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"Does Anything Eat Wasps?," New Scientist

I grabbed this before a flight at the local book store, as I am a fan of New Scientist magazine and their podcasts. The title threw me for a loop, but the book is essentially a collection of "Last Word" questions, whereby readers ask science questions such as, "Why is earwax yellow," or, "Are green potato chips really toxic," and other readers (usually SMEs) answer. At first I thought it would be simply funny, but you know, after reading through them all, I have to say this is one of the finest pieces of edutainment I have read in the last ten years.

The book is great for reading while waiting in the car or plane, as most of the Q&As are short enough that you can read them in under ten minutes. The bottom line is that the book is so wonderful, no bookshelf should be without it. I promise you will laugh, learn, and find it nigh impossible to not run to the next person you see and start a sentence with, "Did you know...."

"Deep Storm," by Lincoln Child

I have to agree with some of the other reviews I have read in that the plot line is a bit familiar, but I disagree in their thinking that that detracts from the book. After all, the best stories I know are also some of the most predictable, and they often follow the same time-tested paths to the end. I admit, though, that this one had trouble pulling me in at first. With some of Child's other novels, I was quickly pulled in, but this one needed some more time. Once I was hooked, however, I was hooked pretty well.

There were some interesting twists, but they were subtle character or relationship surprises more so than major plot twists, which I actually appreciate more. I further found the true nature of what they found under the sea to be unique and imaginative, and I really enjoyed the final interpretations by some of the characters.

I continue to be a reader of Child's and of his collaborations with Preston, and I've never been disappointed. Deep Storm may not be my favorite of Child's novels, but it was an enjoyable listen and more thought provoking than it appears on the surface. In an odd way, this novel reminded me of Lovecrafts works, whereby a far fetched or fantastic tale was told, but there was always a hint the the truth was simpler, and could be explained by science. Then, in the end, the truth is more horrible and implies such terror that the fantasy of the story is paled and replaced with something right at the edge of our ability to imagine. For that most of all, this book is a winner.

"The Loom of God: Mathematical Tapestries at the Edge of Time," by Clifford A. Pickover

I've read this off an on over the months, and I am sure I will read it many more times - which I think is about the best recommendation I can give. It's my first Math Fact plus Fiction book I've ever read (or heard of), and it's definitely not for those of us not entranced by metaphysics and fractal gaskets. The book is written in an interesting way, from the perspective of a time traveler and his crystalline companion. I was a bit put off at first, but after the almost campy nature of the characters came through, I really had fun with it. Math geeks, I promise you will, too.

"Book of the Dead," Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

If you have been reading the Pendergast books from these two authors, which you should be if you have the time and enjoy a good thriller, this is the best to date. I believe it was meant to be a culmination of the story involving D'Agosta and his pursuit along with Pendergast of the later's evil brother, however the last pages once again leave you waiting for more. As usual.

"Tyrannosaur Canyon," Douglas Preston

Truly one of the most interesting novels I have read in a long time, I found that I could not put this one down. Preston had me researching paleontology and exobiology, and I had a great ride from beginning to end of this one. Given the similarities between the often scientifically-slanted material of Preston and that of Crichton, and the fact that both this novel and Jurassic Park have a dinosaur on the cover, you may think this is an attempt to capitalize on the whole "Dinosaurs are scary" movement the film adaptations started. Nothing is further from the truth, and Preston is as inventive and clever as always in this very unique story.

"Devil in the White City" by Erik Larson

I think I'd have tp classify this as eduatinment, because I learned an incredible amount of history regarding my birthplace and the importance of the World's Columbian Exposition. The first major application of AC power thanks to Tesla, the Ferris wheel, Cracker Jack, the hamburger, and so much more. Larson's research was obviously deep and well conducted. He shows true mastery in weaving the characters, from the almost supernaturally evil villain to the architects of the fair, in with historical anecdotes. The book kept me deeply engaged from start to finish, and appeals to those of you that like a good thriller as much as those who enjoy Historical Fiction. If like me you're both, I can't recommend this one strongly enough. I was fascinated as well by how little the politics and character of the region has changed in over 100 years.

"Death Match," Lincoln Child

Spoiler Warning!! As a fan of Child's work with Preston, I pick up books by either author when I can. I found this one an interesting and entertaining read, and in many ways (pace, high-tech setting) similar to his other work "Utopia." I actually prefer this one between the two, and I liked the device of the computer turning out to be the über-hacker. The computer character, Liza, is born of the system much the same way the Jane character is in the Ender's Game series from Orson Scott Card (which I also cannot recommend highly enough).

For Fun, why not try a chat with Liza's baby sister, Eliza.

"Dance of Death," Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child.

My sister and I are fans of Preston and Child's series around FBI Special Agent Pendergast, so I was really waiting for this one to come out. In a similar fashion to the previous book, "Brimstone," this one ends with a cliff-hanger in the epilogue. This one had less of a "supernatural" feel to it, but it was a solid thriller nonetheless. I did not feel this one was nearly as good a read as any other in the series, though, so I can't recommend it as a starting point to get you interested in the series, but if you are already a fan you will not be disappointed.

"The New Lovecraft Circle" by Robert M. Price (editor).

Some great stories for Lovecraft fans, and some I could do without. Price's editorial is spectacular, and I enjoyed all but a few of his selections.Alan Dean Foster, for example, is a fantastic writer of the Mythos, but I simply cannot be sufficiently frightened by such a story set on the beaches of California (though the irony is not lost on me). Bottom line: not one of the better collections I have read, to be sure, but still enjoyable.

"Electric Universe" by David Bodanis

I swear, if I have to read how Turing invented the digital computer one more time my head will explode. Not to discount Turing's brilliance, and the tragic story of his life, but that's always been a stretch to me. And how can you have a book on the Electric Universe no mention of Tesla - not a word. Skip this one. Sorry, David - you're a great writer, but your interpretation of History did not fit mine.

"A Short History of Nearly Everything," Bill Bryson

One of the best books I have ever found the time to read - do NOT pass this one up. I would classify this one as "edutainment" because of the amazing way Bryson finds to add a constant stream of witty observations and humor to the most amazing story ever - the story of everything. For example, he explains how cosmic radiation forms part of the noise and static on a TV, and says that next time your kids are bored, "just turn to a channel you don't get and listen to a piece of the formation of the universe."