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Suhail Zubaid AHMAD "Suhail Zubaid-Ahmad" (Mississauga, ON, Canada)

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A Siege of Bitterns: A Birder Murder Mystery
A Siege of Bitterns: A Birder Murder Mystery
by Steve Burrows
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 11.54
17 used & new from CDN$ 4.95

4.0 out of 5 stars I enjoyed my re-entry into fiction reading, March 17 2015
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The author has made this book very interesting and educating by having a police detective solve murder cases and educating the readers on matters relating to general science, environment, wetlands, and birds as well.

Btw, I hadn’t read fiction ever since I stopped reading Enid Blyton’s Famous Five series till my teens. My mentor and friend Hillary McLeod mentioned the book to me and got my book from personally signed by the author. I enjoyed my re-entry into fiction reading.

Back to the book, the way author makes use of some fine tools of writing, such as dialogue, using five senses, scene description, and character development is impressive. It makes you live the scene yourself.

The murder mystery was interesting and unlocking it was even more interesting. The only area where I thought the author shows weakness is in the character of the detective Dominque Jejune. The character seemed to be quiet and reserved type. Even there, it is perhaps that the readers like me have been led astray from how true detectives are by talkative and action oriented lead characters of present day murder mystery series of many a TV networks.

Overall, a good murder mystery book to read, very well written, with lots of educational aspects of environment and wildlife. I will be looking forward to reading the next equally educating book in the murder mystery series by the author.

When Man Becomes Prey: Fatal Encounters with North America's Most Feared Predators
When Man Becomes Prey: Fatal Encounters with North America's Most Feared Predators
by Cat Urbigkit
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 13.68
32 used & new from CDN$ 10.36

5.0 out of 5 stars Best book on showing the dangers posed by predators and how to protect yourself from an attack, Oct. 27 2014
This is the second book from this author that I have read. The first one was 'Shepherds of the Coyote Rocks'. That book is one of the 5 books that have inspired me to follow my heart.

Although I do not have a similar lifestyle of the author and being a wildlife conservationist and a hiker in the back country, neither do I have the same take on the North American predators, I like what she does for a living (shepherding her sheep with livestock guardian animals), how she relates to the predators as her experience emanates from the way they impact her livelihood, and the way she writes and educates about predators.

In this book, based on her experience and research, she takes up the subject of increased attacks on humans by 5 top predators of North America – black bears, grizzlies, cougars, wolves and coyotes. Her premise is simple:

1. The increased interaction of humans and these predators, specially in the protected areas, is resulting in an increased attacks of these predators on humans.
2. The predators that attack humans are killed so that they are taken off the gene pool.
3. Because of these increased attacks, humans likely to confront these predators need to take precautionary measures.

I agree with the point of view of the author, specially with all her suggested precautionary measures against attacks. I believe that all of us having even an iota of probability of encountering any of these predators will greatly benefit from her suggestions. The suggestions will come in handy for people like me who venture out in the wilderness of the eastern side of the continent; where we have black bears, gray wolves, eastern red wolves, coyotes bigger than their western counterparts, and even cougars.

This is a nice, easy to read book, full of informative content, and has beautiful pictures. I recommend it highly.

The Carnivore Way: Coexisting with and Conserving North America's Predators by Eisenberg, Cristina (2014) Hardcover
The Carnivore Way: Coexisting with and Conserving North America's Predators by Eisenberg, Cristina (2014) Hardcover
6 used & new from CDN$ 21.02

5.0 out of 5 stars A road map for carnivore conservation, Aug. 24 2014
As I have always admitted, in my teens, I used to accompany hunters to their hunts. However, I turned passionate about nature conservation by the time I was into my 20s and haven't looked back ever since then. I am especially fascinated by top predators like wolves and Cape Hunting Dogs.

I found this book very interesting as it talks about top predators and how top predators in our North American eco-system ensure balance. In this respect, I found this book to be complementary to William Stolzenburg's 'Where the wild things were'.

The author questions the sagacity of limiting top predators to our national parks. Although she admits that our national parks are huge in size, she looks at the roaming patterns of North American top predators and describes how they move along a corridor along the Rocky Mountains, from North to south, which she defines as 'The Carnivore Way', defying all tangible and intangible restrictive boundaries.

Using her anecdotes in an appealing way, conversations with other wildlife behavioral biologists and general public, and research work, the author then takes on our 6 top predators in their respective eco-systems - grizzly bear, wolf, wolverine, lynx, cougar, and jaguar - and describes their habitat, origin of their names, natural history, ecological effects / improvements caused by them, conservation history, their inter-relationship with humans and other animals, and conservation promises and challenges.

This book is both for people who love predators for their beauty and those who hate them (some hunters of ungulates and some ranchers) as varmints. If you want to know how the absence of top predators in an ecology is leading to proliferation of grazers and browsers who are leading to lands plagued with disease and denuded of any foliage then this book is for you. If you are a hunter, you want to read this book too, especially if you are interested in continuation of healthy grazers and browsers for you and your future generation.

Yukon Quest: The Story of the World's Toughest Sled Dog Race
Yukon Quest: The Story of the World's Toughest Sled Dog Race
by Lew Freedman
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 17.36
26 used & new from CDN$ 6.39

5.0 out of 5 stars You will fall in love with dog sledding, June 4 2014
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This book narrates in a very interesting and captivating manner the entire history of Yukon Quest, the greatest dog sledding race of the world, its major participants and the winners.

I liked the way author developed characters and then narrated their inside stories of participation in the race. The book contains some black and white pictures, although I would have loved more of them.

The book is easy to read. It is organised in chapters, primarily year wise, but many chapters deviate from this particular arrangement.

If you love sled dogs, dog sledding, or new sports like skijoring and hikejoring then this book is for you. Heck, this book is for you, even if you are into adventure travelling and would like to try something new in the winters of the north.

Trust Your Dog
Trust Your Dog
by Joan Plummer Russell
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 28.27
8 used & new from CDN$ 28.27

4.0 out of 5 stars This books shows a working partnership between humans and our best friends, May 19 2014
This review is from: Trust Your Dog (Hardcover)
I liked the book immensely. The only reason I am giving it a 4 stars is that the stories are narrated by the human handlers with very little or no input at all from the main author. I admit there is an advantage in having this approach. This means that you are hearing from the actual people involved in the event. However, I would have liked the author to turn the stories into a more uniform way of narration, perhaps building more character development and emotions.

There are beautiful stories of tracking the lost persons, catching the wanted people, discovering narcotics and bombs, and especially rescue work relating to 9/11. I liked most of the stories. Some are based on tragic events, while others narrate funny anecdotes.

The book itself is divided into sections with each section having chapters narrating events of a human handler and his/her dog(s). The fonts size makes its easier to read the book.

Pentax K-5 IIs 16.3 MP DSLR Body Only (Black)
Pentax K-5 IIs 16.3 MP DSLR Body Only (Black)
Offered by ZooomElectronics
Price: CDN$ 760.47
7 used & new from CDN$ 760.47

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Trust factor - quality of product, pricing and delivery, Jan. 2 2014
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I was looking for upgrading to a new enthusiast level camera to match my lifestyle. I tend to hike and trek with my dog in all seasons. I love doing photography and was looking for a dslr camera that was weather resistant and user friendly. Unlike other camera manufacturers like Canon and Nikon, Pentax offers weather resistant cameras in intro level K-50 and enthusiast level K-5 II, K-5 IIs, and the recently introduced K-3. After doing much research and seeking advice from many camera users I decided on buying K-5 IIs.

The only matter was finding a good price. I kept on looking for good holiday season offers and when amazon offered one for the lowest price, I jumped on it because of the trust factor of both pricing and delivery.

Needless to mention, the camera was delivered on time allowing me to start using it during December 2013.

Note on Camera itself:
If you need a camera for tricky light situations and rugged weatherproof option for hiking or other rigorous outdoor activities, the Pentax K-5 IIs together with one of the company's weather resistant lenses is a natural choice. This combination is not submersible in water, but it's splash and rainproof. Also, the weather resistant camera and the lenses are capable of operating under -10 C. I worked with it recently at -15 C.

Innate UMBM550 Fjord Folding Trekking Umbrella, Fog Blue
Innate UMBM550 Fjord Folding Trekking Umbrella, Fog Blue
Price: CDN$ 36.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Promises to be a good lightweight asset as a hiking gear., Jan. 2 2014
The umbrella is exceptionally lightweight and looks pretty. I had thought that because it is called Fjord Folding Trekking Umbrella, it would appear very strong and sturdy, but it doesn't. It appears to be frail like every other common umbrella.

Lightness and folded size are definitely a huge advantage. I don't even notice the extra load that I am carrying in my Lowepro Sport camaera bag.

The biggest disadvantage is that its canopy cannot be folded back to half its size easily. In order to fold the cover back, one has to flip each spine backwards. Initially, when my children and I attempted to do it, it seemed that the spines would break. If there was a special technique to do so, the little instructions provided on the plastic cover that umbrella came in were insufficient. In fact, there were no instructions as to how to fold the spines backwards. Over a period of time, I have learn't the technique of halving the size of the umbrella and am comfortable with it.

I have tested the umbrella in moderately rough early spring weather and it has passed the test. The worst weather is coming up. It will surely get tested soon.

I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban
I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban
by Malala Yousafzai
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 18.18
86 used & new from CDN$ 10.71

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Review from a person who came from the same region as Malala did, Nov. 20 2013
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I grew up in the same region, in a much more advanced and developed district of KPK province just 60 kms south of Swat district and was able to relate to cultural and religious nuances and many of the events described in the book graphically. Furthermore, I liked the style of writing as it seemed to be clear, straight-forward, eye witness account that is a s honest as could come from a young person of a particular background (her father supports the nationalist, anti-military Awami National Party). When it comes to narrating fact beyond grasp of her age, she attributes them to her father, which she does a very often. However, she shares her feelings a number of times to bring an emotional touch.

Nobody can, in their right minds, deny the facts contained in the book and as narrated by a young lady, although the views expressed from Awami National Party's point of view hurt many a people.

Pakistan, and especially its military and intelligence service, has earned heaps of criticism recently in the West and in India in its role of aiding the Taliban, exporting terrorism, and radicalization of its own masses. This book is an excellent attempt to bring respect back to innocent Pakistani citizens by clarifying that they have suffered heavily at the hands of benevolent military dictatorships, corrupt dictatorial politicians, terrorists, western and Indian media, and even huge relentless natural disasters. Malala, therefore, has tried her best to bring Pakistan back on the map of respectful countries that need world's help.

However, I have some concerns in that Malala and her beautiful mission of educating Pakistani girls will be hard to accept by the people she most wants to help.
1. Due to her criticism of her own culture and showering accolades on western icons, she seems to have already been rejected by a majority of Pushtoons.
2. It is co-authored by Christina Lamb, who is well reputed to have a dislike for Pakistan. This is a proven fact, Hence, most of the material will not be assimilated happily by Pakistanis.
3. The way this book is written and the topics it touches and the way it touches it seem to prove to many critics that Malala has been used as a tool for marketing the product, i.e. it is a book written by Ziauddin Yusafzai in the guise of his daughter Malala Yusafzai, and via assistance of Christina Lamb.
4. Malala has been very ungrateful to the military and many people who helped the family in times of their greatest need. Her views expressed on the Pakistan military are typical of Awami National Party that was resoundingly beaten in the 2013 elections by emerging Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf.

As far as I am concerned, I am totally bought in by the book and have resolved to generously donate to Malala Fund. However, I do have one honest submission to make. I am utterly astonished at the fact that a girl hailing from such a backward district of KPK, had better English at age 14 to 16 than anybody in the same age group had in my generation, although we got educated at the best schools from much more advanced districts of the same province. It goes to prove that Malala is truly a blessed child from Pakistan who ensured that she overcomes the adversities of the worst nature to accomplish her dream.

The Hidden Life of Wolves
The Hidden Life of Wolves
by Jim Dutcher
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 18.77
46 used & new from CDN$ 18.77

5.0 out of 5 stars A great argument for protecting wolves against antiwolf lobbies, June 19 2013
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This is only one of the few books I have read more than twice. It is both a coffee table book and a serious read on a critical issue, i.e. protecting wolves in today's world when in countries like the USA and Norway federal governments are surrendering to the demands of anti-wolf lobbies.

I liked the book because (1) the authors have included gorgeously beautiful pictures of the wolves under their observation taken from a close range in an almost natural environment, (2) the authors have provided a research oriented and a scientific rebuttal to anti-wolf lobby's arguments on hunting the wolves down, (3) the authors have provided ways to protect livestock against wolves predation, although they did not mention the universally acclaimed effectiveness of livestock guardian dogs, and (4) The authors have described how protection of wolves as apex or top predators ensures healthy ecology.

As a lover of wolves and having written an article on `How to protect wolves and livestock alike', which has been called a balanced article, all of the above makes sense to me.

There is a minor, almost negligible, weakness as well in that the authors have built their observation of wolves in the light of now discarded dominant and submissive wolf theory. Some of the observations reported in this book emanate from the environment in which the wolf pack was kept. It is possible that the alpha, middle status and omega wolves in the pack emerged due to resource limitation issues. However, even here, a majority of observations reported are true to a totally wild pack now believed to be consisting of a breeding pair and their off springs of various age groups.

The book is easy to read, because of the pictures, illustrations, and the font size. The only negative here, albeit a minor one again, is its landscape format, which is difficult to open up in crowded places like commuter trains and buses.

All in all, it was a great read and I am sure I will be reading it over and over again.

I highly recommend it for reading and watching some awesome pictures.

Malamute Man: Memoirs of an Arctic Traveler
Malamute Man: Memoirs of an Arctic Traveler
by Joe G. Henderson
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 16.84
9 used & new from CDN$ 10.34

5.0 out of 5 stars Thrill of travelling in the Arctic with te help of Alaskan Malamutes, April 8 2013
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I may be a little biased in my review of this book, because I love dogs, hiking, dog sledding, and reading about extreme adventures. This book contains all of these ingredients.

First of all, hats off to the adventurer/writer for putting to work a dog breed, i.e., Alaskan Malamute (and actually 22 dogs representing the breed) for what it was designed - carrying huge loads across the arctic region, rather than keeping them as a pets only.

Second of all, I salute him for restricting himself to minimum of technology. The team of dog and one man are on their own deep in that frozen hostile region.

The book is written in a very interesting and involving manner, giving details of his various dogs, their characteristics and events associated with some of them. He also presents, in a very lively manner, various thrilling incidents (and accidents) he faced during his many forays. Stories about his experience with wildlife are both thrilling and engaging.

The book is easy to read and contains many pictures to give the readers an idea of what his dogs, sleds, and hostile environment looked like.

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