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review 2018-07-23 09:40
Sleepyhead by Henry Nicholls
Sleepyhead: Narcolepsy, Neuroscience and the Search for a Good Night - Henry Nicholls

TITLE:  Sleepyhead:  Narcolepsy, Neuroscience and the Search for a Good Night's Rest

 

AUTHOR: Henry Nicholls

 

EXPECTED PUBLICATION DATE:       

4 September 2018

 

FORMAT: ARC ebook

 

ISBN-13: 978-1-5416-7257-4

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NOTE: I received an Advanced Readers Copy of this book from NetGalley. This review is my honest opinion of the book.

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Book Description:

"A narcoleptic's tireless journey through the neuroscience of disordered sleep
Whether it's a bout of bad jet lag or a stress-induced all-nighter, we've all suffered from nights that left us feeling less than well-rested. But for some people, getting a bad night's sleep isn't just an inconvenience: it's a nightmare. In Sleepyhead, science writer Henry Nicholls uses his own experience with chronic narcolepsy as a gateway to better understanding the cryptic, curious, and relatively uncharted world of sleep disorders. We meet insomniacs who can't get any sleep, narcoleptics who can't control when they sleep, and sleep apnea victims who nearly suffocate in their sleep. We learn the underlying difference between morning larks and night owls; why our sleeping habits shift as we grow older; and the evolutionary significance of REM sleep and dreaming. Charming, eye-opening, and deeply humanizing, Sleepyhead will help us all uncover the secrets of a good night's sleep.  "

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Sleepyhead is a well-written, interesting and informative book about sleep, focusing specifically on Narcolepsy and other sleep disorders.  The author relates his own experiences with narcolepsy, as well as interviewing a variety of sleep-disorder sufferers, neurologists and other specialists.  The book is relatively accessible without insulting the intelligence of readers.  I would recommend this book to anyone who suffers from narcolepsy or knows someone with sleep-disorders.

 

 

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review 2018-07-15 11:33
The General Theory of Haunting by Richard Easter
The General Theory of Haunting - Richard Easter

TITLE: The General Theory of Haunting

 

AUTHOR: Richard Easter

 

PUBLICATION DATE: December 2017

 

FORMAT: ebook

 

ISBN-13: 9781977001245

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NOTE: I received a copy of this book from NetGalley. This review is my honest opinion of the book.

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Book Description:

 

"Every haunting has a design… 

Winter, 1809. Lord Francis Marryman’s wife, Patience, is dying. In the madness of his grief, desperate to keep Patience’s memory alive, he’s compelled to build a memorial in the form of a remote country Hall. But as the plans move forward, Marryman Hall seems to become alive with more than just memories.

Francis, a brilliant mathematician and scholar, has built more into the walls than just bricks and mortar.

Autumn, 2018. Siblings Greg and Lucy Knights, owners of K&K Publishing Company, are seeking a venue to celebrate the 18th anniversary of their company’s inception. At such short notice, there is only one option that still has vacancies: Marryman Hall.

Winter arrives and as heavy snow falls, the guests drop out until a much depleted party of just 6 reach their destination and soon find themselves snowed in. As the guests’ private lives and demons are exposed in the increasingly awkward, claustrophobic atmosphere , the secrets of Marryman Hall and her history are also brought into shocking light from the darkness. In his grief, it’s possible that Lord Francis Marryman may have made a terrible mistake…

The General Theory of Haunting is the perfect ghost story to curl up with on the long winter nights - like Marryman Hall's guests, you won't know what's truly happening until it's way too late..."

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The General Theory of Haunting is a nicely-written, paranormal mystery thriller that moves slowly at first, picks up pace, has great character development, several surprises, and an absolutely fascinating theory on... well, hauntings.  Marryman Hall also manages to develope a personality of its own.  This isn't a horror novel, despite the hauntings.  But part of the novel make a beautiful love story.  Watching the time-spanning mystery of Marryman Hall unfold was just as exciting as the more usual action packed murder solving mysteries.  A lovely book.  I'm looking forward to more work from this author.

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review 2018-07-02 12:14
Seeds of Resistance by Mark Schapiro
Seeds of Resistance: The Fight to Save Our Food Supply - Mark Schapiro

TITLE:  Seeds of Resistance:  The Fight to Save Our Food Supply

 

AUTHOR:  Mark Schapiro

 

EXPECTED PUBLICATION DATE:  18 September 2018

 

FORMAT:  ARC ebook

 

ISBN-13:  9781510705760

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NOTE: I received an Advanced Readers Copy of this book from NetGalley. This review is my honest opinion of the book.

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From the blurb:

"Sun. Soil. Water. Seed. These are the primordial ingredients for the most essential activity of all on earth: growing food. All of these elements are being changed dramatically under the pressures of corporate consolidation of the food chain, which has been accelerating just as climate change is profoundly altering the conditions for growing food. In the midst of this global crisis, the fate of our food has slipped into a handful of the world’s largest companies. Seeds of Resistance will bring home what this corporate stranglehold is doing to our daily diet, from the explosion of genetically modified foods to the rapid disappearance of plant varieties to the elimination of independent farmers who have long been the bedrock of our food supply.

Seeds of Resistance will touch many nerves for readers, including concerns about climate change, chronic drought in essential farm states like California, the proliferation of GMOs, government interference (or purposeful ignorance), and the alarming domination of the seed market and our very life cycle by global giants like Monsanto.

 

But not all is bleak when it comes to the future of our food supply. Seeds of Resistance will also present hopeful stories about farmers, consumer groups, and government agencies around the world that are resisting the tightening corporate squeeze on our food chain."

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This book is primarily about seeds, specifically the seeds that we grow commercially and then turn into various food products.  This is an extremly interesting and well written book that explores how corporations and governments have taken over (i.e. messed with) the millenia old traditions of seed saving, seed cultivation, seed planting and ultimately food production and how this is ultimately detrimental to our food security.  Genetically modified crop plants and are briefly covered, as well as seed libraries (the rebels).  I found the section on seed vaults to be particularly intersting.    This book manages to squash a whole lot of important information into a mere 160 pages, covering the important aspects of this topic and still managing to be accessible, easy to read/understand and personable.     

 

 

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review 2018-06-25 08:21
Evolutions: Fifteen Myths That Explain Our World by Oren Harman
Evolutions: Fifteen Myths That Explain Our World - Oren Harman

TITLE:  Evolutions: Fifteen Myths That Explain Our World

 

AUTHOR:  Oren Harman
 

PUBLICATION DATE:  June 2018

 

FORMAT: kindle ebook/PDF

 

ISBN-13:  9780374150709

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NOTE: I received a copy of this book from NetGalley. This review is my honest opinion of the book.

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From the blurb:

"We no longer think, like the ancient Chinese did, that the world was hatched from an egg, or, like the Maori, that it came from the tearing-apart of a love embrace. The Greeks told of a tempestuous Hera and a cunning Zeus, but we now use genes and natural selection to explain fear and desire, and physics to demystify the workings of the universe.

Science is an astounding achievement, but are we really any wiser than the ancients? Has science revealed the secrets of fate and immortality? Has it provided protection from jealousy or love? There are those who believe that science has replaced faith, but must it also be a death knell for mythology?

Evolutions brings to life the latest scientific thinking on the birth of the universe and the solar system, the journey from a single cell all the way to our human minds. Reawakening our sense of wonder and terror at the world around us and within us, Oren Harman uses modern science to create new and original mythologies. Here are the earth and the moon presenting a cosmological view of motherhood, a panicking mitochondrion introducing sex and death to the world, the loneliness of consciousness emerging from the memory of an octopus, and the birth of language in evolution summoning humankind's struggle with truth. Science may not solve our existential puzzles, but like the age-old legends, its magical discoveries can help us continue the never-ending search.
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This book is exactly what it states on the cover - 15 myths that explain our world - but it is not a comparative mythology text or a book that refutes misconceptions of evolution.  In this book, Oren Harman takes some of the current scientific knowledge (about the formation of the universe, Earth, and evolution of various organisms) and formulates it into 15 mythological "stories", usually from someone's perspective (e.g. Mother Earth, a trilobite).  The writing style is fanciful and lyrical, occassionally overly verbose.  

I'm really not sure who the target audience of this book is supposed to be.  If you have knowledge of the topics the author covers, you might find this book amusing, though you won't find any new information.  If your scientific knowledge is limited, then most of these 15 myths will probably be confusing to you.  Personally I found the Chapter "Illuminations", which provides references and explains where the author got his information, more interesting than all the fuzzy mythological stories.  In my opinion, this book is either very clever or very silly, depending on the readers mood and inclination for expecting something more substantial than wierd stories touted as myths.  I really was hoping for more meat and less fluffiness.

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review 2018-04-26 14:37
The Music of the Deep: A Novel by Elizabeth Hall
The Music of the Deep: A Novel - Elizabeth Hall

This is not my usual reading fare, but I wanted something that was entertaining but didn't require too much input from my side.  This book is entertaining and has interesting characters.  Something light to read in the evenings.  I was expecting more ghost activity, but that is apparently not this book.  The orcas were a nice touch.

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