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.

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?



I’m not sure about other people but occasionally when i discuss books with some people they mention they are reading several. For a long time this confused me, as i had tried it a couple of times and for the most part i always confused characters and plot lines especially if it is a thriller/crime novel trying to recall events from the appropriate book just became to much of an effort. So i never really tried to repeat this task. but i know people who read up to 3 books at a time. I enjoy picking up a book and just fully immersing myself in it until it is over.Sometimes when i’m  reading a non-fiction book ill come across a fact or event and want to know more than the book explains so ill jump on Google. This became rather difficult to do as most of my reading is done on the train to and from work each day. i really hate utilizing my phone to search online for information, aside from the obvious issue that it drains my battery too quickly, the screen is too small its not good for viewing graphs or pictures. So needless to say the amount of non-fiction books in my to read pile started growing. Simple solution read them at home, yes that might sound an easy solution but i dont really have much time at home as progress at home is slower as i have much more distractions in my house and don’t really get bored. but low and behold it works since the genre are so far removed there is no confusion when reading a non-fiction book about science and reading a fictional story

This book Antimatter by Frank close, i picked up at the super secret Booktopia $1 booksale. I read the blurb and took it straight away. This book deals with the entire history of antimatter, from the very origins of a theory of its existence, to its discover right up to now with us making it in particle accelerators. Surprisingly it was quite an interesting read, i thought i knew quite a bit about antimatter but turns out there was a whole world of stuff i didn’t know. 

The author does a great job of dispelling rumors We have all heard them (and thanks to Dan brown’s Angles and Demons – seen or read about them) there is a whole chapter dedicated to explain why an antimatter bomb just wouldn’t work and cant be made. Turns out at our current rate of production of antimatter particles for us to make enough to weigh a gram would take centuries let alone the fact that we cant keep the particles trapped for that long with out them coming into contact with something and annihilating.

This book was a great informative read, and fortunately was written in a way that doesn’t make it come across as a text book. if you are curious about antimatter and not sure where fact or fiction is definitely grab this book. I’m glad i did.

Space Chronicles – Facing the Ultimate Frontier

Space Chronicles – Facing the Ultimate Frontier

I have always had an interest in Astronomy and for awhile there pursued the idea of career in that field. However i choose to go down another path and have moved Astronomy into the hobby area for now. As such any time i come across a book to do with Astronomy or Astrophysics, i’ll buy it. Even though in most cases these books just rehash the same material but just cover it in different ways. This book in that regard is no different. There is no new information discussed, in fact the book itself is just an anthology of all Neil deGrasse Tyson’s previous interviews. I picked this gem up at the super secret Booktopia $1 booksale. as i was moving down the isles i saw his (the authors) name on the spine and that alone was enough for me to buy it

The book starts with the history of Astronomy and more importantly human perception of astronomy, going from the days of craziness where  religion decreed we were the center of the universe – to the modern times with a better perception of our place in the cosmos. There is quite alot of focus on the US economy as it plays a heavy role in deciding how much money NASA gets and this in turns impacts what programs are successful or not. Surprisingly there were some interesting insights into this process. 

While Neil has an impressive knowledge of astronomy, history and pop culture, he does like to use the same anecdotes and since this book is merely an anthology of previous interviews it becomes apparent as there repetition is seen more easily in this book

Perhaps the most disappointing thing with this book, is you get the feeling it is aimed at the american audience. What i mean by this is there is quite alot of discussion of NASAs budget and comparing it to other US expenditures and government activities . While of course since the US is pretty much the biggest avenue of space exploration,  i naturally keep a close eye on what its doing even though i have no interest in the politics behind it since i can have no say in that matter.

The book really hits home when even the author states that sometimes when he is at work trying to understand the intricacies of the universe he can forget ” that uncounted people walk this Earth without food or shelter, and that children are disproportionately represented among them ” quite a powerful message to end a book with. Especially after reading the sections about the US budget seeing that they spend more than 8 times the amount of money on the military than they do on education and double the amount they spend on welfare.

But when all is said and done being an anthology of previous interviews etc, doesn’t diminish this book at all. it is still a great read by a great author and leave you walking away with much food for thought