(Fiction: Thrillers, Fiction: General, Science)
In some ways Michael Crichton’s Next mixes genres in a way that Jurassic Park never did, unless you found that novel as funny as this one is!
A mixture of scientific thriller and comedy satire, Next takes a glimpse into the very near future (or is it already the present?) into the post-cloning world, where Dolly the sheep is a mere step along the way to a more bizarre and surreal world than we might care to imagine - a world where the legal, moral and spiritual implications of genetic engineering and scientific progress take on confusing, annoying and at times sinister shades! For in this world, genes are patented, and you will have a legal battle on your hands if you claim your genes as your own personal property! I will never forget the bizarre thoughts of the genetically modified parrot Gerrard - and who could forget Dave, the part human, part Chimpanzee hybrid who gets adopted by his creator’s family, and tries to pass as a (severely deformed) human child…
A very good read, although some may find the lack of action and the humour a little hard going compared to other Michael Crichton novels.
However, while Jurassic park is probably some way off in the real future, Next, as the title suggests, might be looking into a world of terrifying ramifications that is only round the corner!
The Art of Happiness - His Holiness The Dalai Lama & Howard C Cutler
(Psychology/Self Help, Psychology: Meditation, Metaphysics, Philosophy, Esoteric, Buddhism, Personal Development)
Happiness - everyone is searching for it, but how do we know that so few find it, truly? Probably by the continuous flow of self help books that reach the bestseller lists - achieve happiness through diet, image, riches, friends, travel, hypnosis, etc etc. Still more we look at the addictions around us and see people trying to gain happiness through drink, drugs, sex, power… The list goes on. In a world of truly happy human beings, there would perhaps be less conflict, less trouble. It is probably a tragedy in some ways that the Dalai Lama’s The Art of Happiness, co-authored with Howard C. Cutler, has sold so many copies and spawned a series of such books! For it speaks of so many who come searching, who have not yet found deep, lasting happiness, who still search for it and perhaps pick up this book.
Then again, those who read the book cannot fail to have their lives touched in subtle ways, helping not only them, but having knock on effects on others they encounter. One thing is certain - there is suffering (and that is one of the Buddha’s 4 Noble Truths) - but the fact that there is suffering also means an end to suffering, and in its place happiness, some kind of liberation.
The Art of Happiness is subtitled “A Handbook For Living” - but don’t expect 10 practical tips for getting through your day or for dealing with road rage! The authors, rather, take us through an organic journey of discussions and observations, experiences and considerations, giving rather a general direction which we may or may not choose to follow. As with much of Buddhism, there is no right or wrong, merely the observation that certain actions lead to suffering and some do not.
As probably the most famous Buddhist in the world, and an accomplished and learned man, the Dalai Lama could hide his message in lots of esoteric language and rituals; he is instead very human, bringing some of his Buddhist ideals and principles to us in very human and very accessible ways. In reading the book we gather the general guiding principles that lead away from suffering and towards our true purpose and birthright - the striving for, the right to be happy.
Another crime fiction thriller hot on the heels of my last book review, and in this thriller crime fiction guru James Patterson teams up with old partner Andrew Gross to smelt another scorching story from the word processor! Judge & Jury stars features the unlikely heroine of a reluctant member of a jury Andie DeGrasse in a mob case, and in Nick Pellisante, FBI Agent, we find the hero, as they end up pursuing their own brand of justice when the system fails them and Dominick Cavallo escapes punishment from the law…
Whatever literary purists may say, James Patterson’s (and his co authors’) thrillers are incredibly accessible books and make fiction available to those who might otherwise not have an hour to site and wade through lengthy chapters of interminable prose!
The books are fast paced and incredibly easy to read - on the train, in a lunch hour, even while a bowl of pasta cooks! I love escaping into these novels for short dips or long chunks, and am always ready for the next James Patterson!
Miracle Cure by Michael Palmer
(Fiction: Thrillers, Fiction: General, Fiction: Modern, Fiction: Thrillers: Medical)
Michael Palmer’s Miracle Cure is just one of several Michael Palmer books I’ve read lately, so I have a stack of reviews to add to this blog! This medical thriller is among the best Palmer books I have read so far, although they are all fantastic, and I eagerly await a few spare hours to read the latest releases!
The story of Miracle Cure is told, in third person narrative, largely from the point of view of its central character, Dr Brian Holbrook, a cardiologist who is on his way back from alcoholism and addiction to prescription painkillers.
Given a second chance, Holbrook starts work at Boston’s most prestigious heart unit - rapidly gaining even more Kudos for its involvement in drug testing for the new cardiovascular miracle cure, Vasclear, a substance the reportedly reverses arterial plaque and virtually eliminates heart attack risk within weeks. Holbrook is especially keen since his father has already had one bypass operation, and is deteriorating.
Holbrook is not in a position to risk his new job, after all, it may be his one and only chance to still be a doctor. But he cannot help but notice when Vasclear patients begin to die - and not always from natural causes. Holbrook appears to be on to something sinister, and his suspicions are confirmed when first come the warnings, and then the threats, leading him to discover the sinister truth behind Vasclear…
I really enjoyed escaping into this long novel, and spent a couple of pleasant afternoons sunk into the story.
Holbrook is a very believable character, certainly not two dimensional like many fictional character, with his own problems and foibles. The story is at times tragic, but always exciting, with plenty of twists and turns to keep even the most seasoned thriller reader guessing!
(Psychology/Self Help, Self Help: Audio Books, Audiobooks, Personal Development)
Peace, quiet, calm - it’s a commodity in this tumultuous, stressful world that seems ever harder to come by!
Looking for it “out there” seems ultimately mistaken, so when I saw this Glenn Harrold self hypnosis Audio book, entitled, “Creating Inner Peace and Calm”, I knew I had to give it a go, as I have bought a number of other Glenn Harrold recordings in the past and have been very impressed with the results! So I now play this hypnosis recording regularly with a view to getting close to the peace that can be found within!
The CD is split into around 59 minutes, with two separate hypnotic tracks of approximately equal length, although one is slightly longer than the other. Both tracks make use of background music and subliminal effects, but the music is never obtrusive or the kind that is “relaxing” in an forceful kind of way, but rather integrated into the words and narrative that Harrold skillfully delivers. I find it very useful to play it at night, but sometimes if I can find half an hour during the day, it really does give me an oasis of calm which gives me lingering effects for some time - although as with most things, the strength of the effects will vary from person to person.
Harrold’s voice takes you through a hypnotic journey, beginning with some breathing exercises that gently relax the body, and then you are taken deeper and deeper inside so that the hypnotic suggestion can work on your mind in a very relaxed state (indeed all hypnosis really is, is a very relaxed, focused state which enables things to get through to your subconscious workings better). I had been very anxious lately due to family bereavement and illness, but found I managed to relax to this recording, and felt very positive when Glenn Harrold brought me back up - although the effects have now worn off somewhat, these CD’s are best used regularly to give the subliminal messages a chance to sink in and do their work at an unconscious level - so as soon as I have finished this article, I am going to lie down and play the first session again!
Kate Blackie is author of this blog. She attended National Cathedral School. She excelled in academics. She was a president of the student council. Kate also loves athletics, camping and basketball. Kate takes part in Essay Writer Contest which is held by Edusson.