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Search tags: general-non-fiction-books
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review 2018-10-02 08:53
The Golden Ratio by Gary B. Meisner, Rafael Araujo
The Golden Ratio: The Divine Beauty of Mathematics - Gary Meisner,Rafael Araujo

TITLE:  The Golden Ratio:  The Divine Beauty of Mathematics

 

AUTHOR:  Gary B. Meisner, Rafael Araujo (illustrator)

 

PUBLICATION DATE:  23 October 2018

 

FORMAT:  ARC PDF

 

ISBN-13:  9781631064869

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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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DESCRIPTION:

The Golden Ratio examines the presence of this divine number in art and architecture throughout history, as well as its ubiquity among plants, animals, and even the cosmos. This gorgeous book features clear, entertaining, and enlightening commentary alongside stunning full-color illustrations by Venezuelan artist and architect Rafael Araujo.

 

From the pyramids of Giza, to quasicrystals, to the proportions of the human face, the golden ratio has an infinite capacity to generate shapes with exquisite properties. 

 

With its lush format and layflat dimensions that closely approximate the golden ratio, this is the ultimate coffee table book for math enthusiasts, architects, designers, and fans of sacred geometry."

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The Golden Ration by Gary Meisner is an exquisitely illustration, beautifully and clearly written introductory book about the Golden Ratio and related subjects.  There are lovely full-colour illustrations and photographs on nearly every page.  The book begins with the unique properties of the golden ratio and then continues on to its appearance in art and design, architecture (pyramids, cathedrals, musical instruments), nature (leaf and petal arrangements, fractals, spirals, facial proportions, buckyballs, quantum physics, golden DNA, the nautilus controversy), and many other interesting mathematical goodies such as tessellations, platonic solids, the Fibonacci sequence, Pascal’s Triangles etc.  The book also includes appendices that deal with critical thinking, notes and further reading, and “Golden Constructions”.  There are a number of equations and geometrical illustrations, but nothing particularly complicated.  In the author’s own words:  “not everything is based on the golden ratio, but the number of places in which it seems to appear is truly amazing and we are sure to uncover it more and more as technology advances and out knowledge of the physical universe expands”. 

 

This is definately a book I will be adding to my library.

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review 2018-10-02 08:14
Globalography by Chris Fitch
Globalography - mapping our connected world: An atlas of our globalised world in 50 stunning maps - Chris Fitch

TITLE:  Globalography:  Our Interconnected World in 50 Maps

 

AUTHOR:  Chris Fitch, maps by Sam Vickars

 

EXPECTED PUBLICATION DATE:  23 October 2018:

 

FORMAT:  ARC PDF

 

ISBN-13:  9781781317914

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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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DESCRIPTION:

“We present 50 unique maps –  each in its own beautiful and fascinating style –  that chart the globalography of our world. We live in an era of incredible connections and inter-dependency; connected through aid, migration, trade, finance and the invisible lines of culture, data, technology and ideas. These are not maps of nations in isolation, but of processes, trade links, flows of people, arts, cultures and objects. Each map examines the links, bonds and conflicts that brings our world together, creating a fascinating and intricate atlas of our connected planet.

 

Split into 6 categories the essential, curious, invisible and intricate connections that make up are world are mapped. Each map is accompanied by an essay by Chris Fitch, whose vivid text provides expert insight on how the connections have been formed and what they tell us about our world.

 

Cities: how the city has grown bigger than the nation, charting the links that brings the world's cities together

Culture: mapping the trade links, idea sharing and unbreakable bonds of cultures that spread across boundaries

Military: the bonds that define and break borders

Objects: marking the routes, locations and links that connected lands and space through our things

Nature: the lines and flows of the natural world

Human: charting the links of people, languages, families and the influences of people “

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Globalography attempts to explore individual examples that reveal how the new globalized world really operates.  This book contains 50 double spread, full colour maps that reveal the many ways in which we now connect with each other across the globe.  This book illustrates the radical way globalization is transforming out world.  Each map is accompanied by a brief article (also spread over 2 pages) that usually contains statistics and that I found somewhat superficial in most cases.  I felt that some of the map legends could have been clearer in terms of the statistics they were representing.  The 50 topics include such items as bananas, tourism, uranium, football players, wind energy, messenger apps, skyscrapers, cinema, cocoa, car exports, honey etc.  This is a cute, colourful and interesting coffee table book that one buys for the pictures, not the text. 

 

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review 2018-08-22 11:29
Journey to the Centre of the Earth by Jules Verne
Journey to the Centre of the Earth (Oxford World's Classics) - William Butcher,Jules Verne

TITLE:  Journey to the Centre of the Earth

 

AUTHOR:  Jules Verne

 

TRANSLATOR:  William Butcher

 

EDITION:  Oxford World's Classics

 

DATE OF PUBLICATION:  2008 (reissue)

 

FORMAT:  Paperback

 

ISBN-13:  9780199538072

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Description:

 

"Now available in a new translation, this classic of nineteenth century French literature has been consistently praised for its style and its vision of the world. Professor Lidenbrock and his nephew Axel travel across Iceland, and then down through an extinct crater toward a sunless sea where they enter a living past and are confronted with the origins of man. Exploring the prehistory of the globe, this novel can also be read as a psychological quest, for the journey itself is as important as arrival or discovery. Verne's distinctive combination of realism and Romanticism has marked figures as diverse as Sartre and Tournier, Mark Twain and Conan Doyle."

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Journey to the Centre of the Earth is an exciting adventure story that is well plotted and fast paced with interesting characters.  This book revolves around the (sometimes nail-biting) subterreanean adventures of the excitable Professor Lidenbrock (who reminds me of the overly-energetic Alexander von Humboldt), his nephew Axel, and eventually the frightfully competent Icelander Hans.  The wonderously fantastical prehistoric and geological settings are beautifully described.  The story is fantastic, but neither full-out fantasy or science-fiction.  Everything described by Jules Verne in the book in terms of geology and natural history reflects the state of scientific knowledge at the time of writing (1864) - except (of course) the fantastical bits. 

 

From a variety of comments on the internet, apparently the previous English translations of this book have been butchered with insertions, omissions, name changes and clunky writing.  This new translation by William Butcher aims to be faithful to the original French novel.  I found this translation to be well done, with the narrative flowing smoothly.  It didn't read like a translation at all.  The book includes notes where relevant.  This edition also has in interesting introduction which discusses certain aspects of the book, as well as important aspects of Jules Verne's life.

 

 

 

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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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