Spy Secrets That Can Save Your Life by Jason Hanson


Publisher: Perigee Books
Copyright: 2015
ISBN: 9780399175145

This was a rather interesting books to read, and not one I would normally pick up however I was ding some research for a story and needed some material for one of my characters who is a reluctant spy. The book itself definitely has a lot of practical information, but it is geared towards an American audience, as a number of the tips and suggestions would be illegal up here in Canada.

The author Jason Hanson is an ex-CIA officer and has assuredly seen and been involved in some rather disturbing incidents, some of which he relates in this book. He goes into a lot of detail about topics of survival intelligence such as being adaptable, being self-reliant, not being a hero, how movement can save your life, your perception of a situation, establishing what is normal so you will know when something is wrong, and being aware of situations). This last topic he devotes entire chapter to as it is important.

He then talks about making an escape and evasion kit, how to escape from various situations, criminal proofing your home, and travelling safely. Other topics include counter surveillance, social engineering, detecting people who are lying to you, disappearing, driving, and defending yourself.

As mentioned some of the information he gives would only be applicable in the United States such as going around armed, carrying concealed weapons, etc. So depending on where you live some of this information may not of any use to you. On the other hand the information that is not weapons based would be valuable to virtually anybody.

He makes a number of references to his website, however it doesn't seem to be too up-to-date as there are a number of broken links.

All in all a very interesting book.


"A Brief History of Black Holes and why Nearly Everything You Know About Them is Wrong" by Becky Smethurst


Publisher: McMillan
Copyright: 2022
ISBN: 9781529086706

This book is an excellent overview of the history and current state of knowledge of Astronomy, Astrophysics, and black holes in particular. It is well written, very informative, and should appeal to many readers.

Dr. Smethurst takes the reader on a historical as well as contemporary look at how black holes were discovered, and the people who did the discovering. She also takes the reader on an astrophysical journey that explains numerous other concepts that are barely touched on in a lot of other books.

Her first book "Space at the Speed of Light: The History of 14 Billion Years for People Short on Time" I reviewed back in November 2021, and this book is a great companion that will hopefully lead numerous students towards careers in astronomy and astrophysics.

Highly recommended, a great addition to any library.


"The Hitchhikers Guide the Galaxy" by Douglas Adams (1952-2001)

Publisher: Pan Books
Copyright: 1979
ISBN: 0330258648

It started off as a BBC Radio program and has since grown into a phenomena that millions have heard about and read.

The story for those who haven't read it revolves around Arthur Dent who woke up one morning to find his house was going to be demolished, this was generally speaking the least of his worries, as a few minutes after it happened the Earth ceased to exist as it was in the way of a hyperspatial bypass.

Dent along with a friend by the name of Ford Prefect hitch a ride off Earth just in time and have a number of rather amazing adventures as they do their utmost to survive.

This book has been described by some as the blueprint for humorous science fiction, and I believe this designation is well deserved.

So grab your towel, get yourself a nice hot cup of tea, and sit back and relax.

But Don't Panic!


"Minimalism: live a meaningful life" by Joshua Fields Melbourne and Ryan Nicodemus


Publisher: Asymmetrical Press
Copyright: 2016
ISBN: 9780615648224

I stumbled across the concept of minimalism while on YouTube and it seemed like an interesting concept and one that has worked for many people. With this in mind I picked up the book minimalism by Joshua Fields Melbourne and Ryan Nicodemus to see what it was all about.

While this book does address the concept of minimalism to a point it is not the main focus of the book at least as far as I can tell. It is more of an explanation and an exploration of how these two men became minimalists. Both were were employed in the corporate world and earning six-figure incomes but we're extremely unhappy with their lives, and this book details how they made changes to their life. Unfortunately it doesn't really have a whole lot to do with minimalism for somebody who is trying to investigate the concept. They do refer to their website a fair bit minimalists.com and I think this is where you should go to find more in-depth information.

It was however a very interesting book to read, and I would recommend it to anybody who is searching for a change in their life, or possibly their career etc.


"Sacred Origins of Profound Things: The stories behind the rites and rituals of the world's religions" by Charles Panati


Publisher: Penguin 
Copyright: 1996
ISBN: 0140195335

Sacred Origins is an interesting book to read that goes into a lot of detail about the origins, rights, rituals and general beliefs of the various major religions in the world. It concentrates primarily on Christianity with Judaism second and a little bit of Islam thrown in for good measure.

The detail covered in this book is quite amazing actually it starts off with talking about popular piety which are things such as prayer postures, etc. It goes on to talk about the various heavenly hosts, then wise words which is all about moral codes. Mr. Panati then talks about the actual rights and rituals, feasts and festivals, the saints and their bones, celestial persona, marriage, evil, things you shouldn't shouldn't do, the various religious realms, and acts of faith.

As I said earlier it is an interesting book to read, but i believe it could do with a second edition as it is 27 years old. Since this time we have gone through many events such as 9-11 and other crises that have stemmed from religion.

All in all an excellent book, and one that should be more widely read by a lot of people I believe.



Publisher: Del Rey
Copyright: 1990
ISBN: 0345358074

"Dark hand…" Is the third book in the Sun Wolf trilogy, and complements the other two books very well. In this installment sun wolf is still on this quest to find a teacher to help him with his magic, however the teacher he finds wants to enslave him rather than teach him. Sun Wolf therefore has to find this teacher, prevent him from enslaving him, and hopefully learn from him. Not an easy task.

To add to this, Sun Wolf's old mercenary troop contacts him as they are in the middle of a campaign, but seem to be hexed in such a way that nothing goes right for them.

Once again this is a very good addition to the trilogy, and while Miss Hambly didn't write any further stories in the series she does leave it open at the end so that it Sun Wolf and Starhawk could come back.


"How to Find Out Anything: from extreme Google searches discovering government documents…" By Don MacLeod


Publisher: Prentice Hall Press
Copyright: 2012
ISBN: 9870735204676

This book is an extremely interesting guide to various forms of information that are available to pretty much everybody, but which very few people know about.

Mr. McLeod starts off talking about how to think like a researcher, then goes into the realm of Google, does two chapters on libraries, then moves onto associations, finding people, information on companies, the public records, and concludes with a chapter and putting it all together.

I found this to be an extremely interesting and useful book however, it is based pretty much entirely on the United States and no other countries are really mentioned except in passing. In addition it is now 11 years old, so definitely needs to be revised and updated.

However it is still a valuable resource for any beginning researcher, as long as they understand that things will be different in other countries such as resources, contact information, what is available in the public record, etc.


The Witches of Wenshar by Barbara Hambly


Publisher: Del Rey
Copyright: 1987
ISBN: 0345329341

"The witches…" follows directly timewise after the Ladies of Mandrigyn and once again is following the ex-mercenary Sun Wolf and is ex-lieutenant and now lover Starhawk in his quest to be trained in the magic he has acquired. Unfortunately Sun Wolf's luck has not really been a blessing to him, as he hears of a wizard named Kaletha who has supposedly found a series of books written by the witches of Wenshar, but who specialized in summoning and controlling demons for their evil machinations.

Suddenly people around sun wolf, Starhawk, Kaletha begin dying, or rather being murdered rather gruesomely and of course Sun Wolf is blamed.

This is a very good book that is the second part of the of the Sun Wolf trilogy. It has been many years since I first read this series, and I had forgotten a lot about it so it was very good to be able to remind myself of how well it had been written, and plotted.

Well worth the read.

Spy Secrets That Can Save Your Life by Jason Hanson

  Publisher: Perigee Books Copyright: 2015 ISBN: 9780399175145 This was a rather interesting books to read, and not one I would normally pic...