Murakami is excellent at gentle melancholy, and here is no different. The usual mysterious phone calls that changes your life in an instant. FriendshiMurakami is excellent at gentle melancholy, and here is no different. The usual mysterious phone calls that changes your life in an instant. Friendship lost and gained and lost again. Trying to work out who you are when the people around you disappear. This book was a nice progression of the normal coming-of-age type story that is often woven through his works, as it focuses on an older man working through mysteries that began in his late teens but were never resolved. He's not drifting or recently unemployed like many of the previous protagonists, he works in a train station design/logisitcs role that he has held for some time, and despite his mixed feelings about his journey in life he's pretty good at it.
This Murakami story has been fermented from the same grapes, but he's produced a far more mature wine... there's my metaphor quota blown for the day. I enjoyed the journey, and I enjoyed the ending, too.
If you have read Murakami's other works and enjoyed them, it's pretty safe to say you'll enjoy this. If you didn't like his previous tales, well, this one probably won't win you over. If you are considering this as your first Murakami novel, I think this would be a nice, light start, as it is one of his shorter novels and doesn't skip about as much as some of his older ones, which might try some people's patience (I love it).
My favourite Murakami is still Sputnik Sweetheart, which is also a short read, so that's also a good place to start in my opinion....more
Or, Vimes Goes to the Countryside and Still Can't Eat Bacon.
Another solid Discworld novel. Honestly, if you like the rest, you'll like this, and wantOr, Vimes Goes to the Countryside and Still Can't Eat Bacon.
Another solid Discworld novel. Honestly, if you like the rest, you'll like this, and want to read it, and you don't need me selling it to you or spoiling it for you.
And if you have not read any Discworld, then start with Mort or Guards Guards and work your way up from there (or start at the very beginning, just be aware that his jokes and plots and characters all improve over time and during the first two books he's still really finding his feet and what he wants to say other than "fantasy can be funny" which is, of course, certainly worth saying on its own).
And if you have read a few Discworld books, and don't enjoy them, this one won't change your mind I imagine. Plus given Vimes has a long history, you would want to have read the other Watch novels first.
A little darker than some of his other stories, but then, so is the country. Death is always a little more close to home and visceral in the country. Even compared to The Shades (death tends me be more at the back of an alleyway or in the shadows, even there).
Young Sam Vimes is growing up nicely, and very well-written. My favourite parts are the interactions between Vimes and Wilikins, as well as Vimes and Sybil. I read Raising Steam before this one, so it was interesting to see the rise of the goblins that then leads on into that novel. Lovely team effort from Sam and Sybil to get that happening.
Just the right amount of Vetinari (oh, who am I kidding, you can never get enough Vetinari)....more
**spoiler alert** I came into this expecting something I didn't get, so, read the review as what, for me, was a pretty average cyberpunk book might be**spoiler alert** I came into this expecting something I didn't get, so, read the review as what, for me, was a pretty average cyberpunk book might be, for you, exactly what you enjoy.
If you want a novel about someone having one long acid trip, vaguely motivated to achieve a goal and stumbling in the direction of that goal until the inevitable conclusion, you will get a lot out of this.
If you want a fleshed out world with interesting takes on a hybrid cyborg/animal/alien/cyberspace/inter-dimensional environment, with interesting characters, character development, and the fun insights into modern culture that sci-fi so often gives, you will probably be disappointed.
This is one of my friend's favourite book of all time so given he's heavily into cyberpunk books I figured this must be one of the best, but instead I'd place this in a totally different genre. It's more a book about drug addicts but some of the characters have futuristic abilities, look like shadow-people, dog-man hybrids, cyborgs etc. The cyberpunk is all kind of window dressing and incidental and vague, and the character quirks and politics that really get me into a cyberpunk novel just aren't here.
The "twist" at the end (both of them) were telegraphed early on and certainly didn't make the book feel worthwhile for me.
It never really startled or made me think - it was just kinda jumbly and sad and wacky while feeling hollow and unsatisfying.
Things I found interesting/liked: ================================== - The Thing - The English Voodoo feather - Beetle's behavioural shifts - The description of what happens to people shot by the bullet Beetle was shot with (would have loved more info on how this is used by the police force, would have loved more info on how the police operated in general) - Using Vurt without having a feather for a "I know Kung Fu" effect - The main Shadow Girl was interesting (so of course she and the other interesting character are tossed out of the novel early on) - Trevor's and (I forget her name)'s hair, lifestyle/rituals. Their first scene in the book is the only one I really felt like I got a picture in my mind's eye, the other scenes felt kinda 2D. - VR creatures and places hinted to all actually exist somewhere, hence "swapping". Hints that shadow people are part VR, somehow. I'm fine with pseudoscience so long as it is cool pseudoscience.
Things I did not like: ====================== - Scribble was a Magical Boy for no apparent reason - I love virtual reality in sci-fi but for a novel titled for that very thing, it was actually pretty absent from most of the action - the Vurt/feather worlds are actually pretty uninteresting (just emotions in a can - VR is for drugs and nothing else, from what we could see). - The Thing is completely wasted as the most interesting character/mystery - The disapproving father figure seemed totally unnecessary - The Curious Yellow was not nearly as exciting or inventive as I had hoped given all the lead-up hype - Desdemona might as well have been an inflatable doll - Mandy seemed like she was thrown in just so that there was a tough woman in the story, for Scribble to lust over while Desdemona wasn't around - ShadowCops are barely explored despite the tantilising hint that they are all sourced directly from Vurt/feathers - no emotional connection to the characters or story so when it ended I was just kinda "Ok, well, there you go I guess"
Vurt is an unsatisfying fever dream set in cyberspace (except almost none of it actually occurs in cyberspace) (unless you believe the SHOCKING TWIST that IT WAS ALL A FEATHER ALL ALONG) and all the characters in the dream are all jumbly hollow people.
But lots of people love it so I'd recommend you'd give it a go. I thought it was okay, I was just left unsatified by it is all.
If you were unsatisfied and want more VR in your story, I recommend the Dream Park series by Larry Niven and Steven Barnes, although I've not read the latest book that came out in 2011.It has been more than 15 years since I last read that series actually :P But they left a stronger impression on me than this book.
Visceral, powerful anger in some of these poems - those were the ones I identified with/felt the strongest (hm).
You really need to read it aloud in yoVisceral, powerful anger in some of these poems - those were the ones I identified with/felt the strongest (hm).
You really need to read it aloud in your head for maximum impact, given them a voice. These are pieces very suited to performance.
For angry and scared young women, hurting and reflective women, and the people who want to know what it is like to be them, or want to re-live what it was like to be one, so you can work out what those experiences mean to you today.
One poem in particular perfectly describes my first relationship, shame I never want to hear from the fellow ever again and therefore cannot share the perfectly summarised anger with him. It wouldn't offer him any opportunity for growth anyway, he's a read-only sort of a guy. But some comfort to know others experienced the same problem, and have them summarise it so perfectly....more
To people considering reading the book: a few points worth noting as I can see from reviews that a lot of people went in with very different expectatiTo people considering reading the book: a few points worth noting as I can see from reviews that a lot of people went in with very different expectations:
- This book was published in 2008 and some of the research used (interviews with students etc) is from 2005. So take some of the stats with a grain of salt.
- This book's focus is on the performance of masculinity that is typically performed by young white middle-class American men.
The author does not state anywhere that there are not masculinity performances performed by men in other demographics, but does note that the behaviours he is discussing he sees as something specifically adopted by this group. I do remember noting with raised eyebrow the fact that the photo on the cover of the edition I read was all white guys, but then as I read the book I saw why: that is where he sees the "location" of this particular flavour of Guyland to be. The sorts of behaviours he is looking to address are predominantly performed by that group.
That said, I would certainly welcome and be very excited read books on masculinity that look at other specific segments of the population, or focused on my own country - they are certainly needed as part of this conversation!
Why I thought so highly of this book: it really put a human face on the issues the book describes. I was a nerdy girl and never really interacted with many guys during my teens, but I just feel so much more empathy and understanding for all the factors that were driving their actions after reading this book. It opened up many fascinating conversations with my husband as I asked him about whether he had felt some of the things the guys interviewed had, how he had dealt with it, what he needed to get through it and grow into the man he is today.
All genders typically experience many struggles and much pain in the transition to adulthood, and I think a book like this is a great help for people wanting to understand some of those struggles a little better, and how they might help. It discusses the problems with peers initiating peers into adulthood, and how this can lead to an extended, aimless childhood as a result.
I think the above review discusses the strengths and weaknesses of the book the best, out of all the reviews I have read.
Some reviewers seem to mistake critique and analysis for condemnation - such as the discussion of masculinity performance in sport then being read as "condemning" sport, even though the author himself discusses how sport is an important part of his bond with his son, and his enjoyment of various sports. Please read with an open mind, and carefully, and be aware of your sore spots.
Maybe you might get less out of this book than I did if you are already well-read in the subject - this is the first book I've ever read on masculinity, for me it was a very good start. Very glad to have read it. I will certainly be looking for more books on this topic to get the broader picture....more
Some people find the burden of tidying daily and the burden of possessions you don't have time to sort and fix/etc soul-wearying. I am one of those peSome people find the burden of tidying daily and the burden of possessions you don't have time to sort and fix/etc soul-wearying. I am one of those people. If you are one of those people, you might enjoy this book. This book has honestly made a huge difference in my life in just a week, it's pretty amazing.
The book mixes shinto spiritualism with the search for identity in a modern age where for many accruing possessions is easier than not. So much stored due to attachment to the past, or fear of the future. Being surrounded by things gathered on these principles will not create a peaceful mind.
I am pretty good at recycling most things I associated with my past, but I have so many aspirational items - educational books, purchased in a fit of inspiration but not yet read, tools for hobbies I'd like to take up one day. The Kondomari technique is the tool I need to take a perspective centred in joy in my identity now, who I am now, and not always looking backwards or forwards.
I have gotten rid of so many clothes but I suddenly feel like I have so many more than before, because now I can find all of them! No more things shoved in the back of a drawer. The folding technique really is not that hard, and I find myself instantly putting washed clothing away rather than leaving it be, because I know that item has a very specific home. I know it belongs.
I have started a quick sweep of my books (hence why I am writing lots of reviews this week, I'm hurriedly reading as fast as I can so that when I do the really big purge I don't regret not reading some things that don't wind up in the "spark joy" category even though I know I'd enjoy reading them... and my house feels lighter already.
I am about to move from a house into a very compact apartment so this book comes at the perfect time. I look forward to continue applying her technique to the rest of my possessions and living a more now-centred, uncluttered life. For me, the spiritual element was really charming, and inspired more reflection that I would have had with a normal book on decluttering....more
Hmmmm, hmmmmm. There are many things to like and dislike. Most of the things to dislike, in my opinion, are issues related to following canon and theHmmmm, hmmmmm. There are many things to like and dislike. Most of the things to dislike, in my opinion, are issues related to following canon and the requirements Karpyshyn would have had at the start to lead this story into the TOR MMORPG story.
The first half of the book I definitely enjoyed the most, partially because of the return of (view spoiler)[Canderous and T3-M4 (hide spoiler)] but also because the plot of one of the leading protagonists, Lord Scourge, is so interesting. I enjoyed his plot line and Karpyshyn has created a dark side character that is not two-dimensional. Excellent!
In fact, that is part of the main appeal of this novel, which makes sense, given who the main character is - it explores the dark-side/light-side boundaries a little more than some other Star Wars tales do - I could happily have spent a lot more time reading about that exploration.
I was disappointed that most of the original cast of KOTOR were absent, and that pretty much no one except (view spoiler)[Meetra (hide spoiler)] appeared from KOTOR 2. I was actually always far more invested in The Exile than Revan - don't get me wrong, I love both characters, but it was The Exile's fate I was most concerned about, partially due to the rushed KOTOR 2 ending. I wanted to see a proper resolution for The Exile and her companions. (view spoiler)[And yeah, I was pretty cut that Meetra's ending is "Woo, I'm a spooky force ghost who exists to provide Revan with more sanity, woooooooOOOOOOOoooooooo". It's just, she had almost all her agency stripped away, and her death wasn't even a noble/conscious decision, even though clearly she decided to make the most of it. I'm just mad because I was so attached to her - her ending was not what I wanted at all. Do I think that means it was a _bad_ ending? I'm not so sure. Certainly, it added more meaning to Scourge's "betrayal" and we'd only just had the "Jedi are willing to sacrifice" foreshadowing. But. My Meetra feels! And T-3, NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. (hide spoiler)]
I don't see the lack of companions as a failing of the book. It was clearly always going to have quite a limit on length that Karpyshyn had to work to. I'll just have to turn to fanfic if I want to see more of the crew. Just a shame that Meetra/Atton seems to be canon, according to what I've been reading in Wookiepeida, but that doesn't get a mention here, (view spoiler)[and probably never will, now, in official media ;_; (hide spoiler)]. I really, really got into the Meetra/Atton romance.
But, this book was titled "Revan" after all, not "The Exile", so, I was happy to get what KOTOR 2 content I did, really.
Revan's fate is a little frustrating, but it's clear that from the start, Karpyshyn needed to find a way to (view spoiler)[write Revan into TOR somehow, but also limit the actions he was able to take during/leading up to TOR. This ending lets Revan survive to TOR-times without aging much, and become even MORE of the stuff of legends. (hide spoiler)]
I do think that trying to write so as to only make canon what was absolutely necessary to make canon - to let players keep their internal ideas about Revan and Meetra as intact as possible - was always going to be incredibly difficult. Plus, having to write so that TOR has some good threads leading into it - I don't envy the task.
This is always the problem with writing fiction for multi-pathway type games. People want to read about the player characters. But writing about them forces you to lock down what choices were actually made, which will alienate a lot of players from the novel version of their characters. And if you avoid the playable character and only follow NPCs, people are cranky about the giant hole in the universe where their character should be.
I just wanted to know why Revan left Republic space again after KOTOR 1, and what happened to The Exile after KOTOR 2. Now I know. And I'm happy I know. Although like many others, I wish I had control of their stories - it's never enjoyable having a character you feel like you've shaped have their narrative taken out of your hands. And I would have made some different choices if I'd still been in control of their choices. But Karpyshyn's job was to provide closure and connection to TOR, which he certainly did.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I listened to the audiobook, narrated by Wil Wheaton (which was a very nice touch).
The first segment of the book is largely dialogue seperated by "heI listened to the audiobook, narrated by Wil Wheaton (which was a very nice touch).
The first segment of the book is largely dialogue seperated by "he said" and "she said" (or more accurately, "Dahl said" and "Duvall said" x100). Which was distracting.
Also, it felt like all the characters were basically the same person, just with different backstories. Which, okay, could kind of fit the whole "redshirts" concept, but the non-Intrepid characters were also like that, for me at least. No one really seemed to have a distinct personality. Just a different coat of paint.
All that said, it was a fun idea and a pleasant, un-demanding bit of fluff to listen to on the way to work. There were a few jokes that made me giggle. Giggling is good.
Contrary to what some other folk have said, I actually really enjoyed the third coda. (view spoiler)[I guess because the whole sub-plot with the Yeti's wife seemed really clunky in the actual narrative, but in the coda it actually became something worth exploring. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more