I read this a long, LONG time ago, and while I don't remember loving it per se, there were parts of it that I enjoyed. Not the greatest sci-fi or middI read this a long, LONG time ago, and while I don't remember loving it per se, there were parts of it that I enjoyed. Not the greatest sci-fi or middle grade novel, but not terrible, either. ...more
I have so much appreciation for Tolstoy after reading this novel. Anna Karenina has it all, and nothing is off-limits - drama, politics, philosophy, eI have so much appreciation for Tolstoy after reading this novel. Anna Karenina has it all, and nothing is off-limits - drama, politics, philosophy, economics. It examines the rights of the people. It brings up the questions that continue to plague us as a society: Who are we? Why are we here? What makes something right or wrong?
To me, the true value of this book lies in its characters. Their personalities are vividly conveyed. The struggles they go through are real, human struggles, that bring the book to life. These struggles make it all the more accessible, so that even now in the 21st century, when we generally don't plow fields by hand or attend elaborate dinner parties, we can still gain something from its pages.
Definitely recommended, but be prepared to wrestle with conflicting ideologies.
Side note: I listened to the Librivox audiobook, which was very well narrated. I'm glad I chose to listen to the book instead of read it, because I would've been at a loss on how to pronounce a lot of the names if I'd read it myself. (Oh, and it was the Dole translation.)...more
I enjoyed this one, even though I'm only giving it three stars. It was a nice change of pace from the fantasy novels I usually read. It's a feel-goodI enjoyed this one, even though I'm only giving it three stars. It was a nice change of pace from the fantasy novels I usually read. It's a feel-good story along the same lines as "Hector and the Search for Happiness" and "The Bucket List."
Arthur Pepper is very much a Bilbo Baggins-esque character. He's used to staying in and sticking to routine. But then adventure finds him, and his life changes completely.
It took me a while to get into this book. The characters didn't seem very complex - just the average nosy neighbors you'd find anywhere. And the story was too, I don't know... simple, I guess. Sometimes the tone also felt forced, as if the author was trying too hard to get her point across. But toward the end, the writing became much more natural, and I grew to appreciate it more. I think you have to be in the right mood to read it. I'm not always up for light-hearted, feel-good stories, preferring action and conspiracy.
Overall, a very good book. I loved the tiger scenes. Would definitely recommend it if you've found yourself in a rut and need some inspiration to keep going. (That's mostly why I chose to finish reading it. And I'm glad I did.)
Disclaimer: I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway, but that in no way affects the opinions expressed in this review....more
This was an interesting read, and would make a great companion for any tea lover.
What I liked: - the infographics (especially the one showing which tThis was an interesting read, and would make a great companion for any tea lover.
What I liked: - the infographics (especially the one showing which type of tea is best for when you're tired, bloated, stressed, etc.) - the "Meet the Tea Maker" sections, which were interviews with people who own tea companies - the "How To" sections in the beginning of the book, which showed how to make various types of teas and tea-style drinks - the dessert recipes
What I didn't like so much: - the history section was rather brief - no references were given, so I couldn't tell what was rumor and what was fact - the size (It's 11 inches x 8.5 inches, which makes for a very bulky book - It would probably fit well on a coffee table, but maybe not on some bookshelves)
I'd recommend this as a gift for avid tea drinkers. It was a fun read, and looks great on display. It could also act as a travel guide of sorts, because it lists tea shops in other countries that might be neat to visit. Personally, I have more of an academic interest in tea, so it didn't quite meet my expectations. But I still enjoyed it.
Disclaimer: I received this book via a Goodreads giveaway, but that did not influence my review....more
"We're the answer to a five-hundred-year-old question. When Taius's line fails, who will lead the Empire? Who will ride at the head of a half-million"We're the answer to a five-hundred-year-old question. When Taius's line fails, who will lead the Empire? Who will ride at the head of a half-million-strong army? Who will control the destinies of forty million souls?"
"What about our destinies? Our souls?"
Brutal but captivating. Reminded me a lot of The Hunger Games, but not so much that it felt like a knockoff. I enjoyed the mythology of it. Especially the jinns. I'm a sucker for jinns.
What I liked most was how the author tackled the question of which is dominant: destiny or free will. I've rarely seen it done so well.
(view spoiler)[And I like that the author left the answer ambiguous. Even when the characters made their own choices (free will), they ended up playing into the Augurs' expectations of what would happen (destiny).... But I'm wondering - are the Augurs themselves controlling fate? Or are they also striving against destiny, against a future they don't want to happen? I felt like they were taking matters into their own hands, skewing fate for their own ends.... Hmm... (hide spoiler)]
I was close to giving this book a full five stars, but the romance was a bit frustrating at times. About 1/3 of the way in, I started to wonder if the two main characters were going to fall for every attractive person around their age that they met.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Edit: When the movie comes out, I'll proudly go to the premiere wearing a black dress and red scarf, like a proper 'Reveur' (and fangirling the entireEdit: When the movie comes out, I'll proudly go to the premiere wearing a black dress and red scarf, like a proper 'Reveur' (and fangirling the entire time). I can't wait!
A magical story that plays upon the entwining of contrasts. Darkness and light. Desert and snow. White and black. Fire and water. A story about defying fate and exploring the beauty of the unknown.
I'd recommend listening to the audiobook, if you can. It's read by Jim Dale, who also provided the amazing narration for the Harry Potter books (at least, the US version).
Then the iron gates shudder and unlock, seemingly by their own volition. They swing outward, inviting the crowd inside.
Usually this is an acceptable thing to say to other people. (Because, well, other people like coffee, too.)
But after reading this book,
I like coffee.
Usually this is an acceptable thing to say to other people. (Because, well, other people like coffee, too.)
But after reading this book, I started realizing that saying "I like coffee" is actually a very vague statement. Simply because there are a wide variety of coffee beans and techniques. So just saying "I like coffee" doesn't actually tell you anything about what I like.
This book is very quick to tell you that real coffee fanatics don't care as much about what's added to coffee, as they do about where the coffee comes from, and how the beans are prepared. As I read along, I found it very interesting to see the long (and often terrible) history behind coffee farming, as well as how all the different coffee techniques came to be.
The part where I stopped paying attention was when the author got into all the nitty-gritties of finding the "perfect" coffee.
While I like coffee (a light roast coffee, with a little bit of milk and sugar - and yes, sometimes I'll have a Frappuccino, but I count that as more of a dessert than coffee), my interest ends there. I'm not that interested in visiting local coffee shops or spending over $50 on a coffee grinder. Roasting beans, grinding them, making my own fancy drinks... meh. I guess I'm just not "hipster" enough (as the author would say) for that.
But even if that didn't appeal to me, I still liked this book. It was very readable, and provided a good sense of what people look for in their coffee.
I'm not really sure who I'd recommend this book to. It seems like it would be a good gift for coffee lovers... except that the author's target audience seems to be people who know very little about coffee. So, maybe someone who just wants a crash course in all things coffee?...more
This is less of a biography, than an inspirational speech. Not that that's entirely a bad thing, but it's not what I was looking for. The author didn'This is less of a biography, than an inspirational speech. Not that that's entirely a bad thing, but it's not what I was looking for. The author didn't even mention Tesla until 20% into the book, and the biography was brief and romanticized.
I'd recommend it as a source of comfort and inspiration, because it does bring up many good points about how influential people have paved their own paths in the world. But as a biography... meh....more
This is an ancient little book that gives timeless advice for gaining victory in battle - some of which is commonAll warfare is based on deception.
This is an ancient little book that gives timeless advice for gaining victory in battle - some of which is common sense, but some that is very clever.
Lessons range from how to analyze your enemy, to where to set up camp, to how to employ spies. For such a small book, it includes many words of wisdom, such as:
Do not repeat the tactics which have gained you one victory, but let your methods be regulated by the infinite variety of circumstances.
When there is dust rising in a high column, it is the sign of chariots advancing; when the dust is low, but spread over a wide area, it betokens the approach of infantry.
This was a very quick read, and I will probably refer back to it if I write military scenes in the future. *channels my inner military strategist*
It sometimes repeated itself, and some of the advice was too vague to be practical. But nevertheless, The Art of War makes a nice addition to any classic bookshelf. Since it's so short, I think anyone could gain some wisdom from it without feeling like it's a burdensome task to read....more
Video games + an alien invasion = lots of cliches (and fun, too)
To enjoy this one, you have to accept that it's very much a throwback novel. In fact,Video games + an alien invasion = lots of cliches (and fun, too)
To enjoy this one, you have to accept that it's very much a throwback novel. In fact, pretty much 99% of the plot has been done before, or is a reference to things that have been done before. And that's not entirely a bad thing, but it means that the book isn't quite as original as many people (including myself) would like it to be.
With his first book, Ready Player One, Ernest Cline established himself as a great science fiction writer. In Armada, he's back (with even more nerdy references) to pose the question: What if all of the alien movies we've ever watched were part of a government conspiracy to prepare us (train us) for a real alien threat?
As you might expect from a book that contains both virtual reality games and an alien invasion, this book is VERY trope-heavy. If it's happened in a science fiction adventure before, you bet it's going to be mentioned in this novel. As you might also expect from Cline, there are A LOT of nerdy references.
Unfortunately, these pop culture references were partly what threw me from liking this book.
I liked Ready Player One because while it did a great job paying homage to the greats, it didn't keep you from enjoying the book if you weren't familiar with LotR, Monty Python, etc. But with Armada, when I didn't catch a reference, it kept me from being immersed in the story. Sometimes a spaceship would only be described as looking like a spaceship from another movie, which I haven't seen, so I was left wondering what it looked like... Or the characters made a joke about a character I'd never heard of, and it fell on deaf ears.
(Although I did feel proud - and somewhat ashamed? haha - that I caught the "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" references. I guess I'm more of a nerd than I already thought.)
Mostly for this reason, I plodded through the first two-thirds of the book without much enthusiasm. The characters were just okay. Some of the slang was just meh ("coo coo for cocoa puffs" - really?). And the story was riddled with cliches. But as I got further in, I started to realize that these cliches (which had only irked me so far) were actually what made the book so... unique.
I know - ironic, right?
The more I read, the more I started to appreciate the fact that Armada is basically a conglomeration of everything the typical sci-fi story has. And then, when you take into account the cool weaponry, you have a pretty fun story on your hands.
With this in mind, I was tempted to bring my rating up to four stars (versus the two stars I had originally planned, when I first started reading)... And I still might decide to bring my rating up later, if I grow more attached to the book over time.... But for now, since I didn't connect with the story as much as I'd hoped, I'll let it sit with a three-star rating.
Who knows, I may even bring the rating down to two stars.
If you can't tell, I'm very much on the fence about this one.
But I'm interested to see what Ernest Cline comes up with next, for all of us hopeless nerds. :p...more