Monday, 18 June 2018

"Adulting: How to Become A Grown-up in 468 Each(ish) Lessons" by Kelly Williams Brown

Publisher:New York : Grand Central Pub., 2013.
ISBN: 9781455516902
Characteristics: viii, 273 pages :,illustrations

I was extremely impressed by the wisdom of the advice given in this book. While it is intended primarily to be read by young women and girls, the vast majority of it is applicable to young men and boys as well. Come to think of it I know quite a few older women and men that could benefit from this advice as well.

The 468 steps Ms. Brown lists are all well thought out and very pertinent to today's society. I'm over twice Ms. Browns age, and I wish someone had written a book like this for when I was starting out as I made some blunders, and I'm sure I would have handled things much differently if I'd had access to what should be considered basic information.

In Alberta's high school curriculum a course known as Career And Life Management (CALM) is taught. This book would make a great resource for any teacher preparing lesson plans for this course. Of course minor changes would need to be made, as it is an American book and certain things that are applicable south of the 49th Parallel are different than up here, but they are minor changes.

The book takes you o a journey through such topics such as cooking, getting a job, dealing with money, getting along with people, love, families, and much more. This is definitely a book I'll be recommending to quite a few people.


Monday, 11 June 2018

"Think Like A Freak" by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner

Think Like A Freak

Publisher: Toronto : HarperCollins, [2014]
Edition: First Canadian edition --.
Copyright Date: ©2014
ISBN: 9781443416511
Characteristics: xiii, 268 pages :,illustrations

This book is the third in the the Freakonomics series, and depending on whether you believe the authors or not may be the last. I never reviewed their first book "Freakonomics" as I'd read it a number of years ago before I started doing this reviewing thing, but I did review their second one "Superfreakonomics" in November 2017.

This book was also a delight to read, but it took a somewhat different approach that their previous two. In those books they essentially presented case studies of various things and then analyzed them based on the principals of microeconomics. This book however tells you how to approach new problems and analyze them from this perspective. As I mentioned above the authors sort of hint that this might be the last book in the series, but with all the weird stuff that goes on in the world, I hope it isn't. Their unique outlook on things is very different, and makes you think about what they have to say.

One of my favourite chapters was: "What do King Solomon and David Lee Roth Have in Common?" I'm not going to tell you what it is, but I'm pretty sure the answer will surprise you. The answer also makes me wish I'd taken some microeconomics courses in University.

Once again, just like in "Superfreakonomics" the chapters are relatively long so in order to grasp all that is being presented to you I would suggest you only read one chapter per day so that you have time to think about what they are saying.

Now that I've read this book I think it might be a good idea to reread "Freakonomics" just to remind myself what it was all about. I'll likely review it when I done, even though it will be published out of sequence.

Monday, 4 June 2018

"Colossus and the Crab" by D. F. Jones (1915-1981)

Colossus and the Crab

Published: New York: Berkley Pub. Corp
Year: 1977
ISBN: 0425034674
Other Physical Details: 219 p. ; 18 cm

The third and final book in the Colossus trilogy follows the events of the second book directly (whereas there was a multi-year gap between the events of the first and second). Dr. Charles Forbin is in contact with two representatives from Mars who are not as friendly as they seem. The character of Dr. Blake features quite prominantly in this book but oddly Cleo Forbin is barely mentioned at all, which I found to be a bit of a let down as her part figured highly in "The Fall of Colossus" and was what motivated Forbin to act the way he did.

The title of the book is somewhat misleading, until you get about halfway through and figure out what "the crab" is - no I won't tell you! I half expected the Martian visitors to be crab-like or something, but that was not the case.

Overall this book was an enjoyable read, and the storyline comes to a logical conclusion with no loose ends that I came across. I found Forbin's capitulation to the Martian visitors somewhat odd, as well as his change of heart and revolt as somewhat out of character as the solution that is presented at the end of the book should easily have been thought of earlier, and this would therefore have solved numerous problems.

Monday, 28 May 2018

"The Fall of Colossus" by D. F. Jones (1915-1981)

The Fall of Colossus

Published: New York: Berkley Pub. Corp
Year: 1975
ISBN: 9780425027608
Other Physical Details: 188 p. ; 18 cm

This novel is a continuation of the D. F. Jones' first instalment in the series entitle "Colossus", which was made into the movie "Colossus: The Forbin Project" and reviewed last week.

It takes place five years after the first novel, and by this time two of the character Charles & Cleo are married and have a child. Colossus during this time has grown, and essentially controls the world. There is no more disease, starvation, or war etc. The world is essentially at peace. Around Colossus a cult has arisen that essentially worships him or rather it as a god, and consequently Forbin as pseudo Pope.

The majority of the book revolves around the struggles Forbin has against Colossus, his personal Life, and how to make the two mesh. Another parallel storyline deals with an underground organization that wants to destroy Colossus and return the world to it's previous state as in their opinion there has been no creative thought in the world since the take over.

This book makes a good follow-up to the original, and even though it still has the general mindset prevalent in the mid-70's with regard to women's rights and other such things it is a good read.

Monday, 21 May 2018

"Colossus" by D. F. Jones (1915-1981)


Publisher: Berkley [United States]: 1976
Characteristics:246 pages

I first read this book may years ago, and was fascinated by it and the implications that it mentioned. Since then, some 40 years later a lot of what is mentioned in this novel has come true although not with the sinister implications that the book foretold. Today humans rely on computers to a great extent, and when you consider that this book was written some 20 year before the internet came to be that is pretty good.

The book itself is a good story, and delves a fair bit into human psychology, emotions, etc. It is the first in a trilogy, and I'll be reviewing the other two books in the near future.

This book was made into a movie in 1970 starring Eric Braeden, Susan Clark & Gordon Pinsent. The director Joseph Sargent was quite true to the book, and captured a great deal of the suspense, which makes the movie worth watching as well. The movie is somewhat dated in it's attitudes towards women, etc. but this is the way things were done in the 70's so unless Hollywood decides to remake this movie were are forced to put up with it. This however, is not a plea for Hollywood to remake another movie - please get some original ideas!

While I have no evidence of this I would venture to guess that this book may likely have influenced some screen writers in Hollywood as shows like the Terminator franchise, West World (original movie and series), to name just a few have technology as one of the protagonists in a classic struggle with humankind.

Monday, 14 May 2018

"Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail" by Cheryl Strayed

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail
Publisher:New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2012.
Edition:First edition.
Characteristics: 315 pages :,map ;,25 cm

An amazing book that details the trials of a young woman who hikes the Pacific Crest Trail (Mojave, California to The Bridge of the Gods, Oregon) alone. It details the problems she had, what made her attempt such a trek--and win, and the people she met.

This book is written in a way that grips the reader, and forces them to keep turning those pages. From the first few right through to the end. You hike the trail with her through scorching heat, snow, rain, and in one case a whole lot of frogs. She met quite a few people, some bears, a deer, fox, and a few rattlesnakes but survived her ordeal and was a different person at the end.

This was an excellent read, and I would encourage anybody who is interested in hiking the Pacific Crest Trail to definitely read it before they leave, along with the various guide books on the trail: "The Pacific Crest Trail, Volume 1: California" & "The Pacific Crest Trail, Volume 2: Oregon and Washington". Come to think of it, I think it would be a good book for everyone to read, as it gives a person insight into a whole new world.

Monday, 7 May 2018

"Hunt for Red October" by Tom Clancy (1947-2013)

Hunt for Red October

Publisher:Annapolis, Md. : Naval Institute Press, [1984]
Copyright Date:©1984
ISBN: 9780425240335
Characteristics: 387 pages ;,23 cm

This was Tom Clancey's first novel and as such was well written. He did an extensive amount of research, and developed an interesting plot that keeps the reader in suspense. For those people who have watched the movie, it is quite different as it seems to be typical that Hollywood feels the need to dumb things down for their audiences, as well as eliminate and change others things for no apparent reason.

With that being said this is really the only novel by this author that I have ever really enjoyed, as in later books he tends to get a little preachy on how wonderful the United States is. In this book that works well as it deals to defectors the United States, but in others of the series it simply gets to be too much.

The one thing that tended to irk me a fair bit in the book is that nowhere in it is Canada mentioned. Now considering that the majority of the action takes place off our Eastern coast you'd think that we would at least get a mention, but this doesn't happen. Mind you I wouldn't have expected the author to fabricate facts about our submarine fleet, as we don't really have one, but we could have been mentioned with regard to the Atlantic surface fleet. But, I guess you can't have everything, as I've seen American school textbooks, and Canada is primarily depicted as a barren wasteland north of the 49th parallel. Yes, I'll stop whining now!

Monday, 30 April 2018

"Dinosaurs of the Alberta Badlands" by Dr. W. Scott Persons IV

Dinosaurs of the Alberta Badlands

Publisher:Harbour Publishing, 2018
Edition:First edition
ISBN: 9781550178210
Pages: 144
Includes glossary, index

This book is a great introduction to the world of palaeontology for students, as well as their parents. Dr. Persons spent a great deal of time crafting the text to make it enjoyable to read, and I believe it will delight anybody who picks it up.

The book covers a wealth of topics in an easy to read format, with lots of illustrations (by Dr. Julius Csotonyi) and photographs which help to explain the various topics and concepts. Some of the topics covered include why Alberta is such a perfect place for palaeontology, how fossils are found, how the age of the fossils is determined, how evolution works, how fossils are safely extracted and prepared, and much more.

Interspersed throughout the book he also gives brief biographies of some of the palaeontologists that have worked with him in the Badlands and other parts of Alberta such as Drs. Philip Currie, Angelica Torices, Victoria Arbour, Eric Snively, Michael Burns, and Ryan McKellar. Readers also get to read about various dig sites and find out what is so special about them. Another section examines the various dinosaur species that were common, and are typically found in the Badlands, and other parts of Alberta.

This isn't a large book, but it would be a valuable one for any school library to have in their collection as todays elementary and junior high students are tomorrow's palaeontologists. The final section of the book details what a current students needs to know, and what's they'll need to specialize in if they want to be a palaeontologist.

"Adulting: How to Become A Grown-up in 468 Each(ish) Lessons" by Kelly Williams Brown

Publisher:New York : Grand Central Pub., 2013. ISBN: 9781455516902 Characteristics: viii, 273 pages :,illustrations I was extremely ...