Category Archives: Books

Book Reviews & Thoughts on Reading

Books are to film what a whole food plant based diet is to junk food. Films are nothing but highly processed stories, they give the general outline of the story and characters without any of the depth that the book contains. Consuming hours of video each and every night, flooding our brains with thousands and thousands of shallow story lines each week, is not healthy for our minds.

The worse of it is is that most people watch video for several hours in the evening before going to bed. This completely disrupts our brain’s melatonin cycle, which in turn completely disrupts our sleep and dream cycles. This leaves us anxious, tired, depressed, paranoid and ageing far quicker than we should be. Essentially, video before bed is unhealthy on every level.

So take a break from video and read some books instead. Ditch the TV licence and buy some books, or a Kindle, instead. Slow down your brain’s consumption of new characters and story lines and allow yourself to sleep, dream, rest and recover as you need to do for good health, fitness and wellbeing.

Evening should be a time to relax and chill out quietly. If you find yourself falling asleep while reading that’s because you’re tired and need to sleep. So instead of fighting it and flooding your brain with television and film, just go to sleep – even if it is 6pm. You’ll feel so much better in the morning.

Below are some books i’ve really enjoyed reading (and a few i haven’t) to ‘maybe’ get you started on your own reading journey – enjoy…

Bridge of Sighs – Laura Morelli

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This was a free offering from Laura for signing up to her newsletter when i got to the end of ‘The Gondola Maker’.

As shorts go it’s a good well written piece in much the same style as ‘The Gondola Maker’ at around the same time and place.

My only gripe is that i wanted more – which is a complement. It would certainly have made a great first chapter to a much more deeper look into Venice, and Europe, at the time of the Black Death.

Although Laura’s thing is art, so she’s probably not planning to write a full novel on bubonic plague.

Anyways, i’m looking forward to getting around to reading ‘The Painter’s Apprentice’ in the not too distant. I’m definitely a fan of Laura’s Venice. More please!

#readbooks #lovekindle #bookreviews #books #reading #lauramorelli #venice

Babel-17 – Samuel R. Delany

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One of the most imaginative sci-fi novels i’ve ever read..

I only bought it because i was looking for a book i read about 30 years ago that i can’t remember the title of and thought this may have been it, but it wasn’t. But i’m certainly not disappointed to have picked up the wrong book.

There’s all kinds of sub-genres in sci-fi and i’m not really sure where this one would fit. It’s mostly a deep dive into linguistics, as in how words and language are used and the meanings they convey, and Samuel does a wonderful exploration throughout the book.

It also takes in the future body modification – some interesting things going in this book, and does bring to mind some amazing potential within current science for the future body mod industry. The real future is certainly going to be interesting.

Anyways, well worth a read, and definitely worth it’s place in the ‘SF Masterworks’ series of books.

#readbooks #lovekindle #bookreviews #books #reading #samuelrdelany #scifi #bodymods

A Child at Heart – Christopher Phillips

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Or to give it its full title… ‘A Child at Heart: Unlocking Your Creativity, Curiosity, and Reason at Every Age and Stage of Life’.

Those of us interested in longevity and remaining young, fit and healthy as long as possible, realise early on that it all begins in the mind. If the mind is not on board for an extended lifespan then the brain and body simply isn’t going to go there.

While this book doesn’t look specifically into the longevity benefits of a youthful mind it still has plenty to teach us. This book is a wonderfully detailed look at the minds of all stages and ages of life and how we interact with each other – and Christopher isn’t shy of giving plenty of thoughts on what is wrong with our current view and treatment of young people and how that is impacting on adults and society as a whole. As Christopher is a parent himself this book does give a few thoughts on parenting without being preachy about anything and i would definitely recommend it for parents or aspiring parents.

But Christopher is also very clearly a Socratic philosopher, and this book, i feel, continues the ideas of Socrates in how society, not just parents, should relate to and listen to young people. I do find it incredibly disheartening that after more than 2000 years since Socrates execution for simply doing what Christopher prescribes in this book that adults still aren’t engaging with young people and giving them their rightful place within society. And then adult society has the audacity to blame young people for causing the problems.

Whether you’re a parent, a philosopher, a youth worker, or someone simply interested in creating a better world, this book is a very good read and well worth getting a copy.

#readbooks #lovekindle #bookreviews #books #reading #christopherphillips

The Gondola Maker: A Novel of 16th-Century Venice – Laura Morelli

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I’ve never been to Venice and other than, it’s got canals, i know nothing about the place, so i can genuinely say that it’s not required to enjoy this book.

Our protagonist, Luca, is the oldest son of one of Venices finest gondola makers, and when he completely burns his bridges (literally) on his future at his family’s squero he is left homeless and penniless. Refusing to leave the city he needs to find a way to survive and rebuild his life.

We then follow Luca’s ups and downs as he takes the reader on a journey around 16th century Venice through every layer of life.

It’s certainly not a book of twists and turns and subplots and stuff, it’s really quite a simple story. But it is a wonderfully written story that gives the reader a real feel of life in Venice from the view of the working gondoliers and those they interact with that make this book so compelling.

#readbooks #lovekindle #bookreviews #books #reading #lauramorelli

Magnificent Devices Bundle, Volume 1 – Shelley Adina

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While i found most of this rather ridiculous, like Clair, our 17 year old protagonist, is James Bond on super miraculous, mentally and physically, performance enhancing drugs or something, it is still at the same time a rather enjoyable read. 12 days to get through 4 books isn’t too shabby for me so it obviously kept me turning the pages.

If you’re wanting a serious read then i would stay well clear. But if you’re wanting something that just passes away the hours without you taking it seriously then this might be for you. I think, ‘silly’ might be a good term to use in describing these books. But that’s not to use ‘silly’ in a bad way, sometimes a bit of ‘silly’ is a good thing in a world like ours – maybe we could all use a dose of ‘silly’ now and again.

The plus side is that the characters quite likeable, although the baddies always seem to be a complete bunch of buffoons while the goodies are simply incredible in every possible way – again, making one not take it at all too seriously.

Am i going to read the rest of the series? Yes, i’ll certainly come back for more at a later date when i’m in the mood for something silly like this. But right now i really do need to read something a bit more complex and beleiveable.

#readbooks #lovekindle #bookreviews #books #reading #shelleyadina

Meadowland: the private life of an English field – John Lewis-Stempel…

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A beautiful book from a wonderful writer.

The reader is transported to a working Herefordshire farm where they journey through the life of a real, English meadow from Jan 1st to Dec 31st, wonderfully detailing what most wouldn’t notice but what, to a meadow, are crucially important aspects of its eco system.

Sadly, and i mean extremely so, farmers like John are being driven out and intensive farming is systematically destroying not only the countryside fauna and flora, but also England as a sustainable island. But it is heartening to know that the real countryside and those that care for it are still out there and keeping these isolated islands of Nature alive so that hopefully, one day, if its not too late, we can wake up and stop the intensive farming and remake our countryside – fingers crossed.

I will certainly be reading more of John’s books in the future and totally recommend this one to anyone with even the slightest interest in the Nature of rural England.

#readbooks #lovekindle #books #reading

Temporal Contingency (Big Sigma Book 4) – Joseph Lallo…

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Another great addition to this incredible series.

I’m not usually a fan of temporal sci-fi stuff as most of what’s out there tends to run up its own arse and leave the reader or viewer with their heads shoved up there’s, but this book doesn’t feel like that – Joseph plays some great temporal ‘get out of jail free cards’ that certainly worked for me.

And he’s really pushing the boat out with ‘Ma’ on this one. She’s definitely become my favourite fictional AI.

Anyways, great stuff, and can’t wait for Big Sigma #5 and the next chapter in Ma’s life – which i hope isn’t too long in coming.

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The Big Sigma Collection: Volume 1 – Joseph Lallo…

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What a great collection.

Having really enjoyed ‘Bypass Gemini’ i jumped straight into the rest of the books.

This collection also features 3 short stories that give more background to some characters in the main novels, which were really enjoyable to read.

I really can’t say enough about Joseph’s writing, i’m a total fan and totally hooked. Even though the known universe is about to end if nothing’s done, Joseph still manages to get lots of fun and shenanigans in the stories and makes it work so well.

Really good sci-fi as well. Pushing the boundaries but never overstepping.

And now all that’s left to do is read the last book in the series… ‘Temporal Contingency’

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Bypass Gemini (Big Sigma #1) – Joseph Lallo…

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Now this is a writer who is obviously having fun.

Admittedly there’s a thin line between a writer having a lot of fun with a story and the story becoming a little ridiculous and this book does seem to skim a little close to that line on occasion, and then it’s just up to the reader whether they might feel that line has been crossed. For me, at least, i just enjoyed this as a totally fun read. And right about now in my life i really needed a good fun read.

While my normal taste in sci-fi is rather highbrow – Le Guin, etc. – this book came like a refreshing breath of fresh air in it’s nothing but a full on romp around the galaxy with broad array of characters and shenangians. Yes, there’s a serious side to it, millions are going to die unless our protagonist can sort his shit out, but that doesn’t hold Joseph back from having fun with it along the way.

As in all of Joseph’s books, the characters are wonderful, widely varied and really brought to life, leaving you wanting further appearances in future books.

You can find this book for free on Amazon and then if you like it you can buy the rest of the series – so it’s a proper ‘try before you buy’. And i think that’s another great thing about Joseph, in that he gives away the first books in his 3 series as tasters and then let’s the reader make their own minds up freely as to whether they want more or not. I got hooked in this way on ‘Book of Deacon’ then ‘Free Wrench’ and now this. And that for me is the mark of a good book, do you buy the rest of the series or walk away and never come back? The answer to all 3 of Joseph’s series is yes, yes and yes again for me. I bought the rest of the books to this series straight away and can’t wait to read more.

So get yourselves over to Amazon and give Joseph’s writing a try if you haven’t already done so. For fantasy you want ‘Book of Deacon’, for steampunk ‘Free Wrench’ and sci-fi it’s this book ‘Bypass Gemini’.

#readbooks #lovekindle #books #reading

Book of Five Rings: The Classic Guide to Strategy – Miyamoto Musashi…

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Another book that’s sat on my Kindle for years unread. But having just finished David Kirks’ books it really felt like the right time to read this.

It’s hard to judge this book in any real contemporary terms because it simply has no place in the contemporary world. It’s an anachronism from a time and place that is no more and will never be again.

It is aimed solely at the samurai warrior, but maybe there are those who are ultra competitive who do contact sports, and also military personnel, that could still gain a lot from reading it – which doesn’t apply to me.

It is, however, an incredible view into the mind of one of the greatest strategists (swordsmen) from Japanese history, and it really gives you the genuine thoughts and attitude of a Samurai in regards to fighting and killing with swords. It’s probably the most amoral thing i’ve ever read, and in that aspect alone it’s quite wonderful because it is so genuine.

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