Our Man in Tehran – Robert Wright

Our Man in Tehran – Robert Wright

Awhile ago I saw the movie Argo which was a movie based on the same incident as this book. The hostage take over of the US Embassy in Iran. I thought the movie was pretty awesome, and I had never heard of this book. I had just enjoyed the movie and moved on.

I was at a book sale and came across this book. As soon as i saw what it was about and my mind went straight back to the movie. Hollywood always adds some flair to its movies based on a real story sometimes the word “based” must be used extremely loosely. So I thought I wonder how different real life would be compared to the movie. Had I not even seen the movie Argo I probably still would of bought this book anyway though my knowledge on the subject matter would of been far more limited.

This book starts before the take over and tells the story of the lead up starting back before the shah fled Iran and before the Ayatollah took over. The story takes us through what was happening in Iran at the time and builds a picture of a country divided by religion and opinion on American influence. This picture starts to take on the all too familiar direction these days of some country and its people not liking US involvement in its internal affairs. Why they have too meddle everywhere I don’t know and that’s probably a conversation for another time. Once we get up to the take over of the embassy which comes as quite a surprise. I really see the take over for what it was. A blatant terrorist attack. Disregarding basic diplomacy status and voiding the hostages human rights is down right unacceptable regardless of the lame reasons they come up with. Nothing but the actions of the individual them-self should affect their own human rights, for example. A murderer or child molester should by these acts void their human rights and just be throw in a hole to die. But an innocent individual from a country you have an issue with should not cop your hate or fear. its just misplaced and misguided.

Reading the actions and risks Ken took were quite unbelievable, seeing how the extraction took place and realizing there was only a slight variation for the movie was good. I was glad they could tell his story almost as accurately as possible. While this book shows an all too familiar issue of religious groups causing trouble it does have a positive side which left me feeling more positive about modern civilization. That positive side being that we still today in our modern world have people who are willing to risk everything for complete strangers. i believe that truly encapsulates the human spirit. I may not be an American but i still feel compelled to say thank you Kenneth D. Taylor, for showing us all what it means to be human

How to teach Quantum Physics to your dog – Chad Orzel

How to teach Quantum Physics to your dog – Chad Orzel

Sometime you pick up a non-fiction title based on a scientific field and you think its going to be a good read and it turns out to read just like a text book. this most certainly was not like that. The Author added humour to this discussion of quantum physics through a high unlikely means. by writing the book as if he was discussing it with his dog

Chad has made reading about quantum physics a bit more fun. Converting many aspects of this topic into layman’s terms and using the dog based analogies, from  quantum tunneling squirrels to Schrodinger dog treats, it was such a laugh.

Chad has done what many authors have tried to do and failed, he has made a book about science that is just as entertaining as an adventure or crime novel. Many just try to crack quick witted one liners, or tell jokes.  but chad goes one better and rethinks the whole medium of telling a story. Chad joins the elites of  Michio Kaku and Neil Degrasse Tyson who likewise create books that are entertaining and informative.

Personally one of the best aspects of this book was the ending, now that may sound a bit harsh but bare with me. Most authors end with a boring epilogue that either thanks the reader or tries to pass off some motivational message. Nope not chad, he ends with a chapter on debunking, Where he dismisses all those crackpots who try to use the terminology of quantum physics in the wrong way. such as those crazy holistic healers or people trying to sell perpetual motion machines. I thoroughly enjoyed this chapter as i love seeing crackpots, con artists and false beliefs being debunked.

While i was already a fan of physics based books as i am quite passionate on the subjects of astrophysics and astronomy. I don’t normally buy too many books from authors i don’t know because too often they just read like text books. But i think i will definitely be keeping an eye out for Chad Orzel when im next in a bookstore.

Opening Heaven’s Door – Patricia Pearson

Opening Heaven’s Door – Patricia Pearson

Can’t for the life of me recall how i stumbled upon this book. While i don’t subscribe to the belief of an afterlife, or a heaven or God for that matter. Just because you don’t believe in something doesn’t mean you can’t learn about it and see what leads people to believe in it. After-all Ignorance leads to fear. So i thought why not grab this book and see what all this mumbo jumbo is about.

To start with the Author hits us straight away with the story of the Death of her Father and eventually her sister. As soon as i read these parts i regretted my earlier views saying this was all just mumbo jumbo. The Author shares an intimate time from her family as it deals death and to mock the author just seamed shallow. The book talks about the experience she had with the death of her father and sister and the journey it led her on to discover what she saw.

We are then led on a journey which is essentially just numerous stories of people who have had (in their opinion) glimpses of dead people or messages from beyond. While some people who are small willed and easily jump on the band wagon will say that the fact it has numerous people saying they have seen these images should be enough to convince others. i just simply think of


Lock ness monster


Alien abductions


Plenty of people all say they have seen these as well, do we simply just believe something if multiple people sight it but have no proof?

i think that there is the key point. Just because multiple people believe in something doesn’t make it true. So as i read through these accounts i was left wondering when would we get some scientific insight into these. Fortunately the book started to try to provide these. We begin hearing from Hospice workers who see patients talking to empty air as if someone was standing next to them. But in my mind this isn’t proof.

We then hear from Psychiatrists and Neurologists  who explain what the brain goes through close to death and also explaining how little we really know about the brain. But this still doesn’t meet my requirements of proof.  I think this opinion of mine that everything needs to be quantified and classified probably for the most part made me miss the purpose of this book

Ultimately it was probably naive of me to think there would be any kind of answers in this book. What this book does is share with the reader key moments from peoples lives in which they believe they witness something that changes them forever. All these people after experiencing these moments are left in a state of well being and overall positive outlook on life and isn’t that all that really matters in the end? if it is positive and has a good out come what does it matter if its true or not?

Clive Cussler – The Storm

Clive Cussler – The Storm

I am a huge fan of Clive Cussler, i may sound like a kid for saying it but i really do like his adventure novels. Every single one, no matter which series it belongs to always built upon the same structure. Starts with a historical story that doesn’t impact on the main story line till the last quarter of the book. Like for instance, this book starts out with the plight of a world war 2 ship sailing the Indian ocean. Then the story returns to the present and we are left wondering how does this old ship fit into the picture? Then comes the big Ah Ha moment and we discover the connection.

The fact that the plot of each of his novels has some basis in reality and uses up to date scientific knowledge definitely helps the process. for instance this novel deals with nanobot and nanotechnology. there are others involving zero point energy, carbon sequestration and Climate change.

I had seen Clive has released two new books this year, so i thought i better get up to date and finish this series. Everyone loves a good James bond style story with a megalomaniac trying to take over the world and these sure fit the cake. Several of his books have a sort of alternative history approach. San Fran earthquake was man made, Abraham Lincoln wasn’t assassinated, Atlantis exists and is in Antarctica, This kind of plot has made me pick a an alternative history book or two, mainly by harry turtledove.

Clive remains in my top 5 Authors i have over 30 of his books and he has written over 50 so i still have much more reading to do

Found by Harlan Coben

Found by Harlan Coben

I was never really a big crime/mystery novel fan, I don’t really like watching the crime TV shows either. but a good mate of mine raved about this author (Harlan Coben) and she kept at. Eventually i cracked and started asking her about the author and then Google told me he has a serious of books (Myron Bolitar) and does  stand alone novels. I hate starting in the middle of a series, and i didn’t want to commit to reading the first novel in the series. I might hate the author but still feel compelled to finish the series (i’m weird like that) so i told her to pick me her favorite stand alone novel. She chose for me the novel The Innocent.

The story follows Matt Hunter, when he was young he made some mistakes and a fight landed him in jail for 4 years once out tries to put his life back together gets engaged, but then something from his past stirs. He is being followed and threatened. Soon the life he worked hard to build starts to unravel and he realizes he cant trust anyone even the ones he love. Not sure whether it was the fact it was  her suggestion, the novel itself or the fact the protagonist had the same name as me but i really liked it. So i started buying his books.

I started with a few more stand alones, then started on his myron series. I flew through that series quite quickly and was quite sad to read the final book. The book really tied up loose ends and broke up the group and everyone went their separate ways. Reading that you come to realize that it was sadly the end of the series there probably wont be anymore. But then at the same time i saw that he (harlan) was releasing a new series of books based around the son of the main character from the series i liked.

At first i was excited having a chance to revisit the character i really liked but then i found out it was young adult book. Which basically means double spaced writing, pretty much ten lines per page and a simple story over in a few chapters – i exaggerate of course but since i am not the target audience this type of novel might not satisfy my attention and hunger. The first novel in the new young adult series (mickey bolitar) was called shelter The story and characters were great but sadly it was over far too soon. The second novel was Seconds away and while it was over just as quick as its previous volume, i did still really enjoy the story. I think mainly because the character from the previous series appears so regularly. So even though i hate the style (young adult novel) i still bought this third book.

Found, pretty much continues with the story line from the previous 2 books as the main character mickey searches for his father. Its a great story that has many turns along the way which kind of has become a calling card of this author. While this story does go on to tie up loose ends from the previous two it does of course unravel some new threads to pursue as well. So i’m sure he will be writing a fourth book. I have over 25 of his books now and will continue to follow this author and buy his new works.

To be honest this author and more precisely this series of young adult novels has made me change my opinion of the young adult genre. In the past i normally would of just written off anything in the genre as too simple and brief to be worth my time and not even consider buying it. However while the fact the stories are too brief and over too soon. The stories themselves can be quite good at capturing my attention. While i will still be hesitant to buy a young adult novel (mainly because i am not a young adult) i wont just completely write them off anymore. I pretty much will buy the fourth book in this series. If he ever writes one.

Sometimes its funny how we first come across our favorite authors. Have to definitely thank my mate Rachel for introducing me to the works of Harlan. He is definitely in my top 5 Favorite Authors. His other works all of which are not Young adult novels, are fantastic reads filed with twists and turns and just when you think you have it figured out he throws a spanner in the works and throws you off track. i simply love these stories and am always pre-ordering his new releases. After reading this series i think i might have to change a time old quote. perhaps it should be,  Dont judge a book by its genre?