Sunday, 15 July 2018

The Lantern

The Lantern is a piece of political philosophy.

It examines and explores the complex and myriad issues that have, unfortunately, stymied and real changes and developments in the current Arabian world.

The author, Ayman Aborabh, takes the time and trouble to reexamine these issues by introducing new and groundbreaking ways of thinking that the author hopes will challenge his readers to understand and embrace and what is commonly described as western philosophy and to meld these with the current political realities and politics that exist within the Arab world.

He is candid in his observations, but he levens this with a good deal of humour. He takes the works of the likes of Plato, Machiavelli, Burke and Hobbes and triex to illustrate his points by picturing how these great minds from previous ages would examine the political makeup of the states of modern Arabia.

He also features two "normal" Arabian citizens who he has arguing vital questions on freedom, democracy and on their ordinary lives.

Although a serious academic work it is written in an open and approachable style, the author aims it at universities that offer courses on modern Arabian politics and the like.

 It is published by Matador at £13.99.

The author also has a YouTube channel which is in the Arabian language.

The Tales of Louis the House Rabbit

The Tales of Louis the House Rabbit is an utterly charming illustrated book by Harriet Hall.

It is a book that is aimed at parents and children (ideal for reading to children) and it contains simply written stories about Louis who is a rabbit who lives in a house.

He manages to sneak out of the house and meets a whole range of interesting creatures such a bees, frogs, a rabbit (who is puzzled as to why Louis doesn't have a warren!) Whiskers, Louis' new rabbit chum, shows Louis his warren and introduces Louis to his extended family.

After some adventures, including a bit of a scary one, Louis returns to his own home, with his human family.

But he dreams about the other rabbits when he falls asleep in his bed, after washing his ears, of course!

It costs £8.99 and is published by Matador and it is the first in a series, so do look out for subsequent books.


Who is John 'Wilf' Wilford? He worked as a roadie for many top bands and musicians. His book Soundman traces his 30 year history of working on the road as a sound engineer, a tour manager and a production manager.

In his book he takes his readers on a behind-the-scenes tour of what took place by on and off the stage, sound checks, recording studios, TV studios, the tour buses and the hotels that the bands occupied during their tours.

It's the view of a genuine insider, and you'll be shown the highs and lows of life on the road with some very famous and some not quite so famous bands and individuals from 30 years on the road.

From pub gigs right up to gigantic events at stadiums like Wembley and the Hollywood Bowl, you'll see them all.

After tinkering with his father's defunct valved radio (he got it working) Wilf was bitten by the radio and electronics bug and eventually took a City and Guilds course to learn the basics of radio and television servicing.

Eventually he shifted over inot the world of pub gigs, as a part time roadie, he took up the career as a full time professional.

He built (whilst working with Midas Amplification) sound mixing consoles for top groups such as Pink Floyd. He actually built their highly specialised Quadraphonic mixing desk.

Eventually he launched several sound companies in both the UK and in Nashville, in the USA.

Learn how some managers of bands utterly ripped off their bands, sometimes even ensuring they didn't even own their own homes, how Black Sabbath designed an absolutely huge replica of Stonehenge to appear on stage with them. But they had forgotten to measure the doorways of the halls they were to perform in, and the result was they could not get their Stonehenge into any of them!

And there was the dreadful incident involving serious injuries to a dwarf actor dressed up as a baby during a Black Sabbath tour. 

The book is well illustrated with pictures of equipment and of gigs, but mainly from the perspective of the sound engineer, which is what would be expected, as this book is from the perspective of a sound engineer.

There are scores of anecdotes and interesting little asides and stories and at £12.95 (published by The Book Guid) this book needs to be in the hands of people who where there, or who want to see what "where" was like!

The Jacobite Rebellion A Novel

The Jacobite Rebellion A Novel is a novel form Paul Adams.

Charles Edward Stuart's life has just taken an unexpected turn for the worst. He is arrested by the police, but it appears it is all just a case of mistaken identity, so he is released from police custody.

Back home again he makes the mistake of opening the door to Flora Macdonald who is able to persuade Carles to join her on a journey to Scotland. However, they are trailed by DCI Cumberland, who is following them.

Once in Scotland Charles is taken to Brady Castle where he is introduced to Colonel MacPherson, who informs Charles that he is plotting the overthrow of Queen Elizabeth the Second, with who he believes to be the real King, Charles Stuart. But not our Charles Stuart, a different Charles Stuart, for our hero is merely being employed as a decoy.

However, it's clear from page one of this novel that the whole thing is going to be a riot. Well, several riots, really. A riot of fun, then there's the accidental riot accidentally caused by DI Monro, the incident of caticide resulting from an incompetent police firearms unit (police force amalgamations you see? Very tricky stuff...), a traffic wearden, a postman and a lost stripagram (how was she to know dressing up as a police officer would cause even more mayhem?) and this was before the BBC arrived on scene!

The police interview is a classic example of how mistakes can be made and the entire book is full of wry and caustic humour. Everything in the book is an object lesson in how it is possible to take ordinary, mundane events and, with a slight flick and a twist, turn them into an absolutely hilarious series of weird happenings.

And this was before our hero makes his fateful trip up North!

It's a novel that generally offers two or three (sometimes more) laughs per page and just wait to see what happens to HRH! Pity about Lawrence the cat, though. And who would have thought that pedalo operators would have been so important as to how things turned out?

It's published by The Book Guild at £7.99 and will be another great summer holiday read.

The Steampunk Murder

Thank goodness! There's a new Inspector Carmichael mystery novel from Ian McFadyen!

This is probably my pick of the Summer reads.

Inspector Carmichael is a very genuine and plausible police detective. He's no super sleuth, but then neither is a a shabby breaker of rules just because he can break them. He is a working copper who always gets results.

But this case tests him and his team to the limits in some ways, as it introduces him to the rather weird subculture of Steampunk.

Kendal Michelson is a leading light in the Northwest England Steampunk movement. That is he was, until someone rather cruelly put his light out by murdering him. By rather gruesomely imaling him on his own sword.

But Kendal was a popular young man, so who would have a motive for murdering him?

Could it be one of his apparently close friends in the Steampunk movement? One of his former partners? And even if they didn't actually kill him, do they know more than they are revealing to Inspector Carmichael and his team of detectives?

Then there's Kendal's father, a self made millionaire who made his fortune in making sweets. Does he know anything about who might have had a motive to murder his son?

But before the end of the investigation more murders are committed and it becomes clear that the local Steampunk scene is a lot more than just wearing fancy, Victorian-based clothing and monocles.

So... who is committing the murders and why?

Take this book with you to the holiday destination of your choice and you'll have to be prised from it to leave your deckchair!

It's published by The Book Guild at £8.99 and will make an excellent gift for the mystery lover in your life.

Three Funerals and a Wedding

Three Funerals and a Wedding is a highly readable and very valuable book for anyone in business.

The author, John Thorp, takes a look at four businesses that are undergoing radical changes. He points out how they succeed or why they failed.

John Thorp has worked in business management for over a quarter of a century. This was in the main in IT leadership roles at some very well known brands such as Laura Ashley, The Burton Group, Compass Group, easyJet and the Dixon Stores Group. At the last two concerns he served as a member of the board of management.

The firms are all still operating today, but some are in very different forms. Although for some their survival was a bit of a nail biting situation.

As well as having seen business management form the inside, he is also a visiting lecturer at Cranfield University, where he also earned his Masters degree.

John states that the book is about systems and change. However, he points out that unlike other books that deal with business change it is not about 'business change management' it covers other areas of change, what change is, how systems can bring about change and how change can bring about unintended consequences for the organisation concerned.

John Thorp points out that although change, especially when it involves IT departments, can be vital, it can also be fraught with danger and pitfalls.

His writing on the Laura Ashley brand is an object lesson to all involved in business that although change must happen it must be managed well.

Published by the Book Guild at £8.99, this book belongs on the bookshelf of everyone involved in business management, no matter at what level they might be.

Saturday, 14 July 2018

5 Simple Steps to Saving Planet Earth

5 Simple Steps to Saving Planet Earth is a novel for children from Jo Withers.

Billy is having some problems. Due to an unforeseen set of circumstances he finds himself trapped beneath a hedge with a good half kilo of sausages round his neck to act as bait for a runaway dog.

Far from being early, he was now running very late and covered in dog slobber. But then the day, Thursday 18th of May, got even worse for poor Billy!

He gets detention and later becomes injured and insults his friend Wayne and misses getting to the newsagents.

That night Billy is having a bad dream. Which, with the interruption of his dream by a tiny creature called a Ysgol from the planet Blykpstpst.

It transpires that the world will cease to be next Wednesday (exact time computed as teatime, in case you are interested) and that would be it for humanity. And every other creature mankind shares the planet with, for that matter.

At first Billy thinks he has gone bonkers, but when the Ysgol appears in Billy's back garden, Billy know that he isn't going mad and that something must be done to save the world, from a band of interplanetary contract cleaners who want to clean the Earth out of existence!

The Ysgol is trying to help, though an emergency survival kit the basic contents of which appear to be an old apple core and little else, might be thought of as a unique employment of the word 'help'.

Though the emergency survival kit might be more important than one might think.

Billy gets together a team of heroes to heroically fight against the interplanetary contract cleaners (it was they who brought the last ice age) and fight against the menace with pluck, bravery, panicking and a leaflet called "5 Simple Steps to Saving Planet Earth."

Will they find out who the Chosen One is? And will they still be able to save the planet from being taken to the cleaners?

The book costs £7.99 from The Book Guild and is a very good read for children and adults, too, for that matter.

This is an ideal book to read over the summer holidays.