Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Bringing You up to Speed

I have been negligent of this blog, but I want to make things right. Here is a list of the books I have been reading (tracking them on Goodreads). Two of these books will get their own review at some point (Surviving Survival and Rape of Nanking). 


25. The 5th Wave
26. Reboot
27. Forgotten 500
28. Ready Player One
29. Imperial Cruise
30. Queen of the Air
31. The Fault in our Stars
32. Escape from North Korea
33. True Refuge
34. Surviving Survival
35. Allegiant
36. Facing the Torturer
37. Rape of Nanking

38. Coraline
39. Ender’s Shadow
40. Shadow of the Hegemon
41. Shadow Puppets
42. The Power of Six
43. Neverwhere

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Over the Edge of the World

Magellan's Terrifying Circumnavigation of the Globe

By Laurence Bergreen

Book 24

Saturday, May 11, 2013

The Eternity Cure

Julie Kagawa

This was an excellent book 2 in the Blood of Eden series begun with The Immortal Rules. Kagawa takes both the story and the characters to the edge of logic within her world (I hate it when they can't do that, its your own made up world so why can't you go all in?). I like some of her vampire nuances, clever and yet consistent with vampire lore. A great read!

Book 23

Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea

By Barbara Demick

This is an excellent record of real life in North Korea. It makes a great companion read to The Impossible State as it really brings to life the points made in a more historical book. 

"North Korea invites parody. We laugh at the excesses of the propaganda and the gullibility of the people. But consider that their indoctrination began in infancy, during the fourteen-hour days spent in factory day-care centers; that for the subsequent fifty years, every song, film, newspaper article, and billboard was designed to deify Kim Il-sung; that the country was hermetically sealed to keep out anything that may cast doubt on Kim Il-sung's divinity. Who could possibly resist?" Page 45

Vinalon - fabric unique to North Korea

"If you wanted to make a major purchase - say, to buy a watch or a record player - you had to apply to your work unit for permission. It wasn't just a matter of having the money." Page 63

"The North Korean regime understood you couldn't keep Koreans happy without kimchi." Page 63

"Enduring hunger became part of one's patriotic duty. Billboards went up in Pyongyang touting the new slogan, 'Let's Eat Two Meals a Day.'" Page 70

"In order to fit in, the average citizen had to discipline himself not to think too much. Then there was the natural human survival instinct to be optimistic.  . . North Koreans deceived themselves. They thought it was temporary. Things would get better. A hungry stomach shouldn't believe a lie, but somehow it did." Page 70

"Dr. Kim hadn't been a doctor long enough to have erected the protective wall that would insulate her from the suffering around her. The children's pain was her pain. Years later, when I asked her if she remembered any of the children who had died on her watch, she answered sharply, 'I remember all of them.'" Page 114

"When North Korea runs short of food, the regime feeds its population with more propaganda." Page 290

Book 22

Eye to Eye with Eagles, Hawks and Falcons

Glenn R Stewart

This is a wonderful, fun read. I loved learning about the birds but equally enjoyed the story of Glenn's life (which is intimately tied to the birds). I loved his descriptions of nature and our human need to be connected to it. 

"I believe, and I think many agree that intimate contact with nature is a fundamental human need, one that is increasingly going unfulfilled." Location 82

"Wilderness contact was a kind of grounding that was lacking, but needed, in our world of bustling modernity where anchors to place were few, ad caring for natural features absent." Location 651

"I found the notion of a collective unconscious compelling. As a young advocate for environmental protection, it provided a logical foundation for protecting nature as a source of psychological well-being. I reasoned that a simple experience, alone in the wilderness - such as my time in the Dosewallips River drainage - could awaken a person's ancestral memory, and with it a sense of belonging or connectedness to nature and all humanity over all time. That feeling of connectedness and its solace could be what we lack in the increasing isolation of the modern world." Location 798

Book 21

Prodigy

Marie Lu

This book was just ok. A lot of potential but the author just doesn't go deep enough. 

Book 20

Wool Omnibus

Hugh Howey 

This book was self-published and released as short stories, which in the version I read were combined into one volume and presented as one book. Because of this, I felt the read was a little bit choppy. But taking into account that it was released in pieces without the luxury of being able to smooth over the rough edges (or a publisher to help with this process) it was a great book. I really got into the characters and wanted to understand what they were experiencing, just as they were trying to understand. A really good sci fi read.

Book 19