Discord’s Apple by Carrie Vaughn This is a very well done urban fantasy with the unusual twist in that it takes place in a dystopian future with gas rationings and road blocks, where terroist attacks disrupt daily life everywhere in America. There are two stories here, one of which is Evie, who has gone home… Continue reading »View full post
The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry by Jon Ronson The subtitle of this book reads: A Journey Through the Madness Industry, and that’s exactly what this book is like. A journey. It begins when Ronson starts to investigate a mysterious book, copies of which have been sent to various academics around the… Continue reading »View full post
After the Golden Age by Carrie Vaughn I found this book charming, with engaging characters, a nice mystery, and plenty of action. The main character is Celia West, the daughter of wealthy socialites who happen to also be superheroes. I’d say the bulk of the conflict in the novel involves Celia struggling to get out… Continue reading »View full post
The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss I had heard a lot about this book before I read it. My first exposure to Tim Ferris was through Penelope Trunk’s blog. Penelope Trunk hates him, so I admit that prejudiced me. This is the third “How to change your career path” type book that I read in… Continue reading »View full post
By 2g1c2 girls 1 cup
This is a very well done urban fantasy with the unusual twist in that it takes place in a dystopian future with gas rationings and road blocks, where terroist attacks disrupt daily life everywhere in America.
There are two stories here, one of which is Evie, who has gone home to Hope Springs, Colorado, to visit her dying father. The other is the story of Sinon of Ithaca, fierce warrior better known for his role in convincing the denizens of Troy to accept the wooden horse. Vaughn combines these stories through a magic store room, where lost treasures of the world await their true owners.
Sinon and Evie’s stories get wrapped up with other myths of legend, as various gods and demigods come to the store room to gather things that belong to them (or not). The end of the world may or may not be nigh, and Evie has to decide whom to help.
What I liked about this novel was the setting. I liked the feeling of being in a small town where everyone knows you, juxtaposed with the paranoid future American where it’s considered patriotic to report strangers to the police. I liked the tidbits of the history of the store room, and the small history of the town and Evie’s family. I also liked Sinon’s story, because he’s a less-well-known figure of history/legend. I’m generally not a fan of more famous figures being interwoven into the story, for example, Arthur and Merlin (though there’s a great scene with the sword that made me laugh.) It didn’t break the story for me, however.
Vaughn’s a great writer, and I loved the character development of Evie, especially with her relation to Tracker, the heroine of the comic she writes scripts for. She was a plausible, believable character, as was Sinon. Sinon’s relationship with Apollo was also creative and well done, with some gritty realism you don’t usually get from mythological rewrites. The only thing I didn’t like was the ending. It seemed as if everything happened so quickly that I wasn’t sure what really happened. Also, Evie and her father fought valiantly agains something that they eventually just succumbed to without a second thought. I didn’t have a good sense of why they made that decision, and I didn’t have a sense of whether or not it was a good decision.
There’s a faint romantic subplot which I liked, though it was only a faint thread in the story and not a major component. The characters were well done, and I liked the setting, and I would have really, really liked this book if the ending had been clearer and more logical.
I like Seth Godin very much and had high hopes for this book. I’d heard it was his best, and I’ve enjoyed some of his other books. I hoped that by reading it I’d learn when to quit and when to stick. There are situations in my life when I don’t know which I should do, and I thought he might have some insight.
I don’t think this book teaches you when to quit and when to stick. It talks about how quitting is important, and that you have to stick with things when they get tough or you’ll never be the best in the world at whatever, and that the best in the world is subjective. I got confused, and felt that his ideas weren’t outlined coherently enough. I know that sometimes quitting is important, and sometimes sticking with something difficult is important, but I still don’t have a way of telling which is which, and I don’t think this book helped.
I did like the fact that it included drawings. I wished there was a chart for the cul-de-sac, and maybe some examples. Actually, it needed a lot more examples.
I don’t really recommend this book. I think you’ll get better advice by reading his blog. Sorry, Seth. It just didn’t do it for me.
The subtitle of this book reads: A Journey Through the Madness Industry, and that’s exactly what this book is like. A journey. It begins when Ronson starts to investigate a mysterious book, copies of which have been sent to various academics around the world.
I almost didn’t want to listen to this book, because the previous audiobook I was listening to was so dark, and a non-fiction book about madness didn’t promise to be a pick-me-up. However, I’m glad I gave this a chance. It’s charming and funny. It helps that Ronson reads his own book, so that we get his anxious, educated, “nebbishy” voice, like a British Woody Allen. He agrees to puzzle out the mystery of a hand-print version of a philosophy book, but his ulterior motive is that he hopes to find out why he himself is so anxious all the time.
When he discovers the perpetrator of the mystery, it gets him thinking about how a crazy person can alter the lives of so many other people. Ronson starts to investigate how the label of insanity affect a person’s life. He talks with a psychopath in Broadmoor hospital, speaks with Kerr, the author of the psychopath test, interviews a man accused of corporate psychopathy, and even talks about conspiracy theorists, scientologists, and the people who work for reality television, whose job it is to find people who are the right sort of crazy.
This book talks about psycopathy, and around psychopathy, and raises more questions than it asks. Ronson doesn’t claim to be an expert in the subject, except in the most self-deprecating way, and he’s generally very respectful to his subjects, even the ones who are mentally far out there. If you like psychology, travel, and fun stories about unusual people, this is a good book. If you want something meatier, with charts and graphs and a splendid bibliography, this might not fit the bill.
I found this book charming, with engaging characters, a nice mystery, and plenty of action.
The main character is Celia West, the daughter of wealthy socialites who happen to also be superheroes. I’d say the bulk of the conflict in the novel involves Celia struggling to get out from under the shadow of her parents. Not only is every relationship she has colored by her association with them, but Celia also gets kidnapped frequently. In fact, she’s been kidnapped so often it’s not even alarming to her anymore. The novel opens with her being kidnapped, and she sees it as an annoyance.
There’s an arch villain in this story too, “The Destructor” with whom Celia has a hidden past. He’s locked behind bars, but a series of high-profile thefts makes the superheroes in town (led by Celia’s parents) believe he’s masterminding something.
Celia is an accountant now, and she uses her accounting skills to track down evidence that will be used in the prosecution against the Destructor. This was a nice little mystery, especially as it led to another subplot and further complications. I liked how the investigation plot helped flesh out Celia’s relationship with her parents, especially her father. I also liked that Celia ended up romantically involved with the person I thought she should be with.
I liked that the conflicts between Celia and the other characters had decent closure, (though her relationship with her mother wasn’t as developed as it could have been –book two maybe?) There were a few holes I had a problem with, (for example, how Typhoon’s secret identity remained secret from Celia’s parents even after they met her, when Celia spotted Typhoon as herself from a quick glance.) I liked the mystery, and I didn’t notice problems with it (mostly because I see a mystery as a vehicle for character development and never try to out-puzzle the main characters.) I did find the ending a little long, but some people really like to know that the ending is happy.
All in all, this is a fun read with compelling characters. People who love superheroes won’t want to miss this, but it’s also good for people like me, who are merely ambivalent about superheroes.
I had heard a lot about this book before I read it. My first exposure to Tim Ferris was through Penelope Trunk’s blog. Penelope Trunk hates him, so I admit that prejudiced me.
This is the third “How to change your career path” type book that I read in the past couple of months. The first was WHAT COLOR IS YOUR PARACHUTE by Richard Bolles, and the second was SO GOOD THEY CAN’T IGNORE YOU by Cal Newport. Bolles’ theory is that you should figure out what you’re passionate about and find a job in that field. Newport says you should just work hard to build valuable skills, “career capital” so that you have more control over your career. Ferris says basically that jobs are for chumps, and you should just make a lot of money without working so that you can travel the world and do exciting things that will impress people.
While the jacket purports to tell you about a group of people called “The New Rich,” this is in no way a sociological exposition. It’s part memoir, part how-to guide for being more like Timothy Ferriss. Ferriss has made a lot of money by selling some herbal snake oil on the internet. Like Bob Ross, he makes it look enticingly easy, but anyone who reads Ferriss’ short bio at the beginning of this book, littered with false starts and failures, will recognize that his skills are hard won through hard work and experience. Not everyone who starts their own mail-order business on the internet becomes successful, just as not everyone who publishes their own kindle novel becomes successful (but you can help with that!www.katercheek.com/fiction) He has a lot of resources to help, and a nice step-by-step guide.
After you start your “expert” dvd self-help or licensed reseller empire and make a lot of money, you can use the rest of the guide to become the New Rich. He tells you how to live anywhere you want in the world, and has links to where he tells you how to learn a language in record time. He also has baffling instructions, such as “lie down in a crowded space” or “ask strangers for their phone number,” or the most perverse and horrifying “don’t read any non-fiction for at least a week” like some kind of ignorance-diet. I honestly don’t know why he included these things.
There are a couple good tidbits of useful information in here. For one, if you do non-essential things (laundry, email) less often, you’ll save time. That was probably the best thing I got from this book. The rest of the advice is mostly for how to be more like Tim Ferris. I don’t really want to be more like Tim Ferris. We have vastly different values in life. I think the only overlap is that both of us speak German and study martial arts. In my life, I want to create many beautiful things and have meaningful relationships founded on honesty. Tim seems to want independence and status, and he (at least in this book) sees friendship as a timesink. (“Do you want to see a movie” is a request Ferriss tells you to say no to.)
Frankly, I take a lot of his advice with a grain of salt not just because we seem to be aiming for different points, but because I don’t trust his honesty. The story about how he won the kickboxing tournament (finding a loophole and cheating his way into a different weight class) seemed extremely distasteful to me. If I won a martial arts tournament through a loophole, I wouldn’t brag about it. I’d be ashamed. I’ve had victory feel like ashes in my mouth just because there weren’t enough competitors in my rank/weight class. To seek it out seems unsporting, to say the least. The story about how he got As in college (bullying teachers by wasting their time as punishment for giving him anything less than an A) revolted me.
One of the get-rich-quick methods Tim suggests is selling books or videos of “expert” advice. He suggests that all you need to call yourself an expert is to read the top three books on a subject, then give some lectures and maybe publish some articles, using one to leverage the other. After you’re an “expert” you make a cheap DVD and sell it at a huge markup. Not only do I find this dishonest, the fact that he espouses this makes me doubt his self-assessment of his own expertise.
This book might be a nice call to arms for very independent, very ambitious people who seek status and independence above all else. You probably know who you are. Don’t expect the Tim Ferriss lifestyle to bring you happiness or life satisfaction, (if you don’t like yourself in the cubicle, you will probably not like yourself in an internet cafe in Berlin either) but it might help you figure out how to be a more efficient entrepreneur.