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Book 18 - 2018

Book 18: The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury - 281 pages

Description from bookdepository.co.uk:
The Illustrated Man is classic Bradbury - a collection of tales that breathe and move, animated by sharp, intaken breath and flexing muscle. Here are eighteen startling visions of humankind's destiny, unfolding across a canvas of decorated skin - visions as keen as the tattooist's needle and as colorful as the inks that indelibly stain the body. The images, ideas, sounds and scents that abound in this phantasmagoric sideshow are provocative and powerful: the mournful cries of celestial travelers cast out cruelly into a vast, empty space of stars and blackness...the sight of gray dust selling over a forgotten outpost on a road that leads nowhere...the pungent odor of Jupiter on a returning father's clothing. Here living cities take their vengeance, technology awakens the most primal natural instincts, Martian invasions are foiled by the good life and the glad hand, and dreams are carried aloft in junkyard rockets. Ray Bradbury's The Illustrated Man is a kaleidoscopic blending of magic, imagination, and truth, widely believed to be one of the Grandmaster's premier accomplishments: as exhilarating as interplanetary travel, as maddening as a walk in a million-year rain, and as comforting as simple, familiar rituals on the last night of the world.


Thoughts:
I can't quite remember the details, but on a TV show some years ago (I think!) I heard about this book. Bradbury tells 18 short stories, mostly involving Mars, through the vehicle that is the canvas of tattoos on the body of the nameless 'Illustrated Man'. The why of these tattoos is never really answered, and I was never entirely sure that the stories the tattoos told where meant to be set all in the same world, though they certainly share characteristics, where relevant. The short stories are good, many pondering the fascinating challenges of multiple worlds, travelling through space, and technology. My favourites were The Veldt (which was beyond creepy), The Rocket (really sweet), Marionettes, Inc (again, very creepy), The City (also creepy) and Zero Hour (both creepy but also really made me think). The stories suffer a little with age; given the era Bradbury was writing in, some of the terminology used has dated. But this also gives it an charming feel; a bit like watching old Star Trek episodes. Certainly valid evidence for why Bradbury is one of the greats!


18 / 50 books. 36% done!


5753 / 15000 pages. 38% done!

Currently reading:
- Journey to the West
by Cheng-En Wu - 673 pages
- The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable
by Nassim Nicholas Taleb - 435 pages
- Culture Smart! Finland: the essential guide to customs & culture
by Terttu Leney - 165 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
- Twitterature: The World’s Greatest Books Retold Through Twitter
by Alexander Aciman & Emmett Rensin - 145 pages
  • Current Music
    Fight Song - Rachel Platten
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Book 17 - 2018

Book 17: Finger Lickin’ Fifteen by Janet Evanovich - 373 pages

Description from bookdepository.co.uk:
Recipe for disaster: Celebrity chef Stanley Chipotle comes to Trenton to participate in a barbecue cook-off and loses his head - literally.

Throw in some spice: Bail bonds office worker Lula is witness to the crime, and the only one she'll talk to is Trenton cop, Joe Morelli.

Pump up the heat: Chipotle's sponsor is offering a million-dollar reward to anyone who can provide information leading to the capture of the killers.

Stir the pot: Lula recruits bounty hunter Stephanie Plum to help her find the killers and collect the moolah.

Add a secret ingredient: Stephanie's Grandma Mazur. Enough said.

Bring to a boil: Can Stephanie hunt down two killers, a traitor, five skips, keep her grandmother out of the sauce, solve Ranger's problems and not jump his bones?

Warning: Janet Evanovich's Finger Lickin' Fifteen is habanero hot. So good you'll want seconds.


Thoughts:
Another Stephanie Plum book, another 300+ pages of little character progression, but an enjoyable enough read anyway. This one benefits from lots of Ranger, but gets there by way of a random breakup between Stephanie and Morelli that is hardly explained and certainly not alluded to in the previous book. Just when it seemed that Steph and Morelli's relationship was reaching a level of maturity, Evanovich pulls it out from underneath us! Two other things pained me about this book. The first was the Lula fart jokes that I found to be ridiculously juvenile (have we really sunk to fart jokes? Really?). The second was the resolution to the two mysteries in this book. The mysteries were good, and had a reasonable amount of build up. And then Boom! Over. In two chapters, everything is resolved. It felt almost as if Evanovich had been writing away, and then had got the old hurry up from her publisher, and had just wrapped them up as quick as she could. Rather disappointing, because I was actually quite intrigued, particularly regarding the Ranger one (the resolution of which just made Ranger look like an idiot, to be honest). Still the dialogue heavy nature of these books, and the repetitiveness makes them a quick read that requires very little brain power - exactly what I needed!


17 / 50 books. 34% done!


5472 / 15000 pages. 36% done!

Currently reading:
- Journey to the West
by Cheng-En Wu - 673 pages
- The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable
by Nassim Nicholas Taleb - 435 pages
- The Illustrated Man
by Ray Bradbury - 281 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
- Culture Smart! Finland: the essential guide to customs & culture
by Terttu Leney - 165 pages
  • Current Music
    Age of Reason - Dragon featuring Marc Hunter & Bella Hunter
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Book 16 - 2018

Book 16: The Lessons of Terror: A History of Warfare against Civilians - Why it Has Always Failed, and Why it Will Fail Again by Caleb Carr - 259 pages

Description from bookdepository.co.uk:
Military historian Caleb Carr's groundbreaking work anticipated America's current debates on preemptive military action against terrorist sponsor states, reorganization of the American intelligence system, and the treatment of terrorists as soldiers in supranational armies rather than as criminals. Carr's authoritative exploration demonstrates that the practice of terrorism, employed by national armies as well as extremists since the days of ancient Rome, is ultimately self-defeating. Far from prompting submission, it stiffens enemy resolve and never leads to long-lasting success. Controversial on its initial publication in 2002, The Lessons of Terror has been repeatedly validated by subsequent events. Carr's analysis of individual terrorist acts, and particularly of the history of the Middle East conflict, is fundamental to a deep understanding of the roots of terrorism as well as the steps and reforms that must be taken if the continuing threat of terrorist behavior is to be met effectively today and, finally, eradicated tomorrow.


Thoughts:
I picked up this book at a biannual book sale I go to for $2. As I was studying a subject in Terrorism at the time it seemed relevant. I wish I had more time to read books about the topics I was studying when I was studying them, as I think it would make my writing better (though I still get good grades, so its probably just me being a nerd!). Anyway, I didn't realise at the time how military history focused this book. Military history is not really my thing, partly because my brother is a historian who specialises in it (so I hear about it all the time!) and partly because I really enjoy sociology and the why of things was more. Nonetheless, Carr uses military history to argue that terrorism has always failed in its endeavours, will always fail, and should never be met with terrorism. Its important to note that he defines terrorism as acts aimed at turning a people against their government, which while valid for his argument, is not how I would define terrorism. Bearing this in mind, I can see the merits to his argument, though I can't say I'm wholly persuaded, as I personally think the motives behind terrorism are significantly more complex. Nonetheless, its an interesting take on the topic, and while I'm not sure I'm keen on advocating for acting before UN approval to ensure the element of surprise, I won't deny there is a certain logic. An interesting read on a very broad and complex topic.


16 / 50 books. 32% done!


5099 / 15000 pages. 34% done!

Currently reading:
- Journey to the West
by Cheng-En Wu - 673 pages
- Finger Lickin’ Fifteen
by Janet Evanovich - 373 pages
- The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable
by Nassim Nicholas Taleb - 435 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 Illustrated Man
by Ray Bradbury - 281 pages
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Book 15 - 2018

Book 15: A Shiver of Light by Laurell K. Hamilton - 380 pages

Description from bookdepository.co.uk:
Merry Gentry, ex-private detective and full-time princess, is now the mother of triplets, a rarity in the high ranks of faerie. And not everyone is happy about it, including Taranis, King of Light and Illusion. He's using the human courts to sue for visitation rights, claiming that one of the babies is his. To save herself and her children, Merry will use the most dangerous powers in all of faerie: a god of death, a warrior known as the Darkness, the Killing Frost, and a king of nightmares. They are her lovers, and her dearest loves, and they will face down the might of the high courts of faerie--while trying to keep the war from spreading to innocent humans in Los Angeles, who are in danger of becoming collateral damage.


Thoughts:
This is another book that I'm giving 4 stars to, but its really 3.5. I started reading the Merry Gentry series years ago, and even though I quickly realised they were light on story and heavy on sex and description, I was somehow drawn to them. They have this hypnotic style (a bit like Twilight) that keeps you reading, even though most of what is 'going on' is revolving dialogue (that progresses the story is no helpful way) or the never-ending descriptions of everyone's clothes, hair or glowing skin. Reading these books is like an out of body experience - I am watching myself read them going 'there is no story here, its so crap', but I'm not necessarily not enjoying the process...guilty pleasure, I guess. Anyway, I read every book that had been published at the time a few years ago, and then waited patiently for the next one, knowing there was much to still be resolved - what would happen to Merry's twins, who were the fathers, how were there even multiple fathers, what would happen to Andais, Queen of the Unseelie Court, and Taranis, King of the Seelie Court, and how would this affect Merry. Very few of these questions were answered here.
So turns out Merry was actually having triplets (that was the easiest way to ensure all the fathers got a bit of baby, I think), and there were more fathers than Merry had thought there was. These poor babies are like puppies, with this arm having something that belonged to this father who was of this origin, and this arm belonging to someone else. Merry's indiscriminate sexual practices, though admirable from a tolerance perspective, certainly have resulted in strange progeny! But it doesn't stop there! Her magical babies are so damn magical, so blessed by the Goddess, that one of them can control the weather already and another can bespell people! Merry spends a good chunk of the book worrying about this, thinking about this, discussing this with her multiple lovers. She actually seems to spend little time with said babies, hiring non-human nannies (so the babies can't bespell them) when she doesn't appear to have a job herself anyway (and has like eight fathers to choose from). Why they can't look after their own children never gets addressed...
Meanwhile, her Aunt and Uncle, on their respective thrones continue to cause problems, and besides training in little clothing, not much seems to be done about this. Even when she and Doyle are attacked in their dreams, which results in Frost getting some pretty serious injuries, not much is done besides 'more guards.'
And then there's like twenty pages to go and not much has happened. Have you ever read those books where so much is happening and its all building up to a huge climax and there is 20 pages to go and you think 'they can't possibly resolve it all in 20 pages', and you turn the page and they throw a huge amount of exposition in and suddenly the book's over, like all that build up was for nothing? This book is the opposite of that. Suddenly, 20 pages to go, shit starts happening! There are deaths, and huge revelations, and unseating of thrones, and you think, 'Wow, I wish they'd done this half a book ago'. The mass revelations lack something when they come rapid fire.
And then its over.
I have so many questions: what will happen to the triplets, will they be able to control their powers, are they actually good people, who will sit on what throne, who will Merry sleep with next, etc etc. Given this book was released several years ago, after five years of waiting, and there is no new book in sight, I fear my questions will never be answered.


15 / 50 books. 30% done!


4840 / 15000 pages. 32% done!

Currently reading:
- Journey to the West
by Cheng-En Wu - 673 pages
- The Lessons of Terror: A History of Warfare against Civilians - Why it Has Always Failed, and Why it Will Fail Again
by Caleb Carr - 259 pages
- Finger Lickin’ Fifteen
by Janet Evanovich - 373 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 Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable
by Nassim Nicholas Taleb - 435 pages
  • Current Music
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Book 14 - 2018

Book 14: The Death of Expertise: The Campaign against Established Knowledge and Why it Matters by Tom Nichols - 248 pages

Description from bookdepository.co.uk:
People are now exposed to more information than ever before, provided both by technology and by increasing access to every level of education. These societal gains, however, have also helped fuel a surge in narcissistic and misguided intellectual egalitarianism that has crippled informed debates on any number of issues. Today, everyone knows everything: with only a quick trip through WebMD or Wikipedia, average citizens believe themselves to be on an equal intellectual footing with doctors and diplomats. All voices, even the most ridiculous, demand to be taken with equal seriousness, and any claim to the contrary is dismissed as undemocratic elitism.

As Tom Nichols shows in The Death of Expertise, this rejection of experts has occurred for many reasons, including the openness of the internet, the emergence of a customer satisfaction model in higher education, and the transformation of the news industry into a 24-hour entertainment machine. Paradoxically, the increasingly democratic dissemination of information, rather than producing an educated public, has instead created an army of ill-informed and angry citizens who denounce intellectual achievement.

Nichols has deeper concerns than the current rejection of expertise and learning, noting that when ordinary citizens believe that no one knows more than anyone else, democratic institutions themselves are in danger of falling either to populism or to technocracy-or in the worst case, a combination of both. The Death of Expertise is not only an exploration of a dangerous phenomenon but also a warning about the stability and survival of modern democracy in the Information Age.


Thoughts:
This book is probably more a 3.5/5 than a 4/5, but because I applaud what Nichols is attempting to do here, I'm going higher not lower. The world is more educated and has more access to knowledge than in any other time, and yet we seen to be getting dumber? Why? Nichols attempts to answer this question, though he doesn't offer enough of a resolution to these problems to really nail it. Universities acting like daycare centres, internet misinformation, media bias towards experts getting it wrong, and the population's general laziness are contributing factors, and I agree with Nichols' general argument. My main gripes are the US-centric focus (though I understand why, it annoys the shit out of me primarily from the 'America is unique and special' theme that sits at its core - I love you America but get over yourself!), and the fact that this book actually potentially runs into its own argument - Nichols is not an expert per se on this field, and thus kind of undermines his own argument though he does it in a more academically sound manner. I did however very much appreciate the point he made about the true definition of democracy - that it represents an equal vote, not equality of opinion. That is a distinction completely lost in today's world, and one that I believe is super important! If this is the one message you take to heart from this book, then we are already making headway on the issue!


14 / 50 books. 28% done!


4460 / 15000 pages. 30% done!

Currently reading:
- Journey to the West
by Cheng-En Wu - 673 pages
- A Shiver of Light
by Laurell K. Hamilton - 380 pages
- The Lessons of Terror: A History of Warfare against Civilians - Why it Has Always Failed, and Why it Will Fail Again
by Caleb Carr - 259 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
- Finger Lickin’ Fifteen
by Janet Evanovich - 373 pages
  • Current Music
    I Don't Wanna Love Somebody Else - A Great Big World
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Book 13 - 2018

Book 13: The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers - 402 pages

Description from bookdepository.co.uk:
When Rosemary Harper joins the crew of the Wayfarer, she isn't expecting much. The ship, which has seen better days, offers her everything she could possibly want: a small, quiet spot to call home for a while, adventure in far-off corners of the galaxy, and distance from her troubled past.

But Rosemary gets more than she bargained for with the Wayfarer. The crew is a mishmash of species and personalities, from Sissix, the friendly reptillian pilot, to Kizzy and Jenks, the constantly sparring engineers who keep the ship running. Life on board is chaotic, but more or less peaceful - exactly what Rosemary wants.

Until the crew are offered the job of a lifetime: the chance to build a hyperspace tunnel to a distant planet. They'll earn enough money to live comfortably for years... if they survive the long trip through war-torn interstellar space without endangering any of the fragile alliances that keep the galaxy peaceful.

But Rosemary isn't the only person on board with secrets to hide, and the crew will soon discover that space may be vast, but spaceships are very small indeed.


Thoughts:
This book is probably more a 4.5/5 than a 5/5, but I actually ended up enjoying it way more than I was expecting to.
Let me go back to the beginning.
I read the blurb of this book at the book store, having never heard of it, and thought it sounded a lot like Firefly, which I loved. So I bought it. Then I read some of the reviews online. And even though a lot of the reviews were positive, I won't deny that I was sceptical. Gays in space, rainbows and unicorns, etc etc, all the reviews/descriptions seemed to suggest that this was a book about everyone being nice to each other etc and without much of a plot. Stories need conflict, and every review I read seemed to suggest that this book lacked that. And probably for the first 250 pages, I was on the fence. And then the incident with Corbin happened, the character written to be the most unlikeable of all the characters, and I was in. That whole incident felt very Star Trekky and though I still think Chambers' writing style is a little too millennial, PC-ish, I could see what she was trying to do (perhaps without quite the subtlety that made early Star Trek work so well) and I appreciated that. There's still not really a HUGE plot, but Chambers did a great job developing interesting characters, very thorough world building (that sometimes felt like it was a little too much of the story, but not enough to completely overwhelm it), and a collective group that had each other's backs even if they didn't always like each other (the group actually weirdly reminded me of my team at work - lol!). Character driven, creative, and a really good attempt to do what sci-fi has always done best - discuss big philosophical questions without getting (too!) preachy!


13 / 50 books. 26% done!


4212 / 15000 pages. 28% done!

Currently reading:
- Journey to the West
by Cheng-En Wu - 673 pages
- The Death of Expertise: The Campaign against Established Knowledge and Why it Matters
by Tom Nichols - 248 pages
- A Shiver of Light
by Laurell K. Hamilton - 380 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 Lessons of Terror: A History of Warfare against Civilians - Why it Has Always Failed, and Why it Will Fail Again
by Caleb Carr - 259 pages
  • Current Music
    Love Me Now - Ziggy Alberts
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Book 12 - 2018

Book 12: Fearless Fourteen by Janet Evanovich - 308 pages

Description from bookdepository.co.uk:
Personal vendettas, hidden treasure, and a monkey named Carl will send bounty hunter Stephanie Plum on her most explosive adventure yet.

The Crime: Armed robbery to the tune of nine million dollars. Dom Rizzi robbed a bank, stashed the money, and did the time. His family couldn't be more proud. He always was the smart one.

The Cousin: Joe Morelli. Morelli is Dom's cousin. He's also a cop. Less than a week after Dom's release from prison, Morelli has shadowy figures breaking into his house and dying in his basement. Meanwhile, Dom has gone missing...

The Catastrophe: Moonman. Morelli hires Walter "Mooner" Dunphy, stoner and "inventor" turned crime fighter, to protect his house. Morelli is low on cash. Mooner will work for potatoes.

The Cupcake: Stephanie Plum. Stephanie and Morelli have a long-standing relationship that involves sex, affection, and driving each other nuts. She's a bond enforcement agent with more luck than talent, and she's involved in this bank-robbery-gone-bad disaster from day one.

The Crisis Ranger. Security expert Carlos Manoso, street name Ranger, has a job for Stephanie that will involve night work. Morelli has his own ideas regarding Stephanie's evening activities.

The Conclusion: Only the fearless should listen to Fearless Fourteen by Janet Evanovich.

Thrills, chills, and incontinence may result.


Thoughts:
I don't know if I've become more tolerant, if my expectations have dropped, or if Stephanie has become more competent, but I am enjoying these books much more now than I did when reading the first ten. This time around Stephanie has to deal with both a crazy aging singer that she has agreed to help Ranger provide security to, and a cousin of Morelli's that has disappeared, presumed kidnapped over a $9m bank robbery windfall that has gone missing. I really enjoyed the increasing maturity of Stephanie's relationship with Morelli (though there is a scene towards the end where she climbs out of a window rather than just fess up to Morelli, and I wanted to smack her for being so pathetic), and I really liked all the interactions with the three characters who ended up basically living at Morelli's house. Hardly any Grandma Mazur, but I actually didn't mind, because Gary, Mooner and Zook (the aforementioned house guests) absolutely made the book. I also enjoyed the fact that there was slightly less Lula, whose silliness can get repetitive. An enjoyable read.


12 / 50 books. 24%


3810 / 15000 pages. 25% done!

Currently reading:
- Journey to the West
by Cheng-En Wu - 673 pages
- The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet
by Becky Chambers - 402 pages
- The Death of Expertise: The Campaign against Established Knowledge and Why it Matters
by Tom Nichols - 248 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
- A Shiver of Light
by Laurell K. Hamilton - 380 pages
  • Current Music
    Never Enough - Boyce Avenue
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Book 11 - 2018

Book 11: The Square and the Tower: Networks, Hierarchies and the Struggle for Global Power by Niall Ferguson - 536 pages

Description from bookdepository.co.uk:
Most history is about the people at the top of the towers of power. But what if the real action is in the social networks down below, in the town squares? Niall Ferguson, the international bestselling author of Empire, The Ascent of Money and Civilization, brilliantly recasts past and present as an unending contest between hierarchies and networks.


Thoughts:
My brother is a historian, and reading this book recently, he kept telling me how good it was, and that I should read it. So, when he was done, that's what I did. Ferguson basically outlines modern history and the relationship between hierarchies and networks. I learnt a lot from this book, probably because I'm more a student of sociology, international relations and anthropology than I am of history, but I wasn't always sure what Ferguson was trying to argue, if he was trying to argue anything at all. Personally, I also got a little bored in the middle bit, when he was talking through the early 20th century, but this is more a product of my interest areas than of the book itself. I particularly enjoyed the discussion about FANG (Facebook, amazon, netflix, google) and of the more recent political shenanigans in the United States, though I would have liked more on this topic, and maybe a little less on European history (again, my interest areas, and I gather there's more to say about that time period than there is on more modern times, at least for now). Ferguson's style is readable, and for the most part he doesn't get too technical on the network theory stuff. Moreover, I actually found some really great parallels between some of what was covered in this book, primarily in the realm of attempts to police the internet, and on an essay I am currently writing on policing space tourism. Overall, a good read, particularly if you are a student of history, or have an interest in structuralism.


11 / 50 books. 22% done!


3502 / 15000 pages. 23% done!

Currently reading:
- Journey to the West
by Cheng-En Wu - 673 pages
- Fearless Fourteen
by Janet Evanovich - 308 pages
- The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet
by Becky Chambers - 402 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 Death of Expertise: The Campaign against Established Knowledge and Why it Matters
by Tom Nichols - 248 pages
  • Current Music
    Somewhere Only We Know - Laura Michelle Kelly
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Book 10 - 2018

Book 10: Theories of International Politics and Zombies: Revived Edition by Daniel W. Drezner - 191 pages

Description from bookdepository.co.uk:
What would happen to international politics if the dead rose from the grave and started to eat the living? Daniel Drezner's groundbreaking book answers the question that other international relations scholars have been too scared to ask. Addressing timely issues with analytical bite, Drezner looks at how well-known theories from international relations might be applied to a war with zombies. Exploring the plots of popular zombie films, songs, and books, Theories of International Politics and Zombies predicts realistic scenarios for the political stage in the face of a zombie threat and considers how valid--or how rotten--such scenarios might be. This newly revived edition includes substantial updates throughout as well as a new epilogue assessing the role of the zombie analogy in the public sphere.


Thoughts:
In an International Relations Theory class a year and a half ago, my lecturer mentioned this book, probably because myself and my friends kept suggesting aliens as a solutions to all IR related problems. Being of the nerd persuasion, I immediately went out and purchased the book, though its been sitting on my pile for sometime since. In the middle of reading a much longer book on network theory, I decided to pick this book up to break up my reading. It's a nice, fun, quick read, that introduces readers to the key IR theories in a fun way. As I've already got a pretty good grounding in IR theory (I topped that IR theory class - haha!), I found it really easy to read - not coming at it as a newcomer, I can't say whether the book is deserving of the recommendations it gets to new students. As for its application of theory, I think its relatively sound. I don't agree with all of it to the letter, but the core is there, and though I would have preferred Drezner explained more of the critical theory part of the book (I personally would have gone with the racial aspect of critical theory than feminism, but to each his own), ultimately, I think it had good coverage. It's a silly fun book, that I probably won't quote in any assignments, but will recommend to anyone who shows a passing interest in IR theory.


10 / 50 books. 20% done!


2966 / 15000 pages. 20% done!

Currently reading:
- Journey to the West
by Cheng-En Wu - 673 pages
- The Square and the Tower: Networks, Hierarchies and the Struggle for Global Power
by Niall Ferguson - 536 pages
- Fearless Fourteen
by Janet Evanovich - 308 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 Long Way to a Small Angry Planet
by Becky Chambers - 402 pages
  • Current Music
    Shape of You - Ed Sheeran
  • blinger

Book 9 - 2018

Book 9: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson - 210 pages

Description from bookdepository.co.uk:
New York Times Bestseller In this generation-defining self-help guide, a superstar blogger cuts through the crap to show us how to stop trying to be "positive" all the time so that we can truly become better, happier people. For decades, we've been told that positive thinking is the key to a happy, rich life. "F**k positivity," Mark Manson says. "Let's be honest, shit is f**ked and we have to live with it." In his wildly popular Internet blog, Manson doesn't sugarcoat or equivocate. He tells it like it is-a dose of raw, refreshing, honest truth that is sorely lacking today. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k is his antidote to the coddling, let's-all-feel-good mindset that has infected modern society and spoiled a generation, rewarding them with gold medals just for showing up. Manson makes the argument, backed both by academic research and well-timed poop jokes, that improving our lives hinges not on our ability to turn lemons into lemonade, but on learning to stomach lemons better. Human beings are flawed and limited-"not everybody can be extraordinary, there are winners and losers in society, and some of it is not fair or your fault."
Manson advises us to get to know our limitations and accept them. Once we embrace our fears, faults, and uncertainties, once we stop running and avoiding and start confronting painful truths, we can begin to find the courage, perseverance, honesty, responsibility, curiosity, and forgiveness we seek. There are only so many things we can give a f**k about so we need to figure out which ones really matter, Manson makes clear. While money is nice, caring about what you do with your life is better, because true wealth is about experience. A much-needed grab-you-by-the-shoulders-and-look-you-in-the-eye moment of real-talk, filled with entertaining stories and profane, ruthless humor, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k is a refreshing slap for a generation to help them lead contented, grounded lives.


Thoughts:
Today, carrying this book as I left a dessert cafe at the inner-city cultural precinct in my city, a man stopped me to ask me what I thought about this book (as its been everywhere here in Australia recently). Was it any good? He asked. And even I was surprised by my answer, as I am of my opinion. Yes, I said, it actually is. Not only is it very readable, but much of what it covers isn't actually crazy. In fact, its a pretty decent amalgamation of a variety of theories, most scientifically backed, that Manson has brought together into a common sense, no punches pulled, honest, real account on how to sort our own shit out. I think the thing that I really enjoyed the most was the discussion around entitlement. I'd never thought of entitlement in the context of it being something presented as both expecting to be treated special because you are amazing, and expecting to be treated because you have been victimised. I'd never thought of it in this context, but it made perfect sense, and I suddenly saw the behaviour of a few people around me illuminated for what it was - no different from me expecting to be treated differently because I think I'm special (not that I do). That one really blew me away, and I only wish more people could understand that point. Anyway, I personally found this book far less hokey than other books I've read on similar topics, but more relatable than more scientific texts, and mostly deserving of the fame its received. Overall, the only real problem I have with this book is that the vast majority of people who need its message will either not both to pick the book up in the first place, or, if they do, completely mix the message. After all, they are special and the book doesn't apply to them! (*sarcasm font*).


9 / 50 pages. 18% done!


2775 / 15000 pages. 19% done!

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