Sunday, 28 June 2015

A Must Read For History Buffs

 
This book is hands down one of the best biographies I have read. Warren Kozak has done a masterful job in creating this highly readable book on the life of Curtis Lemay.

I must say I have had this book for a while putting it on the back burners as I thought it might be a bit of heavy reading. After blowing away the cobwebs I was very quickly drawn into the life of one of the most misunderstood and maligned American Generals of the 20th Century.

I like many thought this man to be a megalomaniac hell bent on bombing the World back into the “stone ages”. What I found was a very intelligent man with great analytical minds who lead from the front and changed the face of aerial bombing for ever.

I have taken many a lesson away from this book and now have a completely different via of the man. This book is for anyone with an interest in the modern air force and is a very accessible book. In my humble opinion this book is history writing at its finest.
 
5 Stars

Monday, 22 June 2015

Deadly Obsession

 
The Lost City of Z tells a cautionary tale of obsession and the search for the fable Lost City of Z. The author does a great job of mixing the past and the here and now to deliver a spellbinding read.

I came into this book with not much knowledge on the exploration of the Amazon and was fascinated by the stories told. I had no idea about the Fawcett and the legend that had developed around him and his disappearance.

I must say that after reading about the hardships faced by those entering the Amazon it is the last placed I want to go to. So I shook my head in disbelief as the author set out to chase down the fate of Fawcett and finally find a conclusion in the deadly jungle.

The end of the book for me came a little abruptly but the revelation was staggering. Overall this book is an excellent read and the author has done a great bit of investigative writing.
 
3 Stars

Monday, 15 June 2015

The Master Returns

 
The Border sees yet another fantastic piece of writing from Robert McCammon. Once again he drops us into a post-apocalyptic world in which humankind is just surviving. Two battling alien races have all but destroyed the planet and have scant regard for those occupying it.
It is into this world we are thrown head first and it does not take long for the story to take hold of you. The character development is well balanced and does not get in the way of the tale being told. A tale that is well thought out that easily picks up and takes the reader along for the ride.

As an audiobook production I could not fault the reading. Fred Berman does a great job narrating and it made this book a very enjoyable experience.

What really stood out for me with this book was the finish. I at first did not know what to make of it, it left me feeling very perplexed. But after a couple of readings and much thought I can only say it is one the most perfect and sublimes finishes I have read.
 
4 Headphones
 

 
 


Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Indie Authors Abound

Fantastic new the Lazy Book Reviewer has recently received  a lot of new content from Indie Authors!!


This has me very excited  and I am expecting that I will be soon sharing some great reviews with you. So stay tuned for the Indie Author feast.

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

I Think I Will Stay Where I Am

 
 
It is a mystery to me why I keep returning to books on Mountaineering. I absolutely have no desire to climb one, if I cant get a lift to the top I am not interested. So why am I drawn to these books?

No Way Down tells the story of the 2008 K2 disaster that saw 11 climbers lose their lives. In telling this story it also examines the human spirit and drive to conquer the unconquerable. It is a book about life at it's most simplest you keep moving our you die.

This book delivers on numerous levels it is about tragedy, adventure, fate, human spirit and about the unforgiving mountain that is K2. This is what I think draws me to these books. It is not a morbid fascination with disaster but a fascination with people who have come to terms with their mortality and put their lives at the mercy of the mountain.


4 Stars

Thursday, 28 May 2015

The Evoloution of the Humble Drinking Straw

It's been a while but here is the return of "History of Everyday Items". I hope you enjoy.
 
 
Marvin Stone was sipping on a mint julep with some buddies, but he was not enjoying it. In the late 1800s, when this happy hour took place, natural rye grass was the tool used to slurp up your booze.
 
But Stone found himself decidedly displeased with what the natural straw was doing to his drink. The grass had a habit of falling apart in the liquid, leaving grit as an unpleasant extra cocktail ingredient. So Stone decided to follow an idea we've all once thought about, though with usually nothing productive to show for it; he'd do drinking better.
 
 
He started by wrapping a piece of paper around a pencil to create a cylindeical shape. Then he removed the writing utensil and glued the curled pieces of paper together. It seems simple—almost kindergarten fare—but this directed bit of messing around with crafts was huge. And it was an immediate hit with local drinkers who were thrilled to enjoy their beverages sans sediment. Bolstered by the enthusiasm over his paper tube, Stone patented a paraffin-coated manila version in 1888.
 
At 8.5 inches long and wide enough to stop lemon seeds from getting stuck, Stone's straw improved the slurping experience of, um…every beverage worthy of one. Drinking not only became easier with the improved liquid to mouth elevator, but the cocktail also wasn't muddied by the transportation method.
 
Just two years after his patent went through, Stone, who owned a paper cigarette holder company, was selling more hand-wound straws than smoke-holders—which was awesome—but the sales left many tired fingers. So: Another innovation.
 
A machine invented in 1906 by the rebranded Stone Straw Corporation took the winding process hands-free. The technique turned out to be good for spinning other materials into tube shapes, too. Mass-produced radios were outfitted with spiral-wound tubes in 1928 using Stone's process, and now everything from electric motors to batteries to transformers contain the thing.
 
The Invention and Evolution of the Drinking Straw, from Mint Juleps to Milkshakes
The next big shift in straw-based beverage consumption also happened over drinks, but this time of the soda fountain variety. While watching his daughter fail to drink a milkshake with the standard rigid paper straw, Joseph Friedman, who worked in San Francisco in real estate and optometry while inventing on the side, came up with an idea that would better transfer the milkshake from a tall glass to his small daughter.
 
The fix was a very clever bit of DIY engineering. He stuck a screw inside a straight straw around the 2/3 mark. Then, he pulled a piece of dental floss around the straw but in the grooves of the screw, which imprinted depressions in the paper tube. This trick allowed the straw-for the very first time—to lean toward the lips of the sipper.
 
 
Friedman's patent application, submitted in 1936, makes a descriptive case for the design upgrade. "A view of any soda fountain on a hot day, with the glasses showing innumerable limp and broken straws drooping over the edges thereof, will immediately show that the problem has long existed." No one likes a limp straw. The patent was granted a year later.
 
It took a decade for Friedman to get the business up and running-including finding the money and talent to build a machine to churn out his bendable sippers. "He himself was not a skilled machinist with an engineering background, but he was smart enough to know where to find the talent," explains National Museum of American History archivist Alison Oswald.
 
His Flex-Straw Company had initial success in hospitals by offering a disposable replacement to the hollow glass sticks used at the time. Only later was it marketed it for home and child use.
 

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

A Fitting Finale

The Atlantis World sees the conclusion of A.G Riddles Origins trilogy and it delivers a fitting end to a great series. But be warned this book requires a lot of concentration as it weaves a even more intricate narrative than the other books combined.

The author manages to deliver a book that while keeping the feel of the other two books still deliver a completely different experience. As mentioned before this book requires a lot of concentration and can leave you feeling exhausted at times. This for me was an excellent experience as it made me feel like I was working for my entertainment.

I have listened to this entire series on Audibook and have been very impressed overall by their productions. Stephen Bel Davies does an excellent job in narrating the series and delivers a very consistent performance across the trilogy.

4.5 Headphones