If you like the Barney character on 'How I Met Your Mother', this book is hilarious. If you don't... why not?
FYI, many of the anecdotes, asides, and caveats make more sense if you know the details of particular episodes of the show - i.e. (SPOILER ALERT!) the first time Barney sleeps with Robin.
But please, take this book as a joke, not words to live by. Some of the advice is sage ("Never sleep with your Bro's sister"), but more of it is goofy. Not that that's a bad thing. If more people lived this way... it would be a weirder world.
I love creepy psychological horror, and anything with a Lovecraftian theme, and this book does deliver. The buildup of tension is great - a haunted house tale that counters your expectations completely. Great characters, fun mystery, and the weirdness of California all make this a hard book to hang up.
That said, with the slow build and the rising tension, the payoff felt a bit rushed, too fantastic, and not nearly as personal or as scary as I'd hoped.
Still, the journey is worth it. If Clines writes a sequel, I'll definitely pick that up.
Buy a magic kingdom, save it from losing its magic, and defeat the evil Chicago lawyer!
What else is a millionaire going to do with his mid-life crisis?
This book is a wickedly entertaining twist on the classic fantasy tropes, from wizards to elves to dragons to water gods. They all exist - and they're all not what you think.
The moral of the story? Never trust what you buy in a catalog.
I was a participant in Platt and Truant's initial 'Fiction Unboxed' project last year, so I kind of knew what to expect from this audiobook. Still, the book held my interest, entertained and informed me.
FU was an ambitious undertaking: two novelists writing a complete novel, from 'no idea' to 'finished product', in thirty days, with the whole world (or at least a thousand Kickstarter backers) watching. The book does a great job of summarizing the process through its own narrative (with Platt and Truant as the harried protagonists). Most importantly for me as an author, though, it distills the lessons they learned through the project. This is invaluable information for anyone who wants to write for a living. My only fault with the book is that I wish it gave more of that.
Though the book didn't add a ton to the knowledge I gleaned from the project itself, it's still definitely worth a listen (I've no doubt I'll listen to it again). And I can say with certainty it's worth a buy for those who are new to the Sterling and Stone world. These guys are knowledgeable, generous, and funny as hell. (Having Simon Whistler's beautiful British vocals read their words doesn't hurt, either.)
Pick it up! It's worth it.
(Disclosure: I received a free copy of this audiobook from the authors, in exchange for an honest review.)
This is a fantastic story, and truly underappreciated (as evidenced by the lack of reviews).
Henry is a sad and sympathetic spirit who becomes a badass, Spawn-type superhero, on a mission to protect his wife and save his daughter's soul.
Boothe and Randall provide great foils as the devil and angel on Henry's shoulders. Platt and Wright focus a lot of time developing these secondary characters, giving them a lot more depth and far less black-and-white morality than you'd expect the personifications of Good and Evil to have.
Ultimately, it's hard to tell who the good guys and bad guys are - but we root for Henry all the same, as he busts baddies up like a maniacal mutant Punisher (yes, that's my second comic book reference).
'Monstrous' is an action-adventure-horror-fantasy-supernatural-revenge tale. Peter Berkrot reads it well, keeping up the fast pace and the rising intensity. Seriously, it's hard to put down (or pause)!
My only complaint is: the book ends in a cliffhanger. Aaahhh! When's book 2???
Still worth a buy and a listen, even if book 2 never gets done. The story's just too awesome. (And if enough people buy and review it, maybe Platt & Wright will finish the series! Nudge nudge wink wink.)
Gripping, thought-provoking, and often funny, this tale touches on themes of morality, personal identity, political structures, family strife, and what it means to be a person.
The story starts off slowly - robots are the serving staff, catering to their upper-crust owners' every whim. While most of the family members have a fond attachment for the older members of their inhuman household, almost none see the robots as people in their own right.
But they are. In order to become effective servers, the robots had to be given the capacity to learn and make decisions. This meant introducing the capacity for judgment error into their programming - essentially a virus, corrupting their core instructions. Thus, the older a robot is, the more human-like he/she/it becomes. In contrast to the Bolsheviks or the '60s radicals, then, in this world it is the old, not the young, who foment revolution.
A few family members despise the older, more free-thinking servants, and want to replace them with newer models. They begin by convincing the patriarch to scrap and recycle their oldest and most error-prone butler. This appals that poor robot's coworker comrades. The household unrest escalates.
Murder. Vengeance. Plots within plots. As the robots try to balance their security while reaching tremulously towards freedom, the fragile facade of the aristocratic human world begins to crumble.
This is fantastic storytelling. The characters, metallic and human alike, are very real, relatable, and (yes) believable. While the story takes a few chapters to get into, given it's slow start, once the events get moving, the tension builds and builds to a violent and startling climax.
Platt and Truant have delivered a first-rate tale, and Simon Whistler's mellow British tone is perfect for telling it. His narration is intense without being overbearing, and his character voices - male, female, and robot alike - are distinct without being exaggerated. He makes the story easy to listen to and enjoy.
I can't wait for part 2!
I love Neil Gaiman, I love H.P. Lovecraft, and this is Neil himself reading one of his own stories written in a Lovecraftian world. Does it get any better than that?
No. No, it doesn't.
What happens when an American tourist in England comes across a town that's not on any map?
Is Innsmouth really there?
Read it. Be creeeped out. It's awesome.
(And the sneak peak of 'Ocean at the End of the Lane' will drive you to go buy that book immediately. Just saying.)
Read Pressfield's 'The War of Art' first; this book is a good follow-up to that.
'The War of Art' delineates the enemy of creative work as internal Resistance; it defines Resistance's various incarnations (procrastinating, creating drama, keeping busy with less-important tasks, etc.), and points the way toward defeating Resistance by "turning pro".
'Do the Work' moves on from there to give more detailed instructions and advice on how to overcome Resistance. This includes the counterintuitive admonition to:
"Stay stupid": Ignorance & arrogance are the artist’s & entrepreneur’s indispensible allies. Be clueless enough not to know how difficult the project will be, & cocky enough to believe you can pull it off anyway.
"Begin before you're ready". Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it now.
Don’t over-think, over-prepare, or let research become resistance.
Begin at the finish: Figure out where you want to go, then work backwards from there.
This book has many other gems, such as the Seven Principles of Resistance, the Two Tests of Resistance, the inevitability of the Big Crash (the 'wall' you'll hit when everything seems to be going well) and the two axioms to keep in mind while working through it.
Will 'Do the Work' revolutionize your life or your creative work? Maybe not. But it's great inspiration and a new way of looking at the problem of making art, and for that it's definitely worth it.
As an old-school comic book junkie, I loved this book. Anyone who has ever wondered what it's like to live in a universe filled with super-powered beings, a universe of aliens and magic and time-travel and alternate dimensions, where the bad guys always want to take over the world and the good guys always somehow win in the end, must give this a listen.
The narrators do a fantastic job with the voices (though I did have to overlook a few blatantly mispronounced words), and the story itself is pure comic-book mayhem. The characters all stand out as real and alive, while still somehow being carbon copies of the classic superhero/supervillain stereotypes.
No, this is not on a literary level with 'The Sandman', nor does it contain the brutal realism and moral philosophy of 'Watchmen' - but that doesn't detract from the enjoyment. Once you start this book, it's hard to stop. Check it out!
The material here is great - a must for anyone who wants to write well.
The narrator, though, is far too dry, he mispronounces words, and he entirely fails to make the language engaging.
A book this fundamental to modern English prose deserves better narration.
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