Category Archives: Books

The City and the Stars

This was my Holiday reading in Berlin. I wanted to get into reading, having not sit and read a book since I finished Tau Zero a few months back. My world has mostly been podcasts and audio books.

I really enjoyed this, I think its the most literary of Clarke’s books. Normally when I am reading something of Clarke’s, I am reading it for the science, and a glimpse of what he sees as the future. I am reading for the world, and the ideas. This time I read because I wanted to know what happened next. All the sci-fi goodness and speculation was there, I enjoyed all the concepts such as the memory banks and the create composed of pure thought. But I also needed to know what Alvin was going to do next. It was a madcap journey though many of Clarke’s ideas, and it was fun ride.

Hyperion

I just  enjoyed reading/Listening to the Hyperion Cantos for the first time. The first book, Hyperion was excellent, it in many ways sits in the Space Opera Genre. Its better to say its really a selection of short stories, as 7 travelers sit and talk about what brought them to the place they are, each tells a different story, providing a new perspective on the universe the Cantos is set in. Allowing you to see the old stories in a new light, and unraveling a small thread of the mystery you feel all though the book.

The Universe is fresh and original in many ways, and I can see how many of it elements quickly became tropes for other modern sci-fi.

The Kite Runner

This was the second book I read for Ellie’s and mine Five Books. 

I enjoyed, it a strange sort of messed up way. First it satisfied my love of books where the main character is not a nice, good person. I like my main character to be broken. I think my only real complaint with his book was I think it got a bit caught up with being a “emotional book”, I think it went out of its way to be almost abusive at at times. It was over the top.

What I really love about it was the setting and the timeline, it gave me a first person impression as to what it was like to grow up in a changing Afghanistan.

Flatland by Edwin Abbott

I was unprepared for this book, I thought I was going to just have a little bit of fun playing around with dimensions, and imagining how a creature of two dimensions might live which is exactly what I got, but I got much more as well. Abbotts, fun book about geometry also turns out to a social commentary on the treatment of woman, and the class structure of Victorian society a a topic I was not expecting, it also takes some rather dark turns towards the end. Again I feel reflecting the nasty end to which many great thinkers have gone…

Thought please go enjoy flatland, for being… flatland, especially if you have ever asked a question like “what would happen if I left earth and went to the edge of the universe”, you might find some answears from a …. higher dimension 😉

The Girl who Saved the King of Sweden by Jonas Jonasson

This was the first book, I read off mine and Ellie’s swap five books thing we are doing, and I really enjoyed it. I have a few issues with it, but there are not many books I give a 10/10. It was fun book to read, it did not belong to a straight foreword formula, and although I could predict the destination of the story, I could not predict how it it would get there. I had a feeling of teaching my truth, though lies which reminded me a little of my love of Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

I had some issues with the suspension of disbelief at certain points, and a to sum extends the timescale. The books skips over huge chunks of time, where we are supposed to believe nothing interesting happened, and characters did not develop at all.

I also wish some of the characters where a little more deeply developed.

Most of my issues stem from the second half of the book, it was in a rush to get where it was going, and took some giant leaps to get there, which left me a little unsatisfied.

None the less, it was fun, and exciting to read, and you could form an easy attachment to the good willed nature of many of the characters.

The Martian by Andy Weir

This book is menace, it nearly caused me to crash my car. I was that excited in the final moments of the book(audiobook), I was cheering and clapping, and not paying the slightest bit of attention.

I wanted to start with that, because that is what made this book brilliant. It is Hard sci-fi. Good old-school Rendezvous with Rama style sci-fi which I deeply enjoy but is normally characterized by… its lack of good characters and emotional depth. The Authors who care about getting the physics in a book perfect and often the ones who forget to add heart and soul.

Not Andy Weir, this was a delight on every level, I could not sleep for want to finishing it. I spent my own time thinking about Mark’s problems and how I might fix them, and I rode an emotional Roller coaster.

For its faults, there was a couple of times I had hint of disbelief in his luck, but I dont mind that. The main character is wonderful, and snarky, but that gets out of control a little bit, but never enough that it annoys me

This will remain a favorite book I am sure.

Cats Craddle

I don’t know where to start with this book. I was searching though google images for a cover, to title this whole thing is. I spotted the one above, with the footnote to the word “Novel”

A harmless untruth

Which just seemed right.

The whole book in many ways is about a man region based on lies, which makes people happier and then the whole book is a lie, which attempts to teach the truth. I am not going to say anything else. I am not Kurt Vonnegurt Jr, and I cant explain him any better than this quirky wonder book.

Before I sign off, I should mention I adore the writing style in this book, the insanely short and fast past chapters are wonderful device.

Anyway I shall leave you with a quote to help you decide if you want to read it:

Anyone unable to understand how a useful religion can be founded on lies will not understand this book either.
So be it.