Saturday, 19 May 2018

Ten of the best #117

Hello world. It's a beautiful day in sunny SA, and I'm wondering if I'm going to finish this post before the urge to be in the sunshine beats the desire to share the best from my social media sites this week.

It's been an interesting week. The highlight of the week is trying to beat the white/gold or blue/black dress debate. Ellen unpacks it for us - Laurel or Yanny? What do you hear.

Here's the explanation. At this point, let me just add that Ellen is wrong. It's definitely Yanny. BTW, if you follow the story in the explanation clip, you'll understand that if a person hadn't heard Yanny for Laurel initially, we wouldn't even have this debate on our screens. And just imagine how much less wonderful our world would be, if that were the case.

The White House has a leaky staff. Trevor tells more.

Michelle Wolfe did the WHCD this year. (WHCD = White House Correspondent's Dinner, keep up). Here she shares some things with Seth Myers, who she used to work for.

Why we shouldn't be using plastic. Ever. I love the presentation of this National Geographic article and images.

The story of the picture. RIP Sam Nzima.

Kristen Stewart took off her shoes. At Cannes. Where there's a rule about ladies having to wear high heels to enter. Wait...Whaaaat? There's seriously a RULE? That's the story I want to hear.

Dear Teacher. This made me happy and sad.

Stephen King pulled a book from shelves, and now if you want a copy, it'll cost you $500, but he's ok with that. Here's the story.

I liked this - how to sell your product in stores. Make it GMO free, even if it was before...

That's ten. But if, like me, you feel the need for more, here's a long clip about the connection between Bruno Mars and Stravinsky, and a little musical sound history lesson. It's not only long, it's very drawn out. But fairly interesting.

There you go. Have a wonderful weekend, everyone.

Thursday, 17 May 2018

Scale: The Universal Laws of Growth, Innovation, Sustainability, and the Pace of Life in Organisms, Cities, Economies, and Companies by Geoffrey West

The Universal Laws of Growth, Innovation, Sustainability, and the Pace of Life in Organisms, Cities, Economies, and Companies. 

There you go, the subtitle of the book is almost its review. Geoffrey West is a theoretical physicist. He examines the world - well the observable features thereof - and how they relate to mathematics and physics. It's fascinating. Did you know, for instance, that there is a direct relationship between our body mass and our metabolic rate, and that this relationship is in the same scale for all species of animal life - from mouse to human to elephant? You can plot it on a chart. It explains how long each variety lives, on average, and how we all have the same number of heartbeats in a lifetime.

Can you explain why it's possible to live to, perhaps 120, but not 400? Mr. West can, and does in this book.

Here's a TED talk he did explaining how cities and corporations grow, the mathematical rate and why unlimited growth isn't possible. 

It's all very amazing, and possibly less complex than you may think. I thoroughly enjoyed the meandering journey.

Don't attempt it if you're not interested in the topic - it's detailed, and I'm sure you can find good videos and written articles explaining the concepts online.

5 stars


You may also enjoy The Square and the Tower by Niall Ferguson.

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

The Woman He Loved Before by Dorothy Koomson

Libby and Jack are married and live in a beautiful home near the sea. They have a horrific accident, where Libby needs to be cut from the car, and is far more injured than Jack. That's when she realizes that other people - the police investigator in particular - think there's more to their story than meets the eye. Jack is a widower. His previously perfect wife, Eve, died before Libby met him. When Libby comes home to start to recover, she finds Eve's diaries, hidden mysteriously away and starts to read them. 

Told in Libby's and Eve's voices, this is an intriguing tale of marital bliss and marital angst. If you're asking the question - 'is my husband capable of offing me?', can you really trust him? But what if he isn't? And even if he isn't, do you still dare to live in the same house? The scene is set for a detection with extremely high emotional stakes, and I found I couldn't read quickly enough

I've read and loved Goodnight Beautiful by the same author recently. 

This one's great too, I'm going to hunt everything by Dorothy Koomson down.

ISBN: 9781455507146

You may also enjoy My Husband's Wife by Jane Corry or The Precious One by Marisa de Los Santos.

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Still Me by Jojo Moyes

Louisa Clark and her life post-Will Traynor, part 2. For those of you who haven't read Me Before You and After You, Louisa Clark is a pretty ordinary, if somewhat aimless and jobless person until she takes on the challenge of caring for Will Traynor, who is wheelchair bound after an accident. This changes her life completely, and it's the way Will torments her, talks her into greater things and won't settle for anything less than best when it come to her that makes that story and the one after what it was.

For those of you who love Louisa as much as I do, did, and probably will until she takes her last breath, this is a treat. For me, unexpected. (It's intimidating having to write a follow up to Me Before You, and must be even more so to follow After You). I thought that Louisa Clark was interesting, but it was her life with Will (and even just post-Will) that made me want to read about her. Yet the genius of Jojo shines here - there was more to tell, Lou's deeper than that - and I enjoyed finally moving on with her. And she's not that uninteresting either. Also we can't forget Ambulance Sam who we've met before, and Lou's new life in New York, amongst the wealthy and the very wealthy. 

Enough now, though. Thanks for the closure, we can all move on.

4 very enjoyable stars 


By the same author...

More Books.

Monday, 14 May 2018

So now what?

Today's the day, people. We're getting into shape. We're running - so fast and so far that we may not even come back, and if we do, we'll be so fit and fired and lit that we'll actually run straight into tomorrow morning without even noticing. It is Monday, after all.'s raining. And with that it's freezing cold. Oh Universe, when did you see my tiny heart beating with righteous desire, and decide to just extinguish it with your cold ice-heart? Was it when I laid out my warm running clothes for today? Or was it when I shut my eyes early, so I'd wake up in time? We expected the cold, not the cold and the rain. Shoot.

So, what to do now?

Well stuff you all, we'll run on the treadmill at gym. With all the other pumped up and active people. We don't care, we're doing this, cold rain, sweat and tears.

And the music? Yes, we need the music. So today, it's this song. Please don't ask me what it means, I don't have a friggin clue. But it's catchy, the dance moves make me want to try them - no, not on the treadmill - (not ever, my daughters will say), and it made me smile. It's Christine and the Queens with  Tilted. Because music has its own language. And clearly, I speak this one.

And no, I've never been "doing my face with magic marker" either. Let me know if you've tried that?

Happy Monday, happy week.

Thursday, 10 May 2018

Seeing What Others Don't by Gary Klein

Whenever Gary Klein read an interesting article - one that he was curious about, or that showcased the unusual, he stacked it in a pile on his desk. I can relate, I've done similar stacking projects in my life. The difference between Gary and me, is he remembered a) that he stacked b) why and then he analysed them and wrote this book.

And it was so interesting. Trying to show how humans  can develop insight - that unique ability to solve problems, create something out of nothing or think through complex outcomes, he developed a framework for thinking about insight - insight basically comes from three sources - 
  • "Finding an inconsistency" - something that doesn't make sense, a contradiction;
  • "A connection path"  - joining the dots,  or linking theories together to expand on previous knowledge
  • "Creative desperation" - when faced with extreme adversity, a whole new way of thinking is created.
He tells stories, explains how these theories were developed and also links to other work done in this field. It had me spellbound.

There are also other gems of information - how companies spend way too mųch time analysing sources of errors, instead of developing insight, which has a more significant impact on the business. 

Klein is the first to admit that 120 stories collected by him is not exactly a scientific method of analysing the difficult question of how insight arises, but because he has studied other works extensively, and also his experience as a consultant, this book is useful. It also is far easier to read than its counterparts - everyone loves good stories, and there are plenty here for dinner time conversation.

5 stars

ISBN: 9781610392518

You may also enjoy Richard Thaler's Misbehaving or The Knowledge Illusion by Steven Sloman and Philip Fernbach.

More books.

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Watch Me by Jody Gehrman

Kate Youngblood is a writer, a creative writing professor. But she's at risk of disappearing. Her husband left her for a newer, brighter model. But there is Sam. Sam Grist is a promising student, who needs nurture and direction. He's her challenge. But he wants more.

Is it creepy or romantic when someone watches your every move, notices everything about you and thinks it's all pretty perfect? Do you try to help, enjoy the attention, or run as fast as you can move?

Well. it doesn't matter if that person is your student, and you only have that job - your second novel tanked, so you cannot become involved with someone you teach. It ends.

And that's when your no seems not to count for anything.

I've been trawling bookshops for dark, twisty, psychological thrillers for a while now, and I think it's this book's fault. Jody Gehrman has nailed the questions around obsession and how we deal with it, and the dark side of our humanity. She's also got right inside Kate's head, in a way that sucked me in and had me gasping. Alternating between Kate and Sam's point of view, you go to some bad parts of both their lives. It's traumatic. It's always tempting to love (and understand) the villain more, but I adored Kate - I just got her, and felt her pain.

I couldn't get enough. I didn't want it to end, but I couldn't read it quickly enough. And I haven't read anything else like it.

5 stars

ISBN: 9781250144027

You may also enjoy Blacklands by Belinda Bauer. Or Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter.

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Brother by David Chariandy

Michael and Francis, brothers living in a community that is not well-off, on the outskirts of town, are the sons of an absent father and a other who has to overwork so that they can survive,  are struggling. They get in trouble, lots. 

They throw parties, play loud music, escape into the valley, pass out and start again. It's hard when you're up against prejudice from police and the rest of the town. Tragedy strikes, I don't want to spoil it, but life was never going to be easy here.

This is a beautifully written and constructed novel. It's hard to believe that so much can be said in so few pages. The characters are unforgettable and their relationships leap off the pages and into your neighbourhoods. It's vivid, emotional and a powerful story.

I was sad to finish this, and will look out for more from this author.

4 stars


You may also enjoy Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff or The Long Song by Andrea Levy

Saturday, 5 May 2018

Ten of the Best #116

Good morning. Me again. I don't know if we have enough material for a Ten of the Best, since you guys have been boring on your social media feeds this week... Only joking, we did one of these on Tuesday, and it was so good, there may not be much good stuff left.  😃

First off - right here is partly why we live here. This week in PE. Click the pic for the video. Oh the glory.

Friday, 4 May 2018

Friday Books - The Square and the Tower

Once upon a time I used to, on a Friday, check out other book bloggers' shares and enjoy excerpts from the books they were reading. 

But it's been so long, I wonder if they are still around? Let's see.

At Book Beginningshosted by Rose City Reader, you share the first line, and  a few thoughts about the book.

Today I'm featuring The Square and the Tower by Niall Ferguson. Here's the beginning.

Subtitled 'Networks, Hierarchies and the Struggle for Global Power', this is not the kind of book I usually read - but it was the closest to me, since I reviewed it yesterday, and it is one that I thoroughly enjoyed.

It's about towers (hierarchies - think royalty, corporate structure etc) and squares (as in Town Squares, not nerds - although...) - think places of connection like social media, where each contributor is created equal. It questions where the power resided through history and its fascinating.

Here's page 56.

(At Freda's Voice, you'll find the Friday56, where the excerpt comes from page 56 or 56% in your Kindle.)

It's certainly not a quick and easy read, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. I couldn't put it down, and it's also one I''m going to enjoy having on my shelf.

What are you reading this weekend?  Leave me a comment with what you're featuring and I'll check it out.