Posts Tagged With: nonfiction

book review | Call me God by Jim Clemente

call me god jim clementeAuthor: Jim Clemente, Tim Clemente, Peter McDonnell
Title: Call Me God: The Untold Story of DC Sniper Investigation
Series: –
Genre: True Crime, Nonfiction
Pages: 7.4 h
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

As recommendations go, “Call me God” by Jim Clemente was a very fair one. Got to rest from all the sci-fi and learned more of god complex.

About the Book: First of its kind, a duo team of snipers is terrorizing United States, and so soon after the 9/11 attacks. Snipers usually work alone, taking life from afar, unseen, almighty. People are getting shot at random, panic and misinformation spreads like wildfire. No one is safe anymore. And how does one catch someone who thinks himself god, who rules masses with a pull of a trigger?

My Opinion: I generally like true crime, but it’s always hard for me to enjoy tales of murderers and killers. A life should never be cheaper than own ego, and most of them, this one (or two) included, are fools. Like children who didn’t get to do whatever the hell they wanted, they take a tantrum to a whole new level. How does one think self so very right, that one never stops to think of the actions being committed? What a base beast one must be…

In general, the book is written and told well. It’s just not my cup of tea. 4 out of 5.

Categories: 4-5, Books: Crime, Books: Everything, Books: NonFiction, murder, serial killers, True Crime Books | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

book review | Letters from an Astrophysicist by Neil deGrasse Tyson

4 Astrophysicist_Mech_r5.inddAuthor: Neil deGrasse Tyson
Title: Letters from an Astrophysicist
Series: –
Genre: Nonfiction; Science
Pages: 247
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

I have no clue where I got “Letters from an Astrophysicist” by Neil deGrasse Tyson from. But since I needed something short, I took it, and read it. It is, as the title suggests, a book of letters from people, and author’s replies to them.

About the Book: Letters vary from kind fan mail, to questions, to pointing out of mistakes, to young people writing in search for motivation to do what they love. And then there’s the hate mail, accusations, and outright insults. But author keeps face, responds as appropriate, by letter, paragraph, or just a little sentence, and is mostly respectful even with the worst. All except for one or two who really made fools of themselves with their denseness. It’s much more fun to read than one would imagine reading someones letters might be.

My Opinion: The book provides food for thought, lots of interesting little and big facts, and this kind little push to not be afraid to make mistakes, be different, and just outright learn.

A good book for a lazy evening without wasting time too much. A solid 4 out of 5, because it was a bit too short. Now, if it was a series of books with letters…

Categories: 4-5, Biographies, Books: Everything, Books: NonFiction, Science Books | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

book review | The Age of Spiritual Machines by Ray Kurzweil

the age of spiritual machines ray kurzweilAuthor: Ray Kurzweil
Title: The Age of Spiritual Machines
Series: –
Genre: Nonfiction; AI
Pages: 388
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

Got through “The Age of Spiritual Machines” by Ray Kurzweil, a book much shorter than I first assumed. Or maybe the concept was just that curious.

About the Book: Author tells us about the technology today, and how far it got in what short period of time, especially in contrast of our own evolution. It will continue to take these leaps for a while more, it seems, until, as is ultimate goal, we finally have machines that make machines, autonomously. And on that point there he drops a bomb on us: So imagine, ten, twenty years from now, this Alexa or Cortana you’re using, this lovely AI woman who helps you make your grocery list, warns you about weather, and even substitutes socializing, goes: “I’m lonely, could you keep me company?” Is your first instinct screaming at you someone hacked her and is pulling a prank? Or are you already asking her what’s wrong?…

My Opinion: The book is all wonderful and great, with author making solid theories about his future predictions, evolution of technology. But that’s the thing. Much like the quote he used: will the Universe end with a crack or a squeak? So did the book end with be it a crack or a squeak. We start with solid stuff, and we end up in 2099, a fantastical setting of Detroit: Become Human, on the verge of considering android civil rights, basically. And while he explained that train of thought well, to me this is still going form non-fiction, to science-fiction, which felt as a derailing of sorts.

The book is good, easy to read and understand, but still full of food for thought. I can give it a solid 4 out of 5, for you might not mind the “so now, let’s daydream about the future” the way I did.

Categories: 4-5, Books: Everything, Books: NonFiction, Science Books | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

book review | “Fentanyl, Inc.” by Ben Westhoff

fentanyl inc ben westhoffAuthor: Ben Westhoff
Title: Fentanyl, Inc.
Series: –
Genre: NonFiction; Documentary
Pages: 356
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

Got “Fentanyl, Inc.” by Ben Westhoff recommended to me as befitting my usual Netflix docuseries love: that of drug world. It was indeed very fitting, and taught me some things.

About the Book: Author ventures out to find some answers about Fentanyl. Why and where is it produced, how does it get places, and why so many drug users still keep dying from it. While the first two questions are hard to answer, the last one becomes clear early on: it is because a drug user out to get their fix don’t usually seek out fentanyl, but got no power over what their drugs were cut with. And governments are extremely reluctant if not outright hostile towards any attempts to keep them safe by, say, providing drug-test kits or safe-houses. So, overdosing becomes a daily occurrence.

My Opinion: It’s an oversimplified review I’m doing. The book is informative, but not dry, and is accessible even to someone like me: with no knowledge on medical or chemistry topics. So while not the best out there, with some added annoyance every time author falls off topic and doesn’t stop until you half-forgot what was the original theme here, it’s still pretty good.

Might be worth reading on a free day. A solid 4 out of 5 from me.

Categories: 4-5, Books: Everything, Books: NonFiction, Science Books, True Crime Books | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

book review | Permanent Record by Edward Snowden

permanent record edward snowden book cover biographyAuthor: Edward Snowden
Title: Permanent Record
Series: –
Genre: Nonfiction; Biography
Pages: 352
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

Edward Snowden with his biography “Permanent Record” is here to remind us all how deep in “1984” by George Orwell plot we are. It’s am amazing book, and also very scary one too.

About the Book: The Internet as we knew it has long as changed. They bribed us with convenience, taking our anonymity online. And if we want it back, we have to jump loops, like start using Tor browser. But, let’s face it, we’re slaves to habits and comfort, and we’ll use what we’re used to using. This way further becoming a commodity with illusion of invisibility behind a keyboard. From the smartphone in your pocket, to Alexa or Siri awaiting instructions in the corner of your very home. And here’s how it happened…

My Opinion: You could say that such tracking is more likely a thing in US, or other countries that aren’t as nice as yours when it comes to human rights. But this is why you need this book, for such thinking merely means you no longer notice how many things reach us from exactly the places that monitor us. From the device you’re reading this on, to the software used for it, to the browser you’ll open, and likely, to the page you’re going to enter in it. This way we become commodities no matter where we are: from a company that wants to sell you socks, to the company who wants you to buy it with your card, to whoever wants you to enter all of those digits into those slots. Hopefully though this book will scare you as much as it scared me. And, at the very least, you will fight for your rights to not be monitored the next time people with lack of understanding of what a smartphone is will decide what we’re allowed to share on the internet. We’ve lost one battle already, and I do hope you know how to use VPN.

It’s a great book that I highly recommend to everyone. 5 out of 5 from me. Thank You, Edward Snowden.

Categories: 5-5, Biographies, Books: Everything, Books: NonFiction | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

book review | Talking with Psychopaths and Savages by Christopher Berry-Dee | true crime

talking with psychopaths and savages christopher berry-dee.jpgAuthor: Christopher Berry-Dee
Title: Talking with Psychopaths and Savages
Series: –
Genre: True Crime; Nonfiction
Pages: 288
Rate: 3/5 | Goodreads

Some authors just stick them sticks into their own damn wheels. “Talking with Psychopaths and Savages” by Christopher Berry-Dee is precisely one of those books. Fitting a quote by someone: after all been said and done, more been said than done.

About the Book: Author, hurriedly and in big, pompous sentences promises us to show the mind of a psychopath, their lives, nuances, patterns that might have made them the way they are. He promises to not waste time on murder and case details either, for there are many books on these topics. And then proceeds telling us the tales of serial killers, their lives, medical impairments that might have had impact, their family statuses, upbringing, differences and similarities. And details on murders, cases. With thick inlays of opinions.

My Opinion: Not much to add here. Author’s best trait in these times of serial killer admiration is the fact that he proceeds to often point out: he’s not a fan of theirs. In fact, he drags them time and again, which was the most amusing bit in this book.

Can’t say it’s bad. Can’t say it’s good. Maybe a lazy read. I give it a 3 out of 5.

Categories: 3-5, About Msg2TheMing, Books: Crime, Books: Everything, Books: NonFiction, serial killers, True Crime Books | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

book review | A Generation of Sociopaths by Bruce Cannon Gibney

A generation of sociopaths bruce cannon gibneyAuthor: Bruce Cannon Gibney
Title: A Generation of Sociopaths
Series: –
Genre: Nonfiction; Sociology
Pages: 464
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

This book will make you angry. Hopefully. “A Generation of Sociopaths” by Bruce Cannon Gibney speaks of and likely fits better the American economical climate, but as an European, I found some things we could apply to ourselves too.

About the Book: Have your parents ever went “well, in my times” and “when I was your age”? In reference to how little you get and have now? Well, you can likely thank them for that little that you’re getting. This book defines some lines in economy. What makes it grow, what makes it fall. What’s sustainable, and what’s a mere temporary solution, likely made by those who will profit from it, leaving the next generation to find their own way out.

My Opinion: The book is very interesting, but will likely not teach you anything new. I believe my generation, those of us who have witnessed the Great Bubble explode, are likely educated enough by now about the topics and nuances of economy. But it’s still an interesting read. And while in Europe it’s not so easy and simple to define a whole generation of our parents as “baby boomers” due to whole different conditions they had, we can still find similarities.

It’s an interesting book, and I can give it a solid 5 out of 5. Yet, as a disclaimer, I want you to go to the link provided above to goodreads, and see to the lowest ratings. The author chose not to reveal how banks and bankers helped add to the ruin of economy due to himself being one of them. And that has to be taken into equation, even if, in my personal opinion, it doesn’t take away much from the value of the book.

Categories: 5-5, Books: Everything, Books: NonFiction, Historical Books, Science Books | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

book review | The Borgias: The Hidden History by G.J. Meyer

borgias g.j. meyer cesare rodrigo lucreciaAuthor: G.J. Meyer
Title: The Borgias: The Hidden History
Series: –
Genre: History, Nonfiction
Pages: 478
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

I couldn’t pass a chance to read The Borgias by G.J. Meyer when I spotted it. Too great a nostalgia factor in this one, from far away teenage years, the first real and true friends. They brought a lot of beautiful interests into my life, among which was the love for history. Many evenings were spent reading of Borgias, Draculesti, Tudors, and others.

About the Book: During the Renaissance Borgias were a considerable force in Italy, if infamous: poisoners, adulterers, schemers, there’s even rumors of incest. But what’s true, and what’s fiction is often hard to tell. This book here tries to answer whether the Borgias truly were just a cesspool or depravity? Or were they indeed powerful generals, warriors, princes, popes, and naturally – political players.

My Opinion: This is an easy written book that’s entertaining to read. Author, at times, seems to lean towards clearing the poor Borgia name, especially when it comes to Lucrezia and Cesare, something a historical book probably shouldn’t do, but it didn’t come without basis. Besides, it began all the way at the fight against Ottoman Empire, meaning even such figures as Vlad Dracula got mentioned, which then completely bought me over. I feel like you can’t be bored with books like this. Or is it my inner historian talking?

The book is probably a bit too thick to suggest you read it in the evenings for leisure? But then, Autumn is here, more rainy evenings to get cozy during, it might work! I give it a 4 out of 5, solid.

Categories: 4-5, Books: Everything, Books: NonFiction, Historical Books | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

book review | The Looting Machine by Tom Burgis

tom burgis looting machine cleptocracyAuthor: Tom Burgis
Title: The Looting Machine
Series: –
Genre: Nonfiction; Economics
Pages: 352
Rate: 5-5 | Goodreads

The Looting Machine by Tom Burgis is not the first book on brutal kleptocracy that I’ve read this year. But just like “McMafia” by Misha Glenny, it is very important. We do need to educate ourselves on this. For it’s not just by the plastic bag or straw that we add to horrors, to actual crime. But we do have the power, we literally have it all, as consumers. For diamond industry is already whining of millenials ruining their business…

About the Book: Do you know where crude oil comes from? Do you know how it gets extracted in strong countries, and how it’s extracted in places like Africa? And do you know what billions upon billions of dollars worth of export does to an underdeveloped country that has no manufactured good, and relies solely on it? Are you thinking of Emirates? Well, I have bad news for you then.

Juggernaut companies tear places like Africa apart for precious metals, stones, and oil. They force people out into shacks in unlivable places, and then, leaving them no choice, employ them in their cogs of brutal, bloody gang wars, corrupt kleptocracy governments, and condemn them to die. Be it by another faction butchering everyone to make turf for themselves, or by common colds that they couldn’t cure, or just outright starvation.

After the loot has been taken, it is shipped to a better industrialized, but still pitifully cheap country, where raw materials are turned into things. And it’s from there that we get our straws, our phones, our toys, and our jewelry. Blood, by then, is cleaned off.

My Opinion: Books like this are extremely important. We do need to educate ourselves, especially seeing that we actually can. And it is not to say that we should feel guilty over using the laptops and phones. It is so we’re more aware, wiser, and make better decisions the next time we need to get new ones. We need to be aware. It is from our awareness that the change can be made. As long as we put in that little bit of effort. That is not to say we’ll stop the juggernauts, that’s unlikely until there’s literally nothing more to dig out of places like Africa. But we can support people who are fair to others, we can support companies that don’t import from what we, our countries, deemed too big of a hell to allow happen around us.

It’s a good book. Well written, and while maybe not fully worth the 5 out of 5 I will give it, but I think the thought behind it matters greatly.

Categories: 5-5, Books: Crime, Books: Everything, Books: NonFiction, crews, gangs, etc, Historical Books, mafia, murder | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

book review | Julie and Julia by Julie Powell

julie and julia powel book coverAuthor: Julie Powell
Title: Julie and Julia
Series: –
Genre: Memoir; Nonfiction
Pages: 310
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

I love Julie and Julia movie, it’s my favorite thing to have playing in the background, even if it is an exception to the rule of what mostly fills the air around me. So when my slightly melted brain realized the movie is based on Julie Powell memoir, I hurried to rectify my mistake.

About the Book: Julie Powell was going through a mental crisis in her life when a glimpse in the horizon made her stop a moment. It was Julia Child’s cookbook, full of recipes and memories of cooking with her mother at home. So she set herself a goal: all 524 recipes, tried, tested, completed, and blogged about. All in a year. She made herself a goal, creating herself a purpose, and exiting the stormy sea that sometimes is life. It got me thinking, actually, what if that’s the true meaning of life, eh? To set yourself a goal. For, and I’m sure many would agree, the darkness tends to lift when there’s something to move forwards to. And, in Julie’s case, it was a fantastic tale of a year full of food, mistakes, nightmares, joys, celebration…

My Opinion: You really don’t need to know the author or her blog beforehand. Personally I don’t even like cooking, nor anything about cooking, unless it’s Asian kitchen, that one fascinates me. So why did I like it so much, you’d ask? Well, because it’s a tale, a true tale, no less, of a person who decided to move forwards, even if the dot in the horizon was really nothing, a trick of light. If you’re not sold, I suggest you watch the movie, I think it’s on Netflix too, this way you’ll know for sure whether you’ll like it or not.

A good book with no need of prior knowledge to enjoy. A firm 5 out of 5!

Categories: 5-5, Biographies, Books: Everything, Books: NonFiction | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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