Here are the my opinions of the books I have been reading. I started writing
reviews because I wanted to praise Woman In Whitle on Amazon.co.uk. As I often
the case I thought it might then be nice to have a record what I thought of
books when I read them so I have continued. The dates I finished reading are
their because I have ME and
I am interested in how frequently I am getting through books. I was an incredibly
slow reader even prior to becoming ill!
Talk To Me Baby : The Story Of The Blues Band – Roy Bainton
Wanderers Of Time – John Wyndham
Black Sabbath – An Oral History By Mike Stark
Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
Beam Me Up, Scotty – James Doohan
Jizzle – John Wyndham
EM Forster -The Machine Stops
Close To The Edge – The Story Of Yes – Chris Welch
The Consolations Of Philosophy – Alain De Botton
Animal Farm – George Orwell
Planet Of The Apes – Pierre Boulle
John Whydham – Exiles On Asperus
The Last Days Of Hitler – H.R. Trevor-Roper
Consider Her Ways And Others – John Wyndham
Inside The Music – Dave Stewart (plus a bit on The AB’ Guide
To Music Theory by Eric Taylor)
John Wyndham – Tales Of Gooseflesh and Laughter
The Chrysalids – John Wyndham
Amazing Stories – October 1965
The Magic Shop By H.G. Wells
Mr Wray’s Cash Box by Wilkie Collins
Arabian Nights – A Selection – Translated by Richard
The Hobbit – Graphic Novel – David Wenzel &
Chocky – John Wyndham
Desperate Remedies – Thomas Hardy
The Strange Case Of Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde by Robert
Genome: The Autobiography Of A Species In 23 Chapters
By Matt Ridley
1-2-3 Magic – Effective Discipline For Children
2-12 – Thomas W. Phelan, Ph.D.
All About Attention Deficit Disorder – Thomas W.
The Moonstone – Wilkie Collins
Black Sabbath Never Say Die! 1979-1997 – Garry
Ozzy Osbourne – The Story Of The Ozzy Osbourne
Band- Garry Sharpe-Young
Eats, Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss
The Island Of Dr Moreau – H.G.Wells
War Of The Worlds – H.G. Wells
Catlore – Desmond Morris
Consider Her Ways And Others – John Wyndham
Derren Brown – Tricks of The Mind
How Black was our Sabbath – Graham Wright and David Tangye
The Man From Beyond – John Wyndham
Hypnotic Realities, Hypnotic Therapies, Experiencing Hypnosis – Ernest Rossi & Milton Erickson
Cesar’s Way – Cesar Millan
Talk To Me Baby : The Story Of The Blues Band – Roy
Bainton – 3 October 1999
This book seems to have been completely miss-titled. Or half of it is
missing. For it to be the story of the Blues Band in my view and expectations
it should tell the history and the Blues Band’s life album by album. Instead it
tells the Story Of The Blues Band’s Members. I.e. it gives the members
histories up to the point of joining the Blues Band then it says words to the
effect "And the rest of course you know". Well excuse me but if I
knew that I would not be buying this book. I am fascinated as to how the book
got published like this. Is there a difference in style of Biographies for
Blues artists to that of Rock ones? Very weird and a big disappointment.
Wanderers Of Time – John Wyndham – 2 November 1999
This is a book of long short stories first pubished in the 1930’s. The
longest being Wanderers of time itself. This was a very good read as usual.
Some of the themes seemed a bit familar though. It was a kind of cross between
the later Sleepers from Mars and The Web. Whydham obviously had some ideas he
liked. It amused me how the lead character had to find love but it also
interrested me how it wasn’t the first character introduced or the girlfriend
the original time travel was for. The Second story Derelict Of Space was more
interesting than a good story. I was about the salvage of a Rocket in space
which goes wrong. It was told retrospectively by a main character which is
typical of Wyndham. It’s fascinating that Wyndham predicts Space travel in
great and to my knowledge accurate detail but does seem to have the idea for
computers. It is also odd having space travel and the Third Reich in the same
era. Child Of Power was a story I particularly enjoyed a similar story to
Midwich Cuckoos or maybe Chocky (I can’t quite recall). It was about a child
with ability to sense Electricity as a sixth sense. It could easily have gone
on to be a full book but instead is cut short by an accident. The story as
usual is told by an observers retrospectively this time to people in a pub and
I love the final paragraph. It is a classic! The Last Lunarians was an
interesting story a little bit on the short side. About an ancient race of moon
dwellers accidently brought out of suspended animation. It makes me wonder if
they seriously thought the moon had had life in the past when this was written.
Sadly this was no Star Trek first contact story. Just a mad savages story. The
Puff-Ball Menace is a kind of day of the Triffids. This time set about as
Biological warfare by a country fed up with the West affecting it’s thinking
and being too small for conventional warfare.
Black Sabbath – An Oral History By Mike Stark – 11 November
As is often the case I have mixed feelings about this History. If I had written
a review after reading the Ozzy Osbourne years only it would have been a lot
more negative. At the time I was thinking "Hey I could do this so much
better" There are very few "time of the album" quotes and I would
have liked to see all the quotes dated. I know trips to the British library
would produce a wealth of quotes from the magazines of the days. Weather permission
to use them would be a problem I don’t know.
As it stands that section adds very little to my admittedly rather good
knowledge of the band. It was however interesting reading Bill Wards quotes
and it was also interesting seeing how they are written word for word like I
do my Praying Mantis interviews. It’s funny how you start noticing these things
when you with you own inability’s try and do them too.
As I say that is what I would have thought. Having finished the book I am a
lot happier. It is all to brief but it does cover each and every lineup and
a lot better than all the other Sabbath books I have seen (some only because
they are written a long time ago). The Editor or someone got carried away with
their spell checker and changed Ray Gillen into Ian Gillan but there is little
an Author can do to stop this type of mistake. I am still waiting for the definite
Sabbath History. I suspect I will wait a long time given the standard of most
of Sabbath’s non album releases but this at least points in the right direction.
Brave New World – Aldous Huxley – 15 December 99
This was and excellent read. I really enjoyed it. I found it extremely
interesting how my sympathies changed as the story progressed. At first I was
quite amused at the ridiculous extremes of the Brave New World. Especially that
Huxley had decided to replace God with Ford and the Cross with a "T"
for the Model T. But as the book came to an end and the Savage bought back from
an Indian reservations received an explanation of how society had got to it’s
current point and I couldn’t really see anything wrong with it. This worried me
it has to be said. Perhaps it was because it was ideological and there weren’t
many examples of the system failing. The Savage ended up rejecting the new
world and living alone which I understood to a degree. However he believed in
suffering to make his soul pure and was religious which left me baffled as
usual. Since the book was published in 1932 I again took great interest in what
was being predicted for the future. The conveyer belt of Test tube babies and
development was fascinating The Flamingo edition of the book also included a
Forward written by the author in 1944. It was interesting to see how the
authors views had changed. He realised the Human engineering was moving on a
lot faster than he originally anticipated. I suspect it has moved on even
quicker now. Fascinating stuff.
Beam Me Up, Scotty – James Doohan – 4 January 1999
This is an odd book. I obviously bought it for the Star Trek connection.
That was the most disappointing part for me. I found it rather boring reading
which epsidoes Doohan was in. Luckily it took Doohan more than half the book to
get anywhere near joining the cast of Star Trek. The stories he told about the
war and how he became an actor I found very interesting. I am not sure I
completely like Doohan but he seems geniue enough. Perhaps I am a little put
off by his eye for the woman and his confidence in his craft. I am suspect he
is a good actor though. Not the most essential Star Trek read but it is a
reasonable read all the same.
Jizzle – John Wyndham – 28 Jan 2000
This was a collection of short stories
"Jizzle" was an interesting story about a circus
performer buying a monkey in a pub. It brings him fortune but breaks up his
marriage. I guess a classic tale of money doesn’t buy happiness. Or a just
a mischievous monkey
"Technical Slip" was too short to be of any real
interest. A man is dying and is returned to his childhood in exchange for
his savings. There was a technical slip and he became aware of it until it
was corrected. It seems he was able to relive his life several times.
"A Present From Brunswick" was a different take on
the Pied Pipper. I was written in a very Wyndham way but it has to be said I
didn’t really understand it.
"Chinese Puzzle" was a good story about an egg
received in the post that hatches into a dragon. I didn’t understand why everyone
in Wales was talking in bad English though.
"Esmeralda" is a flea. And the story was about her
training and the effect of fleas on the trainers love life. A very interesting
story. I am surprised at another circus related story.
"How Do I Do?" was a good story about a woman breaking
with her fiancée and going to a fortune teller to get some direction
back in her life. She thinks the lady a fraud so the lady makes her see herself
in the ball. Woman are so stereotyped in these stories. Or realistic to the
"UNA" is a story about man induced creation of
life. The result is Una and she takes a fancy to the Animal Welfare officer.
A good story.
"Affair Of The Heart" was a good short story about
a phonetician and his wife going out a for meal. They are accidentally
seated at a table that has been reserved for a couple for the last 30 years.
But all is not as it seems.
"Confidence Trick" was an intriguing story about
a journey on the underground and an apparent crash. They go to hell but one
passenger doesn’t believe in it so they get sent back. I want to say it was
well told but I didn’t really get the point in the end so I am not sure.
"The Wheel" was a good story about a society where
the wheel is banned because of the evil men did with it. Short and sweet but
"Look Natural, Please!" Is the story of a man going
to a photographer and being inspired to do better. Things later go full circle.
The wife is very stereotyped as is typical in the book.
"Perforce To Dream" is about a novel writer getting
her book rejected because someone else wrote the same book. Both had dreamt
it. It was a good story.
"Reservation Deferred" is an extremely short story
of a dying girl meeting a ghost and getting put off dying because she didn’t
like the Ghosts descriptions of heaven being for men.
"Heaven Scent" is a story about a wonderful new perfume
additive which is guaranteed to make the person of your choice fall madly in
love with you. While it lasts at least.
"More Spinned Against" was a rather enjoyable story
about the wife of a spider collector. She ends up having a chat with a spider
that was really a human cursed by a god.
Overall I enjoyed the book. I am not keen on short stories
and some of these didn’t work but others I thought very good.
EM Forster -The Machine Stops – 28 Feb
I mentioned to a friend what I thought about The Brave New World and she
suggested I read this short story. It was about 40 pages long and I have to
say very good. It is about a society where mankind has perfected the machine
to such a point they all the do is sit in individual honeycomb rooms and press
buttons for all there requirements. Conversation so done with visuals but
any facial expression was hidden by the machine so that thoughts weren’t distracted.
The machine delivers everything to them. Muscles and movement are discouraged.
Everything is done through the machine. (In fact remember this story in later
months it strikes me I am close to living on one of the Honeycombe cell myself
due to my M.E.!
Unfortunately one mothers son (I am slow writing this up and can’t recall
how children happen in this society) seems to be too inquisitive for his own
good. He has a fascination for nature and the stars. Eventually he works out
the machine is dying due to faults in the repair center itself. Eventually
the machine dies and that causes Airships from the days when people had to
travel to crash into the honeycomb living centers and kill the main characters.
It is not clear if the machine stops because of decay or sabotage from people
who had been expelled to live outside the machine because they wouldn’t conform
to society. An Excellent little story. I must check out a full novel sometime.
Close To The Edge – The Story Of Yes by Chris Welch
– 24 April 2000
This book was a treat to read. It seems a long time since I have read a Band
Bio that goes into great detail. From what I can tell a lot of the facts have
been well researched. Sometimes Chris seemed to repeat quotes but I know I
couldn’t have done better. It is interesting to see it happens even in a quality
Journalist written Biography.
I didn’t really feel he got to the bottom of Rick Wakeman leaving the last
time. Maybe he did but I was frustrated by quotes from other band members
which while semi-true didn’t quite give the full picture. The impression given
was that Rick didn’t want to tour. I can’t see this is true given Rick has
done plenty of UK gig over the last few years. I guess it might be true that
Rick didn’t want to do 160 dates tours. The main problems seemed to be lack
of communication between the band and procrastination.
The Consolations Of Philosophy – Alain De Botton –
4 July 2000
“Me? Read a book on Philosophy? No way!”. I am sure this is what I would
have said a few months back. However I have always been interested in people,
their lives and how they interact with each other. So I guess it is logical
that something would eventually catch my interest enough to read such a book
on such a “Stuffy” subject. That something was a series on UK’s Channel 4
called “A Guide To Happiness”. As is often the case when something catches
my interest I wanted a book as a future reminder of what I had seen so I got
the book the series was based on. And I am glad I did.
It is difficult to know if this was philosophy made easy on purpose or if
it just turned out to be that way. Whatever it was a good way to break my
into the world of philosophers and it might well tempt to to read a bit more
about one of them.
6 philosophers were covered on six areas which we can sometimes need consoling.
Unpopularity, Not having enough money, Frustration, Inadequacy, A Broken Heart
and Difficulties. Difficulties was in fact the hardest section for me to get
on with. I think I agreed with it in principle but some of the smaller points
seemed to miss me.
The chapter on unpopularity kind of reinforced my fear of letting the majority
rule a country by votes on each bill on the Internet. The story of Socrates
death seems to show perfectly how people are swayed by the current majority
thinking without actually thinking things out for themselves. With the Power
of the Media I find this really scary.
My favourite philosopher was Montaigne on inadequacy and he is the one I
am most likely to be tempted to follow up on sometime. I wonder if I would
be disappointed though as Alain uses modern examples and explanations in conjunction
with original quotes.
My only problem with the book was it sometimes quotes a foreign language
without translating it. Most long phrases were translated but I guess some
where considered obvious but I didn’t work them out.
I think this was an excellent book and of great interest to anyone interested
in life and being happy.
Animal Farm – George Orwell – 13 July 2000
I got this book out of curiosity. People often quote the line “All animals
are equal but some are more equal than others”. And like 1984 it seems a popular
book. It’s a long while since I read 1984 and I seem to recall it was slightly
hard going. This definitely wasn’t. It calls itself a fairy tale and it has
to be said after my previous book this was a fast compulsive read. I loved the
way the corruption built up so subtly and the way the animals were confused
in thinking what they remembered was wrong. It is very easy to relate this story
to human society. At 5 UKP for a 94page book I thought the price was a bit steep
but nevertheless it was a good story.
Planet Of The Apes – Pierre Boulle – 31 July 2000
First published 1963 this is the book that inspired the Films and TV series.
With 38 chapters in only 180 pages or so I found this book somewhat compulsive
reading and would often read slightly more than I intended because I was reading
chapters and wanted to know what happened in the next only to find it out and
decide with only 3 more pages I should go on to finish the chapter I had started.
I guess the story was in fact a combination of what became the first and third
films. The main characters of Zira, Cornelius, Zaius and Nova existed in this
original tale but the Ape city was slightly more modern than in the films. The
main human character Ulysse spent an amazing amount of time not showing the
apes he was as intelligent as them but I guess it helped the plot in the fact
he and Nova eventually had a baby despite him initially feeling she was more
like a pet than a human.
I liked the reasons give for the human decline and the nice little twist at
It was also good to read a story that talked about interplanetary travel with
the Theory of Realitivity involved and not just forgotten as an inconvenience.
Thus while it took Ulysse two years to get to the Ape planet in earth time it
was really 500 years.
I couldn’t help thinking this book wouldn’t have been written with the same
emphasis today. In 40 years we have changed slightly and it is odd reading old
views. Of course one of the biggest things to me someone who is 34 is the fact
I have grown up knowing the films and TV series. The concept of a planet of
apes is intriguing not horrifying. It wasn’t till I finished the book I realised
I was mentally imagining the apes as per the films and not the real animals
that someone without the knowledge of the films would have done. This is a shame
really. I will have to read this again sometime with that in mind.
An excellent book and cheap at only 4ukp for a hardback.
John Whydham – Exiles On Asperus – 26 Aug 2000
This is a book of three short stories.
Exiles On Asperus was written in 1933. And is a story about the Arrogance
of humans and how our adaptability can also be our downfall. Asperus seems to
be a small planetoid Whydham speculated would be discovered in our solar system.
It has a population of Bat like people who are intelligent but don’t have our
hands. An Earth ship crashes on the planet and they are taken prisoner. The
prisoners are encouraged to breed and their children are taken away to form
a new society that are willing to help the Batrach. A very good story.
No Place Like Earth is a 1951 story. This was an intriguing story while
I read it but once I got to then end I was slightly disappointed. Earth
has been blown up somehow and Bert an Earth-man is stuck on Mars. The Martians
are an old race living simply and Bert dreams of the old Earth. After 13 years
a ship of Earth-men arrive from Venus in the only Rocket-ship with fuel. They
recruit Bert to help rebuild Venus. But Venus is like the earth old old using
animals as slave labour and having a dictator as a leader. Bert escapes back
to the life he found unsatisfying on Mars as he now realises how the Martian
philosophy appeals to him.
Curiously there is a love interest but she doesn’t really meet until he back
on Mars. She is more an idea. The woman on Venus were also segregated from the
average citizen on Venus. I don’t think that the Love was that bigger
The Venus Adventure was published in 1932. I really enjoyed reading
this story. A religious fanatic and a Rich man form a partnership to get to
Venus. Once their they don’t get on and form two societies which hate each other.
After 800 years another ship left Earth thinking they would be first on Mars
and the story is about how things have progressed their.
There were lots of interesting ideas in the story but again the thing that
interested me most is the predictions about the future. I found it fascinating
that Whynham could think it might take Earth another 800 years to rediscover
rocket power. I was also amazed that he had no concept for anything like Televsion.
Surely he would have had Films when he wrote this? But even 800 years in the
future they are still using radios and books.
This is in no way a criticism I just love to see how things have moved along
and things that I take for granted weren’t even thought off. I guess it is amazing
we made it to the Moon only 40 years after this. Mind you we are dragging our
heals on the next step of landing people on Mars and Venus.
He had some interesting ideas of how Venus looked.
The story is written in typical Wyndham style. i.e. a Report by someone on
I wonder what Whynham’s Regious beliefs were. He made the Fanatics deteriorate
as a society because they had a madness gene in there limited gene pool. The
Rich mans society were more control about how they inbred etc. and were therefore
the more stable society.
Overall I thought the book well worth seeking out in the 2nd hand stores.
The Last Days Of Hitler – H.R. Trevor-Roper – 21
I thought I had taken an awful long time to read this book. Probably 3 months
but apparently it was four. I am sure there was at least a month in the middle
where I didn’t read any of it. I guess that was probably longer too.
The first 40 pages of the book were an explanation by Roper of why he wrote
the book and what methods he used. I actually found the explanation of how he
looked for secondary evidence to point in the direction of main evidence very
interesting. He pointed out if something is true lots of seemingly contradictory
evidence will suddenly come together. If it is a lie there will be almost no
contradictory evidence in the overal evidence.
I then got onto the main part of the book and rather bored. There was a lot
of general information on the state of the War and Hitler’s people during the
last two years of his life. I found this stuff incredibly hard to take in and
suspect I wasn’t going flat out on the book which wouldn’t have helped either.
I commented on a previous review that I find having lots of sections and chapters
encourages me to read on. This book proved the reverse. The chapters are
extremely long and there were no sections marks. Therefore when I was getting
tired of reading after my usual 8-10 pages I had no incentive to read on to
the next logical break 2-6 pages away. I tended therefore to just give up.
After a long break of reading current magazines and just being too tired, I
decided to have a serious crack at the book and get it finished. I therefore
have forced myself to read it most days and finish it before Christmas. Luckily
I then got into the detail of the last 10 days of his life which was the last
half of the book. This I found a lot easier to read and I got into it again.
I was surprised at how strong the authors views were on some of the characters.
The book was originally written in 1947 and I was reading a 1973 reprint. I
suspect if it had been written now there would have been a lot more explanation
of why people were described as Ninnies etc.
I found reading the Epilogue quite interesting to read. It was a summery of
why the author thought Hitler a success and then a failure. I don’t think his
views had changed between the 1947 original and 1972 reprint I wonder if they
have now. I also wonder if the author was still about to look at any evidence
produced as a result of the Iron Curtain.
I am glad I read the book but I look forward to reading something lighter next.
That won’t be for sometime though as I had a heap of Back Issues magazines to
Consider Her Ways And Others – John Wyndham – 27 May
This is another collection of short stories. Consider Her Ways is medium size
and the rest a definitely short.
Consider Her Ways – This was a very good story. Like most Wyndham stories half
the fun of the story is in seeing where this story went. It is therefore hard
to give a summary without spoiling it. Basically woman a woman wakes up in a
hospital with memory lose and a strange feeling of being in the wrong body.
Slowly her memory returns and there is an interesting discussion of woman in
society. Especially odd as Wyndham is a man.
Odd – At last in May I am backing to reading a book. I have missed it and it
was really good to start with this nice little story by my favourite author.
It was only 10 pages long and pretty predicable but a god little story behind
why a man was left a lot of shares in a Plastics company.
Oh Where Now is Peggy MacRafferty? – This was an extremely odd Wyndham Story
it just seem to be a story about plucking someone out of obscurity and making
them’ a film star. She was put through a film school and all her character was
lost. Perhaps this was radical when it was written but now it is so common it
was rather boring and very un-Wyndham like.
A Stitch In Time was back to normal Wyndham. A time travel story of sorts.
Nothing to original but again a nice little read.
Random Quest – This was an excellent little story I felt could easily have
been expanded. A man has an accident and wakes up in a Parallel universe where
things are similar but different. He is married in that place and falls in love
with her when he returns to his own universe he is desperate to find this woman.
A Long Spoon – This was quite amusing tale of an accidental summoning of the
devil. The made doesn’t want to make a pact with him so they come up with an
With Exception of MacRafferty I thoroughly enjoyed this book.
Inside The Music – Dave Stewart (plus a bit on The AB’
Guide To Music Theory by Eric Taylor) – April 2001
As a Clarinet/Sax/Wind Synth player I have never understood why chords are
so important to guitarists and bands. I therefore wanted a book to explain to
me what was going on. I had tried The AB’ Guide To Music Theory but it was very
dry and just explained how to read music etc. I found it interesting but not
quite was I was after. I then got a Yamaha QY70 music sequencer as it would
allow me to practice my Wind Synth away from Electricity. This was an expensive
solution to my problem but quite handy as it solved a few other problems I had
such as practicing against midi files from the comfort of my Bed. Anyway another
useful thing is it allows you to write code backings and develop your own songs.
This therefore inspired me to hunt for a book on how to compose music and I
decided to go for this one as it talks from a keyboard point of view while also
mentioning guitars patterns.
It is a well written book and quite amusing. I do know how to read music but
I am not sure it is that essential for reading the book. I think having an instrument
that plays chords probably is though. Especially as 40 of the 104 or so text
pages deal with them. I must admit I got a bit bored by the third chapter on
them. That was my only problem with the book really.
Everything else seemed so simply explained I almost wondered why I needed a
book to explain it. I guess it is just a confidence thing really.
At then end of the book I certainly felt I could have a crack at writing a
tune and in fact I did write a little 12 bar piece. Nothing special but more
than I had done before.
I am not at all musical so I am not sure I would do any more writing but I
feel equipped to play if I want to know. I think after a while I might find
a more advanced book more useful but this book was a good introduction and I
will keep it on hand for future reference along with the AB guide.
Incidentally I got a lot more from the chord chapters than I even did reading
the AB Book. I think it was just too fast for me. It is more like a revision
summary book than a teaching manual.
John Wyndham – Tales Of Gooseflesh and Laughter – 30 May
This one took me a long time to get hold of and when I did I was disappointed.
It contains many of the stories I had just read in Jizzle. This is an Amercan
book hence the duplication but I don’t seem to have come across all the stories.
The Stories I have already read are Chinnese puzzle, Una, The Wheel, Jizzle,
Heaven Scent, More Spinned Against, A Present From Brunswick, Confidence Trick.
I have just read the notes for Teachers and Parents at the front of the book
and they point out short story collections are harder work than novels since
they are sometimes more difficult to understand. I was also amazed "The
Wheel" was supposed be the basis of the Kracken Wakes/Out Of The Deeps.
But that is because they said Re-Birth and I am not good with the American titles!
… A hunt up the loft later and I think Re-Birth is the Chraysalids and I will
make that my next book to read.
I have also found out where the missing stories in this book are from. They
are mainly in The Seeds Of Time. I am sure I read it in my long forgotten past
but clearly I need to read it again. And since I will soon run out of new Whydham
to read I am sure I will.
Back to the teacher notes and I was intererested to see that the choice of the
first and last story in a collection are very important and therefore normally
the best. There is then some discussion of the choices of The Chinesse Puzzle
and Wild Flower and their similar ideas. All very good I thought until I remembered
that in the UK "Jizzle" is the Opener and "More Spinned Against"
Compassion Circuit – This was the story of a woman not taking to using a Robot
for house work. She became ill and then saw the benefits of them. The robots
had a compassion curcuit built in them and this had interesting end results.
Opposite Number – Another time dimensions story. This one has the author describing
the arrival of himself and an ex-girlfriend from another dimension and the results
it had. Again a gripping but simple story.
Wild Flower – This one does indeed end "The seeds of Time" so it
should according to the teachers notes be a masterpiece. Sadly and surprizingly
for a 10 page story I found this slow going and rather descriptive. It just
seemed to be about someone who was against technology. I didn’t really get the
point. Perhaps I was too tired.
The Chrysalids By John Wyndham – 12 June 2001
I must have read this book in less time than any other in the last few years.
I probably only did 17 pages a day but that has caused me to worry about eye
fatigue (not strain).
The thing is I thoroughly enjoyed this tale and decided to push the limits
of my ME. I normally read to chapters or section breaks but I kept finding it
so gripping that I pushed on more than my natural limits.
This is the 2nd time I have read this book the first was probably as a teenager
and it may well have been the first Wyndham I read although I do have vague
memories of reading Day Of The Triffids in the third year (age 14) at school.
It is certainly a good story for a child to read as it is told through the
eyes of a ten year old. He develops to a late teenager in the story but it is
still an easy read.
I have to confess I read the book and then wondered where the title came from.
I ended up looking in the dictionary to see if it is a word. The closest I got
was Chrysalis, which is a Pupa in a hard shell. At the end of it what looks
like a new species appears so I guess I now understand the title.
The book seems to be set on a post nuclear war Earth. Specifically in Labrador.
By the descriptions it was USA that was wiped out with a bomb or I guess a massive
Life is very simple again and the locals are fanatical about keeping stocks
pure and religion. The writer’s talks with a sailor provide thought provoking
topics. The Sailor points out people don’t really know what is pure and in God’s
image. It is just down to Politics etc. I find the issues raised in this book
very challenging and they probably further reinforce my ideas about individually
and not following societies rules and conventions for their own sake.
The Pupa’s in the story are children that have discovered Telepathy. This creates
some questions in my head that never get fully answered but it doesn’t really
Wyndham curiously throws in that there is no "Z" in the current language
in Labrador. I find this strange as they were supposed to have found a bible
from the days of the old people.
To a certain extent the end book ends up as an adventure with a happy ending.
I must confess it was not as happy as it could be and I was sad about how one
of the early characters turned out. I guess I wanted a love story to happen
there but it didn’t.
Also having grown up on Star Trek having phasers set on stun the end seemed
It is very difficult discussing a book without giving the story away. I also
hope I have given myself enough clues so that in two years I can remember the
basic story. I doubt it somehow but there we go.
It is an excellent read and I highly recommend you give it a go.
Amazing Stories – October 1965 ‘ 24 July 2001
I have been buying up books and periodicals with John Wyndham short stories
I don’t recognise the title of. This is one of them and I have decided I will
read some of them to I know what they are.
In this book were the following stories :-
Killer Ship – Murray Leinster – This is only half a novel so I guess not worth
The Eternal Eve – John Wyndham – This was an interesting read it used settlers
on Venus and had local semi-intelligent natives called Griffas. This set up
was used in "No Place Like Earth" from 1951. Another interesting parallel
was that there were Mars colonies but also the key part of the story was that
the Earth had just blown up. In this story it seems there were only a handful
of people of Venus and only 4 women. Without Earth’s control and only poor radio
signals from Mars the men all start fighting for power and for the remaining
woman. One of the surviving women had loved and lost on Earth and had no interest
in settling down for the sake of society and the story was basically about her.
I guess it was slightly predictable but I enjoyed it all the same.
I was originally going to just read the Wyndham story but I figured I might
as well check out the rest of the book.
The Chrysalis by Ray Bradbury – Having just read Wyndham’s The Chrysalids and
wondered why it was so named I couldn’t resist read a story called The Chrysalis.
Now it has to be said my interest in Science Fiction is mild to say the least.
I enjoy Wyndham and Wells and also the classic series of Star Trek but things
like Assimov’s Foundation just bore me. Stuff that makes me tick is stuff that
I can relate to my world. I am not interested in created fantasy worlds etc.
Now reading this story I was very aware I had a lot of prejudice to get over.
In theory Wyndham could have told this and it is possible for it to take place
now but I still felt this was pushing my interest level a bit though. It was
the story of a man called Smith turning Green and rigid and then into a chrysalis.
A friend and doctor watched him as he changes and then he comes out. I won’t
give more away but I was highly unimpressed by the end of the story. The last
paragraph was such a cop out. I had been reasonably interested to find out the
point of the story but it didn’t have one. Oh well. I know I am being tough
on this and a lot of Wyndham’s short stories don’t work for me.
Let’s see how I take to the rest
The Metal Man By Jack Williamson – This was an interesting story that seemed
to be written in the same sort of era as the original King Kong film. An explorer
is hunting for Radium in the jungle and he fly’s into a volcano. There he gets
caught in a strange cloud and he finds his fingers start turning Green. Eventually
he escapes but he runs out of berry juice, which stops him turning completely
The Time Jumpers By Phil Nowlan – This was a poor man’s H.G.Wells Time Machine.
Once they were in the days before USA’s independence it was just a boring story
of looking for the time machine being chased by natives. The woman falling and
them getting caught then escaping back in their time machine. It passed the
time I guess.
Dusty Answer – Arthur Porges – This was a short little story about some inter-planetary
explorers falling into an alien like a giant Trapdoor spider’s hole. It was
OK and could almost have been written for a jungle story here.
The book was OK overall but not really my scene and as usual when selected
my next book from my unread collection I have changed my early intentions.
The Magic Shop By H.G. Wells – 31 Jul 2001
Well here’s a first. I have just read my first E-Text. I normally read in the
bath so there isn’t much point in me reading something large on the Psion but
I got a Program called Tomeraider since it was a cheap and very good way of
carrying a couple of English Dictionaries with me. (I look up far more words
now I can do it on the Psion!). I then had a look to see what other texts were
about and I discovered two of immediate interest one by Wilkie Collins and this
little short story.
I am not sure why it was written really but basically a man and a boy are outside
a magic shop and the boy wants to go in. They do and everything is really magical.
The boy is given presents and then made to disappear and the father gets angry
and tries to follow the shop assistant to find him and finds himself out on
the street with his son again.
It pasted the time of day I guess. I will now see how I cope with a more substantial
piece in 5-minute bursts. It is certainly very handy I can stop anywhere I like
and I won’t lose my place!
Mr Wray’s Cash Box by Wilkie Collins – 27 Aug 2001
I read this on my Psion and thoroughly enjoyed it. It seems reading in five
minute bursts works quite well for me.
This was a ten chapter novelette by Wilkie Collins author of my favourite book
"The Woman in white". This was I guess a fairly simple story about
an ex-Actor called Mr Wray who moved towns after having the audacity to take
a cast of William Shakespeare’s Bust.
I enjoyed the tale for what it was and found Collins chatty Author style rather
unusual. He would often makes his presence felt by saying things like "Well
dear reader I am sure you are itching for me to introduce the villain of the
I think I will try a full length novel on the Psion now.
Arabian Nights – A Selection – Translated by Richard
F Burton – 2 Sept 2001
The last time I changed books I was feeling adventurous I therefore picked
Arabian Nights out of my heaps of unread books.
I don’t tend to like books that are translated because there are normally still
lots of difficult to read names. This book wasn’t too bad from this aspect.
It is obviously a very old book and the stories are very one dimensional and
politically incorrect. The stories apparently first appeared in the West in
1704 but I am not sure when they were based.
The book contains Ali Barber and the Forty Thieves and Aladdin And The Magic
Lamp. These were all told within the story of Scherherazade and King Shahryar.
I guess I originally bought it because it was cheap and because I was curious
about the above stories.
To be honest I don’t think the stories have much merit and the best one was
The Tale Of Nur Al-Din Ali And His Son.
Aladdin was a lazy good for nothing made good by a merchant that needed someone
to go into a hidden cave to fetch a lamp for him. The Lamp had an all powerful
Jinnee. Aladdin innocently couldn’t give the Merchant the Lamp so the merchant
sulked and locked him in the cave. Aladdin eventually escaped and continued
being a spoilt brat until the Merchant discovered Aladdin was alive and wealthy
and tricked Aladdin’s wife into giving him the lamp. Aladdin of course got it
back and killed the merchant.
It seems in these stories a good person is someone that is handsome as the
moon. They don’t seem to need to be good of character. Woman it seems are devious
unfaithful enchanters that need a good beating from time to time.
In fact in Shahryar’s case. He was a really good person until his wife cheated
on him. He was then force to have sex with another man wife’s wife or she would
wake her husband and tell him and he would kill Shahryar. This severely effected
Shahryar and he vowed no woman would ever cheat on him again so from that day
on he had a fresh virgin delivered everyday and the next morning she was executed.
After three years of this he came up against’ Scherherazade and she cleverly
kept alive by telling him stories until dawn and then keeping him in suspense
until the next night. Arabian Nights stories are in fact are the stories she
entertained Shahryar with.
The book was a reasonable read but mainly from the angle that these stories
were considered good in the not too distant past. In fact I am surprised that
the wedding night text in The Tale Of Nur Al-Din Ali And His Son got past the
censors. It was Pornography really. Perhaps it was suppressed until recently.
It is certainly not surprised the translator was the person that brought the
Kama Sutra to western eyes.
The Hobbit – Graphic Novel – David Wenzel & Charles
Dixon – 6 Nov 2001
I first read the Hobbit as a kid. I really enjoyed it and thought it might
be good fun to get this version of the book so my daughters might get interested.
As it happens my ten year old is currently reading the original book at school
and wants to take this one in to show them. She isn’t actually that impressed
by the story but I thoroughly enjoyed reading it again in this format. The pictures
are well drawn and Gollum looked like I thought he should.
I got thoroughly into the story again so much so it infected my thoughts during
other conversations during the day. This is unusual for me. I had completely
forgotten the ending with the battles over the gold and I was slightly disappointed
it ended up with a war but I guess it was still moral enough for my liking.
I highly recommend it.
PS. My daughter ended up reading the Graphic novel off her on back she enjoyed
it so much.
Chocky – John Wyndham – 3 December 2001
This was the first novel I had read in ages. That and being a John Wyndham
book meant I read it rather quickly.
As I read it was a gripping as usual but I was wondering as I got close to
the end how the story would conclude and weather it would be up to Wyndham’s
normal standard. I think the ending was OK but I suspect the impact of the book
has been lost in modern times. It is clear what is going on in the story almost
from the start. The book was published as a novel in 1968. It might have been
a short story in 1963 but it is hard for me as someone born between these dates
to look back and know if Alien Telepathy is a surprising concept then or not.
The end of they story seemed satisfactory to me and I am now interested to
see what happened in the TV Series Chocky. So now I am going to read Chocky’s
challenge. It seems an ideal story for a follow up. I wonder how a new author
Overall I enjoyed this book despite it’s simplicity. I also found some of the
family life relationships a) interesting because they are now quaint but also
b) relevant to some of my circumstances.
Desperate Remedies – Thomas Hardy – 13 Feb 2002
I read the first edition text of this book and it had notes and an introduction
by Mary Rimmer.
The actual book and story I loved. From the very beginning I was in suspense
as to what was going to happen and then why it had happened. For a book from
1871 I was a bit surprised at the scene where Miss Aldclyffe got into bed with
Cytherea. Surely the book wasn’t about a lesbian relationship? As I read on
I discovered it wasn’t but it was an intriguing side track.
I never know weather to read the editors notes as I go through the book in
these stories, so sometimes I did and sometimes I didn’t. I wish I hadn’t as
some emphasised a characters villainous nature before I spotted it myself. The
notes in my view made him out to be more of a villain than I would actually
consider him myself. He seemed a reasonably average person that made a few mistakes
and then dug himself in deeper.
I got the book because it was supposed to have been influenced by Wilkie Collins
and I love what I have read of him. The editor really seemed to have a downer
on Hardy writing a sensational novel and the story in general. It seems a strange
way to attract people to reading a book to me but there we go. I got un-graded
in English Literature despite a lot of hard work, so I will clearly make no
critic. I can just enjoy a book because it is interesting and fun. I don’t have
to care of if the characters in the story were doing the narrators job with
their speech or if there was a bad use of quoted text. If you like a good "sensational"
novel from this period read it. If you are a Hardy fan I suspect you will be
disappointed if not you will probably have as good a read as I did.
The Strange Case Of Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde by Robert Louie
Stevenson – 26 Feb 2002
I read this as an E-book and should have finished it month’s back but I seemed
to lose interest in it.
The book suffers from too many TV and film adaptations and I have also heard
the original as a talking story so I guess there was little new to discover
in reading the original text. It is a good story hence the number of new versions
and I enjoyed reading the description of events in the main part of the book
but once we got to Jekyll’s own statement in the last chapter it was just explaining
the events we already knew about and given that I could remember the explanations
given, that is probably why I lost interest in finishing the story.
I do wonder also if I find the story a little too non-scientific now. I suppose
the story could take place now but it seems highly unlikely to me. But then
again perhaps it could be translated to the drugs required to keep a child suffering
from Attention Deficit Disorder from misbehaving.
I have changed my habits in the last few months and use my Psion less when
resting due to fatigue. It will be interesting to see if I get into another
E-book. I might try a Wilkie Collins I think.
Genome: The Autobiography Of A Species In 23 Chapters
By Matt Ridley – 20 May 2002
I got this book as part of a 3 book set by the Bookpeople. I was actually after
a book on the history of code breaking upon which a TV series was base. However
last time I changed books this one grabbed my attention most. A great choice
it was to.
This really was a great read. To start with I had slight worries as to how
Matt Ridley seemed to be so knowledgeable on so many different topics. I originally
figured he must be a Geneticist but it seems he is more of a Science and economist
Journalist/Researcher. Whatever Ridley’s qualifications for writing on the subject
I gave up worrying and started trusting his research skills by about chromosome
The book is structured so that each chapter is based on each of the Chromosomes.
Some of the links are a bit tenuous but the topics covered work well in the
order presented. Each chapter contains lots of thought provoking topics.
The book was first Published in 1999 and since genetic knowledge has grown
so much in the last few years I assume there have been more developments on
some of the topics covered. I don’t think it should put anyone off reading the
Obviously the subject matter is a bit technical in places and as I was travelling
on a long journey in a car I thought I would take the opportunity to read the
last chapter to my Girlfriend. I hadn’t realised how I didn’t bother reading
words properly when reading in my head. Actually speaking the words was really
tripping my tongue up and I found I wasn’t able to say or read quite a few words.
Having said this Ridley goes to great lengths to explain everything with good
definitions and examples. The book is definitely aimed at people like myself
and if I can read it and follow it despite having ME I am sure anyone can. And
I highly recommend that they do.
1-2-3 Magic – Effective Discipline For Children 2-12
– Thomas W. Phelan, Ph.D. – 27 Aug 2002
I read this book as my girlfriend had recommended it and we had just managed
to get it back from a friend who had borrowed it for about a year.
It only took me a fortnight to get through which is very good for me and was
made easy by the book being highly readable and having lots of short digestible
I have read various self-help books in my time and they always seem to just
be common sense. The thing is you don’t always have time to discover or work
everything out for yourself.
I particularly liked the approach of this book because the author read other
child rearing books and worked out his version of the best method and then got
the parents to try things out and report back to him. Thus the book is written
from the experience of many parents and if applied as stated in the book will
The technique is not magic and it is incredibly simple. If a child does something
wrong. You don’t talk you don’t get angry you just say "That’s 1".
If they persist you continue, "That’s 2" and if they still persist
"That’s 3 take x minutes". The child then has to go play quietly in
it’s bed room for the number of minutes times it’s age. If the child does something
serious like hitting they just get a straight "That’s 3". It is all
common sense stuff and easy to implement.
The book covers the conversation to introduce the new method. And it gives
lots of great conversation examples were the parents gets it right and wrong
in everyday situations such as meals and going to bed etc.
Counting is mainly used for "Stop" activities. IE you need the child
to stop doing something. The book also discusses how to get them motivated for
"Start" activities such as cleaning their room and doing homework.
These are the areas I struggle with more but there are plenty of tips we will
be trying out over time.
Using this method gives you quite a lot of power, which you could abuse so
the book also covers Self-esteem issues. In fact the book suggests you should
praise the child twice as much as you tell them off.
We have four children, two of my own and two of my girlfriends, between 6 and
11 and one of them has Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder. It is for him
that the method has been particularly effective. It is really hard to get the
correct amount of praise in though.
I tend to have a stricter approach than my girlfriend and I think it is more
in line with the book. So far there has been a vast improvement and everyone
knows or is getting to know that I mean what I say. Again it is hard to get
them to appreciate this goes for the good things too. I tried to give Liam a
Piggyback ride into the Sea but even a "’50 if I get you wet" offer
didn’t tempt him to agree.
I have read some reviews of this book on Amazon and it is clear to me some
people have not read this book with an open mind. They seem to have gone in
with a "This is the way I bring my children up" attitude. They are
the people that don’t value the book and method. If you are willing to learn
and try the method as stated then this book will be a’ godsend to you. You will
use it for a while and it will work and then you will come back to it when you
start slipping back into your old methods and you will start browsing it for
tips and support again.
I liked this book so much I am about to order Phelan’s books on Attention Deficit
Disorder and find out what is in store with my eldest now that she is approaching
the end of the 1-2-3 Magic age range.
All About Attention Deficit Disorder – Thomas W. Phelan,
Ph.D. – 23 Sep 2002
This is an excellent source of information on Attention Deficit Disorder(ADD)
or Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder(ADHD). However if you have a child
between 2-12 and discipline troubles you would be best to read 1-2-3 Magic –
Effective Discipline For Children 2-12 by Thomas W. Phelan since this contains
all the information you need to get your life in some sort of order again. Once
you are able to relax for the first time in ages this is the time to read this
book. I am not sure it is a book you will want to read from cover to cover,
I did, but I found myself getting impatient wanting to get to the bits of particular
interest to my family. Perhaps the best thing to do is to pick and choose but
then later read the whole book for completeness.
"The What Is ADD" section was excellent if we had any doubts that
Liam had ADHD, which luckily we didn’t as he has been correctly diagnosed, we
would would have had now doubts after reading this section. It described the
situations we get into with Liam perfectly. At this point in the book I was
getting frustrated that although it was listing all the problems it was not
dealing with how to resolve them in the slightest. This is why I recommend 123
Magic first. Once your child is diagnosed and on medication there is not a get
deal more help you can get other than guidance on disciple. This book has a
10 page summary on 123 Magic and another chapter on the older child book Surviving
your Adolescents but they recommend you read the corresponding book for completness.
Once I accepted there was no extra guidance to be had I buckled down and accepted
all the other information I was being offered.
It is hard to explain what I have picked up actually as the having been written
from a browsing point of view, and not a cover to cover read one, it often repeats
itself. Reading cover to cover though you soon feel an expert. You really know
you know the facts by the time you are at the Adults with ADD section.
The chapter I found most useful on the new information front was Classroom
management. Having four children to deal with it feels like a mini-class sometimes
and you need to be careful you don’t favour or ignore the non-ADD children.
In many ways the book seems bleak as you come away knowing full well that there
are currently no overall solutions to ADD. Once you have it you have it. The
best you can do is learn how to cope with it and how to maximise your possibilities
given it. I think reading this book you will be in the best position to be able
to make the best decisions for your ADD child or give the best advice to ADD
friend, or lover. Hopefully the books style will also work for you if you are
ADD yourself and have limited concentration.
The Moonstone – Wilkie Collins – 27 Jan 2003
I finally got to the end of this wonderful book. I read it in two halves due
to other reading commitments and perhaps lost some enjoyment because of it.
I soon got back into the swing of it though and I couldn’t wait to get to the
It seems a lot of people rate this as Wilkie’s best but I found it a little
more straightforward than The Woman In White so I don’t think it was quiet a
It was certainly a good story and I believe it is considered one of the first
Detective Stories. I probably lost some of the pleasure of the book because
I heard it as a talking book in 1994 and also saw a BBC film version. This didn’t
spoil my enjoyment of Woman In White so maybe I am wrong and it is the different
Genre that interests me a fraction less.
I love Wilkie’s use of different storytellers to tell the story and I liked
the way they each had their own quirks. Mr Betteredge’s obsession with Robinson
Crusoe particularly tickled me. Miss Clack and her attempts to redeem lost souls
was also quite amusing but I was glad when she finished her narration as she
was a bit tedious.
I highly recommend this book to everyone.
Black Sabbath Never Say Die! 1979-1997 – Garry Sharpe-Young
– 4 Jan 2004
In February 2003 I moved into a new house with my later to be wife and her
two children and my time for reading completely disappeared. I had no time and
no energy. In mid November 2003 I got this book as I am still buying books I
hope to read sometime and don’t want to risk not being able to get them. Black
Sabbath have always been my favourite band. Or at least their 70’s period with
Ozzy Osbourne. This book doesn’t cover that period but instead covers the merry-go-round
of people passing through the band right up to the time of Ozzy’s return in
1997. There were some good albums during this period and a lot I am less interested
in but I have always found previous Sabbath books really frustrating because
they just dismiss this period. I wanted to know what was going on and why such
strange things seemed to be going on. This book in all it’s 400 page glory does
a wonderful job of explaining that. I actually know the work Garry puts into
his books because I helped him out with an interview of Praying Mantis’s Dave
Potts because he played drums with Ozzy for just one week in the formative days
of Ozzy’s first solo band. I actually started reading that Ozzy book but my
interest in Ozzy is far less than that of Black Sabbath and that was the book
I abandoned on moving to my new house.
I found it a little curious given Garry’s detail that there was no mention
of the Cross Purposes Live album when he mentions other potential live albums
that could have appeared but didn’t. And I also wanted to jump on him for not
mentioning that the first 1997 Black Sabbath reunion gig had Bill Ward on drums
and not Mike Bodine who replaced Bill on the Ozzfeast tour of the USA. I think
I understand what happened there though. The book is not covering that period
which again is a shame but expected given the title. All he was doing in fact
was covering what the various people passing through Sabbath had been up to
since 1997. I think these were the only two points I was a shade disappointed
on. The rest of the book was very comprehensive. No I lie there, there was on
another thing that disappointed me and that was the lack of detail on Bev Bevan
(drummer from ELO’s involvement). Garry normally mentions when he was refused
help but there were no quotes from Bev and Garry’s summary of Bev’s next move
was wrong. Garry could have also mentioned the band Beltch (spelling?) which
I believe Tony Iommi sometimes played in with Bev and Jasper Carrot. I would
have liked to know weather that was true and some details but it would have
been off topic to a degree.
There was so much in this book I didn’t know and even stuff that I hadn’t heard
rumoured on the Internet. It was really great to get answers to a lot of the
points I wanted to know. I said in my review of Oral history I didn’t think
a book would cover what I want to know but this book does a very good job. I
guess the only way we will get to know more is Tony Iommi ever writes a biography.
Given they way he comes across in this book I don’t think that will ever happen.
It seems Tony is a great guitarist and fun person to play with but he is a lousy
band leader and communicator.
This book is an absolute must for anyone that is interested in the non-Ozzy
Osbourne years of Black Sabbath. Well done Garry!
Ozzy Osbourne – The Story Of The Ozzy Osbourne Band- Garry
Sharpe-Young – 28 Feb 2004
Having got back into reading I decided I might as well finish this book. I
think I had read about 60 pages by Feb 2003 I then moved into a house with children
again and lost all enthusiasum and energy to read. This book was written prior
to the Black Sabbath one and consequently I feel rather let down by it. Firstly
I have read a couple of good books on Ozzy. Diary of a Madman by Mick Wall.
I seem to recall this was very good. That covered Ozzy’s public press profile.
This book doesn’t really cover Ozzy at all. It is as the title says the story
of the band. If I had read this before the Sabbath book I would have thought
it very good. Reading it this way round though I felt it was all a bit breif
and rushed. I also felt disappointed some parts weren’t covered as well as I
would have liked. I wonder if Gary tried to get in touch with Rick Wakeman.
I would have thought Rick would have been open to an interview if he had. It
would be a shame if he hadn’t tried. As mentioned in the Black Sabbath review
I was actually able to give a hand in this book as Dave Potts the former Praying
Mantis drummer tried out with Ozzy for a week
What is in the book is very good and very interesting. You do get a good picture
of how Ozzy operates and it does seem interesting there is more to Ozzy music
wise and personality wise that even comes across in MTV’s "The Osbournes".
I do recommend this book but I would like to have seen a little more detail.
Eats, Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss – Oct 2004
I was bought this book by my wife. To be honest I was a little baffled as to
why. I wasn’t sure if she was trying to educated me or if she was saying I was a
perfectionist and therefore this book was designed for me. Anyone trying to read
my website will know I am appalling at Grammar. But I am a perfectionist in many
respects. This book was therefore an interesting read. It drives me nuts that
people are always pointing out my spelling mistakes etc. I feel as long as they
understood what I was trying to say surely I have communicated correctly. This
book explained the other side quite well to me. I found it made me want to start
another quest for a Punctuation exercise book to help sharpen my skills. (I
failed again incidentally. All books are for children or cover too many subject
certainly want to be like Lynne. I just can’t spell and I don’t remember the
rules of grammar from one month to the next.
I enjoyed a lot of the humour in the book and the discussions of how the current
standards have evolved and even how the experts that are picky don’t even agree
what is correct. I am not sure I could recommend the book but it certainly
sparked my interest and was readable in a period when I was struggling to read.
It won favour
because of its short sections and light nature.
The Island Of Dr Moreau – H.G.Wells – 17 April 2005
I have really struggled to find the time and energy to read in the last year or
so. I have actually started a very good book called "Raising Resilient child"
but I am not always in the mood to read it and when I am it has to be small
bursts because of my fatigue levels.
I switched to reading this book because I saw the film of it. I think the film I
saw was from 1996 or so and I thought the story so bad I just could not believe
H.G.Wells had written it.
The film was based on the book but like the recent Time Machine film it had been
messed up by trying to make it for a modern audience. The original story worked
far better for me and was a much better read.
War Of The Worlds – H.G. Wells – 21 May 2005
Since this was the next book in my volume of four H.G.Wells stories I decided to
continue on with it. I know the story quite well because of the Jeff Wayne War
Of The World’s album. I have also seen a dreadful film on based on the book. As
I read the story it was great to read so many lines that had been lifted
directly by Jeff Wayne and put on his album. He had been very faithful to the
story. It was also interesting to see what he had missed out. I don’t remember
any mention of the Black Smoke clouds killing people. I had also always puzzled
how just one ship the Thunderchild could be the last hope for Mankind before the
Earth was in control of the Martians. The answer was in the book. It wasn’t.
Wayne had just simplified things a bit. I tried to figure how this would be
tackled on film now and decided if it was brought up to date it would not work.
The beauty of reading this is that it is a good look at how things used to work.
There was no mass communication except for newspapers and this story shows their
This was an excellent read. I really got hooked up into it. Especially when the
Martians where moving into my area. I don’t think I had picked up where the
Thunderchild section had taken place before.
Catlore – Desmond Morris – Nov
Unless I have missed a book I seem to have spent about a year catching up on
all the Rock magazines I can’t keep up with. The book that broke me back into
read a book again was this one by Desmond Morris. I am and have always been a
cat lover. Back in the mid 80’s I read Morris’s Catwatching book and loved it.
(Mmm I see I have not reviewed it and yet I have two copies of this book as I
bought a new version of it and then my mother-in-law had a copy of the original
print that I read in the 80’s come into her charity shop. I felt sure I had read
it again lately. I guess I will never know)
I was therefore stunned when one day my wife gave me this book. It apparently
first appeared in 1987 and I had never seen it. I was chuffed to bits. The book
is in the same questions and answers format of the original Catwatching book and
is just as fascinating to read. The small chunks also meant I could pick up the
put down the book quite often and consequently means I read the book fairly
quickly again. Whether cat information has moved on or not I have no idea but
this was very enlightening.
Consider Her Ways And Others – John Wyndham – Dec 2006
I saw a TV program called Random Quest on TV and was surprised I
could not remember the story. I therefore started reading the John
Wyndham story which was much better than the adaptation and then moved
onto some of the other short stories in the book again. I then thought
to check here and saw I had reviewed the book in 2001
and totally agreed
with myself (most unusual)
Derren Brown – Tricks of The Mind – Jan 2007
I saw this book on the Bookpeople
website when I was placing an order for the complete James Herriot set.
Derren Browns stage show/TV series has impressed me immensly so I was quite
intrigued by this book and got down to reading it as soon as it arrived. I
really liked Derren’s writting style. It is quite funny and also a bit chatty. I
don’t think it revealled an awful lot but it does give you starters in the
various topics it covers and if you are seriously interested Derren makes
recommendations on what to read next. At present it has got me intrigued and
wanting to read more. Weather time and energy will ever allow it is another
matter. I highly recommend reading it.
How Black was our Sabbath – Graham Wright and David Tangye –
7 Feb 2007
This was a book on Black Sabbath by two of their roadies. The book was an
enjoyable read. In a couple of places the editor seems to have missed some
slight repeating but that is only a minor quibble. I know the Sabbath story
quite well and I guess I was looking for slightly more insight. The authors were
there and had good times with the band but they were not always on the inner
circle as it seems the band kept the internal conflict mainly down to the four
band members. If you are into the band this is a good read but if you are
looking for more facts I suspect there are better books.
Hypnotic Realities, Hypnotic Therapies, Experiencing Hypnosis – Ernest Rossi & Milton Erickson – 30 May 2007
This is a series of three books I have read because I am soon
starting training as a hypnotherapist. This is an odd move for me to make
but after reading Derren Browns book I wanted to investigate some topics further and
I came across some audio tapes of a training course in Inderect Hypnosis
by Stephen Brooks. Indirect Hypnosis is hypnosis where there are no
commands and all the guidance is done subtly and very cleverly. This
course totally fascinated me and I wanted to learn
even more when I finished the tapes. I am still ill with ME and I don’t know
that I can handle the course and even if I can I don’t know that I can
do anything with it once I complete it but I decided to give it a go and
I have signed up to do a course with Stephen Brooks who has just this
year come out of retirement.
From reading these books it is possible that I might even free my conscious sets and manage to overcome the ME in some way. These books
were suggested reading for the course and I have loved reading them.
Typically I read them in the wrong order. So I read Hypnotic Therapies
the 2nd book first. This was great and I think probably be best book of
the three given the knowledge I had from Stephen Brooks tapes. This not
only gave me the language of induction but suggested ways of working
with people so I could enjoy it from several angles. The
Experiencing Hypnosis book was short and I don’t recall too much about
it. It was mainly a mopping up of information missed in the other two
books. The first book Hypnotic Realities was interesting but I devalue
it some what because Rossi was still early in his discoveries and
theories of how Erickson worked. It contains lots of good stuff but it
is certainly a work in progress. Erickson was a pioneer who developed
his own ways with fantastic results. Other people tried to copy him and struggled to replicate
results because they could not see what he was actually doing.
It took Rossi and Erickson working together to crack the problem and
Rossi did a fantastic job of breaking things down and spotting the methods.
These books are a fantastic historical read about the birth of indirect hypnosis.
I am now moving on to the Complete Works of Erickson I just can’t get enough
of these stuff. I am desperate for my course to start in September and I hope it
helps me to improve myself and do things like speeding up my incredibly slow
reading rate. I have tried self Hypnosis tapes on this but they are in direct
language and they just don’t interest me or seem to have any effect. I am
probably just too engrossed in what is going on to relax and let it wash over
me. I can’t wait to see if someone can successfully get me into a deep trance.
Cesar’s Way – Cesar Millan – 17/7/2008
It seems my hypnotic studies have quite rightly stopped
all my non-essential reading. I have managed to fit in this book however. I am a
cat person but we now have a dog. She is a nice dog and while she is only
7months still she is doing well with her training (I think). Since she is not a
cat and she is nothing like a cat in her behaviour, I figured I better read up
on the correct ways to train and deal with her. I started watching the Dog
Whisperer on TV and I liked the approach. I was also interested at how Cesar was
dealing with the humans. The book says he had help in this area and from my
hypnosis training I can see this very well. Anyway I decided to read the book
and it appears to have been written after Cesar’s first series of "The Dog
Whisperer" and during the filming of the 2nd series. As you read it you are
taught over and over the correct way to be. There are certain phrases Cesar uses
such as "Rules Limitations and Boundaries" and "Nose ears and eyes … in that
order" that get emphasised over and over again. In some respect you get a bit
tired of reading it but in others there is a definite progression of knowledge.
You can probably get most of what you need from the TV series but the book adds
to this by explaining the reasoning. Cesar constantly relates back to pack
activity in the wild and this is really important. I feel there could have been
more in the book but I am not sure what so I perhaps I am wrong. I certainly
would like my wife to read the book now. It does a good job of explaining what
can seem like hard issues to sort out and makes everything really easy.