Thursday, May 31, 2012

"The Chronicles of Narnia" by C. S. Lewis

The Chronicles of Narnia Box Set
Release date: October 25, 2005
Publisher: HarperCollins
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At this point, chances are that you are familiar with The Chronicles of Narnia because of the major motion picture or have heard your friends incessantly talk about it; after all, it was written more than 60 years ago by none other than C. S. Lewis.

While many people learn a bit about it, they often tend to simply see it as another stereotypical fantasy novel and just forget about it. Well, it is true that this kind of story is not necessarily for everyone, the land of Narnia is much more than the cookie-cutter fantasy worlds you generally find.

The Chronicles of Narnia Box Set contains seven stories arranged in the chronological order Lewis intended them to be read in, each one set in the enchanted land inhabited by noble, glorious, and sometimes cruel beings.

The story will begin as two children, Polly and Digory are sucked into the magical world which they find in their closet. Further stories will have you coming back time and time again to the mystical land with four other children. Finally, the last story will bring the world of Narnia to an end and give birth to something entirely new, marking the beginning of a new time cycle.

While the books contain drawings, have children as protagonists and even have somewhat simplistic titles such as The Magician’s Nephew, The Lion or The Witch, rest assured that people of all ages can find something to like those stories. Whether you are feeling a bit nostalgic and want to feel like a child again or appreciate complex allegories and metaphors in regards to existential questions.

The Chronicles of Narnia have remained popular for decades upon decades now, making it part of the exclusive club of books which stood the test of time… the best part is that you can get them all in one set.

Clive Staples Lewis (November 29, 1898 - November 22, 1963)

Clive Staples Lewis (November 29, 1898 - November 22, 1963)


Personal site

Clive Staples Lewis (29th of November 1898 to 22nd November 1963) is without the shadow of a doubt one of the greatest writers of the century, being a novelist, poet, medievalist, academic, essayist, critic, and more. His works have stood the test of time and are still devotedly praised by countless fans, and they include most prominent The Chronicles of Narnia and The Space Trilogy.

More of the C. S. Lewis' book reviews:
The Screwtape Letters

Monday, May 28, 2012

"Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World" by Michael Hyatt

Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World by Michael Hyatt
Release date: May 22, 2012
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Pages: 288
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When it comes to running a successful business you basically need to have two things: a product worth promoting and a good method of advertising yourself. Needless to say, with the recent rise of people who have tried to go into some kind of business making yourself heard and stand out from thousands of competitors is no small task.

While there really isn’t one magical trick or piece of advice that will unquestionably allow you to draw everyone’s attention, there are still various tips and instructions which you could benefit from.With this in mind, Michael Hyatt sat down and wrote his book titled Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World.

In it, Michael basically refers to your method of advertising yourself as the platform and provides a concise step-by-step guide based on what public speakers, famous authors, successful businessmen and even musicians do to get the attention of a giant crowd. Naturally, Michael Hyatt also puts his expensive experience at work in this case as he was the CEO and is the current chairman of Thomas Nelson Publishers and has generated a lot of success for his company by mainly using social media as an advertising tool.

So is the book actually helpful or is it just a successful guy boasting about how good he is? Well, I will admit that there is a bit of the latter, but in most cases he presents to you concrete and precise facts as well as suggestions which have a practical purpose. In the end, this is great for basically anyone who is looking for advice on how they should proceed on reaching out to a large audience.


Michael Hyatt

Michael Hyatt


Personal site

Michael S. Hyatt is, apart from being an author, the former CEO and Chairman of Thomas Nelson Publishers. He currently runs his own blog, and so far has written three books: The Y2K Personal Survival Guide, The Millennium Bug, and Platform, his most recent one published in 2012.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

"The Omnivore’s Dilemma" by Michael Pollan

The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan - book cover
Release date: August 28, 2007
Publisher: Penguin
Pages: 450
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Over the centuries the food available to the average Joe has increasingly expanded, thanks in no small part to globalization. Today, we find people eating the most varied meals from a number of different cultures; all the choices available to us beg for the question, “what ought we to eat?”.

Michael Pollan has decided to look into the matter in his book titled The Omnivore’s Dilemma by taking a close look at the various food institutions which deliver us the goods, tracing the entire process starting from the source itself to when the food finds its way on the table.

Using this information Michael Pollan depicts a very interesting picture of the American way of eating, but that’s still not the most interesting aspect of the book. After looking at the way in which Americans eat, Michael also takes the time to look at how food and hunger have contributed to shaping the modern world as well as the way in which our bodies have evolved.

In addition, he also explores the implications our food choices have not only on our health and well-being, but also on the future of mankind and even the planet itself. Ultimately, perhaps Michael strays a bit from the initial question (What should we eat?), but nevertheless it is important not to lose the message he is trying to communicate by criticizing the method of delivery.

He goes beyond simple concepts and makes some very intelligent observations as to how the balance between availability of food and hunger shaped human evolution, and how it will affect us in the future. In a nutshell, he helps put the importance which food plays in our lives into perspective.


Michael Pollan (February 6th, 1955)

Michael Pollan (February 6th, 1955)


Personal site

Michael Pollan is an American author, journalist, professor of journalism at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and an activist. Many of his works and essays are centered on foods and eating habits, with some of his better-known books including The Omnivore's Dilemma and In Defense of Food.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

"Divergent" by Veronica Roth

Divergent by Veronica Roth
While Veronica Roth may not be a world-famous author, quite recently she burst on the writing scene with the first chapter in her futuristic trilogy, Divergent. The story in her book takes place in a dystopian future Chicago, where society has been split into five different factions, each one being specialized in the harvest of a virtue.

There are the Amity (peace), Erudite (intelligence), Candor (honesty), Dauntless (brave), without forgetting Abnegation, who cultivate selflessness.Whenever a person in that society reaches 16 years of age, they are forced to make a choice as to which faction they are going to join and devote the rest of their lives to.

However, for Beatrice Prior, the choice is far from being clear as she is stuck in a dilemma; stay with her family or become who she really wants to be. Naturally, Beatrice decides to go for the adventurous choice, and after changing her name to Tris she and her fellow initiates she must pass a number of grueling tests and simulations which often have tragic consequences. She lives in a world where nothing is ever certain, where anyone could be a friend or a foe.

However, Tris cannot remain inactive in the face of uncertainty as she is forced time and time again to make psychologically overwhelming choices, especially when she is faced with the possibility of a romance with a somewhat troubled boy.In addition to all of that however, Tris is keeping within her an Earth-shattering secret and as she learns, it may very well end up serving as the key to saving her loved ones… just like it might serve as the cause of Tris’ own demise.

All in all, the first chapter of the Divergent Trilogy makes for a very exciting psychological thriller filled with action, suspense, mystery, with a hint of romance. The characters are often pushed to make difficult choices to which they often respond in interesting and even unconventional ways; while Divergent may not be everyone’s cup of tea, it will surely deliver to those who are into these kinds of stories.


Veronica Roth (August 19, 1988)

Veronica Roth


Personal site

Veronica Roth is an American novelist and short story writer whose debut effort, the Divergent trilogy, became a New York Times bestseller, in addition to which it earned her the Goodreads Favorite Book of 2011, as well as the 2012 Best Young Adult Fantasy & Science Fiction awards.

More of the Veronica Roth's book reviews:
Insurgent

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

"Beautiful Disaster" by Jamie McGuire

Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire - book cover
Series: Beautiful Disaster
Release date: Aug. 14 2012
Publisher: Atria Books
Pages: 432
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Human relationships are a very complicated concept to grasp, so much so that an entire branch of the field of psychology was dedicated to studying them. Somewhat unfortunately, most of the books, movies and television shows these days portray human relationships in a simplistic matter, and more often than not it is far too perfect to even be believable.

In reality, there are countless elements factoring into a human relationship; stress and tension are often just as present as love and affection.In any case, Jamie McGuire chooses to explore a dysfunctional human relationship in his book Beautiful Disaster.

It follows the story of Abby, a goody-two-shoes girl who only wants to stay out of trouble. Naturally, as she moves to college she immediately attracts the attention of the school’s bad boy, Travis, who lives quite adventurous life, being a playboy by day and an illegal ring fighter by night.

At first, Abby refuses Travis’ advances, which only pushes him to try even harder. It goes to the point where they make a simple bet: if Abby loses, she has to live with Travis for a month, but if he loses, he has to remain abstinent from all his vices and pleasures for the same amount of time.

Little does Travis know, he may have invited into his world one of the only people tougher than him.While some people may be yawning at this already-seen-before setting, but rest assured that from that point onward, the book becomes nothing like its peers on the market. It is essentially a character study of a dysfunctional relationship. While both Abby and Travis end up fighting quite a lot, they are still trying to make things work, which sadly is the situation for a large number of people out there.

All in all, the book makes for a very entertaining read while providing some interesting and perhaps even insightful details into the characters’ past and current lives, their state of mind, and more importantly, how their relationship is developing.


Jamie McGuire


Personal site

Jamie McGuire is an American writer hailing from Oklahoma, where she graduated from the University of Central Oklahoma with a Radiography degree. She is the author of numerous series, including Happenstance, Beautiful and Providence, with her most recent novel, Walking Disaster, having held the position of #1 bestseller on the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal best seller lists.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

"Lone Survivor" by Marcus Luttrell and Patrick Robinson

Lone Survivor  by Marcus Luttrell and Patrick Robinson - book cover
Release date: June 12, 2007
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Pages: 390
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While many may not have heard of it, operation Red Wings, which happened in late June 2005, ended up being the largest loss of life in Navy Seal history as every single member of the team, save for Marcus Luttrell, ended up dying, mostly at the hands of the Taliban.

Marcus Luttrell, being left all alone after being blown unconscious over a cliff from a rocket grenade blast, had only begun the fight. Even though he was presumed dead, Al Qaeda sent six assassins to finish him off, all of which ultimately failed at their task.

He later had to crawl more than seven miles until he met the Pushtu tribe, who undertook a great risk hiding him from the Taliban who were raising hell to find him.As mentioned before, Marcus Luttrell was the only survivor of the operation, and he felt it was his duty to honor his comrades who fell so he could live.

He then decided to write a book about Navy Seals and the Red Wings operation, in honor of all those who gave their lives for their country. At first, Marcus talks in his book about the training Navy Seals go through and the initiation they have to pass in order to become part of America’s elite warriors.

After that first part though, he takes us to mountains in Afghanistan where he and his team went through hell and high water, fighting off the Taliban soldiers all while plummeting a thousand feet down a mountain while dodging bullets and explosions. The details given in the account are simply breath-taking and will literally have you shiver while picturing the physical anguish and mental torment these brave men had to endure. If you would like to purchase Marcus’ book and take a look at this incredible account of courage, perseverance and honor, then have a look at the link below.



Marcus Luttrell (November 7, 1975)

Marcus Luttrell (November 7, 1975)


Personal site

Marcus Luttrell is a former United States Navy SEAL, recipient of the Navy Cross and a Purple Heart for his display of bravery during Operation Red Wings. He established the Lone Survivor Foundation dedicated to helping veterans and their families. He co-authored upon returning home a New York Times bestseller, Lone Survivor, chronicling the events of the afore-mentioned operation.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

"Manhunt: The Ten-Year Search for Bin Laden" by Peter L. Bergen

Manhunt: The Ten-Year Search for Bin Laden by Peter L. Bergen - book cover
Release date: April 30, 2013
Publisher: Broadway Books
Pages: 384
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Osama Bin Laden may very well be the most famous criminal in recent history as tragic the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, which cost the lives of more than 3000 people, were claimed by him.

Ever since that dark day, the American Government and its people have vowed revenge and set out on a search to eradicate the terrorist. Peter Bergen, American author who had actually once interviewed Osama Bin Laden, wrote a book titled Manhunt: The Ten-Year Search for Bin Laden in which he extensively covers the man’s life from the 9/11 attacks to the moment where he was found in a cave in Abbottabad.

While most of the hunt may not have been covered by the news, the reality is that it was quite a frantic experience for CIA and other intelligence services as they tried to gather and analyze every possible clue to find the man responsible for the attack on the Twin Towers.

Unfortunately in this case, the Middle East happens to be far less bureaucratic and finding Bin Laden in among the thousands upon thousands of caves and underground bunkers was a nearly impossible task.It took them nearly ten years to find his hiding place and finally bring him down.

Peter L. Bergen doesn’t just research past information to make up his book. He went as far as get the accounts from actual members involved in the investigation in an attempt to properly recreate what exactly was happening and how it the situation was being handled. All in all, this may be the definitive account of how the decade-long hunt for Osama Bin Laden actually went down.


Peter Bergen (December 12, 1962)

Peter Bergen (December 12, 1962)


Personal site

Peter Bergen is a British-American broadcast journalist and author, and he even served as a national security analyst on CNN. His developed knowledge of the world of politics has given him he ability to write some interesting books on the subject, and those include The Osama Bin Laden I Know and Manhunt: The ten-Year Search for Bin Laden from 9/11 to Abbottabad.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

"The Loyalty Leap" by Bryan Pearson

The Loyalty Leap: Turning Customer Information into Customer Intimacy by Bryan Pearson
Release date: May 10, 2012
Publisher: Portfolio Hardcover
Pages: 212
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Most marketers who have been swimming in their business for a year or two have probably looked into various methods of collecting information about their clients, and some of them may have even put some methods to work.

While most marketers end up finding some kind of way in which to collect data about their audience, they simply have no idea what to do with it. After all, once the data has been collected it also needs to be analyzed, discussed and interpreted before it can actually be of any use to you. A marketer needs to be able to use that collected information in order to develop a closer link to the client.

With this situation in mind Bryan Pearson wrote his book titled The Loyalty Leap, meant to help marketers break down the information they collect in order to make good use of it. More precisely, Bryan Pearson looks into the concept of clients always being willing to share their contact information in exchange for some kind of free product or service, and that over time they expect the quality of your brand to increase, or at least remain the same.

Pearson believes that there is a certain marketing equation which allows business to keep on selling their products to the same clients and collect information from new ones.In addition to discussing the equation, how to collect and interpret data obtained from customers, Pearson also looks into various real-world examples where companies have employed certain strategies in order to drastically increase their sales.

For example, some of the scenarios examined include a time when Shell managed to increase their number of sales while decreasing the number of gas stations which are part of their network, as well as how Gamestop draws in a much bigger crowd and increases their sales by giving their PowerUp members rewards such as access to the Comic-Con convention.

All in all, if you are either in or are thinking about getting into the marketing industry, you should definitely take the time to read The Loyalty Leap to see why and how loyalty marketing remains an essential part of game, and will become even more important in the coming years. In addition, you will also be taught how to obtain information from your customers, and how you can use it to your advantage.



Bryan Pearson (1963)

Bryan Pearson (1963)


Bryan Pearson is an a Canadian business executive who has also dabbled in literature and speaking, and is currently the president and CEO at Alliance Data's LoyaltyOne. He wrote a book titled The Loyalty Leap, which quickly became a bestseller and cemented Pearson's place as a sensible businessman who knows what it takes to get ahead.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

"The Innocent" by David Baldacci

The Innocent by David Baldacci - book cover
Many people carry on with their daily lives in the great United States of America without even realizing the kinds of games which are played at the top.

As it turns out, America happens to have a lot of enemies targeting it, and sometimes official channels, such as the police, the FBI, the CIA, and even the military aren’t capable of getting the job done.

Fortunately, the Americans have a trump card by the name of Will Robie, a cold-blooded hitman with a strict way of doing business; he never asks questions, nor does he ever fail to deliver.

However, the life of a hitman is prone to various twists and turns, and once Will Robbie has been ordered to eliminate a target bizarrely close to his home in Washington, D.C., he begins to suspect that something is up.

As it turns out, Will was in fact hired to murder an innocent person. However, something inside of Robie simply doesn’t let him shoot the innocent, and as it turns out, this was Will Robie’s last mistake.

Having disobeyed his orders, he is now on the run from an establishment far bigger than himself in hopes of escaping from the country in one piece, and perhaps pay the ones who set him their dues. Things get even more convoluted as Robbie meets a fourteen-year-old teenage girl who is running away from her foster home.

Naturally, as these stories usually have it, the teenage girl is not just some random kid running away, as her parents have been brutally murdered and she believes herself to be in great danger.As the story progresses, escape becomes more and more of an infeasible option; the more Robbie learns about the girl, the closer he gets to the heart of a giant conspiracy which reaches all the way up to the highest levels of the social pyramid. Even though he would prefer to stay in the shadows until everything cools down, Robbie will have no choice but to risk himself and do what he does best in order to save the life of his newfound companion, and perhaps even his own.

All in all, while there are some heavy and graphic passages in this book, it still makes for an a very entertaining read, and although some of the plot points will have you screaming “cliché!”, there is more than enough originality in this piece of work to keep it interesting.


David Baldacci (August 5, 1960)

David Baldacci


Personal site

Certainly one of the more famous authors of the 21st century, David Baldacci was always gearing himself to become a prominent writer, beginning his work at a very young age as a child. He gifted the readers with countless classics and bestsellers such as The Innocent and Absolute Power.

More of David Baldacci's book reviews:
The Last Mile
The Guilty
Memory Man
The Escape
The Target
King and Maxwell
The Hit
Zero Day
The Forgotten

Friday, May 11, 2012

"I Am America (And So Can You!)" by Stephen Colbert

I Am America (And So Can You!) by Stephen Colbert - book cover
Release date: October 20, 2009
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Pages: 240
Buy:
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Good Job! By making it past the title, you have been awarded with three patriotism points. If what you are looking for is to increase your level of patriotism, then I suggest you stick around and read this text entirely; every word read makes you 1% more American. Most of you are probably already familiar with Mr. Stephen Colbert, who has his own show, The Colbert Report.

If you are not familiar with him, chances are you've been living under a very un-American rock for the past decades; if there is one person who is not afraid to speak his mind, his most controversial opinions openly without any sense of shame, guilt and regret, then that one person is sure as hell Stephen Colbert.

The problem however is that there is only one hour of The Colbert Report, but there are 24 hours in one single day. Seeing as how most channels just don’t have the patriotism to put Stephen Colbert on display 24/7, you will need to find other ways to integrate Colbert into your schedule. Fortunately, Stephen Colbert wrote a book for just such a situation, titled I Am America (And So Can You!), allowing you to easily fill your daily Colbert cravings.

To make the long story about his book short, what it contains are basically all the opinions, thoughts, feelings, philosophies and theories Stephen Colbert wasn’t given the time to talk about on his show. Being a true patriot, Stephen Colbert didn’t appreciate the fact that time itself did not allow him to share his knowledge with the world, and so he decided to do it through the medium of a book, which is actually more of a transcription from Stephen Colbert talking into a recorder.

All in all, if you are interested in finding out how Hollywood is destroying America, why evolution is an fraudulent conspiracy, and why old people should be harnessed to millstones, then you should know that this is the only book patriotic enough to answer your questions.


Stephen Colbert (May 13, 1964)

Stephen Colbert (May 13, 1964)


Personal site

Stephen Colbert is one of the most popular American television show hosts (The Colbert Report), also moonlighting as a writer, comedian, actor and political satirist. His diverse career has earned him many distinguished honours, including that of being number one on the New York Times bestsellers list with his book I Am America (And So Can You!).

More of Stephen Colbert's book reviews:
America Again

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

"The Art of Racing in the Rain" by Garth Stein

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein - book cover
Release date: May 13, 2008
Publisher: Harper
Pages: 321
Buy:
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As most dog owners can testify, their animal is more than just a pet. A dog is a faithful companion which is often a member of the family just as much as anyone else; they may not be human, but that doesn't mean they can’t experience love, affection and happiness.

Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately?) dogs are not capable of communicating in the same language as us, which often leaves us to guess as to what they are thinking, and in some cases barking about.Interested by such a puzzle, Garth Stein undertook the task of writing a book titled The Art of Racing in the Rain from the viewpoint of Enzo, a lab terrier mix.

Before getting deeper into what the book is about, it is important to remember that it is likely we will never, or at least not anytime soon, get an indisputable answer as to what dogs are really thinking; it is best to go into this over-the-top drama with an open mind and a suspended sense of disbelief.

The story basically follows Enzo’s life as he spends his early days on a farm in Seattle as he was chosen to ride shotgun with a race car driver known as Denny Swift. Enzo sticks with Denny as he gets married to his wife Eve and has a daughter, Zoe. Enzo watches as Denny lives his life fully and excitingly, everyday putting his life on the line in order to feed the family.

While it may seem like Enzo has the perfect life, it is far from the truth. There are two things which bother him very much: he has no opposable thumbs, nor is he able to express his thoughts and opinions.

My dog Dina
My dog Dina

He spends much of his time thinking about how life works, often making parallels between it and the racing world. I will stop here for fear of spoiling the book any further, but rest assured that humor and over-the-top drama remain at the foreground during pretty much the entire story, making the book an excellent read for practically anyone… especially dog owners.


Garth Stein (December 6, 1964)

Garth Stein (December 6, 1964)


Personal site

Garth Stein is an American film producer and author from Seattle, best-known in literary circles for his masterpiece of a novel, The Art of Racing in the Rain. In addition to the afore-mentioned titles, Stein is also a playwright, teacher, and even an amateur racer. How Evan Broke His Head and Other Secrets is another rather notable novel on his part, and it ought to be mentioned that he is the recipient of two PNBA Book Awards.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

"Outlander" by Diana Gabaldon

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon - book cover
Release date: June 2, 1992
Publisher: Dell
Pages: 850
Buy:
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Practically every famous writer in history has distinguished him or herself from their peers in one way or another, whether it is the amount of thought they put in their descriptions, the length of their stories, recurring peculiarities among characters, etc…etc…

In recent years, Diana Gabaldon has become one of the most popular writers in North America, and she mainly distinguishes herself by writing long books, often over 600 and 700 pages, all while managing to make them very fast and entertaining reads. One of her most widely-acclaimed books which demonstrates this quality the best is Outlander.

Outlander tells the story of Claire Randall, a time-traveling romancer, if there ever was one. While in one century she is leading a double life among her husband, in another she is doing the same thing with a lover; in both cases, Claire remains a cunning, sensual, and very entertaining lady to follow around.

Naturally, the story is a bit more complicated than that as it begins while Claire is on her honeymoon in the British Isles where she comes into contact with a boulder that sends her back into time of the Mackenzie clan and Castle Leok. Naturally, she is far from being at home among Scots from hundreds of years ago, although fortunately a warrior by the name of James Fraser becomes her ally as you can guess, they face their fair share of brutality, violence, and life-threatening situations in general. However, there is more on Claire’s mind as slowly but surely she starts to discover love and passion unlike those she had ever known before.

As was mentioned earlier, Diana Gabaldon may write long books (600 pages in this case), but that doesn’t mean her literature is very heavy or complicated; chances are it will be one of your fastest reads so far.

The plot steadily progresses at somewhat of a hurried pace, although there are a few short moments where the action is slowed to a crawl. The characters in that universe are all intriguing, peculiar, each with their own idiosyncrasies and ideas about the world. Not to mention, Diana Gabaldon’s take on magic may be a bit familiar, but still manages to make the concept feel fresh and interesting.

All in all, if what you are looking for is a thorough and satisfying read with elements of fantasy, romance, magic and humor, you can’t possible go wrong with Outlander.


Diana Gabaldon (January 11, 1952)

Diana Gabaldon (January 11, 1952)


Personal site

Diana Gabaldon is an American author focusing on romance, historical fiction, mystery and adventure, best known for her Outlander and Lord John series. She was the recipient of numerous awards, not to mention that some of her works ended up as #1 on The New York Times best-seller list.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

"Cutting for Stone" by Abraham Verghese

Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese - book cover
Release date: January 26, 2010
Publisher: Vintage
Pages: 667
Buy:
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While many people write books, novels and stories set in fictional universes where the characters undertake epic journeys to accomplish grandiose goals, there aren’t too many out there who are willing to examine the most important thing in most people’s lives: family. Nobody wants to see or hear about some family is going through internal conflicts because deep down, we do not even like to think of such things.

Three years ago Abraham Verghese, a doctor and a writer, rolled up his sleeves and decided to write a fictional autobiography titled Cutting for Stone, in part based on his own life and experiences.

At first, it was simply meant to be a somewhat light drama with a bit of everything in it as the unusual life and thoughts of a doctor are explored.

However, it seems that as the novel was progressing, more and more complex dynamics came into play as the relationships between the characters developed in ways even Abraham didn’t expect.

After all, a story is like any work of art; once complete, it obtains a world of its own in which life runs by certain, specific rules that cannot be broken, just like some rules are unbreakable in the real world (at least until further notice). But I am straying from the topic here.

In the end, Cutting for Stone ends up being an epic love story mixed with numerous elements of the medical world, on top of which it is also a family saga in which relationships between family members are constantly changing, with some being destroyed and others being renewed.

What exactly does the majority of people think about this novel? Well, an overwhelming majority of people describe this book as being very compelling, filled with various bits of wisdom.

In the end, all Abraham Verghese is trying to do is explore what really matters in life, what we are all trying to achieve, and how we go about achieving it. While this is definitely not a book you will want for a light read, it remains quite entertaining while still having very thoughtful segments, making it perfect for those who see books as more than just a pastime,


Abraham Verghese (1955)

Abraham Verghese (1955)


Personal site

Abraham Verghese is an author, a physician and a Professor for the Theory and Practice of Medicine at Stanford University Medical School. So far he has written three bestsellers, two memoirs and a novel, and the better-known ones include My Own Country, The Tennis Partner and his Cutting for Stone (which is the first novel he wrote)

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

"I’ve Got your Number" by Sophie Kinsella

I’ve Got your Number by Sophie Kinsella - book cover
Poppy Wyatt is a young woman whose life seemingly couldn’t get any better. She is engaged to a handsome, practically ideal man by the name of Magnus Tavish. However, good things never last (or else there wouldn't be much of a story) and Poppy has the misfortune of being caught in the hotel’s fire drill, during which she loses her engagement ring. The problem is that the engagement ring has been in her future husband’s family for three generations, and on the same day his parents are coming over, she manages to lose the ring.

On top of everything, her phone also ends up being stolen amidst the fire drill panic.From that point on, Poppy’s life takes a turn for the weird as she notices a perfectly good phone lying in a trash can. While she simply intends to use the phone in order to give the hotel a means of contacting her when they find the ring, the owner of that telephone happens to be Sam Roxton, a respectable businessman.

Naturally, he doesn’t take too kindly to Poppy snooping around in his personal life, reading his emails and looking up his contacts; he wants his phone back. While this might sound like a premise for some kind crime thriller or a horror story, the book actually develops into a comedy with numerous twists and turns as Poppy and Roxton begin to develop somewhat of a relationship through texts and emails, all while the former has to manage the wedding preparations, find the source of mysterious phone calls, and hide her left hand from her fiancé and his family.

While being a comedy at heart, I’ve Got your Number by Sophie Kinsella does touch on some social issues, mainly how much the concept of cell phones, texting and chatting affects interpersonal relationships and human life in general. Eventually though, the books starts to lose its comic edge to become more and more intriguing, even becoming somewhat creepy at a certain point. Rest assured that everything remains in good taste and if you are looking for an entertaining read to relax on your time off, you should definitely check this book out.


Sophie Kinsella (December 12th, 1969) - author

Sophie Kinsella


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Sophie Kinsella is an English author from London who specializes in chick literature. She is best-known for her first two novels which are part of the Shopaholic series, titled The Secret Dreamworld of a Shopaholic and Shopaholic Abroad, both of which were adapted into a major motion picture, Confessions of a Shopaholic.

More of the Sophie Kinsella's book reviews:
Can You Keep a Secret?