I don't put down a book or a series that I start. While the first two books did peak my interest quite a bit, I was suffering through almost all of th...moreI don't put down a book or a series that I start. While the first two books did peak my interest quite a bit, I was suffering through almost all of the 1,104 pages found in this behemoth of a tale. Maybe I should have read it in two parts as it was released in its corporeal form and taken a break half way through. Instead, I went for the e-book version that doesn't suffer any publication problems when it comes to size.
By the time I was about a third of the way through the book, I was already burnt out. Tad Williams spent a lot of time and effort in the first two books to create his world, but for this last book it seems as if he was trying to finish the story so that it would fit into one book. I think that this book could have easily been written in three large books with plenty of detail and development of the story.
Also, some of Williams' writing in this book seemed sophomoric. I lost count of the number of bad similes that I found, such as, "His eyes were sad like a lizard's." Through out this book, there were quite a few group discussions between the characters about what to do next. After a brief explanation by what would naturally be considered an unreliable source, the leader of the group is quick to declare that they trust this person and will follow their advice. I find this type of logic unrealistic, and it pulls me out of the story. Another time, one of the characters refused to enter a cavern. Instead of sounding like a person deeply troubled by some past experience (which I believe was the author's intent), the person ended up sounding like a pouting teenager. The overall human interaction seemed a bit whitewashed and oversimplified. Many of the characters' actions seemed too idealized.
While there were some interesting ideas presented in this book, I'm glad that it is over. It was an experience for me; I saw some more of the world of fantasy literature, but I'm quite doubtful that I will pick up another Tad Williams book in the future.(less)
Abraham Verghese, the author, is a man of Indian ancestry who was born and raised in Ethiopia and went on to become a doctor. Marion Stone, the main c...moreAbraham Verghese, the author, is a man of Indian ancestry who was born and raised in Ethiopia and went on to become a doctor. Marion Stone, the main character, was a man of Indian ancestry who was born and raised in Ethiopia and went on to become a doctor. Obviously, Verghese wrote about what he knows.
Despite his familiarity with the setting of the book, Verghese ended up creating world events that did not happen for the purpose of advancing the plight of the characters in his book. When I went onto Google and found out that there wasn't a hijacking of an Ethiopian Airlines flight on January 10th, 1979, it was quite disappointing. Other authors like Alexandre Dumas in his book the Count of Monte Cristo were able to have their character interact with a historical person and situation in a manner that didn't conflict with the history books.
While I was more interested in the history and culture of Ethiopia, I could see my mother, who gave me this book to read, much more interested in the (extremely) graphic description of invasive surgery and the corresponding information about the human body that went along with it. I found myself quite queasy and ready to move on to the next scene during these parts though the I was quite fascinated (and undisturbed) by the section on the vasectomy.
Overall, Verghese was able to create a set of rich characters than constantly grew and developed all throughout the story even all the way up to the end. Many parts of the story could could be quite moving, especially the parts concerning the hardships suffered by the peasants of Ethiopia.
I found myself thoroughly engaged with the story throughout the entire book. My commute felt much quicker anytime I was reading this book.(less)
I was recommended this book by no less than three coworkers on the premise that it is a classic and a favorite. I’d have to say that my expectations w...moreI was recommended this book by no less than three coworkers on the premise that it is a classic and a favorite. I’d have to say that my expectations were a bit high for the reality of the book. While the book wasn’t bad overall, it didn’t hold up to my expectations of a story for a modern reader.
There is no doubt that Oscar Wilde was a cleaver and witty man; he had lots of great comments and jokes written throughout the book that I enjoyed. What makes this a bad aspect is that the character Lord Henry seems to have been designed just for the purpose of verbalizing theses along with essays into dialogue form. For what seemed to be about a third of the book, Wilde describes a detailed setting, then characters talk for most of the chapter, with most of the dialogue being taken up by Lord Henry talking about things loosely related to the plot.
Another section that did not sit well with me was his entire chapter of Dorian’s hobbies and interests. In this chapter, Wilde lists off page after page of esoteric facts from the historical art world. Maybe this was a big thing back in Victorian England, but to me, it serves no purpose to advance the plot.
(Minor Spoiler Proceeding) On the flip side, other times the story seems to be completely lacking. It seems the author took a cue from the Bible and left out eighteen years. During this time the main character slides down a road of sin, debauchery and corruption, but not much information is given. From what critics and scholars have said, I understand that it was suppose to be left to the imagination of the reader, but virtually no seeds were planted to grown in the reader’s mind other than the opium den. Is Dorian having small East Ender children fight to the death with eastern martial art weapons for the gambling and entertainment purposes of his aristocratic friends? How did his friend end up living in an opium den? What can of blackmail power did Dorian have over another friend to make him commit a crime?
Lastly, the ending seems to end on a climax. I’ve noticed this with other Victorian writings. Maybe it is a style from that time period, but it leaves me a bit off balanced.(less)
I have to say that Boromir is my favorite character from the books (not the movies). This viewpoint comes from a literary perspective in which Boromir...moreI have to say that Boromir is my favorite character from the books (not the movies). This viewpoint comes from a literary perspective in which Boromir seems to been the only character in the entire series has a complex story line (save Gollum/Sméagol). While most other characters start off excessively good and proceed to saintliness (or the reverse of evil, whatever the antonym of saintliness may be), Boromir is a character who desires to do good but is almost overcame by his human nature. I didn't feel like I was reading a glorified archetype when the book focuses on him.
Even though my first comment is negative, there are definitely some aspects of this series that I enjoyed. First off, I had fun comparing the books to the movie series by Peter Jackson. It was interesting to see what parts Jackson chose to use in the movies and how they were 'hollywoodized" for the big screen.
In addition to the movies, it was also an eye opener to see how much of an influence this book had on the modern fantasy genre. All the words and characters I've seen in different fantasy games and books start to make sense as I see the root of them. It makes sense now that in some games mithril was one of the highest qualities of metals.
Last of all, the fact that this book is written in a style that pays homage to the traditional styles of British lore is quite interesting. Tolkien was able to bring a fading style of writing into the 20th century and beyond.
With that being said, there are definitely some points that makes me not want to pick up these books again the future. Counter to the last point, the writing's archaic style makes the reading a bit of a bore at times with superfluous descriptions, especially of vegetation.
As a modern American, I have very limited exposure to tales and songs of oral tradition that was common in older times. The poems and songs that littered the Lord of the Rings interrupted the flow of the book since I was unable to form the 'tune' in my head while reading them. Had I been familiar with tunes that could songs and poems, I am sure these parts would've have more enjoyable. I was able to put a couple of tunes into my head for some of the songs in the book like Gollum's song at the Forbidden Pool and Samwise Gamgee's recital of the poem about the Oliphaunts.
Last of all, the traditional style of British writing within the books made many of the characters and scenes seem stilted. No matter what the situation, I don't think that any population of people would unanimously declare fealty to a newcomer who claims to be their new leader. This idea seems unnatural and naive to a reader like myself. It seems almost akin to medieval tales that are more inline with propaganda.
Overall, I like this book for what it means to modern English literature, not for the time I spent reading it.(less)
After reading A Korean History for International Readers, this book is a nice next step for those of you who want learn more about the history of Kore...moreAfter reading A Korean History for International Readers, this book is a nice next step for those of you who want learn more about the history of Korea. While A Korean History for International Readers covers virtually all of Korean history, Volume 1 of this series focuses on prehistoric times up 1392 AD, the fall of the Kingdom of Goryeo (고려). I was able to learn quite a bit more about Korean history without being overwhelmed since this book covers a shorter time period while going into more detail. This would be a nice stepping stone towards a book like Historical Origins of Korean Politics which is akin to a college textbook.
I was a little bit worried about the translation when I was reading the introduction because of all of the errors. However, after reading the first chapter, I realized that the main translator (probably) didn't translate the introduction. Overall, the book was easy to understand from a translation standpoint though the writing could be a bit formulaic at times.
Compare to Historical Origins of Korean Politics (which was extremely critical of Korean history), most everything was portrayed in a positive light. While I didn't feel like I was reading an elementary school history textbook, I do feel that it could have been written with a bit more objectivity from time to time. One underlying theme (that wasn't overly prominent) was how Korea influenced Japanese culture. I'm pretty sure this stems from some the remaining amnesty towards Japan in modern Korea from the living memory of Japanese occupation of the Korean peninsula. While it is important to know this information, the discussion could have been more of a two way street.(less)
This was a nice book to review writing skills, even though I have finished their college years of writing essays. There were a lot of pieces of inform...moreThis was a nice book to review writing skills, even though I have finished their college years of writing essays. There were a lot of pieces of information in this book about academic writing that I knew how to do, but didn't know exactly how to explain.
There are a lot of practice exercises in here that would be good for an ESL student to try. As for a native speaker, the exercises probably aren't that much of a challenge, though a practicing a couple of questions do provide a quick refresher.(less)
Jared Diamond provides a very interesting hypothesis of why civilizations that developed near the Fertile Crescent in Eurasia were able to develop the...moreJared Diamond provides a very interesting hypothesis of why civilizations that developed near the Fertile Crescent in Eurasia were able to develop the the guns, germs and steel to dominate other societies in the modern world. The author tries to look at this idea from a larger perspective of multiple schools of thought from different fields. Overall, he is able to present a logical argument that makes sense with the facts and opinions that he presents.
With such a large topic to discuss (the entire history of homo sapiens), organization was definitely a challenge at times in the book. In addition, some of his information in certain parts could get repetitive. When explaining the benefits of an east-west continental axis in the development of civilizations, he showed the downfalls of a north-south continental axis in North and South America. Later, when discussing the history and development of human societies on these two continents, this point would be continuously brought up again.
While many parts of the book go into great detail to support his ideas, other parts are very brief and limited. It might raise the concern that the subject was simplified for a larger base of reader or that the author may lack familiarity with subjects that he talks about in brief.
Even though some of the organization styles and brevity of some sections may rub me the wrong way, Jared Diamond provides a very interesting idea of how human societies developed in relation to their environment and surroundings.(less)
After doing a quick review of Thomas Paine on Wikipedia before reading this book, I can see how the Age of Reason made him so unpopular that only six...moreAfter doing a quick review of Thomas Paine on Wikipedia before reading this book, I can see how the Age of Reason made him so unpopular that only six people showed up to his funeral. While many of ideas did question the validity of Christianity and organized religion, I think it was his constant referrals to Christianity and the Bible as "stupid" and other derogatory terms is what really made his critics upset.
Paine ended up writing two parts to the Age of Reason. The first part was when he didn't have a Bible at hand to reference, and the second part when he did have a copy of the Bible. His first part was much more general and overarching lacking in details to support his reasoning. Despite this, he did have a nice section of the use of mystery, miracle and prophecy in religion. In his second part, he did go into much more details and used excerpts from the Bible to poke holes into the claims that the Bible is the word of God.
Throughout this book, Paine never really "proves" anything, but he does make some interesting logical arguments that would make someone who is willing to look at religion critically stop and ponder. In his discussions about the gospels of Matthew, Luke, Mark and John, he talks about many inconsistencies and contradictory statements that bring doubt to validity these texts have to documentation the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus.
One thing that I notice is that some people relate his book to atheism. While many of his arguments are prevalent in the atheist community, Paine seems to abhor atheists. Instead, he is a Deist and the discovery and understanding of God can be found the observation of the natural world and not through mankind.(less)
The first half of the book consisted of essays and interviews about the early Christian missionaries in Korea. While I have read another book about th...moreThe first half of the book consisted of essays and interviews about the early Christian missionaries in Korea. While I have read another book about the same subject, I was still able to learn more about this time period.
Additionally, information presented in this book also took a critical stance and discussed certain features of modern Christianity in Korea ranging from the Protestant Mega-churches to secularism. While there was lots of information on the benefits that turn of the century missionaries brought to Korea, I felt like I was reading a history book and not a 'propaganda' book.
The second half of the book was full of pictures from the early 20th century focusing around the missionaries and the people in their community. This brought a nice visualization to the subject matter. Additionally, each picture was accompanied by a brief explanation.(less)
Coming into this book after reading Exile, the second book in this trilogy, I was ready to put down the overall series indefinitely. After this book,...moreComing into this book after reading Exile, the second book in this trilogy, I was ready to put down the overall series indefinitely. After this book, I'm ready to move on to the "beginning" of the Forgotten Realms series by R.A. Salvatore.
Overall, the writing, characters and story does seem a bit juvenile in comparison to other much "deeper" fantasy. Despite that, I did find myself enjoying the plight of Drizzt Do'Urden as he struggled to find a place for himself in the surface world.
In Exile, the majority of the book took place in different caverns of the underworld. To me, I find this environment a bit stifling and a bit unimaginative. With the emergence of the surface world in this book, the entire world of the Forgotten Realms became much more interesting even though it was still following the lines of stereotypical "Tolkien" fantasy. The plight of Drizzt became more engaging now that his fate was dependent on many other social forces than just the "evil drow elves" that wanted to kill him.
Hindsight 20/20, if I were going to get into the Forgotten Realm series for the first time all over again, I might consider starting with The Crystal Shard, which was the first book that Salvatore wrote in this series. There was a bit of foreshadowing in this series of the things to come. I wonder if it would've been more entertaining to come into this trilogy, the Dark Elf Trilogy, and see the character Catti-brie as a child, or will it be more interesting to see this character "grow up" in the following series, the Icewind Dale Triology.
Though I will be taking a break from this series to read other fantasy books, I do plan to start Book 4 (or Book 1, depending on how you look at it) later on at the beginning of next year.(less)
Reading this book feels like reading an anthropology book about the white middle class of the turn of the millennium. Almost all of the 150 entries is...moreReading this book feels like reading an anthropology book about the white middle class of the turn of the millennium. Almost all of the 150 entries is this book sounded eerily familiar to mid western suburb that I grew up in. Additionally, a few of the items mentioned in this book struck a bit close to home in describing me.
It is pretty clear that this is just Lander's website in book format, but I'm pretty sure that you can't mark a website off as 'read' on Goodreads.
The extremely sarcastic humor is this book was had me laughing out loud numerous times. In one of the many flow charts and quizzes used to rate your "whiteness", I really enjoyed the fact that Ira Glass was the example of a person that would have scored a 100%.
I could see myself flipping through this book again later down the road and sharing some of the entries with some of my family members.(less)
Right off the bat, this is the kind of book that you would read for a college course. It was long, dry and jam packed full of details. Reading this bo...moreRight off the bat, this is the kind of book that you would read for a college course. It was long, dry and jam packed full of details. Reading this book was a bit of a struggle, but when I finished, I had a completely new perspective on the history of Korea (up to the end of the Kingdom of Joseon), especially concerning the role of the government.
At the very beginning of the book, Jin Duk-kyu - the author - stated that he was going to take a critical look at the history of Korea. This is a much different approach to most text I've read that were written by Koreans. Kim Jei-min did a nice job translating the book, though a few typos started to appear near the end (a trait of most translated texts). There wasn't really any flowery and poetic descriptions that is commonly found in most Korean texts directly translated to English that I've read.
There were a lot of details. A lot of details. Jin Duk-kyu dove deeply into the different people, governmental branches and different aspects of Korean history and culture. While I have a nice basic grasp of Korean history, there was a lot of information that was just overwhelming for me. A lot of the italicized Korean words ended up just becoming a blur to me.
Despite all of this, I did learn a lot about Korean history. There was a lot of missing pieces of information that I hadn't learned yet. Even though a lot of the details were too much for me, the overall explanation of what was happening to Korean politics and culture was quite clear and the political-science and sociological descriptions were very informative. I now have a much better grasp of the importance of shamanism, Buddhism and neo-Confucianism on Korean politics, history and culture.
It was interesting to see that most of the book seemed to have been written from the sociological Conflict Theory in the constant struggle between the ruling class and the ruled class. Jin Duk-kyu does not paint a pretty picture of the ruling class, especially during the Kingdom of Joseon.
The author hinted at another book concerning the history of Korean politics in the times starting with the collapse of the Kingdom of Joseon. If this book is published in English, I am definitely interested in reading it, but not right away. I need a bit of a rest from collegiate textbooks.(less)
It is quite unusal that a book can both be very general while at the same time very detailed. Albert Hourani is able to do this in his description of...moreIt is quite unusal that a book can both be very general while at the same time very detailed. Albert Hourani is able to do this in his description of the entire history of the Arab peoples (up to the late 80s).
After reading just recently reading Guns, Germs, and Steel, I am starting to find that I am not especially fon books that cover an extremely long time period. Whereas I was able to learn a lot, I find that these books just gloss over much of the information, leaving me not really grasping the information that I read. In many parts of the book, long stretches of time were discussed in brief. While I did get a big picture view of what happened, I wanted to know about the events in more detailed.
At other times in the book, the author would go into great detail about a specific cultural or social aspect of the Arab world in a certain time period. Even though this insight was fascinating, it felt a little out of place since I didn't have a firm grasp of the time period that was quickly discuss in that section of the book.
Despite the plethora of information, Hourani covers a lot of information spanning over 1400 years. During this time, the author writes in a manner that feels very familiar with the subject while at the same time quite objective.
I did walk away with much more knowledge of Arab history, I feel that this is a book that is intended for a reader who already has a decent foundation of knowledge of this part of the world.(less)
One thing to note about this book is that the author does not set out to prove anything. Daniel C. Dennett is a philosopher and approaches the subject...moreOne thing to note about this book is that the author does not set out to prove anything. Daniel C. Dennett is a philosopher and approaches the subject of religion with that mindset along with ideas and viewpoints from evolutionary biology (i.e. Darwin and friends).
The beginning of this book doesn't really start off by taking looking a critical look at religion. Instead, Dennett uses many of his early chapters to build the foundations of his philosophical arguments that he will build upon when he discusses religion later on in the book. Many of the points and examples that he makes aren't directly related to religion. However, at the end his argument, he brings it back to the topic of religion, sometimes he does so quite successfully, other times the connections seem a bit weak.
Overall, he brings up a lot of good points on the "flaws" in religion if someone steps back from their religion and look at it in a more logical, scientific and academic approach. Many times throughout the book he brings up positive arguments from the perspective of religion in general. It was nice to see that he wasn't trying to make this a one sided argument the entire time.
In the end, he doesn't have any strong closing statements other than religion needs to be examined more critically and we need to find a sound scholastic approach to this inquiry.(less)
April 12, 2014 Review My situation has changed since I last read this book, and I am now at a school where I have the opportunity to design a pronuncia...moreApril 12, 2014 Review My situation has changed since I last read this book, and I am now at a school where I have the opportunity to design a pronunciation class. I reread this book to start off, and I felt that it was a great starting point.
The book is divided into different sections based on different aspects of pronunciation such as vowels, consonants, stress, intonation, and a few others. There were a lot of different activities in each section to help students master each subject. Some of the activities I plan to use exactly the way they are, while others I plan to edit a bit to make it more student centered.
I can't make entire course out of this book, but it is a good starting point. I plan to look through a few more books to look for more ideas and activities to use in class.
Original Review While this book can't solely be used to teach a pronunciation class, it definitely would be a great guide and supplement to someone teaching a pronunciation class. Throughout the book there are activities that help students identify different parts of pronunciation and their weaknesses, along with lots of activities that cover different aspects of pronunciation. Also included in the book, was a section on different ways to test production (both reception and production).
Unfortunately my class schedules are full enough as they are so I am unable to use a full activity from the book for a class. I was able to learn some interesting tidbits of information on the shifting of stress within a word that I have already used to help explain certain words to some of my classes.
Additionally, this book was written from a British perspective of teaching pronunciation. As an American English speaker, there are a few activities that I am able to do due to pronunciation differences; the most notable being the differences in pronouncing ~er.(less)
I picked up this book to learn more about Korea in general. After reading it, I do feel that I've dug a little bit deep into the culture of Korea and...moreI picked up this book to learn more about Korea in general. After reading it, I do feel that I've dug a little bit deep into the culture of Korea and have a better understanding of my host country. I've have a bit of a better understand of history, culture and current events of Korea. The author definitely brought to light some things that I have wondered about Korea and also has put into words some things that I've observed during my time in Korea.
There were a couple of things that I was a bit disappointed in with the book. First, the amount of explanation and detail that the author went into was a bit light. He did definitely give lots of sources and titles of other books to read, but I was left wanting to know more. I understand there is only a limited amount that one can write before a book becomes a tome.
Another thing that was a bit irksome to me was some of the bias writing. While at times Choong Soon Kim was critical of Korea, other times he used biased language when comparing Korea to other countries. For example on page 150 of the hardback edition, Kim wrote the following when comparing and contrasting the traditional styles of roofs found in China, Korea and Japan. "While China's traditional architecture is vertical and Japan's tends to be diagonal, Korean rooflines form soft curves that float ever so gently heavenward, flowing with nature's rhythms." I find this blatant shift to poetic language unprofessional in a sociological text, especially since this is only used for Korea and not in the descriptions of the Japanese and Chinese architecture.(less)
After reading the first book of this series, The Dragonbone Chair, I was a bit hesitant going into this book. The majority of the first book of the Me...moreAfter reading the first book of this series, The Dragonbone Chair, I was a bit hesitant going into this book. The majority of the first book of the Memory, Sorrow and Thorn Trilogy was a bit of a slower world building book. While there were many other characters mentioned in the first book, the entire story seemed to follow the main character Simon's 'Hero Quest'. Additionally, these side characters didn't really seem connected to Simon.
In the second book, the foundation of the world has been sufficiently built and the book was able to focus more on the plight of the characters. While the majority of the story still does revolve around Simon, many of the more minor characters start getting their fair share of the spotlight in the story. At the beginning, it wasn't clear how these side story arcs are connected, but as the story progresses an underlining theme started to develop.
By the end of this book, I had a decent idea of where the book was heading. I'm not left guessing what will happen next like in George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire Series. While I do enjoy trying to figure out where Martin is going to go next, it is nice to see in this book that all of the characters have direction.
I do have to say that the quick review at beginning of the book got me back into the story quickly. I didn't have to try and remember, and there wasn't any drawn out explanation or dialogue in the regular chapters to remind me of what happened in the first book.(less)
I picked this book up to give it another try since I distinctly remember hating it along with all of my classmates in my high school freshman language...moreI picked this book up to give it another try since I distinctly remember hating it along with all of my classmates in my high school freshman language arts class. I was curious to see if I would be able to enjoy this book more than 10 years after the first time I read it. Would growing older (and hopefully maturing) change my perspective on this book?
Right away, I could see why the 15 year old me would not enjoy this book. The amount of dry detail and the slow pace of writing would drive any high school student crazy. Luckily for me, after reading many books written by Robert Jordan, this was a breeze for me. I found that my reading tastes have changed so much, that I actually prefer books that use this extreme attention to detail. I found myself completely absorbed in this world. While reading this book, the subway I ride for my morning commute disappeared and I felt that I was in Ox-Bow Valley with all of the other cowboys. Despite being sucked into the book, I didn't have the urge to turn to page and find out what was next.
Many people say that Walter Van Tilburg Clark revolutionized the western; there is a much larger and deeper look at man's tendency to fall into a mob mentality within the story. I can't comment on how this book compares to other westerns, but it does make me hesitant to read others since my expectation are now so high. I don't want a dime store novel, I now expect substance. Despite this concern, I plan on giving Shane a try later down the road.
One other small critique would be how the book almost seemed to be written around a couple of monologues about humans suffering from herd mentality. These soliloquies didn't distract from the story and fit in almost seamlessly. Their inclusion was quite natural and nothing compared to the rants that Lord Henry would go on in The Picture of Dorian Gray.(less)
Before reading this book, I knew only adjective to describe Che Guevara: Mysterious. Recently, Che has become a bit of a cultural icon again in Americ...moreBefore reading this book, I knew only adjective to describe Che Guevara: Mysterious. Recently, Che has become a bit of a cultural icon again in America, with the famous picture of him, Guerrillero Heroico, being printed on shirts and posters. Because of this, I wanted to know who this person was, what did he accomplish in his life, why his portrait was so popular and if his face should adorn the walls of my bedroom.
In the introduction of this book, Jon Lee Anderson discussed how many books about Che already out there seem to demonize or sanctify him. Through out the book, Anderson did a wonderful job of presenting the facts of his life based on numerous documents and interviews from during the life of Che. While reading this book, I didn't feel that the author was trying to convince me to believe one thing or another about Che.
Now that I have finished the book, there are plenty more adjectives that I would use to describe Che, both positively and negatively: communist, idealistic, dedicated, learned, unhygienic, naive, discipline, hard-working, frugal, educated, ignorant, harsh, disciplined, unrealistic, demanding, selfish and violent.
In the end, while there are certain aspects of his life that one could find admirable, I wouldn't buy a shirt with his face on it nor hang a poster of him in my room. I just found his extreme points of view unrealistic and incompatible with mine.(less)
If you chuse to read this book, Adam Smith will shew you the foundations of modern economics.
Since I studied economics a bit college (and enjoyed it),...moreIf you chuse to read this book, Adam Smith will shew you the foundations of modern economics.
Since I studied economics a bit college (and enjoyed it), it was interesting to see the origins of much of the material that I learned. Despite my previous knowledge, I found that I couldn't fully grasp all of the information being presented. While I did get the main idea for each chapter for the most part, I had a hard time understanding a lot of the details.
Smith doesn't use a lot of archaic words and phrases, nor are there a lot of economic jargon in writing. What makes it quite difficult is the fact that this book was written in the mind set of an educated 18th century European.
When reading chapters about the American colonies, it was easier to grasp since I have a decent background on the subject. On the other hand, chapters about the wool market in England with regard to Spanish imports in 17th and 18th century Europe was quite difficult since I have no real frame of reference to this subject. I still don't know what ￡14:3:2½ means exactly.
After reading this book, I can now say that I have one of the timeless classics under my belt. I don't see myself reading this book again unless I had a economics professor to discuss all of the details with.(less)
I have to say that I enjoyed this book more than the first book of the series, Homeland. I think part of the reason is that I was able to quickly inse...moreI have to say that I enjoyed this book more than the first book of the series, Homeland. I think part of the reason is that I was able to quickly insert myself into the world created by R.A. Salvatore since it was nicely set up in the first book.
While the majority of the first book spent most of the time setting up the main character, Drizzt Do’Urden, this book seems to be focused more on adventure in the Underworld. Even though that is the main focus, there is still a nice level character development all throughout the book.
The only real downside to this is the 'cheesiness' of the book at times. If I was reading these books for the first time in Middle & High School (I was into the Star Wars books then), these books would be very appropriate for me at that time. As a grown adult with quite a few books read in my day, the writing seems mildly juvenile to me. Also, I've had my expectations set pretty high after reading George R. R. Martin and Robert Jordan.
Despite my critical view points, I do plan to read the next book in the series. R.A. Salvatore ends the book with Drizzt Do'Urden heading in a brand new direction. (less)
One thing I didn't realize going into this book was that this was actually an autobiography. Baratunde Thurston writes about himself in a very comedic...moreOne thing I didn't realize going into this book was that this was actually an autobiography. Baratunde Thurston writes about himself in a very comedic fashion that one would expect from a writer at The Onion. There were quite a few times where I was laughing out loud during his book.
Also, Thurston, along with some of his colleagues, talks about the current state of African-Americans. He and his friends talk about their vision for the future of black people in America. One interesting comment that I read was improving African-America studies in the schools. As of now, much of the material carries a depressing and negative vibe that can have a harmful effect on the mentality of the community. Being proud and positive of the history of African-Americans could bring about beneficial changes in the way people think.(less)
This book was full of good ideas that help turn regular, "traditional" grammar class into classes with production activities that use the grammar in a...moreThis book was full of good ideas that help turn regular, "traditional" grammar class into classes with production activities that use the grammar in a more practical situation. This helps prevent the class turning into nothing but cloze activities.
Some of the ideas I already knew, some where completely new to me and others were an improvement to some of my current activities.
All of the activities were quite student centered, though a few still were a bit teach centered heavy. Most of these teacher centered sections were the teacher reading out student responses to check the work that was done. While this is helpful, reading out the sentences from sixteen students really decreases the amount of production time for the student.(less)
Neil deGrasse Tyson, one of America's top pop-scientist, brings forth some wonderful and...moreWe should declare war on asteroids and comets!
Know your Enemy!
Neil deGrasse Tyson, one of America's top pop-scientist, brings forth some wonderful and interesting information about the past, present and future of NASA and the country of America in general. He writes in a manner that is quite accessible to the average reader. You can learn about the basics of Space Exploration from him without the jargon of advance math and science.
How was it America was able to direct some much (and yet at the same time so little) of its resources to put a man on the moon? What is the connection between the Hubble Telescope and the treatment of breast cancer? How can the science community save humankind from annihilation? How can NASA help America become a world leader?
By reading this book, you can learn the answers to these questions and much more. Also, you will be able to understand why we should declare war on asteroids and comets.(less)
The main reason that I picked up this book was because I read somewhere that this book was one of the influences for George R. R. Martin, the author o...moreThe main reason that I picked up this book was because I read somewhere that this book was one of the influences for George R. R. Martin, the author of A Song of Ice and Fire series. Seeing that his series is one of my favorite fantasy series that I have read, I think I went into this book with high expectations.
I can definitely see some of the influences for Martin in this book, such as dragons, an unspeakable dark evil force located in a frozen waste land, large amount of (fictional) historical lessons, the political maneuvering between and a knight with a helmet in the shape of a dog's head. Tad Williams was definitely moving in a direction away from the traditional Tolkien style of fantasy writing, but I could still see the influences of Tolkien. While there was the standard well defined evil characters and a majority of the plot focused on the trails and tribulations of the main character, it was nice to see some of the interactions of various groups that are not directly connect to the main character that shape the environment of this world, even though these chapters weren't the most riveting.
To me, my level of interest waxed and waned quite often over the course of my reading. I would have to say that it wasn't until chapter 13 that Williams finally pulled me into his world. Furthermore, quite a few times I felt that I was reading the notes to a lecture in a history class.
While Harry Potter books might be a bit slow and tedious in the first part of the book, there was a steady build up of anticipation and excitement. For the Dragonbone Chair, the excitement came almost at random chapters for me. Sometimes I was reading at a brisk pace to get through the current chapter as quickly as possible, other times I was totally engrossed with what was happening (and almost getting off at the wrong subway station).
Except for Binabik, most of the characters' dialogue was indiscernible from other characters. I felt that I was listening the same actor play different characters using some slightly cliche and overly dramatic phrases.
I know I'm being a bit critical of this book, but I came into it with high expectations. I did enjoy myself, and I do want to finish this series. I think I will go into the next book a bit more hesitantly though.(less)
I do most of my reading on the subway during my commute to work. Almost all of the time my attention is focused on the book until I get to my stop. A...moreI do most of my reading on the subway during my commute to work. Almost all of the time my attention is focused on the book until I get to my stop. A few books make me almost miss my stop.
For the first third of this book, I felt that watching half asleep commuters was more interesting the text. The beginning was a rough start for me. I had hard time diving into the world of idle British Aristocrats. The introduction of the characters and setting was quite confusing. I am not sure if it would be better upon reading it a second time or if I had more familiarity with Jane Austen literature.
As the story progressed, I became more and more interested in the story. With each passing chapter, the drama became more intriguing until I found myself wanting to go on and find out what happens next. The story became more engaging and I wanted to know what happened in the plight of Elizabeth Bennett and find out what Mr. Bennett's next sarcastic comment was going to be.
I would have given this book four stars had the beginning of the book not been such a chore to get through.
I am interested in reading a sequel with more details to what happens to Mr. and Mrs. Wickham.(less)
As an ex-pat and a history buff living in Korea, I found this book absolutely fascinating. The Imjin War was a piece of history that I knew little of...moreAs an ex-pat and a history buff living in Korea, I found this book absolutely fascinating. The Imjin War was a piece of history that I knew little of that concerns my host country.
Samuel Hawley did an amazing job writing this book. The author was able to set up the situation of 16th century Eastern Asia very clearly. I knew next to nothing about Japanese history (other than the basic ideas of samurais), but after the first chapter, I understood the background of a unified Japan and its leader Hideyoshi so that I was able to continue on with the rest of the book without any confusion.
Hawley wrote in a style that made me feel many times that I was reading a novel. The depth of his information was deep enough that I felt I was learning a lot without being bogged down by a plethora of minute and obscure details.
It is pretty clear that this book was written from more of a Korean-centric perspective. In my personal opinion, I am glad the story is focusing on Korea which often gets overshadowed by the two most recognizable countries in Eastern Asia. I find the author does try to remain objective. Many times he provides insight into actions and thoughts of historical figures, especially the ones that have been vilified by the passing of time (e.g. Won Gyun).(less)
The version that I read came from Project Gutenberg. In this version, the book included an introduction along with commentary from the translator, Lio...moreThe version that I read came from Project Gutenberg. In this version, the book included an introduction along with commentary from the translator, Lionel Giles, and various Chinese historians including Li Ch'uan, Tu Mu, Ts'ao Kung and many others.
The introduction to this edition was mostly about the controversy around who exactly was Sun Tzu, when did he live, what parts of this work can be accredited to him and how much of the text has been altered over the times. Due to my extreme lack of Chinese history, this section was quite hard to follow and I didn't take too much away from it.
I have tried read the Art of War before but did not get very far due to the fact some of the advice presented is a bit open ended (and also that I was a bit young at the time). With the inclusion of comments, I found reading the Art of War easier and much more enjoyable. With the comments, certain points were clarified and a plethora of example were given from Chinese and European martial history that reflect the points being made by Sun Tzu.
Hindsight 20/20, I would have liked to have read this book before reading The Three Kingdoms. In this historical fiction, one can see the principles mentioned by Sun Tzu. Even one of the main characters, Cao Cao, is mentioned by some of the Chinese historian commentators for his military exploits.(less)