Saturday, 28 December 2013

I Spy With My Little Eye A Phobia Starting With A

To help kick off another year I though I would start having a look at some phobias. I will be doing this in alphabetical order picking out some traditional ones as well as some of the stranger phobias about.


Fear of bathing, is a relative uncommon but serious phobia. It appears to be more prevalent in women and children. It is important to note that many children dislike baths, so ablutophobia is generally not diagnosed in children unless it persists for more than six months. The phobia can manifest in many ways, from a fear of showering to a complete phobia of all washing.
Fear of darkness. This phobia is known by a variety of other names, including nyctophobia and scotophobia, and it is pervasive in both children and adults. Some people find coping techniques for their achluophobia, finding a way to live with it, while others actively seek treatment.

Fear of chickens. It is a fear mostly of flying birds and other feathered birds. Other persons who suffer this phobia also tend to hate any products of chicken including feathers, meat and even eggs.
The fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of the mouth. Eating a peanut butter sandwich is challenging for people with aracibutyrophobia.
Fear of flutes. It is also called flute phobia. The word aulophobia is of Greek origin from aulo which means flute or tube.
Fear of gold. It may sound weird but some people develop extreme anxiety or panic when they are exposed to anything appertaining to gold.
Fear of one having a vile odor. It is but human for people to emit a human body smell. Different individuals have different body odors because of chemical reactions in the body, food that’s eaten and exercise on the part of the person. There are some people who feel embarrassed of the human physique odor that they emit.
Fear of ventriloquist's dummies, animatronic creatures, wax statues or any inanimate object that simulates a sentient being.

Thursday, 26 December 2013

A Bit Of A Let Down

This book was my first foray into the history of the bible and it read like a novel. The authors have delivered history that is accessible to everyone. They paint a picture of what it was like to live in the time of Jesus. While the author's go to great length to separate myth from fact I found that not much time was spent on the main man himself.

This is what let the book down in my opinion. It would have been a much fuller and richer read if more time was spent on Jesus. That is something I never thought I would be typing. Not being a big fan of religion this book has left me wanting to explore the subject more and that can’t be a bad thing.

3 Stars

Sunday, 22 December 2013

The History Of The Calculator

Once upon a time, far, far away, a man found he didn't have enough fingers on which to count his bean crop. So he invented the abacus.

Ok, I've been a little creative with my 'historical facts'. The first mechanism widely recognised as a calculator, the abacus, appeared in Greece.

Invented long before numbers were actually invented, the abacus was used in various forms in order to keep track of the cost of goods. The earliest surviving example of this technological leap dates back to about 300 B.C.

Now, considering the pace at which mankind evolves and fashions new tools to solve new problems you'd be forgiven for thinking the abacus followed a meteoric path to improving the dark art of mathematical calculations. In fact, the next stride forward in calculator technology didn't take place for another 1900 years.

The Pascal

The next giant leap forward came in 1642. The Pascaline adding and subtracting machine was built by French inventor Blaise Pascal. Ironically, Pascal created the machine in order to help his father deal with the tax affairs of Haute-Normandie!

Fast forward another 350 years and we enter an age of evolutionary leaps and bounds for the calculator. The rapidly advancing technological capabilities and reliable, mass production helped drive the development of the calculator to ever greater heights.

Between 1820 and 1914, a mere 94 years, the calculator went from being a curiosity available to only the rich to being heavily used in commercial environments. In fact, it was only as recently as 1885 that the calculator started to feature the push button keys that we're all accustomed to today. The early 1900's saw a smaller, yet no less significant, number of enhancements. The standard two rows of five buttons layout arrived in 1901. 10 years later, the United States imported the Swedish 10 digit layout that we're familiar with into the design.

It was at this point that the calculator's development was hindered by the limits of technology. The 1960's was the decade that saw the calculator move from being a cumbersome, lever operated device to something truly portable.

The process of miniaturising components such as transistors took development into overdrive. Between 1961 and 1964, calculator development leapt from the 170 vacuum tube-based Anita Mk8 to the very first transistor commercial calculator, the Sharp Compet CS 10A. Only four years later, Sharp unleashed the first commercial electronic calculator designed exclusively for the desk top market: the Compet 22.

In 1969, Sharp launched the first battery powered calculator, the QT-8D. One of the most impressive

aspects of the QT-8D was its size: only 5.2 inches by 9.6 inches by 2.75 inches (WxHxD). One year later, Texas Instruments launched an even smaller calculator, the Pocketronic.
The Sharp QT-8D
As technology improved, calculators became ever smaller yet more complex and capable. The one major drawback to its adoption by the consumer market was the high price. The HP-35, launched by HP in 1972, retailed for $395 - a price most ordinary families simply couldn't justify.

Following a brief, yet bloody, bout of technological warfare in the 1970's, only four manufacturers were left standing. Amongst this group of survivors were well known names such as Sharp and HP.

The 1990's saw an explosion of new devices hitting the market. The basic model spawned a whole new range of calculators designed to meet the ever growing needs of the consumer. From scientific to graphing; the list went on and on and then went online.

The age of the internet saw webmasters creating calculating tools for just about every conceivable use possible. Personal finance sites created compound interest calculators, frugal webmasters created calculators to work out power usage for home utilities... the list goes on and on.

There you have it, over 2,000 years old and still going strong. Where do you think the calculator will be in 2,000 years time?

Written by James Redden


Wednesday, 18 December 2013

The First Ever "Lazy" Awards

Welcome to the inaugural "Lazy" awards. This is where I chose my favourite fiction and non-fiction read of the year. Also I name my favourite new author, short story, worst read and audiobook for 2013.


It was a tough choice this year for my favourite Fiction book, with it being a toss-up of two books. These being:

Ultimately the first ever Lazy goes to Tim 2 by Mark Tufo just for the plain hilarious wrongness of this book. It is so anti politically correct that it should come with a warning. For those of you who missed the review please read on.

Tim 2 Review

This book is so twisted and wrong that is so so so right. Mark Tufo reigns supreme yet again delivering another spectacular book in his unique style. Tim the clown is back with his side kick Hugh the zombie, and what's this they have a fat geek called Clarence coming along for the ride as well. The only problem is they all occupy the same body, or should I say their consciousness do. As you can imagine there is not much room in there and Tim and Hugh do not play well with others.

Tim makes the clown from IT look like a Granny in a knitting circle. He is more than happy to help Hugh find food, that is people, and eat them. Tim is one of the most deranged and psychotic characters ever to be put on paper. What do I like so much about Tim? Tim is so politically incorrect that it is hilarious; he is so sick and demented that you cannot help but love him. This book is not for the squeamish but if you can get past the gore you will be rewarded by one the most awesome characters ever. That's right trend setters I said awesome and I make no apologies for it. Mr. Tufo I take my hat off to you yet again.

Non Fiction                                                                             

The non-fiction Lazy goes to Stiff by Mary Roach:


Stiff Review

This book was a fascinating and educational look at the history of human cadavers and how the livings have used them. This book is one of those rare reads and is the reason I love reading. It gives me a great insight on a subject matter where I had none before, and leaves me with a thirst to find out more. The author takes the rather macabre and serious subject of our mortal remains and looks at how they have been used to better society and save lives. I found Mary Roach strikes a nice balance of respect and humour in dealing with this socially taboo subject. From organ donations to human composting this book covers a wide subject matter and left me with a new outlook and thoughts and how best my corpse might help others.

Best New Author

I have been very spoiled this year in offerings from new authors. No longer are we restricted to the whims of major publishing houses. The self-publishing boom has uncovered some very impressive talent. For me this year I cannot go pass Nicholas Sansbury Smith for a Lazy. He has delivered not one but two novels and three short stories for the year. He is in my opinion an exciting new author who I think has a big writing future in front of him.


Biomass Revolution Review:
The author has bought to life on the pages of this novel a compelling and frightening vision of a dystopian world. A society that has risen out of the ashes of nuclear winter whose leaders rule through fear and misinformation and oppress the freedom of its citizens. The state is monopolising the near endless fuel source known as Biomass, that if shared could bring relief from the agonizing deaths and suffering of the banished masses.

A small band of revolutionaries struggle to bring the government down and to free the citizens. This book has all the ingredients for a great read and does not disappoint. A sumptuous novel of epic proportions that left me wanting seconds. Nicholas Smith has delivered a fresh vision in a well-worn genre.
Orbs Review:
ORBS is a fast moving captivating Sc-Fi thriller. The science of the book has obviously been well researched and this adds to the enjoyment of the read. This book makes the Green House effect look like a storm in a tea cup. The characters are well developed and this pulls you into the story even more. I especially love the "blue orbs" they are one of the most bad ass and scariest things around. ORBS delivers yet another enthralling read from this major new talent and has me salivating for more. This book has received my vote in the Goodreads Best of 2013 for best Sci-Fi book.
Worst Read Of The Year:
This was a tough Lazy to award as I did not read any real clunkers this year. But after giving it much thought the award goes to Ghost in the Wires by Kevin Mitnick. The authors ego gets in the way of a great story. As we say at my work place "Go on about it" and that he did.

Ghost In The Wires Review:

Ghost in the wire is the tell all memoirs of the World’s best known Hacker Kevin Mitnick. While the subject matter of the book is fascinating as well as frightening the author loves to let you know how good he is. I lost count of how many times he comes out with” who else but Mitnick would”.... Seriously get over yourself. Yes you are clever, yes you did outrun the Feds for years and yes you are famous. But I knew all this before I picked up the book. Ego aside this is as mentioned before a fascinating read, you just have to push the authors big head aside to get to the essence of the book.
Best Audiobook
One of the ways I can chew through so many books is to listen to the unabridged audio formats. Some of these books take some serious commitment as the run over 30 hours. The average though is a manageable eleven hours. I listen to them while driving back and forward from work. I listen while doing the dishes, vacuuming, mowing the lawns or walking the dogs. As you can see from the previous sentence I am a highly trained domestic male. Audiobooks are one of the ways I quell my reading addiction.

The Lazy for best Audiobook goes to Redshirts by John Scalzi. The combination of a great story and great narrator, that being Wil Wheaton of Star Trek fame, combined for a memorable listen.

Redshirts Review:
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.

The Lazy Book Reviewer Jr Award:
After managing to pull Jr. away from Skyrim he had no hesitation in giving his Lazy to Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. This came as no surprise to me as since introducing my son to this book in Audio format as it is all he listens to. This book has launched a fascination with him in all things "Old School Geek". This ranges from Atari 2600 games to movie classics like WarGames.

Ready Player One Review:

This book rocks it never stopped surprising and entertaining me from the opening chapter to the end. The author spins a tale that had me staying up late many a night just to read a little bit more. As well as creating a world that is not much of a stretch to believe is around the corner. He pays homage to the history of the humble computer game as well as to their forefathers the never forgotten book driven RPG games such as Dungeon & Dragons. I was like a kid in a candy shop as I was taken for a stroll along memory lane as games, films and TV shows are bought up in the story.

The story is where the book hits a home run. A world where fossil fuel and real jobs are rare. Most of humanity lives in a virtual world called Oasis the ultimate social networking and MMO all rolled into one. It is in the Oasis the story runs rampart, we have our hero, a quest and an evil corporation trying to change and corrupt the Oasis forever. This book is for anyone who was bought up in the 80's or has a passing interest in gaming or anything geeky. Even if you do not fit these categories give this book a try and prepare to be entertained.



The Lazy Book Reviewer One Year On

The Lazy Book Reviewer is celebrating one year of blogging. I would like to thank everyone for helping us reach over 19,000 page hits for the year. It is truly humbling to think that this blog is seen in over 30 Countries. 

I started this blog to help me through a difficult time in my life and I am pleased to say that it worked. I would like to give a special thanks to my wife who has put up with my obsessive reading and to my son for contributing with some reviews. Also I would like to thank all the authors that have given me their books  in return for a fair and honest review. My biggest thanks go to you the reader. Without you my blog would have disappeared into the web wasteland.  I hope that I have helped point you towards some great reads.

As the year comes to a close I turn my eyes onto what the next well bring. With 90 books so far read for the year I hope to crack the magic 100 next year. So I hope you can join me for another year of reviews  and interesting tit-bits. I am looking at being able to offer some more give away as well next year, as my way of thanking you the reader. Stay along for the ride as next year is sure to be a blast.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Life & Death At Over 28,000 ft

This is my first book on Mountain Climbing so I have no base for comparison. Overall I enjoyed this book and it gave me great insight and background to Mt Everest and the quest to climb it. I was quite surprised by how commercial it has become and found the line ups to summit quite comical and surreal.

The book focuses on the climbing season of 2006 which resulted in 11 deaths. The author looks at these deaths and how some where left to die. It highlights the difficulties of rescue at high altitude and the hard choices that need to be made. To me the book seems to skim over some issues that should have been looked at in more depth. Life and death at Everest is full of decisions based on survival that often fly in the face of morality. Why this book goes a long way to opening up the secretive world at the top of the world it left me with more questions than answers.
3 Stars

Friday, 13 December 2013

Lawrence of Arabia Warts and All

If you only read one book on the life of Lawrence of Arabia then this book should be the one. The author delivers a well-researched book that peels back the myths surrounding the man. It also gives us a great insight into the time and the world in which he lived.

Lawrence is one of those rare people that have played a big part of the world we live in. Korda covers a lot of issues that are still relevant today, especially concerning the Middle East. This book goes beyond the Lawrence of Arabia and shines a light on some of the other impressive contributions that he made throughout his life. What stopped this book being a 5 star rating for me was the authors need to constantly compare what Lawrence went through to that of Princess Diana. We got this comparison from his relationship to the media right through to the motorcycle accident that claimed his life. Hero is one of those books that will stay with you long after you finish it.

3.5 Stars

Monday, 9 December 2013

Zombies..... But Not As We Know Them

An old and established terrorist organisation attempts to deliver a killer blow to the Western world. They unleash a devilish plot to destabilise the world’s political stability and plunge it into anarchy.
Gnash delivers a refreshingly different take on the well-worn Zombie Genre. There are plenty of the undead but not as you know them. A brilliant plot that twists and turns delivers a memorable book that has the reader on the edge of their collective seats. My only complaint about this book is that the plot is not fully explored and the finish seemed a little bit to rushed to me. Apart from these minor quibbles this book is a great example of the indie author movement and all that it offers.

3.5 Stars

Thursday, 5 December 2013

The Rise Of The Fuzzy Nation

This is my second John Scalzi novel and I am in danger of becoming a huge fan. In this book delivers a tale of the destructive nature of man's greed. This is all packaged in homage to H. Beam Pipers Fuzzy series.

The Fuzzy's planet is being torn apart in the search for minerals and their very existence is in danger. Helps comes from an obnoxious, self-centred arrogant miner with a nice dog. It's the downtrodden versus the ‘MAN’ and the resulting showdown is worthy of any Vegas title fight.

This book delivers a highly entertaining character driven narrative. The world we are thrown into is a bright and vibrant one in which the exploitation of other worlds is running rife. Many current day issues are explored in this book such as native title and good corporate citizenship. I look forward to reading my next Scalzi novel.

4.5 Stars