Books!

Yes, BOOKS!

I’ve finished a few more books since I last posted, and it’s been a while since I posted, so here’s some more books I’ve finished recently, and the ones I’ve started:

The Count of Monte Cristo took me a while to finish, but I did finally get through it. Once I got back to reading it after reading The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo and Born to Run, I realized that I was right at the beginning of the climax, so I got through the rest pretty quickly (compared to the middle third of the book).

After that I started (and finished) Senna vs Prost, which is a well-rounded account of the infamous battle of egos between Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost in the 80’s and early 90’s. I’d just seen the Senna documentary so I was really primed to learn more about it and read from the people who were heavily involved with the entire drama.

Then I read A Game of Thrones, after getting into the HBO series quite a lot. They don’t remove a lot of characters but do introduce at least one new character for some reason (Rosie(?) the prostitute). It was good to see that other than that the TV series follows the chapters in the book very faithfully.

I was pretty jazzed up to find out what happened next so I went right into the sequel, A Clash of Kings. A friend of mine thinks A Game of Thrones was very depressing and boring with all the political intrigue, but I think it’s fascinating.

I read both A Game of Thrones and A Clash of Kings (as well as The Count of Monte Cristo) on my e-reader (a Sony PRS-505…yes I know it’s old but it works great!) – which is great to be able to say without people going OMG WHAT DO YOU MEAN WHAT IS AN E…READER?!?!?! because the Kindle seems be to what everyone and their mother has, at least amongst business travellers these days.

Anyway, the e-reader worked perfectly on my recent trip to the States (more on that soon! lots of pictures!) because it was light weight, the batteries lasted all 2.5 weeks, took up no space in my carry-on bag and even though I didn’t read all 500-or-however-many-books that are on there, I was able to easily…well, read. The coolest thing was resizing the text at night when I was tired so I had massive huge text to make it easier to read, then resizing it smaller the next day to read while I wasn’t so tired. Pretty cool!

Anyway, I think those are all the books I’ve finished since May, it sounds about right. There might be one book I missed, which is why I wanted to make this post before I forgot any more! If I remember what that one book might be after unpacking (more about that soon, too) I’ll add it to my next self-congratulatory ‘completed books’ post.

So the next books I’ve started on already are How to Brew, 3rd Edition, and Into Thin Air. These are, respectively, because I want to try home brewing after having some in Indiana and visiting a micro-brewery, and because the 1996 Everest season disaster story has been widely regarded as a pretty damn good read.

Finished some books finally!

OK, so in keeping with my 101 goals thing, I’ve actually finished some books in the past couple of months. I’m starting to think 101 books in 1001 days, averaging a book every week and a half or so, is a bit ambitious considering the other stuff I want to do as well in the same time.

I started the 1001 day thing having recently started The Count of Monte Cristo, and as I was reading it I was going slower and slower because it was taking a while and it was a VERY slow burn. I’ve seen the latest movie adaptation (with Jim Caviezel – who I’ve met!) a few times and I hate to admit that I was hoping the book would be as action-packed as the movie, but of course it isn’t and that really affected my enthusiasm for the book. I mean, it’s good and all, it shows a snapshot of 19th century Parisian foppery, but all the scheming and stuff was moving along slowly and I had to pick up another book or two to get me going again.

So to get me rolling again I read a book that had recently been gifted to me as part of the Reddit book exchange, The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo. I’d been wanting to read this one for a while, and while overall I could nitpick one or two minor plot points, it’s a very good murder mystery and I definitely recommend it to anyone curious. Although I feel for the author’s ex-partner (the author, Stieg Larsson, is dead and his ex-girlfriend of many years has been trying to fight Larsson’s family for control of the book and movie series), it’s hard to avoid reading this book. I look forward to reading the follow-up books.

After that, I read another book I’d received via Reddit, this time from last year’s Secret Santa exchange, and dived into Born to Run, which really kick-started the mainstream acceptance of minimalist and ‘barefoot’ running shoes, and got ultramarathons (foot races of 50 miles and more) in the public eye. It’s written by a runner and magazine journalist who travelled to Mexico in search of an elusive trail runner who’d integrated with a local tribe famous for their running feats (not feets, feats) and extreme long-distance races. It’s very interesting if you’re into running or stories of physical endurance, but it’s not a manual on how to get into barefoot running or ultramarathons like I thought it might be. Not that I was disappointed, it’s good overall without the details of how to get into that type of racing.

The third book I’ve started since is quite thick and another gift from the Reddit book exchange, and it’s another slow burner but very interesting so far. This latest book is Johnathan Strange & Mr Norrell, and it’s set in early 1800’s England and centered around the country’s last remaining practicing magician. I haven’t gone too far into yet, like I said it’s a thick book and I’m still in the exposition part of the story but it’s grabbed me so far. I’ve read that the second half is extremely good so I’m looking forward to it.

This is one End User License Agreement (EULA) I can agree with

Introduction to Data Communications since Revision 2.0 has the following licensing agreement. You are allowed to use it, view it, modify it without permission of the author Eugene Blanchard, provided that you agree to the following:

* That you will try to be a better person today than yesterday.
* That you will exercise your body as well as your mind.
* That you will tell the persons dear to you that you love them.
* That you will defend the rights of those who are unable to defend themselves.
* That you will not hurt your family members emotionally or physically.
* That you will respect your elders and care for them in time of need.
* That you will respect the rights of others in their religious beliefs.
* That you will respect the rights of others in their sexual orientation.
* That every man, woman and child has the right to be here and is equal regardless of race, creed or color.
* That you will act honorably in all aspects of your personal and business life.
* That your family is first and foremost the most important thing in your life.
* That when you make a mistake, that you admit it and make amends.

This book is available online in the hope it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE.

From BoingBoing

The Reading List of 2010 (so far)

So I’m trying to read one book per week, to help bring down my reading stack and claim back some of the space in my room. This is what I’ve finished so far this year, I’ll try to update the ol’ blog here with the other books I read this year. Since I have a bunch of comic books to read as well, I’ll include those too as I finish them.

The Earthsea Trilogy by Ursula LeGuin…overall a decent read, but it’s a bit dated now I think. It was written in the early 70’s and there’s a lot of wordy descriptive stuff to wade through, which was hard for me to absorb. I think I was trying to read it just to get through it, and considering it’s supposed to be a fantasy epic in the classic sense, it doesn’t really strike me in the same way I remember The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings hitting me the first time I read those books.

When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris…this one was really funny and quite good. Each chapter varies in length and is a balance of funny observation and deep thought. A great bathroom reader, or for the bus or similar short trips, although it’s very easy to read for longer reading stints.

James Allen on F1 – 2009: A Revolutionary Year by James Allen…Selected blog posts from last year’s Formula 1 racing season from the former ITV race commentator, this is pretty good if you want extra insight into what happened race-by-race. It’s more a season review and an inside look at some of the political wranglings than a technical rundown, so if you’re thinking about getting this make sure you know what you’re in for. The blog posts are in chronological order of course, with each chapter being one month, and each post takes just a couple of minutes to read, so it can be a quick read if you want something ‘light’ to read.

James Patterson novels

I just finished ‘The Lake House’ by James Patterson, the guy who wrote The Bone Collector and Kiss the Girls, both made into money-making movies, one or both of them with Morgan Freeman (the Oscar winner).

I don’t know how this guy sells the kind of shit he writes – chapters literally 2 or 3 pages long, no more than 10 chapters that were 5 or more pages. Comically bad plot holes, dialogue, internal monologue, ugh it just went on and on. But I finished it! Paid half price for it 3 years ago and it’s been sitting on the shelf along with the rest of the bookshelf waiting for me to get to it. So when I finished V for Vendetta I started this one up as a light read before diving into something else and boy oh boy was it ever light. 3 nights of reading, maybe 6 hours max. By the end I was skimming through the action climax (such as it was) just to get the stink of it off my fingers.

So I didn’t like it.

If Chins Could Kill: Confessions of a B Movie Actor by Bruce Campbell

I just finished Bruce Campbell’s ‘If Chins Could Kill: Confessions of a B Movie Actor’ and really enjoyed it. It’ll be one of the few books I’ve read recently that I won’t be selling off or giving away actually. It starts off a bit slow with his childhood but then gets into the filming of Evil Dead 1 and the behind-the-scenes story of getting it to a distributor and into movie festivals and finally onto the big screen. After that there’s a series of short bits about various topics that follow in roughly chronological order, from being on a large-budget-but-crap movie (McHale’s Navy) to struggling through advertising work, working on Xena, Hercules and Brisco County Jr, the resurgence of Evil Dead, a bit about filming Evil Dead 2 and Army of Darkness, etc.

The second edition book I have has an extra bit at the end that goes into the book tour and conventions that Bruce goes to, and all the fans he meets, and how he categorizes them and stuff. It’s great because it’s probably how many of his fans would see his fans

Anyway – recommended if you like Bruce or the Evil Dead series!