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review 2018-04-17 08:36
CONCRETE PLANET by Robert Courland
Concrete Planet: The Strange and Fascinating Story of the World's Most Common Man-Made Material - Robert Courland

TITLE:  Concrete Planet:  The Strange and Fascinating Story

             of the World's Most Common Man-Made Material

 

AUTHOR:  Robert Courland

 

DATE PUBLISHED:  2011

 

FORMAT:  ebook

 

ISBN-13:  978-1-61614-482-1

_______________________________________

 

From the blurb:

"Concrete: We use it for our buildings, bridges, dams, and roads. We walk on it, drive on it, and many of us live and work within its walls. But very few of us know what it is. We take for granted this ubiquitous substance, which both literally and figuratively comprises much of modern civilization’s constructed environment; yet the story of its creation and development features a cast of fascinating characters and remarkable historical episodes. This book delves into this history, opening readers’ eyes at every turn.

In a lively narrative peppered with intriguing details, author Robert Corland describes how some of the most famous personalities of history became involved in the development and use of concrete—including King Herod the Great of Judea, the Roman emperor Hadrian, Thomas Edison (who once owned the largest concrete cement plant in the world), and architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Courland points to recent archaeological evidence suggesting that the discovery of concrete directly led to the Neolithic Revolution and the rise of the earliest civilizations. Much later, the Romans reached extraordinarily high standards for concrete production, showcasing their achievement in iconic buildings like the Coliseum and the Pantheon. Amazingly, with the fall of the Roman Empire, the secrets of concrete manufacturing were lost for over a millennium.

The author explains that when concrete was rediscovered in the late eighteenth century it was initially viewed as an interesting novelty or, at best, a specialized building material suitable only for a narrow range of applications. It was only toward the end of the nineteenth century that the use of concrete exploded. During this rapid expansion, industry lobbyists tried to disguise the fact that modern concrete had certain defects and critical shortcomings. It is now recognized that modern concrete, unlike its Roman predecessor, gradually disintegrates with age. Compounding this problem is another distressing fact: the manufacture of concrete cement is a major contributor to global warming.

Concrete Planet is filled with incredible stories, fascinating characters, surprising facts, and an array of intriguing insights into the building material that forms the basis of the infrastructure on which we depend."

 

There isn't much to say about this book that hasn't already been mentioned in the blurb.  The book is a well-written, accessible and enjoyable history of concrete and some of the structures built with it.  I did feel the history of concrete in the 20th century dealt more with the people involved than what the concrete was actually used for.   It would also have been nice if the author had inserted chemical equations etc - at least as an appendix - but otherwise it's an informative book about the subject matter.

 

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review 2018-04-12 18:21
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde - Scott Brick,Robert Louis Stevenson

I tried to listen to this audiobook this morning but it was just too wordy for me. I mean, I know it's a book, they're made up entirely of words but these words were not at all interesting to me. They were boring, dry, tedious words and they did not please me nor did they scare me. They made me sleepy is about all they did. And I had no a-hole cat around to wake me up if I fell asleep driving.



A man spies another man trample his way over a young girl. The decent man chases down the dastardly man and begins, what I can only guess because I'm a quitter, his own little investigation into who this man is. I only guess this because he says,“If he be Mr. Hyde" he had thought, "I shall be Mr. Seek.”.

I know I'm supposed to pretend I'm smart and struggle my way through this classic but I have too many other books vying for my attention that I know I will find interesting so I'm not going to struggle my way through another few hours with this sucker.

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text 2018-04-08 18:19
My Sunday is already going well.
The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde - Robert Louis Stevenson,Richard Armitage

I was browsing on audible, and I stumbled across this book. It, apparently has been out since October and I somehow missed it. I was going to use a credit to buy it, but I was able to get it for $1.99 instead because I already own the kindle version.

 

I would listen to Richard Armitage narrate the phone book, so him narrating a story I enjoy? SCORE!

 

Secondly, I was able to add this edition to BL with no issue at all this time! WOOT!

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review 2018-04-06 22:49
[Book Review] Famous Last Words by Katie Alender
Famous Last Words - Katie Alender

[Very minimal spoilers] Famous Last Words is a book by Katie Alender, an author known for other novels such as Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer. Her books are fast but long reads, a long amount of time packed into 100-200 pages. This is the first book of hers I've read, and I think I'd read more. They aren't amazing, but they are good. 

 

Famous Last Words is set in common day, and features a teen girl, who's actually imperfectly perfect. She seems like a real person, three-dimensional with all the faults and pros any functioning human would have. Her name is Willa, and she has been playing with the supernatural. After her she moves with her mom to her stepdad's, a famous Hollywood director with lots of dough, she is miserable. She has to go to some fancy school, where she only seems to be accepted by one person. Meanwhile, a killer has been on the lose, and she may of accidentally taken the notebook of the school creep, which leads her down a path she probably didn't want to be on. Her fiddling with the serial killer's plans and trying to figure them out mixed with her supernatural dabbles mixes for a horrible combo. 

  

I read this book on a plane, and to be honest, I'm glad I did. It was entertaining. The beginning starts off fast, and I'm not sure if you enjoy that, but I do. I hate when a book has a complex beginning just to tell an easily explainable story. Though, that's besides the point right now. 

 

The story develops well, and isn't rushed. The characters are introduces and the author takes care into making sure each is well-developed. That's something I appreciate and don't really expect when reading novels for teens. YA books like John Green's or Rainbow Rowell's are ones I have higher standards for. YA books that are more on the edge of just general fiction or K-8 oriented I don't have really any for, as long as it's a good book, being that the words 'book' and 'good' are used lightly. Anyways, I was pleasantly surprised. You can see how each character deals with what is happening and how they change their ways according to what is happening, something very realistic that real humans do. You can find this especially in the main character, because she is the one dealing with the most problems, like grief, supernatural activity, and loneliness. She's also a relatable character in many ways, at least for me, and it's not obvious that Alender wants you to relate to her, therefore her positive attributes aren't forced. It's kind of up to the reader to interpret her morals and pros and cons as the book continues. This is a good way to involve the audience, then giving them a mold and telling them they can only fill it with one thing - that said character they wrote. 

 

The idea behind the book is also very good, it's creative and modern whilst staying true to it's horror roots. Now, I don't get scared very easily. I mean, heck - I laughed at The Ring and found Candyman and The Shining to be two movies to casually watch and enjoy, not something to toil over late at night and have nightmares about. Maybe, though, you'll find it scary. Regardless, the killer in the novel is pretty obscure and creepy during the flashes Willa has of scenes between said murderer and his victims. This person [the murderer], even though they aren't revealed until the end, is extremely well developed and therefore adds to the plot of the book. You know what's happening even if Willa isn't at the actual killing, and you are giving foreshadowing. This is helpful and creates great plot development throughout the whole novel and leads up to a great resolution.

 

Now, I have glorified this whole book for you. But here comes the bad news, and the reason why I didn't put it under the good section on my blog.  The plot twists. They are ridiculously obvious. About 40-50 pages in, I knew what was going to happen, and what the book wanted to make you think. Sorry, Alender, you just made it too obvious! It might of been purposeful, but I suppose not. Maybe she thought we just wouldn't get what was happening? But anyway, that's something to work on. As this is the first book I've read of this author's, I don't know if this is the rule for the rest of her novels. 

 

To wrap this up, because it is way too long already, this is a good book. I do recommend it. It is just for my own opinions that I put it in the category I did. I may change it though, if I decide to pick it up for another read. Anyways, definitely pick this up if you see it at a book store, or check it our from a local library. 

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review 2018-04-01 07:54
Lots of bloodshed and well-produced comic collection but lacking in variety
The Strange Talent of Luther Strode - Justin Jordan,Tradd Moore,Felipe Sobreiro

This is a review of all the Luther Strode books from one volume

 

This collection brings together all the Luther Strode volumes and I only gave it three stars because it’s all a bit samey. The basic idea is that Luther gains powers, strength, speed and invulnerability, and uses them to fight and defeat similarly-endowed beings in a variety of ways while preaching a more peaceful way. A few other characters are included, especially a girl called Petra.

With lots of bloodshed, this is clearly and well-illustrated and reasonably well-written. I just would have liked more variety.

 

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