Yeah, okay, I love conspiracy theories and I quite like Decoded in general. They don't always get things right, but they do always amuse. I love the dYeah, okay, I love conspiracy theories and I quite like Decoded in general. They don't always get things right, but they do always amuse. I love the discussion it generates, wild speculation, hare-brained schemes and subversive history. It's good fun, and a good study in logic if you want to be cynical about. Would it make more sense of things to go this way, or that? What more could you want from entertainment?
This book was given as a Christmas present to my parents, and they both enjoyed it thoroughly. They gave it to me after, and yes, I gobbled it right up, too. The gimmick of the book is fun: each chapter is a different conspiracy theory with a small envelope at the front containing facsimiles of parts of the cases. For instance, D.B. Cooper's plane tickets, JFK's autopsy report, a poster for the Our American Cousin the night Lincoln was killed... It's fun stuff, and decent quality. Not as fun as, say, Griffin Sabine but what is, when it comes to the gimmick?
The book won't give you much more than the show did, with perhaps two exceptions. I felt the book went into more depth in regards to the Rosicrucians (who they are, what they do) and the Confederate Gold. Other than that, it was the same old thing. But that same old is fun, and the book was, too....more
Jonas had fond memories of this book trilogy growing up, and upon hearing that I'd never read them, decided to give me the original trilogy for ChristJonas had fond memories of this book trilogy growing up, and upon hearing that I'd never read them, decided to give me the original trilogy for Christmas. :)
The fantasy tropes are back in force.
It's funny how a book that fit so perfectly into the fantasy tropes in general still can be surprising. It's funny how well the trope was played upon, and how unsettling the "something is wrong but we don't know what" concept can be played with when you reveal as little as Ursula K. Le Guin does. Once more, the perspective shifts away from Sparrowhawk and to someone new, in this case a young prince. Together the two travel to discover just what's going on in the world and why magic itself appears to be disappearing in some areas of the world. What's going on?
This book has massive ramifications for the world of Earthsea, and becomes a major plot point for the remaining books - including Tehanu in my opinion. It's a perfect ending for the original trilogy, and a prefect beginning point for the next one. ...more
Remember how I said the first book read like it was written by an anthropologist? This is where that distinction becomes all the more pertinent. SerioRemember how I said the first book read like it was written by an anthropologist? This is where that distinction becomes all the more pertinent. Seriously. In The Tombs of Atuan the focus shifts away from Sparrowhawk to a young priestess in the Karged lands. The entire culture is explored, as well as the concept of religion, in a way that is startling now for when it was written. I'm sure it'd startle the life out of a new young reader for sure, but hopefully in a good way.
Reading reviews prior to reading it myself, it seems that this book had a very polarizing affect on readers. I can understand why. Not everyone wants to sit down and explore the concept of religious power vs. political power in a country where the reins are changing. Not everyone wants to study how being viewed as a high priestess affect a young girl. Personally, I was riveted by it and genuinely uneasy as they worked their way through the labyrinth underground. I enjoyed the sly nod to Akkadian artwork and the way the story expanded upon a brief sentence in the book prior.
I got this as a stocking stuffer years ago for Christmas and continue to read it every year. It's adorable, and one of the cats certainly looks like mI got this as a stocking stuffer years ago for Christmas and continue to read it every year. It's adorable, and one of the cats certainly looks like my Erik. :)...more
I've heard about Patricia Highsmith long before I actually picked up one of her books. Out of all of them I chose The Cry of the Owl, which I'd heardI've heard about Patricia Highsmith long before I actually picked up one of her books. Out of all of them I chose The Cry of the Owl, which I'd heard mentioned time and again in a pleasant, if distracted, way. While her Ripley books are better known, The Cry of the Owl carries with it a different sort of charm and fear. It proved an interesting book, and one difficult to put down.
The twists were pleasant, though not altogether too surprising. The prose was noir in just the right way to scratch that itch in me, though it was startling after having been knee-deep in Ursula K. Le Guin for a month or more. The plot moved quickly, turned deftly, and had me grinning as I read it in public for the fun way danger reared its ugly head within it.
The book is a rousing mystery and a great study in unreliable narration. It has encouraged me to give Patricia Highsmith possibly the best gift a reader can: I will happily seek out and read more of her books. ...more
Mysterious communications from a man long dead, a murder mystery decades old, hidden treasure, and a chase scene down the Thames. What more could oneMysterious communications from a man long dead, a murder mystery decades old, hidden treasure, and a chase scene down the Thames. What more could one want? Oh yes, how about a love story, disguises, and Sherlock Holmes sinking ever deeper into depression?
Certainly. I'm in.
While nowhere near as good a mystery story as A Study in ScarletThe Sign of the Four makes up for what it lacks in intrigue in that regard with interesting character studies. Here, Sherlock Holmes turns to drug abuse to make up for a lack of cases and sinks ever deeper into his depression when there's a hitch in solving the case and John Watson turns his interest elsewhere. It's a fascinating thing to watch from the outside and an interesting commentary on the friendship between the two....more
When picking up Oliver Sacks it's important to realize that you're reading a medical text. The accountI kept getting strange looks while reading this.
When picking up Oliver Sacks it's important to realize that you're reading a medical text. The accounts you're looking at are medical cases, with only a marginal effort made to edit the language to something easier for the layman. Which is to say, these books can be rather dull. If you go in expecting that, however, they can be informative and interesting reads.
I learned a lot about the nature of hallucinations and the misconceptions that exist surrounding them. I learned that most people hallucinate, in one way or another, and that it's rather normal. I also learned how incredible complex our nervous systems are, and in particular our optical centers. Really, really interesting stuff. It's no wonder it breaks down now and again.
I also learned that it's incredibly unfair to introduce a Doctor fftych in a section dealing with textual hallucinations. How is that an actual name?...more
I love this edition. I bought it at Poe House in Baltimore maybe a decade or so ago... and got it signed by a wonderful Poe impersonator. What a greatI love this edition. I bought it at Poe House in Baltimore maybe a decade or so ago... and got it signed by a wonderful Poe impersonator. What a great birthday that was. :)...more
Right from the mouth of Doug Sandom, what more could you ask for?
I was lucky enough to talk to Doug before the book was released, and I'm forever gratRight from the mouth of Doug Sandom, what more could you ask for?
I was lucky enough to talk to Doug before the book was released, and I'm forever grateful for having had that opportunity. Doug is a brilliant storyteller, a very sweet man, and indeed the sort of person who not only you can imagine sitting in a pub with while he tells he stories... but a great many of people get just that opportunity. The fame that Doug has only served to define what a wonderful person he is. He's remained as humble as ever, though he's quite open about how he regrets leaving the band to this day.
The book holds within it many stories not heard before, and actually does a far better job of showing what The Who was like at that time than any previous Who biography. Doug captures the exhilaration that was felt as they became more famous, how they dealt with that rise in different ways, and the subtleties of the personalities that soon would go on to a massive stardom. He captures the camaraderie in a way that other biographies tend to glance over in favor of emphasizing the spats - which yes, there were - but the violence was never there from the start.
For fans of The Who? This is a indispensable book. It's right up there with Dougal Butler's recent revision of Full Moon, I'd argue, in terms of capturing The Who from those who were here with the band.
Get it, cherish it. If you've a chance to see the man himself, do so. He's a truly wonderful fellow....more
Hugh Warwick has managed to write a book that is simultaneously informative and deeply entertaining. His passion for the humble hedgWhat a great book!
Hugh Warwick has managed to write a book that is simultaneously informative and deeply entertaining. His passion for the humble hedgehog shines through in every page, and it's impossible to not have some of that rub off on you while reading this book. Indeed, it's impossible not to fall a bit in love with the animal the second you 'do the nose to nose thing' with them.
The hedgehog is an inherently silly animal, but there's something in its industrious and utterly benign nature that attracts both passion and obsession. There's something fascinating in the tiny creature, and what a joy it is to witness that love ignite in everyone I introduce the spiny beasts o. To see those emotions beautifully highlighted in someone else's words is heartwarming. To see it paired with a deeper scientific understanding of the animal was plain beautiful.
I've already passed this book on to two other people, and I honestly can't wait to encourage still others to read it. Save the hedgehog, save the world as the author put it. Any way an animal can be better loved and understood is a good one, and I've seen firsthand how passion for one creature can extend to all the others in our lives....more
This was a very, very good retelling of the mysterious full family murder of the Robinson's.
Mardi Jo Link meticulously goes through all of the evidencThis was a very, very good retelling of the mysterious full family murder of the Robinson's.
Mardi Jo Link meticulously goes through all of the evidence in the case, considering each of the theories that came up regarding who might have done it. She relies greatly on primary evidence, turning to secondary only when it's not available. She keeps her notes clear, and keeps herself largely outside of the story. By the end of the book I had drawn my own conclusions, and was genuinely curious whether or not anything new would ever come forth.
My only complaint about the book is the very ending, when she goes back to describing Good Hart and it's current demeanor rather than ending it with the final evidence of the murder. It did serve to lighten the mood, yes, and to show how thoroughly Good Hart was affected by what happened. Still, it would have served better during the initial description of the town rather than being part of the epilogue itself....more
Dogsbody was first laid before me by my first librarian in elementary school. She offered me the book, what with the cAh, well, we meet again my love.
Dogsbody was first laid before me by my first librarian in elementary school. She offered me the book, what with the chilling rendition of the cold dog on the cover. Fur as white as snow, ears as red as blood, in mid leap towards the front of the cover. I devoured the book more quickly than anything, and left with a part of me stolen by the story. I could relate to Leo, to Sirius, to whatever you choose to call him. I had my rages, had my temper. Rereading it all these years later, yes, I've had my ill-chosen love. I felt I understood him, and understood the love that Kathleen had for him and the emptiness she felt towards the end.
Rereading it now, I understand the subplot of the Irish Troubles, the prejudice that I missed completely when I first read it innumerable times. I understood the mythology of the Hunt, and better the desire to chase and destroy and mourn and love that was all wrapped up within it. I understood the difference between the wild and the tame, the intelligence and the cruelty. There is so much in this book that just... it's almost like we were given only a brief snapshot of what could have continued on for ages. The world built was beautiful, cruel, confused and haunting. We were given so much in this book to explore, and so much was just viewed through inadequate eyes.
I think I'll always love this book, and I know it will always have stolen a large part of who I am. It's my favorite for a reason, and I spent years trying to find it for a bigger reason still. This book is an under-appreciated classic, and one I'll always hurriedly recommend to anyone who asks me. ...more
I think I got more out of this book by reading the extensive notes and introductions than by reading the book itself. The book was so full of allusionI think I got more out of this book by reading the extensive notes and introductions than by reading the book itself. The book was so full of allusions to political situations, changes in speech and text depending upon what was being mentioned, legitimate philosophical meanderings and religious commentary. Well, it was a piece of work.
I think it would be an easier read a second time around, bearing in mind all I learned from the first poke through it. It's one of those books you know you should read and contemplate, but doing so alone is a bit difficult. A bit like listening to a lecture and having your mind blown away - listen again, and you can begin to pick at the subtleties.
I do agree that the most fascinating bit about Utopia is the fact that there would be no way to enforce it had the structure not already been in place. Yes, it sounds great from the outset, but knowing freedom and having experienced this level of it (impinged upon as it may be these days) we'd not take too kindly to having it all stripped away. It truly is No Place as much as it may be a Good One (which can be thoroughly argued, seeing how flawed the system in place is.)
The commentary is great, the concepts novel at the time and still rather fresh now. Not to mention the dystopia genre does hinge upon this singular text, written and published so many years ago....more
I first read this book in high school, having been looking for a good biography of Syd Barrett and seeing this as being the most accurate out there atI first read this book in high school, having been looking for a good biography of Syd Barrett and seeing this as being the most accurate out there at the time. I'd be interested in finding a revised copy, if one was ever released after the poor man's death. It would be interesting to hear what others, in particular Breen, had to say about him then and whether or not his life in the end was a contended one.
This biography is short, easy to read, and fascinating. It dispels some of the more harmful myths about Syd, and unfortunately confirms some of the worse aspects of his character. It's a humbling read for those who idolize Syd, and a sad reminder of just how damaging drugs can be to an already troubled personality.
I'll always wonder what Syd could have achieved had he not been destroyed as he was, but shall take some solace in the fact that at least for even a little while he was happy in his solitude.
This concise book is a collection of well known quotations from his work, organized loosely by topic. The begAh, who doesn't love William Shakespeare?
This concise book is a collection of well known quotations from his work, organized loosely by topic. The beginning features a nice biography of the author, although it does report some stories that are more likely inventions than truth. It does, however, quote some of the better Ben Jonson mentions of Shakespeare.
All in all this book, as previous reviewers have commented, is a bit too PG rated to be truly good fun. It is a good quick reference to various quotations, and a decent introduction to the life of the Bard.
All in all, quite fun, but a bit too whitewashed....more
I'm a big fan of Hyperbole and a Half, and from that knew well enough that I would be a fan of this book. It collects some oWonderful, wonderful book.
I'm a big fan of Hyperbole and a Half, and from that knew well enough that I would be a fan of this book. It collects some of the most memorable stories from the blog, and adds several new entertaining ones. While I would love to see a book that collects all of the posts, this is still a very good start.
Allie Brosh's artwork is distinctive and hilarious, her writing both poignant and clever. While the subject matter at times does get dark, this book is still one of the funniest and most truthful ones I've ever read.
This book is an excellent collection of Peanuts comics, and the comics themselves are added to by the beginning Foreward and InGosh, I love this book.
This book is an excellent collection of Peanuts comics, and the comics themselves are added to by the beginning Foreward and Introduction that relate a number of anecdotes about Charles Schulz' life and writing/drawing techniques. Where he got his inspiration, what he wondered about his own characters - it's fascinating, and I'd love to read a biography of the fellow I admire so much....more
The fondness I have of this book comes mainly from having read it (and having it read to me) as a child.
Stuart Little himself isn't a terribly likableThe fondness I have of this book comes mainly from having read it (and having it read to me) as a child.
Stuart Little himself isn't a terribly likable character. He is capricious at best, and although he's helpful he's also terribly aloof and fickle in his cares. By the last third of the book he has run away from home to find Margalo whom he loves, but has no qualms about asking another girl out for a night of canoeing. He didn't even bother to write home to explain to his family what he was about. What a guy.
Yes, it also is troublesome that a woman gave birth to a mouse. I still don't quite understand that matter...
The ending of the book is bittersweet, beautiful, and altogether worth the read. It reminded me oddly of the ending of The House at Pooh Corner or the Piper at the Gates of Dawn in The Wind in the Willows. There's a sense of wonder and a sense of loss, and I feel considerably the images evoked by the endless trek North that Stuart Little has embarked on. Will he find he Margalo? Will he ever return to the New York he loved so well? It's debatable, at best, but with the imagery of the water and Stuart's seafaring ways it's safe to say he'd never settle in one place for too terribly long.
Beautiful book, even if perhaps an undeserved classic. Not E.B. White's best, but there are far worse fates than growing up with this story....more
Got to give this book a ton of stars. Oh, my childhood.
I grew up near the Potomac and spent a ton of time in the places described by these stories. IGot to give this book a ton of stars. Oh, my childhood.
I grew up near the Potomac and spent a ton of time in the places described by these stories. I bought the book itself in one of the houses described in the stories... They're fun, they're short, and there are a lot of them. It's irrelevant to me whether the stories are true or not, they fascinated me as a child either way.
Can't wait to give this book to my nephew and continue the cycle of late nights spent poring over ghost stories and wondering what's out there. :)...more
Now and then one comes across a writer whose every word titillates and entices. ReadinHarlan Ellison, I have the deepest of writing crushes upon you.
Now and then one comes across a writer whose every word titillates and entices. Reading their stories, regardless of what they are, is a pleasure: even their 'just ok' writing makes you think, makes you wonder, makes you hungry for more. I've a handful of authors I can think of that do that for me. Unquestionably, Mr. Harlan Ellison is one of them.
Spider Kiss is a rock and roll fable, effortlessly splicing together the various stories of a down and out kid and his meteoric rise to fame. Where Spider Kiss differs from other stories of this nature is not only the fact that it predates the now cliche trope becoming trope... it also is nowhere near the heartwarming story one is used to hearing. Real life often isn't that way, and Ellison certainly doesn't shy away from depicting real life.
Character flaws are abundant, and for that the character's come off as rather more human. The fable is a fable, and as such the stereotypes do exist within the text. All the same, the stereotypes reinforce what audiences have been sold for ages now. It's incredible to think that this book was written in 1960, and it's more incredible that this book isn't better known.
Music fans? You gotta read this, if only for how well it mirrors the stories we all know so well....more
This book I got many years ago from Quarwood of all places. It's one of the books I own from John Entwistle's personal library, and it is an exceptionThis book I got many years ago from Quarwood of all places. It's one of the books I own from John Entwistle's personal library, and it is an exceptionally beautiful book. It is worth five stars for the pictures alone, but the accompanying text makes it all even better.
The book is a broad survey of the Arthurian Legends, and how they changed over time. Each section focuses upon a different period in Arthurian literature and is complete with a survey of what was focused upon during that time, and selections from each piece of art/literature. It begins with a selection from Mabinogion and ends with one from The Once and Future King, to give an idea of how thorough it is.
All in all, a beautiful book, and from the personal collection of a wonderful man. One of my most prized possessions....more
The Canterbury Tales is one of those books often mentioned in any survey of classic literature, and certainly with good reason. The structure of the bThe Canterbury Tales is one of those books often mentioned in any survey of classic literature, and certainly with good reason. The structure of the book itself (stories within stories) predates A Midsummer Night's Dream rather notably and Geoffrey Chaucer is with necessity a force of wit to be reckoned with.
Geoffrey Chaucer's writing still seems fresh, and more of the stories in this collection hold up to the passing of time rather than fall flat from it. The snippets of the original poetry included in quotes make me want to read it in the original, in spite of what difficulties there may be, and the notes in the back helped expediate understanding when the language did get confusing.
Chaucer's social commentary was hilarious, and his characters were all rather notable. His use of doggerel for humor was extremely effective, and his views towards women's rights remarkable for their time. Hell, The Wife of Bath's prologue regarding men is still rather remarkable to read.
All in all, an excellent collection and one I look forward to reading again....more