So, Beat the Reaper is not for everyone. It is quite crass, has a good deal of language, though often used comically, and revolves around a ex mafia,...moreSo, Beat the Reaper is not for everyone. It is quite crass, has a good deal of language, though often used comically, and revolves around a ex mafia, martial arts expert who flies by the seat of his pants maiming and killing as he goes. So if you love a fast paced ride, that keeps you on the edge of your seat and makes you laugh once in a while, this is it. If you're not into being a sweet ninja dude, who wins the day in a pseudo fictional environment, then perhaps this is not the tale for you. Boys will love it!(less)
I am slowly coming to appreciate the genre of realistic fiction, and, as you can see, my rating of 2 stars is more than generous for the trite, molass...moreI am slowly coming to appreciate the genre of realistic fiction, and, as you can see, my rating of 2 stars is more than generous for the trite, molasses paced novel about falling in love with someone your miserly father hates. In the end nothing really happens, which is much like the beginning and middle of this story. I've heard Balzac's name so many times I was expecting something a little more readable, but clearly he spent a solid week putting together the story and writing it. Anyway, if you love reading about low level emotions like anxiety and greed, and stories with a predictable ending, this one is for you. Nice try Balzac, better luck next book. (less)
Oh god...Again, I wish I could give a book less than one star. Reading Moving Pictures was a downright waste of my life. An entire book directly mocki...moreOh god...Again, I wish I could give a book less than one star. Reading Moving Pictures was a downright waste of my life. An entire book directly mocking modern movie making culture, with absolutely no attempt at intelligent or original humor, Moving Pictures contains almost no story and nothing of interest, save a silly fight scene with an amorphous inter-dimensional enemy at the end. I mean...how does Terry Pratchett get these things published? To quote Tommy Boy, "Hey, if you want me to take a dump in box and mark it guaranteed, I will. I got spare time."
Instead of reading this book watch Tommy Boy. Your life will be better for it. (less)
Great writer. I mean he just nails it. The style is of his own making and it just feels good to read the words he puts to the page. Another tale of hu...moreGreat writer. I mean he just nails it. The style is of his own making and it just feels good to read the words he puts to the page. Another tale of human nature, though not as crazy as usual, Norwegian Wood is set in a small world that expands exponentially as the characters become more themselves and bleed into the universe of their little lives. It takes a deep breath and some letting go to enjoy some of the madness of this book, but in the end, it makes you wonder what your are doing, what it all means, and which train you are supposed to board at the station. (less)
Brust is interesting. Definitely engaging and fun, a good writer, but not amazing, he takes his stories in and out and around the world he has created...moreBrust is interesting. Definitely engaging and fun, a good writer, but not amazing, he takes his stories in and out and around the world he has created. In my mind he could create an amazing epic with all the time he has put into the books, but I still need to read more. Different characters, sometimes surfacey, sometimes deep, there is always someone out to get someone else and it's hard to tell who will come out on top. Read for pleasure and watch the world unfold. (less)
A very real read. You get a sense of how the world is, and what it is, and it hits you between the eyes. It feels close to home, but also far away. It...moreA very real read. You get a sense of how the world is, and what it is, and it hits you between the eyes. It feels close to home, but also far away. It makes you want to change the world. But the only way to do that is to is to go out and find it. Malala is the boss. She just roles over fools like they can't hurt her...because they can't. Pick up her book to boost your spirits and regain faith in the good things you have in your own life.(less)
Really good. I wanted more... in the sense of complexity and length, but it was a really great read and had fantastic characters. In fact I was most d...moreReally good. I wanted more... in the sense of complexity and length, but it was a really great read and had fantastic characters. In fact I was most drawn into the book at the end, in which there is an amazing turn of events and a wonderful picture of of undreamed futures...Kudos to Card for making me think, keeping me entertained, and creating a world of minds and matter that collide in an epic of strangely unique proportions.
Read it when you're young and it will blow your mind. (less)
Writing good fantasy is tough, writing anything good is tough, but I think Kay is one of the few fantasy authors I've ready that really strikes the mi...moreWriting good fantasy is tough, writing anything good is tough, but I think Kay is one of the few fantasy authors I've ready that really strikes the middle. Usually I get recommendations for authors who are compared to Tolkien and then their books turn out to be useful primarily for kindling. Kay, however, does not sink into the nether of trashy sci-fi or worn out magic. Instead, Tigana has its own charm and originality. He's not the best writer our there, but he can deliver a good story, with twists and turns that are simultaneously predictable and surprising. In any event he's fun to read, although I wouldn't put him in the same class as Patrick Rothfuss or Paolo Bacigalupi. If you need a new fantasy book and don't want to be crushed by the same ole same ole, then pick this guy up and enjoy his world.(less)
Years ago, in my youth, I stole this book from a library, thinking that it might give me some great insight into the Way. Fortunately, like many othe...more Years ago, in my youth, I stole this book from a library, thinking that it might give me some great insight into the Way. Fortunately, like many other books I will one day burn, it was a stepping stone, and is a great investigation of a variety of principles concerning the Way in both Daoist and Sufist thought. Though I strayed over some areas, as I am now concerned primarily with finding inaccuracies within mystic traditions that promote the idea of separation or annihilation as positive, optimal or unattainable states (though I agree that such states are in a sense unattainable), in terms of analyzing and explaining the works of these three existentialist thinkers Izutsu does a good, albeit dry job. He really lacks a spark of life and this academic work reflects his sense of purpose, rather than a sense of awe and grandeur. So, if you are interested in starting to grasp the fundamentals of some of the aspects of eastern thought, this is a good place to start. He dissection is good, though very focused and repetitive, and as always it is not good to accept what is fed to you. I'd use this book to get a good sense of things and then go back to the primary texts themselves to interpret as you will. More or less this is a book for hardcore studiers and is full of things like being, non-being, no-non-being, absolute Absolute, and so on. Don't get bogged down. Be light like a feather on the back of the great bird DaPeng. (less)
It has recently come to my attention that the world does not revolve on a single axis. Most people, however, are concerned with only one or two, the f...moreIt has recently come to my attention that the world does not revolve on a single axis. Most people, however, are concerned with only one or two, the first being themselves and the other perhaps extending toward immediate family or general acquaintances. We are taught that this is the way to live, and it is not a bad way to live. The reality however, is that many people are not able to live life this way. They cannot even do good for themselves because their life forbids it. Consider the starving man, woman, or child. It is better to steal and live, than be selfish and die. It is not there fault, but it is definitely someone's.
Nothing to Envy is a snapshot of several lives that were transformed by a simple choice; to leave North Korea and defect South. And even that choice was often loathsome to the survivors in their own minds, before years of acclimatization drew them into a new reality. In their former lives, these North Koreans gave up their humanity as well as their freedom. The rest of the world accepts that a few have freedom and the majority don't. The world would, however, be unable to digest the idea that the oppressed are losing their humanity, their consciousness, the very thing that separates them from beings who cannot recognize good or evil. And that is the tragedy. When North Koreans walk by their fellow comrades, swollen with hunger, dying by the the thousands in the street, they see them as people, and their sanity, their humanness, is driven from them like so many cattle, prepared their whole lives for hardship, and a final purifying death.
But we let this world continue, hidden from our own. You need only pick up a book to find that you love the lies we live, thinking the world is growing better, that war is on the threshold of extinction, that humans are no longer treated like animals and experiments, and that tomorrow will shine all the brighter.
Read Nothing to Envy, and try to imagine any of it, try to form an emotional connection. You won't, because you can't know what it's like to starve for years on end, to find your love ones dead in their homes or taken to labor camps where they are beaten to death. For those of you who have had terrible experiences, I do not mean to say you cannot imagine their lives, but it is not just death and tragedy that await newborns in North Korea. It is an existence unlike any other, in which all thought, living, and even dying are mandated by a cruel dictatorial state. They die loving the ones who kill them, every day, perhaps every hour. (less)
For those of you who don't understand terms like loan, bond, CDO, or subprime mortgage taunche, welcome to the club. Fortunately there is an answer,...more For those of you who don't understand terms like loan, bond, CDO, or subprime mortgage taunche, welcome to the club. Fortunately there is an answer, and it's fun and fast, and filled with the terrible story of how America's trusting, ignorant masses (yes, I mean you) were duped into pouring their hard earned money into financial institutions, investment firms, and brokerages who willfully squandered it without having the slightest idea they were creating the worlds greatest financial meltdown. In their defense, they were just trying to make a few million more dollars a year to get their kids through college. I mean, these guys are almost all still on top, so obviously there are many people shedding tears for them, unlike those communist protesters in Zuccatti Park. At the end of the day, those Wall Street money-men must have had our best interest in mind. Why else would the government have bailed them out with our tax dollars. We gave them our money once, why not do it again. The question, "Is God too big to fail comes to mind." The answer, yes. In this metaphor, God is money. Will the housing market go up, inexplicably forever? Of course it will.
Anyway, enough of my sarcasm pie. This book is a great way to understand both the financial crisis, and what it is that happens when you give money to someone that has no idea of how to handle money. On top of that, some of them did, and they swindled the poor into floating rate interest packages and defrauded millions of people just to line their pockets with Unobtainium* It's a great read, it gets your ire up, and makes you seem way smarter than you are. It's also as hilarious as it is disturbing.
My advice. Take your money, bury in a hole, eat rice and beans, shower twice a week, and enjoy the work of your mind and hands.
A peoples history is a long book. Not so much because of it's length, but because it tries to cover too much material. It is a good introduction to th...moreA peoples history is a long book. Not so much because of it's length, but because it tries to cover too much material. It is a good introduction to the formation of America and the idea of America, but it's a lot of numbers and stats, and other easily forgetable information.
The other issue I have is that Zinn loses a sense of the real progress that took place over time. He begins with the invasion of the American continents as a destructive and world ending senario for the original inhabitants. He puts historical figures in their place, and takes care to make sure we know the atrocities and justifications the explorers used to take what was never rightfully theirs. However, as the beginning of the 20th century roles around, Zinn is still on the warpath and gives the US little credit for how fast civil liberties were acquired in comparison to the modern era. Yes, woman and blacks are still repressed, but our country, as a whole has provided more freedom for those idividuals that almost anywhere else, and those liberties continue to grow.
Anyway, if you want a tighter work, which also approaches a slightly less daunting time frame, take a look at American Colonies, because Taylor does a much better job of delivering information and making a cohesive work. (less)
Ok people. Here's the deal. You can't give a book 1 star unless you can accomplish what the author did. You'll notice that most of you can easily writ...moreOk people. Here's the deal. You can't give a book 1 star unless you can accomplish what the author did. You'll notice that most of you can easily write something akin to The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran, who clearly started and finished most of his works in 4th grade. Now, on to the Eye of the World. First, yes, he lacks self inspiration. The number of times TOLKIEN flashed through my head is literally uncountable. However, for all that, he does weave the stolen elements into a pretty good fantasy novel, and as far as the first book is concerning, I was pretty excited all the way through, waiting to see what they would find in the infinite stairwells of parallel worlds, or what sort of different destiny was laying its hands on the various characters. And I mean come on. A boy who gains the power to communicate with feel the spirit of the wolf. Solid idea, well done, not one star material. Also, it's fantasy. If you're reading 20 minutes a night, this is not going to do it for you. Build a fire, curl up, an get lost in fantasy for a few hours. I mean no one has sex for 20 minutes, right? Only several passionate hours, caught in the throws of magic and mayhem are acceptable before judging the final outcome.
I have given three stars. This book, nor the series it seems is a masterpiece. He can definitely write, but it's not the most original thing out there, and the writing dictates a very deliberate pace, that carries forward without much variation. It meanders like a stream of details, some of which may unnecessary.
Fantasy fans will enjoy this work and have fun with it for however long it engages them. Others, perhaps looking for a masterwork, will be better served placing the Name of the Wind, or Jonathan Strange in their hands.