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review 2017-12-12 12:55
Casting your brain into big questions
Stories of Your Life and Others - Ted Chiang

I went in all big eyes and heavy heart and cheating, starting with the story I was curious about after watching the movie. It was sadder in it's determinism, but it was all that (and it had emotion, lordy, did it have emotion).

 

About half way through this book (and with my brain much hurting, I get so immersed into these Big Question explorations), LeGuin's introduction for The Left Hand of Darkness (I was very much taken by them, book and intro) kept popping into my thoughts. The part where she says taking a concept to it's maximum expression is like concentrating any chemical element: it causes cancer.

 

The stories vary in nature and theme, they are interesting, and unique. And in a sense, bleak. Lacking in hope, some in sentiment, some in... something. I can't quite put my finger on it, but while amazing, thought-provoking explorations that filled me with wonder or questions, each tale left me with this vague sense of depression. Which had little to do with whether they had happy ending or not (most are a dagger), since Le Guin does that, you blubber like a fool, and still makes you love it and leave bittersweet hopeful. So, not the presence of pain. Maybe more like a general lack of joy to balance them (for the most part).

 

Anyway, it is a really good book to think about or discuss, and it delves into some interesting territories (I'm itching for some looong research and reading on some things that went over my head). Different and exhausting. Will read more of the author.

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text 2017-12-10 01:55
Robert McCammon Book Signing/THE LISTENER Preview!

Meant to post this earlier in the week but forgot. Author Robert McCammon did a reading and signing at Alabama Booksmith in Birmingham, AL. on Tuesday night. It was a fun, relaxing, and informative night. Mister McCammon is incredibly nice and took the time to sign everyone’s books — even books attendees brought from home. He is one of my biggest inspirations and favorite authors. It was an honor to get to listen to him, and speak with him one on one. One of the highlights was discovering the store had in stock a first edition of Speaks the Nightbird, and getting it signed by the author.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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review 2017-12-07 20:30
Maybe for a young 'Star Trek' fan.
Fascinating: The Life of Leonard Nimoy - Richard Michelson,Edel Rodriguez

After the passing of Leonard Nimoy (best known as "Spock" from the 'Star Trek' franchise), there were a few books and pieces written about him. On a whim it seemed like this would be an interesting purchase to make.

 

As other reviews note, it's not really clear who this book is for. It's perhaps Nimoy's life story as a middle grade/child book but I'm not sure what we were supposed to get out of it. Would they understand the underlying themes? Might they really only get it if they're 'Star Trek' fans? Would ST fans be disappointed since it takes awhile to get to the Spock-related text?

 

I liked the idea and the concept and maybe I'm not the right age group for it but this was wasn't particularly great either. Maybe a young Trekkie would like it but I wouldn't rush out to get this book either.

 

Library. Maybe a bargain buy but it's a book you can skip.

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text 2017-12-04 00:44
November Update

Just popping in for a quick update.  I’m swamped at work.  And furiously busy with teen and home related things, not to mention the toddler-dog who needs constant supervision unless he’s crated or sleeping.   So, JL’s Bibliomania is on semi-hiatus.

 

A few quick updates on what I read during November:

 

Forensics: What Bugs, Burns, Prints, DNA and More Tell Us About Crime - Val McDermid 

  

I finished Forensics, and my initial opinion of didn’t change much.   I agree with the rest of the folks in The Flat Book Society: While certain anecdotes and chapters were interesting, in general this book is a disorganized mess.  It didn’t live up to expectations as a work of popular science.

 

Sparrow Hill Road - Seanan McGuire 

 

I liked Sparrow Hill Road, despite the repetitive bits.  (It’s really a linked set of short stories and it got a little bit tiresome that Seanan McGuire included the same key bits of world-building in pretty much every chapter).  When I saw her at Philcon, Seanan McGuire shared that a sequel The Girl in the Green Silk Gown is expected out in July 2018, and I’ll definitely take a look.

 

Books Can Be Deceiving - Jenn McKinlay 

 

I was not impressed by Books Can be Deceiving, which I think may have been recommended by someone here on BookLikes.  I’ve been looking for a new series of cozies, but this is not it and I won’t be continuing with the series. 

 

 Queen of Shadows - Sarah J. Maas  

 

I read Queen of Shadows over Thanksgiving Weekend.  If you liked the earlier books in this series, you shouldn’t be disappointed by #4.  It doesn’t hold up to the thrill of the first book, The Throne of Glass, but was better than #3.  Folks seem to either love or hate this series, but it’s worth a look if you like YA fantasy, assassins, and female heroines.

 

Positivity: Top-Notch Research Reveals the 3 to 1 Ratio That Will Change Your Life - Barbara L. Fredrickson 

  

I’m currently between audiobooks, which is uncharacteristic for me, but don’t have the energy to go pick something.  I saw Nothing Better Than a Good Books’s review of Positivity come across my feed and it seems like a good antidote to all the stress right now, so I’m nibbling through that.  I’ve got a couple of graphic novel biographies available, but just don’t have the energy to read much.

 

I hope to have some time over the Christmas-New Year’s break, but other than that, I expect that my on-line time will be minimal until mid-February.  I am still looking forward to Storm in a Teacup: The Physics of Everyday Life and hope and hope to eke out enough time to read it and participate during the Flat Book Society discussions. 

 

See you on the far-side of the year-end crunch.

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review 2017-12-02 21:24
How to get kicked off the SEAL Teams not once but twice
Good to Go: The Life And Times Of A Decorated Member Of The U.s. Navy's Elite Seal Team Two - Randall Fuerst,Harold Constance

I listened to the audio book and it was very, very, very good. This book did not spend as much time on BUD/S training on other SEAL books I have read and it is the first book I have read/listened to about The Viet Nam War. Harold is incredibly funny, as most SEALS are, and tells some funny stories that have me laughing throughout the book. I believe you have to develop a sense of humor in combat otherwise you will crack-up from the pressure. I have never been in combat and I only say this due to the number of books about combat I have read where most develop this sense of humor. The book is also about how Harold overcomes adversity several times throughout his life and career and he is blessed with lots of does of SEAL luck. The part of them being ambushed and attacked in their high rise hotel during the TET Offensive when he and a buddy were acting as snipers on the roof and their British accents is hysterical and I laughed so hard I cried it was Dave Barry funny. I highly recommend this book

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