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review 2018-08-18 16:38
The examination of others that leads to the self
Invisible Man - Ralph Ellison

Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison is another title from the list of 100 books compiled for the Great American Read. (Have you voted today?) I feel somewhat chagrined that I had never heard of this classic until I checked out this list. The reader follows a nameless narrator who tells the story of his days in college while living in the South to his move to New York City. As this is set in 1930-40 the racial/social divide is still quite stark even in the North and the author doesn't pull any punches in that regard (i.e. expect violence). The beginning starts out with our narrator underground and in hiding although we have no idea why. In explanation, he weaves a story full of brutality, bigotry, backstabbing, and political machinations. He leaves college and goes to NYC where he is recruited into the Brotherhood which purports to strive for equality among all men regardless of race. Events unfold quickly and he fully believes and embraces the cause. The fomenting of racial riots are underway in Harlem (his district) and at this pivotal moment he is pulled out of his district and sent on another assignment downtown. The reader is kept on their toes and always wondering (as the narrator is) just which side is the "right" side and what is truly motivating the men he has come to trust in this (to him) foreign city. What is the "true" self and how does one embrace it? Invisible Man chews this question over while telling a story of one man coming to terms with the racism (both overt and covert) of society which is told so convincingly that you'll forget it's a work of fiction at times. This is a dense book and took me far longer to read than I expected. Several interesting points were made and quite a few powerful passages but overall it doesn't rate higher than a 6/10 for me.

 

A compelling and thought provoking point:

"For history records the patterns of men's lives, they say: Who slept with whom and with what results; who fought and who won and who lived to lie about it afterwards. ...only those events that the recorder regards as important that are put down, these lies his keepers keep their power by." - pg 439

 

There are quite a few covers but I like this one best.[Source: National Book Foundation]

 

 

What's Up Next: Comics Squad: Recess! by Jennifer L. Holm, Jarrett J. Krosoczka, Dan Santat, & Raina Telgemeier

 

What I'm Currently Reading: ???

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2017-04-15 01:32
A different kind of robopocalypse
Waking Gods: Book 2 of The Themis Files - Sylvain Neuvel

By chance, I saw that the second book in The Themis Files series by Sylvain Neuvel had hit the shelves. You may recall that I posted a review of the first book, Sleeping Giants, not quite a year ago and I really enjoyed it. It's a unique story that blends aliens and robots *shudder* with a heaping dose of science-y adventure and intrigue. In the sequel, Waking Gods, we're reunited with our mysterious narrator who continues to record his interactions with the team tasked with uncovering the mysteries surrounding Themis, the robot pieced together and purportedly left on earth by an alien race in the distant past. In the first book, the lid was blown off the super secret agency housing the alien creation. This book starts 10 years later where Themis and the EDC (Earth Defense Corps) are now household names. However, years of study haven't revealed all of the answers about this alien race or why they left pieces of a scattered robot across the globe. In fact, Dr. Rose Franklin is starting to wonder if maybe they were never supposed to find the robot at all... It becomes an even more pressing issue when another giant robot (larger than Themis) materializes in the middle of London. Is it a sign that they want to make contact? Is it a threat? How will the human race react? All of this and much more is explored in this book and if you thought the first was fast-paced and action packed then this one is sure to knock your socks off. 10/10

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2016-05-13 17:51
Sci-fi meets mystery meets political thriller
Sleeping Giants - Sylvain Neuvel

Well, I'm going to have to expand my favorite authors list once again because Sylvain Neuvel has come into my life with the supremely compelling and well-written book entitled Sleeping Giants: Book One of the Themis Files. Guys, this book is so awesome that just by reading it on the train platform I invited bookish conversation with a stranger. The back blurb of this book is what initially caught my attention as it states the book is a mix of World War Z and The Martian (both books that I enjoyed). Also, the fact that it had whiffs (can a book blurb have whiffs?) of The Iron Giant. For someone who is terrified of robots and artificial intelligence, I sure do find a way to read a lot of books on the subject... Well, this story focuses on a group of people who are looking for pieces of a giant robot in the hopes that they can learn more about the makers of said robot and improve the lives of humanity all in one fell swoop. The writing style is very unique as the majority is done as a kind of interrogation by a nameless individual (I think from the CIA) with the various members of the team. Interspersed are also small journal entries which the reader is made aware are being reviewed by this nameless figure. It's all very cloak and dagger stuff which I really liked. It also meant that the story moved on at a fairly quick pace (it also helped that I really got into it). This is science fiction at it's very best, ya'll. Not to mention, there's a political mystery occurring right alongside which would appeal to pretty much any audience. If you're looking for a fast paced sci-fi mystery you can't go wrong with Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel. 10/10

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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