This work is worth a read, if not more than one. I hesitate to say too much, since I believe the conclusions it reaches are explored in the very beginThis work is worth a read, if not more than one. I hesitate to say too much, since I believe the conclusions it reaches are explored in the very beginning and will immediately inform the reader of its relevance. I don't know why that came out so long winded, the reader will find out how interested they are by the first or second chapter.
I found the book fascinating for its close look into social interactions, particularly between two people, and for explaining why i sometimes I think the way that I do. The intuitive process of understanding is one that has made a lot of sense to me, and I am glad this book takes a microscope to that underpinning of society's operation. The examples in the book are relevant, timely and buttress the argument well. Especially the story about the psychologist that has a 90 percent success rate of whether a relationship would last past 7 years. The author's decision to skip a little exposition on detractors from the intuitive system of problem solving was a little disappointing, although I do understand that Blink is not, nor pretends to be a scholarly work. Instead it purports to be a lighthouse for a part of our decision-making that is often ignored in society and stays hidden from our conscious understanding. We often don't know why we like or dislike someone the way we do, and yet we allow that judgment to affect our interaction extremely or waffle endlessly over trying to deny or prove our first impression. How many times do you remember saying " really wanted to like that," that being a dress or a person or a book and how much time has it wasted. Or why it sometimes take only a moment for a person to decide whether or not an idea has merit. Gladwell explores those snap judgments in details, and writes in a readable, approachable way. He is not afraid to tackle some controversial topics. ...more
from the moment i picked up this book, it utterly destroyed my will to live. My very soul became subsumed by a crumbling, mildewy dime-story copy prinfrom the moment i picked up this book, it utterly destroyed my will to live. My very soul became subsumed by a crumbling, mildewy dime-story copy printed in the early 60s. Breaths came in gasps, food lost all meaning, time seemed to fall away in kaleidoscopic ellipses, blocks of hours would pass without context.
I have no explanation why the novel grabbed me so strongly, except to say that 10 pages in I was Youngblood Hawke and i read each word as if it were my future sent back in time to warn me. Apparently, a lot happened.
Adultery, nervous breakdowns, hundreds of thousands of dollars won and lost, incredible back breaking work that resulted in 20 thousand pages of writing in the score of three years and an unutterable absurdity to seemed to crack open the very tragedy our lives are based upon. Throughout it, I knew I was a writer, a gulper of life, as if the air was stuffed with an effluence of spirit which wholly sustained me, without which I could not survive. Whatever happened, I knew that. Quite a Sunday comic clipping.
Alternative history is a strange kind of world. The authors will spend months, if not years researching real life events, real life characters, plottiAlternative history is a strange kind of world. The authors will spend months, if not years researching real life events, real life characters, plotting maps and following conquests that happened in humanity's history. Then they will purposefully twist their own work by imagining a single event while splits the timeline into uncharted territory and create a narrative following the exploits of the real life figures who lived in that time. A lot of work goes into these what-if imaginings and it shows in the books. I find spotting references to real life battles and historical figures fun and engaging. Later books in this series make a lot of use of the Battle of the Somme and WW I era infantry fighting. What these novels and all of the stuff Flint, Drake, Weber et. al put out lack is character development. Filled with fake bonhomie the characters are incapable of going beyond their gender and ethnic stereotype. The dialogue suffers dearly because the authors are so rigidly following a timeline Everyone is a good old boy except the hero and he/she is a good old boy because that's how they get followers. Some of the plot machinations are jarring and unbelievable. Male and female characters are described as machines with emotional buttons that are pushed by major movers to reach plot points. A lot of the humor is juvenile and demeaning to the reader. Best to read these as fluff, between dentist appointments and train transfers. It's about the cool battles, the idea of someone creating gunpowder weapons in the 6th century and imagining far off locales. While I enjoyed reading all 5 of the novels, there were many times I grit my teeth through the horrible dialogue. ...more
lacks any grit. A young teen desperate to escape the meaningless life his parents lead but afraid to leave the blanket of wealthy security they offer.lacks any grit. A young teen desperate to escape the meaningless life his parents lead but afraid to leave the blanket of wealthy security they offer. For all the irony Cameron imbues James Sveck, he allows none for the completely tepid and shallow problems that paralyze the protagonist... At any point James could have left, if he was willing to leave behind the job that didn't require him to do anything, the school he didn't have to pay for or the life he never had to earn. Self-absorbed, and ultimately boring, James makes the choice we expect of him ;). Two stars for the clever writing. ...more
Most of the way through I was really captivated by this book. It was like a passionate affair fizzling out. At first I could see no wrong, then I couldMost of the way through I was really captivated by this book. It was like a passionate affair fizzling out. At first I could see no wrong, then I could see nothing but.
Scalzi sets up an interesting universe populated with engaging characters. There's conflict, outer in the context of the enemy aliens, and inner in the battle for the self Jared, Sagan, Cainen all take part in. The writing, crisp, bright, well paced is a welcome change from the many digressors and wanderers that litter the shelves of science fiction and fantasy. I really enjoyed the plot as well, with a clearly defined story arc, and a fairly sastisfying climax. There is even a twist, although it seems one that will be explored in a sequel. Midway through, though, I totally lost my connection with the main character. During the first hundred pages, we build a solid rapport with Jared Dirac, the clone with a heart, his slow maturation, the regaining of memories. Then, we jump, Great Gatsby like, into an emotional wasteland, where he has a James Bond / Star Wars like showdown with the evil villain / his father / his clone / himself. There's no time or space for the reader to adjust to the change in pace and the book finishes about thirty pages later with all the loose ends wrapped up.
The leap in the storyline itself wasn't so bad, the sour part came where I began to look at the past pages with a more critical eye. This is where the book resembled a broken relationship. I realized the battle scenes were stolen from Gordon Dickson, the dialogue stolen from Robert Heinlein and the philosophy cribbed from Arthur C. Clarke. My jilted lover had no original ideas and I could not believe I had wasted two hours with a man that couldn't satisfy me originally.
Perhaps he needs some time to flesh out his own ideas. I could still take him back.
The pyramid scheme falls in the rare category of books that have so many ideas they are incapably of successfully executing any of them. In one sense,The pyramid scheme falls in the rare category of books that have so many ideas they are incapably of successfully executing any of them. In one sense, there are some interesting, if long tread, ideas brought up by the novelists; the power of mythology, the power of observation, a little quantum mechanics, some interesting thoughts on language and the evolution of magic in culture, a little social dynamics and Eric Flint's trademark light reminders of the existence of class issues that plague our nation. It all makes for a pot of good ideas that never quite thickens up. The novel is primarily marred by the jump cuts between the multi-dimensional mythological universe created by the pyramid that the protagonists are stuck in and the real world characters that are dealing with the pyramid. For three quarters of the novel we jump between these worlds only to find out in the end that the pyramid only served as a poor plot vehicle for the interactions of the main characters inside the world, and a joke about the different pyramids throughout history culminating in the Luxor of Las Vegas fame. We didn't need the real world in this story and the authors could have easily erased all of the chapters on the University of Chicago and ended the novel with the group escaping into the real world. Instead, we are saddled with ridiculous expositions of the governments ineptitude, the university's class politick and a plot that never actually goes anywhere. By the novel's end, the university professor has completely disappeared. I don't know if he makes a reappearance in the sequel, but I really found that development to be a little teeth-clenching. Also, the puns are not funny. Which, if they had been, could have saved this novel....more
Another Wouk marathon. The world he draws turns out to be so engaging and well written, the thought of leaving before the characters have finished seeAnother Wouk marathon. The world he draws turns out to be so engaging and well written, the thought of leaving before the characters have finished seems impossible. Sort of like Neverending Story in a way. This one ended up being about 10 hours of solid reading over the course of two/three days. While the novel is not an engrossing powerful statement of achievement like Youngblood Hawke, it does provide a lovely tracery of a different kind of peace, the one many of our parents perhaps chose in order to give us life. We come across those friends that seem to have fallen out of our crazy circle and taken up with crocheting, dinners at 7 and strollers, and think, how could they have turned so deeply away from all the things we talked about at 2 am? Mr. Wouk explains, sometimes it's fate and sometimes it's the choices we make, but it could happen to anyone. In all of us exists the possibility of Shirley/Sidney and Noel....more
indispensable reading for someone interested in the cross beams of communism. Illuminating, unshakeable prose. This little book cemented my interest iindispensable reading for someone interested in the cross beams of communism. Illuminating, unshakeable prose. This little book cemented my interest in Marxist theory. Read the Manifesto first, then read the Economic manuscripts. ...more
a lovely moving story about an autistic boy searching for honesty. in its own way an interesting allegory for Christ's travels before he met the discia lovely moving story about an autistic boy searching for honesty. in its own way an interesting allegory for Christ's travels before he met the disciples. ...more