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Paranormality
Paranormality
von Richard Wiseman
  Taschenbuch
Preis: EUR 9,90

1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen A light and insightful read on the science behind the supernatural!, 3. Februar 2013
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Paranormality (Taschenbuch)
We experience the impossible, or so we believe. Oddly enough things don't seem all that impossible anymore when someone explains the mechanics behind them which is exactly what Professor Richard Wiseman does in his book Paranormality.
Broaching a variety of topics commonly attributed as being paranormal, be it fortune telling or out-of-body experiences, talking to the dead or prophecy, this turned out to be a thoroughly enjoyable and engaging read that allows a close-up look into how and why we tend to be drawn to the supernatural. From the psychology of suggestion straight to finding patterns in coincidence this book is filled with scientific and psychological facts and spiced with a healthy dose of humor too. And the lessons in learning some "tricks of the trade" are definitely a nice touch.
Some of the presented phenomenon are a little easier to debunk than others, say, how fortune tellers carefully observe people - also referred to as "cold reading" - before throwing out some vague and/or double-headed statements that all predict the likely. Overall though I found myself intrigued by the explanations for some phenomenon, eg why we sometimes believe to have prophetic dreams.
Seeking answers to the inexplicable? Needing some fodder to annoy your paranormally inclined friends? Then I can wholeheartedly recommend this book to you. Trust me, after reading this you'll never look at the Quija board the same way again.
In short: A light yet insightful read on the science behind the supernatural!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Pan MacMillan. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.


Can We Travel Through Time?
Can We Travel Through Time?
von Michael Brooks
  Taschenbuch
Preis: EUR 10,63

4.0 von 5 Sternen A wonderfully comprehensible lesson in physics!, 3. Februar 2013
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Can We Travel Through Time? (Taschenbuch)
It's not always easy to bridge the gap between being fascinated by a topic and actually understanding the matter. With Can We Travel Through Time? Michael Brooks does not only tackle some of physics biggest questions, he also manages to present the interested reader with explanations and answers in a succinct, fun and very accessible way.
Addressing various topics - from Schrödinger's cat to string theory, from gravity to the nature of reality - in essays which all get to the main point without ever being long-winded, this book is both conversationally written and educational too. Upon getting started on the book, and admittedly I am one of those who are unduly fascinated by physics despite the inability to grasp most of the details and technicalities associated with it, I was wondering whether the author would be able to convey the essentials without simplifying, but still in a way which makes the questions posed easy to understand to the average person. Brooks did so with flying colors.
What I particularly liked about the questions raised is how they also dip into topics such as time travel and parallel worlds. So if you like science fiction as much as I do, yet have not yet had the desire to read about the physics behind ideas fiction authors conceive, I promise this book will not disappoint even diehard non fiction opponents. Slowly easing into physics? This is the way to go.
In short: A wonderfully comprehensible lesson in physics!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Quercus. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.


Smuggler Nation: How Illicit Trade Made America
Smuggler Nation: How Illicit Trade Made America
von Peter Andreas
  Gebundene Ausgabe
Preis: EUR 21,51

4.0 von 5 Sternen Fascinating account of how smuggling made a nation!, 2. Februar 2013
I've always been a friend of reading about history from a different angle. In Smuggler Nation Peter Andreas presents US history as a "smuggling story" which is a vantage point that sounded highly promising to me.
Presenting the impact and significance smuggling had in terms of the building of the US as a nation - from the early colonial era, up until the modern day - this is a both extensive and comprehensive work on the topic. It's the fascinating questions of how and why smuggling became such an essential, sometimes even necessary, ingredient for the nation, that hooked me right away.
While this book offers a broad view of the complex relationship America had, and still has, with smuggling, the author also skillfully highlights the progression of illicit trade throughout the years culminating in the battle to subvert it today. It's funny how we look back with a nostalgic glance on those colorful smuggling tales of times long gone and only ever grasp the ramifications of what illicit trade means to a country and its people when being faced with it in the present. And it's the present which is awarded just as much attention as the past, reaching beyond drug and border wars straight into the realm of illicit globalization.
Highly recommended for all history enthusiasts who're not scared of a fair share of economy between the pages too.
In short: Fascinating account on how smuggling made a nation!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the NetGalley book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.


Curious Invitation
Curious Invitation
von Suzette Field
  Gebundene Ausgabe
Preis: EUR 19,51

4.0 von 5 Sternen A delightfully bookish party planner!, 27. Januar 2013
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Curious Invitation (Gebundene Ausgabe)
Being instantly drawn to this book, which features such a quirky title in combination with one of the most gorgeous covers I've seen in a long time, this proved indeed to be quite a unique read. Suzette Field certainly picked an unusual topic in her book A Curious Invitation, presenting an eclectic collection of bookish parties - from Queen Alice's Feast to The Ball at Mansfield Park, straight to The Thomas Ewen High School Prom and Finnegan's Wake!
The focus on parties as literary device, and possible inspiration for your own fictional party, sounded fascinating and certainly did not disappoint. Not simply a reiteration of what other authors have written, everything from the location of each party to the dress code, food, and entertainment is being highlighted with refreshingly British humor.
Of course some might wonder what use such a book may have, apart from being wonderfully entertaining, and all I can say is, it's not just a marvelous introduction to the broad variety of novels included, even more so it opens a whole new viewpoint from which to dip into these, often classic, stories. Plus, if you should feel so inclined, it will certainly make for interesting party planning too. Of course, being one of London's top party organizers, Ms Field knows her way around parties that are, shall we say, a little different, so why not let her literar(ll)y inspire you to host your own?
In short: A delightfully bookish party planner!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Pan MacMillan. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.


100 Places You Will Never Visit
100 Places You Will Never Visit
von Dan Smith
  Taschenbuch
Preis: EUR 18,04

1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen A worthwhile trip to secret and not-so-secret places!, 27. Januar 2013
Rezension bezieht sich auf: 100 Places You Will Never Visit (Taschenbuch)
How about a walk through restricted areas or risking a glance towards places whose existence is unacknowledged? If there is one thing that 100 Places You Will Never Visit is not, then it's being your average travel guide. Indeed it's a bit of a shame that Daniel Smith teases those fond of traveling with plenty of locations which spark the imagination yet are off-limits to people like you and me.
Succinct, spruced up with plenty of maps and photos, the selection made is not always surprising, yet fascinating nonetheless. The book features everything from military bases, to money vaults, from sacred sites to places of scientific interest. Some of them are more obvious than others, just take Area 51, while others were delightfully unexpected, such as The Skywalker Ranch. Some of them you probably don't feel like visiting anyway, say Snake Island, while other's aren't all that off-limits after all, think taking a guided tour through the Pentagon.
One thing that became obvious pretty fast was the heavy emphasis on the USA, which compose a full third of all featured locations, and I couldn't help but wonder if this selection is being purposefully aimed at an American audience as it's hard to believe that the rest of the world has only a handful of "secret places" to show off. Other than that this book proved to be quite a pleasurable excursion from the safety of my home.
In short: A worthwhile trip to secret and not-so-secret places!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Quercus. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.


The Wisdom of Psychopaths
The Wisdom of Psychopaths
von Kevin Dutton
  Taschenbuch
Preis: EUR 15,20

7 von 7 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen An intriguing and captivating work!, 20. Januar 2013
Rezension bezieht sich auf: The Wisdom of Psychopaths (Taschenbuch)
It was the title, and the somewhat scary cover, which first caught my attention. What promised to be a leap into the world of Hannibal Lecter is actually much more than that. In The Wisdom of Psychopaths psychologist Kevin Dutton introduces the reader to what exactly psychopaths are made of and, surprisingly, they have got quite a few good things going for them as this insightful and wonderfully entertaining tract proves.
Connecting psychopaths to violent behavior, to associate them with vicious crimes, is easy, and some will doubtlessly live up to this expectation. Still, your doctor may be one too, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. The point is that there is a fine line that separates a great surgeon from a serial killer.
This book isn't so much about what psychopathic character traits we could adopt to implement them in our own lives, after all how do you learn to be charismatic or fearless, but it beautifully depicts why psychopaths are the way they are on both a neurological and psychological level. Ultimately it's about understanding them and Dutton does an amazing job illustrating their inner workings.
I don't think I have ever read a book that so skilfully blends a serious topic with an adventurous streak, especially when he undergoes a "psychopath make-over". Fast-paced, fun and smart, this is for everyone who wants to know more about what makes psychopaths tick!
In short: An intriguing and captivating work about the psychopath's mind!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Random House. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.


Moranthology
Moranthology
von Caitlin Moran
  Gebundene Ausgabe
Preis: EUR 22,27

2 von 2 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen A mildly entertaining anthology!, 20. Januar 2013
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Moranthology (Gebundene Ausgabe)
After her tremendously successful book How To Be a Woman, Caitlin Moran is back with a collection of columns she's written for The Times Magazine in her appropriately named anthology Moranthology.
Wading through a mishmash of different topics, mostly in the realms of popular culture, she also broaches more serious topics, such as living on benefits, or, my personal favorites, allows up-close-and-personal insights into her life, including how she got her trademark grey hair strand. Topics may vary, some columns being more poignant than others, ranging from grave to funny, and always with a tendency of bordering on the vulgar, Moran's witty and eloquent writing style is definitely the red thread in this book.
Little did I know this is a collection of older work and the only new additions are the short introductions to each column. Of course this presented the perfect opportunity to simply get to know her work better. Unfortunately though this book shares the fate of many anthologies - the likelihood that you will end up loving a handful of articles while the rest is just average padding between the covers, a padding that, in my case, consisted of an abundance of pieces about British TV series.
Seeing how my expectations were high after her previous book, this collection was admittedly a bit of a let-down for me. However, this is simply a matter of personal preferences and should not discourage anyone giving this book a try.
In short: A mildly entertaining anthology in typical Moran-style!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Random House. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.


Mankind Beyond Earth: The History, Science, and Future of Human Space Exploration
Mankind Beyond Earth: The History, Science, and Future of Human Space Exploration
von Claude A. Piantadosi
  Gebundene Ausgabe
Preis: EUR 27,69

4.0 von 5 Sternen Captivating tract on space exploration!, 29. Dezember 2012
With Mankind Beyond Earth Claude A. Piantadosi presents a different focus among the multitude of books on space exploration. Emphasizing the importance of first returning to the Moon before even thinking about taking the big leap towards Mars, some may think the book offers a much too prudent approach, but does it really?
Not just reiterating historic events, but drawing a vivid picture of how space travel draws from eg polar science, which is one of the grandparents of space exploration, the author comes to the conclusion that despite what it may look like, a coherent plan for human space travel has not been developed yet.
Obviously traveling into outer space does not allow much leeway when it comes to errors and bringing feasibility of future space exploration on par with the limits of human biology is a crucial point. Thus we must continue to learn and what better way than settling up on Earth's natural satellite which would offer the chance for habitat development before attempting interplanetary missions? With robotic missions well under way, we are certainly taking the first step, but it's a fragile balance not just of scientific research, but politics as well as economic considerations.
Highly engrossing and accessible even for those who aren't science nuts, I thoroughly enjoyed this book which does not simply draw castles in the sky, but conveys a wonderful combination of sound science with a sense for adventure!
In short: Captivating tract on the importance of space exploration!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the NetGalley book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.


The Tinkerers: The Amateurs, Diyers, and Inventors Who Make America Great
The Tinkerers: The Amateurs, Diyers, and Inventors Who Make America Great
von Alec Foege
  Gebundene Ausgabe
Preis: EUR 19,60

3.0 von 5 Sternen Reviving the American tinkering spirit!, 29. Dezember 2012
When I first heard about The Tinkerers by Alec Foege I had to think back to my own childhood days when my grandpa would tinker around on all kinds of gadgets and our TV set got repaired by a tinkering friend at least a dozen times.
In this spirit the author sets out from the tale of his own tinkering experience of repairing his smartphone, before delving deeper into history and technology, exploring tinkering from the birth of the nation straight to the hope of recovering the tinkering spirit through respective changes in the educational system.
Written in a sweeping and entertaining way, Foege certainly understands to pull you right in with his opening chapter. Then, however, I found myself faced with the sudden realization that the author and I have a completely different understanding about what tinkering means. A promising introduction is followed by, more or less, inventing things, and while this is certainly interesting it's neither what I had expected nor what I had been looking to read about.
Despite the misleading title the book is certainly rich in content and opens a fascinating perspective on the tinkering mind-set of the American people. Especially the emphasis on how Americans may, and should, rediscover their tinkering spirit, and the important part that education plays in this regard, was well worth the read and made up a little for what I conceived as missing the point of the topic.
In short: Manifest for reviving the American tinkering spirit!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the NetGalley book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.


The Scientific Sherlock Holmes: Cracking the Case with Science and Forensics
The Scientific Sherlock Holmes: Cracking the Case with Science and Forensics
von James O'Brien
  Gebundene Ausgabe
Preis: EUR 22,95

3.0 von 5 Sternen Little book of Sherlock trivia!, 29. Dezember 2012
With The Scientific Sherlock Holmes James O'Brien brought out a book for those who've been as spellbound by the fictional detective as I've ever been.
On first glance the book seems to focus on Sherlock's scientific tools of deduction, yet it also offers a substantial introduction to characters, influences, and stories themselves. On one hand I found this to be a good idea as it offers a more rounded picture, on the other hand the title is a bit misleading with its promise of a scientific emphasis. This probably makes the book more suitable for Sherlock Newbies while those who already know a fair share about Sherlock's world might skip the first part.
About two thirds of this small volume delve deeper into the world of forensic science and mostly chemistry, which Sherlock certainly knew most about. His methods are being illuminated by examples from the stories and brought in correlation with modern-day methods. Especially the discourse by Isaac Asimov, himself an avid Sherlockian, who is a notable critic of Sherlock's scientific knowledge, was quite captivating. Sadly though the two domains of fictional story and science feel cobbled together in a rather dry manner, without much care for a fluent reading experience.
All in all I am torn about this book as I found the topic itself highly fascinating, but the execution lacking. Either way, those genuinely interested in the subject should definitely give this book a try.
In short: The little book of Sherlock trivia!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the NetGalley book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.


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