Saturday, March 31, 2012

"The Zombie Survival Guide" by Max Brooks

The Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks - book cover
Release date: September 16, 2003
Publisher: Broadway Books
Pages: 288
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Regardless of whether we like it or not, the zombie apocalypse is indeed coming to us one day or another. When the time comes, only those who have undergone rigorous training and preparations will have a chance of surviving and repopulating the Earth.

Not to mention, your ability to survive will actually allow you to enjoy a world without rules where you can finally go raid the liquor store or a bar and be hailed as a hero for doing it. In any case, Max Brooks has taken some time to prepare himself for such an event, and he chose to share his knowledge through his book titled The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living Dead.

Organized in 10 chapters, the book never beats around the bush and simply gets around to the important stuff: how to survive in what situation. Some of the things taught in this book include:

  • Organizing humanity before the zombies pop out of their graves.
  • What mindset to have when fighting zombies
  • The importance of hitting them in the head
  • Why keeping blades is very important
  • How to dress properly for the fight
  • The implementation of scorched earth tactics
  • How to go about transportation
  • Moving on foot through areas with lots of zombies
  • Finding a safe place to hold out
  • What to do once the zombies have been vanquished

As you can see, the list of topics covered is pretty extensive and chances are if you follow the rules in the book, you will be one of the luck survivors who gets to become a legend and repopulate the Earth.



Max Brooks (May 22, 1972)

Max Brooks (May 22, 1972)


Personal site

Born in New York City, Max Brooks is the son of legendary comedy filmmaker, the unforgettable Mel Brooks. However, unlike his father, Max always had a keener eye for darker stories with a penchant for the terrifying. He wrote the infamous Zombie Survival Guide and even appeared on-screen for numerous productions as an actor.

More of the Max Brooks' book reviews:
World War Z

Friday, March 30, 2012

"Full Dark, No Stars" by Stephen King

Full Dark, No Stars - book cover
While Stephen King has become known as one of the greatest writers in the world because of his novels, he does have some interesting works which unfortunately haven’t received as much exposure as they should have.

These works often include collections and compilations of smaller stories, such as Full Dark, No Stars for example which tells four different stories and in true King fashion, the predominant themes throughout the stories are greed, vengeance and deception.

  • The first story titled "1922" is about a farmer who confesses all of the evil deeds in his life which led him to the absolute worst year in his life, you guessed it, 1922.
  • The second story in the book titled Big Driver is a common tale of rape and vengeance, and what it lacks in plot it certainly makes up for in style, pacing, and general flow of the story itself.
  • The third story is the shortest one of the entire collection and it is titled "Fair Extension". In a nutshell, this story is all about depicting pure hatred, spite, and remorselessness.
  • The fourth and final story of Full Dark, No Stars bears the title "A Good Marriage" and it explores the question as to what would a person do if they discovered that their life-long romantic partner had some dark and terrible secret.

Finally, there is the afterword where King finally gives the answer to the question many of his fans have been asking for many years: where does he get his ideas?

All things considered, Full Dark, No Stars is a bit of a diamond in the rough and makes for a very entertaining read.



Stephen Edwin King, (September 21, 1947)

Stephen Edwin King


Personal site

Here is a man who probably needs no introduction. Stephen King is known by virtually everyone as being the master of horror, coming up with classics such as It and The Shining, but his literary talents to extend beyond that as he delivered plenty of memorable novels in other genres, including 11/22/63 and Under the Dome.

More of the Stephen King's book reviews:
Finders Keepers
Revival
Mr. Mercedes
The Green Mile
Doctor Sleep
Joyland
The Dark Tower
Under the Dome
The Stand by Stephen King
Bag of Bones
A Memoir of the Craft
11/22/63

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

"90 Minutes in Heaven" by Don Piper and Cecil Murphey

90 Minutes in Heaven by Don Piper and Cecil Murphey - book cover
Release date: September 1, 2007
Publisher: Revell
Pages: 208
Buy:
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The question as to what happens after death is one which bugs us all from time to time and only a select few have ever had the opportunity to witness what was on the other side… and come back to tell us. One of these people is a Baptist minister by the name of Don Piper who had the misfortune of colliding with a semi-truck which crossed into his lane.

At the scene, Piper was pronounced dead.However, it seems as if fate had other plans in store for him as Piper spent the next 90 minutes walking on the thin line between life and death.

During that time, Piper claims to have met a number of people who have spiritually influence him, not to mention that he remembers hearing some beautiful music playing… but most importantly, he felt truly at piece.

Even though he was pronounced dead, Piper rose back to life in something which is probably dubbed as a miracle and until now, he chose not to share his experience as to what happens after life in a book titled 90 Minutes in Heaven: A True Story of Death and Life. As you can imagine, this book is dedicated to describing the whole experience, not to mention what he went through during the long and painful recovery that followed.


Don Piper


Personal site

Don Piper is a Baptist Minister who had the misfortune of being struck by a semi-trailer truck while crossing a bridge back in 1989, and was allegedly pronounced dead at the scene, a time during which he claims to have gone straight to Heaven and seen wonderous sights. He detailed his near-death experience in his book 90 Minutes in Heaven.

Cecil Murphey (January 28, 1933)


Personal site

Cecil Murphey (who wrote a number of nonfiction books, including numerous biographies, memoirs and so on and so forth. As one can guess, Murphey wrote many bestsellers, with the most prominent ones being 90 Minutes in Heaven and I Choose to Stay.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

"The Litigators" by John Grisham

The Litigators by John Grisham - Book Cover
Finley & Figg is a two-bit operation run only by two people, referring to themselves as a "boutique law firm", although they are clearly far from that. While the partners spend their time looking for the big break in the business, they mainly handle DUIs and divorce papers, and sometimes even car wrecks which at their level of business is somewhat of a jackpot.

For more than twenty years, Oscar Finley and Wally Figg manage to keep their heads above the water and make a decent living from their seedy office in Chicago.However, one day a man by the name of David Zinc walks in, explaining himself to be somewhat of a burned-out attorney, although still relatively young.

Having fallen from the top of his profession, David now finds himself at the door of Finley & Figg, and deciding that he can’t be picky about his job chooses to work for them.This is where the big case finally lands in their lap as several patients who have been taking a drug known as Krayoxx have suffered a heart attack.

Naturally, Oscar and Wally can smell the money in such a situation, and everything really seems too good to be true as all they need to do is find those who have had the heart attacks and convince them to join the class action against the company, making everyone rich. However, it’s at this point that Wally, Oscar and David discover that nothing is ever simple, especially when taking on a corporation that makes $25 billion dollars annually.


John Grisham (February 8, 1955)

John Grisham


Personal site

John Grisham is an American lawyer, politician and author whose works have always been largely centered around the legal world. Many of his novels have been adapted into films, including The Firm, The Rainmaker and A Time to Kill. In 2005, he was the recipient of the Peggy V. Helmerich Distinguished Author Award.

More of the John Grisham's book reviews:
Rogue Lawyer
Sycamore Row
The Partner
The Firm
A Time to Kill
The Racketeer

Friday, March 23, 2012

"The Lightning Thief" by Rick Riordan

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
Release date: June 28, 2005
Publisher: Miramax Books
Pages: 384
Buy:
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Percy Jackson is not at all like his peers, in the sense that he can actually see mythical creatures and what’s more, he often clashes with them.

Unfortunately, he is the only one who can see them and this results in him being expelled from his school. However, this all turns out to be for the best as right after he is taken to Camp Half-Blood where he learns the truth as to who he really is: a demigod.

What’s more he is the son of Poseidon, ruler of the sea, which pretty much makes Percy one of the most powerful demigods to ever exist. Unfortunately for Percy, from that point on it’s far from being all fun and games as the Oracle gives Percy some kind of cryptic prophecy, sending him on a quest to the Underworld where he must prevent the Gods from going at war with each other.

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan is the first installment in this best-selling series which has captivated the hearts and imaginations of millions upon millions of people around the world.

The book itself can be described as a non-stop roller-coaster of thrill and excitement, culminating in a final confrontation of epic proportions.


Rick Riordan (June 5, 1964)

Rick Riordan (June 5, 1964)


Personal site

Rick Riordan is a bestselling American author whose most famous works are the Percy Jackson & the Olympians books. His many books directed at teenagers and young adults have earned him an array of different prizes and awards, including the 1998 Shamus Award, the 1999 Edgard Award, and the 2008 and 2009 Mark Twain Awards.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

"The 4-Hour Workweek" by Timothy Ferriss

The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss - book cover
Release date: December 15, 2009
Publisher: Harmony
Pages: 416
Buy:
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While a lot of people are quite content following the usual career path in life which consists of many years of hard work rewarded by a modest pension, there is another way to go.

Considering that the world’s economy is currently in somewhat of a turmoil, there are very few certainties left in this world and one simply cannot afford to keep living life like a mindless drone, working in the office from 9 to 5, following the rat race philosophy.

Well, Timothy Ferriss has seemingly found the solution to escape this life and join those who are rich, and he shares it in his book titled The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the Rich. In his book, Timothy shares how he came to make as much as $40,000 per month while working only four hours per week.

It share a large number of concepts such as outsourcing work overseas, how blue-chip escape artists travel the world, how one can eliminate 50% of their workload, 50 practical tips to actually help you increase your income, and much more.

In a nutshell, this book aims to help you make money through short work bursts while affording some mini-retirements for yourself every month.


Timothy Ferriss (July 20, 1977)

Timothy Ferriss (July 20, 1977)


Personal site

Timothy Ferriss is an American public speaker, entrepreneur and author. He captured that #1 Wall Street Journal bestseller spot with The 4-Hour Workweek, a book which made the bestseller list for seven consecutive years so far. It seems he has a talent for helping people find the easier paths through life, having also published The 4-Hour Body and The 4-Hour Chef.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

"Fifty Shades Freed" - E. L. James

Series: The Fifty Shades
Release date: April 17, 2012
Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition
Pages: 592
Buy:
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A while ago, when Anastasia had first met the young and successful Christian Grey both of their lives would end up being changed forever as a torrid love affair was sparked, which eventually led them to not only discover a whole lot about each other, but also about themselves.

Their relationship did fall apart at some point, mainly due to Christian’s bizarre sexual desires, but they did come back together when he agreed to delve into a deeper commitment to the relationship.While they are living happily together, Anastasia slowly comes to realize that in order for them to be together she would have to share Christian’s lifestyle without sacrificing her own freedom in the process.

Meanwhile, Christian Grey must learn to overcome his addiction to control and put down the events from his past which have been haunting him for a long time now.Just when it starts to look as if the couple can achieve anything, that which Anastasia has always feared happens, and her dream turns into a very real nightmare with which she must now deal with… not to mention that she also has to face Christian’s less-than-honorable legacy.

E. L. James (Erika Leonard) (7 March 1963)


Personal site

E.L. James is a British author who is best-known for writing the best-selling erotic romance novels, Fifty Shades of Grey and its sequels. Her books have been sold in over 70 million copies around the world, and she received four awards in 2012, including the UK National Book Award.

More of the E. L. James's book reviews:
Fifty Shades of Grey
Fifty Shades Darker

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

"Fifty Shades Darker" by E. L. James

Fifty Shades Darker - Book Two of the Fifty Shades Trilogy by E. L. James
Series: The Fifty Shades
Release date: April 17, 2012
Publisher: Vintage
Pages: 544
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After her first book found a tremendous amount of success, E. L. James decided that continuing the story was the only sensible thing to do, and so she did with Fifty Shades Darker.

The story starts off as Anastasia decides to leave Christian Grey, mainly because of his bizarre and dark sexual tastes, not to mention the skeletons he has hidden in his closet. However, Anastasia still desires Christian with all her heart, despite the fact that she has decided to start a new career with a Seattle publishing house.

They do not stay apart for long as Christian Grey soon comes back to her and proposes a certain arrangement to try and continue their relationship. Needless to say, Anastasia simply cannot resist such an offer and the flame of their love starts to burn bright once again.

However, this also leads Anastasia to learn more and more about her fifty shades and the type of past they have. Meanwhile, Christian has his own dark demons to face from the past. In the end, Anastasia will be forced to make a decision, a perhaps the most important one in her entire lifetime.

E. L. James (Erika Leonard) (7 March 1963)

E. L. James (Erika Leonard) (7 March 1963)


Personal site

E.L. James is a British author who is best-known for writing the best-selling erotic romance novels, Fifty Shades of Grey and its sequels. Her books have been sold in over 70 million copies around the world, and she received four awards in 2012, including the UK National Book Award.

More of the E. L. James's book reviews:
Fifty Shades of Grey
Fifty Shades Freed

Monday, March 19, 2012

"The Harbinger" by Jonathan Cahn

The Harbinger by Jonathan Cahn - book cover
Release date: January 3, 2012
Publisher: Frontline
Pages: 272
Buy:
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It is no secret that for a few years our great country has been turning into something more and more unrecognizable; it seems that the American Dream is now turning into a very real nightmare.

There are many guesses, hypotheses and theories as to why all of these things have happened, and among them is the theory of Rabbi Jonathan Cahn who believes that everything is rooted in the ancient mystery of the 9 harbingers which Israel received in ancient times right before being destroyed as a nation.

In his book titled The Harbinger: The ancient mystery that holds the secret of America's future Cahn starts by exploring the events of 9/11 as he believes it was the first harbinger, the sign that American was now out of God’s favor.

Starting from there, Cahn tries to make sense of the prophetic mysteries and what’s more, he actually believes that the nine harbingers have already dawned upon us, and what’s more, they all happened right in the United States.

Regardless of whether or not you believe in such things Cahn’s observations will send chills down your spine; even skeptics will have a hard time explaining some of the so-called coincidences.


Jonathan Cahn (1969)

Jonathan Cahn (1969)


Personal site

Jonathan Cahn is the type of author who has always given more importance to spiritual matters in his works, always seeking to bring out the rich revelations of the word of God, regardless of which religion we are discussing. He is most notable for writing The Harbinger, an widely-acclaimed novel.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

"The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest" by Stieg Larsson

The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest by Stieg Larsson - book cover
Release date: February 21, 2012
Pablisher: Vintage; Reprint edition
Pages: 672
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The last part of Stieg Larsson’s Millenium trilogy begins as Lisbeth Salander rests in critical condition in a Swedish hospital, suffering from a classic case of bullet to the head.

Even though she may be fighting for her life in a literal sense, once she awakens a whole other battlefield awaits her as she will stand trial for accusations of having committed three homicides.

The only person who is capable of helping her at this point is Mikael Blomkvist; he has the hefty responsibility of exposing the corrupt governmental officials who allowed her and millions of others to be tortured and abused.

However, this is not where Lisbet’s ambitions end as she plans to take the fight to those who destroyed her life… she will seek revenge not only against the man who tried to kill her, but also against the corrupt institutions that tried to annihilate her. The last part of this trilogy is where everything comes to an end, one way or the other… where all loose ends are tied up.

Stieg Larsson (August 15, 1954 – November 9, 2004)

Stieg Larsson (August 15, 1954 – November 9, 2004)


Personal site

Stieg Larsson was a Swedish writer and journalist, with, somewhat sadly, his most famous work having been published posthumously, the Millennium Trilogy (also adapted into numerous major movies), better-known by its individual novels, the first one being titled The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. He has received a number of posthumous awards, including the 2006 and 2008 Glass Key Awards and the 2010 USA Today's Author of the Year.

More of the Stieg Larsson's book reviews:
The Girl Who Played with Fire
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Saturday, March 17, 2012

"The Girl Who Played with Fire" by Stieg Larsson

The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson (Book cover)
Release date: March 23, 2010
Pablisher: Vintage
Pages: 630
Buy:
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The second book in his Millenium trilogy, Stieg Larsons’ The Girl Who Played with Fire, picks off sometime after The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo ended, with Mikael Blomkvist attempting to expose a sex trafficking operation.

However, things quickly take turn for the worse as the reporters who were supposed to write the article were murdered, and what’s worse the fingerprints on the murder weapon are those of his friend, Lisbeth Salander.Naturally, it will take much more than that to convince Mikael that she is indeed the killer, and so he takes it upon himself to run an investigation in order to clear her name, find the real culprit, and take expose the trafficking ring.

On her end, Lisbeth is herself drawn into a real game of cat and mouse against the police, which ultimately will force her to confront her dark and disturbed past.

Touching on a large number of themes and moral questions, the second part of this trilogy may not have been received as well as the first one, but it sure has left a mark on its readers with a barrage of murders, betrayals and deceptions lurking at every corner.

Stieg Larsson (August 15, 1954 – November 9, 2004)

Stieg Larsson (August 15, 1954 – November 9, 2004)


Personal site

Stieg Larsson was a Swedish writer and journalist, with, somewhat sadly, his most famous work having been published posthumously, the Millennium Trilogy (also adapted into numerous major movies), better-known by its individual novels, the first one being titled The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. He has received a number of posthumous awards, including the 2006 and 2008 Glass Key Awards and the 2010 USA Today's Author of the Year.

More of the Stieg Larsson's book reviews:
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest

Friday, March 16, 2012

"The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" by Stieg Larsson

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson (book cover)
Release date: June 23, 2009
Pablisher: Vintage Crime / Black Lizard
Pages: 600
Buy:
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Even though many people have heard by now of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson there is still a large number out there who for one reason or another haven’t looked into it in greater detail… which is a shame considering this is one of those rare books that has everything going for it.

In any case, it tells the story of a young computer hacker named Lisbeth Salander who suffers from something along the lines of autism or Asperger’s Syndrome. While she is mostly shy and quiet, she also has a very rebellious attitude as can be seen through her abundant use of tattoos and piercings.

The other protagonist of this story is a financial journalist named Mikael Blomkvist whose career is very rapidly crumbling around him as he was sentenced to jail after libeling a shady businessman. Naturally, they do not go their own, separate ways for very long as they are both hired by an octogenarian industrialist, Henrik Vanger, to find out who killed his great-niece before his time on Earth runs out.

From there on, the story turns into a very complex murder mystery with a large number of characters as well as plot threads to keep up with. Rest assured that every storyline is every bit as intriguing as the last one, although it can be difficult to keep up with everything at times. Regardless, this novel has been countlessly praised by many reviewers around the entire world, with many even going as far as claiming it to be the best beginnings to one of the most sophisticated book trilogies of our time.

Stieg Larsson (August 15, 1954 – November 9, 2004)

Stieg Larsson (August 15, 1954 – November 9, 2004)


Personal site

Stieg Larsson was a Swedish writer and journalist, with, somewhat sadly, his most famous work having been published posthumously, the Millennium Trilogy (also adapted into numerous major movies), better-known by its individual novels, the first one being titled The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. He has received a number of posthumous awards, including the 2006 and 2008 Glass Key Awards and the 2010 USA Today's Author of the Year.

More of the Stieg Larsson's book reviews:
The Girl Who Played with Fire
The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest

Thursday, March 15, 2012

"Heaven is For Real" by Todd Burpo and Lynn Vincent

Heaven is For Real by Todd Burpo and Lynn Vincent - book cover
Release date: November 2, 2010
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Pages: 163
Buy:
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There are very few people out there who have crossed the line between life and death… and come back to tell about it. One of those cases is that of a little boy named Colton who is the son of a priest in small Nebraskan town.

After sustaining a life-saving surgery the boy claimed that he had visited Heaven and that it was indeed a real place.At first, his family did not know what to believe, but then the evidence emerged.

The boy claimed to have met his miscarried sister about whom he was never told about, not to mention that he spoke with his great grandfather who had died about thirty-five years ago. He then proceeded to reveal a large number of surprising details about both, details which he simply could not have known.

In addition to that he describes just how big God and his chairs are, the horse which only Jesus could ride, as well as how the Holy Spirit “shoots down powers” from the Heavens in order to help us.While story is told by the father, most of the accounts are transcribed using Colton’s exact words and the message he wishes to send is very simple: Heaven exists, Jesus does indeed love his children, and more importantly, there is one final battle at the horizon.



Todd Burpo

Todd Burpo


Though Todd Burpo isn’t exactly known in literary circles for his ability to write, he did bring to us an interesting story about what could possibly await one in the afterlife, detailing his son’s near-death experience on an operating table and chronicling it in his (perhaps somewhat misleadingly) titled book, Heaven is for Real.

"Fifty Shades of Grey" by E.L. James

Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James - book cover
Series: The Fifty Shades
Release date: April 3, 2012
Publisher: Turtleback; Reprint edition
Pages: 372
Buy:
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E.L. James is a television executive who always dreamed of writing her own books. However, she is also a wife and a mother of two, and as you can imagine such a schedule leaves very few openings for hobbies, let alone heavy duty tasks such as writing an entire book.

However, those dreams were not thrown in the gutter; they were simply put on hold until an opportunity would present itself, which is precisely what happened not too long ago.Finally finding the time, strength and inspiration to put together a book, E.L. James started writing her first novel, Fifty Shades of Grey, which was published on March 5th, 2012.

In a nutshell, it tells the story of literature student Anastasia Steele who has the opportunity to interview a young and very successful entrepreneur, Christian Grey. Needless to say, Anastasia falls in love with him the moment he speaks… but she believes that the interview did not go well and simply tries to get him out of her head.

However, doing that becomes a little complicated once Grey pays a visit to the store where Anastasia works. Without revealing more about the plot, this is a story which contains all the elements of a great book, being erotic, amusing, dramatic, and very profoundly-moving. Also, it should be mentioned that this book is the first of the trilogy; E.L. James is currently working on the next book.



E. L. James (Erika Leonard) (7 March 1963)

E. L. James (Erika Leonard) (7 March 1963)


Personal site

E.L. James is a British author who is best-known for writing the best-selling erotic romance novels, Fifty Shades of Grey and its sequels. Her books have been sold in over 70 million copies around the world, and she received four awards in 2012, including the UK National Book Award.

More of the E. L. James's book reviews:
Fifty Shades Darker
Fifty Shades Freed

Friday, March 09, 2012

"The Glass Castle" by Jeannette Walls

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls - book cover
Jeannette Walls is a woman whose early life was very different from most of us in a large number of ways. First of all, her parents Rex and Rose Mary had three other children, and during Jeannette’s early years the family lived as nomads, traveling from desert towns to mountain camps.

Rex was a very brilliant man who taught his children a variety of different things such as physics and geology, as well as how one should embrace life without fears. Rose Mary was a painter, and contrarily to Rex she did not take well to being a provider for the family, referring to herself as being an “excitement addict”.

However, at some point the money ran out as well as the desire to keep on living like fugitives, and so the family settled into a West Virginia mining town where the family troubles truly began to show. Rex’s alcohol habits started to become harder and harder to please as he did everything in his power to escape his reality, which included stealing grocery money and disappearing for days on end.

On her end, Rose Mary would bear little interest in the lives of her children, feeling as if they are holding her back. This left Jeannette as well as her brothers and sisters to fend for themselves and make it through this world, until one day they finally got enough resources to leave their home.

For a long time widely-acclaimed author Jeannette Walls has been hiding her roots to the best of her abilities. The Glass Castle is basically her telling the story she has been trying to keep under wraps for many years now.


Apart from offering simply a series of descriptive statements about her life, she truly reflects on the people she met and the events she had been through offering some very valuable insight not only into her life, but also into human nature in general.


Jeannette Walls (April 21, 1960)

Jeannette Walls


Jeannette Walls is a former gossip columnist for MSNBC.com and a reputed American author whose magnum opus (so far at least) turned out to be The Glass Castle, a memoir of her own childhood. It sold over 2.7 million copies and has received the Christopher Award, the American Library Association's Alex Award, as well as the Books for Better Living Award. Her fascination with reminiscing of the past didn't end there, as she came back in 2009 in full force to publish Half Broken Horses, based on her grandmother's life.

More of the Jeannette Walls' book reviews:
The Silver Star

Thursday, March 08, 2012

"The Devil in the White City" by Erik Larson

The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson - book review
In 1893, not long after Jack the Ripper’s killings, a large number of young women (the numbers provide an estimate between 27 and 200) were killed by a sadistic maniac who was known as a very charming doctor who went by the name of H.H. Holmes.

Most of Holme’s killings happened during the World’s Fair in 1893, which took place in the new metropolis of Chicago.While these events may have been forgotten by many, Erik Larson is not one of them as he actually wrote a book covering those events titled The Devil in the White City: A Saga of Magic and Murder at the Fair that Changed America.

The main goal of this book is to tell the story of H.H. Holmes as well as that of Daniel Burman (the architect responsible for the fair) in a very captivating way all while preserving the integrity of the story’s historical accuracy.

It can be looked at as an artistic story which incorporates a large number of facts from the real world. The story itself is quite interesting as it deals with a large number of issues ranging from Daniel Burman’s difficulties dealing with his partner’s death to H.H. Holmes' ability to maintain a double life as a killer and respected member of society.

Various historical characters of importance make their appearance, including Buffalo Bill Cody, Susan B. Anthony, and Thomas Edison himself. It’s a true emotional rollercoaster of thrilling ups and downs as Erik Larson skillfully portrays not only the characters themselves, but also the White City which in some regards can be seen as a living beast itself.


Erik Larson (January 3, 1954)

Erik Larson


Personal site

Erik Larson is an American author of non-fiction and journalist whose works touch on the more morbid and practical side of life. The Devil in the White City, for instance, is an exploration of the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition and the infamous crimes perpetrated by the serial killer H.H. Holmes, while in In the Garden of Beasts, his latest work, looks into the first American ambassador to Nazi Germany, William E. Dodd.

More of the Erik Larson's book reviews:
Dead Wake
In the Garden of Beasts

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

"The Last Lecture" by Randy Pausch

The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch - book cover
Release date: April 8, 2008
Publisher: Hyperion
Pages: 206
Buy:
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While it seems that they are less and less valued by society these days, professors are still an integral part of society as they are the thinkers, the ones who are going to pass off functional knowledge to the next generation in order to keep society going.

However, they are only human like the rest of us and one day or another have to face their own mortality. A good amount of professors have given talks which they’ve dubbed as the last lecture, where they generally reflect upon their lives, sharing the most important bits of wisdom they've come to gather through their journey.

Randy Pausch was a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon when he received a devastating diagnosis: he was ill with terminal cancer. Needless to say, the man was asked to give one final lecture, and he took up the offer. However, instead of talking about subjects such as death or dealing with it; it was about living and the importance of overcoming obstacles no matter what.

It was a lecture which discussed the importance of seizing the moment, the importance of recognizing that while the amount of time you have may be out of your control, the way you spend it is up to you. His speech has been since then translated into various languages and made available in many formats, which is the least he deserves as that lecture was truly inspirational and eye-opening about what is really valuable in this life.


Randy Pausch (October 23, 1950 - July 25, 2008)

Randy Pausch (October 23, 1950 - July 25, 2008)


Randy Pausch (October 23rd, 1950 to July 25th, 2008) was an American professor of computer science, design and human-computer interaction at the Carnegie Mellon University. He truly made himself known in the world once he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, leading him to give his legendary “last lecture”, after which he co-authored the book titled The Last Lecture in which the themes he touched on earlier were explored in greater depth.

"Steve Jobs" by Walter Isaacson

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson - book cover
Release date: October 24, 2011
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Pages: 656
Buy:
Amazon(US) |  Amazon(CA) |  Barnes & Noble





While most people will definitely recognize Steve Jobs as being one of the greatest minds of our generation, they don’t really know anything other than the fact that he owned Apple. They knew nothing else about him, where he came from, what his ideology was, or how he saw the business game. Considering that he was one of the richest men on this planet, knowing what he thought of things and his outlook on life may prove to be crucial when determining how he became the man we all came to know, and how you can follow his footsteps to your own success.

Walter Isaacson has recently released a book titled Steve Jobs, which as you can imagine is about none other than the owner of Apple himself. The book is partially based on more than 40 interviews that have been conducted with Jobs over the past two years, as well as hundreds of interviews from people close to him, including friends, family members, colleagues and even competitors.

To put in other words, a lot of things are revealed in this book, things that had no reason to be revealed until now. Not only does it teach you about the man himself, but it also gives you the perspective of those who were close to him at all times, even after the cameras stopped rolling and the curtains dropped.

These are the words of the people who knew him like no one else did.I find that apart from all the interesting facts the book brings about Jobs’ life, it is actually quite an entertaining read as there are very few filler details; only the relevant and interesting facts and thoughts are explored, and let me tell you, there are more of them than anyone could ever believe.

All in all, if you would like to learn about one of the greatest minds who happened to live on this planet, a man who successfully became one of the richest people on the planet, then at least consider getting this book;


Walter Isaacson (May 20, 1952) - book cover

Walter Isaacson (May 20, 1952)


Walter Isaacson is an American author who generally specializes in biographies. He is the current CEO and President of the Aspen Institute, and the former CEO and Chairman of CNN. He has written numerous biographies, including Benjamin Franklin: An American Life, Einstein: His Life and Universe, and Steve Jobs.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

"The Shack" by Wm. Paul Young - Serial Killers and Spiritual Illuminations

The Shack by Wm. Paul Young - book cover
Finding creativity in literature these days is about as hard as finding original content in a Hollywood movie. It seems that there are only a few left out there willing to take a chance and think outside the box and come up with something out of the ordinary.

Like I said though, there are still a few of them left out there, one of the being William P.Young. If that name means nothing to you, then chances are you haven’t heard of his novel called The Shack.

The novel tells the story of Mackenzie "Mack" Philips, father of five. Four years prior to the events of the story Mack took his children on a camping trip, only to have his daughter kidnapped and murdered by a serial killer called the "Little Lady killer". Her body was never found.

Four years later, Mack receives a letter from a certain "Papa" inviting him back to the shack where it all happened for the weekend. Naturally, Mack accepts the invitation and rides out back where the pain started. When he arrives at the shack, he finds nothing of interest… not worth staying for. However, just as he is about to leave everything around him transforms into a lush paradise, and human manifestations of the Holy Trinity appear in front of him.

This is basically where the story truly picks up, and I dare not say more about it for fear of ruining it. But rest assured, this is one of those books that leaves an impression on you… it makes you think. I believe it even warrants multiple readings as every time something new is picked up from it. All in all, if this is the type of story that intrigues you I recommend you give this book a try.


William Paul Young (May 11, 1955)

William Paul Young


Personal site

William Paul Young is an author of Canadian origin whose best-known work is the novel that moved countless people across the world, The Shack. After a shaky, but eventually successful launch into the world of literature, Young has published his second novel, Cross Roads, through FaithWords.

More of the Wm. Paul Young's book reviews:
Cross Roads

Thursday, March 01, 2012

"Under the Dome" by Stephen King

Under the Dome by Stephen King - Book cover
The story is that of a small town living the American dream. However, as you can guess things soon start to take a turn for the worse as a giant dome of magnetic energy suddenly appears around the town and isolates them from the rest of the world.

While Stephen King may be one of the most widely read authors in the entire United States of America, it is no secret that his recent works have been on the decline in terms of quality. However, contrarily to what some of us suspect Mr. King is a human like the rest of us and was bound to go in a slump one day or the other.

However, it seems that the master of horror is bouncing back with his latest work titled Under the Dome. To make a long story short, the story is that of a small town living the American dream. However, as you can guess things soon start to take a turn for the worse as a giant dome of magnetic energy suddenly appears around the town and isolates them from the rest of the world.

The dome is slowly becoming smaller and smaller, obliterating into smithereens anything that comes into contact with it. As the panic mounts, a small group of people led by an Iraq veteran clash against a politician who is attempting to seize all the power for himself under this dome.

As you can see, this is the type of complex story that gives way to many narratives and will undoubtedly raise many existential questions touching human values and morality as a three-way showdown occurs between the dome, the evil politician and the rebels. Of course, seeing as how the thing is written by the master of horror himself, it’s a safe bet that there will be at least a few somewhat gruesome or psychologically-heavy scenes, such as the one where a farmer gets his hand chopped off by the dome for example. All in all, if this seems like the type of story you may be interested in reading then simply click on link below.


Stephen Edwin King, (September 21, 1947)

Stephen Edwin King


Personal site

Here is a man who probably needs no introduction. Stephen King is known by virtually everyone as being the master of horror, coming up with classics such as It and The Shining, but his literary talents to extend beyond that as he delivered plenty of memorable novels in other genres, including 11/22/63 and Under the Dome.

More of the Stephen King's book reviews:
Finders Keepers
Revival
Mr. Mercedes
The Green Mile
Doctor Sleep
Joyland
The Dark Tower
Full Dark, No Stars
The Stand by Stephen King
Bag of Bones
A Memoir of the Craft
11/22/63