I have finished or about to finish a few books that I wanted to share. First is Personal Days. This is a comical story about life in a downsizing company ultimately resulting in layoffs. It is a quick read, and is structured much like a blog. I enjoyed the first few chapters, but when the book switched formats to that of a screenplay (complete with act, etc), I stated to lose interest. If you have ever worked in an office, you can certainly identify with many of the characters and their roles, and much of the book did not contain much ‘meat’, but as I already stated, read like a blog (which is good for those with ADD!) However, the last chapter is presented as a letter, but is basically the book inside of the book where the intended storyline is laid out. In between plot descriptors in the last chapter are divergent thoughts leading credibility to the letter it is supposed to represent. To be honest, I skimmed over much of the last chapter, picking out only the bits that related to the story told in previous chapters. In all, the book is good library material if you want a book you can relate to without the need for an all encompassing story.

Forbidden Lego is a book that many have tried to get banned, based simply on the title. If those who are against the book actually READ it (or rather, looked at the pictures), they would see it is nothing more than a Lego how-to guide. Nothing stood out as contraband, just some creative uses of Lego’s and other common items to help foster greater experimentation in engineering. There are steps on how to make a paper airplane launcher, a catapult, a plate dispenser and other projects. In all, very entertaining and projects that I would have loved to undertake as a kid (and many I did with my erector set!). The reasoning for the title, and thus subject to ignorance
from the uneducated is due to the projects not being officially sanctioned by Lego since the projects may launch an object or use non-Lego parts. That aside, it is a great book to show kids that Legos don’t need to go together only the way shown on the box, but to rather think outside the box and apply some engineering principals.

How to Fossilize your Hamster is yet another book from the New Scientist team to supplement the ‘Why don’t Penguins Feet Freeze?’ and ‘Does Anything Eat Wasps?’ series. I immediately recalled many of the questions answered in this book from the previous books, but this edition goes a step further and gives instructions on experiments you can carry out at home to come up with your own results. While I like these sorts of Q&A books, the addition of step-by-step instructions are an additional benefit that will help to demonstrate these theory’s to kids so they can better understand the world around them.