Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Gift of Fear: Survival Signals That Protect Us from Violence

For my second read in November I read, The Gift of Fear: Survival Signals That Protect Us from Violence by Gavin De Becker.  This is a non-fiction book written by an expert on predicting violent behavior.  The Gift of Fear discusses many real life examples of violence in our culture and how being able to listen to your own intuition can help you recognize when you or someone you know are in real danger.

I'm not sure how I stumbled upon this book, but I did enjoy reading it.  Much like The Sociopath Next Door, it had thorough research, statistics and case studies (my favorite part!).  De Becker is apparently very well known and has worked with many high profile clients over the years, so his real life examples were really intriguing.

You might be thinking you aren't worried about learning "survival signals", however I bet you will find some of the information in this book to be very useful.  It discusses how to recognize people/situations that would pose a real threat to you, but what I really gained from it was how to understand my own intuition.  If you have "just had a feeling about someone" or had something frighten you but you "didn't know why", after reading this book you'll realize if you look back a little harder, the signs for why you felt that way were there. 

I would definitely recommend reading this book.  It is interesting, informative and I believe can help you better understand some of your own feelings of fear, worry and anxiety.  The only thing I didn't care for was the author is a little self promoting (since like I mentioned he is a well known expert and he currently has a firm who advises people on possible violent threats) but it can be overlooked since his book is well worth reading.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

The House of the Scorpion

For my first read in November I read, The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer.  The story is about Matteo Alcatran, a boy who is the clone of a powerful drug lord called El Patron.  As Matt grows up, he learns about his origins and what his purpose is in life, both from El Patron's perspective and his own.

A facebook friend recommended this book and it was quite an interesting read.  The characters are well developed and the overall plot is interesting.  I have always found the topic of cloning to be an intriguing one and I enjoyed reading about it.  You really get to see how the different characters react to Matt and who/what he is, really getting a sense of how people's moral compasses can be so different.  At various points in the book you feel angry, frustrated and happy for Matt so clearly the author writes in a way that brings out emotions.

I did feel the book was a little long, it starts from his birth and moves fairly quickly through time until he is about 14 but there were some portions that I didn't think really brought much to the story or things that were repeated but could have been left out.  I also think that Matt was written a bit more naively than a real boy would be in his teen years, but I still enjoyed the book.  Also should note it is a "youth fiction novel" and I wouldn't recommend it for readers under age 12.  Overall, I would recommend it to readers though.