I was disappointed. Han Solo is the character that allowed me to fall in love with Star Wars. The Brian Daley novels were fun and exciting reads. The stories were well plotted, characters were interesting, and they gave me a sense of the world beyond the films.
I had high hopes for this book. Sadly, I just never cared about anything that was happening. The idea of a heist story is great. The assembled cast of characters was promising, and the reveal about a certain character was fun but the story was poorly paced, the action was lack luster, and there was no arc for any other characters. While the characters had some great chemistry, there were few moments when they got to spark. Chewbacca and Han are woefully underutilized, and they are the main draw.
If you want to hang with some real scoundrels, check out Brian Daley's Han Solo novels or watch Michael Mann's "Heat."
This is the book that introduced me to cyberpunk. Gibson's novel is a noir detective story set in a not-too-distant future. The story is deftly executed but the joy of the story for me is the world the story takes place. Gibson wisely forgoes any exposition and simply drops the reader into the world. Following the story of the central character, the reader learns the hard truths of the dystopian world populated by street samurai, console jocks, and sentient AIs. Characters are vivid and complex and language of the story is beautiful.
Count Zero is the second book in Gibson's Sprawl Trilogy - Neuromancer being the first. Count Zero is not as hypnotic and it's predecessor. It's a not a direct sequel to the Neuromancer but is a story set in the same world 7 to 8 years after the events told in the first novel. At it's heart, Count Zero is crime drama with elements of a action-spy story. There are some downright cool crossover moments where events from the first novel are referenced and a supporting character or two make a short appearance in the story. I didn't enjoy Zero as much as Neuromancer because a big part of the fun of these books is learning about and exploring the world Gibson's characters inhabit. Zero retains much of the flavor of Neuromancer but is an entity in and of itself; worth a read.
Cline's novel, while steeped in 80s geekery/pop culture, will not alienate those readers who missed the decade.
The story is a well told hero's journey expertly and originally executed within a compelling setting. One could argue the vibe is slightly reminiscent of something like "Scott Pilgrim vs. The World" but such a comparison is a disservice to Cline's book. Characters inhabit dystopian world rife with war and poverty and escape into an immersive on-line experience called The Oasis. The book's hero has embarked on a quest to escape poverty and hunger. While the hero begins his quest with practical self centric motives, he evolves as the stakes of the story increase. The book explores themes of identity, relationships/connection, and technology's role/impact shaping the human experience.
While all that sounds heady, Cline explores these ideas with characters that are genuine, funny, brave, and vulnerable. The story moves along without giving the sensation of being rushed. Cline's amazing sense of humor and arcane knowledge of 80s pop culture make this an incredibly fun book.
"Ready Player One" is a real gem - one of the best books I've read in a long time.
My mom is a Japanese immigrant - she relocated to the US in 1970 after marrying my father. She became a US citizen in the late 1980s. She is quiet, fiercely proud, and mind-bogglingly annoying. The joke in the family has always been that "mom expects us to read her mind." My mother's method of communicating, I know understand, is very Japanese. It is not what she says that is important but what she doesn't say. She tends to attribute her circuitous style of communication to her lack of command when using English. This book provided a profound insight to me, "Japanese is a language of listening, rather than talking."
Sedaris' insights into living in Japan brought back to wonderful memories of my own childhood, and my first trip to Japan in my late 20s. While the book does not solely focus on Sedaris' experiences in Japan, these segments were the most engaging for me.
As per usual, his self deprecating humor made me laugh out loud on my commute.
Lawson's first book is worth your time. This memoir is an enjoyable and compelling read/listen. Her self effacing sense of humor allow her to tackle very personal and sensitive issues with insight and clarity. Lawson reads the book herself; she handles every narrative beat expertly. I'm a regular reader of her blog as a result of this book and hope she writes another.
Yes, my very lackluster headline reflects my experience with this book. The story is very heavy on the tech elements, and light on character, plot, and story. Douglas and Sullivan do a great job of explaining some very heady physics and military science concepts. These academic concepts seem to take priority over the narrative. It's unlikely I'll give the rest of the series space on my iPod.
I enjoyed Oswalt's book a great deal. His observations into growing up into growing up off the cultural beaten path (and growing up in general) are entertaining as well as insightful. Fans of his stand up may be surprised by some of the books more poignant moments. Its not a cry-fest; there are plenty of outrageous anecdotes but some of the books highlights are passages Oswalt describing his relationship and observations of his uncle, and those of his first awareness of infideltiy through the the slits of a snow fort. Oswalt's stand up is amazing - I think I could be an even better writer.
A short listen; some great fiction as well as Sedaris' timeless account of working as an elf at Macy's. For someone who's become jaded about the holidays, Sedaris really gave me something to laugh at.
I'm a long time devotee of "The Dark Tower" series. This is my first foray into enjoying the story in an audio format. It is as enjoyable in audio as it is in text. Guidall does a fantastic job of voicing various characters. Hearing the story allowed me to take in more narrative detail that I have in previous readings.
This edition is the unabridged version of the text that King release shortly after the conclusion of the series. It is not as ethereal as the edition I read through out high school and college. Having read the series, the initiated reader will find many narrative threads that connect to events/characters/ideas that pop up down the road.
This is a brilliant beginning to a grand tale.
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