Category Archives: Books

Harry Potter

We are reading Harry Potter. We are on book 4.

The nurse, Madam Pomfrey, is able to LITERALLY grow bones back in people’s bodies, yet Harry Potter hasn’t once asked to have his eyesight corrected. Glasses fogging up during Quiddich? Let’s just use a quick ever-clear spell on the glass. Ahh perfect, this makes much more sense than chanting “opiticaperfect!” and granting the most critical player on the team Eagle vision.

Come on people! Get your magic on!

In a fantasy/science fiction book it’s usually breaks in logic and common sense that bother me more than disobeying the laws of the universe.

Book Update

Stranger in a Strange Land?

I couldn’t finish it. The book had an enjoyable concept but its dated writing style lost favor with me very quickly. Honestly, I’m stunned that it’s considered highly on sci-fi book ratings lists.

I have since picked up Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, written in 1974. The narrative prose still feels fresh. It’s poetic and interesting.

Why do some books like Stranger in a Strange Land (1961) age while others are still so vibrant (Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, Dune (1965)) ? I wonder if it’s personal taste or something that’s embedded in the styles of writing.

I haven’t a clue, but I’m glad to have found an enjoyable read.

Sander on Literature

This week, during our carpool to work, NPR was talking about banned books.

Sander: “I agree that some books should be banned.”

Mike D: “…”

Sander: “For example: all those books that they make you read in high school. I think Ethan Frome should be banned. Literacy would skyrocket by 80% if that no one had to read Ethan Frome.”

Mike D: “ha! That is actually an excellent example. I hated that book. Though I don’t remember much about it. Something about a sled accident.”

Sander: “A guy is sad in the winter for 230 pages.”

Good Ole Fashion Books

This weekend Jen and I swung through the local Library to grab some fall reading material. I tend to switch back and forth between science fiction/fantasy and non-fiction. And since my most recent book was all about the design and construction of Brunelleschi’s dome in Florence, it was time for me to blissfully surrender to fiction literature.

But I needed a recommendation. So I decided to start crawling through the unread books on this NPR ‘your choice’ list.

Here’s the start of the list:

NOTE: the formatting is way easier to read if you open the ‘read more’ link below.

Lord of the Rings: Yes
Hitchikers Guide: Nope
Ender’s Game: Yup
Dune: Yes
A song of Ice and Fire: Negative
1984: Yes
FahrenHeit 451: No
Foundation Trilogy: Yes
Brave New World: Yup
American Gods: Yes (didn’t like it)
Princess Bride: Saw the Movie – didn’t know it was a book
Wheel of Time: No.
Animal Farm: Surprisingly not
Neuromancer: nope
Watchmen: yes
iRobot: yes
Stranger in a strange land: Reading it now!!
Kingkiller Chronicles: Yes

and then after these first 18, with the exception of Stardust and the Time Traveler’s Wife, I haven’t read any! That gives me a paltry record of: 13 out of 100. 13%… Terrible.

What’s your science fantasy literacy rate?

Jason Huff

On Friday, Jen and I visited the New Britain Museum of American Art for their September First Friday event. The first Friday of every month, the museum hosts a night of snacks and jazz. While the clientele is a bit older, the entertainment is wonderful and in my opinion it’s a perfect date night.

Shortly after our arrival, we were alerted that there was an artist’s talk beginning shortly on the second floor. Jen and I strolled upstairs and sat down to listen to artist Jason Huff talk about his recent work.

Jason Huff has a fresh approach to traditional works. The focus of his talk was his book ‘The Road Not Taken’ which uses Google’s recommended search results as supplements to the famous Robert Frost poem. Each word from each line was entered into Google, and a new poem was created from the now ornamented text.

“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood” thusly becomes:
“Two moons roadside lyrics diverged definition inception amtrak yellow book woods hole ferry.”

It was an extremely fun method of modernizing a traditional work. Check it out here.

Book updates!

I have started reading a few new books. The Justice book that I last wrote about (Representing Justice) was good enough to encourage me to seek more books on Justice. That coupled with a convenient trip to Connecticut’s infamous Book Barn resulted in my buying the book ‘Justice’ by Michael Sandel. So far it has been a pleasant philosophical walk down the road of righteousness.

Simultaneously, I am getting my fiction kick with the second book in the Name of the Wind series by Pstrick Rothfuss.

Anyone else enjoying some summer reading this season?

Representing Justice

About six months ago I heard an interesting piece on NPR about a book called “Representing Justice” by Judith Resnik and Dennis Curtis. The piece described the book as a journey into the personification of Justice – how different cultures envisioned her and how her image, in a sense, acted as a gauge of the public opinion on the court system.

I finally got around to requesting the book via the Meriden Public Library and just picked it up yesterday.

As she pulled it off the shelves, the librarian groaned under the weight of what looked more like an academic text book than a casual summer guilty pleasure. 668 pages of 8×11 fine print interspersed with the occasional figure or artistic rendition of Justice. This was unexpected.

Mike D: “Uh, for how long can I borrow this book?”
Librarian: “Three weeks.”
Mike D: “And, supposing I can’t finish the book in that amount of time… can I renew it even though it’s on inter-library loan?”
Librarian: “yes, just call us in advance and as long as no one else has requested the book you’ll be able to hold onto it.”

As she said this she flipped over the inside cover to stamp the book with its due date only to find that I am the first person to ever take this book out from the library.*

I suspect renewal won’t be a problem.

In other news: while I’ve only read the first few pages of the book, I’m already full invested. It’s great! I’ll let you know what I think as I dig into its somewhat intimidating depths.

*This is not as ridiculous as it sounds, the book was just published last year, so it may be a new library acquisition.

Name of the Wind

I just finished Patrick Rothfuss’s book ‘Name of the Wind’. This particular book was recommended to me by my sister Alicia and was far different from any other books I’ve read in recent history namely because it’s Fantasy.

Roll not your eyes! This book is awesome. Yes, it has a horrific cover. And yes, it does delve into Demons, Magic and the like. But suck it up and read it because it is great. This book is to the stereotypical Fantasy genre as The Passage is to Twilight. It is deep, dark, and thoroughly engaging and not remotely tacky or glittery.

The big trouble with ‘Name of the Wind’ (much like The Passage*) is that it’s part of an incomplete three book series. And while the second book of this series is complete, the third is not. Why do I do this to myself?!?! ACcording to my limited research, Mr. Rothfuss has already written the full story (all three books). Originally, he’d planned on releasing one per year for three years. However life got in the way. He published the first in 2007, the second in March 2011, and the year that’s currently listed on publishing sites for the third is 2014.

So if you plan to read it, read it slowly.

(Passage book 2: Aug 2012, book 3: 2014)