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Month: July 2011

Doctor Who: Sick Building by Paul Magrs

We bought this book from Amazon to get our Martha Jones fix. I read this book in one day, I guess I was really in the mood for Doctor Who and Martha. It features David Tennant as the 10th Doctor and Freema Agyeman as Martha Jones.

This is not a deep book diving into the characters and exposing their souls, it is full of action, angry computer intelligence run amok, and running, a lot of running.

People are people, even if they do dispense soggy crisps or their lights flicker and spark.

From the publisher:

Tiermann’s World: a planet covered in wintry woods and roamed by sabre-toothed tigers and other savage beasts. The Doctor is here to warn Professor Tiermann, his wife and their son that a terrible danger is on its way. The Tiermann’s live in luxury, in a fantastic, futuristic, fully-automated Dreamhome, under an impenetrable force shield. But that won’t protect them from the Voracious Craw. A gigantic and extremely hungry alien creature is heading remorselessly toward their home. When it gets there everything will be devoured. Can they get away in time? With the force shield cracking up, and the Dreamhome itself deciding who should or should not leave, things are looking desperate…

I rate this book a 7 out of 10 and recommend it to all Doctor Who fans.

The cover of this book does not represent the story very well at all.


I Shall Wear Midnight by Terry Pratchett

I have loved every book written by Terry Pratchett that I have read and “I Shall Wear Midnight” is no exception. I read the hardback version of this book.

This is the 4th Tiffany Aching book, which is preceded by “The Wee Free Men”, “A Hat Full of Sky”, and “Wintersmith”, all great books.

The story did not initially grab me the way many Discworld books do, but it builds momentum as it goes and has a fantastic ending.

From the publisher:

It starts with whispers.

Then someone picks up a stone.

Finally, the fires begin.

When people turn on witches, the innocents suffer. . . .

Tiffany Aching has spent years studying with senior witches, and now she is on her own. As the witch of the Chalk, she performs the bits of witchcraft that aren’t sparkly, aren’t fun, don’t involve any kind of wand, and that people seldom ever hear about: She does the unglamorous work of caring for the needy.

But someone—or something—is igniting fear, inculcating dark thoughts and angry murmurs against witches. Aided by her tiny blue allies, the Wee Free Men, Tiffany must find the source of this unrest and defeat the evil at its root—before it takes her life. Because if Tiffany falls, the whole Chalk falls with her.

Chilling drama combines with laugh out-loud humor and searing insight as beloved and bestselling author Terry Pratchett tells the high-stakes story of a young witch who stands in the gap between good and evil.

I rate this book a 9 out of 10 and recommend anyone who loves humorous fiction read any and all of the Discworld novels.


How to be a Presentation God: Build, Design, and Deliver Presentations that Dominate! by Scott Schwertly

I read this book using Safari Books Online. Note that Mr. Schwertly does have something to sell with this book. He is founder of Ethos3 under which he provides presentation training and design services.

My goal when I started reading this book was to improve my ability to reach people through traditional slide presentations. I had recently given a presentation to a room fool of people and felt that I could have done better.

Just a couple of pages into “How to be a Presentation God” Scott Schwertly changed my goals. Now I want to change lives by helping people find their own excellence. The goal of my presentations may not change, I am still selling a service, but now I want to bring my presentation to a whole new level that transcends the sale. I am not totally sure what that means right now, but I plan on having fun figuring it out.

Here is just a little bit of what I am taking away from this book:

  • How can I help the audience? How can I meet their greatest needs and desires?
  • Creativity is about solving a problem while execution is about implementation.
  • Failure is not permanent, be ready to fail.
  • Simplicity is king. The message should be inspirational to the catatonic; understandable to the dumb; legible to the illiterate; and logical to the crazy.
  • As a presenter you have a certain amount of authority solely because you are the only one allowed to speak.
  • To be remembered do the unexpected and don’t be normal.
  • Do and be. Do everything right, and be absolutely incredible.
  • Focus on the little things that make us big things. Nothing is accomplished without first accomplishing simple, everyday tasks.
  • Go forth and dominate.

From the publisher:

Learn how to build, design, and deliver a fire-breathing, wing-flapping, roar-bellowing behemoth of a presentation.

Unlike most presentation books that say the same things regarding presentation design and delivery (less is more, get rid of bullets and use images, emulate Steve Jobs, and so on), How to Be a Presentation God actually divulges step-by-step secrets for how to build, design, and deliver blockbuster presentations.

By providing entertaining and clever presentation insights, veteran presenter Scott Schwertly gives you the in’s and out’s for presenting yourself, your business, and your cause with an easy-to-implement approach.

  • Focuses on content, design, and delivery
  • Author is a regular speaker at national and regional industry conferences such as PowerPoint Live and Presentation Camps, and is the founder of the award-winning Ethos3 Communications
  • Author is the creator of an app, Present, that landed in the top-20 iPhone apps in the Business category on iTunes

How to be a Presentation God will ensure that your presentations reach a new level of effectiveness.

I rate this book a 9 out of 10 and recommend it to anyone who has a need to give presentations and change the world.


Doctor Who: The Glamour Chase by Gary Russell

Rory finally gets a time to shine. I read this book while on vacation and it was a great read. It was a very fast and funny read while adding depth to Rory and Amy’s love for him.

From the publisher

‘Why are you here? I mean – who are you, exactly?’ An archaeological dig in 1936 unearths relics of another time… And – as the Doctor, Amy and Rory realise – another place. Another planet. But if Enola Porter, noted adventuress, has really found evidence of an alien civilisation, how come she isn’t famous? Why has Rory never heard of her? Added to that, since Amy’s been travelling with him for a while now, why does she now think the Doctor is from Mars? As the ancient spaceship reactivates, the Doctor discovers that nothing and no one can be trusted. The things that seem most real could actually be literal fabrications – and very deadly indeed. Who can the Doctor believe when no one is what they seem? And how can he defeat an enemy who can bend matter itself to their will? For the Doctor, Amy and Rory – and all of humanity – the buried secrets of the past are very much a threat to the present…

About Gary Russell

Gary Russell is one of the script editing team for Doctor Who, Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures, and the author of many novels and reference books in the Doctor Who range. A former editor of Doctor Who Magazine, he also was the producer of Doctor Who audio dramas for Big Finish Productions for eight years. He lives in Cardiff.

I rate this book an 8 out of 10 and recommend it for all Doctor Who fans.