Book Spotlight: Robot, Take the Wheel by Jason Torchinsky
Latest Posts , Non-Fiction / May 8, 2019

Book Details: Book Title: Robot, Take the Wheel: The Road to Autonomous Cars and the Lost Art of Driving by Jason Torchinsky Category: Adult Non-Fiction, 207 pages Genre: Automobile Technology, Car enthusiasts Publisher: Apollo Publishers Release date: May 7, 2019 Tour dates: May 6 to 24, 2019 Content Rating: PG (this book is accessible to everyone) Book Description: From the witty senior editor of Jalopnik, Gizmodo Media’s acclaimed website devoted to cars, technology, and more, comes a revealing, savvy, and humorous look at self-driving cars. Self-driving cars sound fantastical and futuristic and yet they’ll soon be on every street in America. Whether it’s Tesla’s Autopilot, Google’s Waymo, Mercedes’s Distronic, or Uber’s 24,000 modified Volvos, companies across industries and throughout the world are developing autonomous cars. Even Apple, not to be outdone, is rumored to be creating its own technology too. In Robot, Take the Wheel, Jason Torchinsky explores the state of the automotive industry. Through wit and wisdom, he explains why autonomous cars are being made and what the future of automated cars is. Torchinsky encourages us to consider autonomous cars as an entirely new machine, something beyond cars as we understand them today. He considers how we’ll get along…

Book Review: Best. Movie. Year. Ever. by  Brian Raftery
4 Stars , Latest Posts , Non-Fiction / May 7, 2019

About: Best. Movie. Year. Ever.: How 1999 Blew Up the Big Screen by  Brian Raftery is a book in which the author examines movies from 1999, a groundbreaking year in cinema. Mr. Raftery is a culture writer and modern movie expect. 416 pages Publisher: Simon & Schuster Language: English ISBN-10: 1501175386 My rating for Best. Movie. Year. Ever. – 4 Buy Best. Movie. Year. Ever. from Amazon.com* More Books by Brian Raftery* Thoughts: I never realized that 1999 was such a monumental year for movies. In his book Best. Movie. Year. Ever.: How 1999 Blew Up the Big Screen author  Brian Raftery makes exactly that claim, the year where some landmark titles were pushed out – whether we knew it at the time or not. The movies that the author writes about are, indeed, groundbreaking. They include Fight Club. The Matrix. Office Space. The Blair Witch Project. The Sixth Sense. Being John Malkovich. Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. American Beauty, the wonderful Iron Giant, Galaxy Quest (quite possible the best Star Trek movie ever made), among others. It would be interesting to see if other years, certainly not all, had such outpouring of creativity. As in many instances, many of the movies were not critically or commercially successful, but found their…

Graphic Novel Review: Supergirl Vol. 5: Red Daughter of Krypton by Michael Alan Nelson

About: Supergirl Vol. 5: Red Daughter of Krypton by Michael Alan Nelson (illustrated by Chad Hardin, Diogenes Neves, Various, and Paulo Siqueira) is a graphic novel featuring it’s title heroine who joined the Red Lantern Corps. This graphic novel collects Supergirl #21-25, and Action Comics #23. My rating for Supergirl Vol. 5: Red Daughter of Krypton – 5 Buy Supergirl Vol. 5: Red Daughter of Krypton from Amazon.com* More Books by Michael Alan Nelson* Thoughts: I didn’t read the previous Supergirl books, so I have no idea why Kara Zor-El is so angry. Frankly though, I don’t care since it’s not really necessary to know all the details, which, in true comic book form, I’m sure are convoluted and contrived. All I know is that she is in full rage mode until she finally snaps and becomes a Red Lantern, and it seems like that’s all I needed to know. The writers introduce Lobo into the graphic novel Supergirl Vol. 5: Red Daughter of Krypton by Michael Alan Nelson (illustrated by Chad Hardin, Diogenes Neves, and Paulo Siqueira), a fascinating story which really moves the story forward and not just a cheap trick to use a popular character. The Lobo…

Fun Facts Friday: Niccolò Machiavelli
Fun Facts Friday , Latest Posts / May 3, 2019

Niccolò Machiavelli (3 May, 1469 – 21 June 1527) was an Italian writer, playwright, poet, historian and diplomat. He is known for his groundbreaking book The Prince. Books by Niccolò Machiavelli* Born in Florence (Italy, of course), Machiavelli was the first son, but third child, of an attorney. Machiavelli is is considered the father of modern political science. His argument that good ends justify bad actions is an important theory of modern politics. He was a professional public official with many responsibilities including military affairs. Machiavelli’s most known work is Il Principe (The Prince), which contains short statements targeting a “new prince”, instead of the one in power. The book is notorious for instructions on dishonesty, immoral behavior, and even killing innocent people all as means of effective politics. To this day, the term Machiavellian usually means a politician or leader who is devious, deceitful, and ones who base their positions on circumstances rather than morals or ethics. He also wrote poetry, carnival songs, and poetry, as well as much correspondences with scholars and politicians. During his lifetime, Machiavelli was very critical of Christianity (as it was practiced at the time) and it effects on daily life, as well as politics….

Guest Post: Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine
Latest Posts / May 2, 2019

About: a young woman lives an ordinary, daily life. She goes at work (“I work in the office,” she explains to those who are interested occasionally), eats pizza from the Tesco supermarket, speaks in a funny old-fashioned manner, is critical to those around her and is a bit out of this world. In general, she is all right. The book touches literally from the first page: it is clear that it is written with love for people, for their quirks, for the place of living (in this case it is Glasgow). With irony and kindness. Soon it becomes clear that this is not just a cute romance from the category of “giggling” – the heroine is sympathetic and compassionate. There is something to sympathize with: the girl experienced the tragedy (the details of which will be revealed by the end of the book only) and lived in absolute loneliness. The author says that the idea of the book came to her after reading the real story of a woman who was returning home from work and was silent from Monday evening to Monday morning. Just because she had no one to say a word. Not much is known about Gail…

Book Review: Solovyov and Larionov by Eugene Vodolazkin
Latest Posts / May 1, 2019

About: Solovyov and Larionov by Eugene Vodolazkin (translated by Lisa C. Hayden) is a novel, translated from Russian, which is part military history, part academic satire.  This is the author’s first book, but his third translated into English. 368 pages Publisher: Oneworld Publications Language: English ISBN-10: 1786070359   My rating for Solovyov and Larionov – 2 Buy Solovyov and Larionov from Amazon.com* More Books by Eugene Vodolazkin* Thoughts: Most of the books I read which were translated from Russian were very good, some even excellent. Before requesting Solovyov and Larionov by Eugene Vodolazkin (translated by Lisa C. Hayden) I looked up the synopsis which seemed to be right up my alley. The book checked many of the things which I enjoy: military history, a detective story, and academic satire to boot. For me, however, none of these parts came together.  I also like books which take their time to tell a good story, whether it’s a sweeping, grand arc or intimately exploring characters – better yet is a combination of both. This book, however, didn’t work for me. It was difficult to keep track of the many characters which appear and disappear without any rhyme or reason. The symbolism, which…

Book Review: Ghosts of Gotham by Craig Schaefer
4 Stars , Fantasy , Fiction , Latest Posts / April 29, 2019

About: Ghosts of Gotham by Craig Schaefer is a novel taking place in present day New York City, involving a search for a missing manuscript by Edgar Allen Poe in a hidden world of magic and magical creatures. Mr. Schaefer has wrote several books which deal with the supernatural and the occult. 445 pages Publisher: 47North Language: English ISBN-10: 1542043999   My rating for Ghosts of Gotham – 4 Buy Ghosts of Gotham from Amazon.com* More Books by Craig Schaefer * Thoughts: Reading the description for this book it seems to be right up my alley including books about books (who doesn’t love those?), magic, and an interesting premise. With these high hopes, I was glad that Ghosts of Gotham by Craig Schaefer actually did deliver. While the manuscript is a small part of the story, simply meant to drive the plot forward and an excuse to join up some characters, it was still a worthy idea and well executed. New York City, written in a way which reminds me of the grim noir novels, is a perfect setting for the dark forces at work, as well as the personal trauma the protagonists of this story go through. While I…

Fun Facts Friday: David Hume
Fun Facts Friday , Latest Posts / April 26, 2019

David Hume  (26 April, 1711 – 25 August, 1776) was a Scottish philosopher and historian, known for A Treatise on Human Nature (1739-40), Essays Moral and Political (1741-42), Political Discourses (1752), and an exhaustive History of England (1754-62), as well as many others. Works by David Hume* Born as David Home in Edinburgh. His father died when he was about two years old and he was raised by his mother who never married. He changed his last name to Hume because that’s the way “Home” was supposed to be pronounced, but was not known in England as that. At age 12, or maybe even 10, Mr. Hume started to attend the University of Edinburgh. He told friends that “there is nothing to be learnt from a Professor, which is not to be met with in Books”. Mr. Hume did not graduate. At age 25 Mr. Hume found himself with no source of income, despite being of noble ancestry. He took a job as a merchant’s assistant and was forced to leave to France. Mr. Hume did not do well in his forced on profession, but did manage to get a job as a career as a librarian at the University…

Book Review: The True Story of the Great Escape by Jonathan F. Vance
4 Stars , Latest Posts , Non-Fiction / April 24, 2019

About: The True Story of the Great Escape: Stalag Luft III, March 1944 by Jonathan F. Vance is the historical account of the largest prison break during World War II. Mr. Vance is a Canadian author and educator. 392 pages Publisher: Greenhill Books Language: English ISBN-10: 1784384380 My rating for The True Story of the Great Escape – 4 Buy The True Story of the Great Escape from Amazon.com* More Books by Jonathan F. Vance* Thoughts: Many people only know of the events in this book from the fictionalized 1963 Hollywood account, but as often occurs, truth is stranger than fiction, and often much more mesmerizing. In The True Story of the Great Escape: Stalag Luft III, March 1944 by Jonathan F. Vance the author recounts the evens which led to the escape, and the aftermath. This book is being re-released to honor the 75th anniversary of what we call now the “Great Escape”.  Mr. Vance’s well researched and very readable account of the men of Stalag Luft III is exciting and personal. Each soldier gets a mini-biography (peppered throughout the book as they are introduced) , and it is obvious that the author really looks up to these guys. The English officers saw it as their…

Graphic Novel Review: The Flash, Vol. 1: Lightning Strikes Twice by Joshua Williamson
4 Stars , Fiction , Graphic Novels , Latest Posts / April 22, 2019

About: The Flash, Vol. 1: Lightning Strikes Twice by Joshua Williamson (illustrated by Carmine Di GIandomenico) is a graphic novel starting a new story line for the scarlet speedster. This graphic novel collects The Flash: Rebirth #1, and The Flash #1-8.  216 pages Publisher: DC Comics Language: English ISBN-10: 140126784X My rating for The Flash, Vol. 1: Lightning Strikes Twice – 4 Buy The Flash, Vol. 1: Lightning Strikes Twice from Amazon.com* More Books by Joshua Williamson* Thoughts: I really enjoyed the new Rebirth story lines, and this issue is no exception. Right off the bat, The Flash, Vol. 1: Lightning Strikes Twice by Joshua Williamson (illustrated by Carmine Di GIandomenico) held my interest – from beginning to end. The villains are an important aspect of this graphic novel, including a new one called Godspeed. There are a bunch of new speedsters, which made me lose track at them at first, however it will be cool to have Barry Allen have Kid Flash back as a sidekick. The art was really good, it’s difficult to draw speedsters but Mr. Di GIandomenico did a great job bringing the feel of motion into the panels.  Even with a bunch of normal people suddenly becoming speedsters, something which could get very messy in both…

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