An Exhibition to the high artic seems fated to end poorly even before it starts. An uneasy Norwegian captain who knows more than he will acknowledge; all but three of the team struck down before even landing; and gruesome artifacts of other unsuccessful enterprises found on the bay shore at which the team plans to overwinter, all seem to point at the reality that nobody wants to acknowledge: this place is haunted. Shortly after the team arrives uneasiness sets in and through some unfortunate circumstances Jack is to be left for a short time alone to man the station. This is in October 1937 and the sun has already set for the last time of the season. Events are told through the entries in Jack's journal and slowly we watch Jack lose control as terror seeps into every action and every perception. How long can he hold the fort until the others come and save him? He has a radio, dogs and even has a visitor but ultimately the winter is setting in and the ice will soon settle the question of his rescue. Meanwhile every month comes the moonless sky and the nothingness that threatens to consume him.
This is a wonderful piece of horror fiction that slowly ratchets up the tension and uneasiness. It is unsettling yet compelling and was a true “page turner” that I almost listened to completely in one sitting. As I read I wondered: “which is more horrifying: the ghost we see or the ghost we create in our minds?”, “How much of our sanity is linked to the things we call reality – light, color, other people, sound?”, and “Are their things that we don’t understand or want to acknowledge that exist beyond this reality?” Jack must balance these questions with other forces pulling on him, such as rationality, duty, loyalty, honor, and love.
I felt the length and the pacing of the story were perfect. In these days where every novel is part of a trilogy or massive in length, it was refreshing to encounter a tight little story as complete and satisfying as this one. I highly recommend this for fans of horror or psychological thrillers. To me this story had elements of “The Shining”, “The Thing”, and “The Turn of the Screw.”
An alien lands on Earth to do research on the evolution of Earth's intelligent life and to bring a message - proof of the existence of God!
I liked this story - mostly. While this is a work of fiction, some of the arguments against the fossil record (evolution) and for intelligent design were not confined to the story and were very compelling and thought provoking. What I didn't like, however, was an odd subplot introduced about 2/3 into the novel that involved some violent Christian extremists. I suppose this was to give counter weight to the story so that it didn't come off as "too religious" but it felt clumsy and out of place.
The last 1/3 of the novel was pure Sci-Fi and I did not find this nearly as interesting as the dialogue between the alien and a scientist.
Overall I thought that Calculating God was a pretty good novel, especially for someone interested in hearing discussions about God and that likes the Sci-Fi genre.
When I first read the title of this book, images of angry people with bulging forehead veins came to mind, but really this book is for everyone. Anger and frustration are part of the human condition - to ignore it is wrong and to indulge it is wrong too - so what can we do? This book attempts to tell you.
Overall this book was pretty good but obvious - lacking philosophical depth. I liked the parables and quotes from Buddhist teachers, but I didn't find the author's own experiences very compelling. The chapter on how to handle angry people was, I thought, the weakest in this regard. e.g., see things from their perspective - don't jump to conclusions - try not to get angry back. Not bad messages but really - who doesn't know these things? I would have appreciated more Buddhist philosophy and less weekend-seminar style anger management.
The narrator talked slowly and sometimes his accents sounded funny but he was not terrible.
Overall not bad. Helpful to an extent - especially if you are prone to anger or frustration.
The first book of a seven book series, The Bone Season, is a derivative YA tale with just enough of a twist to attract a big audience. Its a stew of Harry Potter, Twilight, and Hunger Games. Overall this novel had the temperment of a teenager: moody, melodramatic, and self-centered. Toss into this mix a little sexuality, violence, and drug use and there you have it.
As a middle aged man, I am definately not the demographic that this writer was trying to reach. I say skip it unless you are way into the YA genre. Despite all of the hype, I don't believe that The Bone Season has the strength to crossover to a wider audience like Harry Potter and The Hunger Games did.
Having just listened to "Fear and Loathing" and having read "Rum Diaries", I expected something different from this book. What I found instead was a straight up journalism piece. Great if you're really interested in the Hell's Angels but terrible if you're looking for Hunter S. Thompson's personal touches. I found it repetitive and somewhat tedious. As for the narration, the narrator seemed to feel he needed to emphasize every sentence with force, which I didn't care for. Overall not a bad book, just not what I was expecting or wanting.
An irreverent mockery of the American dream in all of its filthy greedy excess. I loved this book. Its hard to believe that a guy so wacked out on drugs could be so observant and acute. This has to be Hunter S. Thompson's magnum opus.
I was really surprised when I looked at the reviews for this book. I thought that this book was average AT BEST. For a mystery it completely lacks any drive or urgency. Perhaps this is because I didn't care about any of the characters - some were flimsily drawn, some were robotic, and some were just down right comical. The plot was slow and plodded along (and along and along). There were chapters that, in my opinion, needed editing - nothing happened in them worth mentioning! While I am no medieval expert some of the things that were said or done just seemed unbelievable to me. Finally, the narrator didn't do much to help the robotic characters. I think he sounded at times like a computerized voice.
I really thought I would have liked this book. I sometimes like typical genre plots told in new settings to make them fresh, but I just couldn't connect with this book.
"You are Now Less Dumb" is a perfect title for this book - not because I believe that the book makes you any smarter, but rather because this is exactly what I think the author would smugly say to you after telling you that the "love" you feel for your parents is really a survival instinct.
This book presents a miriad of different psychology theories in a well written an entertaining way. It is intended to show you all the ways our brains trick us, and that all of our actions and emotions can be explained.
The problem I have with this book is not with the writing - it is excellent. Overall it was pretty entertaining, but I did find it hard to listen to in long chunks because the material all started to sound the same ( In fact, I'll be lucky to remember a quarter of what I listened to). Rather, my problem with the book is that in the end it seemed to push the following messages:
1. we essentially have no free will
2. we are essentially animals and all of our behaviors come from evolution
3.. The world we live in is devoid of mystery, and by mystery I mean anything that can't be explained using the evolution and modern psycological science
Regarding #3 - how do we know that psycological science of today won't be debunked 100 years from now? For example, Freud is largely seen as a weirdo now, but at the time he had all the answers?
Anyway, I guess what I am saying is that the book came off a little smug. Also I don't feel any less dumb.
The story opens in 1968/69 in NW Vietnam near the Laotian border and primarily follows the story of a Marine lieutenant in bravo company from his first days in the bush until he becomes a seasoned jungle fighter and leader of men. While the story is primarily about this lieutenant, the perspective shifts around to various enlisted men, officers, and executive officers. Bravo company faces especially hard conditions and many die and the rest try to survive. The action begins almost immediately and the book is a true page turner until the last few chapters where it bogs down and loses excitement and momentum. The end left me feeling unsatisfied.
While some books focus on the story and don’t have much of a message, this book is the opposite - it is almost all message - sometimes at the expense of the story. The message, as I could make it out, is something along the lines of that
we are living in a world of opposites – us/them. It is everywhere you look and you can’t escape it. You must choose sides but the thing is - your side is largely decided for you already by luck and circumstance. Its how you respond to this that matters – in the end your good is someone else’s bad and vice versa. By the way, its not just the Vietnamese I am talking about here. There is conflict everywhere in almost everything we do that involves someone else.
I found this book to be a bit of a downer. It drew the curtain back exposing the futility of our fleeting lives and made me sad. I did learn a lot about the Vietnam war and something about the human condition.
On another note, Bronson Pinchot is one of the best narrators I have ever heard. I love the books he reads. He did a wonderful job with the performance here - a performance that required a ton of different dialects and emotions .
This is a wonderful novel about a servent class waiter that remarkably wins a quiz show like "who wants to be a millionaire". Nobody can understand how this uneducated guy could answer all the questions necessary to win the grand prize!
At the beginning of the story the hero has been arrested and is being accused of cheating - the question is how. The story evolves into the hero's explanation of how he knew each answer one by one.
What results is a collection of short stories that entertain, amaze and sometimes evoke tremendous feeling and sentiment. The stories seem to share the theme of tenderness and innocence colliding with harshness and ugliness. Nevertheless, the story is philosophically upbeat and hopefull. The short stories wove together and complemented each other leading to a good ending.
I never saw the movie but I am so glad that I stumbled upon this book. It was inspiring. I will read more by this author.
Much like the show. His tongue in cheek opinions that represent a FOX news pundit on steroids are so laughable that even conservatives will find it amusing. In this installment he covers everything from jobs and the economy to Obamacare. The strongest bits were at the beginning but then wavered towards the end of the book. His set on food towards the end was so forgettable that I can't even remember it and I finished this book just the other day. I would have given this book higher ratings if it was longer and if the material was more timeless. This was a short book and is already a little dated.
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