Friday, 14 October 2016

I Am a Cat - Natsume Soseki, 1905

Fully aware that this novel got nothing to do with espionage or thrillers, I would like to share with the visitors of simplyreaders how much I enjoyed it.

A nameless cat who can only be identified either by the ones of its kind as well as human beings as the teacher's cat, narrates its unusual entrance to the world and to the life of its master, Kushami and with this, the feline will give us its particular point of view in regards to the Japanese middle class in the early years of the twentieth century.

Along with its chosen fitness and walks to the house of the Kaneda's, which happen to be the rich people in the neighborhood; the other cats in the area, the friends of his master and the annoying students of the school next to the house; this cat with no name reports every detail of these strange specimens called 'human beings' which, from its point of view, live their lives in the absurd of such occupations and activities obsessed to fit in a new society hungry of Westernization.

Are we condemned to bury our needs for art and beauty? Is the concept of  'marriage' valid for the current social groups or would it be better to carry on with our lives as singles for the sake of individualist existences and prevent getting in conflicts with others?

Written over a hundred years ago, Soseki´s novel presents valid reflections for any point in time bringing to the table the never-ending debate of the progress with its benefits and its consequences.

Very recommendable.
ISBN: 9780804832656 (published in English)
Tuttle Publishing
ISBN: 9788493760151 (published in Spanish)

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Micro - Michael Crichton, 2011

or.... 'Honey, I Shrunk the Kids' but in a far better version.

Peter Jansen and his Cambridge's science colleagues are invited to Hawaii by 'Nanigen' a company with state-of-the-art equipment that offers jobs to any graduate with innovative undergoing works .

Hawaii, good wage and the job of your life... it cannot be better! sun, sand, sea and science, here we go!

Of course, something is wrong, otherwise, it wouldn't be a good novel. Eric Jansen, the brother of Peter, works as the vice-president of Nanigen and died in very strange circumstances. With a bit of good instinct Peter will find out that it was not an accident and he will make his move to try to corner the bad guy: Drake, the owner of Nanigen.

But he never thought that Mr. Drake would be such a unscrupulous guy. His dramatic and manipulating skills will put Peter and his colleagues in lethal trap. They will be shrink to a half inch size and from there, the survival tour will start. No sun, no sand, no sea... just the science.

Little-Peter and his little-friends now will need to escape from Drake, come back to the lab, recover their size and that's not all, they need to find the way to put him in jail. Let's see if all of them are able to come back safe, sound and... sized.

And the plot will get better when the insects, the micro-guys, the big bad guy, the police with initiative, some other micro people and an unexpected person (that appears in the last part of the story) come all together. Each part with their own objectives.

This fascinating novel can be taken as fabulous adventure to the micro-world, as the funniest biology/chemistry/physics lesson or all together. Action, a lot of well based science, drama and just a little touch of romance, all will be blended to give us a fantastic plot.

Keep an eye on: of course all the descriptions about physics, entomology, natural poisons, botany and further more that Mr. Crichton leaves in this book. The plot is not complex, however, keeps the reader passing the pages without a break.

I used to say that if history were taught just as Ben Macintyre and Keith Jeffery do in their books, lots of students would chose this path. Now I would add that, if biology were taught just as Michael Crichton does, we would have 10 times more scientists working for a better world.

Very recommendable.
ISBN: 9780007350025

Thanks once more to Czerwinski for this fantastic recommendation.

Monday, 22 April 2013

A Foreign Country - Charles Cumming, 2012

'Vanished. Five days ago. Nobody has any workable idea where the hell she's gone or what's happened to her.'.

Have you ever been in the embarrassing situation of a wedding where the bride never comes or a party where the birthday guy decided go somewhere else but the place the party is waiting? If so, think now on a thousand times worse situation where the just appointed head of the MI6 evaporates from the map few weeks before she takes her new role. The wedding and the party look a lot smaller now, right?

Amelia Levene requested some days off prior starting her new functions and suddenly dissappears, nobody have a single clue and it is necessary to take hand of an old sea wolf that knows her well and who may have a second chance in life accepting the mission, field office Thomas Kell.

'I am an officer with the British Secret Intelligence Service. Yes. To all intents and purposes, I am a spy.'

Tunisia is the main scenario where the veteran spy will look for Amelia, his tricks and instinct are intact and his mind is resourceful. Kell will not have problems to find her but the problems will begin when he will find the reason why she was missed and that the MI6 is the last to know about this.

Keep an eye on:  Just like in the classic spy movies, the typical stages like hotels, bars and exotic landscapes will provide one of those stories full of vintage style.

I've got this book because Charles Cumming is a very recurrent writer mentioned by friends and some followers of Simplyreaders. Now I clearly understand the reason and it is because Cumming has a special narrative gift to give us a fantastic portrait with tasteful colors in a few pages and later invites us to keep watching the image for a long time enjoying every single stroke.

Rule One of SIS was never to moan, never to show weakness.

Very recommendable
ISBN: 9780007337866