It is hard for me to translate my experience of this book to words. It's not that my feelings are ambiguous, or even that I can't find the right wordsIt is hard for me to translate my experience of this book to words. It's not that my feelings are ambiguous, or even that I can't find the right words; my problem is that it created such an emotional and intellectual response from me, that I'm finding it difficult to know where to start, or how much of it really belongs in a review.
This is actually two books in one: "If This is a Man" recounts Primo Levi's experience of entering and living on one of the Auschwitz concentration camps, and "The Truce" follows his struggle to return home after leaving the camp. Levi writes in a remarkably contained, almost dispassionate way, which, as he explains in the afterword, is not only a consequence of his analytical and scientific mind, but also an attempt to create a valuable and valid witness account, unaffected by strong emotions.
Primo Levi was twenty-four years-old when he entered the camp (or Lager, as it was known), which is how old I am at the moment, so I couldn't help comparing myself to him, and wondering how I would have reacted to what he and countless others went through. It's difficult to imagine. The whole of the "If This is a Man" book is filled with innumerable examples of the horrific events that took place, but the one that most profoundly affected me was the "treatment" they received on the day of their arrival. Here is a group of human beings, torn from their normal lives and homes, slowly being transformed into something that is only a shadow of themselves, at best. In a matter of days, what defines them as human is reduced to nothing. This was a deliberate effect from the Nazi's part, since it was easier to perpetrate unspeakable horrors to beasts, to shadows, than to something you could recognize as a human being. It's an honest, deep-felt and terribly empathic description of what he felt and what he saw in the eyes of others, and it's chilling to the bone.
After this first part, "The Truce" is almost a relief. Although also filled with a lot of suffering and miserable conditions, it is nothing compared to what went on before, and like Levi, I felt myself recovering, almost forgetting the most gruesome details of what I had just read before.
I guess that's the way the human mind works, and I really believe that, were it not from the survival's stories and the effort on the different nations' part to keep the concentration camps as a testament of those times, humanity would, sooner or later, forget what happened, or at least remember it like we remember the Inquisition, or the Napoleon Wars. Bloody events, but events that lack the human, individual side that is necessary for true empathy and understanding. World War II will remain as a terrible scar in history of the World, but the collective memory will dwindle, and we need books like this to remind us, those who weren't there, who didn't go through it or anything like it, of how low humankind can go, and has been, and will in all probability go again....more
This is the third book by Dan Brown that I have read (the other two being The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons) and I think by now it's safe to sThis is the third book by Dan Brown that I have read (the other two being The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons) and I think by now it's safe to say that I don't like him as an author.
This book, like the others, reads too much like a Hollywood script for me (in fact I can totally see this being made into a movie). It's not necessarily a bad thing I guess, just not to my personal taste. Also, if you've read other books by him you'll know what to expect: a male and a female protagonist, a mystery, lots of conspiracy theories, dangerous situations to survive miraculously from, and a twist at the end. This time though, we are not dealing with religious sects but with the NASA, the CIA and the government.
Like I said, this formula isn't necessarily a bad thing, and I'm guessing Dan Brown fans will like this book. But I must admit I found it a little boring and predictable, so I can't recommend it....more
I'm familiar with Noam Chomsky's ideas, from references and such, but I hadn't actually read any of his books. Not knowing where to start, I chose thiI'm familiar with Noam Chomsky's ideas, from references and such, but I hadn't actually read any of his books. Not knowing where to start, I chose this one purely for convenience. Even though the writing could be better - there were lots of repetitions and the writing in general didn't feel properly edited - there's no denying that the ideas he presents are powerful. And very, very important.
And yes, I know that a lot of people accuse him of being a conspiracy theorist. Nowadays, anyone who event attempts to see the big picture, make connections and draw conclusions is promptly dismissed as a conspiracy theorist, just like anyone who criticizes the banking system is a communist, and anyone who criticizes politicians is an anarchist (/end sarcasm). The real danger lies in not caring or thinking about anything other that what you're supposed to, or being told to think. Then you become easier to control.
And make no mistake, we are all being controlled in one way or another.
The first part of this book was written in 1991. The second part is a talk given in 2002. It's sad, though unsurprising, to see that nothing has changed in 30 years....more
I'll start this review with a disclaimer: if you're looking for something that's easy to read, this book isn't it. It's a stifling, sometimes claustroI'll start this review with a disclaimer: if you're looking for something that's easy to read, this book isn't it. It's a stifling, sometimes claustrophobic, insight into a complex mind.
The story itself is quite simple. A self-obsessed young student named Raskolnikoff makes a theory about how some men are above the law due to their contribution of new ideas that will benefit the world at large, which makes them exempt from punishment from deeds that are usually considered evil. The book is more of a psychological study of the motivations and stream of thoughts behind the characters' acts.
The characters were what made this book enjoyable for me. Dostoyevsky manages to make us feel like we're inside their heads, walking in their shoes, feeling their anguish. It was just really fascinating to get such an in-depth understanding of such a complex situation. I am by no means an expert on criminal psychology, but I am aware of the fact that we are usually given (and usually look for) rather simple explanations for criminal acts - passion, poverty, madness, etc. This book demystifies that idea completely.
Overall, I found it quite enjoyable and interesting, and happily recommend it....more
I'm a big fan of Jon Stewart and The Daily Show, but for some reason I'd never felt curious to read any of their books untilPublished on my book blog.
I'm a big fan of Jon Stewart and The Daily Show, but for some reason I'd never felt curious to read any of their books until this year. I considered starting with Earth (the book): A Visitor's Guide to the Human Race, but thought I'd go through this older one first.
I have to admit, when I started I was a bit taken aback. I don't know what I expected, but the first chapter ("Democracy before America") was written with such an unapologetic disregard for History that I couldn't even find it funny, at first. However, once the initial "shock" had passed, this book got really funny. It's opinionated, scandalous, hilarious, and so spot-on that my bittersweet feeling of not knowing whether to laugh or get depressed was sustained throughout the whole book.
This is presented in the form of an educational book for children, and since the content couldn't be further away from that demographic, it's doubly funny to see "helpful" diagrams, maps, games and illustration to help the reader understand a little better this wonderful but deeply flawed thing we call Democracy.
Highly recommended. Read with an open mind!...more
A book on business model innovation and how important that is for businesses n today's economic and technological climate.
I was torn between giving this book 3 or 4 stars. On one hand, it's a visually beautiful book which introduces some thought-provoking and useful tools, like the Business Model Canvas. On the other hand, for most subsequent chapters I felt like I was reading the same thing over and over again, with slight changes in the details. In the end, it was useful but not as informative as I would like it to be.
Still, it's a good book for beginners, and a gorgeous one at that, and one can't help getting caught up in the genuine excitement the authors seem to have for business model innovation....more
I got this book as a birthday gift from two dear friends of mine. We share many interests, and the workings of the human minPublished on my book blog.
I got this book as a birthday gift from two dear friends of mine. We share many interests, and the workings of the human mind is one of them, so they figured this book would be a good match for me.
It's a good premise. The author spent a few years working as a health care assistant in a psychiatric hospital and draws on his experiences to tell short stories about mental illnesses. Unfortunately, I didn't like it as much I thought I would. I was hoping for an insightful look into this fascinating, often misunderstood world, but I felt that all the stories were superficial, with the exception of the author's own tale (the last story in the book). Many of the "stories" didn't even feel like stories at all, more like a textbook description with pictures accompanying it. I couldn't understand the constant mention of how people need to be more open-minded and tolerant towards mental illness. What's the point of saying that to a reader who is interested enough to try this book?
I can definitely see a heavy influence from Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood, both in graphic qualities and narrative, but this book lacks the profoundity and poignance that "Persepolis" has. Moreover, sometimes I felt like the drawings didn't even need to be there at all.
However, there were some positive points. The author's story was powerfully told (made me wish that the rest of the book was like that) and some of the personal stories of the patients he mentions are genuinely strange and interesting.
This is an ok book, and it's fairly interesting, but I do wish it dared to go deeper....more
Before I begin, I should say this is one of those books which have made such a deep impact on me that I find it difficult to talk about them. you haveBefore I begin, I should say this is one of those books which have made such a deep impact on me that I find it difficult to talk about them. you have been warned.
If I had to choose one word to describe this book, it would be "epic". It manages to explore so many themes that, at times, it gets a bit overwhelming. It mixes religion, love, faith, society, technology, friendship, and it does it in such a seamless and clever way that is truly impressive. It is a novel about old gods, and the way they changed when they came to the New World, the new gods that have appeared. It's a novel about what exactly it means to be a god. It's about America as a land of opportunities, of possibilities of escape and new beginnings. It's about the darker side of people. The story is very interesting and intricate, but it's not the focal point of the book. For me, this book was more of a reflection than an actual story.
However, what I liked the most about this book was the way it explored faith and belief, the pillars of any religion. If I was really nit picky, I would complain about the fact that Neil Gaiman chose to include only the very old and the very new gods. Christianity is the most notorious absentee, with Christ only being discussed once (that I remember) and very briefly. But honestly, I didn't miss it all that much. I was just curious about how it would be approached if it had been included.
I feel like I am already failing to say what I wanted about this book. I will say though that it was deeply entertaining, interesting and thought-provoking. I recommend this to everyone....more
Background: I was given this book by a friend on Christmas, and I started reading it soon afterward, but unfortunately had to stop fPosted on my blog.
Background: I was given this book by a friend on Christmas, and I started reading it soon afterward, but unfortunately had to stop for a couple of months and just recently finished it. This is unfortunate, since I recall a lot of things I thought about the book while I was reading it, but didn't mark any of the pages for quoting. Oh well.
Review: This book in a nutshell: humans can be very irrational at times. The book goes on to try to explore, explain and offer solutions to the various forms of human irrationality, always relying on studies to back up the conclusions. Unfortunately, in my opinion, it just fell short of what it was trying to do.
Be warned. This book was written in 1992, and it shows. I noticed right away some very strange factual errors that, at times, by light of new evidence that has since been gathered, completely defeat the points being given by the author. I noticed this particularly with medical studies - having been in medical school myself I spotted the, at times, glaring mistakes, which didn't impress me at all. I guess I was using one of the irrational thought processes he described - the "halo effect", which when applied to this, means that when I saw that he was completely wrong in some thing he vehemently defended, it made me look at the rest of his book in a negative light. It probably means this review is tainted by irrationality as well.
I wish I had marked the exact quotes to back up what I'm saying. I recall at least that at some point in the book he goes on and on about how doctors were wrong to think that blood cholesterol levels had anything to do with what you eat, because a study had proven they had no correlation. Yeah. This reminded me of all the smokers who will quote one study that says that smoking is not bad for you at all and has nothing to do with lung cancer. Let's not ignore the rest of the studies who say otherwise. please.
I also had a problem with the tone of this book. It was too patronizing, and the author seemed to have personal vendettas against some members of society, namely feminists, members of the medical profession, and psychologists who do social experiments.
There were some positive aspects to it, and I found a few pearls of wisdom, but overall, the book was simply not worth it.
What's Next: If anything, reading this book made me wish there was a better one on the subject that I could read....more
Background: I ordered this book a few months ago, when I decided I wanted to focus my studies on the theoretical side of art. In order to start practiBackground: I ordered this book a few months ago, when I decided I wanted to focus my studies on the theoretical side of art. In order to start practicing my writing more seriously, and having never had any formal training, I wanted a book that could guide me in the right direction, not too advanced nor too basic, and which could be a good reference in my future academic research. After looking around for a bit, I settled for this one, which appeared to have the most interesting contents and best reviews.
Review: Art criticism can be a daunting subject. Many times I've gone to an exhibition or read an art book and felt bewildered by the seeming impenetrability of the language used by the critics and art historians. On the other end of the spectrum, I have come across texts that not only deepened my understanding of the artworks, but also made me appreciate things I would normally never cast a second glance at. Short Guide to Writing About Art, A aims at those who wish to write the latter type of texts.
Written in a concise and clear language, this book is clearly aimed at art students, and is great for those, like me, who have some kind of background in art but who are just starting to write. The initial part of the book, which includes sections such as "Why Write about Art?" and "The Relevance of Context: The Effect of the Museum and the Picture Book", focuses on teaching the students to look at art and to organize their thoughts, ideas and opinions, and the best way of expressing them. The author makes a point of explaining that, if your audience doesn't understand (or misunderstands) what you wrote, most likely the problem is in your writing. He goes on to explain all the little things that one rarely thinks about or even notices, but which make all the difference when reading, and end up separating a great writer/critic from a mediocre one.
The guidelines presented are adapted to various situations, for example, exhibition catalogs, reviews and essays. The book covers everything from giving your own opinions and having a personal style, to the specifics of looking at the different art mediums. Towards the end, the author focuses more on the technical side of writing, including formats, language and research. It is, in short, a reference book and a how-to book combined into one. The points and guidelines presented can be applied to any kind of writing, not just art criticism.
The only complaint I have is that towards the end, the explanations about grammar, form and bibliography explanations got very heavy and the book ends on that note, which is a shame because the rest is so clear and easy to read. Because of the density of information it took me longer than usual to read this book - two months as opposed to, say, a week (granted, those two months included a trip to Paris and another to Cuba, in which I did no reading, but still). Nevertheless, I recommend this to every art student, and to everyone who wants to learn about looking at and writing about art.
What's Next: I'm really happy I bought this book. It was exactly what I needed to initiate my path towards being a better writer. I plan on checking out some of the books and resources mentioned throughout this one....more
O projecto Lusitânia preenche uma lacuna existente desde há muito no panorama da ficção especulativa portuguesa (com algumas notáveis excepções, claroO projecto Lusitânia preenche uma lacuna existente desde há muito no panorama da ficção especulativa portuguesa (com algumas notáveis excepções, claro): a fantasia e ficção científica inspirada por e inserida num contexto cultural português. É certo e sabido que Portugal tem uma cultura e Histórias ricas em potencial não explorado, pelo que posso desde já dar os parabéns ao Carlos Silva, à Alexandra Rolo e à restante equipa da Lusitânia pelo trabalho desenvolvido, e votos de que o projecto continue.
Em relação ao primeiro número, no geral, gostei, embora tenha alguns pontos negativos a referir. A experiência com o Almanaque Steampunk 2012 fez-me ter uma nova apreciação pelo trabalho editorial - há imensos desafios escondidos e por mais que se tente nunca é possível fazer um trabalho perfeito, pelo que todas as minhas críticas são no sentido de melhorar o trabalho para uma próxima edição.
Sendo assim, e começando pela capa, gosto da imagem, mas considero-a demasiado escura - algo arriscado, especialmente quando estamos a lidar com impressão digital. O design, no geral, é adequado, mas, tal como outros leitores já mencionaram, alguns dos fundos dificultam a leitura, quer por terem um padrão demasiado chamativo, quer por serem demasiado escuros, perdendo o contraste com o texto. Aconselharia também a indicação do nome do autor no início de todos os contos. No entanto, as ilustrações funcionam bem e gosto do tipo de letra.
Quanto aos contos em si:
"Sonhos Numa Noite de Natal" de Marcelina Leandro: Quem me conhece sabe que adoro sonhos (estou até a trabalhar numa história com esta temática) pelo que gostei imenso deste conto. A ideia é engraçada e está bem trabalhada. Foi das poucas vezes que senti que um conto tinha o tamanho certo para a história que pretendia explorar.
"Vinho Fino" de Inês Montenegro: Um dos contos que mais me agradou. Adorei a ideia dos parasitas e o modo como se alastraram. O ambiente típico das vinhas do Douro foi aqui muito bem utilizado. Espero em breve ler mais trabalhos desta autora.
"Como Portugal foi Salvo pelos Pastéis de Nata" de Catarina Lima: Infelizmente, não fiquei nada impressionada com este conto. A história arrasta-se no início e acelera demasiado num final pouco credível. O mundo tem potencial, mas este conto parece um first draft (os erros e gralhas não ajudam).
"A Guerra do Fogo" de Nuno Almeida: Embora fosse fácil adivinhar quem é a personagem de que o conto trata (retirando um pouco de força à revelação final) o conto é bom e utiliza de forma fantástica uma época da cultura lusitana que, a meu ver, foi ainda muito pouco explorada. Um autor a seguir.
"A Cidade das Luzes" de José Pedro Lopes: A ideia das auras tornadas visíveis e das consequências na sociedade é original e tem potencial. Penso que o conto perdeu um pouco por ter tentado dar uma explicação científica ao fenómeno, o que para mim teve apenas a consequência de lhe retirar credibilidade. O mesmo aconteceu com o enredo que envolveu o ministro e o trio amoroso. Em suma, uma ideia original, um mundo interessante, com potencial para uma história melhor (talvez, quem sabe, em formato de livro).
"A Passagem Uivante" de Pedro Cipriano: Um conto que transmite bem o lado humano da guerra, e a desvalorização da vida e emoções humanas quando tudo o que importa é o poder e o dinheiro. Uma guerra vista pelos olhos de quem a vive de forma mais próxima, e que muitas vezes é também quem a menos compreende (ou melhor compreende a sua futilidade). Um bom trabalho, mas gostaria de ter passado mais algum tempo com as personagens, de modo a fortalecer a empatia emocional que o conto requer.
Carta da Clockwork Portugal: Aqui sou suspeita, admito. Quem não leu o Almanaque Steampunk 2012 provavelmente vai ficar confuso com a inclusão deste texto, que faz a ponte entre as duas publicações (tanto a carta do Almanaque como a deste livro foram escritas pelo André Nóbrega). Só achei que faria mais sentido se tivesse sido colocada no fim do livro, mas é uma questão de preferência pessoal.
Os meus parabéns à equipa e aos autores por este novo projecto!...more
This was a surprise for me. I had never read Kafka even though it was recommended to me a lot of times, so I didn't know what to expect. Now I'm lookiThis was a surprise for me. I had never read Kafka even though it was recommended to me a lot of times, so I didn't know what to expect. Now I'm looking forward to reading his other works. This book is a little gem of insight into human behaviour, presented in a metaphor of alienation, like a darker version of one of Aesop's Fables.
One man wakes up one day and discovers he has turned into an insect. At first he can't quite come to terms with his new condition, and tries to ignore it and live his life the way he always has. Inevitably, the circumstances force him to change the way he acts, and unsure of how to react towards himself and his condition, he turns to his family, to whom he dedicates his life, for a reaction.
And this is where it becomes interesting. Their reactions seem, at the surface, understandable, even justified, but later reveal themselves to be selfish, self-centered and extremely cruel and unfair. It's easy to create a parallel between Gregor Samsa and anyone who has found him or herself alienated from society - be it a homeless person, or an old person confined to the bed by an illness... All the little actions, like talking without bothering to see if the "alien" understands it or not, the ill-disguised disgust, the forgetting of everything that person might have done for others, the wallowing in self-pity because they have to put up with that person, are perceived in all their cruelty.
It was also interesting to see how it was Gregor's transformation that turned his family, previously completely dependent upon him and unable to think of themselves as capable of providing for their own survival, into pro-active beings full of plans for the future. An ironic, and utterly sad metamorphosis indeed.
This is how I experienced the book, but it's open to interpretation, of course (I love it when books do that). I'm pretty sure my understanding of this book will change when I learn more about Kafka. Suffice to say it's a great little book and definitely worth the read....more
I had high expectations for this book, having read some enthusiastic reviews on Goodreads, but unfortunately I didn't love it.
To start off, I should sI had high expectations for this book, having read some enthusiastic reviews on Goodreads, but unfortunately I didn't love it.
To start off, I should say that I'm clearly not in the demographic this book was written for. I often read and enjoy young adult, even teen fiction, and many times the books can be enjoyed and interpreted in different ways when you're older. Other times, a book you loved in your teens feels simplistic and superficial when you re-read it as an adult. This book, for me, falls into the second category.
The world-building kept me interested, even if at times it didn't sound very realistic. The story takes place in Victorian London and the descriptions of the city were well-written, making it easy to get immersed into the background and almost taste the atmosphere. Even though this is often described as Steampunk, other than some automatons (whose presence and utility I seriously questioned) there was very little that could be called Steampunk. The story itself fell a bit short for me - most of the times I could guess what would happen and why, and it didn't bode well for the characters that they couldn't see it coming and were always surprised, only putting two and two together too late.
And the characters? Even though the focus is on their relationships and personal "demons", they were still rather cliché. The intelligent, secretly powerful teen protagonist who thinks she's bland but everyone thinks she's pretty; the "incredibly handsome bad boy with a supposedly heart of gold" love interest; the less handsome but still gorgeous best friend to the bad boy, impossibly perfect and kind, also a love interest; the angry, unpleasant girl who nobody really likes (the protagonist just can't have a rival for the boys' attention); the authority figure; and a cast of somewhat interesting secondary characters who may or may not make it alive to the end of the book.
Still, it's a decent adventure book for teens, and I would have given it 3 stars if it wasn't for one thing: the romance. Let me go on a bit of a rant here. I'm very tired of seeing these romances in which the girl "falls in love" with the bad boy, based on absolutely nothing but his looks. Honestly, let's put it this way: the bad boys in these books are always drop dead gorgeous. If they were ugly, the protagonist would despise them because they're mean, selfish and hurtful, but since they're handsome, they're just misunderstood. They always have a dark, mysterious past, and use that as an excuse to treat others badly and to avoid getting hurt. I don't get what's so endearing about this. In real life, I would be seriously worried if I saw a girl fall head over heels over a guy that treats her like dirt, insults her, ignores her, despises what she considers important, sometimes even physically hurts her (after kissing her, no less), just because he's really cute and she believes deep down he is a good person. Because, you know, beautiful people have to be good people.
Maybe I'm reading too much into this. Maybe this is just a book that caters to a specific group of people who love this kind of thing. But I can't write a review without giving my honest opinion, and I couldn't help that it was tainted by the strong reaction I had against the romance and the characters. Still, I will give the sequel a chance, in the hope that it might surprise me....more
I will start by saying that this is an absolutely gorgeous book. It's a compilation that was obviously done with great care and attention to detail, aI will start by saying that this is an absolutely gorgeous book. It's a compilation that was obviously done with great care and attention to detail, and as a result it has a very imposing physical presence. I found myself checking if my hands were clean before picking it up to read (and I'm not kidding).
What to say about the comic itself... "Sandman" is fantastic, quite different from what I got used from a comic book (and it must have been quite ground-breaking at the time it came out). I started reading Watchmen at the same time I was reading The Absolute Sandman, Vol. 1, and found myself comparing the two. While Watchmen is undoubtedly much more political and thought-provoking (and also quite original in its storytelling), Sandman is a lot more subtle. It's an intricate world of fantasies, of metaphors and of symbols. I could read only one story at the time, and after a while I figured out why. I found myself being unable to fully appreciate all the little details, references and symbols, because there were so many. Thus, I slowed down (and good thing I did), making this the book that has taken me the longest time to read in my life.
The final part of the book is dedicated to the making-of the comic, and is really an excellent read. I enjoyed immensely going through the whole issue of "A Midsummer Night's Dream", step by step, with the quirky commentaries of Neil Gaiman to the illustrator.
The artists that collaborated on this book are all very talented. I have a soft spot for Dave McKean's work, and his issue covers were another thing that made me love this book. If you like comic books, then I heartily recommend you get your "clean" hands on this....more
On my quest for steampunk (or steampunk inspired) comics, I came across Lady Mechanika, courtesy of one of our local comic books shop here in Porto. IOn my quest for steampunk (or steampunk inspired) comics, I came across Lady Mechanika, courtesy of one of our local comic books shop here in Porto. I quickly discovered this is a notoriously difficult series to find – sadly, only the #1 and #2 issues were available. I’ve yet to find a #0, or the collected first issues, at an affordable price. This bodes well for the series, but not at all for my wallet.
Anyway, on the story. Since I didn’t get a chance to read issue #0, I may be missing something already, but reading issue #1 definitely peaked my curiosity. The setting is an alternative Victorian Era. Mechanika, the most advanced city in the Commonwealth, lends its name to the heroin, Lady Mechanika, a girl part human, part machine, who was found locked up in a laboratory surrounded by corpses, with no memory of her past life. With her unique mechanical abilities, she spends her time solving mysteries and doing detective work, while searching constantly for clues to her past life and who might be responsible for her transformation.
In this issue, a young girl with mechanical claws is being chased through the woods. She manages to dodge her attackers and lands on a train going to Mechanika. Who are the people chasing her? Is this girl related to Lady Mechanika, and in what way?
The first thing you notice about this series is the quality of the covers. There are many different ones for each issue, each absolutely gorgeous. Inside, the artwork continues to amaze – the colors, the drawing, panels, all come together to produce an atmosphere that blends industrial, vintage, Victorian and sci-fi elements. The wealth of details is amazing, and steampunk fans will not be disappointed.
Steampunk is a subgenre / aesthetic that reimagines Victorian times in a retro-futurist way, embracing the past while reflecting upon the present andSteampunk is a subgenre / aesthetic that reimagines Victorian times in a retro-futurist way, embracing the past while reflecting upon the present and future. It is as much a way of life as it is a kind of literature, music or fashion. You will have seen hints of it everywhere: books, Hollywood movies, or strange people who dress in a fashion that mixes 19th century Victoriana with punk’s do-it-yourself mindset.
Relying heavily on Steampunk’s unique visual appeal, with beautiful photographs and illustration (just look at that cover!), this book has both style and substance, with contributions from some of the most active members of the worldwide community. Steampunk is (or can be) a lot more than just pretty corsets and goggles, or stuff with cogs glued to it. It’s a way of thinking about technology and the way it impacts us, it’s marrying escapism with social and political awareness, it’s a reaction against today’s consumerist world, in which the mass-produced things we own are never supposed to last more than two to three years, and you can’t fix them when they break.
The first few chapters cover the literary origins of Steampunk and the first authors to truly tackle it, all the way through to the most recent books and graphic novels. There are also chapters dedicated to the fashion, the crafty and tinkering aspects of Steampunk, movies (both Hollywood and less mainstream ones), and events around the world.
The inventors, authors and tinkerers featured throughout the book are guaranteed to inspire you to try your hands at something – there’s even a tutorial on etching tins to get you going.
In short, there’s a bit of something for everyone in this book slash love letter to Steampunk. If you’re not a Steampunk fan already, you will be after you read this book. I do wish it would have gone a bit deeper in exploring the works listed – this is called a bible, after all – but as an illustrated guide, it works really well.
Background: An undeniable classic and a must-read. I actually started reading the Portuguese translation of this book a long tiPosted on my book blog.
Background: An undeniable classic and a must-read. I actually started reading the Portuguese translation of this book a long time ago, but it mysteriously disappeared when I was about midway - it's been years and I still have never seen it again. I don't mind - actually I think it's funny that it happened to this book in particular! When I saw the Anniversary Edition from Penguin (which has a truly amazing cover) I decided to buy it.
Review: This is a book that has had such an impact on culture that hardly anyone, even those who have never read the book, hasn't heard about the concept of Big Brother (who is always watching). "Nineteen Eighty-Four" is a dystopian novel which follows the story of one individual, Winston Smith, who lives in Oceania, one of the three remaining super-powers in the world. Oceania lives in a constant state of war, and their inhabitants disappear behind the needs of the Party, the ruling collective mind of those in power.
Winston Smith works in the Ministry of Truth, which concerns itself with changing the past according to what the Party needs. Every historical document ever made is constantly being reinvented and adapted to the present, so that contradictions never exist. Human memories are all but obliterated, and the truth becomes what the collective mind can remember. However, Smith, born before the Party rose to power, is sure he can remember a time when things were totally different.
The book goes much deeper than just presenting the story. In fact, it felt more like an exercise, or study, if you will, on the organization of society, the economic and social needs for the war, the viewing of power as an end (as opposed to being a means to an end), the controlling of people until they are only a shadow of what we would consider human. In this world there is no privacy, there is no individual - the people are described as being cells in the body of the Party, inconsequential and unimportant by themselves, unless in relation to the whole. Every effort made is towards the advancement of the control the Party has over everyone, but at the same time that control must be unconscious. The contradictions are solved by applying doublethink - the power to accept two contradictory facts as simultaneously true.
Like any well-made dystopia, this is a chilling book that successfully explores the extremes to which a totalitarian, completely controlled regime could go, and the ugly consequences of the quest for power. Recommended for everyone....more
In a nutshell, this is one of the best books I have ever read (and, for me, that's saying something).
I'll elaborate. For some reason I seem to be reaIn a nutshell, this is one of the best books I have ever read (and, for me, that's saying something).
I'll elaborate. For some reason I seem to be reading a lot of utopian / dystopian fiction nowadays. Mainly because it makes you think about the direction the human race is taking. Thinking. It's such an intrinsically human capacity, right? Brave New World works on the premise (at least that's one of the premises) that human beings think what they are conditioned to think. Whether that condition comes from genetics, or culture, if you can identify the factors of influence, you can control the human race. And they won't mind, because they've been conditioned to accept it, and even like it.
I feel like whatever I write here won't come even close to what I got out from this book. The world it describes may be horrifying (though, to me, for different reasons to the ones the Savage describes), but I found it to be very believable. Controlling people, not by violence and oppression (like in Orwell's 1984) or the media (like in Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451), but by themselves, by their own happiness, and getting rid of everything that might endanger their constructed state of pure bliss.
Love hurts? Abolish love, keep only the sex, conditioning people to feel that any deeper relationship is undesirable, morally and socially repulsive, and unnecessary. Family promotes unrest? Get rid of it by making all the babies in bottles and keeping women from getting pregnant. Work is unpleasant? Condition people from childhood to think of it as a rewarding, easy and natural thing to do. Need different people for each job? Create (quite literally) a set of castes, with different conditioning to make them love their own class (even the lower ones), and each individual will know and love their place in society. Perfect social stability. And so on.
Frightful, isn't it? But then, as I was reading this book, I kept wondering. Isn't that what humans want? Isn't that what they search for, what they work towards? Usually when you ask someone what they want, they will answer they just want to be happy, or something to the effect. From that point of view, this would be the perfect society. Right?
Except that it's not. You finish this book realizing just how complicated human beings are. I'm sure that, at times, when one looks at the world in general today, one gets the feeling that most people only care about the superficial, that they are all too happy to just live their lives without caring for politics, or philosophy, or art. All too happy to care only about their next TV, their next car, their next vacation. But the notion that you can be truly happy with nothing more than that is one I find hard to accept (or maybe I just don't want to accept it).
I guess it depends on the meaning of "happiness" - something that, in my opinion at least, isn't all that easy to pinpoint. It varies from each individual to the next, and the absence of pain doesn't necessarily mean happiness. Of course, in Huxley's world, there are no individuals. Those who, by whatever reason, achieve any kind of individuality, are sent to a faraway island.
I had a few problems with the characters - particularly the Savage, who seemed to behave in a way totally unexpected way (to me, anyway), mainly, by launching into deep conversations about religion and the meaning of it all (yes, we get hints that he doesn't understand some things, but still, growing up in a society like the one in the Savage Reservation, I'd be inclined to think his belief in God would be more intuitive - exactly like a conditioning). Still, the story and the society was so mesmerizing that the rest took a step back. I recommend this to anyone, it's guaranteed to make you think....more
I enjoyed Felicia Day’s memoir immensely, but I’m going to start this review with a caveat.
I usually feel suspicious when young people write memoirs.I enjoyed Felicia Day’s memoir immensely, but I’m going to start this review with a caveat.
I usually feel suspicious when young people write memoirs. Don’t get me wrong, a lot of young people have led remarkable lives that are worth reading about. It’s just that I’ve long felt that memoirs should be like an artist’s retrospective: it’s better to wait rather than doing it too soon, for fear that you might be looking back too early. Like memoirs, retrospectives become a cristallized point in the artist’s or person’s life. That person will keep on living and creating, of course (well, hopefully), but it’s hard not to feel like it’s something that should be done at an advanced point in their careers / lives. Felicia is still quite young, and I’m pretty sure she will go on to keep doing great things. Nothing wrong with writing a memoir when you feel like it, but if you keep being successful, then eventually you’re going to write another one (it’s happened before). This is the one thing that made me not give this book five stars: the feeling that it ends too abruptly, like a work in progress. I have a feeling she will have a lot more to tell in a few years.
That being said, this is an amazing book. One of the best memoirs I’ve ever read, in fact.
I’ve been a fan of Felicia since the first season of The Guild, way back in 2007. At that time, I played World of Warcraft daily with my guild. Growing up, I never knew any other girls who played games - I only had female friends who were also gamers as an adult - so it was easy to feel like the odd one out. I was happy to finally find a series with people I could identify with. I also identified with Felicia’s character on a more personal level: the anxiety, social awkwardness, not having things figured out in life. I became a fan of the show and its creator, and have followed her work ever since.
Felicia’s personality comes through in all of her videos, and that same personality is perfectly encapsulated within the pages of this book: funny, witty, neurotic, anxious, self-critical, at times dysfunctional, but always disarmingly honest. For me it was therapeutic to read about how hard it is to create something, how difficult life can be when we are our own worst enemy, and how perfectly wonderful and scary and exhilarating it is to be a geek and find the internet. I too remember that moment of acceptance, of finding one’s community. And I too remember when that exhilaration deflated in the face of toxicity.
Felicia goes through several stages of her life, and it is true that her path has been unconventional. But the beauty of this book is that it’s not just about her - it’s about being a geek, but above all, about being human. And that is perhaps the best reason for me to recommend this. Definitely read this if you’re a fan, a geek, a gamer, a creator, or someone who has always felt like the odd one out. And if you haven’t watched The Guild, go watch it. You won’t be disappointed, and then you can come back and read this book....more
The premise is very interesting. Ray Bradbury imagines a world where books are banned, and it's not very difficuI have mixed feelings about this book.
The premise is very interesting. Ray Bradbury imagines a world where books are banned, and it's not very difficult to imagine this world actually coming to life. After all, books weren't banned from one moment to another - people gradually lost interest in them, in favor of other, more immediate forms of entertainment, that didn't challenge them emotionally or intellectually, and, therefore, apparently made their life much easier. Television, colors, fast cars, sports, all that was important was the fun. And, like Beatty, the firemen captain in the book, says, books are full of controversy, they don't agree with each other, they don't provide answers, they're not real, they take too long, they're too complicated and controversial. Gradually, people started rejecting them, and eventually they became outlawed because of the perceived unrest they caused.
It's really interesting to read about the difference books made in the life of the main character (although we realize, by the end of the book, that books are only a symbol, and the problem runs much deeper than the simple burning of books). And it's not hard to make a few analogies between the society that's described in the book and our own society (something about snippet-sized bits of fast, thoughtless entertainment rings a bell). That alone is chilling and makes one think, "What if?". Like all good books, this one raises questions, providing food for thought for us to make our own answers.
The only problem I had with this book was the way it was written (style, if you will). At times it was very good, but a lot of times it was filled to the point of exhaustion with metaphors. On a single paragraph I would count five, six metaphors, one for how the street looked like, another for how it smelled, another for the character's state of mind, and so on. It got a bit tiring. Then again, maybe that's a question of personal preference... But it was, in my opinion, a bit distracting from the actual story.
All in all, I'm very glad I read this book. The questions it raised will stay with me for a long time. I recommend it to book lovers, and anyone who is interested in the way society and media relate to each other....more
Background: I first heard of Craig Ferguson when a friend of mine came back from visiting her family in the USA and heartily recommended that I watchBackground: I first heard of Craig Ferguson when a friend of mine came back from visiting her family in the USA and heartily recommended that I watch his show. Being from a country where hardly anyone even pays attention to American late night shows, where, if you're lucky, you can catch Conan O'Brien or Jon Stewart on cable with about a month's delay, I searched Youtube for Craig Ferguson. It didn't take long for me to get addicted. His fresh, honest, witty style, his unscripted monologues and spontaneous interviews were a great change from the sometimes monotonous and unsurprising world of talk shows. You won't find any of the politically correct fluff in his show. He's also not afraid to talk honestly about serious topics. I watch his show everyday, and was absolutely thrilled when my brother gave me this book for Christmas.
Review: Craig Ferguson has always given a few hints at his past life during his shows. He is always candid about his fight with alcoholism, his past marriages and his experiences with drugs. Nevertheless, his book still manages to be surprising, even for someone who follows his work on a daily basis. Since most people only see him being funny, you might think the book is the same - dark, honest, but very funny. I certainly did. And that is true, in a sense, but definitely not in the way I expected it.
The thing is, this isn't a companion for the show. There are hardly any references to his present life, except of course towards the end. Instead, this is a story that, in my opinion, he would want to tell eventually, no matter where his life ended up. It follows his life chronologically, starting with his childhood in the mean streets of Glasgow, his tumultuous relationship with school and establishment and the beginning of his addiction to alcohol. It goes along as he tries to figure out, as a young man, what he wants to do with his life, trying to make it as a drummer, as an actor, as an entertainer, sometimes succeeding, more often failing miserably. He describes his fatidic trip to America which made him think of the country as the promised land, and made moving there his ultimate dream. We follow him from Glasgow, to London, to Portugal (I smiled when I was reading this part!), to New York, to Canada, to Paris, back to London, and all the way to the promised land of Los Angeles, where eventually, after many more turns of fate, he found his fortune as an actor in the Drew Carey Show and, eventually, as a successful talk show host.
He manages to take the potentially damaging events of his life and turn them into hilarious episodes with a bittersweet taste. Many parts, like for example, the description of his last acid trip, are pure comedy gold that actually made me laugh out loud.
Along the way, he introduces the reader to the "characters" in his life, some very famous, others unknown, who become close to us as we read what they did with him and for him. In fact, my only complaint about his book comes from that. I'm not sure if he's just being humble or grateful, but he presents everything positive that ever happened in his life as something he owes to the fantastic people in his life. In fact, the book sometimes reads as an extensive thank you note. This may be just my opinion, but I find it very hard to believe that so many people would be so very generous to a (then) exceedingly problematic individual without him showing that he deserves the chances he's given. And I think it's quite obvious to everyone that Craig Ferguson is incredibly talented (though, I admit, it might not be that obvious to him), so I found myself at times wishing he would be more proud of himself and his abilities. But, in the end, it's a testament to the quality of the book that I am actually nitpicking like this.
I confess that I haven't read many memoirs in my life, and I tend to be suspicious of people who write them early in their life, for reasons that, I hope, are obvious. But I understand that some people write them to come to terms with their past life, to close a chapter in their lives and make room for a new one, while hopefully spreading he message that things can actually turn out ok. I really enjoyed reading this book, not only because it's very funny and touching, but because its ultimate message is that failing isn't as bad as we usually think it is. It's something everyone goes through on the road to success. In his own words:
"He will know from an early age that failure is not disgrace. It's just a pitch that you missed, and you'd better get ready for the next one. The next one might be the shot heard round the world. My son and I are Americans, we prepare for glory by failing until we don't."
I'm glad I read this book at a time in life when I've just had to start learning how to deal with things going in a different direction than planned. I hope Craig keeps his position in the Late Late Show for a lot longer, though I'm sure that, with his inquisitive and adventure seeking personality, he will eventually want to move on to another challenge. Still, if you're a fan of his show, get this book. You won't regret it.
Sometimes, in life, a book comes along that speaks to you so clearly about the things you believe that it seems to have been wrPosted on my book blog.
Sometimes, in life, a book comes along that speaks to you so clearly about the things you believe that it seems to have been written by someone inside your head. For me, "Daytripper" was one of those books.
Each chapter follows a day in the life of Brás, a brazilian writer, and ends with his death (this isn't a spoiler, by the way - it's right on the back cover). But that's not what the book is about. What's important is the notion you get that life is made of the little moments we hardly think about when we're experiencing them. That death, no matter if you think about it or not, is always there, just another part of life. That home isn't a place but a complex mix of people, emotions and memories. That nothing is ever as simple as it looks.
As for the artwork, it's simply gorgeous. The drawings are the best I've seen from the artists (having seen their work in other books) and the coloring is genius. Some of the panels are so breathtaking that I spent some time just getting lost in them. It's that good.
Coincidentally, just one week ago I presented a university project about death that touched upon many of the ideas that I found inside this book, and maybe that's why it touched me in a way that may not be transmittable to other people. Still, I recommend this to everyone. Surely one of the best graphic novels I've read....more
This month, I went to Scotland for the first time. I was only there for a week, but in all honesty, if I could I wouldn't havePosted on my book blog.
This month, I went to Scotland for the first time. I was only there for a week, but in all honesty, if I could I wouldn't have left. I've traveled to many places in the world but this is the first time I've felt so strongly about a place. Edinburgh is the city of my dreams. I heartily recommend going there to everyone, no matter where you're from.
Since I prefer to visit places by exploring and meeting locals rather than following tourist routes, I went into a book store searching for a different kind of guide. I'm really glad I found this one. It's a beautifully designed book written by people who live in the city, and features recommendations that go far beyond the obvious. It's made me want to go back even more, and I actually didn't want this book to end, because delving into it felt like being back in the city.
I read the Lord of the Rings trilogy for the first time when I was 13, and The Silmarillion and all the others after that, but strangely enough I neveI read the Lord of the Rings trilogy for the first time when I was 13, and The Silmarillion and all the others after that, but strangely enough I never read any academic research on it, until this one. I'll be sure to search for the works that are mentioned in this book's bibliography.
This is a well-researched interpretation of several places in The Lord of the Rings, written in a language that is adequate to a systematic study of a lyrical subject, without falling into the usual trap of being too dry or indecipherable. It starts off extremely well, with an explanation of fantasy literature and its place and acceptance among other genres. However, the chapters about LOTR itself could have been more ambitious. I felt that the interpretation was at times very simplistic or rushed. And the conclusion confused me - why start a rant against Portuguese cultural agents in a book like this?
Still, this was a good book and I'm happy to see such great work being written and published in Portugal....more
Background: Anything with George Orwell as an author is something that interests me, specially if it comes in the form of a chaPosted on my book blog.
Background: Anything with George Orwell as an author is something that interests me, specially if it comes in the form of a charming little Penguin book. Seriously, if for nothing else, these books are worth checking out by their cover designs alone!
Review: This book, like Books v. Cigarettes, is a collection of short essays written by Orwell. While the other one focused more on reading habits and childhood, this one deals mostly with popular English cultures, with the addition of a couple of amusing essays documenting Orwell's insider investigations.
The essay on popular fascination with crime stories in newspapers (which gives the book its title) was a great read, and so were the investigations (seriously - the author tried really hard to get arrested so he could see what it was like to be in prison, and it's funny how he complains that he couldn't stay in prison for longer than two days!). But the essays on weeklies, as well as the one on illustrated postcards, while interesting, seemed far too long and drawn-out, in my opinion.
All in all, a nice read if you like Orwell, though I would recommend you start by reading Books v. Cigarettes.
What's Next: Penguin's anniversary edition of 1984 is waiting for me on my to-read pile....more
I've seen many movies that were inspired by Philip K. Dick's stories, but had never actually read one of them. That will definiPosted on my book blog.
I've seen many movies that were inspired by Philip K. Dick's stories, but had never actually read one of them. That will definitely change now that I've read this book. Once I finished I immediately felt like getting into another story like this, one that defies and faces the future and presents its possibilities in a chillingly believable way.
It's sometime in the future and Earth has been ravaged by nuclear war. The animals are all but extinct, and most humans have emigrated to other worlds to escape the radioactive air that eats away at them and turns them into "specials" (aka, degenerates). Androids that are virtually indistinguishable from humans are made for slave labour, despised and given no rights because they are machines, even though they are programmed to act and "feel" like human beings. The only thing they cannot feel is empathy, which has become so important that a religion has been founded on it. Humans are empathic to each other, and specially animals - everyone is expected to care for a real animal, but those who cannot afford it buy an electric replica. Yet this empathy isn't extended to androids, who are promptly killed if they escape the colonies and try to come to Earth. This job is done by the bounty hunters.
So that's the story. But this book delves deep into many issues. What is empathy, and why do humans show it to each other and to animals (and even to electric animals!) but not to electric humans, aka androids? What's the difference between a human brain and a brain programmed to work like a human's? What is a human being, then?
This is an amazing book, one I can hardly believe was written so long ago. I recommend it to everyone....more
I'm currently enrolled in a Master's program and about to start working on my thesis in Museum Studies. Since I used to be a MePosted on my book blog.
I'm currently enrolled in a Master's program and about to start working on my thesis in Museum Studies. Since I used to be a Medicine student, I'm more familiar with scientific research, so I wanted a book that was more focused on other kinds of works. This one by Umberto Eco seems to be regarded as the authority in the matter.
It was a nice read (even if the author can seem rather unorthodox at times) and overall quite useful. I read an older edition so the research chapters are painfully dated (no internet back in those days), but I don't mind because it's helpful to know what to do in those cases when the library you want to use doesn't have a completely digitalized catalog.
Overall, useful, specially if you're, like me, just starting out....more
Background: I am a fan of the Penguin – Great Ideas series of books, so when I saw this book for sale I thought it would be a gPosted on my book blog.
Background: I am a fan of the Penguin – Great Ideas series of books, so when I saw this book for sale I thought it would be a great opportunity to further my knowledge of philosophy, since I I knew John Locke and his writings only on a very general level.
Review: As you can probably tell by the title, this is mainly a book about epistemology and etymology. He starts by exploring the way ideas are formed by the human mind, and explains how some types of ideas are more liable to error than others. He explains what it means for an idea to be “adequate” or not, on the basis that words will always be liable to mistakes if the ideas they are trying to convey aren’t clear. He goes on to explore language itself, and how it is prone to mistakes (and, eventually, to “disputes”) because men usually believe words to be the thing that they supposedly stand for. Since we mostly learn words before learning about ideas, most of the definitions we have will not be exactly the same everyone else has, and we will be using the same words to signify different things.
The book is interesting but, I must admit, I found it a bit hard to get into, mainly because of the language – some words, specially prepositions, seem to have changed somewhat, which confused a bit. Also, the sentences are unusually long. I suspect this might not be as big a problem for English native speakers as it was for me (I’m fluent in English and quite used to reading in this language, but it’s still not my primary language). If I had read this in Portuguese it would probably have been an easier read.
If you’re interested in philosophy and language than this is definitely an important book to read. Just keep in mind it’s not an easy one.
What’s Next: I have a few others from this collection, though not from a philosopher. It’s a really good-looking collection too (the covers are gorgeous) so I will most definitely keep getting them when I have the chance....more
After the amazing third volume, I had high expectations for this one. In general, this one was ok, not as great as the previPublished on my book blog.
After the amazing third volume, I had high expectations for this one. In general, this one was ok, not as great as the previous one. Plot wise, there's a lot more emphasis on the characters' lives outside the whole "fighting evil exes" thing. I guess this is where the story lost me a bit. The reasons? The main characters.
****** SLIGHT SPOILER AHEAD (OR WHATEVER) ******
Ramona's character seriously annoyed me in this volume. The whole being "mysterious and aloof to avoid getting hurt" thing isn't cool, or cute. It's annoying, and stupid, not to mention oh so typical, and I was under the impression that Ramona was everything but typical. Guess not. Also, being crazily jealous for apparently no reason while also thinking it's ok to invite your ex to sleep over and making out (a little bit) just because said ex is a girl, is unfair and a double standard. This also applies to the fact that Ramona has no problem at all to go through Scott's dreams but goes completely ballistic when he enters one of hers, by accident. Way to go, Ramona.
Not that Scott's character was any better. I kinda understand not remembering a lot of people in your life, but it gets to a point where it's just ridiculous and starts to look incredibly self-centered. Also, not remembering your last year of college? I guess your higher education isn't important either, specially when you have no interest in finding a job and only do it because your girlfriend tells you to.
****** END OF SPOILER ******
Anyway, rant over. The main characters may have been annoying, but the supporting characters make up for it. I still love Wallace, and Kim, and Stephen Stills ("If your life had a face, I would punch it the balls. Seriously."). Looking forward to the next one....more
A little background on how I came to read this book: like many other people, I watched Star Trek when I was little. Because, inPosted on my book blog.
A little background on how I came to read this book: like many other people, I watched Star Trek when I was little. Because, in that time, tv shows would appear in my country 10 to 20 years after their debut, I managed to watch both the original series and the others in the same decade. However, I was pretty much indifferent to Wesley Crusher (Wil Wheaton's character on The Next Generation). And I didn't watch Stand By Me until much later in my life.
Cut to the year 2007. I had been playing World of Warcraft since its beginning, so when the webseries The Guild came out, I was hooked. And when Wil Wheaton showed up playing Fawkes (the nemesis), I remembered his role on Star Trek and decided to check out his blog and see what he had been up to.
Reading his blog, you can see he has a very honest, no-nonsense way of writing about his life, Hollywood and being an actor. He is involved in a bunch of very cool, mostly geeky things which he writes about extensively.
Now, about the book. It's a memoir that chronicles his uneasy relationship to Star Trek (easily the project he's most famous for), his decisions as a teenager that influenced the course of his life, and how it really feels like to be an actor in Hollywood (it sucks). But it's really much more than that. I admit, I related to his story a lot because I have also made a Big Decision in my life and ever since I've felt haunted by the ghost of Proving to Everyone it Was the Right Decision (with the obvious difference that I wasn't a wildly successful and famous teenager). How badly would it suck to feel that the most professionally successful days of your life were when you were a teenager, too immature and stubborn to appreciate it? How do you deal with that once you finally become a (pretty cool) adult and find that no one wants to give you a job?
In the Hollywood world, you rarely hear about failure stories. Everyone is very careful to project an image of success, even if they're wallowing in a deep depression. In that sense, reading this is invaluable. It takes courage to break through the mold of what everyone around you is doing.
The only gripe I have about this book is that, in my opinion, he wrote it too soon. It was published in 2004, and when the book ends, it feels like the story is just starting. Since that year, he has achieved a lot of success, with roles on The Big Bang Theory and Eureka (and a bunch of other stuff I won't list here). It would have felt more complete had he waited a bit beyond his late twenties to write this. Guess this leaves room for a sequel, right?
Recommended for Trekkies / Wil Wheaton fans....more