REVIEW: Wide-Open World by John Marshall

I have been on a travel writing kick ever since I had a square for it on my Summer Reading Bingo card last year. That must have been how I ran across Wide-Open World by John Marshall. It was a worthy addition to my current reading obsession!

This was a real life book about doing something kind of crazy that was at the same time relatable. It starts with a couple with two teenagers that is drifting apart. Their marriage isn't terrible, but it's not great, and they feel like they're about to lose their kids to facebook and adulthood. They would love to drop it all, and travel for a year, but aren't sure how to swing it. They realize that by leveraging volunteer work they might be able to swing it.

I'll cut to the chase: these are not self righteous, I'm better than you because I help people instead of traveling types. If you're afraid reading this book will make you feel bad about your next trip to the hotel swimming pool don't be. These are people who initially use volunteer work as a way to help them travel, but who end up being changed for the better by it. This book includes the good, the bad, and the ugly, and that's what makes it so likable.

Other armchair travel I've enjoyed:

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REVIEW: Superforecasting by Philip E. Tetlock and Dan Gardner

I make dumb predictions all of the time. I'll call up my brother in the middle of the day in February and say something like "The Astros are going to be better this year." I'll tell my kids "It's going to snow 8 inches this weekend." These predictions aren't usually based on anything more than some tweet I saw, or the weather forecast I listened to with half an ear. I love to make these kind of predictions even if I don't have any kind of success. Turns out that there are people who have been making predictions as part of an experiment by the author Philip Tetlock, and he's sharing their secrets in his book Superforecasting.

Superforecasting sounds really hard when you first read about it, but this book makes it seem approachable. It's full of tips to approach problems big and small. I especially liked the sections that talked about the project's participants, their backgrounds, and the reasons for their forecasting success.

I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in books about brain science, polling, or decision making. It's a good one!

(Note: Blogging For Books sent me this book, but all opinions are my own.)

REVIEW: The Dinnertime Survival Cookbook

I came across The Dinnertime Survival Cookbook by Debra Ponzek when I was looking for something else at the library. The title brings to mind one of those books that tells you how to survive the apocalypse or a terrorist attack. Dinnertime has invaded us, and it is something we must survive. The book isn't like that though. These aren't quick let's throw something on the table type recipes. They're hey, you have to eat anyway, so why not make it fresh and delicious type recipes.

Just because this isn't a quick cooking cook book doesn't mean that the recipes are complicated. Most have just a handful of ingredients, but they are good and flavorful ingredients. I made the Baked Mac And Cheese the day I brought this cookbook home, and my whole family loved it.

If you're in a cooking rut, struggling with wanting to serve whole foods to your family but need ideas, or want to give a great cookbook as a gift I'd recommend this one!

Other Great Cook Books For Busy Families:

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Five Facts I Never Knew About the Wright Brothers

I started listening to the audiobook version of David McCullough's The Wright Brothers, and I'm hooked. It's the kind of audiobook that has you driving around aimlessly just so you can listen to it a little bit longer. I'm amazed that there is so much that I didn't know about these famous brothers. Here are my top five favorite new to me facts about the Wright Brothers:

  1. We think of them as geniuses, but at the time most people thought they were crazy.
  2. They lived in a tent while they built the first plane.
  3. They learned to fly from watching birds.
  4. They gave leftover plane material to a local to make dresses for her daughter.
  5. There was a Wright sister, and she was awesome.

If you love this book, you might also like:

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