14.11.19

Review: Sacred Rest: Recover Your Life, Renew Your Energy, Restore Your Sanity

Sacred Rest: Recover Your Life, Renew Your Energy, Restore Your Sanity Sacred Rest: Recover Your Life, Renew Your Energy, Restore Your Sanity by Saundra Dalton-Smith
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I enjoyed the first part of “Sacred Rest”. The author divides rest into different types and discusses why you might need each type of rest, and what can happen if you don’t get that needed rest. Types include physical rest, but also spiritual, emotional, social, mental, sensory, and others. I found this made sense, and I hadn’t thought of rest in all these different ways. For me, the value of the book was in this first part. This part didn’t have an overwhelming secular bent. In comparison, the second part was all about the sacred as illustrated in Christianity. This didn’t maintain my interest as much as the first part. Overall, though, I found this very interesting, giving me a few new ways to categorize when I need my “downtime” to reap its benefits.

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13.11.19

Review: Y: The Last Man, Vol. 1: Unmanned

Y: The Last Man, Vol. 1: Unmanned Y: The Last Man, Vol. 1: Unmanned by Brian K. Vaughan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Interesting premise - all men and animals with x chromosomes suddenly die. Except for a young magician and his monkey. Who happens to be well connected. Add in an Amazon cult, Israeli soldiers, cloning scientists, garbage truck driving models, and lots of decomposing corpses and this could get interesting. This introductory book was interesting enough for me to continue.

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11.11.19

Review: Poised for Retirement: Moving from Anxiety to Zen

Poised for Retirement: Moving from Anxiety to Zen Poised for Retirement: Moving from Anxiety to Zen by Louise Nayer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I found this an enjoyable description of the author’s thoughts and actions prior to retiring, with annual updates for a few years post retirement. I find myself in roughly the same position in my career that the author was in at the beginning of the book. No surprise, I found the author has many of the same questions and worries and aspirations about her upcoming retirement as I have for my future. She provides some of the answers she reached, but also writes about the outcomes of her choices, and of her days in her new routine. I found this comforting. The author is a creative writing instructor, so I got the expected lengthy, poetically descriptive passages. The author also intended this to be a self-help book, so mixed in with her personal narrative are some paragraphs providing suggestions on things to consider or actions to accomplish to help lead to a successful retirement. I found these oddly placed suggestions, usually dropped into a narrative stream, were not very interesting or valuable, similar to many other books and matching common sense. The narrative is the value here. I greatly enjoyed the book. It hit the points I was like talking to a friend you haven’t spoken to in a long while – they meander around the decisions and actions of their lives, sometimes big ,sometimes little, always with reflection.

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7.11.19

Review: The Power of Business Process Improvement: 10 Simple Steps to Increase Effectiveness, Efficiency, and Adaptability

The Power of Business Process Improvement: 10 Simple Steps to Increase Effectiveness, Efficiency, and Adaptability The Power of Business Process Improvement: 10 Simple Steps to Increase Effectiveness, Efficiency, and Adaptability by Susan Page
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As I read this, I kept being reminded of those many project management how-to books I’ve read throughout my career. Page describes in detail the process to catalog and define business processes, and puts together a plan on effecting and managing related change. I approached this book as a way to reintroduce myself to the concepts of BPM, and I did recognize much of this from my work with a BPM software vendor. I believe this would be valuable to those approaching a BPM project without an existing framework to use. This provides the framework and samples of plans and processes and assets. Seems like this would be a valuable resource to many.

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6.11.19

Review: A Clockwork Orange

A Clockwork Orange A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A classic, but one where I saw the movie first. And then listened to the BBC4 audio adaptation, with multiple actors and embedded musical numbers. Still haven’t read it, but a comment on the story and the audio production. This is one of those stories built around some interesting moral quandaries. While many stories provide nuanced studies of such quandries, I’ve always thought of this as an example of the sledgehammer method of storytelling, one very willing to tell you exactly what each quandary is and what the options are. The best part about this book is that Burgess tells the story so well even with those almost academic constraints.

On the BBC4 production: This becomes something of a musical with this audio play rendition. There are four or five times where music comes up during the story, and there is not so much singing as rhythmic speaking and group chanting along with the music. It is very interesting, but it didn’t work for me. The other thing that set this audio production apart was the number of grunts and heavy breathing. Given there is a lot of violence in this book, this was expected, and the BBC used some of the best grunters and heavy breathers on radio. Overall, this was an interesting production, okay but not great. I believe I would rate the book higher.


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5.11.19

Review: The Crusades

The Crusades The Crusades by Abigail Archer
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Very short take on a few centuries of religious warfare. The book covers the largest battles, sieges, negotiations, political intrigue, and other events in the Holy Lands, but also covers the European home front and the political intrigue happening there. While short, there was no shortage of royalty, religious, and military leaders mentioned, and I was confused a few times. There was a good mix of narrative that helped to make this readable and enjoyable. I listened to the audio version. I suspect the paper book would have been more enjoyable here given other reviewers mentions of pictures, and given my difficulty tracking the principals.

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Review: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band: The Album, the Beatles, and the World in 1967

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band: The Album, the Beatles, and the World in 1967 Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band: The Album, the Beatles, and the World in 1967 by Brian Southall
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

When I see a book about one album, I expect the book to really be dedicated to that album, providing a lot of behind-the-scenes info that wasn’t common knowledge. You get some of that here, but it amounts to about a quarter of the book. The rest of the book is about the Beatles in general, from beginnings to the end of the group and beyond, with a lot of band member bio mixed in. Also mixed in was a lot on the times - basic pop history of the sixties. I have read a few books about the Beatles over the years, so I found most of this very basic Beatles lore. I could see if a person hadn’t heard much about the Beatles, this would be of interest, but c’mon…

I listened to this on audio. I understand from other reviews that the paper book has illustrations that make it more interesting. You don’t get those with the audio. While the book may well be better, I’d recommend skipping the audio version, and will rank the audio version low.


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Review: Sacred Rest: Recover Your Life, Renew Your Energy, Restore Your Sanity

Sacred Rest: Recover Your Life, Renew Your Energy, Restore Your Sanity by Saundra Dalton-Smith My rating: 3 of 5 stars...