Monday, 30 September 2013

The Jury Is Out

I had to think long and hard before writing this review. Running with Scissors is definitely not your average memoir and this is good and bad. There is much to like and dislike about this book and I can see how it has divided the readers.

What we have is the story of a kid that is bought up in the most dysfunctional settings you could imagine. We have a psychotic mother, unloving father, and a psychiatrist that should be in jail and just to mix things up a paedophile is chucked into the mix. Initially I was overwhelmed by all the craziness of the narrative but it also possessed a certain quirky charm. But as the story progressesd some very disturbing elements start to rear their ugly head. This is where I started to struggle with this memoir as the impacts of these elements are underplayed and almost painted over.

This book is certain worth the read but expect to be challenged and disturbed by it. It is a great reflection on the author's strength of character that he is not in a padded cell some well. I am still digesting this read and this speaks of the quality of the writing. What I have got out of it is still up in the air and in time my opinion may change on this book.

3 Stars

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Step Into The Long Earth & Enjoy

Terry Pratchett & Simon Baxter deliver a book that takes you on a journey that I for one did not want to end. I went into this book not really knowing what to expect as it has had mixed reviews. For me the vision of the Long Earth was well set out, explained and executed.

The story did take a bit for me to fall into but once the main plot and characters where introduced I soon fell into step. Being a huge Pratchett fan there was something warm and familiar about the book, even though the book is as away from the Discworld you can get. The story develops at a nice pace and ends, like all good books should, with you wanting to read more.

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Mistake = Post It Note

Next up in my who invented that thread is one of my favourites. The humble Post It Notes a great story of how a mistake can make you millions.

In 1968 a 3M scientist developed a reusable adhesive that didn't really stick. The glue he created could hold paper together, but wasn't strong enough to maintain the bond when pulled on. Unfortunately, the scientist was trying to make a super glue. It would take 12 years and a flash of 'eureka' to turn the glue that wouldn't stick into the Post-It Note.

Spencer Silver, Inventor

Spencer Silver had a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry when he came to 3M to work as a senior chemist in their Central Research Lab. While trying to improve the adhesive that 3M used for tape, Silver discovered a less sticky glue. 

Ordinary adhesives are flat, with a solid contact area for adhesion. It is this unbroken contact that makes glue so sticky. What Silver found was a glue that while quite sticky, could only be formed into individual spheres the thickness of a piece of paper. The spheres would only adhere to things tangentially, thus, the adhesive's total contact area was very small. The result was a tacky, reusable glue that held paper together well.

Silver knew he was on to something, but wasn't sure how to market it.

Early ideas included a sticky bulletin board for temporary messages, or as a low-powered spray adhesive. Silver kept plugging away at the possibilities of this new glue, presenting it individually and during seminars.

Arthur Fry, Inventor

In attendance at one of these seminars was a 3M scientist named Arthur Fry. Fry sang in his church choir, and to keep track of the hymns, he tore scraps of paper into strips to make bookmarks.

Every Sunday a few would fall out of the hymnal, frustrating Fry. In a moment of 'divine' inspiration, Fry realized that Silver's glue might make the perfect temporary adhesive to hold bookmarks!

At work, Fry gathered scraps of paper and Silver's glue, and combined them to make sticky, but removable bookmarks. The bookmarks were popular and handy, but people didn't need more than a few of them.

Shortly thereafter, Fry sent a file to a colleague, using one of these bookmarks with an arrow on it to indicate a point of interest. The report came back with the bookmark still attached, and the colleague had used the bookmark as a note!

Fry quickly realized that his bookmark had applications as an adhesive note. Fry believed so strongly in his invention that when engineers told him that a machine didn't exist to manufacture the notes, he went home and built just such a machine in his basement. When he couldn't fit it through his basement door, he knocked the wall down. Now he had his manufacturing equipment, and a great product.

The only thing he didn't have was the support of senior management at 3M. To overcome this, Fry sent samples of his notes to all the company's executives, who quickly ordered more samples. Management was quickly hooked, and their demand soon outstripped development's production capacity.

3M Marketing Machine

When it became clear that Post-It Notes were viable in a commercial atmosphere, 3M's marketing went to work. 

In 1978 a team of 3M marketers flooded Boise, Idaho, showing everyone they could find the wondrous new notes. Post-It Notes were officially released to the public in 1980, and in 1981 they were named 3M's Outstanding New Product.

Today there are over 600 products based on the Post-It concept. Arthur Fry is semi-retired from 3M, maintaining a part-time presence as a mentor. Spencer Silver retired in 1996.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

What's Got My Foot Tapping

It's been a while since I posted any music so here is some song getting high rotation on my Ipod at the moment

Monday, 16 September 2013

Seriously I Really Do Not Want To Go

I loved this book it was such a refreshing and highly entertaining read. What would you do if the world you lived in was an average Sci-fi TV show and you were only an extra on said show? Well for one thing you would avoid like the plague being a member of any team that involved one of the main charters and a trip to a unfamiliar planet. This is exactly what the crew of the Intrepid do frequently, they don't know exactly why but it seems like a good plan if you want to stay alive.

This is in a nutshell the mechanics of this book and it delivers a great story that will have any Sci-fi fan in stitches. The author has crafted a wonderful tale that I am sure will surface every time I watch some Sci-fi. A tale of love lost and friends killed that will tug at your heart string.......sorry the narrative must have taken over. Anyway do yourself a favour and give this book a read.

4.5 Stars and the LBR Tick of Approval

Saturday, 14 September 2013

A Brutally Honest Read

I would like to start of this review by thanking the author for sharing his life and addiction with me the reader. This book is a great read full of honesty and personal insight, not being someone who has ever suffered from addiction it gave me a new perspective on it. This book takes us on a journey through the author's struggle with alcohol and the damage it caused both socially and health wise to his life. We go through the ups and down of being a slave to alcohol and trying to kick the addiction.

His journey takes to Thailand and a Buddhist monastery were he finds the tools to say goodbye to alcohol forever. The methods used are far from conventional and I must admit had me chuckling away at parts, but the results speak for themselves. An engaging read from start to finish I highly recommend and encourage everyone to read this book. 

4 Stars

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Who Invented The Dishwasher?

I don't know about you but I am always wondering who came up with the idea for that? I kicked this new section of with the Paint Roller now it is the turn of the Dishwasher.

Josephine Cochran

In 1850, Joel Houghton patented a wooden machine with a hand-turned wheel that splashed water on dishes, it was hardly a workable machine, but it was the first patent. In 1886, Josephine Cochran proclaims in disgust "If nobody else is going to invent a dishwashing machine, I'll do it myself." And she did, Josephine Cochran invented the first practical (did the job) dishwasher. Josephine Cochran had expected the public to welcome the new invention, which she unveiled at the 1893, World's Fair, but only the hotels and large restaurants were buying her ideas. It was not until the 1950s, that dishwashers caught on with the general public. Josephine Cochran's machine was a hand-operated mechanical dishwasher. She founded a company to manufacture these dish washers, which eventually became KitchenAid.
Sourced at Inventors

An early Dishwasher advertisement 1896

Vampires But Not As You Know Them

The Strain delivers a fresh new angle on the Vampire genre. While I enjoyed the authors detail to the mechanics and biology of the "vampire virus" I felt it at times it slowed up the pace of the plot. There is a lot to like about this book from the mystery of the passenger plane to the story of a survivor of the Treblinka death camp. The author mixes numerous characters and sub plots into an enjoyable vampire romp.

So why only 3 stars? There was something about the story that kept me at arm's length and stopped me from fully immersing myself into it. What it was I cannot say, but it was there holding me back. Overall though I did enjoy this book but just not as much as I expected . I will be back to read the next book in the serious and hopefully I will be able to dive right into the story this time.
3 Stars

Saturday, 7 September 2013

A Great Debut

Plagued: The Midamerica Zombie Half-Breed Experiment by Evan Ramspott

The author has bought a welcomed fresh slant on the Zombie genre. The story starts with the world already back in control after a Zombie outbreak. Zombies are now a marketable commodity and a industry has been built around collecting them for sale. Into this world our hero comes looking for something lost a long time ago. Suffice to say something goes wrong and mayhem and adventure ensue. Why I found this book a highly enjoyable read I feel the author missed out on making this a truly remarkable read by fleshing out the characters and story a bit more.  

Overall though this is a very enjoyable read and fantastic debut novel.  As always I love a fresh slant on the zombie genre.

3.5 Stars

Sunday, 1 September 2013

When Fact Is Scarier Than Fiction

Scarier than any Orwellian novel, The Forsaken takes us on a journey into the terror that was unleashed upon Russia by Stalin. The author follows the Americans that were lured to the USSR by the promise of a better life, free from the depression that was paralysing America at the time. For a while their life was good and all that was promised to them seemed within reach. Then Russia was plunged into the Terror where you could trust no one not even your children.

The Americans soon found themselves being taken away in the middle of the night, across the vastness of the Motherland and prisoners in the massive Gulag system. Feeding the economy through the natural riches found in Russia they bleed, suffered and died for their piece of socialist paradise.

The author does more than tell the tale of these unfortunate souls, he uses them as introduction to one of the most heinous crimes ever committed. For around 20 years the average Russians new nothing but fear and paranoia, no one was safe. He also looks at how the American government buried their heads in the sand and ignored pleas from the families left in the US to find their family members.

This book is a masterpiece of historic research and writing. The author strikes a great mix of politics and the human side to Stalin's great terror. This book rings true in the old adage, the victor writes the history, as the world for so long was unaware of this great tragedy. This book is an immensely important piece of work.

5 Stars and the Lazy Book Reviewer Tick Of Approval!