Profile for Linda Oskam > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Linda Oskam
Top Reviewer Ranking: 191,466
Helpful Votes: 758

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
Linda Oskam "dutch-traveller" (Amsterdam Netherlands)
(REAL NAME)   

Show:  
Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-14
pixel
The Demon in the Freezer: A True Story
The Demon in the Freezer: A True Story
by Richard Preston
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars A nightmare explained, 28 Aug 2006
Richard Preston describes the nightmare of smallpox: the effects of the disease, the enormous efforts made by literally hundreds of thousands of people between 1965 and 1979 to eradicate the disease (the only human disease eradicated so far) and the potential use of the remaining virus stocks as biological weapons. And in between one gets information on anthrax as well. Reading this book raises the hairs on the back of your neck: it is so easy to make a supervirus and it was so stupid not to destroy the remaining stocks of virus when they were kept in refrigerators in only 2 laboratories (one is the USA and 1 in the USSR) in the seventies. An extremely important story told in a roller coaster fashion that grabs you and does not let go.


President Kennedy
President Kennedy
by Richard Reeves
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars Revealing insight into presidential decision taking, 28 Aug 2006
This review is from: President Kennedy (Paperback)
President Kennedy did not have the easiest presidency imaginable: big issues abroad including Cuba, Vietnam, Berlin, the nuclear arms race and test ban treaties with Russia and the highly contradictory issue of integration at home were all begging for his attention and often at the same time. This biography gives a good insight into the way decisions were taken and that there is a lot of on-the-job learning involved. It is in a sense shocking to read that the way a superpower is run is not that much different from the way an average manager runs his group of a few people.

I found it slightly disappointing that this biography deals exclusively with the presidency of Kennedy, not his formative years as a student, a soldier and a senator. But all in all a revealing insight into the presidency of a man who, after his assassination, become a posthumous hero.


Missing
Missing
by Karin Alvtegen
Edition: Paperback

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent thriller, 28 Aug 2006
This review is from: Missing (Paperback)
Sibylla Forstenstroem is the daughter of a rich but insensitive merchant and his wife. After a depression and an unwanted pregnancy she flees as an 18 year old girl from her family and the institution where she is kept. She starts to live as a homeless person and is capable of taking rather good care of herself for 15 years. But then things go wrong: she is wrongly accused of murdering a businessman and while she hides from the police three other murders follow. In the end she is capable of unravelling the true cause of these murders with the help of 15 year old Patrik, who she meets when hiding in the attic of a secondary school.

This was a very entertaining introduction to the work of yet another excellent Swedish author of thrillers. Definitely worth a read.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 2, 2011 2:03 PM BST


The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
by Mark Haddon
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.59

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A bitterly funny book with a great description of autism, 28 Aug 2006
Christopher Boone is a 15 year, 2 months and 3 days old boy who lives in Swindon together with his father. One night he finds the dog of the neighbour with a garden fork sticking out of it. He decides to solve this murder in the way his great example Sherlock homes would have done, because animals have the same rights as humans. Christopher really needs to stretch his limits while "detecting": he is autistic and cannot cope with simple things like the colour yellow, being touched, being in a place with lots of people or eating food of the wrong colour. But he uses his very rational mind (he wants to become a mathematician or, ideally, an astronaut) to make choices between options and to overcome some of his fears. And he ultimately discovers a truth far bigger than he could have imagined when he started his adventure.

This is a bitterly funny book looking at the world through the eyes of somebody who has problems understanding emotions and other human behaviour and language that are taken for granted by non-autistic people. Mark Haddon really described the essence of what it is like to be autistic. A great read (and I loved the little drawings).


Fingersmith
Fingersmith
by Sarah Waters
Edition: Paperback
Price: 8.00

7 of 17 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I could not care less..., 28 Aug 2006
This review is from: Fingersmith (Paperback)
Sue Trinder lives in a family of petty crooks in the slums of Victorian London and Maud Lilly lives with her book-collecting uncle in a estate outside London. Through a villain named Richard Rivers aka "The Gentleman" they get involved with each other, because Rivers wants to get hold of the fortune of the rich girl the moment she becomes 18. The plot twists and turns, the girls fall in love but get separated but all is well that ends well.

A typical Victorian novel (or at least the interpretation of a modern writer of Victorian novels). To be honest: I could not care less what is happening to the main characters Sue and Maud. Their characters remained paper-thin (as were all the other characters in the book): they moan and groan but never pull themselves together and take life into their own hands. I know that Charles Dickens had to write sturdy books because he was paid by the word, but their is no reason why modern writers should also produce endless, boring descriptions and books with too many twists and turns that do not really add something crucial to the story that is being told.


The Hundredth Man (Carson Ryder, Book 1)
The Hundredth Man (Carson Ryder, Book 1)
by Jack Kerley
Edition: Paperback

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hard-boiled thriller, 28 Aug 2006
Carson Ryder is a homicide detective of the Mobile Police force. When headless corpses start to turn up he and his partner Harry Nautilus try to solve the case despite the tremendous opposition provided by an ambitious superior. And in the meantime Carson also tries to save a boozing pathologist from becoming fired. Carson has a secret and it is through this secret that he may (or may not) be capable of solving the murders. But there is no such thing as a free lunch, so Carson will have to pay for the information and how far is one willing to go to find a serial killer?

This is quite an enjoyable read, even though the "hard-boiled" language is now and then quite over the top and it is questionable whether in real life a superior would be willing to oppose the detective work as much as implied in this book and whether one would be willing to transport a knife by sticking it into one's leg... But not at all bad for a debut thriller.


The Lovely Bones
The Lovely Bones
by Alice Sebold
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars Unsatisfying end to an intriguing story, 28 Aug 2006
Susie Salmon is 14, lives with her parents, brother and sister in a middle-class house, does fine in school and has just been kissed for the first time. Everything is fine, but then, out of the blue, she is murdered by a man who lives 2 houses away. He destroys the scene of the crime, hides part of her belongings and dumps het body in a sinkhole. And even though people suspect him of the murder, there is no actual proof.

The interesting viewpoint of the book is that we witness everything through the eyes of Susie, wo is in her heaven observing what is happening to her family and friends on earth. How each of them copes in his or her own way with her absence and their grief, how her family disintegrates and gets back together and how life goes on, even though it has changed for a lot of people.

I absolutely loved this way of looking at things: it gives the author endless opportunities to describe what is going on when a group of people loose a dear one. I was only disappointed by the rather unbelievable ending of the book, it seemed like the author did not know how to come up with a satisfying ending. A shame and therefore only 4 stars, but for the rest definitely a very enjoyable read.


Revenge of the Microbes: How Bacterial Resistance is Undermining the Antibiotic Miracle
Revenge of the Microbes: How Bacterial Resistance is Undermining the Antibiotic Miracle
by Abigail A Salyers
Edition: Paperback
Price: 22.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Good overview of antibiotics and resistance, 17 Aug 2006
When antibiotics first came on the market in the 1940s, the general idea was that this was the end of infectious diseases. Unfortunately this has proven to be a false assumption. The fight against infectious diseases is a true arms race: every time mankind invents a drug, the pathogens find mechanisms to circumvent the action of the drug and to survive in a hostile environment. This book describes the various (kinds of) antibiotics, their modes of action and also the modes of resistance that are used by microbes to counteract the antibiotics. It also shows that a lot of resistance is actually due to human complacency, misuse and abuse of antibiotics: widespread use of antibiotics as growth promotors in the meat industry has led to resistance, description of antibiotics for viral infections (for which they do not work) has led to resistance, underprescription has led to resistance. All in all a rather grim picture which I know to be only too true.

Luckily Salyers and Whitt describe all these disasters using a very palatable, light style of writing. Maybe the book does not contain too much new information for biomedical scientists like myself, it certainly contains a lot of eye-opening information for interested members of the general public and even for doctors and vets, who I have often found to have only a limited comprehension of antibiotics.


Arthur and George
Arthur and George
by Julian Barnes
Edition: Paperback

10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Injustice undone, 14 Aug 2006
This review is from: Arthur and George (Paperback)
George Edalji grows up as the son of a Parsee church minister and a Scottish mother in rural 19th century England. After school he becomes a solicitor and starts a modest practice of his own in Birmingham. Every morning he takes the train from his parent's house to his work and every evening he walks for a little over an hour, before doing some more work and turning in early. He feels utterly English, but most people see only his brown skin and consider him an outsider. When he starts to receive threatening letters and strange objects (dead birds, an unknown key) he considers it a prank, but when he reports it to the police they turn the whole story upside down and claim that he writes the threats himself. When somebody starts mutilating horses the police even claims that George has done this, arrests him after which he is convicted to 7 years in prison. After 3 years he is released without explanation, but he cannot resume his work as solicitor unless he is rehabilitated.

In parallel to this story there is the story of Arthur Conan Doyle, the "inventor" of Sherlock Holmes: an energetic man, good at sports, with a full social and family life and more or less the opposite of George. When Arthur's first wife dies of TB, he finally has the chance to marry his long-term best friend, but somehow he becomes depressed. Until he learns of the case of George Edalji. He decides to investigate the case himself, kicks some behinds and finally manages to get George at least partially rehabilitated. And in the meantime he regains his sanity and is capable to pick up his life

The amazing thing is that this is actually a true story: George Edalji was the "English Dreyfuss" and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle did take an interest in his case. It is amazing to read how prejudice governed all the actions of the police, how a slightly strange, but perfectly harmless individual with a firm belief in English law and justice was completely wronged and ended up spending part of his life in prison on some ridiculous charges. I wondered whether George has Asperger syndrome (a form of autism): his reactions are certainly strangely flat and withdrawn, he does not really seem to understand social interactions and regularity is extremely important for him.

The fact that it never becomes really clear "who did it" is unsatisfying, but life can be unsatisfactory and since this story is based on facts rather than fiction, that's the way it is. All in all a very thorough piece of work and research by Julian Barnes.


State of Fear
State of Fear
by Michael Crichton
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.29

7 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Environmental terrorism, 14 Aug 2006
This review is from: State of Fear (Paperback)
George Morton is a rich philantropist who is funding a number of environmental organizations involved in the fight against global warming, including a lawsuit that the people of Vanutu, a small island state in the Pacific, launched against the US because global warming will lead to increases in the sea level and subsequently the flooding of their islands. When George Morton disappears one evening after his car has crashed, his lawyer Peter Evans and scientist-cum-special-agent John Kenner try to prevent a series of major man-made disasters that are caused to convince the world of the impending "catastrophe of abrupt climate change".

While the story is entertaining, the best aspect of the book is actually all the information (including their scientific references!) that Crichton provides on the subject, demonstrating that there are quite a number of aspects of global warming that are not as clear-cut as they appear when one reads the newspapers. Even though the information provided is definitely one-sided, this makes this novel very informative and in some aspects an eye opener. Three stars for the story, one additional star for the information provided.


Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-14