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Monday, June 09, 2008

More to Review

I've got 3 more books to get reviewed (A Fatal Waltz by Tasha Alexander, The House at Riverton by Kate Morton, and Dreamers of the Day by Mary Doria Russell- not as good as Thread of Grace, but still one of my favorite reads this year. Ann of Table Talk recently reviewed Dreamers of the Day).

I'm also in the middle of a mystery and two nonfiction books that I'm enjoying, Dark Summit: The True Story of Everest's Most Controversial Season and Eden's Outcasts: The Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Father.

Then while visiting A Life in Books-- another must have nonfiction: In Beauty May She Walk: Hiking the Applachian Trail at 60. I've always wanted to hike the Appalachian trail, maybe not the entire 2,000+ miles, but a portion of it anyway, so this book may be just what I need to live as Lesley says "vicariously" and maybe for inspiration as well. Thanks, Lesley, for a timely reminder- I've already ordered it.

Listening to NPR this morning, I heard a new term hyper-miling and since gas prices are so high (and with little chance of them going down to last year's prices), I found the idea interesting and did a little further research online. You can google the term and find out more, but here are two interesting articles concerning gas milage benefits and traffic jams & waves.

Now, some of the hyper-milers are extreme; they are actually in competition with other hyper-milers in trying to get more miles per gallon. Not necessarily a bad thing, but certainly not up everyone's alley. Some of the tips offered are worthwhile, however, even though I'm driving much less this year. The article on traffic jams and waves is especially interesting to me as with constant repair work on our local roads and limited routes on our side of the river, traffic jams are frequent and merging often difficult.


  1. I recently saw something on television (sorry, I can't remember what show, maybe CNN?)about hypermilers. It was very interesting. The reporter in the piece rode with a hypermiler as he explained some of his techniques. Some of them were helpful, some were pretty much common sense, and some were downright dangerous. For example, he recommended not using the brake when turning in order to keep your speed up. It was funny in a way, but then I started imagining a lot of people doing this. But, I guess desperate times call for desperate measures.

  2. I recently read the Tasha Alexander book and thought it was very entertaining. I also liked the Kate Morton book, though I've heard some criticisms of it (looking forward to hearing what you think). I still need to read the Russell book! Eden's Outcasts sounds interesting. There seem to be a few books about American authors from this period out right now.

  3. the Appalachian trail book sounds wonderful! I look forward to reading your review.

  4. I'll never be a hypermiler, but I've been making a conscious effort to change my driving habits for the better because gasoline prices are so close to $4 a gallon here in Houston. I take off more smoothly, coast a bit toward stop signs and stop lights when possible (I don't want to get rear-ended by some of the still aggressive types behind me), and stay within the 65 mph freeway speed limits on our freeways.

    Believe me...that is not the way I used to drive. I have seen at least a 3-4 mile per gallon increase since I started keeping track and I could probably do even better, I'll bet.

  5. I agree with you about "Dreamers of the Day' -a very good read, but by her so high standards, not quite the best. I'm still trying to persuade our library to buy the Alcott book. Otherwise it'll have to be a case of talking to the bank manager nicely!

  6. I hope The House at Riverton is good... I have it in my TBR pile! I'll be interested to see what you think of it.

  7. Lisa - I know what you mean-- the extreme hypermilers are a danger of their own, I'm afraid. The common sense aspect was a reminder to me that there are many ways that the practical suggestions could be useful. Maybe there should be hypermiler carpools as well... :)

    Danielle - I did find Fatal Waltz entertaining and thought Morton's book even better. Eden's Outcasts is well written and fascinating!

    Carl - I'm looking forward to reading it!

    Sam - That is really what I came away with - that there are habits that I can change. Maybe if all of us (even those of us who don't think of ourselves as aggressive) make some changes it would be better in a number of ways including increased mpg savings.

    Ann - Yep. You noted that in your review, and I echo it whole-heartedly. Hope your library gets a copy of Eden's Outcasts soon - it is very, very good.

    deslily - I thoroughly enjoyed The House at Riverton and hope you do as well! I need to get that review written.

  8. I enjoyed both Dreamers of the Day and Thread of Grace, but my favorite is still The Sparrow (which I happen to be re-reading right now). I don't remember if you commented, and I'm too lazy to go look, but I have a review for Dreamers, as well as an interview with MDR over on my blog, if you're interested.

    Thanks for the hypermiling links. I don't have to drive very far to work (8 miles roundtrip) and I try to lump all my errands into one large circle once a week, so my tank of gas (in my MiniCooper) lasts close to 4 weeks. I'm still tempted to get a Vespa (the Hondo Metropolitans are cute, but only go between 35-40 mph), but I hate to spend $4-5K when my Mini gets such good mileage. Between my car and my husband's motorcycle, we only spend about $60/month. Of course, that will go up when winter rolls around again.

  9. I really must read The Sparrow. I'll have to check your review of Dreamers of the Day after I write mine. Which had better be soon.

    My attempts to schedule errands never quite works, but right now, at least, most things are very close to home. I have a friend who bought her a Vespa a couple of years ago and then didn't use it as much as she thought she would. Now, however, she scoots around a lot more. I love those MiniCoopers though - for mileage and looks!