Elentarri's Book Blog

Book reviews and other interesting goodies.

Why We Dream by Alice Robb

Why We Dream: The Transformative Power of Our Nightly Journey - Alice Robb

TITLE:   Why We Dream: The Transformative Power of Our Nightly Journey
 

AUTHOR:  Alice Robb

 

PUBLICATION DATE:  20 November 2018

 

FORMAT:  ARC ebook

 

ISBN-13: 9780544931213

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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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DESCRIPTION:

"A fresh, revelatory foray into the new science of dreams—how they work, what they’re for, and how we can reap the benefits of our own nocturnal life

While on a research trip in Peru, science journalist Alice Robb became hooked on lucid dreaming—the uncanny phenomenon in which a sleeping person can realize that they’re dreaming and even control the dreamed experience. Finding these forays both puzzling and exhilarating, Robb dug deeper into the science of dreams at an extremely opportune moment: just as researchers began to understand why dreams exist. They aren’t just random events; they have clear purposes. They help us learn and even overcome psychic trauma.

Robb draws on fresh and forgotten research, as well as her experience and that of other dream experts, to show why dreams are vital to our emotional and physical health. She explains how we can remember our dreams better—and why we should. She traces the intricate links between dreaming and creativity, and even offers advice on how we can relish the intense adventure of lucid dreaming for ourselves.

Why We Dream is a clear-eyed, cutting-edge examination of the meaning and purpose of our nightly visions and a guide to changing our dream lives—and making our waking lives richer, healthier, and happier. "

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REVIEW:

 

Why We Dream is a clearly written, well researched book about dreams that combines science, history and current research, with an anecdotal narrative that isn't overwhelming in terms of the book topic.  The author explores connections between dreams and health, problem-solving, creativity and other interesting topics, such as lucid dreaming.  Robb has written an accessible book about dreaming that would nicely complement any general book about sleep or that would provide a great introduction for those interested in dreaming.

 





A Day in the Life of a Raindrop by Stephen Daingerfield Dunn

A Day In The Life Of A Raindrop - Stephen Daingerfield Dunn, Moore Dejah

TITLE:  A Day in the Life of a Raindrop

 

AUTHOR:  Stephen Daingerfield Dunn

 

PUBLICATION DATE:  1 November 2018

 

FORMAT:  ARC ebook

 

ISBN-13: 9780998542881

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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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DESCRIPTION:

"Tells about the life of a raindrop as it falls to earth and makes it's way through the lives of people, pets, and gardens in a cheerful and heartfelt way.

For children and families, illustrated.

Our daring, darling protagonist, Droplet, invites us to join him for his adventures, enchantment, wonder and delight as he plunges from heaven to earth on the exciting journey of his life. He questions what will you do with the many days you are graced with, when he has only this one perfectly delicious and gloriously charming opportunity...one wonderful day."

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REVIEW:

 

This is an adorable little poem about a rain drop's trip to Earth.  The colour illustrations are whimsical and beautiful.  The story entertaining and cheerful.  This would make a lovely addition for any child's library.

 

Found in an old book...
Found in an old book...

Flash Time by Jules Boles

FLASH TIME: THE DISCOVERY & MEANING OF CYCLIC TIME - Jules Boles

TITLE:  Flash Time:  The Discovery and Meaning of Cyclic Time

 

AUTHOR:  Jules Boles

 

PUBLICATION DATE:  September 2018

 

FORMAT:  ARC PDF

 

ISBN-13:  9781999712099

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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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Interesting concept.  Flawed execution.

According to the author's hypothesis (and own words); Flash Time is

"the concept that time moves in repeating cycles of events, so the universe always exists and was never formed in a Big Bang as claimed.  Flash Time Zero moment or ‘effect’ occurs in a cyclical ‘instant’ in which events begin to happen again as they did before. In that ‘zero moment’ time begins again. This Flash Time model suggests the universe can ‘update itself’ faster than light via a Grid, when rotational energy imbalances trigger the ‘switch’ in Order outlined here, causing the Cycle to continue, as implied by Gödel (c1931) and Bell in 1964. This causal circle of events requires a faster-than-light cosmos thus removing the need for a slower-than-light cosmos using a ‘no communication theorem’. These issues appear resolved finally with a triple cycle entangled spacetime state where past, present and future act in unison during any one cycle, in which outcomes must conform to that pattern. Freewill is then maintained, yet depends on what was chosen in the last cycle, while usually being unknown, though not always (déjà vu applies here). Bell realised later a conflict with freewill, yet without the ‘non-linear triple cycle’ effect of entangled ‘triple time’ as above, and so decided against a perfectly repeating event sequence, even though one was implied. This Grid enables this to be so, since it appears to allow superluminal update speeds from local realism, and suggests a reform of the Dirac equation’s reliance on linear time."

I'm providing Boles's own words because I'm not entirely sure I understood completely what he was writing about.  Flash Time is an interesting concept.  However, while the author might be onto something, he does not do a very good job explaining the concept.  No-one doubts time is cyclical in terms of seasonal cycles, life cycles, nutrient cycles etc; but having time go around in a circle then just start from zero again after a catastrophe doesn't really work for me.  Time is still linear for those of us living on the planet.  Rotating through various natural cycles (Earth-wise or cosmologically) seems pretty normal and self-evident to me, but Boles didn't explain the whole start over concept to my satisfaction.  Or why a particular cycle couldn't go through eons instead of the few thousand years he suggested.

The author doesn't manage to adequately explain why his numerous examples are supposed to be proof of Flash Time, rather than just proof of insufficent data, faulty hypotheses/theories or someone buggering up the mathematics.  Boles criticises science for making assumptions and modifying/inventing new hypotheses, but he is quite happy to use the end-results of scientific studies when they suit his hypothesis.  The author also contradicts himself, makes a vast number of wild/unsubstantiated speculations, cherry-picks DNA/geological dating results, uses old (discarded) hypotheses, and generally provides no solid evidence for flash time.  This book is esentially a dissertation on what is wrong with various scientific methods and hypotheses, such as Carbon-14 dating (and other geological dating methods) and the Big-Bang.  All these less than 100% accurate scientific findings are supposed to be proof of flash time.  The author never states WHY this is supposed to be evidence of Flash Time, as opposed to evidence for something else, or even just evidence that scientists don't know everything.  Getting the maths wrong, does not prove flash time.  

The writing style of this book is not particularly pleasant as the reader has to wade through multiple repetitions, jumping around with disjointed topics (from neanderthals to the Big Bang in one paragraph), wonder where he got the information from for a large number of odd statements, and lack of cohesion.  An editor would have been useful.  It would be interesting to see what a physicist or cosmologist has to say about the Big-Bang chapter, since most of the theoretical physics went over my head there.

Flash time is an interesting concept, but I didn't manage to grasp the concept adequatley just reading this book, nor do I agree with the manner in which the author provides "evidence" for his hypothesis.  Further research is needed!

 

Call of Nature: The Secret Life of Dung by Richard Jones

Call of Nature: The Secret Life of Dung - Richard Jones

TITLE:  Call of Nature:  The Secret Life of Dung

 

AUTHOR:  Richard Jones

 

DATE PUBLISHED:  2017

 

FORMAT:  Hardcover

 

ISBN-13:  978-1-78427-105-3

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DESCRIPTION:

"Journey through the digestive systems of humans, farm and wild animals, and meet some of nature's ultimate recyclers as they eat, breed in and compete for dung. The fall of bodily waste onto the ground is the start of a race against the clock as a multitude of dung-feeders and scavengers consume this rich food source. From the enigmatic dung-rolling beetles to bat guano and giant elephant droppings, dung creates a miniature ecosystem to be explored by the aspiring dung watcher.

The author completes the book with an identification guide to dung itself, so that you can identify the animal that left it behind. Pellets or pats? Scats, spraints, frass, guano, spoor learn your way around different species droppings. There's also a dung-feeder s identification guide that includes the species you re most likely to encounter on an exploration of the dung heap."

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Call of Nature is an informative, interesting, thought-provoking, well-researched and nicely illustrated book full of interesting facts by an author who is passionate about his subject.  The author's British sense of humour  and personal, relevant (but not long-winded ) anecdotes was entertaining and lightened up a book that revolves around dung and dung beetles.  Such topics as the ecological value of dung, the animal communities that make use of dung, a fond focus on dung beetles, and what happens if dung just lay around and didn't degrade (as happened in Australia), are covered in this book.  A useful identification guide to various types of animal dung and a guide to some critters that inhabit dung is also provided.  Not to mention the rather amusing scatalogical dictionary at the end. 

Pandora's Garden by Clinton Crockett Peters

Pandora's Garden (Crux: The Georgia Series in Literary Nonfiction Series) - Clinton Crockett Peters (author) & John Griswold (Series edited by)

TITLE:  Pandora's Garden:  Kudzu, Cockroaches, and Other Misfits of Ecology

 

AUTHOR:  Clinton Crockett Peters

 

DATE PUBLISHED:  May 2018

 

FORMAT:  ARC PDF

 

ISBN-13:  9780820353203

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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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DESCRIPTION

"Pandora's Garden profiles invasive or unwanted species in the natural world and examines how our treatment of these creatures sometimes parallels in surprising ways how we treat each other. Part essay, part nature writing, part narrative nonfiction, the chapters in Pandora's Garden are like the biospheres of the globe; as the successive chapters unfold, they blend together like ecotones, creating a microcosm of the world in which we sustain nonhuman lives but also contain them.

There are many reasons particular flora and fauna may be unwanted, from the physical to the psychological. Sometimes they may possess inherent qualities that when revealed help us to interrogate human perception and our relationship to an unwanted other. Pandora's Garden is primarily about creatures that humans don't get along with, such as rattlesnakes and sharks, but the chapters also take on a range of other subjects, including stolen children in Australia, the treatment of illegal immigrants in Texas, and the disgust function of the human limbic system. Peters interweaves these diverse subjects into a whole that mirrors the evolving and interrelated world whose surprises and oddities he delights in revealing.
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I have mixed feelings about this book.  The writing is beautiful.  The author definately knows how to write.  However, the combination of essay/ nature writing (minimal science involved)/ anecdotes/ personal stories doesn't really work for me.  The parts that included nature were simply too superficial and the rest was too autobiographical.  The author seemed to focus on stories highlighting how horrible, ignorant and misguided people are.  Whole chapters were dedicated to the author's reminiscences, everything from Godzilla to baseball.  Each chapter covers a separate topic that is vaguely tied together under ecological misfits.  Each chapter reads like a magazine article or essay (which some of them appear to have started out as).  Very little of the ecological information was new to me, so I got a bit bored reading superficial personal stories.  If you like depressing memoirs with a touch of haphazard nature, you might like this book.  If you were expecting something of substance in terms of ecology or animal life, you won't find it in this book.

 

WARNING:  Book contains descriptions of animal cruelty.

Will Computers Revolt? by Charles Simon

Will Computers Revolt?: Preparing for the Future of Artificial Intelligence - Simon Charles

TITLE:  Will Computers Revolt?  Preparing for hte Future of Artificial Intelligence

 

AUTHOR:  Charles Simon

 

PUBLICATION DATE:  30 October 2018

 

FORMAT:  ARC PDF

 

ISBN-13:  9781732687219

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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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DESCRIPTION:

"Explore the world of computer intelligent technology and how we can prepare ourselves.

For those imagining the future directions of intelligent technology, this book gives readers an excellent place to start, as it is easy to read, well researched, and provocative.

This book includes many real-world examples to interest the layman along with enough technical detail to convince the computer scientist.

Written in layman's language by Charles J. Simon, an uniquely qualified, noted computer hardware expert and neural network software pioneer. He is exploring the world inf computer intelligent technology and how we can prepare ourselves."

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The author discusses intelligence in terms of several specified behaviours which he thinks are necessary components of thinking and intelligence.  Simon then goes on to show how each behaviour is possible in future computers, but also inevitable.  He also takes a look at how humans will interact with intelligent computers in the future. 

 

This is an interesting, methodical and somewhat plodding introductory book to artificial intelligence. There are numerous coloured diagrams to help with the explanations.  Also numerous thought experiments and comparisons between machine and human brain functioning.  This book provides food for thought, but came across as a course text book for the subject, with repetitions.  I felt like I was in a collage classroom being lectured at.

 

The Golden Ratio by Gary B. Meisner, Rafael Araujo

The Golden Ratio: The Divine Beauty of Mathematics - Gary Meisner, Rafael Araujo

TITLE:  The Golden Ratio:  The Divine Beauty of Mathematics

 

AUTHOR:  Gary B. Meisner, Rafael Araujo (illustrator)

 

PUBLICATION DATE:  23 October 2018

 

FORMAT:  ARC PDF

 

ISBN-13:  9781631064869

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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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DESCRIPTION:

The Golden Ratio examines the presence of this divine number in art and architecture throughout history, as well as its ubiquity among plants, animals, and even the cosmos. This gorgeous book features clear, entertaining, and enlightening commentary alongside stunning full-color illustrations by Venezuelan artist and architect Rafael Araujo.

 

From the pyramids of Giza, to quasicrystals, to the proportions of the human face, the golden ratio has an infinite capacity to generate shapes with exquisite properties. 

 

With its lush format and layflat dimensions that closely approximate the golden ratio, this is the ultimate coffee table book for math enthusiasts, architects, designers, and fans of sacred geometry."

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The Golden Ration by Gary Meisner is an exquisitely illustration, beautifully and clearly written introductory book about the Golden Ratio and related subjects.  There are lovely full-colour illustrations and photographs on nearly every page.  The book begins with the unique properties of the golden ratio and then continues on to its appearance in art and design, architecture (pyramids, cathedrals, musical instruments), nature (leaf and petal arrangements, fractals, spirals, facial proportions, buckyballs, quantum physics, golden DNA, the nautilus controversy), and many other interesting mathematical goodies such as tessellations, platonic solids, the Fibonacci sequence, Pascal’s Triangles etc.  The book also includes appendices that deal with critical thinking, notes and further reading, and “Golden Constructions”.  There are a number of equations and geometrical illustrations, but nothing particularly complicated.  In the author’s own words:  “not everything is based on the golden ratio, but the number of places in which it seems to appear is truly amazing and we are sure to uncover it more and more as technology advances and out knowledge of the physical universe expands”. 

 

This is definately a book I will be adding to my library.

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Globalography by Chris Fitch

Globalography - mapping our connected world: An atlas of our globalised world in 50 stunning maps - Chris Fitch

TITLE:  Globalography:  Our Interconnected World in 50 Maps

 

AUTHOR:  Chris Fitch, maps by Sam Vickars

 

EXPECTED PUBLICATION DATE:  23 October 2018:

 

FORMAT:  ARC PDF

 

ISBN-13:  9781781317914

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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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DESCRIPTION:

“We present 50 unique maps –  each in its own beautiful and fascinating style –  that chart the globalography of our world. We live in an era of incredible connections and inter-dependency; connected through aid, migration, trade, finance and the invisible lines of culture, data, technology and ideas. These are not maps of nations in isolation, but of processes, trade links, flows of people, arts, cultures and objects. Each map examines the links, bonds and conflicts that brings our world together, creating a fascinating and intricate atlas of our connected planet.

 

Split into 6 categories the essential, curious, invisible and intricate connections that make up are world are mapped. Each map is accompanied by an essay by Chris Fitch, whose vivid text provides expert insight on how the connections have been formed and what they tell us about our world.

 

Cities: how the city has grown bigger than the nation, charting the links that brings the world's cities together

Culture: mapping the trade links, idea sharing and unbreakable bonds of cultures that spread across boundaries

Military: the bonds that define and break borders

Objects: marking the routes, locations and links that connected lands and space through our things

Nature: the lines and flows of the natural world

Human: charting the links of people, languages, families and the influences of people “

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Globalography attempts to explore individual examples that reveal how the new globalized world really operates.  This book contains 50 double spread, full colour maps that reveal the many ways in which we now connect with each other across the globe.  This book illustrates the radical way globalization is transforming out world.  Each map is accompanied by a brief article (also spread over 2 pages) that usually contains statistics and that I found somewhat superficial in most cases.  I felt that some of the map legends could have been clearer in terms of the statistics they were representing.  The 50 topics include such items as bananas, tourism, uranium, football players, wind energy, messenger apps, skyscrapers, cinema, cocoa, car exports, honey etc.  This is a cute, colourful and interesting coffee table book that one buys for the pictures, not the text. 

 

The Indus by Andrew Robinson

The Indus: Lost Civilizations (Reaktion Books - Lost Civilizations) - Andrew Robinson

TITLE:  The Indus:  Lost Civilizations

 

AUTHOR:  Andrew Robinson

 

DATE PUBLISHED:  2015

 

FORMAT:  Hardcover

 

ISBN-13:  9781780235028

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DESCRIPTION

When Alexander the Great invaded the Indus Valley in the fourth century BCE, he was completely unaware that it had once been the center of a civilization that could have challenged ancient Egypt and neighboring Mesopotamia in size and sophistication. In this accessible introduction, Andrew Robinson tells the story—so far as we know it—of this enigmatic people, who lay forgotten for around 4,000 years.

 

Going back to 2600 BCE, Robinson investigates a civilization that flourished over half a millennium, until 1900 BCE, when it mysteriously declined and eventually vanished. Only in the 1920s, did British and Indian archaeologists in search of Alexander stumble upon the ruins of a civilization in what is now northwest India and eastern Pakistan. Robinson surveys a network of settlements—more than 1,000—that covered over 800,000 square kilometers. He examines the technically advanced features of some of the civilization’s ancient cities, such as Harappa and Mohenjo-daro, where archaeologists have found finely crafted gemstone jewelry, an exquisite part-pictographic writing system (still requiring decipherment), apparently Hindu symbolism, plumbing systems that would not be bettered until the Roman empire, and street planning worthy of our modern world. He also notes what is missing: any evidence of warfare, notwithstanding an adventurous maritime trade between the Indus cities and Mesopotamia via the Persian Gulf. 

 

A fascinating look at a tantalizingly “lost” civilization, this book is a testament to its artistic excellence, technological progress, economic vigor, and social tolerance, not to mention the Indus legacy to modern South Asia and the wider world. “

 

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This is a short, nicely written, but scholarly summary of what is known about the Indus Civilization, which covered a large area in present day Pakistan and India from approximately 2600 to 1900 B.C.  Robinson briefly describes the discovery of this lost civilization, the problematic archaeology of the sites, the arts, crafts, agriculture, trade, possible social structure, religion, decline and disappearance.  The Indus script is also discussed in much detail.  Since little is known about this civilization despite the artefacts, a great deal of this book is speculative, but the author differentiates with what was found in terms of archaeology and the natural environmental, and what is more probably or less likely.  The general consensus is that more archaeological finds are necessary and that the script needs to be deciphered before any more definitive information about the Lost Indus Civilization can be revealed.  I found this book interesting and to be a good introduction to the subject.  The numerous photographs, maps and other illustrations were helpful.

 

Growing a Revolution by David R. Montgomery

Growing a Revolution: Bringing Our Soil Back to Life - David Montgomery

TITLE:  Growing a Revolution: Bringing Our Soil Back to Life

 

AUTHOR:  David R. Montgomery

 

DATE PUBLISHED:  2017

 

FORMAT:  Paperback

 

ISBN-13:  9780393356090

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DESCRIPTION:

"For centuries, agricultural practices have eroded the soil that farming depends on, stripping it of the organic matter vital to its productivity. Now conventional agriculture is threatening disaster for the world’s growing population. In Growing a Revolution, geologist David R. Montgomery travels the world, meeting farmers at the forefront of an agricultural movement to restore soil health. From Kansas to Ghana, he sees why adopting the three tenets of conservation agriculture—ditching the plow, planting cover crops, and growing a diversity of crops—is the solution. When farmers restore fertility to the land, this helps feed the world, cool the planet, reduce pollution, and return profitability to family farms."

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In this book, we follow the author on an investigation of various agricultural methods all over the globe to see what works and which methods rejuvinate depleted soils.  This is a rather pleasant book to read - no doom and gloom.  The author is optimistic about humanity's ability to feed itself provided the methods described in this book are followed.  No fancy technology or equipment is necessary.  It doesn't matter if you are an organic produce farmer or a conventional farmer, farm with animals or plants, have a huge farm in the USA or a small family farm in Africa, the principles described in this book make farming profitable, improve the soil, reduce erosion, retain water, minimize weeds, reduce input costs in terms of fertilizer, herbicide and pesticide.  These principles can in all likelihood be modified to the home garden too.

Ancient Giants by Xaviant Haze

Ancient Giants: History, Myth, and Scientific Evidence from around the World - Xaviant Haze

TITLE:  Ancient Giants: History, Myth, and Scientific Evidence from around the World

 

AUTHOR:  Xaviant Haze

 

PUBLICATION DATE:  2018

 

FORMAT:  Paperback

 

ISBN-13: 9781591432937

 

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This is a mostly anecdotal collection of stories and myths about giants from prehistory to more recent times, categorized in terms of region.  There is no attempt at analysis or investigating if the "giants" described in the stories or ancient carvings are actual giants, normal people with medical conditions, or simply over-exaggerated tales that grew with the telling.  All of the giant bone discoveries mentioned in this book have mysteriously disappeared.  The author claims a conspiracy, which may well be true, but this book doesn't help with any details or furthering of knowledge.  This is a short book that brings nothing new to the table.

On the Wing by David E. Alexander

On the Wing: Insects, Pterosaurus, Birds, Bats and the Evolution of Animal Flight - David E. Alexander

TITLE:  On the Wing: Insects, Pterosaurus, Birds, Bats and the Evolution of Animal Flight

 

AUTHOR:  David E. Alexander

 

DATE PUBLISHED:  2015

 

FORMAT:  Hardcover

 

ISBN-13:  9780199996773

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DESCRIPTION:

"Ask anybody what superpower they wished to possess and odds are the answer just might be "the ability to fly." What is it about soaring through the air held up by the power of one's own body that has captivated humans for so long? David Alexander examines the evolution of flight in the only four animals to have evolved this ability: insects, pterosaurs, birds, and bats. With an accessible writing style grounded in rigorous research, Alexander breaks new ground in a field that has previously been confined to specialists. While birds have received the majority of attention from flight researchers, Alexander pays equal attention to all four groups of flyers-something that no other book on the subject has done before now. In a streamlined and captivating way, David Alexander demonstrates the links between the tiny 2-mm thrip and the enormous albatross with the 12 feet wingspan used to cross oceans.

The book delves into the fossil record of flyers enough to satisfy the budding paleontologist, while also pleasing ornithologists and entomologists alike with its treatment of animal behavior, flapping mechanisms, and wing-origin theory. Alexander uses relatable examples to draw in readers even without a natural interest in birds, bees, and bats. He takes something that is so off-limits and unfamiliar to humans-the act of flying-and puts it in the context of experiences that many readers can relate to. Alexander guides readers through the anomalies of the flying world: hovering hummingbirds, unexpected gliders (squirrels, for instance), and the flyers that went extinct (pterosaurs). Alexander also delves into wing-origin theory and explores whether birds entered the skies from the trees down (as gliders) or from the ground up (as runners) and uses the latest fossil evidence to present readers with an answer.
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This is a clearly written, well researched and well illustrated book exploring the evolution of flight in insects, birds, bats and pterosaurs.

Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and Other Tales - Roger Luckhurst, Robert Louis Stevenson

TITLE:  Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and Other Tales 

 

AUTHOR:  Robert Louis Stevenson

  

DATE PUBLISHED:  2008 (reissue)

 

PUBLICATION:  Oxford World's Classics

 

FORMAT:  Paperback

 

ISBN-13:  9780199536221

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DESCRIPTION: 

"Stevenson's short novel, published in 1886, became an instant classic.  It was a Gothic horror that originated in a feverish nightmare, whose hallucinatory setting in the murky back streets of London gripped a nation mesmerized by crime and violence.  The respectable doctor's mysterious relationship with his disreputable associate is finally revealed in one of the most original and thrilling endings in English literature.  

 

In addition to Jekyll and Hyde, this edition also includes a number of short stories and essays written by Stevenson in the 1880s, minor masterpieces of fiction and comment:  'The Body Snatcher', 'Markheim',  and 'Olalla' featuring grave-robbing, a sinister double, and degeneracy, while ' A Chapter on Dreams' and 'A Gossip on Romance' discuss artistic creation and the 'romance' form.  Appendices provide extract from contemporary -writings on personality disorder, which set Stevenson's tale in its full historic context."

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It's a bit hard to comment on a classic that has resulted in numerous adaptations.  I found the stories in this book to be creepy and the essays interesting.

 

 

Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne

Around the World in Eighty Days (Oxford World's Classics) - Jules Verne

TITLE:  Around the World in Eighty Days

 

AUTHOR:  Jules Verne

 

TRANSLATOR:  William Butcher

 

DATE PUBLISHED:  2008 (reissue)

 

PUBLICATION:  Oxford World's Classics

 

FORMAT:  Paperback

 

ISBN-13:  9780199552511

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DESCRIPTION: 

"With the words 'Here I am, gentlemen', Phileas Fogg snatches a day from the jaws of time to make one of literature's great entrances.

 

Fogg - still, repressed, English - assures the members of the exclusive Reform Club that he will circumnavigate the world in eighty days.  Together with an irrepressible Frenchman and an Indian beauty he slices through jungles and climbs over snowbound passes, even across an entire isthmus - only to get back five minutes late.  He confronts despair and suicide, but his Indian companion makes a new man of him, able to face even his club again.

 

William Butcher's stylish new translation of Around the World in Eighty Days moves as fast and as brilliantly as Fogg's epic journey.  This edition also presents important discoveries about Verne's manuscripts, his sources, and cultural references."

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This is a fun, and occasionally nail-biting, romp around the World in 80 days - more or less.  Passepartout is a hilarious character that nicely complements Fogg's rather enigmatic personality.  William Butcher's translation is beautifully done, making it hard to tell that this is a translation from the original French.   All the extra goodies (introduction, notes, chronology, appendices) make this critical edition a treat.

Currently reading

Mushrooms: A Natural and Cultural History by Nicholas P. Money
Progress: 34/224pages
Plagues and Peoples by William Hardy McNeill
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