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Book Reviews

Margaret Atwood – Testament Book Review (The Handmaid’s Tale Part 2)

I really like Margaret Atwood’s stories. She’s an absolute crafts-woman with words and can convey an idea in a word, a short sentence or in this specific instance, in a whole book. The much awaited sequel to The Handmaid’s tale goes deeper into this new world and offers a view from the inside as well as a birds-eye outlook from the outside.

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Book Reviews

The Gates of Rome (Emperor #1) by Conn Iggulden Book Review

The ultimate Rome story From the spectacle of gladiatorial combat to the intrigue of the Senate, from the foreign wars that secure the power of the empire to the betrayals that threaten to tear it apart, this is the remarkable story of the man who would become the greatest Roman of them all: Julius Caesar. In the city of Rome, a titanic power struggle is about to shake the Republic to its core. Citizen will fight citizen in a bloody conflict – and Julius Caesar, cutting his teeth in battle, will be in the thick of the action. The first installment in the bestselling Emperor series.

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Book Reviews

A man called OVE by Fredrik Backman

“Death is a strange thing. People live their whole lives as if it does not exist, and yet it’s often one of the great motivations for living. Some of us, in time, become so conscious of it that we live harder, more obstinately, with more fury. Some need its constant presence to even be aware of its antithesis. Others become so preoccupied with it that they go into the waiting room long before it has announced its arrival. We fear it, yet most of us fear more than anything that it may take someone other than ourselves. For the greatest fear of death is always that it will pass us by. And leave us there alone.”

I picked up this book due to a Twitter thread of GoodReads asking readers what their favourite book for 2018 was and A Man called OVE appearing in most of the comments. Yeah, I know, majority rules! And I can say with my hand on my heart that this book has made me cry, made me laugh, and made me feel wholesome again.

OVE is your typical grumpy old man but underneath the surface, he is kind, determined and has a big heart (literally). His thoughts are that actions weigh more than words and he is true to his thoughts – doing more than talking.

“Men are what they are because of what they do. Not what they say.”

And when his thoughts drift towards suicide, it’s a question of principle.

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Book Reviews

The Gift of Fear – Survival Signals That Protect Us from Violence

I read this book as it came highly recommended from different Reddit forums dealing with relationships, abuse and spotting possible stalker behaviour.
The book was indeed very good but I can’t say that the tagline “This book will literally save your life” is indeed applicable. It goes with a lot of common sense and helps identify possibly threatening behaviour, all the time putting an accent on the fact that living in permanent paranoia is not the key to survival but allowing your instincts to detect when something is amiss.

By using several examples and his extensive experience in the field, Gavin de Becker teaches us how to spot and how to respond to a possible bad situation.

Key Lessons from “The Gift of Fear”:

  1. Be Aware of Body Language and Forced Teaming
  2. There’s a Way to Tell If a Bomb Threat Is Real or Not
  3. Don’t Get Addicted to the Cycle of Abuse: Tell Someone
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Book Reviews

Lord of the Rings Volume 1 – The Fellowship of the Ring

It’s been a long time waiting but it’s finally happened. I’ve started reading Lord Of The Rings and I can’t be happier! The books are epic and there is so much more in them compared to the movies. I have watched all three movies, extended editions, multiple times and I have had marathons over the weekends spanning more than 12h of content. But I’ve never read (so far) the books that made it all possible.

So let us go on this journey together and I can tell you why this book is by far one of my favourites to date.

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“Home is behind, the world ahead,
and there are many paths to tread
through shadows to the edge of night,
until the stars are all alight.” 
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Book Reviews

Laugh and Learn – 95 Ways to Use Humor for More Effective Teaching and Training

Humor can be a valuable resource in the learning environment. It isn’t just about puns and one-liners, and even if you’re not a “funny” person, it’s easy to bring creactivity, entertainment, emotion, and yes, even some laughs to almost any educational setting. Here’s a book that will help trainers loosen up and create memorable programs that both they and their students will remember – and use.

Although this hardly constitutes a scientific study, to me it suggests that people instinctively see a difference between humor and joke telling. And there is a difference. Humour is a state or quality. Joke telling is an action—only one of many actions by which you might express humor. In other words (take a deep breath, now):You can use humour beautifully and expertly without telling a single joke.

Hardcover: 224 pages
Publisher: Amacom (1 Dec. 2002)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0814407455
ISBN-13: 978-0814407455

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Book Reviews

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

It was 1935 and there was entertainment on the radio, there was no TV and the kids could play outside unsupervised. And a black man was accused of raping a white woman.

“Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit ’em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.”

It’s been a few years since I’ve purchased this book and planned to read it. I kept on moving my finger past it when browsing for books in my bookcase. I decided to give it a go and for the first half, it went dreadfully slow. I had seen the movie and knew what the plot was about but it felt like the book was written about something else entirely. It was about racism in America in the inter-war period but it was also about faith, being human, being innocent and what it means to raise a child right!

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Book Reviews

Sadie – Courtney Summers

In our last episode, I introduced you to the two girls at the center of this podcast, Mattie Southern and Sadie Hunter. Mattie was murdered, her body left just outside her hometown of Cold Creek, Colorado. Sadie is missing, her car found, abandoned, thousands of miles away, with all her personal belongings still inside it. The girls’ surrogate grandmother, May Beth Foster, has enlisted my help in finding Sadie and bringing her home.

Sadie hasn’t had an easy life. Growing up on her own, she’s been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated small town, trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water. But when Mattie is found dead, Sadie’s entire world crumbles. After a somewhat botched police investigation, Sadie is determined to bring her sister’s killer to justice and hits the road following a few meagre clues to find him.

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Book Reviews

A Simple Plan by Scott B. Smith Book Review

Looking back on it now, after all that’s happened, it seems insane with what little fear I picked this path.

Once one accepts the bizarre premise of Smith’s astonishingly adept, ingeniously plotted debut thriller, the book fulfills every expectation of a novel of suspense, leading the reader on a wild exploration of the banality of evil. It’s very similar to The Basis Of Morality by Stephen King in a way that it explores a “what-if” scenario which puts the concept of good and evil into perspective.

When Hank Mitchell, his obese, feckless brother Jacob and Jacob’s smarmy friend Lou accidentally find a wrecked small plane and its dead pilot in the woods near their small Ohio town, they decide not to tell the authorities about the $4.4 million stuffed into a duffel bag.

Instead, they agree to hide the money and later divide it among themselves.

And it was like magic, too, like a gift from the gods, the ease with which a solution came to me, a simple plan, a way to keep the money without fear of getting caught.

The ‘simple plan’ sets in motion a spiral of blackmail, betrayal and multiple murder which Smith manipulates with consummate skill, increasing the tension exponentially with plot twists that are inevitable and unpredictable at the same time. In choosing to make his protagonist an ordinary middle-class man – Hank is an accountant in a feed and grain store – Smith demonstrates the eerie ease with which the mundane can descend to the unthinkable.

Hank commits the first murder to protect his brother and their secret; he eerily rationalizes the ensuing coldblooded deeds while remaining outwardly normal, hardly an obvious psychopath. Smith’s imagination never palls; the writing peaks in a gory liquor store scene that’s worthy of comparison to Stephen King at his best.

I was doomed now, trapped, that the rest of my life would pivot somehow off this single act, that in trying to save Jacob, I’d damned us both.

This book has been adapted into a movie.

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Book Reviews

Liar, Liar by M.J. Arlidge

This is the fourth novel featuring Detective Helen Grace (and the first one I’ve read) written by M.J. Arlidge.

Quick paced with 433 pages and 143 chapters.