I vaguely remember grinding through reading this book in high school. With the new movie coming out and knowing that is one of the great classic American novels, I wanted to give it another chance. This time the experience was so much different and better in every way. The story was fascinating and crisp and the prose was wonderful.
I won't really review the novel itself since it is a classic and held in the highest regard. I will say that Gyllenhaal did an outstanding job with the narration -- one of the best I've ever heard. The only disappointing thing was learning that this is the only book he has narrated on Audible.
If you are at all curious about this book, I can't imagine a better way to experience it than this.
Full disclosure - I've played Minecraft off and on for years and have dabbled in amateur game programming. That's probably part of why I find the story of Notch and Minecraft so fascinating.
This book is the telling of Notch's story from his childhood, first jobs, creating Minecraft, and the aftermath. I was already familiar with many aspects of the story, but the book filled in a lot of the details. In particular, the parts about Notch's family and early jobs were completely new to me. The parts about forming Mojang, its financial success, and Notch's evolving role within the company were filled with tons of details I had never heard before. The book seemed sourced from a variety of interviews of the players involved, which added a lot of color.
The book also unfortunately contained quite a bit of filler. The exhaustive descriptions of other Stockholm based game studios really added nothing. In fact, the book even concluded that chapter with a line about how this story is not about the little guys versus the big corporate giants. Also, all of the needless info from psychologists about online communities and human perception of realistic computer graphics just seemed like filler.
Overall, I enjoyed the book. The story itself is excellent. The book's telling of it is ok. Together this makes for a decent book. I'd recommend it to anyone who plays MInecraft or wishes to learn more about Notch's story. However, if you aren't already at least somewhat into Minecraft, this book will probably be quite boring.
Jonah Goldberg reads his own book that takes the reader on a masterfully reasoned deconstruction of common liberal ideas and arguments. Not only does the book present numerous well formed and presented arguments against liberal sentiments commonly (and incorrectly) held to be true, but he also provides tons of history and academic papers backing up his argument. Also, Goldberg weaves in quite a bit of humor and geeky movie references to keep things entertaining in the midst of all the serious arguments.
If you lean hard left, you will probably hate this book. Goldberg absolutely shreds some liberal positions, sometimes several times over. This will either frustrate you or you will totally disagree at such a fundamental level that the book will not be at all enjoyable.
The story is structured as a series of interviews between the "author" and different characters providing unique view points on the zombie war. This provides a unique twist on the typical zombie story. Overall the plot itself is not very unique, but the presentation sets it apart. The production and voice acting are top notch with a full cast acting out the characters. The structure of the story fits perfectly with the audio book format.
This isn't a great epic with excellent writing and complex characters. However, it is a short, very entertaining book that quickly gets you into the story. It would be perfect to kill time during a road trip.
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