29 April 2007

American Facists

Read this one in one day at work. Terribly scary and depressing. i really wish it had given some things that regular people could do to help stop the march of the religious right. while a very good book i don't even want to talk about it as it is just so BLAH.

about done with 2 more so should post tomorrow.

18 April 2007

Disparate Worlds

I read A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah today at work. I am kind of glad i read it at work otherwise i would have been crying terribly throughout. It is such a heart-wrenching story. The young man who wrote it is my younger brother's age and he becomes a soldier at the age of 13. He does some terrible things after witnessing some horrible atrocities. He looses his entire family slowly in the course of the war. His story is so shocking and sad.

The other one i read was Death by Black Hole and Other Cosmic Quandries by Neil DeGrasse Tyson who is an astrophysicist. Some interesting stuff about the universe and, well, astrophysics. Coming at this one from a decent if not great science background (I read The Elegant Universe and was SO CLOSE to understanding it and am a huge Discovery and Science Channel junkie) i understood almost all of it. It started as a series of essays but did translate well to the book format. even got a quote
I don't want students who could make the next major breakthrough in renewable energy sources or space travel to have been taught that anything they don't understand, and that nobody yet understands, is divinely constructed and therefore beyond their intellectual capacity.

currently:watching mythbusters

17 April 2007

Kushiel's Dart by Jacqueline Carey

Really enjoyed this book, the first in a series. Liked it enough that although i had gotten the first one from the library i headed to Border's today to get the next one. It will probably be a bit before i get to it as i still have several others to get through. UGH!

16 April 2007

Atheism Rules

Finished Letter to a Christian Nation by Sam Harris. I had previously read The End of Faith by the same author and really enjoyed it. Calm, reasoned arguments against religion generally and Islam and Christianity specifically. Both books are a bit gentler than Dawkins' The God Delusion which is a far more kick ass, take no prisoners, how stupid your beliefs are really statement. Internally i feel like acting like Dawkins but personality wise i would be far more like Harris. I am sick of living in the South, getting weird looks when i say i don't go to church. I went in for some medical tests a couple years ago before i had my gall bladder taken out and I actually had a hospital employee lecture me about how i needed religion in my life. Now on forms i just write "catholic" figuring my mother will be consoled by knowing i had the last rights if something happened to me. I do my best not to feel morally superior because i don't believe in a magic book but sometimes i can't help it.

a quote from George Carlin's Brain Droppings:
Religion has actually convinced people that there's an INVISIBLE MAN...LIVING IN THE SKY...who watches every thing you do, every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a list of ten special things that he does not want you to do. And if you do any of these ten things, he has a special place full of fire and smoke and burning and torture and anguish where he will send to live and suffer and burn and choke and scream and cry for ever and ever ´til the end of time...but he loves you!

10 April 2007

Making Some Progress

I decided to not finish Imperial Life in the Emerald City by Rajiv Chandrasekaran. I am racking up library charges as i cannot renew it. I had gotten about 80% done and really just hit a wall. It was depressing and a lot of the info i had read on various online news sites, seen on the Daily Show, or read in other books. I highly recommend Babylon by Bus by Ray Lemoine, Jeff Neumann and Donovan Webster. It is a story of 2 friends who sell tee shirts at Red Sox games who go to Iraq to help with the rebuilding and the experiences they have. Great as purely a travelogue but also an excellent view of the ridiculous errors made by the US.

I finished The Bone Doll's Twin by Lynn Flewelling for a yahoo group. WONDERFUL! It is the first in a series and after I finished it last night i had to get on the computer to look up the rest of them and see if i could determine if one of the characters in the first novel survived. The person is mentioned in the later book blurbs, YAY! I have become George R R Martin fan recently and this one did remind me of his Song of Ice and Fire series. On the Amazon reviews there were a couple of complaints about stock characters (evil king, bad wizard/good wizard, hidden rightful ruler) but it is a fantasy book. That type of criticism to me would be like complaining that a sci-fi novel had robots and space battles. Or that a TV drama had cops, doctors and lawyers. I check out any of those things and that is what i expect to find. LOST excluded :)

Also finished Book Lust by Nancy Pearl. I now have about 80 more books to read just based on a slow skim. Not really a book to read but more to use as a guide for more real reading. I feel like i have read a lot in my 30 years but the majority of the books mentioned I hadn't read or heard of. Banged my ego a bit.

Stuntman Mike: There are few things fetching as a bruised ego on a beautiful angel.

saw it. LOVED it. On a first watching i liked Planet Terror (rodriguez, zombies) better than Death Proof (tarantino, cars). However i think that once i get it on dvd that may change. Also, $4.37/movie isn't bad.

05 April 2007

More Philosophy

Finished The Undead and Philosophy:Chicken Soup for the Soulless. I actually got this one for Christmas from BF but hadn't gotten around to reading the last 5 or so essays until today. Quite interesting. My original impression was that it was a look at vampires but about 2/3 was about zombies instead. Now i have a craving to rewatch Romero's Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead and watch for the first time Day and Land of the Dead which i haven't seen. (i know i should have, don't yell).

03 April 2007

Trying to Catch Up

I finished Alternatives to Sex by Stephen McCauley. I thought it was quite good. It has a "pre-ending" rather than an ending but it really worked well with the plotline and the characters. I would really recommend it to anyone who doesn't mind unlovable main characters and doesn't have to have all the stories tidied up at the end.

Did get a great quote from it, on rich people's kids.

Children were being raised to believe that everything they said and did and thought was interesting and valuable, but since learning is essentially an admission that there's something you don't yet know, most were stuck with the misconceptions and faulty information they'd picked up at age five.

I have about 8 books that i am close to finishing (less than 100 pages left) and i really am going to try to get done in the next few days. So i may have a bunch to post but not that i technically read in the time between posts.