Sunday, 27 August 2017

The End of Eternity



Book 35 of 2017 is The End of Eternity by Isaac Asimov.

Wow, Asimov. Wow.

Every time I pick up a classic, I expect to be disappointed. Let me explain. Classics changed the world in their time and don't always travel through time well. I should have known that a time travel book would do so. Lesson learnt.

I picked this up this morning and was sad when I had to leave it with two chapters to go to head out to brunch with a friend. On returning, I consumed it fully and now can't recommend it more vehemently than this.

Read this book. For sci-fi lovers and book lover alike.

5 kettles out of 5.

Should I read this? Yeah, duh.
What did I learn? Asimov persists as one of the greatest sci-fi writers in history but does he have a time machine.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up


Book 34 of 2017 is The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondō.

I am very undecided on this book. It has the salesmanship that makes you want to dive in and change your life but it promises disappointment in my eyes.

The one thing that has happened since reading this has been my ability to throw things out without remorse. That alone is an amazing step.

I can see how this could change your life. I don't know if it will change mine.

3 discarded items without spark out of 5.

Should I read this? Honestly, I'm not sure. Ask me in three months.
What did I learn? I can throw things out without guilt, as long as I don't tell anyone about it. This is freeing.

Saturday, 26 August 2017

A Closed and Common Orbit



Book 33 of 2017 is A Closed and Common Orbit by Beck Chambers.

Having thoroughly enjoyed the first book in this series, I gifted e-books to two of my friends and insisted they read it. It was not as well received as I had hoped but that is ok. I really really like this series.

Despite the fact that the characters I became attached to in the first book were not major characters in this one, the established world and its species differentiation made this very enjoyable.

There were quite a few ethical challenges for me around artificial intelligence. I was uncomfortable a number of times with certain choices made but Chambers makes this easy to swallow.

If you start any series this year, start this one.

4 lines of altered code out of 5.

Should I read this? Yes. A solid series to commit to.
What did I learn? I am human biased. I am not sure how to change that but I am thinking about it now.

Carve the Mark




Book 32 of 2017 is Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth.

Yes, THAT Veronica Roth. She wrote the Divergent series. And we all know I loved that series. Possibly even more than The Hunger Games.

Roth does not disappoint in this well written, philosophically challenging and original series start that proclaims are brilliant female protagonist. She has dimensions that don't make her complicated but instead make her relatable. That is what I love about this book.

My only complaint is that I read this before the next one was written. Amateur move, for sure. Now I'm hanging out for the rest of the series.

5 marks carved out of 5.

Should I read this? Yes. You will enjoy it, no matter who you are.
What did I learn? I still don't like Hollywood endings. Challenge me and I'll love you.

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg



Book 31 of 2017 is Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Irin Carmon & Shana Knizhnik.

My American friends have spoken about her so many times that I had to read something about this kick-ass female Supreme Court justice.

This was not what I expected. It wasn't a biased biography saying everything about her is perfect but instead a lot of facts, quotes and citations about a very smart woman.

It is great to have another strong, brilliant role model.

4 dissents out of 5.

Should I read this? Yes. Yes. Yes. She's a strong woman who lived a challenging life as she paved the way for women.
What did I learn? Times, they are a changin'.

Friday, 4 August 2017

The Dwarves



This book does not count towards my Read Books for 2017 because after 427 of 733 pages (or 59%) and 7 months elapsed in which I read 30 other books, I am throwing in the towel. This is not a book that I can finish.

As a typical Tolkien fan, the blurb for this book appealed greatly. Reviews were good and even the D&D community were stoked at the series. I kept wanting to buy it but refused to pay the $40ish price tag that is the norm for 7-800 pagers.

I plowed through about 200 pages before it became monotonous and predictable. Chapter after chapter was the same and nothing made me want to persist other than my insistence on finishing what I start.

Alas, not this time.

This is not a good book and is one I will give one star too. I do not recommend it.

Hopeless Magic



Book 30 of 2017 is Hopeless Magic from the Star-Crossed series the by Rachel Higginson.

I read the first book from this series a month ago and enjoyed it enough to want to read the second book.

After finishing this arduous read with a whining teenage girl and her band of merry teenage men chasing her along with the "once you have sex you are bonded for life" message, I was glad it ended. There will be no more reading from this conservative non-subtle instruction on how young women cause trouble by speaking their minds and should think carefully of who they will marry because he owns you forever.

It. Was. Painful.

This had to have been written by a middle aged suburban housewife who wished she had never married her boring muggle husband.

1 spoilt Omaha teenage victim out of 5.

Should I read this? No. The first book ends implying more lies ahead in this book but nothing does.
What did I learn? First books in a series should be standalone.

Scarecrow



Book 29 of 2017 is Scarecrow by Matthew Reilly.

Reilly's book are my go to light, no challenge travel books that are available in airport book stores.

Having enjoyed Ice Station from the Scarecrow series and Temple (not in a series AFAIK) for being adventurous and having aliens or magic, I was hoping Scarecrow would be in the same vein. Unfortunately, this is all military fighting mercenaries all for a crazed evil genius with sharks with fricken LASER beams.

It was an easy read which is good for 38 horrid hours of travel but it had no aliens and magic. This was a little like the time I went to see the movie Lincoln when I thought I was going to see Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. I was 30 minutes in to the movie when I asked my friend when the vampires were going to come in. He of course laughed hysterically in a full cinema.

This book was a little like that.

If you are in to fast cars, helicopters, gun, ammunition and faster than sound airplanes then this is the book for you. If not, it's an easy enough read with some twists.

3 escapes from the jaws of death out of 5.

Should I read this? Only if you're taking a long plane flight and you don't need to use your brain.
What did I learn? Everything this taught me about military weapons, I have already forgotten.