Tuesday, 1 May 2018

'The Naturalist' - Read it with the lights on!

Sometimes it's almost too easy to measure the worth of a book, one method I use is called the 'Rinse and Repeat'.
It goes like this:

I read the last words of a book & probably fumbling with excitement, click into my Kindle store, search the book or author and immediately buy either the next in the series, or just another book by the same author.

As they say, money talks, and my dollars are saying

 'You, my Dear Wordsmith, are doing it right.'

(They are also saying.... have you heard of the library???)

Andrew Mayne is onto that kind of cash cow winner with his Naturalist Series and I have devoured both book one, 'The Naturalist' and last night book two, 'Looking Glass' (after which followed a VERY bad night sleep....my tip would be do not read either of these in bed).

Today I am reviewing 'The Naturalist' because, well, first things first!

'The Naturalist' describes itself as a Thriller and yep, it lives up to its' genre tag with a plot that revolves around gruesome animal (?) maulings and a serial killer who the authorities remain stubbornly blind to (picture a group of uniformed officers with their hands over their ears chanting 'LA LA LA').

Mayne deftly drags his reader through a series of ever escalating scenes of horror, his narrative pace accelerating off the blocks from paragraph one, as our hero, Professor Theo Cray, is taken into custody on the suspicion he has murdered a former student.

Sadly for Cray, this experience is probably the best thing that happens to him for at least 300 pages.

A scientist (and possibly a borderline sociopath), Cray is driven hard by his analytical mind and his 'scientific' world view provides a believable basis for his increasingly extreme behaviour over the course of the book.
Cray barrels through the plot with the momentum of a freight train , committing crimes against  common sense, his own body, other peoples bodies, decency and finally the law in his efforts to avenge his students death.
Problem is, for all his genius, he just cannot make himself heard; written off initially as grief stricken and finally as a creepy crackpot whose toes are inches from the line (spoiler alert... he crosses it;).

'The Naturalist' is an immersive read and I only managed to come up from its depths a few times; once to check the locks on the door (and if I'm honest, under the bed). If you like your reads fast paced, creepy and don't mind some graphic (scientific) description then I highly recommend this series to you.

Best thing is, there is a third book on the way!

As always, happy reading (with the light on). xxoo LMK

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Friday, 13 April 2018

The Curse of the Multitasker

Multitask Definition Mug
Novelty Mugs aside (and being it's creator, I do think this is rather a good one ;) I take my mission to unearth the good and evil in words seriously.


Now that is one seriously evil nine letter word! Not as bad as 'abysmally' but still...

Perhaps though, it is a necessary evil and in my case a daily sin committed in the name of being all things to all people.
Coffee made while waking up (yes, it is a valid example!), ironing done while yelling at sleepy children (ditto), teeth cleaned in tandem with pulling on uncooperative jeans and shoes with their laces still tied. 

All legitimate examples of multitasking endured in the name of just getting through the day.

Now don't stress, I'm not here to suggest a blanket ban on all the tandem brushing/dressing/caffeinating activities that are helping us survive in our hella crazy, over committed lives.

I am however, worried about the effect of 'real' (aka seriously complicated) multitasking on my life and, if I'm honest, my sanity. Surely all this relentless focus splitting is hard on the mind?
If I am going to drain my brain bare, shouldn't I have something to show for it, other than a headache and a sense that something important has definitely been forgotten?

Is, I ask, the Holy Grail then the idea of 'Single tasking'? A blissful 'one thing at a time' approach? Would my days, if spent in this manner, pass in a flow of focused activity and end in a glow of achievement?

Being the proactive type, I googled it, Single Tasking, and surprise surprise I found me a book!

It was even called 'Singletasking' - Get more done one thing at a time which I took as a sign, the universe had spoken. I needed to read this book.

Devora Zack, the author of this little tome, is well credentialed to examine the benefits of singletasking, being a business leadership consultant with her company, 'Only Connect Consulting'.
Even more importantly, she is a 'reformed' multitasker (though as she helpfully points out in her book, multi tasking itself is a myth) and a little bit like a reformed smoker, she is fervent about the benefits of quitting...... and the perils of not.

The pro's of taking it 'One Thing at a Time' include:
      • Profoundly higher quality outputs.
      • Reduced anxiety, &
      • Vastly increased productivity.

It was however, one particularly sinister peril of riding the multitask roller coaster that found me jumping to attention:

Multi tasking, or more accurately focus switching, will eventually cause...

EEEEK. My take on that, multi tasking, is in fact, a poison. A poison that will physically damage your body.

Ok, I'm scared, but is there any hope for us who have well and truly bought into the 'do it all' culture? Zack is ever confident that we can indeed free ourselves from the 'Multi Tasking Monster' through a process of planning and removing from our day the sirens that lure us into multi tasking's lair.

According to Zack, unwinding ourselves from the grip of our 'smart tech' is a good first step. Turning off alert sounds on our computers and devices, reading from a book or Kindle so our focus is not broken by a News.com alert, not (and this is a massive peeve of mine) bringing your phone to the dinner table.

This is only one of many strategies Zack champions throughout out this very practical book. She delivers on a promise made early in the piece to not 'frustrate' the reader with advice that is out of touch with normal lives (a bit like the 'save $1000.00 a month' blog posts that assume no expenses and maximum income).

Her advice is versatile, down to earth and easily integrate-able into the lives of any person who has wondered enough about this topic to pick up her book (yes I'm looking in the mirror here).

If you have stopped to read a message, check the news, spit out the toothpaste, revive a fainted Pokemon or even if you are reading this while you are supposed to be doing something else (well done you!) this might just be the book for you!

Think of your poor shrinking brain!;)

As Always, Happy Reading



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Tuesday, 10 April 2018

A Viking Dream

I recently had the chance (thank you world) to visit Norway, a place which can only be described with words that imply an excess of splendour.
My fave part however had to be the Viking museum. My jaw is still in traction after a tragic floor hitting incident that occurred when I walked through the front doors.

Whilst recovering, I have been inspired to pair some of my photography with some of my words.

Interestingly enough all of the ships on display had been re purposed as burial vessels for important figures and I reference this in my picture. My hunch is that they would prefer to be surrounded by briny waters and filled with the sounds of creaking timbers and oars slicing rhythmically through the sea.
But what do I know?

Happy pillaging (and lets leave it at that;).
xoxox LMK

This Quote is Derivative.......

Oh yeah, this one is for all of us whose 'brain waves' turn out to be reflections; like the time I had an unbelievably fantastic idea for a book.... which Netflix then ruined for me when I watched 'The 100'. It was like the plot had been ripped from my head, taken back in time and then written by SOMEONE ELSE!

Am still investigating copy write laws in these cases....

lol xoxoxox LMK