An Astronaut’s Guide to Life – Chris Hadfield

An Astronaut’s Guide to Life – Chris Hadfield

What boy doesn’t dream of becoming an astronaut when he grows up? For most, like myself that dream doesn’t come to fruition. However Chris tells a different story. He takes us from those first moments of when he saw Neil walk on the moon all the way to life in space. I suppose his journey isnt too different from many astronauts. Tried and true method of becoming a pilot then a test pilot and then moving to the US. but whats different about this story is Chris explains in detail the mental attitudes that got him there. shares numerous funny stories along the way and gives us a real good insight into life of an astronaut such as how to really fix a broken toilet in space and the issues that causes.

Chris did things a little different than other astronauts he tried to share what it was like with as many people as possible via his social media pages. from the sights and sounds of space to making a music video. Chris gives us a rare insight into a world so few get to know.

This was a great read not just to read a bit about what living on a space station is like but also to read just how hard it is to get there. Probably the best read and insight into an astronauts life i have encountered. A must for any bookshelf

Endurance Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage – Alfred Lansing

Endurance Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage – Alfred Lansing
Not long ago i was flicking through my photos  of my trip  to Antarctica and i stumbled upon a picture of our kayak guide. yes that’s right we kayaked in the waters around Antarctica. While out paddling he would group us together and tell us stories and one that just stuck with me just cause of its shear movie like nature  was the story of Shackleton and his ill fated voyage.
So naturally when i got back home i searched for a good book about him. Found one but then before i had a chance to read it got distracted (read a new woman in my life) and totally misplaced the book
It wasn’t until i was flicking through the photos that it dawned on me i had the book so i had to find it read it
Its amazing to discover that over the course of their journey not a single life was lost (excluding penguins and seals)
From having their ship stuck in ice for 10 months only to having it crushed and then living on an ice floe for 5 months. They flee to a nearby island where it was decided someone had to go for help. The journey just gets even tougher for those 6 men. Sailing for almost 2 weeks to south Georgia island only then to realize they would have to hike over the island to help
Its hard to believe it was all real, one can’t appreciate the beauty of these lands with out forgetting just how harsh and unforgivable it is and to know these men conquered that really defines a whole new level of bravery

The Stranger – Harlan Coben

The Stranger – Harlan Coben
Harlan’s latest stand alone is something a bit different. An organization goes around confronting or sometimes blackmailing  people about secrets from their past, sometimes even threatening to reveal them and ruin their lives.
How do they find out these secrets and what is their end goal. These key questions are not revealed till halfway through which leaves the reader guessing about what is going on.
After confronting Adam about the secret  from his wife’s past. His wife disappears. Are the two related or is it all just a big coincidence then his wife who is still missing is accused of stealing from local sporting club. Then people start getting murder, it all leaves the reader scrambling to try and figure out what is going on
Harlan has a tendency to throw a big twist into his stories. So as i was reading and waiting for the twist to hit i began to suspect what was really going on. I didnt  want to stop reading as i wanted to follow it through but then i also didnt want to continue as i guessed how it was going to end. Ahh the dilema.
Needless to say it was a great ride and i think thats what marks a good story. If at some point you just cant put the book down you have to continue reading and find out whats going on. It means you have a great book
While not his best work that doesnt mean it wasnt great

3096 Days – Natascha Kampusch

3096 Days – Natascha Kampusch

Such a remarkable story of overcoming inconceivable odds, 2nd March 1998, ten-year-old Natascha Kampusch is grabbed off the street by a stranger, thrown into a van and hidden from the world for 8 years (3096 days to be precise),The mind boggles at what it must be like to go through such an ordeal. Yet fortunately a few years after her escape she works up the courage to put her ordeal down on paper.

She starts be going over her difficult childhood, which not to undermine her story isn’t that too dissimilar from many kids from broken families. We eventually get to the day of abduction where lowlife Wolfgang Priklopil kidnaps her of the street and imprisons her in a tiny 5 square metre dungeon. Naturally she is able to describe in quite good detail what the dungeon is like and all one can think of while reading this, is that he had to of planned something like this for quite some time to have so much hidden below ground.

What follows is a story of her abuse and torment which is never ending and the mental hardships she endures. Instead of listing all the abuse she goes through, which for a read would be quite repetitive, she instead makes the story about what she does mentally to cope with it all. She is brave enough to discuss the opportunities she had for escape and her inability to follow through on those. and is able to talk quite freely about her mental state of mind in regards to her kidnapper.

She choosing to remain silent of the level of sexual abuse as she feels some things need to remain private for her, yet she gives us glimpses at the abuses she received with a few excerpts from her diary. Finally through determination and strong mental processes she is able to seize an opportunity to escape and is returned to the world.

This story just shows what someone can do to overcome insurmountable odds, naturally a bit of research afterwards (she does briefly touch on this in the book) shows sadly how judgmental our society is, and how quick we are to label. but nonetheless this is a great story of the human spirit

Afterwards the reader is left with a strong feeling that if a little ten year old with the right mind set can over come this, then as adults we can achieve and overcome anything

Scarecrow returns – Matthew Reilly

Scarecrow returns – Matthew Reilly
Another story following the adventures of our hero Shane (scarecrow) Schofield. After his previous adventures the French  have a rather large bounty on his head and after several failed attempts on his life the marines decide to assign him to a nice remote location out of harms way. The Arctic Circle. We find Scarecrow with a few marines and some scientists testing new cold weather gear.
Nearby on an old Russian base all hell breaks loose. A resupply run finds the base over run with terrorists. Whats worse is the base holds a Russian doomsday weapon. This weapon spews forth a highly combustible gas into the atmosphere which spreads via the jet stream. Once it has spread far enough  a specially designed missile is fired  into the gas cloud to ignite it . Essentially causing the atmosphere to be set on fire. And we find out the terrorists have been sending forth the gas for many weeks now.
With only hours remaining till missile launch scarecrow rally’s his group and goes to the rescue. What follows is a pretty  high paced action story due to the time restraint. I don’t know whether its because the author is Aussie, and so we have the same sense of humour but i literally found myself smiling or laughing out loud at allot of the jokes or one liners. This normally doesn’t happen in books as most American authors  use rather lame or “dad jokes” i guess this really highlights cultural differences.  I wonder what the Americans think of our sense of humor.
Anyway being the 5th outing for this character we spend  i little time getting to know the new team and whats has happened since the last book. But then its straight  on action packed  till the end.
Great twist and interesting resolution  to the story. Even know this is the 5th book in the series it is a great stand alone story as well. Hopefully he writes some more adventures for our hero but i think ill start on his other books. Really liking  his writing style and occasional humour. And the author owns a DeLorean how cool is that. He seems to be a big scifi geek at heart.