10.51am

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Have you ever read a book that made your skin crawl while at the same time was completely unputdownable? When I read the book Lamb by Bonnie Nadzam I came away from it simultaneously with a big smile on my face for reading a fantastic book, but also with a weird sense of WTF did I just read?

I love it when a book messes with you like this.

The blurb:

Lamb traces the self-discovery of David Lamb, a narcissistic middle aged man with a tendency toward dishonesty, in the weeks following the disintegration of his marriage and the death of his father. Hoping to regain some faith in his own goodness, he turns his attention to Tommie, an awkward and unpopular eleven-year-old girl. Lamb is convinced that he can help her avoid a destiny of apathy and emptiness, and even comes to believe that his devotion to Tommie is in her best interest. But when Lamb decides to abduct a willing Tommie for a road trip from Chicago to the Rockies, planning to initiate her into the beauty of the mountain wilderness, they are both shaken in ways neither of them expects.

Reading through this I could not help but compare it to Lolita but in my opinion this book messes with you much more effectively. Whereas Lolita was in places a meandering mess, Lamb is tight and straight and makes you anxious to turn the page, but makes you do so with one eye peeking between a hand over your eyes. Of course there are some key differences between the two books, and I won’t go into those as that puts us in spoiler territory, but suffice to say that Nadzam’s development of the story keeps you on edge throughout.

It is a wonderfully woven tale that will make you feel for all of the characters and their situations, even the side characters. They all feel real and relatable – you might not agree with what some of them do, but Nadzam makes you understand their motivations, however flawed.

The end result is a thoroughly engrossing read, one that will stay with you for a long time after.

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10.28am

This is What Came Out of Me (Episode 30)

BOOK REVIEW – The Innocent

Hello and welcome to This is What Came Out of Me, a series about anything and everything, but mostly things like movies, TV, books, podcasts, and YouTube.

In each episode, I talk about things that have grabbed my interest, and things that I think that you out there in the big wide world might be interested in.

I’m SierraKiloBravo, let’s get into it!

In today’s episode we talk about a novel called The Innocent…

I believe in a value-for-value model so if you liked what you saw, maybe buy me a coffee? https://www.paypal.me/SierraKiloBravo

Gear
Shot On: iPhone 6
Lens: N/A
Edited On: Da Vinci Resolve 15

Find me on all the things!
* YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/sierrakilobravo
* Bitchute: https://www.bitchute.com/channel/sierrakilobravo
* Twitch: https://www.twitch.tv/sierrakilobravo
* WordPress: https://sierrakilobravo.wordpress.com/
* Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EssKayBeee/
* Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sierra.kilo.bravo/
* Twitter: https://twitter.com/SierraKiloBrav0

10.28am

9780330438476-itI love a good documentary, and one of my favourite documentarians is Louis Theroux. I really enjoy his laid back, curious style, and the way he simply asks questions of people and lets their answers form the body of his work.

You might remember from Vlog 231 that I was very pleased to get my hands on a copy of one of his books recently, The Call of the Weird. Drawn, not only by the title being a play on the titles of one of my favourite books ever (The Call of the Wild) the chance to read me some Louis was something I’d wanted for a long time.

The book is fascinating.

Written as a follow up to one of his series, he writes of his adventures as he tries to reconnect with the subjects of that series. There are a wide range of characters, from white supremacists, to prostitutes, to motivational speaker scammers, to alien abductees – pretty much exactly what you would expect from the orbit of Louis Theroux. The book is divided into sections dedicated to the particular subject matter, and just the right length to get through at night before you fall asleep.

If you’re anything like me you will read the book in Louis’ voice, which adds another layer to the documentary feel of it all.

The people are interesting and Louis talks almost fondly of them and their connection with his documentaries. As you get with with his TV releases, the chapters are imbued with a childlike curiosity about the world around him, and the people that have come into his life. You can tell he respects these people, even if he does not subscribe to their various ideologies or lifestyles.

If you’re a fan of Louis’ work then I suggest you check it out. It will probably be exactly what you expect and also shine a deeper light on some people you may be familiar with from his TV series. Even if you’re not familiar with his work, there is still definitely enough in here to hold your attention, especially if you love delving into the lives of some fellow humans.

7.27am

This is What Came Out of Me – Episode 29

Hello and welcome to This is What Came Out of Me, a series about anything and everything, but mostly things like movies, TV, books, podcasts, and YouTube.

In each episode, I talk about things that have grabbed my interest, and things that I think that you out there in the big wide world might be interested in.

I’m SierraKiloBravo, let’s get into it!

In today’s episode we talk about a fascinating book that I read by accident…

I believe in a value-for-value model so if you liked what you saw, maybe buy me a coffee? https://www.paypal.me/SierraKiloBravo

Find me on all the things!
* YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/sierrakilobravo
* Bitchute: https://www.bitchute.com/channel/sierrakilobravo
* Twitch: https://www.twitch.tv/sierrakilobravo
* WordPress: https://sierrakilobravo.wordpress.com/
* Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EssKayBeee/
* Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sierra.kilo.bravo/
* Twitter: https://twitter.com/SierraKiloBrav0

10.24am

dakota-meyer-book21One of the podcasts that I listen to frequently is The Jocko Podcast, hosted by Jocko Willink a former Navy SEAL. Back in episode 115 he spoke with Dakota Meyer, a recipient of the Medal of Honour. In their conversation they talked about the battle and situations that led to the medal, and used Meyer’s book Into the Fire as a guide for the conversation.

It was a riveting discussion and I was pleased to find that my local library had a copy of the book. I scooped it up and ploughed through it in less than a week. It is a real pager-turner and I found my nose stuck in it for hours at a time. Meyer writes in a frank and open manner and skillfully describes the battle and what happened in his life afterward.

The battle in question involves a small mountaintop village from which Meyer’s team was ambushed. A combination of opponents using the rules of engagement against them, rear echelon red tape, and the fog of war led to the death of many soldiers. Meyer was initially posted outside the battle zone, but things got to such a bad point that he went against direction and went into the fray to rescue his fellow marines and ANA soldiers.

Several things stand out about this book; there is not a lot of preamble, Meyer briefly goes over his upbringing, but only in enough detail to allow us to know that he was brought up with high expectations and a solid work ethic (many books spend wayyy too much time on the pre-event stories). Secondly, his description of the battle brings its intensity to the fore. Whether he is conveying the helplessness of hearing his friends over the radio getting cut down, deciding with his mate to go in, or in the thick of the action, you feel like you are right there with him. Then to close, the effects these events had on his life are told in such a raw and open way that you can’t help but be moved by what it must be like to lose your friends and end up sitting in a carpark late at night with your gun against your head.

It’s a full on read, but well worth it. It is to the point and will suck you in. Check it out.

2.39pm

This is What Came Out of Me – Episode 27

Hello and welcome to This is What Came Out of Me, a series about anything and everything, but mostly things like movies, TV, books, podcasts, and YouTube.

In each episode, I talk about things that have grabbed my interest, and things that I think that you out there in the big wide world might be interested in.

I’m SierraKiloBravo, let’s get into it!

In today’s episode we talk about The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood…

I believe in a value-for-value model so if you liked what you saw, maybe throw me a dollar? https://www.paypal.me/SierraKiloBravo

LINKS
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38447.The_Handmaid_s_Tale

1.52pm

This is What Came Out of Me – Episode 23

Hello and welcome to This is What Came Out of Me, a series about anything and everything, but mostly things like movies, TV, books, podcasts, and YouTube.

In each episode, I talk about things that have grabbed my interest, and things that I think that you out there in the big wide world might be interested in.

I’m SierraKiloBravo, let’s get into it!

In today’s episode we talk about The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro…

If you liked what you saw, maybe throw me a dollar? https://www.paypal.me/SierraKiloBravo

LINKS
Kazuo Ishiguro: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kazuo_Ishiguro
The Buried Giant: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22522805-the-buried-giant

7.13pm

51a5k0THlNL._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_The Better Angels of Our Nature takes a place as one of the most fascinating books that I have ever read. It’s a monster of a book with over 600 pages of text and 400 pages of references.

It’s HUGE.

Even though it’s a big book, it’s actually quite easy to read. This is because the chapters and sections are quite short.  This serves to break it all down into easy to read chunks to read when you’re on the train, having a dump, or chilling on a Sunday afternoon.

Another thing that makes it easy to read is the information contained within it; it’s really interesting! Like this description of a medieval game:

A pair of players would have their hands tied behind their backs, and then, using only their heads, they had to batter to death a cat that had been nailed to a post.

Sounds like a great night out doesn’t it! See? History can be fun if you read the right stuff!

In addition to being an examination of human violence over the centuries the book serves as a solid history lesson. It tracks human progress from early times to the dark ages, the Middle Ages, the enlightenment, through to our modern era. Everything is covered, from death and torture as a punishment for owing debts of as little as ten dollars through to the many genocides that have occurred through our history. It reminded me somewhat of a book version of Dan Carlin’s podcast Hardcore History.

It is not a light read and is pretty heavy going in a lot of places, but if you’re a history nerd like me, you’ll love it.

It held a special interest for me too. As a former Jehovah’s Witness, the book’s premise of examining if the times we live in are more or less violent than the past caught my eye. This is because JWs believe that the “increase of lawlessness and war” mentioned in the gospels are an indication that we are nearing the end of world. This is an absolute core doctrine; things will get worse and worse on earth until God steps in and cleans things up with Armageddon.

So as an escapee of that religion, what better to show if that doctrinal interpretation is accurate than a 600 page deep dive on this very subject?

Spoiler alert, the JWs are completely wrong in thinking that there has been an increase in violence. The author has painstakingly examined history and has conclusively established that we are now living in the best most non-violent time in human history.

Anyway, I digress, that’s a subject for another day!

I highly recommend this book and if you can take the time to churn through it, I think you’ll find it very fascinating.

7.29am

UK_Big

“Religions have been in this predicament before. This is just science banging on our door once again”

So goes a quote from a character in Dan Brown’s new book called Origin. I’ve read all the other Dan Brown books, and was pleasantly surprised when this one seemed to get released out of nowhere.

This one is another story with Robert Langdon as the protagonist, and instead of focusing on religion and history and clues and puzzles, this story focuses more on technology, humans, and the future. Religion definitely plays a part as you can tell from my opening quote, but it is by no means the thing the story revolves around as it was in previous Langdon books like The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons.

So what’s it about? Here is the synopsis:

Robert Langdon, Harvard professor of symbology and religious iconology, arrives at the ultramodern Guggenheim Museum Bilbao to attend a major announcement – the unveiling of a discovery that “will change the face of science forever.” The evening’s host is Edmond Kirsch, a forty-year-old billionaire and futurist whose dazzling high-tech inventions and audacious predictions have made him a renowned global figure. Kirsch, who was one of Langdon’s first students at Harvard two decades earlier, is about to reveal an astonishing breakthrough . . . one that will answer two of the fundamental questions of human existence.

In Origin, Brown does something that he does a lot in his novels; he takes a long time to get to the point. It takes him over a hundred pages to get to Kirsch making his big announcement, the thing that kicks off the events of the book. Its not as if those hundred pages were boring or uninteresting, but I did find myself a couple of times going “wow look how much I have read and nothing of real substance has happened” but Brown’s writing style has a way of making even the mundane sound interesting.

When things start happening, given that this is not just a Dan Brown book, but a Robert Langdon story, you naturally expect there to be a series of clues and codes to be deciphered, you expect to go for a dive into history and have it revealed that something everyone knows to be one way is in fact completely different. But this…doesn’t really happen in Origin. There is no real puzzle solving and chasing of clues apart from one main one which is Langdon and his partner Ambra searching for – wait for it – Kirsch’s computer password…

Yes you heard that right.

And again, don’t get me wrong, it’s not boring and it is the usual fun Dan Brown ride, but as I moved through the book, I felt like I was missing the usual beats of his earlier work.

There is also some weird and awkward humour in it too, an example being the following:

Without a word she held it over the railing and let go. Langdon watched the phone plummet down and splash into the dark waters of the Nervion River. As it disappeared beneath the surface, he felt a pang of loss, staring back at it as the boat raced on.

‘Robert,’ Ambra whispered. ‘just remember the wise words of Disney’s Princess Elsa.’

Langdon turned. ‘I’m sorry?’

Ambra smiled softly. ‘Let it go.’

I remember reading that and thinking “HUH?”

It seemed to come out of nowhere and felt like a shoehorned dad joke put in for no apparent reason.

Anyway, I might be coming across as negative toward this, but please don’t get me wrong. While its no Da Vinci Code it certainly is a good fun read and the sort of story that is great for light reading on a commute or flight.