Friday, February 10, 2017

How Dun It Forensics: A Guide for Writers by D. P. Lyle, M.D.

I confess Howdunit Forensics: A Guide for Writers by D. P. Lyle, M.D. was in my to-be-read stack for quite a long time before I started reading it. I initially bought it to do research for a couple of mysteries I was writing. When one of those books turned into more of a mainstream novel removing emphasis from the mystery element, I put Howdundt Forensics to the side. Then as I was editing the book I realized there were some factual issues I needed to address, so I found Lyle's book and started reading. Initially just to fill in those gaps, but I soon realized the book itself offers a great foundation for writing multiple elements of a book that includes a criminal aspect. Lyle explains forensics in layman's terms while always honoring the science. I appreciated his attention to process and detail as well as his honest depictions even when it meant pointing out the errors we often let pass by us when reading, watching, or writing crime fiction. Howdunit Forensics is an informative and helpful book for the crime fiction writer or even the writer who just has a story with a criminal investigation sprinkled between the main plot line. I think even crime fiction readers who don't write would find this book interesting. Lyle makes forensics accessible, so that it's easy to incorporate into the writing process. 

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Why Is the Dalai Lama Always Smiling?: A Westerner's Introduction and Guide to Tibetan Buddhist Practice by Lama Tsomo

I agreed to read Why Is the Dalai Lama Always Smiling?: A Westerner's Introduction and Guide to Tibetan Buddhist Practice by Lama Tsomo and give a fair and impartial review in exchange for a free book because Buddhism is a spiritual practice that I haven't spent much time exploring. I was intrigued. Lama Tsomo writes in an accessible and enjoyable voice. She blends humor with the serious while describing her journey to Buddhism. Alas, Why Is the Dalai Lama Always Smiling? didn't convert me to Buddhism or even tempt me to give it a try, but I enjoyed reading her descriptions of the meditation practices and the benefits she sees in them. The book is packed with beautiful and inspiring photos. It comes with cards to help those who want to try the practices described within the book. I did, however, find the numerous references to their website and classes distracting. Overall, Why Is the Dalai Lama Always Smiling? is an interesting introduction to Tibetan Buddhist Practice through the journey of an American becoming a Buddhist.