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Nov. 20th, 2016

02:50 pm - Book 3 - 2016

Book 3: Guernica by Dave Boling – 368 pages

Description from bookdepository.co.uk:
An extraordinary epic of love, family, and war set in the Basque town of Guernica before, during, and after its destruction by the German Luftwaffe during the Spanish Civil War. In 1935, Miguel Navarro finds himself in conflict with the Spanish Civil Guard and flees the Basque fishing village of Lekeitio to make a new start in Guernica, the centre of Basque culture and tradition. Once there, he finds more than just a new life -- he finds someone to live for. Miren Ansotegui is the charismatic and graceful dancer he meets and the two discover a love they believe nothing can destroy ...Rich in the history of the region, the Red Baron, the Luftwaffe and even Picasso make appearances in Guernica as the fate of the Navarro family is traced through the early decades of the twentieth century.

Thoughts:
Chatting to a friend of mine at work one day, she mentioned this book and how much she liked it. She purchased it off the internet and then leant it to me to read. Amusingly, after I’d read it, and returned it to her, she found her original copy and consequently gave me the new copy she’d purchased. Anyway, I really had no idea what to expect, and probably for the first 150 pages I was kind of bored. The book felt like it took a long time to get started and make its clear point, but once it got there, I did actually really enjoy it and it has an ending that is deeply moving. The diversity of the characters and their interactions is really good, though at times it was difficult to work out how they connected to the core story. In addition, I knew nothing about the conflict the book is centered about so it was a good learning experience. Ultimately, not a book I would have picked up myself, but a good read nonetheless.


3 / 50 books. 6% done!


874 / 15000 pages. 6% done!

Currently reading:
-        The Martian by Andy Weir – 369 pages
-        Wrath of Aphrodite by Bess T. Chappas – 207 pages
-        The First Ladies of the United States of America by Margaret Brown Klapthor and Allida M. Black – 93 pages

And coming up:
-        The Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant: Volume 3: White Gold Wielder by Stephen Donaldson – 500 pages
-        The Odyssey by Homer – 324 pages
-        My Life by Bill Clinton – 957 pages

Current Mood: fullfull
Current Music: Once Upon A Holiday

12:31 pm - Book 2 - 2016

Book 2: Luke Skywalker Can’t Read and Other Geeky Truths by Ryan Britt – 205 pages

Description from bookdepository.co.uk:
Ryan Britt is . . . the Virgil you want to guide you through the inferno of geekery. Lev Grossman, author of the bestselling Magician's trilogy Pop Culture and sci-fi guru Ryan Britt has never met a monster, alien, wizard, or superhero that didn t need further analysis. Essayist Ryan Britt got a sex education from dirty pictures of dinosaurs, made out with Jar-Jar Binks at midnight, and figured out how to kick depression with a "Doctor Who" Netflix-binge. Alternating between personal anecdote, hilarious insight, and smart analysis, "Luke Skywalker Can t Read" contends that "Barbarella" is good for you, that monster movies are just romantic comedies with commitment issues, that Dracula and Sherlock Holmes are total hipsters, and, most shockingly, shows how virtually everyone in the "Star Wars "universe is functionally illiterate. Romp through time and space, from the circus sideshows of 100 years ago to the Comic Cons of today, from darkest corners of the Galaxy to the comfort of your couch. For anyone who pretended their flashlight was a lightsaber, stood in line for a movie at midnight, or dreamed they were abducted by aliens, "Luke Skywalker Can't Read" is full of answers to questions you haven't thought to ask, and perfect for readers of Chuck Klosterman, Rob Sheffield, and Ernest Cline."

Thoughts:
I was wandering around a Barnes & Noble in the Upper West Side of New York with my family over Christmas and stumbled across this book. I’m a sci-fi nerd, and I could instantly relate to some of anecdotes about watching Star Trek as a kid and the deep conversations about sci-fi plot lines and their potential reality held amongst my family to this day. So I need to buy it, and I read through this book’s collection of essays with avid enthrallment. Britt covers a variety of topics in a variety of ways, and so many of them echoed my own thoughts and/or life experiences, while at the same time giving me the opportunity to think about old topics in new ways. I’d never considered whether the people of Star Wars could actually read (must watch more closely next time) or the fake nostalgia that Back to the Future so eloquently taps into. On the other hand, Britt’s essays about Star Trek resonated strongly with me as did numerous others. Britt’s style is engaging and for anyone who grew up nerd this book will bring a smile to your face (I eventually led it to my brothers who concurred). In the way the Big Bang Theory guys debate comic book specifics, I will never tire of eloquent analysis of the sci-fi/fantasy world which shows us just how much these fantastical stories echo reality. A great read!


2 / 50 books. 4% done!


506 / 15000 pages. 3% done!

Currently reading:
-        Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg – 220 pages
-        The Martian by Andy Weir – 369 pages
-        Wrath of Aphrodite by Bess T. Chappas – 207 pages

And coming up:
-        The Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant: Volume 3: White Gold Wielder by Stephen Donaldson – 500 pages
-        The Odyssey by Homer – 324 pages
-        The First Ladies of the United States of America by Margaret Brown Klapthor and Allida M. Black – 93 pages

Current Mood: fullfull
Current Music: Star Trek: Voyager: Season 7: Episode 10: Shattered

12:16 pm - Book 1 - 2016

Book 1: Two for the Dough by Janet Evanovich – 301 pages

Description from bookdepository.co.uk:
Bounty hunter Stephanie Plum is still learning the ropes at her cousin Vinnie's bail bond office, so when she sets out on the trail of Kenny Mancuso a suspiciously wealthy, working class Trenton boy who has just shot his best friend the stakes are higher than ever. That Mancuso is distantly related to vice cop Joe Morelli who is trying to beat Stephanie to the punch only makes the hunt more thrilling. Taking pointers from her bounty hunter pal, Ranger, and using her pistol-packing Grandma Mazur as a decoy, Stephanie is soon closing in on her mark. But Morelli and his libido are worthy foes. And a more sinister kind of enemy has made his first move and his next move might be Stephanie's last.

Thoughts:
I read this book on a flight home from San Francisco (via Hawaii – a good 14 hours in the air!) having read the first one the previous year. Stephanie is a hopeless bounty hunter from the gun-wiping side of things, but a reasonable detective, and her cast of friends are pretty entertaining. Joe Morelli is a fun love interest, though I already fear that their relationship is going to go the way of Tempe Brennan/Andrew Ryan in the Bones books. Ranger is enigmatic in a way that doesn’t feel too contrived, though why he puts up with someone as inept as Stephanie is beyond me. The mysteries so far don’t feel particularly too high brow, though I do wonder how Evanovich can maintain them in a town as small as Trenton (really, there’s that many bad/dodgy people?). All in all, the series has promise (probably exemplified by the 20-something books that have been published) but I’m not sure how its going to maintain itself that long; we shall see!


1 / 50 books. 2% done!


301 / 15000 pages. 2% done!

Currently reading:
-        Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg – 220 pages
-        Three to Get Deadly by Janet Evanovich – 300 pages
-        The Martian by Andy Weir – 369 pages

And coming up:
-        The Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant: Volume 3: White Gold Wielder by Stephen Donaldson – 500 pages
-        The Odyssey by Homer – 324 pages
-        Wrath of Aphrodite by Bess T. Chappas – 207 pages

Current Mood: fullfull
Current Music: Star Trek: Voyager: Season 7: Episode 10: Shattered

Sep. 16th, 2016

02:55 pm - Books 11 - 20.

11. The NABRE Bible (1424 pages)
12. Kendrick & Kendrick - The Battle Plan For Prayer: From Basic Training To Targeted Strategies (255 pages)
13. Lee - To Kill A Mockingbird (319 pages)
14. Tassone - Day By Day For The Holy Souls In Purgatory: 365 Reflections (390 pages)
15. Diogenes The Cynic With Other Popular Moralists - Sayings & Anecdotes (285 pages)
16. Buettner - The Blue Zones: 9 Lessons For Living Longer From The People Who've Lived The Longest (294 pages)
17. St. Jerome - Selected Letters Of... (280 pages)
18. Reynolds - Slow Bullets (187 pages)
19. B. Collins - Sailing Alone Around The Room: New & Selected Poems (166 pages)
20. Storey, Storey & Todd - The Mount Athos Diet: The Mediterranean Plan To Lose Weight, Feel Younger & Live Longer (257 pages)

Total pages so far: 6 689 pages.

Current Mood: hopefulhopeful
Current Music: Adele - "Miss You"

Jul. 9th, 2016

12:07 am - 2015 Summary

Each year I get a little closer to posting my summary for the previous year near the end of said year (October last year, July this year!). Having said that, unfortunately 2015 was not a good year for reading. Starting my double Masters' degree and a new job took its toll, as did spending seven weeks in the United States at the end of the year. Nonetheless, the year passed, and all in all it was a good one. So, while the reading was slim, let us look at it nonetheless.

1. Westminister Abbey: Official Guide by Dean and Chapter of Westminister – 120 pages
2.  Sunshine on Sugar Hill by Angela Gilltrap – 310 pages
3.  The Fictional Woman by Tara Moss – 323 pages
4.  Barack Obama and the Future of American Politics by Paul Street – 272 pages
5.  A Series of Unfortunate Event: Book the Twelfth: The Penultimate Peril by Lemony Snicket – 353 pages
6.  The XX Factor: How Working Women are Creating a New Society by Alison Wolf – 401 pages
7. The New Asian Hemisphere: The Irresistible Shift of Global Power to the East by Kishore Mahbubani – 293 pages
8.  Bones Never Lie by Kathy Reichs – 331 pages
9.  Hard Choices by Hillary Rodham Clinton – 596 pages
10.        A Series of Unfortunate Events: Book the Thirteenth: The End by Lemony Snicket – 324 pages
11.      Living Dolls: The Return of Sexism by Natasha Walter – 263 pages
12.        DB30Years: Special Dragon Ball 30th Anniversary Magazine by Michael LaBrie – 315 pages
13.        The Anatomy of Israel’s Survival by Hirsh Goodman – 253 pages
14.        The Queen of Zombie Hearts by Gena Showalter – 442 pages
15.        One for the Money by Janet Evanovich – 290 pages
16.        The Other Side of Despair: Jews and Arabs in the Promised Land by Daniel Gavron – 240 pages
17.        Dragon Ball Z: “It’s Over 9000!”: When Worldviews Collide by Derek Padula – 76 pages
18.      Jaco the Galactic Patrolman by Akira Toriyama – 247 pages
19.       The Rise of the Creative Class: Revisited by Richard Florida – 465 pages


19 / 50 books. 38% done!


5914 / 15000 pages. 39% done!

Comparison to last year


19 / 43 books. 44% done!


5914 / 14885 pages. 40% done!

Top 5 books (including re-reads):
5. Living Dolls
4. Jaco the Galactic Patrolman
3. The Fictional Woman
2. The XX Factor
1. The Rise of the Creative Class

Interesting Facts:
Improvement on last year: -24 (-8,971)
Library books: 10
Non-fiction: 13
Most read author: Lemony Snicket (2 books/677 pages)
Books with a sci-fi/fantasy element: 4
Re-reads: 0
Sequels/not the first in a series: 4

As you can see it was a terrible reading year, and so far 2016 isn't shaping up to be much better, but alas, sometimes there are other things in life. So continue on I will.

Current Mood: tiredtired
Current Music: State of Grace - Taylor Swift

Jul. 8th, 2016

11:09 pm - Book 19 - 2015

Book 19: The Rise of the Creative Class: Revisited by Richard Florida – 465 pages

Description from bookdepository.co.uk:
Initially published in 2002, The Rise of the Creative Class quickly achieved classic status for its identification of forces then only beginning to reshape our economy, geography, and workplace. Weaving story-telling with original research, Richard Florida identified a fundamental shift linking a host of seemingly unrelated changes in American society: the growing importance of creativity in people's work lives and the emergence of a class of people unified by their engagement in creative work. Millions of us were beginning to work and live much as creative types like artists and scientists always had, Florida observed, and this Creative Class was determining how the workplace was organized, what companies would prosper or go bankrupt, and even which cities would thrive. In The Rise of the Creative Class Revisited, Florida further refines his occupational, demographic, psychological, and economic profile of the Creative Class, incorporates a decade of research, and adds five new chapters covering the global effects of the Creative Class and exploring the factors that shape "quality of place" in our changing cities and suburbs.

Thoughts:
I’ve always been interested in sociology and the study of demographics (hence why I have a degree in sociology), but since moving out of professional accounting and into the higher education sector (still in Finance), I’ve found myself increasingly interested in studying innovation – what drives it, what effects it has, who and where, how and why. This book, an updated edition of a book originally published in 2002 looks to answer these questions, and it is one of those rare books that I walked away from, quoting a lot, particularly when the topic of innovation came up time and time again in the recent election in my country. This book is long, and deep, but it really explained a lot of things to me that I’d thought about but not ever seen articulated properly. It’s a book for those who want to work their way up the business world. It’s a book that explained to me why I seek out different things in my job than my friends, why I want to not only move up the chain but broaden my skill set, why I was never going to be satisfied being a regular accountant (but rather one focused as much on how I can do things better as on the monthly results), why I love to travel, why I seek out experiences that broaden me, rather than being satisfied with the type of lives my friends seek out. I’ve often talked to my brother about wanting to move overseas, and it’s a running joke among my friends about how I’m never home (I travel overseas at least once a year, so my friends like to play ‘Where in the world is Tara?’). I’m the kind of person who never could just get married, have babies, work the same job for thirty years and then die; the thought raises a cold sweat in me. This book is the explanation for how the world is slowly being framed, at least in the big metropolises of the world, for that type of person. How the ‘creative class’ is wealthier, more agile, more about quality and outcome than rules and tradition. How the creative class is focused on working for interest and challenge, not just money (and how strangely enough, this very attribute means they often do end up earning more money than their non-creative counterparts). I read the second half of this book on a train journey from Boston to New York, and it felt very appropriate – Boston is the city I want to eventually move to, New York the mecca of all things new and shiny. I was on holidays, away from the new job I’d taken on, working on implementing new budgeting and forecasting practices at the university I work for, framing the conversation on how we can cost our courses – a new idea in the world of higher education. I love my job because I feel like I’m contributing something important to the world, working in higher education, and because I get to innovate and challenge and learn – I purposely choose to work in a role and a sector that is dynamic and changing, one with opportunities for me to fix problems rather than one with established practices and processes where I’d never get a chance to learn, develop, improve and own. This book is about all those things. It’s about the cities that get the mix right to attract the creative class. It’s about the benefits that class of people bestows on those cities. Ultimately it’s an analysis of our future, if only we are brave enough to reach out and grab it. I watch my own city, my own country, the few trying to fight the many who just want a laid back casual life that is simple and easy, fighting our changing world, fighting the dynamic place we could be, and I despair. Oh well, its always hard being ahead of the curve.
All in all, a truly fabulous read that resonates powerfully. The future is going to be amazing if we only embrace it!


19 / 50 books. 38% done!


5914 / 15000 pages. 39% done!


Currently reading:
-        Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg – 220 pages
-        Three to Get Deadly by Janet Evanovich – 300 pages
-        The Meteor Crater Story by Dean Smith – 69 pages


And coming up:
-        The Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant: Volume 3: White Gold Wielder by Stephen Donaldson – 500 pages
-        The Odyssey by Homer – 324 pages
-        The Martian by Andy Weir – 369 pages

Current Mood: tiredtired
Current Music: Way Back Into Love - Haley Bennett & Hugh Grant

May. 14th, 2016

02:04 pm - Books 1 - 10.

1. Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby (223 pages)
2. C. McCarthy - The Road (289 pages)
3. Larsen - Hell-Week: 7 Days That Will Change Your Life (246 pages)
4. Signorile - Outing Yourself: How To Come Out As Lesbian Or Gay To Your Family, Friends & Coworkers (181 pages)
5. Zizek - Event (208 pages)
6. St. Francis De Sales - Introduction To The Devout Life (259 pages)
7. Zasio - The Hoarder In You: How To Live A Happier, Healthier, Uncluttered Life (212 pages)
8. Wallace - Infinite Jest (1087 pages)
9. Burn - David Foster Wallace's 'Infinite Jest': A Reader's Guide (84 pages)
10. Nouwen - Out Of Solitude: Three Meditations On The Christian Life (43 pages)

Total of pages so far: 2 832 pages.

Current Mood: accomplished
Current Music: David Bowie - "Moonage Daydream"

Mar. 28th, 2016

11:20 am - Books 17 & 18 - 2015

Book 17: Dragon Ball Z: "It's Over 9000!": When Worldviews Collide by Derek Padula – 76 pages

Description from bookdepository.co.uk:
Akira Toriyama's Dragon Ball is the world's most recognized anime and manga series, having entertained millions of fans across the globe. The legendary rivalry of the last two full blooded Saiya-jins, Goku and Vegeta, is the iconic example of a lifelong conflict that inspires fans to burst through their own personal limits. With a foreword by Ryo Horikawa, the Japanese voice of Vegeta, Dragon Ball Z "It's Over 9,000!" When Worldviews Collide is the first book to explain where "It's Over 9,000!" came from, how the original video spread to receive over 7 million views, and why it continues to be such a popular catchphrase. Featuring a thoroughly researched analysis of Goku and Vegeta's colliding worldviews, this book helps the reader better understand why conflict is necessary for profound personal growth and character development. Referencing East Asian belief systems and high tech futuristic paradigms, Derek Padula, the author of The Dao of Dragon Ball book and blog, provides a deeper understanding of this epic story and the inherent values within it. It will forever change the way we look at Dragon Ball Z.

Thoughts:
I grew up watching Dragon Ball Z. My first favourite character was Trunks, son of Bulma and Vegeta – the biggest plot twist in the story’s hundreds of episodes/manga chapters. In my late teens, I loved Videl, the feisty daughter of the lying-but-has-his-heart-in-the-right-place Mr Satan, and then Bulma, super genius, richest women in the world, main female character, and then finally, I settled on Vegeta, the story’s main anti-hero, the antithesis to main character Goku. Vegeta has always appealed to the part of me I keep very tightly locked up – the angry, bitter, opinionated part of me that I’d rather didn’t exist. He’s a Prince, a mass murderer, a man fueled by competition, pride, and a desire to be the very best. And out of the blue, he has a child with the main female character, the feisty, super smart, female lead, Bulma – one of the few characters able to strike fear into the hearts of fiercest warriors in the universe (and these days, in the new series, able to frighten the crap out of the Gods!). Their relationship is initially very much of the ‘we share a kid and that’s about it’ nature, but in time, they marry, and its Bulma that seems to anchor Vegeta to this group of crazy super heroes. In time, it is evident that he is devoted to her in a way that comes to be quite contrary to his dead race. On the other side, Goku, the hapless hero loves everyone and no one at the same time. The man portrayed as a Japanese Superman in the American adaptation (and with a back story pretty much ripped straight from Superman!) is not as noble as he appears in the original Japanese cut, makes sometimes terrible decisions, is an absent father and husband, but gets away with it all because he’s so damn loveable (and he saves the world on a regular basis). Anyway, the rivalry between Goku and Vegeta, each other’s opposite, has in time become the cornerstone of the Dragon Ball franchise, to the point where they now effectively co-headline the new series Dragon Ball Super. This book is an analysis of these two very different characters and what drives them, and how they evolve throughout the series. It’s an interesting read, something like a thesis, though it is quite repetitive. It focuses on the belief systems that underpin the Dragon Ball series (and its inspiration ‘Journey to the West’) in order to explain the challenges both men face, and how they come to be who they are by the end of the series (the book is written pre-Dragon Ball Super, so there’s a certain level of character development that’s not covered, as well as a few factual errors). For a fan, it’s an interesting read, even with its repetitiveness. Definitely recommend for Dragon Ball Z fans, but a fascinating read if you’re a fan of interesting character dynamics, or East Asian culture and belief systems.


17 / 50 books. 34% done!


5202 / 15000 pages. 35% done!

Book 18: Jaco the Galactic Patrolman by Akira Toriyama – 247 pages

Description from bookdepository.co.uk:
Akira Toriyama, manga legend and creator of Dragon Ball Z, is back with the quirky comedy Jaco the Galactic Patrolman! Retired scientist Omori lives alone on a deserted island while continuing his research into time-travel. His quiet life is interrupted when galactic patrolman Jaco crash-lands and decided to move in with him. Can Jaco get along with the old man long enough to save the earth from a dangerous threat? Includes a special bonus chapter introducing Dragon Ball Z hero Goku's parents!

Thoughts:
In 2009, Fox made a truly terrible Dragon Ball movie. This movie so offended the story’s creator, Akira Toriyama, that he set about telling some more of the story himself. This is part of that continuation, some eighteen years after the story ended. Jaco is a Galactic Patrolman who must stop the terrible Saiyan race from getting to Earth. Crash landing on Earth, he seeks the help of a reclusive scientist and a teenage girl. This story is set about eleven years before the start of the original Dragon Ball story, and the teenage girl turns out to be the older sister of Dragon Ball/Z/GT/Super’s main female star, Bulma. This story is pretty basic but it does a really great job of expanding the universe’s lore, and of introducing some new fun characters. Tights, the teenage girl and the older sister of Bulma is a fun, smart, driven character, just like her sister, and Bulma’s short cameo (she’s five years old) demonstrates her very special brand of intelligence, which has long made her one of my female role models. The book also contains a small additional chapter providing Toriyama’s definitive back story for how Dragon Ball main character Goku came to be on Earth, though it contradicts the various other stories told by Toei (the animator of the series) but not created by Toriyama himself. This story is very Superman-esque, but it’s a cute edition to the lore anyway. Overall, not mind-blowing, but a cute story staring some well known characters and some cute new ones. A story readable without being familiar with the Dragon Ball universe.


18 / 50 books. 36% done!


5449 / 15000 pages. 36% done!

Currently reading:
-        Work’s Intimacy by Melissa Gregg – 198 pages
-        Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg – 220 pages
-        Three to Get Deadly by Janet Evanovich – 300 pages

And coming up:
-        The Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant: Volume 3: White Gold Wielder by Stephen Donaldson – 500 pages
-        The Odyssey by Homer – 324 pages
-        The Meteor Crater Story by Dean Smith – 69 pages

Current Mood: tiredtired
Current Music: The Birth of a God - from the Dragon Ball Super soundtrack

10:31 am - Books 15 & 16 - 2015

Book 15: One for the Money by Janet Evanovich – 290 pages

Description from bookdepository.co.uk:
ONE FINE MESS Welcome to Trenton, New Jersey, home to wiseguys, average Joes, and Stephanie Plum, who sports a big attitude and even bigger money problems (since losing her job as a lingerie buyer for a department store). Stephanie needs cash-fast-but times are tough, and soon she's forced to turn to the last resort of the truly desperate: family...ONE FALSE MOVE Stephanie lands a gig at her sleazy cousin Vinnie's bail bonding company. She's got no experience. But that doesn't matter. As does the fact that the bail jumper in question is local vice cop Joe Morelli. From the time he first looked up her dress to the time he first got into her pants, to the time Steph hit him with her father's Buick, M-o-r-e-l-l-i has spelled t-r-o-u-b-l-e. And now the hot guy is in hot water-wanted for murder...ONE FOR THE MONEY Abject poverty is a great motivator for learning new skills, but being trained in the school of hard knocks by people like psycho prizefighter Benito Ramirez isn't. Still, if Stephanie can nab Morelli in a week, she'll make a cool ten grand. All she has to do is become an expert bounty hunter overnight-and keep herself from getting killed before she gets her man...

Thoughts:
I’ve been collecting these books for years with the intention of one day reading them. I decided upon finishing the Series of Unfortunate Events books that I would start this series. Basically, I read a book in the series and then I read four other books, and then I read the next in the series. I’m not sure why I came up with this, but nonetheless, it’s the rhythm I’ve gotten into. I knew enough about this series from reading the blurbs and seeing bits of the movie (which I’ve since gone back and watched) but it was good to finally read it. Firstly, even though I’ve seen the movie, I can’t see Katherine Heigl as Stephanie. Stephanie is a fairly relatable character even if she doesn’t exercise enough and eats too much (how does someone eat like she does and only be like 125 pounds! I exercise every day and eat super healthy because I’m gluten intolerant and I’ve never weighed anything less than 150 pounds!). Katherine Heigl, to my mind, is not relatable. But anyway, that’s not important. Stephanie’s lack of motivation/ambition etc, annoys me, but I can see why she’s managed to carry this series for so long. She’s funny, and a bit dopey, but she’s got a good heart, and she’s fairly intelligent when she wants to be. Also Morelli is an engaging character. He’s funny and charming and he and Stephanie have a great chemistry (you can see the future romance a mile away, but oh well). The mystery, like the Bones books I’ve been reading for so long, are fairly forgettable, but do their job of driving the character development along. All in all, it was a good story, and a good start to the series.  I’ve got a copy of every book up until number twenty, and I’ve enjoyed the series enough that I intend to keep on reading.


15 / 50 books. 30% done!


4886 / 15000 pages. 33% done!

Book 16: The Other Side of Despair: Jews and Arabs in the Promised Land by Daniel Gavron – 240 pages

Description from bookdepository.co.uk:
This compelling book takes the reader behind the headlines of the confrontation between Israelis and Palestinians, examining its human dimension and setting it in a balanced historical context. In his search for understanding, Daniel Gavron talks to Israelis and Palestinians of all backgrounds and shades of opinion. Politicians and economists, entrepreneurs and writers, psychologists and teachers, men and women, veterans and youngsters, fervent militants and pragmatic realists all speak in these pages. We hear the Palestinian fighter and the Israeli soldier, the Jewish settler and the Arab Israeli, the negotiators from the opposite sides of the table, the bereaved parents. Reflecting the excruciating agony of both societies, these diverse voices emphasize the basic humanity of both peoples.

Thoughts:
This was another book I picked up to read for my religion assignment, and decided to read from start to finish. This one was done as individual sections interviewing people living within Israel within different areas of societies. It provided a very different take on the situation, and to some extent legitimizes the different arguments involved. Some of them I agreed with, some not so much. It was heartening to read the perspectives of parents determined to ensure the deaths of their children were not replicated, rather than purely seeking out revenge. On the flip side, the points of view of people who did seek revenge, sometimes for events that had occurred before their time, was disappointing, even if it was understandable on occasion. I won’t say it’s a topic I’m super passionate about, but it was an interesting read, and I’m glad I now know more about the topic.


16 / 50 books. 32% done!


5126 / 15000 pages. 34% done!

Currently reading:
-        Work’s Intimacy by Melissa Gregg – 198 pages
-        Guernica by Dave Boling – 368 pages
-        Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg – 220 pages

And coming up:
-        The Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant: Volume 3: White Gold Wielder by Stephen Donaldson – 500 pages
-        The Odyssey by Homer – 324 pages
-        Three to Get Deadly by Janet Evanovich – 300 pages

Current Mood: hungryhungry
Current Music: Star Trek: Enterprise - Season 4, Episode 17: Bound

Mar. 5th, 2016

12:28 pm - Books 13 & 14 - 2015

Book 13: The Anatomy of Israel’s Survival by Hirsh Goodman – 253 pages

Description from bookdepository.co.uk:
For readers of Michael Oren, Alan Dershowitz, and George Gilder comes a new perspective on a hot topic: the future of Israel. "Can Israel survive?" has been the essential question for Israelis -- and Jews worldwide -- since the Holocaust. Now a renowned Israeli journalist and security expert conducts a "strategic state of the nation" tour to evenhandedly assess the issues facing the country today, and ultimately suggesting that the "essential question" has become a misleading, even wrong question. Israel will survive. But what kind of country will it be?

Thoughts:
For a subject on religion, politics and globalization, I chose to do an assignment on the Israel/Palestine conflict, mostly cause it was a topic I heard a lot about, but knew very little. This was one of the books I borrowed from the University library to reference, and I made a rather silly decision to read the complete book once I’d finished the subject. It took me a long time, and a library fine later to get that, mostly because I’ve been busy with a new job. This book asks the fairly valid question of ‘can Israel survive?’ and Goodman’s answer is in the affirmative. He outlines his reasons for this affirmative answer throughout the book and his argument is compelling, at least for someone with as little knowledge on the topic as me. Goodman’s background means he has a strong understanding of Israel’s standing strategically, and he backs up his affirmative argument using this knowledge. I can’t really argue the negative on this one, but I got a 7 for the assignment, so I’m gonna leave it there.


13 / 50 books. 26% done!


4154 / 15000 pages. 28% done!

Book 14: The Queen of Zombie Hearts by Gena Showalter – 442 pages

Description from bookdepository.co.uk:
Alice Bell thinks the worst is behind her. She's fought zombies and won. Now she's ready for a peaceful life with boyfriend Cole, the leader of the zombie slayers...until the dangerous agency controlling the undead launches an attack with devastating consequences. Humans can be more dangerous than monsters...and the worst has only just begun. They've started a war. Alice is determined to end it...

Thoughts:
The final book in the Alice in Zombieland triology (though there’s now a fourth book that features the same character) has a fair bit to resolve, including why Alice Bell seems to have an increasing range of powers. Showalter likes to play with the reader by implying throughout that things aren’t going to play out the way you expect. She uses flashes of future events between Cole and Alice and then a whole stack of other characters (which just gets weird) to do this, and of course, the break up of Cole and Alice (this being teen fiction after all). Still, it all works, and though it’s a bit of slog but Showalter does a good job of tying up all the loose ends and coming to a resolution that is satisfying – she doesn’t fall into perfect happy ending territory, which I appreciate. Whilst it was necessary, the thing that I disliked most was the ending for Alice’s best friend Kat – it worked for the story, but man, it broke my heart. I’ve not read a lot in the zombie genre, but I personally think is a decent addition to it.


14 / 50 books. 28% done!


4596 / 15000 pages. 31% done!

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