24 October 2015

#180. The Long War by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter


Title:
The Long
Author:
Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter
Genre:
Science Fiction
Synopsis:
The governments of original Earth feel threatened by the independence of the long earth colonies and seek to impose their authority across the settlements, the other lifeforms that share the long earth with humanity are restless, mysterious others are stirring.
Verdict:
Amazing and authentic look at human nature and how this scenario may play out. Stunning descriptions of possible landscapes, flora and fauna, and extremes of chance. The continuing investigation into what a truly aware AI might mean is thought provoking.
Pages:
422
Read:
November 2015

22 October 2015

#179. Vampires In The Lemon Grove by Karen Russell


Title:
Vampires In The Lemon Grove
Author:
Karen Russell
Genre:
Short Stories
Synopsis:
A collection of short stories about vampires trying to free themselves from thirst, time travelling klepto birds, a weird frontier situation, and many others.
Verdict:
Interesting, confronting, strange, unreal, seemed to exist in a similar vein, very odd as well.
All of the stories have an air of unreality and a flavour of melancholy so while they were well written they left me feeling a bit drained.
Pages:
243
Read:
October 2015

28 September 2015

#178. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline


Title:
Ready Player One
Author:
Ernest Cline
Genre:
Science Fiction/Future
Synopsis:
In a future lived primarily online due to the state of the real world, people compete to win an inheritance left behind by one of the creators of their online environment. To win the contestants must follow clues left behind by the pop culture obsessed creator and they are competing not only against each other but by an army of corporate employees who would use the power afforded them by winning to ruin the virtual world for everyone.
Verdict:
An absolutely fantastic read. The high quality of world building for both the real world and the virtual one make this a richly detailed and engaging book. The characters flaws and strengths feel organic and the pop culture references and nods to people of today are excellent fun.
Pages:
372
Read:
September 2015

13 September 2015

#177. Mindfulness For Health: A Practical Guide To Relieving Pain, Reducing Stress And Restoring Wellbeing by Vidymala Burch and Danny Penman


Title:
Mindfulness For Health: A Practical Guide To Relieving Pain, Reducing Stress and Restoring Wellbeing
Author:
Vidymala Burch and Danny Penman
Genre:
Meditation/Self-help/Health
Synopsis:
A guide to using meditation/mindfulness to reduce the level of discomfort experienced as a result of chronic pain of all sorts.
Verdict:
The anecdotes and advice resonated with some of my worst experiences and was helpful in helping me get my head around some stress management techniques.
It differentiates between primary pain (the pain caused by your condition/injury) and secondary pain (a pain that is created by your physical and mental reaction to the primary pain), and concentrates on guiding the reader in ways to reduce secondary pain which may in turn have an effect on the level of primary pain.
Pages:
233
Read:
September 2015

29 August 2015

#176. The Ocean At The End Of The Lane by Neil Gaiman


Title:
The Ocean At The End Of The Lane
Author:
Neil Gaiman
Genre:
Supernatural/Fantasy/Fiction
Synopsis:
A young boy encounters a strange family and touches another world where reality shifts and neither memory or perception can be fully trusted.
Verdict:
A beautiful, haunting tale with moments of childhood terror made real and powerful.
Gaiman has a gift for writing from the viewpoint of childhood with the innocence and the terror that are each as powerful as the other. Some of the ways that memory is used in this story remind me a bit of Fire and Hemlock by Diana Wynne Jones, a possible hat tip from one friend to the work of the other.
Pages:
178
Read:
August 2015