Monday, 27 November 2017

Wishful Drinking



Book 68 is Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher.

Having just read everything about her after her detail last year, I knew most of the stories she had to tell. The Paul Simon stories and song were new and very light. I may have to read a biography of his to get the gritty details... if I ever feel I want them.

This is a very light book. Short and sweet. Very much written to make money but not much value to the reader.

Maybe Postcards from teh Edge will be better.

2 princesses out of 5.

Should I read this? Don't. There are many better autobiographies.
What did I learn? I love Carrie Fisher's characters but I'm not sure I love her character.

All These Worlds



Book 67 is All These Worlds, which is book 3 of the Bobiverse series by Dennis E. Taylor.

Rarely have I liked a trilogy this much. There were tough moments but all in all, this was an original and wonderful idea.

The only other time I have seen this idea of alternate selves was in ultimate dimensions. Taylor solves this with one dimension and the idea of slight differences in instantiations of the same person.

You know Bob 0 is no longer around.

A brilliant series worth reading, despite the slow middle bit.

4 Bobs out of 5.

Should I read this? For all modern sci-fi fans.
What did I learn? White middle-class male entitlement may persist hundreds of years into the future but at least I'll be dead.

Saturday, 25 November 2017

For We Are Many



Book 66 is For We Are Many which is book 2 of the Bobiverse series by Dennis E. Taylor.

This has absolutely been an original and thoroughly entertaining series for me and one I shall continue to read.

The thing that became painful in this book specifically, was Bob's ego. It's fragile like an entitled white male geek boy from San Francisco. I had to actively try to avoid thinking of how whiney and weak he was while he constantly found he was impressed with himself. I guess replicant evolution doesn't evolve passed white male entitlement... or maybe it is the author.

Nonetheless, after finishing this I have skipped right on to the third and final book of the series.

There is something about the idea of the Bobs that I love. It is the many instantiations of their evolution or their exaggerated biases. I don't know. I simply enjoy them all.

4 growth opportunities out of 5.

Should I read this? Yes to Star Trek explorer kinds of sci-fi lovers.
What did I learn? I am glad there is only one of me in the world. Facing my many versions would be very confronting.

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Hidden Bodies



Book 65 is Hidden Bodies which is book 2 of the You series by Caroline Kepnes

I found the first book from this series intriguing since it was told from the point of view of a serial killer. Since then, I've read a few books in this style and a lot of them are better.

This book read less like a driven sociopath and more like a childish sociopaths. Not how I enjoy my sociopaths but I will read the next book in the series when it comes out and see if it improves.

The certainty of the killer as he is in the first book was more interesting. The chaos and devolution feels out of synch with this, especially considering the random stressors.

3 self-centered thoughts out of 5.

Should I read this? Maybe. Depends on if whether you like being in the mind of an entitled fragile little serial killer.
What did I learn? I know people who don't kill people but do process the world this way.

Sunday, 12 November 2017

We Are Legion (We Are Bob)

 

Book 64 is We Are Legion (We Are Bob) by Dennis E. Taylor.

I read this because it had been recommended a thousand times. The reason I hadn't picked it up was because it sounded like it was about some Silicon Valley frat boy type who cryogenically froze himself and came back to save the world.

Truth is, it kinda is but he is likeable.

The philosophical questions got me through this whole book. His righteous confidence and entitlement made me cringe but I rubbernecked it like a true human.

An interesting and unique concept.

4 Bobs out of 5.

Should I read this? Yes. No bobs about it.
What did I learn? Is AI nature or nurture.

Astrophysics for People in a Hurry



Book 63 is Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson.

So many great facts. Much angst against the anti-science crew. Absolutely worth the time.

I listened to the audio book, read by the author and he had me glued through the whole book. Usually I will listen and do other things but I stopped for this book.

You don't need a science background. You only need a mind craving discovery.

4 spaces between galaxies out of 5.

Should I read this? Yes. No buts about it.
What did I learn? I miss the science I studied. Must read more and in more depth.

Monday, 6 November 2017

Around the World in Eighty Days



Book 62 is Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne.

This is the 11th book Verne wrote in the Extraordinary Voyages series and one that I am shocked to not have read yet, considering I know the story so well.

What surprised me about the story is that there is no hot air balloon travel at all. Not a single mention of it.

Phileas Fogg is one of the least penetrable yet most interesting central characters I've ever read. He is the central pivot point in the story with the world made up of interesting characters, situations and exceptions rotating around him. I would never have seen that in a movie version.

The twists and solutions are intelligent although sometimes contrived but it all fits together perfectly.

You must remember that time this was written to not cringe at the cultural insensitivity and sexism.

I must read the rest of the series now. And no, order does not seem to matter.

4 idiot travel buddies out of 5.

Should I read this? Yes. Read it to your kids or to yourself. You'll enjoy it.
What did I learn? I want to travel around the world in 80 days now but only five star.

Scarecrow Returns



Book 61 is Scarecrow Returns from the Shane Schofield series by Aussie Matthew Reilly.

This is book four. I accidentally missed book 2 for some unknown reason but it hadn't made too big a difference. The author re-explains where all the old characters came from and how they have been damaged by books past.

Those constant recaps is why this is an airport book. You can pick up any one in the series at an airport and read it without any real commitment to anything but the story in front of your face.

This series is why I know a lot about military aircraft and also why I have a very rational fear of killer whales. This particular book is better than the last with more humour and less self pity which is what you want from a stuff blows up and science is stretched a little further than reality.

A fun romp through a radioactive mutant polar bear infested acid island full of a killer mercenary cult. Oops spoiler! But then you could just read that on the back of the book.

3 stereotypical characters out of 5.

Should I read this? Sure, it's fun.
What did I learn? I now know that an osprey isn't just a bird.

Sunday, 5 November 2017

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life



Book 60 is The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson.

This book is a best seller and an enjoyable read. Manson is witty and straightforward, as you can guess from the title.

Nothing he said was new, if you've read enough self help books but he tells it differently in that he insists you take responsibility for your own life, thoughts and outcomes.

As someone who values the idea that happiness is intrinsic and that you don't always have to be happy, I enjoyed the way he brought those two ideas together.

This book felt very aimed at people who wouldn't usually be seen dead reading self help books and I'm a little too old for that "too cool for school" attitude.

The author does redeem himself by showing vulnerability but he never quite stopped me thinking that his cockiness made me want to listen to him less.

Still worth the read.

4 truths out of 5.

Should I read this? Anything that helps you pull back from over-indexing on introspection and gives solid tips for how to change you thinking is worth the read. So, yes.
What did I learn? I can spend more time facing my challenges.

Saturday, 4 November 2017

Huntress Moon



Book 59 is Huntress Moon which is book 1 of The Huntress series by Alexandra Sokoloff.

This book is published by employer but the opinions here are my own and unrelated to them.

At work each day, I walk past a poster of this book. I finally decided that I had to read the book about the female serial killer with the long winding road. That was about all I knew about it when I picked it up.

I am very glad I did pick it up.

The two characters that take turns bringing the story together are a disturbed young woman with clear rules to her world that have her honing in on a specific night; and a noir style FBI agent who spots the huntress in a second and begins to hunt her. He looks back in her life as she focuses forward.

It is well written with the unravelling of her purpose and the construction of her past. Nothing feels formulaic and there are those moments when you accept that you didn't see that coming.

I have already bought the second book in the series and will be getting to it soon.

4 bad bad men out of 5.

Should I read this? Yes for all the serial killer fans.
What did I learn? Dangerous women are twice as dangerous because no one expects a woman.

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Finnikin of the Rock



Book 58 is Finnikin of the Rock which is book 1 of the Lumatere Chronicles by Aussie author Melina Marchetta.

My friend Vicky recommended I read this when we were randomly discussing fantasy books and I am so glad she did. With a solid trilogy already published, I see this distracting me for hours.

As always with female authors (and not surprisingly), the female characters are strong, multi-layered and interesting to read. So are the men. I really wish male authors could start doing this well.

The main character is a young man who doesn't whine or whinge about slights to his entitlement. The female lead plays his second, yet holds a higher standing to him.

This is well written and the world well imagined.

5 girls broken but strong out of 5.

Should I read this? Only if you like fantasy. If so, then YES.
What did I learn? I am learning to pick the kind of fantasy I like better and wasting less time on rubbish. Recommendations help now that people know what I like.