books

All posts tagged books

Net Force - (1998 book), by Tom Clancy image

Entertainment > Reading >

(on Wikipedia)

In a world where everyday people use the internet through total-sensory virtual reality, a specialist intelligence agency tracks down murderers and terrorists.

Slow and confusing, this book isn't just a challenge to read, it's a challenge to read with a straight face. One of the risks of speculative science fiction is that they can get very, very, wrong in their predictions. This book hand-waives people being transported into a magical world with no explanation as to how it's possible or what it's like. It is vague in everything it demands the reader suspend their disbelief in. It is awed at 900 Mhz computers. This is definitely a 1998 book that had way too much hope for its future.

The Hobbit - (1937 book), by J.R.R. Tolkien cover

Entertainment > Reading >

(on Wikipedia)

An unlikely little hero is swept into an travel-adventure through dangerous lands to recapture the lost treasures of a fallen Dwarvish kingdom.

Considered a classic fantasy book, it's definitely a children's book from it's narrative tone. It's slow and awkward in a lot of places, and takes too long to pick up into anything interesting for me. Perhaps it's because I had read it long ago, and perhaps it's because of the staggering quality of its associated movies, but I didn't like it.

Definitely not recommended as an entry into fantasy fiction, in spite of its popularity. Veterans of the genre may as well read this just to say they have.



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Sphere - (1987 book), by Michael Crichton cover

Entertainment > Reading >

(on Wikipedia)

The United States Navy discovers a crashed craft, and includes a cross-disciplinary team in its investigation.

I liked it, though I found it rather simple. I had already seen the movie that was inspired by this book, which I really liked, and that likely coloured my views.



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Timeline - (1999 book) cover

Entertainment > Reading >

(on Wikipedia)

Archaeologists discover the site they're working on is surrounded by land owned by their funder, a rich technology company, which is even more interested in it than they.

A riveting book that escalates into a great pace by its middle, and had me turning pages until I finished that latter half in one afternoon. The end chapter is an embarrassingly-bad wrap-up though, which was saddening, but it did not ruin the story.

Highly-recommended. This book has turned me back into a reader.



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The Chronicles of Narnia cover

Entertainment > Reading >

(on Wikipedia)

Some kids are given Lantern rings for transporting around.

I read a decent ways in before getting bored. The combination of language (English-age) and language (audience-age) made it tiring. It's definitely a book to be read aloud to a 10 year old girl, and I respect that. I'd, even, be the one to do the reading aloud.. but not the listening.

This is a seven volume unabridge compilation, presented in the author's intended reading order.

Entertainment > Reading >

(on Wikipedia)

I could only get through the first chapter before setting this down. It has flowery awkward old English which I will avoid from now on.

The Last Lecture - (2008 book), by Randy Pausch cover

Entertainment > Reading >

(on Wikipedia)
http://www.thelastlecture.com/

A dying guy writes about how awesome he had it, and gives advice to his children.

It takes almost half of the book to mine more than two interesting points. It is a glaring reminder of how important it is to have a solid first chapter. Instead, chapter after chapter this book keeps promising something interesting, forcing the reader to cling to the "I'm dying" parts to hope for something better.

For people who stick it out, there is a lot of fluff which I was able to trivially summarize with two pages of bullet points. That's nothing to sneeze at, so I suppose this is worth reading for some, though I won't recommend it.



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Much Ado About Nothing - (1623 play), by Shakespeare - Signet Classic image

Entertainment > Reading >

(on Wikipedia)

An man works to undermine his brother's happiness by meddling with his son's marriage. Also two smart people dual with words.

A pretty good book, though my reading of the Signet Classic was seriously interrupted by footnotes. Not because of the shifting up/down to read them, but because the footnotes are crammed all together. Given that this book is 1/4 commentary, axing one for clearer footnotes would have been amazing. Maybe another edition will be better. I intend to collect many of this particular play.



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My cover is different
My cover is different

Entertainment > Reading >

(on Wikipedia)

A spoiled little girl loses her rich parents and is sent away to live with her reclusive heartbroken (rich) relative.

The story is fairly awful to me, though I can see how this was popular at the time. It has definitely aged, not just in its period but in its language and writing style.

I'll class this as "liked", but I only see this as being good for historical reasons and wouldn't recommend it. I'll also class this as child-friendly, except it's child-friendly in its context: A parent reading to their child in the early 1900s.

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This image doesn't even begin to do this book cover justice
This image doesn't even begin to do this book cover justice

Entertainment > Reading > samurai >

(on Wikipedia)

An extraordinary tactician and samurai (Japanese swordsman) had a late-life crisis and retired into monkhood. Over time, he allowed a scribe to record advice from his experience. Though meant to be extremely-selectively passed-on, it ultimately found itself in the hands of enough people to survive to today. It is a book on the martial use of the sword, the way of swords, the way of personal and mass martial strategy, and the Way.

I haven't read broadly and deeply enough, and I doubt anyone has, to truly judge this work in the context of what humanity has to offer (what has survived, that is), but I feel comfortable saying this is one of the Great works. I should say I highly recommend it, but I fear most people wouldn't even begin to comprehend it even in any vague sense. This is not a beginner's book, whatever "beginner" means with this book in that context. At the very least, this ought to be read by people who are deeply passionate about philosophy (of the armchair variety).

My edition of this book has an unfortunately-shiny fabric hardcover, with glossy full-colour pages with photographs which give it an impression of high quality. It even has an integrated ribbon bookmark. When reading it at length, I get the impression that the pages will eventually pull out. I hope this is not true.



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