I was but a wee lad when Tetris showed up on our family MS-DOS computer, and all of us---ALL OF US---were hooked. From the pixelated pictures of RussiI was but a wee lad when Tetris showed up on our family MS-DOS computer, and all of us---ALL OF US---were hooked. From the pixelated pictures of Russia that framed the game space to the jaunty chiptune music that paced the game and haunted your soul---I loved it all.
So of course I had to read this story of how Tetris came to exist.
It's mostly successful but ultimately satisfying. The art is great, I like the style and its three color palette is really surprising in how well it works. It does get bogged down in the legal quagmire, which feels likes it's endless tedious detail for a fair bit. But everything else, from the beginnings of Nintendo (I had no idea!) to the machinations of international governments and businesses and the game industry... it was all new to me so I'm happy I learned a whole bunch of new bits of information to wrinkle up my brain....more
43 writers writing about the books that got them into reading and inspired their careers? I'm sold.
But it quickly becomes apparent that this is a very43 writers writing about the books that got them into reading and inspired their careers? I'm sold.
But it quickly becomes apparent that this is a very British-centric collection of recollections. Very British. And very, um, what's a nice word for dated? Sure, this is a 20-some year old anthology that's been updated with 5 new authors, but since the essays are arranged by chronological order of the author's birth year (starting 1909!), a vast majority of the books and authors remembered end up being the same with the essays sometimes being poignant but ultimately sounding a bit repetitious. The collective evocation of a bygone era is strong but the better essays differentiate themselves by their unique approach to the subject or their not being confined to just listing books but adding their personal experiences. I hope there's a similar collection of essays from writers (and others) from around the world. The variety would do it good (well?).
Aside from the always interesting memories of when these writers entered into the world of books and the possibilities of reading, it was funny to see how the same author or title could be praised in one essay and reviled in another (equal love and hate for Little Women it seems) or how everyone remembers with horror Struwwelpeter or the endless confusion over the gender of Richmal Crompton.
The authors with the most interesting essays (according to me) are: Doris Lessing, Judith Kerr, Jan Morris, Edna O'Brien, Margaret Atwood (the funniest one), Germaine Greer, Gita Mehta, Buchi Emecheta, Sally Beauman, Sue Townsend, Rana Kabbani, Jeanette Winterson, Kamila Shamsie, Rory Stewart, and Tom Wells....more
I'm a fan of Carey's Felix Castor series, so I'm terribly ambivalent about non-FC Carey books that aren't the concluding volume of that series. But stI'm a fan of Carey's Felix Castor series, so I'm terribly ambivalent about non-FC Carey books that aren't the concluding volume of that series. But still, I read this because my friend gifted it to me and the movie is out soon. Can't resist a read/watch!
For being my first zombie book ever, I have to say I really liked it. The zombie phenomenon has passed me by so I don't know anything about the genre and whether this is typical, atypical, or whatnot of said genre. (The FC books do have a zombie but that's a singular, and hilarious, character.)
The characters in TGWAtG are interesting, the situation is tension filled and riveting, and the writing is great (the kind where you forget you're reading and you're just in the story). Aside from the zombie thing, it's also a post-apocalypse story (though I have a feeling that goes hand in hand with zombie stories?).
Anyway, I think I might read another zombie book, Zone One by Colson Whitehead, because the more literary (not to knock the rest) zombie novel might be my thing. Any suggestions?...more
I read this so I could watch the mini-series adaptation (I can't resist a read-and-watch). I think I enjoyed the book more than the series.
I really caI read this so I could watch the mini-series adaptation (I can't resist a read-and-watch). I think I enjoyed the book more than the series.
I really came to like Aminata (I identified with her book-loving ways) and that really helped when the story took some leaps in time that are sometimes a bit convenient. Only the first chapter deals with her life in Africa before she is stolen by slave traders and I felt it gave short shrift of her childhood and upbringing, not to mention the culture and society she comes from.
The story then takes what is the horrifying but not unusual trek of someone being captured in Africa, enslaved, transported and sold in the U.S. followed by the horrifying but not unusual experiences of a slave in the states. Aminata's life spans decades so I can understand why years (even decades) would pass between chapters but I would have read all the words needed to fill in those gaps. Really I'm just complaining that I would have read much more of this novel if it existed.
Though I have read a few novels dealing with slavery in their own unique ways (ahem, Gone With the Wind vs Beloved), this take on the story was interesting for really humanizing why an American victory for independence was a loss for slaves---something that's obvious on the face of it but let's just say that that perspective is sorely missing from high school history class (or least it was in my day). Due to recent events here in the U.S. I was able to feel just a tiny bit of the impending dread one might have when those who don't have your best interests in mind wins political power.
Even if at times the story feels likes it's ticking off expected beats rather than just telling the story naturally (and maybe one tragedy too many? am I being too naive?) this was a greatly enjoyable read.
A short bit on the adaptation: Again, loved Aminata the character (portrayed by Aunjanue Ellis) but wow was this a different take on the novel. I think it was a little too Hollywoodized, inserting action and events that didn't happen in the book to help spice things up I guess. I also think it didn't dare to be as dark as the novel because there was too much, um, rewriting to make things positive in some ways. It was interesting but if you're never going to read the book I guess it's not a bad 2nd....more
This was a fun graphic novel, detailing a world that existed way before even our ancient civilizations existed. Told through the eyes of one specificThis was a fun graphic novel, detailing a world that existed way before even our ancient civilizations existed. Told through the eyes of one specific person who has traveled the world in search of, well, you'll find out, he tells many stories and hears many stories. We benefit because the stories can be sad, funny, long, short, just a nice variety of different types of stories that tap into the kind of deep mythic storytelling that satisfies like no other.
I'm never good at analyzing the artwork because I never have a problem with any kind of artwork when it's consistent. This is very visually appealing and fun to find the details.
I'm definitely going to read anything Isabel Greenberg creates....more
From all the reviews and blurbs praising Lexicon I thought I'd like this more than I did. I mean, it's about words and the superpowers of controllingFrom all the reviews and blurbs praising Lexicon I thought I'd like this more than I did. I mean, it's about words and the superpowers of controlling people behind them, so how could I not?
The structure is set up to tell parallel stories, one informing the other to eventually become linear. But as mysterious as the mystery is, the "I can't tell you anything/I'm not going to explain everything" thing goes on for far too long for me to sustain the I-have-t0-keep-reading momentum. I got bogged down about 1/3 of the way through, read a chapter or two here and there, then forced myself to finish up because the new year was coming and I like a clean break between the reading "fiscal year" to carry over a book and mess up my numbers (I know, I know).
The ending didn't quite satisfy either. I liked that the expected story turns weren't what they turned out to be so when it ends kind of conventionally, and quickly, I thought the ride came to an abrupt end after so many words about everything else. And a bit confusing considering the words that had worked before didn't work again, so why was that?
Anyway, it was an interesting adventure novel based on the power of the word. I didn't really accept the premise of a "word" being able to affect someone in a certain way (like it does in the novel) until I read one of the between chapter asides where it is pointed out that with certain, say, political hot topics or words, someone who is otherwise level-headed and sane can become a raving madperson spewing vitriol. And that's what made the concept much more real.
Fun, but wish it was more compelling and satisfying....more
It's an extremely fun premise that loses some momentum because the flaw of the titular Fold is easy to figure outWavering between two and three stars.
It's an extremely fun premise that loses some momentum because the flaw of the titular Fold is easy to figure out if you're steeped at all in science fiction tropes. The clues are everywhere and you can see where things are heading pretty easily.
The biggest demerit, though, is that the narrative "punchline" only resonates if you're familiar with a previous book by Cline. It's enough of a head-scratcher to people like me who haven't read that previous book that an afterword was necessary to explain this not so inconsequential bit. Suddenly the weirdly unexplained moments became clear as references, but references to things that apparently are in this other book. Even if it's not a sequel (a "side-quel", the author calls it), I feel annoyed that the explanation of a huge chunk of the story is likely contained in another book.
tl;dr: I would have enjoyed the book a lot more if I knew I first needed the background of a previous book to understand the unexplained stuff....more
"There are few sensible people, we find, except those who share our opinion."
"Truth does not do as much good in the world as the semblance of truth do"There are few sensible people, we find, except those who share our opinion."
"Truth does not do as much good in the world as the semblance of truth does evil."
"There is only one kind of love, but there are a thousand copies, all different."
"As the stamp of great minds is to suggest much in few words, so, contrariwise, little minds have the gift of talking a great deal and saying nothing."
"The glory of great men must always be measured against the means they have used to acquire it."
These are just some examples of the 600+ aphorisms found in this collection. As a whole they run a bit cynical (or realistic, depending on your view of the world) but the bite of the better sayings are worth finding among the less piquant ones. Some do sound a little repetitious (saying the same thing in different ways or using the same rhetorical structure to say different things) but, if you read a few a day like I did (roughly 30 a day) it doesn't get too burdensome. ...more