Posts Tagged With: nonfiction

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: , , , , , , , | Leave a 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: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a 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

book review | Tokyo Vice by Jake Adelstein

tokyo vice jake adelstein japan crime book coverAuthor: Jake Adelstein
Title: Tokyo Vice
Series: –
Genre: Nonfiction; Memoir
Pages: 335
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

Ah, I wish I knew how good Tokyo Vice by Jake Adelstein is sooner. For it fell down my TBR list quite a few times. But hey, I got to it at last, and it’s better later than never!

About the Book: Jake learns Japanese and moves there in pursuit for journalist career. The rules are different there, and the book picks up the pace here, setting up an amusing tune of this white jewish man jumping traditions and politeness hoops in a foreign country. All that said, work goes well, including the whole structure of building relationships with co-workers, sources, cops… Which can get quite costly.

One day a yakuza contacts him, letting him know that Jake’s name was mentioned in trustworthiness context. This is where the story starts getting darker, for Jake gets to see beyond Love Hotels, Hostess clubs, where people dress up for you, to be your best friend until you run out of money. Beyond that there’s dark, gritty, nightmarish web of debt, loan sharks, human trafficking, and destroyed lives.

My Opinion: This is a very, very masterfully written book. With facts, memories, experiences¬† woven into one smooth if nightmarish tale. Don’t know about you, but Japan to me was always that dream country, something exotic and far, far away, so very different from anything we know here. But truth is much more simple. Yes, there’s differences. Yes, there’s plenty of pros, pluses. But there’s just as many cons, minuses. Just as in any country.

A very good book. Reminded me of this one I read long ago called “Yakuza Moon“. This one gets a 5 out of 5. And no, it is not made to slander. Merely a country this journalist lived in, a place where he found this, and was in a position to make a difference, no matter how small.

Categories: 5-5, Biographies, Books: Crime, Books: Everything, Books: NonFiction, mafia, murder, True Crime Books | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

book review | McMafia by Misha Glenny

mcmafia misha glenny book cover underworld criminal organized crimeAuthor: Misha Glenny
Title: McMafia
Series: –
Genre: True Crime, Nonfiction
Pages: 398
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

I love reading sensible literature on organized crime, where author doesn’t choose a side, and, due to moral obligations, doesn’t try to paint one or another side a deeper shade of one color. One of such well balanced books is McMafia by Misha Glenny, who has a very healthy view on this all.

About the Book: This book goes through a variety of organized, global crime, its underground industries and their origins. From the times of economy downfalls through, say, the fall of soviet union, or the breaking of Berlin wall, to today. And all across the world.

Crime takes many forms and shapes. And so do reasons for it. Be it extreme poverty and thus a need to make a buck for bread by stealing or selling, or selling the stolen. Or be it flaws in law, criminalization of something you require. It could be medication your country deemed illegal. Or it could be part of your lifestyle: from illegal caviar, to illegal counterfeits. And many more, including drug cartels, mafia, mafiozos of Russia, yakuza, hackers, crackers, and so on. And you know what’s the worst of it? We too are a part of it.

My Opinion: This is a very smoothly written book, with sensible steps from one topic, to another. Each one of those is explained in depths, with origins of criminal organization at hand, how it came to be, to what it does, how it does it, and why it does it, if applies. To actual governments, and law: how they’re handling it, if handling it at all. As for our involvement, well, that’s true. And it’s scary. From materials required to, say, build our laptops, where a company doesn’t ask about the origins of this metal, or that dye. To scam emails, engineered web pages, and our inability to take precautions while on that enticing world wide web.

This is a very worthy read that I would highly recommend to anyone. I give it a 5 out of 5, for many, many reasons.

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

nonfiction | “Apollo 8” by Jeffrey Kluger

2Author: Jeffrey Kluger
Title: Apollo 8
Series: –
Genre: History, Nonfiction
Pages: 320
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

When I was a kid, I wanted to be an astronaut. I absolutely had no clue how does one become one, and the fact I’m from Eastern Europe likely didn’t help either. But hey, I’ve read all about space and universe that I could lay my hands upon. This, I guess, is a tribute to that kid that still kinda wants to be an astronaut.

About: Before Apollo 11 and Neil Armstrong, the first man on the surface of the Moon, there was Apollo 1, Virgil Grissom, a blood curdling fire, and many, many more mistakes to come, with too many good men dead. But neither United States, nor the rest of the humanity were willing to give up just yet. So there was Apollo 2, and then Apollo 3… Up until Apollo 8, the first one to reach the Moon’s orbit. Approximately one third of the Earth’s population that had electricity and television available have been up and watching whatever footage there was. And this is the tale of those people they watched, their families, people on Earth who regulated the flight, and so on.

Mine: I love how this book is written. It’s always from third person, but very personal anyway. There you get to read a view from beside a wife of an astronaut, practically hear the child roll their eyes, because their dad is just an astronaut, no big deal, Billy’s dad is a fireman, now that’s a something! Merely because they grew up in this environment, with their old dad being an astronaut, with his old friends being astronauts. And over there you read from beside an engineer who is sweating bullets in dread, demanding tests ran on every single thing, every detail, in dread, in memory of that Apollo 1. And the moment it starts feeling too much like a fictional novel, a movie, author gives you all of the facts, all of the sources for the facts, and even audio recordings of the most important stuff.

The book is very well written. If you’ve any interest in how humanity finally stepped on the Moon, take this one. 5 out of 5 from me.

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

history | “A Brief History of the War of the Roses” by Desmond Seward

1.jpgAuthor: Desmond Seward
Title: A Brief History of the Wars of the Roses
Series: –
Genre: Nonfiction, History
Pages: 320
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

Not gonna lie, sometimes, when reading history books on better known, closer countries, if I know little to nothing of what’s going on, other than the few most famous or infamous names: I feel like an utter idiot. Back in the day I really loved history. I even wanted to study it. But the want melted away, and never returned.

This is a very well written, not at all dry history book of fifteen century England. It reads like a book with a little extra facts, all the people feeling very realistic in a sense that they could be characters. During this period of time Yorks and Lancasters tore at each other for the crown, and this particular war was called War of Two Roses. Here author steps in again, and lets you know why’s that, and how it wasn’t very accurate, really. It’s really entertaining, and easy to follow.

An interesting book, as, I feel, history books should be. I’ve no clue of how accurate it is factually, but if you’re curious on the topic, I can recommend this book. In fact, I’ll give it a 5 out of 5, and will keep the author in mind, in case there’s more interesting history books he wrote.

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

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