Wednesday, 30 September 2015

The Gone-Away World



Book 56 of 2015 is The Gone-Away World by Nick Harkaway.

Harkaway is the son of John le CarrĂ© so no pressure. I didn't find this out until more than half way through the book but then it made a lot of sense. Some online critic described this Le CarrĂ© with ninjas but that is unfair and overly simplistic. Harkaway is a great writer independently of his great writer father.

This is an original story which I'd say is closest to Fight Club than most other books I can compare to.

I can't talk too much about the story because there are too many spoilers and you must take the journey yourself.

5 ninjas out of 5.

Should I read this? Without a doubt, yes.

What did I learn? There are very few writers who write this well. This is an adventure in writing and is so well executed that I sometimes felt dirty.

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Edgar Allan Poe: The Fever Called Living


Book 55 of 2015 is Edgar Allan Poe: The Fever Called Living by Paul Collins.

One of the better biographies of Poe. He doesn't condemn him, celebrate him nor pretend to understand him. These are the kind of books about authors I like. A story. A context. A human being.
presented as they are without influence,

Unfortunately, as a short book, this felt too long and I wanted more of Poe's great quotes written in context. Give me context!

3 ravens out of 5.

Should I read this? If you like Edgar Allen Poe then yes.
What did I learn? I need to read more about authors.

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Quote - It's all messy


Sugar



Book 54 of 2015 is Sugar by Deirdre Riordan Hall.

When I started this book, I wasn't expecting too much from it. I was pleasantly surprised and cried at the appropriate moments when Sugar's journey mirrored mine.

My childhood was not as bad as hers because I had a good family but the self image and emotional bruises are very familiar.

4 sugary treats out of 5.

Should I read this? Fat people should read this book. It means a lot to me.
What did I learn? Fat people are people too.

Saturday, 19 September 2015

World After




Book 53 of 2015 is World After by Susan Ee.

Oops, I hate when I read a second book in a series by accident. Now I understand why the world isn't well explained.  Still, you gotta love Angels and Demons at war.  I'll keep going and read book one later.

I do like the dynamic between the female protagonist and her complicated overly macho angel love interest but it is much enhanced by the writing and mythology that backs this.

I shall go back and read the first with interest but I do not recommend you start with this one. There is obviously a void a la Jaba the Hutt's sand monster.

3 fallen angels with wing grafts out of 5.

Should I read this? Maybe after the first.
What did I learn? Angels are only human.

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Swarm





Book 52 of 2015 is Swarm by Frank Schatzing.

There is a lot of sci-fi out there in the newly published books. This is a lot more traditional in that it is aimed at pimply teenage boys. The thing is, it is written well but I wish he'd used his talent to write something less macho and cliche.

3 nanites out of 5.

Should I read this? Nah. Go wash your hair.

What did I learn? Geek boys need a girlfriend.

Friday, 11 September 2015

Horses Never Lie


Book 51 of 2015 is Horses Never Lie by Mark Rashid.

I have never felt an interest in horses until I read this book. The amazing thing is that this book applies to people as much as it does to our four legged friends.

This should be a must read book for people who manage people. The passive leader is the best leader of all.

4 truths out of 5.

Should I read this? Yes, if you understand that human beings are animals in the end.

What did I learn? I need to connect with some horses and some humans.

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Pines



Book 50 of 2015 is book 1 of the Wayward Pines series, Pines by Blake Crouch.

Think M. Night Shyamalan and you'll at least be prepared for the oddness and twists of this book.

Not knowing this was a TV series, I picked this book up because it was free on Kindle Unlimited. I'm glad it was free because the premis might have put me off and I'd not have read it. I am glad that I did.

This is worth the read but I can not fathom how they will make a TV show out of it. That should be interesting. Hopefully, not as bad as The Dome.


3.5 twists out of 5.

Should I read this? Yes, if you like mysteries.
What did I learn? I don't like books that don't let you solve the mystery along with the story teller.

The Paper Magician



Book 49 of 2015 is The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg.

The idea behind this series of books is pretty cool but it was too whiny for me. The main character could be strong but she always flies back to girly and in need of a man to love her every few chapters. Painful.

This must be for teenagers. I need to check these things more thoroughly and not just read the popular stuff. Yes, I've said this before.

3 elements that aren't elemental out of 5

Should I read this? No, this is a bit too whiny for me.
What did I learn? Magical fantasy is so formulaic. 

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

A Mind for Numbers: How to Excel at Math and Science (Even If You Flunked Algebra)



Book 48 of 2015 is A Mind for Numbers by Barbara Oakley.

This is supposed to be about basic maths and helping you find ways to enjoy it if you haven't in the past. It is written by a maths professor. It is absolutely chaotic and I can only assume there is some bigger system at play.

Yeah, yeah, I'm a mathematician and will find it simple but the reason I read it was to find new ways of thinking about maths. There were a few suggestion but it jumped around all over the place. I can't imagine someone who already dislikes maths liking it after this.

Apart from the pondering on diffused thinking, this didn't hold much for me.

2 random thoughts out of 5.

Should I read this? No. Read another maths book.
What did I learn? A smart person does not a good teacher make and a good teacher does not a good writer make.

A Long Walk To Water




Book 47 of 2015 is A Long Walk to Water: Based on a True Story by Linda Sue Park.

It tells the story of a young boy who went through the ethic cleansing of South Sudan and the lost boys who walked east to a safe haven in Africa. It also tells the story of a young girl and the joy of a water well.

This is quite heartbreaking but also uplifting. We can not hide from the fact that this happens now while we live comfortably in the first world.

4 wells out of 5.

Should I read this? We all should. People think the last atrocities happened in the WWII but they happen now.
What did I learn? The terror of a child is something you can not imagine. You can only read through it and wish it never happened.