yakima. Our 23rd governor went to Ingraham High School and the University of Washington, then attended Willamette University to earn his law degree. He lives on Bainbridge Island. Are ...
  • Maurine Talks Books: Languid Summer Reads July 11, 2015 — from MaurineTalksBooks.com — Like so many of you, I particularly treasure the long, languid summer days here in the northern latitudes. Daylight comes as early as 4am, and lingers until around 10pm. Perfect weather for savoring the long novels I have been meaning to read all year. Sometimes I read outside in the garden, sometimes on my bed with the windows open and a sweet breeze flowing through. The author must sweep me into another ...
  • Book Reviews: Horse Stories to Inspire March 7, 2015 — by Maurine Barnett, from MaurineTalksBooks.com — This month, reviewer Maurine Barnett presents her choices for books about horses. She says in her introduction: “I missed the phase of life known as pre-teen-girl-becomes-horse-crazy. Well, I am finally and happily blooming into that phase at almost 70, after moving to a new location where rescued horses and donkeys come with the property.” Horse Heaven, by Jane Smiley In case ...

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