What is going on is more real than one might think. This hilarious political satire shows a bit of light onto how universities are falling victim to gWhat is going on is more real than one might think. This hilarious political satire shows a bit of light onto how universities are falling victim to greed and corporate involvement from within administration and where the money is pocketed. Great satirical writing! Some references will be easily recognizable to many academics and students in academia.
The book is fast-paced, very entertaining in its portrayal of the infiltration of corporations in places of learning. A revolt is bound to happen, but how, when and by whom? The characters, or perhaps more correctly caricatures in the book are probably in evidence already. In fact, they are so well-drawn I felt myself back working in university joking with my friends about what we perceived at the time. I'll leave it to the readers to enjoy those who populate this book.
Lawrence S. Wittner gives us lots of laughs and 'monkeys in a barrel' while presenting a story that is already an issue in many places of learning. Revolts? Yes, if they are not here yet they will be. Congratulations on presenting with great tongue-in-cheek humour what the future could and quite possibly will be. A word of warning, wear a thick skin when you read, but take the caricatures with their personalities as they come....more
Brigitte Goldstein has produced a novel built on very well-researched Jewish history from the 1300s to present day. Though a work of fiction, it has tBrigitte Goldstein has produced a novel built on very well-researched Jewish history from the 1300s to present day. Though a work of fiction, it has the feel of reality. Of course much of the story includes real events especially the religious observances as well as the many relocations and deportations of the Jews through the centuries. With the many attempts to expunge all trace of the Jewish faith it is amazing how that faith has kept them going through all the trials and tribulations. It all begins with a centuries-old codex allegedly written by a woman named Miryam who is considered dead to her family after she is defiled by a Cathar priest and leaves her behind at the age of 16 in their exodus, at which time she renames herself Dina. The codex is a letter, or perhaps series of letters written to her sons, raised secretly with what Jewish teachings she is able to provide them although their father is the priest. She is explaining why she did what she did and how it was to protect them.
This book covers a lot of ground and also a few genres. We have historical fact and fiction, romance, fantasy, and war all wrapped up together in a fascinating package. Though many words were unfamiliar to me, I found that the meaning often could be absorbed as the text went on. I did check dictionaries at times, though. I find the medieval text works, but the modern day portions are a bit heavy on the academic side. This said, I still enjoyed the book with its believable historical fiction, so well-written that it makes it hard to believe it is fiction.
The book centers around three distinctive times in Jewish history: the banishment of Jews by King Phillipe of France in the early 1300s, a time of the Inquisitions and heretics; the ousting of Jews from Spain during the Spanish Civil war followed by the Nazi evacuation of Jews from Germany. It was at this time in the late 1930s and early 1940s that the second major story begins, but also ties in with our present day translators as they flee to escape from the Nazi agenda of World War II. During their escape through the Pyrenees mountains our current party must stop for the impending birth, and the mother-to-be is taken to a secret village for the birth. It is referred to as Valladine, and the baby grows up to become a well-respected historian but always feels the pull of the place she calls Valladine. At this point we leave the past and go into the late 20th century where this whole translated story will be presented to the academic world. Altogether an informative yet entertaining book, a rare blend. I enjoyed it as both....more
Another unique foray into the forensic use of acoustics in aiding murder investigations. Who would have thought what a greaPublished by Cozy Cat Press
Another unique foray into the forensic use of acoustics in aiding murder investigations. Who would have thought what a great tool this can be? I had the privilege of reviewing Patricia Rockwell's first book in this series, Sounds of Murder, this is the second. We have several of the same characters as in the first, but this time out the location is completely different. The book is written in two time periods as well as the present. This may sound confusing, but the times are well laid out, and essential to the mystery.
The story begins December 15 just before midnight with a late-night radio broadcast of alternative music, hosted by "Black Vulture", normally running from midnight to 4:00 a.m. During his patter, he mentions that he can hear that he has a visitor coming, the door opens, and the listening world hears the shooting death of the local celebrity, Black Vulture a.k.a. Theodore Ballard, on air, then deathly quiet as the mike is switched off. So here we are with a mysterious death and the shocked alternative music world as audio witness, right in the first two pages, the Prologue.
Back to a previous day in the week, December 11, we meet a dying carpet king, his son Daniel who is currently running the business, and the family lawyer Harold Vickers, among others. Now, what could a carpet manufacturing business possibly have to do with an alternative music disk jockey? There are a few secrets in this family, including Amy, Daniel's secret sweetheart and his desire to reunite his father and his long-missing and disowned brother before his father passes away. This is no easy task because they have never heard a word from him since he left many years before, but he asks the lawyer if he will look into it..
Next, we move into "present" time, which at this moment in the story is December 16. Before long, a pattern of timing will appear explaining why these three time periods are important, how they connect up, and eventually reach the present in all three parts. We are now at the home of the intrepid and feisty heroine, Pamela Barnes, who is trying to sleep in on this Sunday morning, while her dog is trying to wake her up. We also get to know her husband Rocky, and daughter Angie. Rocky is the main cook in this family and there are recipes in the back of the book. Rocky is also against his wife "sticking her nose in" when it comes to murder, akin to Columbo-like Detective Shoop, nor does he approve of Angie's relationship with Pamela's graduate assistant, Kent, and refers to him as "that hoodlum" and says he "looks like a weirdo".
Kent and Angie are into alternative music. They had been to a movie the night before, then at a friend's home where they were listening to Black Vulture's show and so it is that they also became audio witnesses to his murder, and called the police. When she mentions his real name, Rocky is shocked to learn that he has met him. He is one of the doctoral students in the English Department at Grace University, where both Pamela and Rocky work. Their friend Trudi is his advisor.
Of course, Pamela's mind switches into investigative mode, while Rocky slips into his over-protective mode both for his wife and his daughter. Since the murder was recorded, this time Detective Shoop asks for Pamela's help in analyzing the audio with her specialized equipment for any possible clues. Pamela, naturally, jumps at the chance to help. She soon has others helping her with knowledge of accents and guns, as well as her entire class as a project they jump right in to. Her research also extends itself into attending a Vampires Ball in New Orleans.
There is a blend in Patricia Rockwell's writing of pathos and humor, intelligence, surprises, shock and very interesting investigative methods. For all the switches in time, it's fascinating how she draws all these into one. Patricia, you totally shocked me with the murderer. I thought it was between 3 possible suspects, but no. Fantastic!.Again, I look forward to what's in store for Pamela, her family and friends, next time....more
One of the first things I've learned from this fascinating book is that the more you know, the less you know. You can not base the future on the past.One of the first things I've learned from this fascinating book is that the more you know, the less you know. You can not base the future on the past. The reason for this is that there are too many variables, the future is not linear. Too many things can cause hiccups in the reasoning. I learned that the economic and political experts who make forecasts for the future are rarely right, which leaves me to wonder if half of them predict something positive for the future, and the other half predict something negative, does that mean man would never progress? Nothing would ever happen? The section on randomness I thought was particularly interesting, I learned how the subconscious often overrides the conscious in making decision, but the conscious eventually gets there, it's just slower than the subconscious. In other words, the idea that is your first automatic thought is probably the right one, as in hunches or intuition. I've found that in my own life, if I am writing a letter, a story, or a comment to the newspaper, if I think about it after it's written, I start to overthink it and eventually go back to my original (if I haven't lost it, because that overthinking often messes up my clarity).
Foxes and Hedgehogs, Dan Gardner's names for the experts we place our faith on. The Foxes are the popular (right or wrong), confident, and probably entertaining; Hedgehogs, quieter, more careful and technical in their precision and declaration. Yet few predictions of the future based on the past and the present can come to pass. Hedged in wording that is not on a timeline or precise, but full of confidence and great presentation, the Foxes seem to do no wrong in their predictions, yet they are rarely right. When they are, because of their popularity, they are only remembered for their hits and their misses disappear in the human mindset. In Gardner's words, "Be simple, clear, and confident. Be extreme. Be a good storyteller. Think and talk like a hedgehog." The author has chosen a few experts from each type of thinking for his examples. In his findings, though, there appear to be too many examples of misses and too few hits, exactly his point. Surprisingly, they almost all think they were right. Somewhat like proofreading your own words, you see what you thought you wrote, they, too, see their own predictions the way they think they presented them.
What I enjoyed most about this book is the section on experiments performed to learn how people are influenced in their decisions of what or who to believe. A wide variety of these experiments will no doubt amaze the reader as to how the mind can be manipulated or simply change sides by what they perceive in the first examples. An unusual book for a mostly economic, environmental, and/or political evaluation of future predictions, but the second part of the title tells it all: Why Expert Predictions Fail - and Why We Believe Them Anyway. Based on no more information than what has been predicted by experts, I have decided, thanks to reading this book, I will no longer worry about the world in 2012....more
Patricia Rockwell is an academic with an extensive portfolio of publications, journal articles, textbooks and presentations. She holds a doctorate inPatricia Rockwell is an academic with an extensive portfolio of publications, journal articles, textbooks and presentations. She holds a doctorate in Communications. This is her first book of fiction. With her solid and prolific background in academics, it would be easy to think the transition to fiction might be a bit weighty, or overly academic. This is absolutely not true of Dr. Rockwell. She has written a cozy novel in an untapped area of the study of sound waves that is very definitely readable. I chose to review this book because I'm fascinated by all kinds of science, and love cozy mysteries. I was not disappointed.
"Sounds of Murder" does take place in a university, and sprinkled throughout, the politics of a university come dashing through. But this is a murder mystery set in a faculty dealing with communications. As in all cozy mysteries, there are several interwoven characterizations. Anyone who has gone to, or worked in, a college or university will appreciate the diverse personalities they find there.
Our heroine, Pamela Barnes, specializes in Acoustics, the study of sound waves, voice patterns, and basically anything to do with sound. She teaches this at a graduate school in the university. On this night, she has a three-hour class and has just made sure that her student assistant, Kent, has locked the Communications Lab before they go to class, since the school is usually empty at this time of the evening and there is a great deal of very expensive equipment in there.
The author's characters range from meek to extreme behaviour. Dr. Charlotte Clark is one of the latter and very quickly the story takes off with a terrible argument between Dr. Clark and the Head of the Department, Mitchell Marks. Pamela has just come into the front of the main office to get her mail and the strength of the argument is coming right through the Head's office door. She can hear it, although she can't hear the words, When she hears Charlotte getting louder as she approaches the door, she hurries out of the office and into class.
On leaving at the end of the evening, Kent is sent to double-check that the door to the lab is locked. Next thing she hears is Kent running and calling her to come to the lab, he has found the door wide open and a body slumped at one of the special computers. Now our story is really underway as police arrive and question them both together and separately, only with a brief pause for Pamela to call her husband Rocky to let him know she would be late.
From this point on, the action begins to build, everybody seems to have a motive of some type, but as well, we are witness to all Pamela's thought processes, which I found to be unique and fascinating. Her mind goes over and over but jumps to inane things in between just as a person who has met with trauma would do. Here I began to have the feeling of being inside her head, a remarkable piece of storytelling. This happens a few times as the investigation moves along, but the reader almost always knows what Pamela herself is thinking. Though this may be anticipated to be monotonous, in reality it most certainly is not; there is even some humor to be found in this method. One thing she is thinking is that she may well be the only person available with the expertise to possibly solve this case or at the very least present compelling evidence, because she has a small sound byte on a CD that she knows she is the most likely to be able to analyze it.
Meanwhile, Rocky and the lead Columbo-like Detective Shoop both try to stop her from "sticking her nose in" but she just can't leave it alone. This is a well-written mystery, with some unique features. I do enjoy finding cozies or any book that has something new and different. This appears to be the first in a series, and I certainly hope so. There is humor and pathos, surprises, lots of interaction of characters, and a most tempting house to come home to. Regardless of the murder and political academia, this is essentially a warm friendly story, a perfect cozy to curl up with....more