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Last Book You Read and Rate It (Part II)

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01-08-2012, 10:47 PM
  #1
hototogisu
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Last Book You Read and Rate It (Part II)

Part 1 here: http://hfboards.com/showthread.php?t=545568

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01-08-2012, 10:57 PM
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Currently switching among three books:


An extrapolation of the acceleration of technological development and an anticipation of its future applications, including what he calls the technological singularity - the point where technology will be self aware and will drive its own future and we just sit back and watch. 9/10


A brief, yet thorough introduction to physics and the universe. 10/10


A collection of short stories from my favorite author. 7/10

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Old
01-08-2012, 11:47 PM
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3/4 of the way through. Excellent novel, has about 4 pages worth of quotes saying it's great at the beginning.

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01-10-2012, 07:54 PM
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The Bradbury Report by Steven Polansky, 4/10, decent storyline, too much personal philosophical crapola IMO

re read 2001: A Space Odysseyy by Arthur C Clarke, i liked it, again, maybe 7/10, but, the first 80-90% was so thoughtfully written the ending always disappoints me, he just rushed through it.

Empire by Orson Scott Card, 7/10. Pretty neat book regarding a vival war in the US in the not too far off future./ Will read more by Card

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01-10-2012, 07:57 PM
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A collection of short stories from my favorite author. 7/10
i just read Sirens of Titen, thinking about going for Cat's Craddle next, any recommendations?

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01-10-2012, 09:45 PM
  #6
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The Hunger Games

Heading into this series with only a brief idea of what I was getting into I was surprised by how captivating the world of Panem ended up being. The horrible reality of the Hunger Games and the world in which such a terrible construct could be allowed to exist played on mind and tugged on my heartstrings as I made my way through it.

I'm generally not a fan of 1st person narration as I prefer the freedom of storytelling the others offer, however, this book works very well as it is fairly rare to have a decent book being told from the perspective of a young woman. My desire for more details about the world of Panem and the other districts were fortunately sated in the following two books.

8.5/10


Catching Fire

Probably the strongest of the three books despite the slow start as the middle and ending really pick it up.

9/10



Mockingjay

Sadly, this one just didn't do it for me. As a conclusion it leaves too many loose ends.
While it does an adequate job of dealing with the fallout, the cost and horrors of war, the fact that most of the story is being told by an
Spoil:
unhinged and demented protagonist
annoyed me to no end. I think Collins kinda wrote herself into a corner. I'll just let my own imagination produce a much better ending than she did whenever I think about the series in the future.

4/10

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01-10-2012, 10:37 PM
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Carnival Desires by Mark Lindquist.

It's a story of 20-somethings in Hollywood. Screenwriters, actors, actresses, star ****ers, all succeeding in their careers and failing miserably in keeping their lives together. Story starts off with a suicide of a dear friend. The group of friend each make a new years resolution to lead more "normal" lives in their own fashion. It's a story of self destruction and the whoring out of everyone involved in Hollywood. Very postmodern and intensely dialogue heavy.

8/10

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01-11-2012, 01:49 AM
  #8
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looking for alaska by john green

6/10

It was okay, not the best book, not the worst. I don't really have much to say about it. Typical boarding school kind of stories, with a death thrown in for good measure.

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01-11-2012, 02:33 AM
  #9
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9/10

Pretty amazing book

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01-12-2012, 02:33 PM
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Sculpting in Time, Andrei Tarkovsky: 7.5/10
Indeed what it says on the tin, a 250-ish page collection of Tarkovsky's writings on cinema, interspersed with some frames from his movies, poems by his father Arseniy, and some other ephemera. He discusses mainly his philosophies and theories on film (some rather extreme) and although he often relates it to or uses examples from his own work, anyone expecting to be able to unlock the mysteries of a movie like Mirror after reading this is going to be let down. Tarkovsky's writing style is exceedingly dry most of the time, so I really had to be in the right frame of mind to read it. I think I would have enjoyed his diaries more, so I'm going to look into getting a copy of those at some point.

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01-12-2012, 08:04 PM
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Moneyball - 8/10 by michael lewis

Solid read, kept me interested from front to back. Baseball fan or not I think this is worth picking up.

I love reading about things like this, where the author gives you an insiders perspective to what's going on within (whatever that may be, a baseball organization in this case). It's kinda of a 'man against the world' book. Billy Beane the general manager of the oakland a's baseball club has been given a pathetic payroll to work with and is obviously expected to field a winning team. Against the grain of conventional baseball operations (throwing heaps of money at perceived superstars) beane and his staff attempt to build a baseball team around their unique statistical analysis of players, which allows them to find out what players are truly over and undervalued allowing him to build winning teams on a budget.

Reading really makes me wish I could've been aware of what billy beane was doing so I could watch the A's on the field to see the results.

It's the second book I've read by michael lewis, I really like how he writes. The big short was also a great read (I recommend this as well as moneyball), can't wait to read his latest book boomerang.

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01-13-2012, 01:14 AM
  #12
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i just read Sirens of Titen, thinking about going for Cat's Craddle next, any recommendations?
Breakfast of Champions & Galapagos are my two favorites. Kurt isn't fond of BoC though.

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01-15-2012, 10:09 AM
  #13
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Everything and More: A Compact History of Infinity, by David Foster Wallace: I keep trying, in what strikes me as an alarmingly nerd-like activity, to catch a bead on the concept of infinity, this being my third, hideously failed attempt. Of course, I always bang my head into all kinds of incredibly abstract and complicated math problems that for someone who never ventured beyond basic arithmetic are impossible to understand. I thought Wallace, a brilliant, funny writer with a wonderful conversational style might provide a successful entry point but no, no such bloody luck. He still has a very readable style, but one would need a pretty sophisticated university-level background in math to get even a basic toehold here and, as well, infinite patience, assuming you could figure out what the **** that was. If anyone knows of any real simple social histories of infinity, let me know. For Wallace "completists," well, you guys are in for a real challenge.

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01-15-2012, 04:51 PM
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Everything and More: A Compact History of Infinity, by David Foster Wallace: I keep trying, in what strikes me as an alarmingly nerd-like activity, to catch a bead on the concept of infinity, this being my third, hideously failed attempt. Of course, I always bang my head into all kinds of incredibly abstract and complicated math problems that for someone who never ventured beyond basic arithmetic are impossible to understand. I thought Wallace, a brilliant, funny writer with a wonderful conversational style might provide a successful entry point but no, no such bloody luck. He still has a very readable style, but one would need a pretty sophisticated university-level background in math to get even a basic toehold here and, as well, infinite patience, assuming you could figure out what the **** that was. If anyone knows of any real simple social histories of infinity, let me know. For Wallace "completists," well, you guys are in for a real challenge.
My sister picked me up Infinite Jest for Christmas because she knows I'm a big James Joyce fan. This book is a cluster **** to read. I have a hard time reading more than 10 minutes of it at a time.

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01-17-2012, 12:00 PM
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Breakfast of Champions & Galapagos are my two favorites. Kurt isn't fond of BoC though.
probably check them out when i finish a couple of greg bear books

just read

Gateway by Frederik Pohl, 10/10. Amazing book. Humans stumble upon an asteroid where alien space ships have been abandoned. They figure out how to fly them and search the universe. Well almost figure them out as like 50% of the ships never come back with live passengers or even at all. Very funny and well written.\


Terminal World by Alastair Reynolds, 7/10. Pretty interesting book about a distant unstable earth and shifting 'zones' involving angels. Kind of neat how he didn't portray angels as some heavenly creature but just a decedent of humans who would rather kill humans if they can. Quite honestly, would like to rate this higher but I'm just not smart enough for this one, it's a fairly challenging book that was hard to keep pace with it, and I'm a pretty decent reader oif probably 400-500 sci fi novels and this was up there.

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01-17-2012, 09:58 PM
  #16
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Iron Man: My Journey through Heaven and Hell with Black Sabbath by Tony Iommi

8 out of 10 2-3 page chapters and some detail on every album. I think he could have gone into more depth on a lot of things that's for sure

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01-19-2012, 12:39 PM
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The Bill James Gold Mine/2008, by Bill James: I picked this up for a quarter at a garage sale because while I don't care a whit about Major League baseball's 2007 season, I love what Bill James, whose Baseball Abstracts are legendary and who has worked in an advisory capacity for both the Royals and the Red Sox, does with baseball statistics to reveal the inner secrets of the game. Here's a sample of a few of the fascinating gems that he came up with regarding the 2007 season:

Pitcher Brandon Webb was second in the major leagues in 2007 in Ground Ball outs (309)--yet he was only third on his own team in double play support! The Diamondbacks turned 20 double plays behind Webb, but 22 behind Livan Hernandez and 23 behind Doug Davis.

Through 2007, the last year that the Atlanta Braves were outhomered by their opponents was 1988.

In 2007, Edgar Renteria was the best major league shortstop at making plays up the middle (+18) but the next to worst major league shortstop at going into the hole (-19). The previous season he was, respectively, second best and second worst in the same categories. Go figure.

In 2007, the Orioles were 3-22 (!!) in games where they scored four runs. That's hard to do, isn't it? Most teams that score four runs either broke about even or won more games than they lost.

Toronto's Adam Lind hit 59 ground balls toward right field. 58 of them failed to make it through the infield.


Last edited by kihei: 01-20-2012 at 09:35 AM.
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01-19-2012, 01:15 PM
  #18
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3/4 of the way through. Excellent novel, has about 4 pages worth of quotes saying it's great at the beginning.
Not sure when it expires, but Barnes & Noble is featuring the ebook on their "Daily Finds" for $1.99! Nook Book "American Gods"

Even if you don't have a nook, I'm pretty sure you can download a free app for your phone or PC. Highly recommend picking this book up.



I just read Marie Phillips' "Gods Behaving Badly" which is about the old Greek gods in living in modern London, at a fraction of their original power. She does a good job with the characters, some are bawdy and outrageous while others are sweet and kind. Her style reminds me very much of Christopher Moore.

Solid 8/10

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01-19-2012, 01:23 PM
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"Quirky" isn't the right word, but it's the first one that comes to mind.

It's the story of a medical school drop out with an interesting past. Victor's mother is a serial criminal who used to be a sex hypnotists of sort. She had a strange impact on his life and he's a sex addict. He pretends to choke in resturaunts so people can feel like a hero saving him and as a result send him birthday cards and cash. He uses this money to keep his Mom in the hospital in perpetual state as a vegetable so he feels like he has power over someone or something in his life.

The prose is clean. He spent a fair amount of time doing medical research for the book and it shows. He's spouting off medical jargon in an OCD fashion throughout the book. Quick, funny read.

6/10

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01-19-2012, 01:29 PM
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Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes.

I like his account of the state of nature, and the natural order of laws. Hell, I even like some of his civil law and social contract guidelines. But the guy's concept on government is straight up ****ed.

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01-19-2012, 06:20 PM
  #21
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Currently reading the Steve Jobs book. Great read on one of the top figures in the computer world.

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01-23-2012, 12:16 AM
  #22
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The History of Mistresses, by Elizabeth Abbott: This seemed a good idea at the time. How could this book not be interesting? And in fairness, it does give a thorough historical account of lots of different types of mistresses. But the writing is dry, not quite academic, but too close for comfort. The work could have used just judicious editing, as well, as I got the sense that the author used every single piece of information that she found in her research. Hopefully a more engaging writer will tackle the topic in the not too distant future.

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01-25-2012, 01:18 PM
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Darwin's Radio by Greg Bear, 9/10 This guy is one of my newest favorite writers, This book was very well written. Is about an evolutionary virus that suddenly comes forth from our DNA due to over population and stress. Bear speculates that the same virus is what made the leap from Neanderthal to modern homo sapien, and that a new breed of people are being born. This guy is very smart, i would recommend this to anyone, especially people who are familiar with microbiology.

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01-25-2012, 08:03 PM
  #24
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After the first 300-400 pages, I thought this was the greatest book I'd ever read. You'd be hard-pressed to find a fiction book this engaging and suspenseful, let alone a true story. I've never read a non-fiction book before where the characters, even the minor ones, were described as well as Mailer does here. As the story goes along, you find yourself thinking about how Gilmore's actions affected the various people who tried to help him.

Unfortunately, it does lose some steam after the trial when the book shifts away from the story of Gilmore and focuses more on the selling and marketing of his story. After the heartwrenching moments in the books first half, it's really hard for the reader to care about how much money Time or Playboy were willing to pay for an interview. And was it really necessary to describe Lawrence Schiller's diarrhea problems?

It does delve a lot into the ethics of the death penalty, but doesn't take a stand on the issue. While I think Mailer was trying to be somewhat sympathetic towards Gilmore, his faults and heinous actions are not sugarcoated or ignored.

Even with some flaws, the good parts of this book are so good that I can't give it anything less than 10/10.

A brilliant story about a reprehensible human being.

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01-30-2012, 04:26 PM
  #25
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In Other Worlds: SF and the Human Imagination, by Margaret Atwood: I haven't read sci-fi in decades, but I thought that Atwood, being a very perceptive commentator on most things, might have some interesting thoughts on the genre. Not so much. Atwood is an aficionado and has written three works of speculative fiction, the term she prefers for her work instead of sci-fi, but this collection of commentary and short works is disappointing. This is a lot like one of those CDs a band puts out at a certain stage of its career when it just wants to make a quick money grab, the literary equivalent of a collection of outtakes, "B" sides, and live recordings that has a couple of points of interest amid what seems a lot of filler (excerpts from her failed doctoral dissertation, for instance). Even people interested in the genre should probably give this one a pass.

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