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Margaret7 (West Wales)
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Improbable Destinies: How Predictable is Evolution?
Improbable Destinies: How Predictable is Evolution?
by Jonathan Losos
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £20.00

4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent overview of they theory of natural selection., 28 May 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a very interesting and approachable book that looks in detail at the nuts and bolts of natural selection, trying to discover whether there is any consistent logic to it. Although it is quite a complex scientific subject, the author makes it very easy to read and understand and so we are gently but surely taken through a wide range of examples and experiments in search of a resolution to the problem.
The book is definitely of academic standard, for all its readability and comes with a substantial reference section. Seems to me an imperfect theory that is not fully up to the reality, though, despite it having been the aggressively dominant paradigm for so long. Fortunately we have the field of epigenetics coming up the inside to help make more sense of the puzzle.


Basic Income: And How We Can Make It Happen (Pelican Introductions)
Basic Income: And How We Can Make It Happen (Pelican Introductions)
by Guy Standing
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: £8.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent idea whose time has come., 28 May 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Well, I think this is a brilliant idea, and this book does an excellent job of discussing and analysing it - looking at all the arguments for and against, from both sides of the humanity equation: those who believe there ought to be a financial safety net availale for everyone who needs it vs the greedocracy.
It is very thorough and goes through every relevant issue, from social justice to affordability And best of all it is very readable indeed. Although the author is an expert in the field, and this book is very comprehensively referenced, this is not a ponderous, academic read. It is in plain, easy-to-understand language and so is very approachable even for lay readers like myself. I hope, despite the current fake austerity abuses many countries are labouring through, that the idea slowly catches hold and is taken up across the world. So far Finland is giving it a trial run so it will be interesting to see how that works out.


Thunderstruck
Thunderstruck
by Ali Sparkes
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.87

4.0 out of 5 stars Superb book with a fascinating and exciting plot, 28 May 2017
This review is from: Thunderstruck (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I very much enjoyed road-testing this book before handing it on to my grandchildren. It is well-written and engaging - and also very imaginative and inventive - and it draws you in very quickly, after which you can't put it down until you are finished the book. The idea of lightning striking twice and thus uniting in friendship two pairs of school students: one dead and one living, from times decades apart, was an inspired one and it led into a fabulous, gripping and surprise-filled plot. I have to say, though, there were a few scary parts which may be nightmare-inducing for some kids. I know my grandson would be freaked out by some of the events in the plot and so will not be getting the book to read until he is a year or two older.


Chemistry: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)
Chemistry: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)
by Peter Atkins
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent overview., 28 May 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Another fabulously informative book from the 'Very Short Introduction' stable of books. I've not done any chemistry for well over 30 years so it was a fascinating walk down memory lane for me, albeit with a few new features to the scenery. The author has done an excellent job in giving an overview of the field by grouping functions rather than working through the periodic table, and by contextualising it has made the information much more accessible to lay people. The use of language, also, is very relaxed and friendly so it does not feel as if you are reading about a complex subject that may have been the bane of your lfe in school.


Dante: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)
Dante: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)
by Peter Hainsworth
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent introduction., 28 May 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is another excellent title from the 'Very Short Introduction' stable of books. I knew nothing whatever about Dante, except that he wrote The Divine Comedy, which I also knew nothing about - so the book was my introduction to both. There was an awful ot about the Divine Comedy - at least as much as about Dante himself, but for me that was a good thing as I learned an awful lot about both - and with it having been his master work, to engage with one and not the other would be an incomplete exercise. The book itself was very accessible and absolutely jam-packed with information. You think, with a book this size, that there will be very little in the way of real information in there but, introduction or not, the opposite is true. I really feel I have not just learned a lot, but that I am up for taking it further, knowing I have a decent basic grounding to start me off.


The Whitby Witches (Egmont Modern Classics)
The Whitby Witches (Egmont Modern Classics)
by Robin Jarvis
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Very exciting story set in Whitby, 28 May 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a lovely little book with an exciting and engaging plot that should appeal very much to young people who enjoy a supernatural mystery. Located in Whitby it gives a real context to the story - and not just the physical location itself - the author draws some of the local mythology as well and weaves it into the story very nicely. For anyone who knows the town, it must make it all the more fascinating and certainly my grandkids are keen to visit so they can see all the places mentioned in the book.
The grandkids really loved the story- kept them on the edge of their seats nearly all the way through. As the grandma I am a bit more fussy and I found it very good, but with a slight feel of the creative writing class about it. I was interested in the plot, but not engaged with it. My gold standard for kids' and adults' fantasy fiction is Terry Pratchett, this book, by comparison, gets a reasonable silver..


Headspace: The Psychology of City Living
Headspace: The Psychology of City Living
by Paul Keedwell
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £15.90

4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book., 27 May 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a very interesting book which tackles a very important subject that often seems not to be on the radar of most housing developers or town planners. Accommodation in modern cities seems to be getting smaller and smaller and more bunched up, with less and less open space available to local residents. People, especially people who are poor, are expected to cope with the barest minimum, where existence is barely achievable and actual living an impossibility.
So the work in pulling together the ideas and research for this book was much needed. We do suffer if we don't have enough personal space or a decent local environment - and if we never touch the earth - but these days it's all about money and greed.
There are some excellent ideas for building design and town planning which would make a massive difference to the quality of life, physically and psychologicaly, and one can only hope it becomes required reading for undergraduates.


Refuge: Transforming a Broken Refugee System
Refuge: Transforming a Broken Refugee System
by Alexander Betts
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent analysis and problem solving, 27 May 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is definitely a book that practically begged to be written. There are so many people in desperate need of help and we are doing so little other than fighting xenophobia and ignorance at home, rather than something concrete to help them and sustain the help while supporting the communities where they are settled, while they cannot go home. Obvously step 1 ought to be to stop bombing the crap out of their home countries while we try to steal their oil and sovreignty. But beyond that this book does a wonderful job of looking at the reality of the situation - both for the refugees and for the over-stretched agencies - and offering insight and practical ideas for another way of doing things, one that will be effective in the short and long term. Should be required reading anywhere it can possibly do any good..


Caesar's Last Breath - the Epic Story of the Air we Breathe
Caesar's Last Breath - the Epic Story of the Air we Breathe
by Sam Kean
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £20.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!, 27 May 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
What an interesting book! This is a subject most folks would never think about and certainly the premise is not one that most of us would have ever thought possible, if we had thought of it at all. But in this book, Sam Kean starts us off with this idea and uses it as the way into a brilliant journey through the science of the air on our planet, and we have a wonderful and fascinating ride without really registering that we are being taught science - and history - and a bit of medicine as well. Who knew it could be so much fun and so interesting? (OK, I did - but I am an elderly, nerdy weirdo..)
This is definitely a great book for the family bookshelf if anyone in the family is interested in how everything works. This book is definitely part of that fascinating genre.


Too Good to Waste: How to Eat Everything
Too Good to Waste: How to Eat Everything
by Victoria Glass
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £13.48

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Just another trendy recipe book., 27 May 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is OK if you are middle class and have bottomless pockets. But I found it overly trendy with too many faffy ingredients that most normal supermarkets don't even carry (crayfish or salsify anyone?). Re-purposing leftovers is not exactly a new thing for anyone who grew up with a mother who could cook. This book is just a fancy London marketing ploy for the hard of thinking. And some of these recipes are a joke - like 'Chicken and Salad Bag Stew - which is basically chicken stew with a bag of elderly salad leaves tossed in. What a load of rubbish!
Don't get me wrong, there are some nice, tasty recipes that are actually achievable within most people's budgets, but they are just recipes like any other - the title is a con. Either you use the food in your fridge or you don't. Bandwagon recipe books notwithstanding.


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