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By aaron.axvig, 6 January, 2022

I found this book on in a bookcase at work and spent the second half (and then some) of my lunch break reading it.  The story of Marty is great, to the point, and tugs at the heartstrings--a good reminder to do a little better and care about people.

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By aaron.axvig, 29 December, 2021

The first thing that hooked me about this book is that it that the author farms just outside of Bismarck.  Local connection!  I had never heard of him or the farm, but Anna was given the book by someone so we threw it on the bookshelf to read eventually.  Then we happened to see Gabe at the recent Pride of Dakota exhibition and said we already had the book, which he had on display.  I bought some horseradish beef sticks from him (actually were not amazing tasting...) and made a mental note to read the book soon.

So I brought the book to read over Christmas vacation and it was a great read.  It was very interesting to read about advanced or maybe even "hippy" farming techniques.  Never have I felt such desire to buy some destitute land and spend 15 years bringing it back to life--hopefully that fades rapidly!  I have limited knowledge of the other side of the story (traditional farming) so it would be interesting to hear that perspective.  But everything in this book does seem to make sense.

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By aaron.axvig, 12 October, 2021

Ehhh...let's just say I mostly agree with the two or three out of five reviews.  At 40% I was reasonably certain I wouldn't finish the book, but I guess I just needed a little break (also motivated to finish a book to mark that goal off of my list).

This book is notably lacking of interesting science concepts.  Also, I can't remember anything truly interesting about the ways in which the alternate history deviates from real history.

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By aaron.axvig, 30 September, 2020

As I am a former employee of the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation, both summers during college and 4.5 years full time, this book told some stories I had heard already but also filled in a lot of very interesting history that I knew very little about.  I really should have read it while I still worked in Medora.  I would also recommend it--more mildly but still--to residents of Bismarck who are interested in history.  Relatedly, my occasional search queries about the book led me to stumble upon readnd.org which seems like a nice resource for finding books related to North Dakota.

The biography is well split in topics between personal and Gold Seal.  Likewise the balance in coverage of Harold's two marriages is good.  The almost entirely linear narration means that cuts to a backstory (a literary device that I find quite annoying) are graciously kept to a minimum, and I enjoyed the frequent foreshadowing at section and chapter ends.  Though there were a few that I couldn't figure out even with my substantial existing knowledge-base.

I'll say that my great rating does include that the topics covered are of great interest to me, and for the average person it would probably be ranked as a good biography.

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By aaron.axvig, 3 August, 2020

These stories and thoughts of the author's travels around the western US capture the experience of long-distance motorcycle riding in an incredibly great way.  I found myself nodding in agreement so often, having had many of the same thoughts, encounters, and feelings on my trips.

A lot of the writing is very good--so expressive, yet there are a few instances where some camp or amateurishness pokes through.  I guess many editors would fix that, but would it lose some authenticity in the process?  I think so, and I think overall the result is great.

There are philosophical sections, and the first thing that comes to mind when I heard motorcycles combined with philosophy is Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.  I recommend Freedom's Rush 100x more unless you are a philosophy major.  Long ramblings about Phaedrus are out and replaced with relatively simple wonderings and views inside the author's head.  That's all I need.  And the ratio of motorcycle to philosophy is much better too.

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By aaron.axvig, 27 July, 2020

A book of many very short chapters with positive messages.  Willie gives lots of uncontroversial advice, mostly along the lines of be kind, let others be, enjoy life, etc.  A chapter about biodiesel was a bit out of touch when it comes to practicality.

While this is not a full biography or anything, it does discuss a lot of his past.  So now I know at least a little history about Willie.

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By aaron.axvig, 26 July, 2020

A pretty interesting history of the early days of science fiction, centered around the magazine Astounding.  I would have rated it fairly boring but as I became more familiar with the characters it became more engaging.  Admittedly, some of the most interesting was when it got into the forming days of dianetics and Scientology.  I say "admittedly" because I regard these as trash topics and don't really think that it is worthwhile to spend time learning about them, but it seems that I the same inner urges as most do to rubber-neck that wreck.

Reading this did make me want to go back and read some of the discussed works.  I have already read the main three parts of Asimov's Foundation stuff, and Heinlein's Starship Troopers.  I should probably go for a couple of the latter's other Hugo winners.  Also it made me want to see what the old pulp magazines were like.  The Internet Archive does have some that I might read through, but I think I am almost as interested in the physical details as in the contents.  So I may pick up a year of them sometime for $50 or so on eBay.  It would also just be interesting to have some old stuff like that.

 

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By aaron.axvig, 19 July, 2020

Pretty short as it only took me 20 minutes to read, but I guess worth signing up to the mailing list to get for free.  It is just a prologue to the Quantum series.

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By aaron.axvig, 18 July, 2020

Great for the price I paid, which is free since I signed up for the Kindle Unlimited free trial (and set a calendar reminder to cancel it).  Hey, there are a lot of books that I won't even read for free so this is still a compliment.

Good pacing and very nice mix of real quantum theory with some made up stuff, and an accompanying final "chapter" that tells you exactly what was real and not.  There were some hints at time things in the story which the third book Quantum Time will surely get deeper into.

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