A cyberpunk story fueled by a gas tank full of every 80s and geek reference imaginable, from videogames and Brat Pack movies, roleplaying games and prA cyberpunk story fueled by a gas tank full of every 80s and geek reference imaginable, from videogames and Brat Pack movies, roleplaying games and prog rock, to Japanese kaiju shows and Monty Python skits. This is a novel by a geek, of geeks, and for geeks, and it is gloriously and unabashedly so. Cline writes characters that could be your buddies around the gaming table, and dialogue taken from your very own nerdy arguments with your friends. The story is interesting, entertaining, and surreptitiously poignant as it tackles themes of online relationships, cyber isolation, and virtual vs real reality. This is a novel that I would recommend to every single one of my geeky friends, and one that I loved to bits. A new all-time favorite....more
I'd been wanting to read Monstress for a while, and I finally got around to it with the release of the first collection, Volume 1. HOT DAMN! This comiI'd been wanting to read Monstress for a while, and I finally got around to it with the release of the first collection, Volume 1. HOT DAMN! This comic is simply fantastic. The story starts small and personal, but quickly reveals itself to be epic in scope and consequences. The characters are enthralling, starting with Maika, and continuing to the Cumaean antagonists, all the way to the best cats in comics [http://kotaku.com/monstress-has-the-b...]. And the art, oh lord, the art is absolutely, stunningly gorgeous!!! Monstress reminds me a lot of a Miyazaki movie in look, themes, and style, but it is a creation all its own. Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda have made a compelling, rich, and thoroughly entertaining graphic story that leaves you wanting more right this moment. I'm already eagerly awaiting the release of Volume 2, and I envy the future me that has already gotten to read it....more
I wasn't looking to read sci-fi, but picked up Hyperion based on research I was doing for a possible story of my own regarding Jews and Judaism in sciI wasn't looking to read sci-fi, but picked up Hyperion based on research I was doing for a possible story of my own regarding Jews and Judaism in sci-fi stories. I'm so glad I read this. Hyperion is a jewel of language and sci-fi styles. Set up as a futuristic Canterbury Tales, with the pilgrims on their way to the titular world, we get to meet each of the characters through their individual tale, each told in a different style of speculative fiction, such as military sci-fi, or cyberpunk. Each of the pilgrims' stories could've been a short story on its own, but here they combine to weave the tapestry of the main storyline dealing with Hyperion. Simmons is not only superb at doing different literary styles within the same novel, he's also amazing at world-building, creating a rich setting simply by the details he reveals through his characters. You put it all together as you read, and the experience is all the better for it. The only drawback to the novel is that it is incomplete, or rather, a very obvious part 1 to a much larger story continued in The Fall of Hyperion (which, by the way, is already loaded in my Kindle). I haven't read sci-fi in years, and what a joy it has been to come back to the genre with Dan Simmons' Hyperion....more
Interesting, but ultimately not for me. I find that this ground is better covered for my taste by Gaiman's The Sandman (or pretty much anything by GaiInteresting, but ultimately not for me. I find that this ground is better covered for my taste by Gaiman's The Sandman (or pretty much anything by Gaiman)....more
NK Jemisin's The Fifth Season (along with Kai Ashante Wilson's The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps) has restored my faith in the fantasy genre to be more thaNK Jemisin's The Fifth Season (along with Kai Ashante Wilson's The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps) has restored my faith in the fantasy genre to be more than just Game of Thrones-clones and derivatives. Jemisin's novel belongs in the genre, but it plays with the tropes in new ways. Yes, there's magic, but it's science-based magic, magic of geology, magic of the earth. Magic is powerful, fearsome, and its wielders face consequences for it in ways that both define the setting and drive the story. The world is fresh, and not only because it ends right as the novel starts (it really does, and then we move on to more interesting things), but because it is as much a character as any other, changing and shifting, evolving, revealing itself little by little much as the other characters do. And what a cast of characters we have! Jemisin uses a literary device that could've backfired horribly, but she wields it expertly, using it to draw the reader into the story in a personal way. This novel was a treat, a refreshing drink of newness, and I can't wait to read the next book in the series....more
Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, known simply as The Rebbe, was the leader of the Lubavitch group of chasidim, and the head of the worldwide organizaRabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, known simply as The Rebbe, was the leader of the Lubavitch group of chasidim, and the head of the worldwide organization known as Chabad, both headquartered in the neighborhood of Crown Heights, in Brooklyn, New York. The Rebbe, seventh and last person to hold that title, assumed leadership of the chasidic group in 1950, a year after the passing of his father-in-law, the sixth Rebbe, and over the next four decades proceeds to grow it from a small group recovering after having escaped Soviet Russia to arguably the most recognized Jewish outreach organization in the world through simple yet effective principles that emphasize the love of every Jew regardless of background, non-judgmental encouragement to practicing mitzvot (commandments), and an increase in acts of kindness by everyone.
The book is not a biography per se; to learn about the life of Rabbi Schneerson is to learn about the history of Chabad, for the two go hand in hand. As such, Telushkin makes the choice not to present the Rebbe's life in chronological order, but rather as a collection of chapters that explore the life and teachings of the Rebbe regarding a different theme. By the time you're done you have indeed read through the life of the Rebbe, and there even is a chronology of events that acts as a summary of the entire book, but you have also gained a wealth of knowledge about how the Rebbe thought, felt, believed, and taught. That said, as much as I enjoyed the book, I would've liked a more traditional biography that put together the pieces of the Rebbe's history and life as they developed through the years.
My interest in this book stems from my association with Chabad. Since my conversion to Judaism 14 years ago, Chabad rabbis have been a constant presence in my life, providing spiritual guidance and a welcoming community regardless of what city I have found myself in. That attitude, that welcoming nature, that willingness to open their heart to me, regardless of where I've been in my spiritual journey, it all comes from the Rebbe, from his example, from his teachings. And even if I don't necessarily agree with or follow all of the teachings or opinions held by the Rebbe, and in turn by Chabad, I hold them both in the greatest of esteem, and support their programs as much as I can.
A man of great humility, possessed of a keen intellect and knowledge in both secular and religious subjects, and most importantly, the ability to focus on individuals and help inspire them to be great in their own right, to use their talents to the benefit of humanity, and to become leaders in their own right, the Rebbe was truly the leader of his generation, and his influence continues to be felt more than 20 years after his passing. Although long, and perhaps a bit dry at times, Telushkin's book is nevertheless a fitting tribute to a man who every single day of his life sought to do the best he could for the world, both through his own acts, and through a veritable army of emissaries, followers, friends, and even respectful opponents, around the world....more
Richard Elliott Friedman set out to write a highly accessible book tackling one of the most controversial and studied subjects there is: the authorshiRichard Elliott Friedman set out to write a highly accessible book tackling one of the most controversial and studied subjects there is: the authorship of the Bible. By anyone's account it is a monumental task, and Friedman accomplished it brilliantly. It would be easy to dismiss this book for its relatively short length and friendly, conversational language, but that would be a mistake. Friedman is a master of the subject, and in very easy-to-understand language he lays down the important questions to ask, and the trail of historical, archaeological, and academic evidence that has led scholars to the most current answers.
So who wrote the Bible? I'd hate to rob you of the chance to read the book and find out, but without getting into too many details, what we find is that the evidence suggests that the five books of Moses are the work of four different authors. Designated as J and E for the way in which they primarily address God (either Yahweh or Elohim), these two seem to be the oldest sources, paralleling each other in the stories they tell, each with a different focus. Next is P, the priestly author that deals primarily with the vast number of laws, and lastly D, or the Deutoronomist author, creator of the book of Deuteronomy, as well as the books of Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings. Friedman talks about each of the authors, their times and environments, their reasons for composing their works, and how they relate to all the other authors. There's also a fifth "author," called the Redactor, who is responsible for bringing it all together into the book that we have had for hundreds of years. Spoiler alert, you will recognize full well two of the authors, as their names are in the book of books.
Friedman even includes a section dealing with the inevitable question that this book brings up: how does knowing the human history of the document affect a person's faith? Friedman doesn't suppose to categorically tell anyone how to feel, what to believe, but talks candidly about his own experience, and how he has answered that question after years of pursuing this study.
To answer the question myself: As much as I have always believed that the Bible is the word of God, I have also always believed that it was the work of humans. It was fascinating to read about the world that shaped the writers and thus the document, and how it all took shape, culminating in the book that has shaped our civilization. This knowledge enhances my understanding of the Bible, of its stories and lessons, for the final work is far more than the sum of its parts. It is a fascinating glimpse into how God orchestrates events to achieve His goals.
I devoured this book, and even though the one I read was borrowed from the library, I foresee buying a copy for my personal library, and to read again down the road. ...more