The Point: And Other Stories by Charles D’Ambrosio

I enjoyed reading this collection of short stories. Charles D’Ambrosio has a way of immersing the reader into his stories with the most evocative of narratives while using the most simplest of words. His stories are of a genre called “Slice of Life Realism.” I can feel these stories and the characters within them and they stay with me. My favorites in this collection are “Her Real Name” and “Open House.” If you are looking for a short story collection, I recommend you give this one a try. ()

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The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

An incredibly wonderful/beautiful story of a young girl living and growing up in Nazi Germany that celebrates the Human Spirit. While the story is not the happiest at times, the author Mark Zusak works a very unique narrative that leaves you incredibly fulfilled and inspired. He uses the idea of books and words to play an important part in telling this amazing story. I especially enjoyed the unique ways the author presented it. For example, it was narrated by “Death”. You might think that would give the story a very dark feel, but the story was actually made more sensitive, and more human by this approach. Mark also used PowerPoint type call outs of background information within the narrative which helped shift modes and provided a smother flow. Another unique feature was when the author gave the reader a glimpse on what the future of some of the characters would be, before the story-line arrived at that point. This worked extremely well and I had never seen it done before. I think this is a five star book and it is now on my top ten list of books I’ve ever read. This book has my highest recommendation. (  )

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The Whole-Brain Path to Peace: The Role of Left-and Right-Brain Dominance by James Olson

A fascinating read! In this work James Olson explores the differences in mental processing using our right and left brain hemispheres and shows the consequences of dominate hemispheric thinking on our individual and collective lives. He develops his highly interdisciplinary ideas in a very thoughtful and easy to understand structure. Each chapter clearly summizes the main points that it features with the cumulative ensemble of ideas being integrated and clearly explained through out the book. Mr. Olson’s work is also well documented and he introduces the reader to several fascinating new ideas like Sacred Geometry. A case history using the Drug War in the US is used to illustrate the differences in hemispheric preferences for solution. Mr. Olson also suggests positive actions that can be taken in alleviating the polarization.in the world and creating a more peaceful environment. Some developments I would like to have seen more of in the book was the role of dominate hemispheric in the development of science and also what might be the affects of today’s technology on dominate hemispheric thinking. I highly recommend this work to anyone interested in understanding the workings of the brain and how a different approach in our perspective and perception could make all the difference. (  )

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Hitler’s War by Harry Turtledove

A fun read and very a typical “Turtledove” novel. The Alternative History pviot point for this book is that Hitler starts WWII earlier then in our timeline. Here the war starts with an invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1938 as opposed to a free walk-in occupation of Czechoslovakia and a subsequent invasion of Poland in 1939. For some this may seem like a trivial change but this book the first of a series, shows that the geopolitics could be very different. If you have never read Turtledove before, his style is to create his story by moving his dialogues from one setting with a given set of characters to another. This book seems to have a larger set then usually of these setting, so it did take some effort before I felt comfortable recalling the dramas and characters and putting them together in a complete story picture. That said I did very much enjoy Harry Turtledove’s history changing ideas in this Alternate History and look forward to reading the next book in the series. The only suggestion I have is that I thought a couple of the settings with respective characters should have been made up of major decision makers (i.e. FDR) to better understand the unfolding of this conflict from a more strategic level. I strongly recommend to all Alternate History fans, History buffs, especial Military History buffs. (  )

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The Seat of the Soul by Gary Zukav

An excellent book for self-reflecting, healing, and positive actions. Readers can take what Mr. Zukav writes as truths (which I believe is his intention) or view it as a more metaphorical structure in which to view their life. I personally believe there is truth in this work. In The Seat of the Soul, Mr. Zukav paints a beautiful picture of our most profound center of who we are…the Soul and the context/process of which it exists. I found his engaging and descriptive narrative very helpful and hopeful in dealing with my own journey of life. His work is prescriptive, in that the ideas put fourth can be used to move toward more positive outcomes in ones life. My reading of “The Seat of the Soul” also guided me in putting episodes of my life into a more favorable and hopeful structure where growth and development to more positive states are possible. This book of New Age ideas can be a wonderful augmentation to other theological belief structures that readers may have. If you are open and looking for more meaning in your life I highly recommend this work. I plan to read others he has written. (  )

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The Final Storm: A Novel of the War in the Pacific by Jeff Shaara

Jeff Shaara’s recent novel The Final Storm (A Novel of the War in The Pacific) is more then just an Historical Novel, it is a Novel of History. A Novel of History being a story that centers around a real event that might include real life characters. While I haven’t read the first three books of this series of World War II, I found this the final book in the series, to provide an immersing understanding of these world changing events. This book tells the story of the taking of Okinawa and the dropping of the Atomic Bomb on Japan. Mr. Shaara does this wonderfully by giving the reader several vantage points of these historical moments. For example, he takes you into the minds and hearts of the commanders and leaders who must wrestle with the most difficult of decisions in conducting the war. His story also allows you to feel and touch the horrendous moments of a US Marine engaged in combat. Several haunting scenes crafted by the narrative will stay with me forever. A engaging story with memorable characters, that touched me and increased my appreciation, of all who have made incredible sacrifices in the defense of their country. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys history, especially military history. (  )

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Convergence (The Ordinals) by Joseph Gellene

A good first novel! I enjoyed it. It reminded me of the Robert Heinlein short story “By His Bootstraps” and the novel “The Man Who Folded Himself” by David Gerrold. I found the characters interesting enough and the plot very engaging so that I read the novel in just two days. The work features an action, adventure, mystery with all the features of a good time travel story. Mr. Gellene entertains by showing the unusually problems of time travelers in his story and hints of an overarching organization that keeps history coherent. I hope this might be the first of a series of stories so we can learn about the general background of this time traveling universe. I recommend this work to all science fiction readers, and especially to time travel wonks like me. (  )

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