Elentarri's Book Blog

Book reviews and other interesting goodies.

I found this amusing...

Never Home Alone by Rob Dunn

Never Home Alone: From Microbes to Millipedes, Camel Crickets, and Honeybees, the Natural History of Where We Live - Rob Dunn

TITLE:  Never Home Alone:  From Microbes to Millipedes, Camel Crickets, and Honeybees, the Natural History of Where We Live

 

AUTHOR: Rob Dunn

 

EXPECTED PUBLICATION DATE:       

6 November 2018

 

FORMAT: ARC ebook

 

ISBN-13: 9781541645769

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NOTE: I received an Advanced Readers Copy of this book from NetGalley. This review is my honest opinion of the book.

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Book Description:

"A natural history of the wilderness in our homes, from the microbes in our showers to the crickets in our basements

Even when the floors are sparkling clean and the house seems silent, our domestic domain is wild beyond imagination. In Never Home Alone, biologist Rob Dunn introduces us to the nearly 200,000 species living with us in our own homes, from the Egyptian meal moths in our cupboards and camel crickets in our basements to the lactobacillus lounging on our kitchen counters. You are not alone. Yet, as we obsess over sterilizing our homes and separating our spaces from nature, we are unwittingly cultivating an entirely new playground for evolution. These changes are reshaping the organisms that live with us--prompting some to become more dangerous, while undermining those species that benefit our bodies or help us keep more threatening organisms at bay. No one who reads this engrossing, revelatory book will look at their homes in the same way again."

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Never Home Alone explores the variety of life that shares our living spaces with us, from microbes and fungi, to insects and other arthropods; as well as the ways in which those lifeforms are evolving.  This is a well written, popular science book that shows us that the ecosystems in our homes are more diverse than we may suspect, and that most of our co-inhabitants are beneficial or benign as opposed to harmful.  The author’s enthusiasm for this subject is evident as he tells readers about various interesting studies about the creatures living with us.   

 

The author discusses such things as swabbing the International Space station (ISS) for bacteria and fungi; chronic autoimmune diseases associated with lack of microbes; microbes living in water heaters, showerheads, tap water, dry-walling; technophilic fungi that eat metal and plastics; the “uses” that our co-inhabitants may provide in terms of health and industrial applications; the evolution of pesticide resistance and the use of social spiders as non-toxic fly catchers; pets and the additional creatures they bring indoors; fermented food and bread making (Herman the yeast starter makes an appearance here); and the inoculation of beneficial microbes to prevent colonization by harmful microbes. 

 

I found the sections that deal with microbes and fungi on the Space Stations (ISS and Mir) to be especially interesting.  Dunn points out that these fungi are more successful in establishing themselves in space in terms of procreation and living out many generations, that humans have been. 

 

I really would have loved more scientific details, but that’s just my preference.  I found this book to be interesting and informative, with a chatty and informal writing style. Human houses provide living spaces and ecosystems for a myriad of organisms. After reading this book, you will never look at your home in the same way again.

 

 

Bookworms Will Rule the World!

In My Spare Time...

The General Theory of Haunting by Richard Easter

The General Theory of Haunting - Richard Easter

TITLE: The General Theory of Haunting

 

AUTHOR: Richard Easter

 

PUBLICATION DATE: December 2017

 

FORMAT: ebook

 

ISBN-13: 9781977001245

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NOTE: I received a copy of this book from NetGalley. This review is my honest opinion of the book.

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Book Description:

 

"Every haunting has a design… 

Winter, 1809. Lord Francis Marryman’s wife, Patience, is dying. In the madness of his grief, desperate to keep Patience’s memory alive, he’s compelled to build a memorial in the form of a remote country Hall. But as the plans move forward, Marryman Hall seems to become alive with more than just memories.

Francis, a brilliant mathematician and scholar, has built more into the walls than just bricks and mortar.

Autumn, 2018. Siblings Greg and Lucy Knights, owners of K&K Publishing Company, are seeking a venue to celebrate the 18th anniversary of their company’s inception. At such short notice, there is only one option that still has vacancies: Marryman Hall.

Winter arrives and as heavy snow falls, the guests drop out until a much depleted party of just 6 reach their destination and soon find themselves snowed in. As the guests’ private lives and demons are exposed in the increasingly awkward, claustrophobic atmosphere , the secrets of Marryman Hall and her history are also brought into shocking light from the darkness. In his grief, it’s possible that Lord Francis Marryman may have made a terrible mistake…

The General Theory of Haunting is the perfect ghost story to curl up with on the long winter nights - like Marryman Hall's guests, you won't know what's truly happening until it's way too late..."

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The General Theory of Haunting is a nicely-written, paranormal mystery thriller that moves slowly at first, picks up pace, has great character development, several surprises, and an absolutely fascinating theory on... well, hauntings.  Marryman Hall also manages to develope a personality of its own.  This isn't a horror novel, despite the hauntings.  But part of the novel make a beautiful love story.  Watching the time-spanning mystery of Marryman Hall unfold was just as exciting as the more usual action packed murder solving mysteries.  A lovely book.  I'm looking forward to more work from this author.

The Elf and the Amulet by Chris Africa

The Elf and the Amulet - Chris N. Africa

TITLE:   The Elf and the Amulet (Deathsworn, Book 1)

 

AUTHOR:  Chris Africa

 

PUBLICATION DATE:  October 2017

 

FORMAT:  ebook

 

ISBN-13:  781976223358

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NOTE: I received a copy of this book from NetGalley. This review is my honest opinion of the book.

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Book Description:

 

"Many things which seem useless are magical to those who know how to use them...

Waet Tree Village has family roots and heritage as ancient as the silver trees themselves. Chassy, Nita and Andrev are expected remain here, living out traditional lives until they eventually die from lack of excitement.

-Yawn-

One summer day, their idyllic lives start to unravel, when a freaky creature straight out of a legend arrives spouting prophecies about the destruction of their village. Then an old wizard sends them on a quest with a bunch of useless gifts, but he DIES before even telling them where to go. 

Retrieve the Amulet of Hope or all is lost! That's all they know; that's all anyone can tell them. 

So they set off in pursuit of this mysterious amulet, each for his or her own reason. They learn that the world outside of Waet Tree Village is nothing like the storybooks they grew up with, and the Amulet of Hope is only the beginning of their adventures."

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This story is a fun romp through the world outside of Waet Tree Village - adventure, excitement, oh fluff! moments, obscure prophecies, magic goodies and odd-ball characters.  The novel is an enjoyable, well-written, fast-paced, adventure-quest involving a collection of teenagers that have got into deeper events than they realised.  While this book does not end on a cliff-hanger, it is definately the first book of a series - the story doesn't end here.  I am looking forward to the next installment.

 

P.S.:  I'm really not sure why anybody thinks it's a good idea to let teenagers run around the world without competent adult supervision, but this seems to be a thing with YA books.

 

Mortal Republic by Edward J. Watts

Mortal Republic: How Rome Fell into Tyranny  - Edward Watts

TITLE:  Mortal Republic:  How Rome Fell Into Tyranny

 

AUTHOR:  Edward J. Watts

 

PUBLICATION DATE:  6 November 2018

 

FORMAT:  ARC ebook

 

ISBN-13:  978-0-465-09381-6

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NOTE: I received an Advanced Readers Copy of this book from NetGalley. This review is my honest opinion of the book.

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Book Description:

"A new history of the Roman Republic and its collapse.

In Mortal Republic, prizewinning historian Edward J. Watts offers a new history of the fall of the Roman Republic that explains why Rome exchanged freedom for autocracy. For centuries, even as Rome grew into the Mediterranean's premier military and political power, its governing institutions, parliamentary rules, and political customs successfully fostered negotiation and compromise. By the 130s BC, however, Rome's leaders increasingly used these same tools to cynically pursue individual gain and obstruct their opponents. As the center decayed and dysfunction grew, arguments between politicians gave way to political violence in the streets. The stage was set for destructive civil wars--and ultimately the imperial reign of Augustus.

The death of Rome's Republic was not inevitable. In Mortal Republic, Watts shows it died because it was allowed to, from thousands of small wounds inflicted by Romans who assumed that it would last forever.
"

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I usually battle to enjoy history books that deal with the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire - they are just too confusing and boring.  THIS book is different.  I actually enjoyed reading it.  The writing is clear and accessible, the subject straightforward, and the relevance of that subject to the current political climate highlighted.  

Mortal Republic covers the Roman Republic period between 280 BC and 27 BC, when the Roman Senate formally granted Octavian overarching power and the new title Augustus, effectively marking the end of the Roman Republic.  This book is not a biography of any particular set of Romans nor is it exclusively a military history.  It does however successfully weave together politics, military, social and biographical details, along with the how and why events occurred and what this meant for the Repbulic in the long term.  
 
In addition to a general history of the Roman Republic, Watts attempts to understand the current political realities of our world by studying what went wrong in the ancient Roman Republic, upon which many modern republics are based.  The author makes evident that serious problems arise from both politicians who disrupt a republic's political norms, and from the citizens who choose not to punish them for doing so.  In the end, Romans came to believe that liberty - political stability and freedom from domestic violence and foreign interference - could only exist in a political entity controlled by one man.  This book explores why one of the longest-existing republics traded the liberty of political autonomy for the security of autocracy.  

I found this book to be enjoyable, well-written and providing a new perspective on an old topic.

 

 

The Inner Life of Cats by Thomas McNamee

The Inner Life of Cats: The Science and Secrets of Our Mysterious Feline Companions - Thomas McNamee

TITLE:  The Inner Life of Cats: The Science and Secrets of Our Mysterious Feline Companions

 

AUTHOR:  Thomas McNamee

 

DATE PUBLISHED:  2017

 

FORMAT:  Hardcover

 

ISBN-13:  9780316262873

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Book Description:

"Our feline companions are much-loved but often mysterious. In The Inner Life of Cats, Thomas McNamee blends scientific reportage with engaging, illustrative anecdotes about his own beloved cat, Augusta, to explore and illuminate the secrets and enigmas of her kind.

As it begins, The Inner Life of Cats follows the development of the young Augusta while simultaneously explaining the basics of a kitten's physiological and psychological development. As the narrative progresses, McNamee also charts cats' evolution, explores a feral cat colony in Rome, tells the story of Augusta's life and adventures, and consults with behavioral experts, animal activists, and researchers, who will help readers more fully understand cats.

McNamee shows that with deeper knowledge of cats' developmental phases and individual idiosyncrasies, we can do a better job of guiding cats' maturation and improving the quality of their lives. Readers' relationships with their feline friends will be happier and more harmonious because of this book.
"

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This book was less about the inner lives of cats, or the science and secrets of cats than an ode and memoir about the author's cat, Augusta. 

 

The science bits were interesting though some of the numbers quoted lack a reference and make verification difficult.  There were also many interesting sections on feral cats in Rome, sensory input and raising kittens and the semi-domestic nature of cats, as well as the stupidity of humans who keep wild animals in their homes and are surprised when it eats them or shreds the house.  The majority of the book involves stories about Augusta.  Sometimes these stories tied in with the more informative parts of the book, sometimes they didn't. 

 

I haven't lived with a cat for years, so I'm not as inclined as cat-owners to go all soppy over the Augusta sections (maybe if Augusta was a German Shepherd it might have been different), but I did find the book entertaining and well-written though lacking in science.

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OTHER BOOKS:

 

-The Lion in the Living Room: How House Cats Tamed Us and Took Over the World by Abigail Tucker

 

- Furry Logic: The Physics of Animal Life by Matin Durrani & Liz Kalaugher

 

- Domesticated: Evolution in a Man-Made World by Richard C. Francis

 

BUZZ by THOR HANSON

Buzz: The Nature and Necessity of Bees  - Thor Hanson

TITLE:  Buzz:  The Nature and Necessity of Bees

 

AUTHOR:  Thor Hanson

 

PUBLICATION DATE:  10 July 2018

 

FORMAT:  ARC ebook

 

ISBN-13:  9780465052615

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NOTE: I received an Advanced Readers Copy of this book from NetGalley. This review is my honest opinion of the book.

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Book Description:

"From the award-winning author of The Triumph of Seeds and Feathers, a natural and cultural history of the buzzing wee beasties that make the world go round.


Bees are like oxygen: ubiquitous, essential, and, for the most part, unseen. While we might overlook them, they lie at the heart of relationships that bind the human and natural worlds. In Buzz, the beloved Thor Hanson takes us on a journey that begins 125 million years ago, when a wasp first dared to feed pollen to its young. From honeybees and bumbles to lesser-known diggers, miners, leafcutters, and masons, bees have long been central to our harvests, our mythologies, and our very existence. They've given us sweetness and light, the beauty of flowers, and as much as a third of the foodstuffs we eat. And, alarmingly, they are at risk of disappearing.


As informative and enchanting as the waggle dance of a honeybee, Buzz shows us why all bees are wonders to celebrate and protect. Read this book and you'll never overlook them again.
"

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Buzz by Thor Hanson is a wonderfully written book about bees - all sorts of bees.  The author does not focus on honeybees, but "celebrates bees in general, from leafcutters and bumbles to masons, miners, diggers, carpenters, wool-carders, and more."  This is not a book about honey-bees and how to cultivate them.

Hanson starts off with why bees are important, then delves into their evolution from wasps, bee anatomy, habitats and habits, as well as the special relationship bees and flowers have.  Without bees the colourful and fragrant flowers we have today would not exist.  There is also a fascinating section on honeyguides (a species of bird), early hominins and their possible evolutionary honey munching habits.  Hanson also briefly covers Colony Collapse Disorder, the decrease in wild bees in connection with current mono-culture farming habits, how farmers are working to provide more habitat for wild bees, and how our food is reliant on bee pollination.

This book is well-written, informative, wide-ranging book on a fascinating topic, made more personal with Hanson's observations and experiences.  Thor Hanson loves bees and this is evident through out the book.

 

 

 

NOTE FROM BOOK:  "A portion of the proceeds from this book will be donated to help preserve and protect wil bees."

 

 

 

 

Lost in Math by Sabine Hossenfelder

Lost in Math: How Beauty Leads Physics Astray - Sabine Hossenfelder

TITLE:  Lost in Math:  How Beauty Leads Physics Astray

 

AUTHOR:  Sabine Hossenfelder

 

PUBLICATION DATE:  12 June 2018

 

FORMAT:  ARC ebook

 

ISBN-13:  9780465094257

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NOTE: I received an Advanced Readers Copy of this book from NetGalley. This review is my honest opinion of the book.

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Book Description:

"Most physicists think of beauty as the royal road to discovery; a leading critic shows it is instead the road to nowhere.
Whether pondering black holes or predicting discoveries at CERN, physicists believe the best theories are beautiful, natural, and elegant, and this standard separates popular theories from disposable ones. This is why, Sabine Hossenfelder argues, we have not seen a major breakthrough in the foundations of physics for more than four decades. The belief in beauty has become so dogmatic that it now conflicts with scientific objectivity: observation has been unable to confirm mindboggling theories, like supersymmetry or grand unification, invented by physicists based on aesthetic criteria. Worse, these "too good to not be true" theories are actually untestable and they have left the field in a cul-de-sac. To escape, physicists must rethink their methods. Only by embracing reality as it is can science discover the truth.
"

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Lost in Math is the story of how aesthetic judgement drives contemporary research; how theoretical physicists produce ideas that are "highly controversial and yet exceedingly popular, speculative yet intriguing, pretty yet useless"; and how these theories are untestable but the physicist believes them to be too good not to be true.  

In the past, scientists observed the world around them and performed experiments.  Then they developed theories to explain these observations.  These theories would then be tested against addition observations and experiments.  These days, theoretical physicists (especially in particle physics) concoct theories that are only supported by beautiful mathematics, and which can never be confirmed by experiments or which are unlikely (due to cost and difficulty) to be examined experminentally.

In an effort to find out what went wrong with theoretical physics, Hossenfelder interviews several physicists and takes a look at the current popular physics theories.  The author makes a convincing case that this reliance on the beauty/maths-only criteria to determine which theories to study and promote has resulted in a lack of progress in certain physics fields.  In the author's own words, "in the end the only way to find out which theory is correct is to check whether it describes nature; non-empirical theory assessment will not do it".  

The writing style of this book is conversational and accessible (for the most part - just pretend the physics is Star Trek physics), and the topic covered is important not only for physicists.  I did find the physics explanations somewhat baffling but then most of the physicists interviewed state that no-one understands quantum physic.  However, this book is a book about how physicists work, not about the physics itself, so it didn't matter much.  I found this book to be interesting and informative.

 

 

The Science of Science Fiction by Mark Brake

The Science of Science Fiction: The Influence of Film and Fiction on the Science and Culture of Our Times  - Mark Brake

TITLE:  The Science of Science Fiction: The Influence of Film and Fiction on the Science and Culture of Our Times

 

AUTHOR:  Mark Brake

 

EXPECTED PUBLICATION DATE:  2 October 2018

 

FORMAT:  ARC ebook

 

ISBN-13:  9781510739369

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NOTE: I received an Advanced Readers Copy of this book from NetGalley. This review is my honest opinion of the book.

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In "The Science of Science Fiction", Mark Brake explores how science fiction has driven science and ultimately shaped the world we live in, and how it may possibly shape the future.  The book is formatted into numerous short chapters that attempt to answer questions suggested by a variety of science fiction novels and movies, in terms of current scientific knowledge.  This makes it a great book for dipping in and out or when you only have short periods to squash a reading session into.

The book is separated into 4 categories:  Space; Time; Machine; and Monster.  Topics covered in the book include  various astrobiology questions involving aliens, parallel worlds, time travel, life in the universe, wormholes, quantum physics, space exploration, colonising Mars and the Moon, space travel, space tourism, cybernetics, flying cars, cyberspace, robots and artificial intelligence, the internet, state surveillence as described in 1984 by George Orwell, genetic engineering, superpowers (X-men, spiderman), supersoldiers, cloning, androids, and a whole lot more.

I found this an entertaining and well-written book, but rather superficial in terms of the science covered.  I really would have liked more science, but then this is a book exploring how science fiction influenced science and not a science book. However, the book did provide several interesting factoids such as "[Johannes] Kepler, who also wrote science fiction, used the power of imagination to conjure spaceships over 350 years before men landed on the Moon."  Who knew that the 17th century mathematician and astonomer also wrote science fiction?  

NOTE:  This book refers heavily to science fiction novels and movies, so those not interested at all in science fiction might feel a bit lost.  But it is a great introduction to other science-fiction novels/movies and how science fiction encourages scientific research and our modern world.

 

 

 

SPOILER ALERT!

QUOTE: Fortress Plant by Dale Walters

 Fortress Plant: How to Survive When Everything Wants to Eat You  - Dale Walters

"Imagine, after much struggle and bloodshed getting through the outer walls of a well-fortified castle, that instead of facing the enemy on solid ground, you suddenly find yourself falling into an inner moat filled with corrosive, deadly chemicals.  This is pretty much what many attackers face when attempting to invade plant tissues.  In fact, on some plants, the attacker will need to face chemicals while still on the plant surface.  Onions with coloured scales - red and brown onions for example -  contain phenolic compounds that leach into water droplets on the surface of the onion.  The onion smudge fungus, Colletotrichum circinans, needs water for its spores to germinate, but instead of giving life, the chemicals in the water droplets kill the pathogen.  This must be the equivalent of having boiling oil poured over you as you start to clamber up the castle wall."

 

- From Fortress Plant by Dale Walters (pg 64)

 

 

Fortress Plant by Dale Walters

 Fortress Plant: How to Survive When Everything Wants to Eat You  - Dale Walters

TITLE:  Fortress Plant:  How to Survive When Everything Wants to Eat You

 

AUTHOR:  Dale Walters

 

DATE PUBLISHED:  2017

 

FORMAT:  Hardback

 

ISBN-13:  978-0-19-874560-0

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From the blurb:

"Everything, it seems, is out to get you - bacteria, fungi, insects, vegetarians... even other plants.  So how do you survive?  As Dale Walters explains in this extraordinary account, you fight back.  And plants are not short of weaponry.  Constant vigilance, rapid communications systems, several lines of fortifications, chemical weapons, insect allies - all are deployed against invaders.  And you can't rest.  You have to keep innovating, and sharpening your defences, because you can be sure your enemies will be finding ways around them.

 

All this, of course, happens withot direction of purpose.  These are evolutionary arms races resulting from natural selection.  But they are no less deadly for that."

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Dale Walters makes use of an amusing fortress metaphor (the plant is the fortress and bacteria, fungi, insects, vegetarians etc are the invaders) to explore the large variety of methods stationary plants use to defend themselves from everything that want to eat them.  This book is divided into chapters on "recognizing the enemy", alerting the plant of imminent invasion "call to arms", the weapons of war, the variety of chemical compounds used to deter/destroy invaders, aid from plant "friends", and the never-ending evolving arms-race between plants and their enemies.  This book is written with the intelligent, intersted reader in mind - not everything is over-explained or simplified and there is a fair amount of botany and biochemistry involved.  However,   I do not believe that there is anything particularly difficult to understand in this book provided the reader is paying attention and not expecting to breeze through the book.  I found this book very interesting, with a lovely writing style, juicy science stuff and no irrelevant biographical side tangents.  The multitude of photographs were also very useful.

 

 

 

 

Seeds of Resistance by Mark Schapiro

Seeds of Resistance: The Fight to Save Our Food Supply - Mark Schapiro

TITLE:  Seeds of Resistance:  The Fight to Save Our Food Supply

 

AUTHOR:  Mark Schapiro

 

EXPECTED PUBLICATION DATE:  18 September 2018

 

FORMAT:  ARC ebook

 

ISBN-13:  9781510705760

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NOTE: I received an Advanced Readers Copy of this book from NetGalley. This review is my honest opinion of the book.

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From the blurb:

"Sun. Soil. Water. Seed. These are the primordial ingredients for the most essential activity of all on earth: growing food. All of these elements are being changed dramatically under the pressures of corporate consolidation of the food chain, which has been accelerating just as climate change is profoundly altering the conditions for growing food. In the midst of this global crisis, the fate of our food has slipped into a handful of the world’s largest companies. Seeds of Resistance will bring home what this corporate stranglehold is doing to our daily diet, from the explosion of genetically modified foods to the rapid disappearance of plant varieties to the elimination of independent farmers who have long been the bedrock of our food supply.

Seeds of Resistance will touch many nerves for readers, including concerns about climate change, chronic drought in essential farm states like California, the proliferation of GMOs, government interference (or purposeful ignorance), and the alarming domination of the seed market and our very life cycle by global giants like Monsanto.

 

But not all is bleak when it comes to the future of our food supply. Seeds of Resistance will also present hopeful stories about farmers, consumer groups, and government agencies around the world that are resisting the tightening corporate squeeze on our food chain."

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This book is primarily about seeds, specifically the seeds that we grow commercially and then turn into various food products.  This is an extremly interesting and well written book that explores how corporations and governments have taken over (i.e. messed with) the millenia old traditions of seed saving, seed cultivation, seed planting and ultimately food production and how this is ultimately detrimental to our food security.  Genetically modified crop plants and are briefly covered, as well as seed libraries (the rebels).  I found the section on seed vaults to be particularly intersting.    This book manages to squash a whole lot of important information into a mere 160 pages, covering the important aspects of this topic and still managing to be accessible, easy to read/understand and personable.     

 

 

Vet on a Mission by Gillian Hick

Vet on a Mission - Gillian Hick

NOTE: I received an uncorrected Advanced Readers Copy of this book from NetGalley. This review is my honest opinion of the book.

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Rating 3.5 stars

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From the author of Vet on the Loose and Vet Among the Pigeons comes Vet on a Mission.  This book contains some of the experiences experienced by Vetrinarian Gillian Hick while starting her own small vet clinic in what is essentially her backyard - along with raising 3 small children (with the help of her husband).  The stories are a mix of entertaining, realistic and sad.  The writing is not as good as the James Herriot vet stories (it's a little stiff, too much tell and not enough show).  However, the book still makes for entertaining reading and fans of James Herriot or vet memoirs would enjoy the book.

 

Burning Planet by Andrew C. Scott

Burning Planet: The Story of Fire Through Time  - Andrew    Scott

TITLE:  Burning Planet:  The Story of Fire

 

AUTHOR:  Andrew C. Scott

 

DATE PUBLISHED:  2018

 

FORMAT:  ebook

 

ISBN-13:  978-0-19-873484-0

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In this book, Scott examines the nature and history of fire, from the inception of the Earth to present times.  He also takes a look at how humans interact with fire and the difficulty in determining a defining national fire policy.  The author covers such topics as the impact of natural and man-made fire on the Earth's atmosphere, climate, ecology, vegetation, the evolution of flora and fauna (e.g. the possible causes of mass extinctions and the spread of flowering plants and grasslands), and how early hominids tamed and used fire.  A lot of fossilized charcoal and charcoalified (I didn't know this was a word!) plants make an appearance in this book, accompanied by numerous diagrams, photographs, and graphs.  Scott also briefly discusses the current impacts and management of wildfires.  The book is clearly written without numerous, lengthy, tedious, biographical or travelogue side tangents.  The information contained within these pages is interesting and the diagrams extremely useful in understanding the information conveyed.

 

 

Currently reading

Founder, Fighter, Saxon Queen: Aethelflaed, Lady of the Mercians by Margaret Jones
Progress: 9%
A Portable Cosmos: Revealing the Antikythera Mechanism, Scientific Wonder of the Ancient World by Alexander Jones
Progress: 118/312pages