Sunday, 4 December 2016

2016 Didn't Suck



As an eternal optimist, it takes some effort to listen to the way people are voicing their dislike of 2016. Despite what I think, it is important that I do listen and try to understand why people are so disappointed and dismayed at the last 11 months.

In my short 40 years on this planet, I've seen the world change in ways I did not expect. Events like the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests;  the Arab Spring; the Collapse of Apartheid in South Africa; and many other pivotal moments/revolutions/movements.

Apart from political disruption and change, just this year there have been significant discoveries in science like mapping the epigenome; surprise concessions from religious leaders like the Pope allowing priests to absolve people of sins of abortion (no, I'm not religious, just surprised);  and the undeniable rise of Corpratocracy.

There are people swearing about the death of legendary entertainers from our lifetime. There are people screaming at people who voted a different way to them. There are people throwing their hands in air not knowing what to do. A lot of people think this year was awful and that the world is going to hell.

I don't agree.

Has the world all of a sudden become a cesspool or are we just more aware of what is going on?

I believe it is the latter.

The slow questioning of mainstream media, the rise and rise of social media and the increased pressure for individual critical thinking is pulling people away from their cat videos and making people think.

Conspiracy theorists are running with this. Liberals are smugly nodding that they told you so. People who took TV and newspaper news as gospel are the ones who are finding this the most revealing. They are wondering if anyone can be trusted and are now looking for new leadership. I truly don't know the answer but I have faith in people doing what is best for the group and not just themselves.

These are interesting times. Thing is, they have always been interesting times. People are now awakening to the fact that mowing their lawns, finding bargains online and watching the Kardashians may not be all that matters.

Realities may have to be readjusted. People may have to give when they once took and take when they were once taken from. Societies may have to take a long look in the mirror and decide how to improve.

As an eternal optimist, I don't think this is a bad thing. It is an uncomfortable awakening but an awakening all the same.

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Slaughterhouse Five




Book 27 of 2016 is Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut.

This book is original. It follows no cadence I know and chooses to tell it's story how it feels fit. You have to respect that. Or, so it goes.

It has been a very long time since I have read a book and felt every chapter was an easy breeze carrying so much weight. Actually, I'm not sure I can say it has ever been quite like this.

This is a war novel, a sci fi novel and a travel journal rolled in to one.

Five time travels out of five.

Should I read this? Yes. No buts about it. Just read this.
What did I learn? There is hope that life in not sequential.

Saturday, 12 November 2016

The Handmaid's Tale



Book 26 of 2016 is The Handmaid's Tale by Margret. Atwood

There is not a more apt book that I woman could read while living in the centre of the maelstrom that is the United States of America with Trump as President Elect. There is a level of uncertainty described by Offred in the start of the book as society breaks down that feels a like what people are talking about here and now. Finishing this book in the week Trump was elected surrounded by gasps of shock and a realisation that we missed seeing this coming is perfectly terrifying.

This great piece on the relevance of this book in this time is worth the read and consequent analysis.

Atwood is one of the best writers I have read ever. She managed to tell the entire story without explaining the intricacies. You can work out what is going on and how everyone feels without it being listed out for you. Simply brilliant.

Five red dresses out of five.

Should I read this? Yes. Especially now that Trump is in power.
What did I learn? Great writing on society is always relevant.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Winter



Book 25 of 2016 is the fifth in the Lunar Chronicles, Winter by Marissa Meyer.

This is the end of the series and it was a thoroughly enjoyable. If you want the princesses to save the day then this is your series.

Four rebels out of five.

Should I read this? Yes. It is quite enjoyable and exciting!
What did I learn? The world is changing and women are now running it.

Monday, 26 September 2016

Fairest




Book 24 of 2016 is the fourth in the Lunar Chronicles, Fairest by Marissa Meyer.

My least favourite of the series is one of the .5 books. Yes, authors are writing middle books conjoining major titles in the series. Fairest sits between book 3 (Cress) and book 4 (Winter).

It did make me rightfully dislike the evil queen and give insight in to her insanity but I could have gleaned this having skipped this book. Read it or not, it won't make that big a difference.

This story is of the evil queen from Snow White.

Three my-parents-made-me-an-evil-queens out of five.

Should I read this? You can read this series without touching this book. It's short so read it if you read fast. Otherwise, skip it.
What did I learn? I have a good reason for disliking middle books. It's a money making venture.

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Cress




Book 23 of 2016 is the third in the Lunar Chronicles, Cress by Marissa Meyer.

This is taken from the story of Rapunzel. When I say taken, I do mean that it starts there but goes off in the adventurous way that all the books in this series have.

The main series arc is rising to a crescendo with this third book of five. As they introduce a new character, the tension builds. I really like the characters. I like that they are not hopeless damsels in distress. I like that they fly spaceships and raid castles. I like that the prince charmings are supporting characters around these strong women.

Now I'm on to Fairest without hesitation.

Four space princesses out of five.

Should I read this? It's a fun series. I'd recommend you do.

What did I learn? Rapunzel is much more likeable than Disney would let us believe.

Monday, 5 September 2016

Ice Station




Book 22 of 2016 is Ice Station by Matthew Reilly.

I've only read one other book by this author and it was a good airport book. It is very Indiana Jones mixed with Chris Ryan. This is not the best writing you'll ever read but it is engaging.

The details around wildlife and most of the science stuff was pretty cool. The action was non-stop and so entertaining. He is worth the read.

Four marines out of five.

Should I read this? If you're in an airport and have a long flight ahead then, yes.

What did I learn? Lots about orcas.

Scarlet




Book 21 of 2016 is Scarlet by Marissa Meyer.

This is book two of the Lunar Chronicles. This is a series I am thoroughly enjoying and can not fault at all. This is a re-write of the classic fairy tales with a feminist and technological twist. How could I not like them? Now to read the rest.

Four princesses out of five.

Should I read this? Yes. Just do.

What did I learn? Some trilogies are different.