Wednesday, 25 June 2014

More Than Just Surviving

With Supersurvivors I found everything I like about science books nestled between its cover. This book takes a look at how some people find a new direction in life after surviving a traumatic experience. It does not gloss over the fact though that trauma is just that, a horrible experience that you would not wish on anyone.
Everyone has heard 'that' tale of someone whose traumatic life experience has given them the drive to go on to great things. The authors take a look at this phenomena and try to piece together the reason and science behind it. They achieve this by breaking the chapters up to cover a single topic like positive thinking or forgiveness. Each chapter tell the story of individuals, their trauma and how it changed them. From this we get a good sense of myriad of drivers that push people through and beyond their trauma.
This book is well balanced and thought out it delivers a highly engaging read. I particularly liked it's use of individuals story to support the authors findings. I must admit it also engaged the voyeur in me it was both fascinating and shocking to read what some people had lived through. 

4.5 stars

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

The Buck Stops Here!


U.S. president Harry S. Truman had a sign with this inscription on his desk. This was meant to indicate that he didn't 'pass the buck' to anyone else but accepted personal responsibility for the way the country was governed.

Truman didn't originate the phrase, although it isn't likely that we would ever have heard of it had he not adopted it.
Fred M. Canfil, United States Marshal for the Western District of Missouri and a friend of Truman's, saw a sign like it while visiting the Federal Reformatory at El Reno, Oklahoma in 1945. He thought it would appeal to the plain-speaking Truman and arranged for a copy of it to be made and sent to him. It was seen on the President's desk on and off throughout the rest of his presidency.
On the reverse side, that is, the side that Truman saw, it was inscribed, "I'm from Missouri". That's a short form of "I'm from Missouri. Show me". Natives of that state (a.k.a. the Show Me State), which included Truman, were known for their skeptical nature.


It is highly likey that the original of the sign that Canfil saw was the one on the desk of retired army officer Colonel A. B. Warfield, or a copy of it. In 1931, Warfield was quartermaster supply officer and general superintendent of the US Army Transport Service of the New York General Army Depot.
During WWII, Warfield was commandant of the Lathrop Holding and Reconsignment depot at Stockton, California and he had such a sign on his desk and was photograph with it in October 1942 for a story in the Reno Evening Gazette. He may have used the sign as early as 1931 but, as the photo makes evident, his use of the phrase clearly predates Truman's.

the bucks stops here

Monday, 23 June 2014


Drug Lord is the tale of the rise of king pin Pablo Acosta in Mexico's cut throat drug trade. The author does well to give the reader a sense of the seedy and violent world of drug running with the right mix of action and information.
What I got from this book was a look into the machinations of running drugs over the US/Mexico border from the politics and corruption to the risks and money to be made from it. The author has taken time to paint a realistic picture of this world and has not tried to glorify the violence for the sake of a good yarn. Overall a good solid entertaining and informative read.
3 Stars

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

A Promising Start

John Scalzi's has delivered in his prequel Unlocked a promising start to his upcoming book Locked In. Unlocked packs a lot into its 32 pages and not one word is wasted as we are plunged into a world reeling from a mysterious virus. A virus that turns the bodies of some of its victims into prisons where the mind is free but the body is incapacitated. The victims fully aware of everything around them but can’t even blink at will.

I really liked the mechanics of this book with its documentary style of narrative. It gives the reader a great understanding of the history of the virus, its impact on society and how it is being dealt with. All this adds up to a great base that the author can launch us into the main story. It is a story I am yearning to delve into but alas I must wait for it release.
3.5 Stars


Wednesday, 11 June 2014

A Fitting End To One Of The Best Series Of This Century

Dust is a fitting end to Hugh Howey's Silo Saga and what a journey it has been both in story and for the author. Hugh Howey started of the series with Wool a novella launched as an indie book an Amazon. From there Hugh Howey sky rocketed into the book world waving the indie flag all the way. Even though Hugh is now a major author for one of the top publishing companies,  he has never forgotten where he came from. So major kudos and a tip of the hat to Mr Howey.

Now with that bit of history out of the way what do I think about Dust. As mentioned at the start I found this book a suitable ending to the series. It was my least favorite book in the series though. It may be because I left to long between the books, but I found this story harder to get into. The characters and world was familiar but it took me a while to get into the grove. But when I did I was rewarded with the usual compelling story telling I have come to expect from this author.

As I let the dust the settle (bad pun intended)  I already have Hugh's next offering sitting on my bedside table begging to be read. For those of you not yet familiar with this great author’s work I can only implore you to give him a go.

4 Stars

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Food For Thought

Be warned after reading this book you will never look at eating and the digestive process the same way again. Once again Mary Roach serves up another fascinating journey into the less glamorous sciences of subjects most people are happy not to think about.

I mean I had no idea that I produce two types of saliva and I now have a greater appreciation of this and many other  of my bodies digestive processes. Being introduced to the wonders of fecal transplant is just one the amazing subjects you will be exposed to during this engrossing read, I s..t you not people.

This has been one of my favorite reads by far this year. So if you have not yet sampled what this author has to offer then it is time to sit down put on a bib and dig in.

5 Stars & the LBR Tick Of Approval