Soccernomics is a fantastic look at a soccer from a completely different point-of-view than you're probably used to seeing. Using statistical techniqu...moreSoccernomics is a fantastic look at a soccer from a completely different point-of-view than you're probably used to seeing. Using statistical techniques like regression and massive amounts of old match results and other data related to both the classic and modern game of soccer, Kuper and Szymanski bring a new insight to how we think of the beautiful game. There are sections on national teams, club teams, and fans, and they all bring a style similar to Freakonomics and its look at different popular subjects. The entire thing is written in an easy-to-read style, with entertaining anecdotes mixed in with clearly communicated results of statistical research. It sounds dry when you think about the premise, but there are no formulas written out or in-depth discussions of math or anything like that. If you are interested in soccer and the culture that surrounds it, you could scarcely do better than checking out this fantastic book.(less)
This was a pretty good inside look at Sakuraba's career from August 2002 to June 2007. Sakuraba writes in a humorous style with a lot of inside jokes...moreThis was a pretty good inside look at Sakuraba's career from August 2002 to June 2007. Sakuraba writes in a humorous style with a lot of inside jokes and pro wrestling references. There are some good stories in here and you get a good idea of what his thought process is like as he gets further and further in his MMA career, past his prime.
The main problem is just that it is very short. Sakuraba doesn't go into that much detail about a lot of things, so the word count is really low for most of the fights described within.
The best portion is the final section of the book about his fight at PRIDE Dynamite USA, and his adventures getting certified and licensed to fight in California. If you are a serious MMA fan that knows about Japanese MMA, you will find the following passage especially hilarious:
"This supporter problem nagged me until the day before the fight. Comparatively speaking, the California Athletic Commission is downright strict, with no foundation of set rules to explain anything. It’s a completely mysterious organization."
He's referring to their rules on his wacky leg tape, but anybody that knows anything about Japanese MMA's wild west of no regulation and no rules will realize how hilarious this statement is.
His section about the fight with Yoshihiro Akiyama is excellent also, and he never once refers to Akiyama by name.
I was able to read this book thanks to a translator who goes by "Ruru" that runs the site MMA PRIDE BOOK TRANSLATION (http://mma-pride-book.blogspot.com/). You can get the PDF of the book for a small donation, and he's about to release a book called "PRIDE: Secret Files!" about 30 plans PRIDE was working on throughout the life of PRIDE. He's a professional translator that is doing this as a fun side project because not many Japanese MMA books are released in English. Check him out if you are interested.(less)
A fantastic read if you are interested in statistics, analysis, and sports like I am. There are so many great insights in this that have well-supporte...moreA fantastic read if you are interested in statistics, analysis, and sports like I am. There are so many great insights in this that have well-supported conclusions across all sports. Even though I don't particularly care about baseball, football, basketball, or hockey, I can appreciate this level of research. The quality of writing is very good as well.(less)
I really enjoyed this. It's set in a near-future that has a fantastically imagined world. There is a fair bit of world-building throughout the book bu...moreI really enjoyed this. It's set in a near-future that has a fantastically imagined world. There is a fair bit of world-building throughout the book but it is well-done and really fascinating. I had a bit of an issue with the shift the book took about halfway though, but it was entertaining in the end and I'm looking forward to reading the next book in the series. Basically the first half is "realistic story that gets you familiar with the world" but then it pretty abruptly shifts to "unrealistic epic action" but starring the same two main characters from the first half.
For $4.69 on Amazon Kindle, you can't really go wrong with this, though.(less)
Not sure why I picked this up other than "they had the eBook available." I wasn't particularly entertained by her first book and this was just the sam...moreNot sure why I picked this up other than "they had the eBook available." I wasn't particularly entertained by her first book and this was just the same. It was compelling and never boring, but I just didn't find it very funny or enjoyable. It's a miss for me, but I wouldn't let that stop you from checking it out.(less)
A well-written, entertaining crime novel from the 60s. The ending is rather compressed compared to the overall story, but it's fine. Got this for $2.6...moreA well-written, entertaining crime novel from the 60s. The ending is rather compressed compared to the overall story, but it's fine. Got this for $2.66 on Amazon, and I can definitely recommend it at that price. Still just as readable today as it was when it originally came out.(less)
Nothing particularly connecting the interviews, but that's only a minor quibble. 21 great interviews with great comedy writers. If you think you'd be...moreNothing particularly connecting the interviews, but that's only a minor quibble. 21 great interviews with great comedy writers. If you think you'd be interested in hearing from people who write comedy or you like Onion A.V. Club interviews with comedy personalities, I think you'd enjoy this book. The interview with Dick Cavett is especially good.(less)
Listen, I know this is not for me. I'll be the first to admit it. It's not even good. But it's addicting, and it reads extremely quickly. So don't jud...moreListen, I know this is not for me. I'll be the first to admit it. It's not even good. But it's addicting, and it reads extremely quickly. So don't judge me for reading it. Sure, judge me for reading the other 10 in the series like I'm now planning to.
Also, I dare you to find a noun in this book that's not modified by a brand name.(less)
This is a collection of 6 fiction stories and 1 non-fiction essay that Amazon published in serial format under its "Amazon Serials" imprint. The appen...moreThis is a collection of 6 fiction stories and 1 non-fiction essay that Amazon published in serial format under its "Amazon Serials" imprint. The appendix includes an unfinished science fiction story. It's complete now, so buying it gets you a finished book. Shorter than Vonnegut's other story collections, but as of this writing it's still $3 for 154 pages, so it's a good deal.
I've rated each story in the section below, but overall I'd say there's enough strong material to be worth the asking price. Two out of eight things I really loved, another four I liked, and just two clunkers.
Between Timid and Timbuktu - Okay, I guess. It was a fast enough read. It seems clear enough to me why it would make it this long without being published, it's a little rough and not quite fully formed. C-
Rome - Enjoyable story. Vonnegut manages to use concise writing to make each of the characters interesting in a short amount of time. Some good laugh lines. B+
Eden by the River - Shorter than the other two. A very sweet tale about a boy and a girl. A lot of good writing about feelings, and an ending that made me immediately go back to reread the beginning. A
Sucker's Portfolio - The title story of the collection is another good one. Fascinating story told from the perspective of stock portfolio manager, which is not the kind of story you get all of the time. The mystery elements are good, but the ending is a little sloppy. B
Miss Snow, You're Fired - This one's a miss for me. Plot by the numbers, characters that don't get the depth they did in the previous stories, and serious "of-the-time" sexism that just don't add up to something worth your time in 2012. D
Paris, France - An interesting story about three couples of different generations that meet on a train to (and from) Paris. Interesting turns for everyone involved and a very sweet ending. B+
The Last Tasmanian - This non-fiction essay is worth the cost of admission for the entire collection. Vonnegut moves through a series of topics as if he's just writing as it comes into his head, but it is fantastic, smart, and relevant. It's mostly about Native Americans and Germans and Columbus and garbage day. All seen through the prism of Vonnegut's amazing voice. A+
Robotville and Mr. Caslow - I'm torn about this one. I'm extremely happy that I got to read even some of this tale. I'm equally sad, though, because it is such a fantastic story that is cut off literally in the middle of a sentence, at what seems to be the key point in the narrative. The second person doesn't do as much harm as you'd think, and even in the short contents the world-building is so detailed and fascinating. B+(less)
The first book's draw, to me, was the mythos. Silette, Constance, that mystical portion of the world. There's less of that in this one. So, in a way,...moreThe first book's draw, to me, was the mythos. Silette, Constance, that mystical portion of the world. There's less of that in this one. So, in a way, my review score is lower because of a petulant "I didn't get what I wanted" feeling I'm left with after finishing it. But the biggest drawback to me was that there was a through-line to the book that I did not care for, even if I can understand its presence after taking in the whole of the story.
The mysteries are still fairly gripping, and there are still a lot of interesting bits. The book also ends on a cliffhanger that is going to make the wait for the next one excruciating. Overall, though, I can say I'm a lot more likely to reread the entire first book than to revisit even just the most interesting sections of this one.(less)