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A Spot of Bother
A Spot of Bother
by Mark Haddon
Edition: Paperback
Price: $9.70
408 used & new from $0.01

2.0 out of 5 stars It's Just Boring People and Their Boring Lives, September 9, 2014
This review is from: A Spot of Bother (Paperback)
You might like this book, but I'd suggest you pass it by. It's just SO BORING.

It was NOT my first choice for my first Mark Haddon book. I was actually listening to Leo Laporte's podcast (The Tech Guy) and he was talking about his upcoming trip to London and how much he was looking forward to seeing the play based on (he said) a wonderful book "The Curious Incident of the Dog in Night-time."

Unfortunately, "The Curious Incident of the Dog in Night-time" was not available, but "A Spot of Bother" was, so I thought it would be worth a try.

I'll admit to giving up after only the first ¼ of the book, but it just became a litany of the boring lives of a bunch of boring characters.

I hate giving up on any book, but after suffering though the incredible waste of time that "The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle" was, I decided that there are too many books out there to waste time on one that I'm not enjoying AT ALL.

"A Spot of Bother" starts out well and in liked the writing style, but is there a plot? I never found one.

I've seen other reviews who felt the same as I do about "A Spot of Bother," but loved "The Curious Incident of the Dog in Night-time," so I'll keep that on my list.


Horns: A Novel
Horns: A Novel
by Joe Hill
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.48
90 used & new from $5.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stop Looking at Reviews! Just Read the Book..., August 16, 2014
This review is from: Horns: A Novel (Paperback)
This is a great book and I highly recommend it.

I read it a few years ago, then decided to re-read it again earlier this year. It was just as enjoyable this time as it was before. I’d actually forgotten a few of the plot twists and was delighted as I was reminded how well this is written.

Other reviews may need spoiler alerts, but this book it worth reading without having any of it’s secrets told.

So, stop now and read the book.

Be careful, if you want to get the maximum enjoyment that’s in this story.

If I was going to reveal anything, I would say I was amazed by how, in a way like “The Sixth Sense” did, the conclusion of the story makes you change rethink and change your perception of events that happened throughout the story.

One last thing is about Joe Hill… if you don’t know anything about him, don’t check him out yet. Wait until you finish the book.


Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers
Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers
by Mary Roach
Edition: Paperback
Price: $9.90
360 used & new from $2.78

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Pass it by..., August 16, 2014
I found out about Mary Roach though the recommendation of another of her books.

That book wasn’t available, but while looking for that book, I found this one.

The title and topic made it sound different from the books I’d normally read, but the recommendation of her other book was so high, I thought I’d give this one a try.

The title certainly set my expectation at what happens to human cadavers and that’s certainly how the book begins. We are told about cadavers being used in medical study and the history of how cadavers were obtained and that leads into the body snatchers. We find out about bodiless hands and heads being used to train cosmetic surgeons and while that’s a bit ghoulish and gruesome, it’s inline with what I was expecting.

The first time I had to put the book down was in the section about the author’s visit to the “Body Farm” that’s part of UT Knoxville (yes, they really have one) where corpses are left exposed to the elements in a variety of ways to help forensic scientists understand postmortem events. I knew that the place existed and knew what they did, but had never experienced the description of the sights and sounds and smells of all the goings ons there. I thought I was done with the book at that point, but a week later, I picked it back up again.

Mary Roach is certainly a skilled author and is able to inject humor in places you might not expect and reveals information I didn’t know. I learned about cadavers being used for impact tests and in airplane crash site investigations. From the book, I learned that embalming wasn’t really done until the US Civil War. We’re told that there were so many corpses waiting for their families to collect them for a home burial that embalming had to be done, basically so there would be a corpse waiting for the family when they arrived. We’re also told that during this time, people were so impressed with the condition of the body of Abraham Lincoln, which was sent on tour around the country, that they wanted to have their loved ones preserved the same way.

But it’s not long before the book starts to lose focus and explores topics that seem to stray from human cadavers (dead people).

I struggled through the section on crucifixions experiments where viable arms are amputated from living people to have nails driven through different areas and pulled on to test the possible processes used by the Romans in Christ’s crucifixion. The section goes on to describe people who have volunteered to be crucified, though without the nails.

The final straw came in the section about decapitation and transplantation of heads.

I fully appreciate the wonderful state of medicine today and also know that I don’t want to know how much of that knowledge was learned. I can also appreciate the wonders that are being developed and tested for the future. I would LOVE to be able to have my head (or brain) transplanted onto some 20 year old body, so I’m sure experiments have to be done.

However, there were too many pages describing the attempts to keep decapitated dog (and other animal) heads alive. The book goes on to describe the procedures of grafting these still living heads onto other living dogs and then even tells about food falling from the open esophagus of these heads when it’s offered and accepted.

While Mary Roach may only be acting as a historian and reporter, I decided it was time to stop.

This is what Wikipedia says I missed:

• Cannibalism in the name of medicine
• New alternatives to burial and cremation
• The author's views on her own remains


The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle: A Novel
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle: A Novel
by Haruki Murakami
Edition: Paperback
Price: $9.57
159 used & new from $3.65

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars WHY, Adam Savage... WHY???, August 16, 2014
I'm SO disappointed by this book and in more ways than I can probably express. Like so many of the other 1 star reviewers, I had such high expectations for this book. AND THE WAY that this book was recommended, along all the other books by Haruki Murakami, I felt I just had to check them out. I was really excited to find that there were so many well reviewed books from an author that I'd never heard of. I thought I had an untapped resource for reading material that would last for quite some time.

"Wind-Up Bird..." was spoken of so highly that it had to be at the front of the line, but now that it's done:

* I'm disappointed that the story had no plot.

* I'm disappointed that I didn't like it.

* I'm disappointed that I actually finished it.

* And I'm MOST disappointed in ADAM SAVAGE!

Yes, Adam Savage of the TV show "Mythbusters."

I found out about this book solely though the podcast "Still Untitled: The Adam Savage Project" #11 - Summer Reading List - 9/4/2012.

In the podcast, Adam is listing all the great books that his co-host should be reading and begins talking about his favorite authors and favorite books. He spoke about a lot that I'd heard of and a lot that I've read, but the he begins to talk about Haruki Murakami. I'd never heard of Haruki Marakami.

He lists all of his great books and then goes so far as to say that The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle is "Earth shatteringly great." A few seconds later, he says, "Find me someone who doesn't like Wind-Up Bird Chronicle."

You can scoff at me for basing my reading list on Adam Savage, but that was enough for me. I started "The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle" the next day.

I had no idea what to expect and without knowing anything about Marakami's style and was really excited.

The beginning was interesting and certainly different that books I'd read before. As the story unfolds, so many bizarre things happen to the book's characters that I couldn't wait to find how the author could pull everything together. And with the length of the book, it was obvious that there would be plenty of time to build the suspense and then explain everything and bring it all to a great ending.

Unfortunately, that never happens. Things just happen to the characters and the author seems to have just decided to tell you about them.

While quite a bit of the book is very interesting and well written, those parts just dead-end and you're left wondering why those sections were introduced.

If you like your books to have a beginning, middle and an end... characters are introduced, things happen, things are explained and then there is a conclusion... then STAY AWAY from this book.

One of the 5 star reviewers says the publisher forced Murakami and the translator to heavily abridge the story and that's why characters disappear from the book (and I'd say the plot and meaning must have disappeared too). But this book was already so long that I can't imagine this book being 15 to 20% longer. If the author and translator had no choice but to edit the story into what it is now, maybe they should have written it off as not suitable for the US market. As I look back on it, I can think of SO MANY MORE sections that could have been edited out to allow what was left to make sense. There are so many things that just happened and had no bearing on the plot and just introduced unexplained events.

Maybe this book WAS ruined in the editing and the translation. If a US TV show like "Seinfeld" was translated into Japanese and then edited down to 12 minutes, it could be ruined. If the only thing Newman ever did was walk into a scene and say, "Kon'nichiwa, JERRY," then leave, no one would think that made any sense either.

If I ever do read another Murakami book and hate that one too, at least it won't be Adam Savage's fault. I'll have to blame that on me.

To borrow from Adam Savage and The Mythbusters:

"MYTH: The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle is a great book... BUSTED!!!"
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 22, 2014 9:52 AM PDT


Komputerbay 32GB High Speed Compact Flash CF 266X Ultra High Speed Card 36MB/s Write and 37MB/s Read UDMA
Komputerbay 32GB High Speed Compact Flash CF 266X Ultra High Speed Card 36MB/s Write and 37MB/s Read UDMA
Offered by Komputerbay
Price: $23.99
2 used & new from $23.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Satisfied Repeat Customer, March 19, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I've ordered from Komputerbay several times and they always deliver. Their products work great and are priced great too. The next time I need CF cards, I'll check Komputerbay


Soft Claws Feline Soft Claw Nail Caps - Black - Medium
Soft Claws Feline Soft Claw Nail Caps - Black - Medium
Offered by TheCatandKittenStore
Price: $13.99
7 used & new from $13.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Works For Me, March 27, 2009
I have an indoor cat that loves to scratch everything that he's not supposed to scratch. Shouting, clapping and spraying water stopped him when he gets caught, but he has hrs through the day to scratch anything he wants.

I saw Soft Paws as an ad on a pet website and it sure looked like a good idea. I bought the first set from PetSmart because I wanted them 'NOW' and paid about $25 including tax, but was able to start using them that night.

I've been very happy with the way they work so far. I've only been applying them to his front 4 'finger' claws and leaving his 'thumb' un-sheathed. After they're applied, he doesn't appear to even know they're on, so he doesn't chew or lick at them (but it's just vinyl and thick super-glue, so I wouldn't be worried if he did). I haven't been able to keep them all on for the full 4 to 6 weeks suggested in the lit. He seems to lose 1 per week, but I can't blame that on the covers. I suspect that I don't use enough glue applying them because I don't want glue oozing out on him (I don't like super-glue on MY fingers). This cat is not as patient as some that I've had, but if he would let me rough-up the side of his claws w/ some fine sand paper and I used the right amount of glue, I'm sure they'd stay on until the claw sheds off.

Anyone with a cat and a scratching issue should give these a try. Your cat may not tolerate them, but mine does.

I'll be buying the next set from Amazon and save about $10.


Black & Decker BV-006 Blower/Vacuum Leaf Collection System
Black & Decker BV-006 Blower/Vacuum Leaf Collection System
Price: $29.97
20 used & new from $23.99

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Big Help w/ Leaf Collection, March 27, 2009
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is the 2nd one of these that I've bought. The 1st was used w/ a gas-powered Weedeater blower/vac. I trimmed tabs on the inlet pipe that connect to the B&D unit and it slid right into the outlet of the Weedeater. All this went to a neighbor and never came back.

I couldn't find another one locally, so thank goodness for Amazon and online sellers. The new one got mated to a 23cc Echo gas-powered blower/vac. The inlet/outlet pipe for this combo are both almost the same size, so they don't join up like they did on the Weedeater, but until I find a better coupler, 2 or 3 wraps of duct tape work great.

If you use a blower/vac for leaf collection and mulching, you need one of these. I've used the sholder slung collection bags that come w/ the blower/vac, but you end up holding a 10 lb blower/vac and then 10 lbs of leaves in the bag (not to mention the limited capacity of the bag and that you're ALWAYS next to the dust that comes out of the bag) and you just get worn out faster. With this system, you can use any garbage can you want and the cover fits all of them. If you have an extra can and a helper, you can swap garbage cans and keep going.

I can't comment on how this system works using an electric blower/vac, but I'm able to collect wet or dry leaves and small debris and haven't had the hose clog yet. If the stuff you're wanting to suck up can make it through the vac's impeller, it will make it to the can. The 8' hose is a great length and if you can put the garbage can in the middle of your collection area, you'll find that a 16' circle is pretty big. You can also stay up wind and avoid most of the dust. Once the can is 1/3 to 1/2 full, it becomes very stable and doesn't tip over easily if you go beyond the 8'. But even if you do tip over the can, the drawstring that holds the cover on the can is secure enough that I've never spilled the leaves.

I can't believe B&D or another mfg. hasn't marketed something like this for other brands of blower/vacs (especially gas-powered ones) because it makes a great leaf collection system.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 21, 2013 6:32 PM PDT


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