Posts Tagged With: books

Philip K. Dick – Do Androids Dream Electric Sheep?

7082This is, on mere technicality, a re-read. I was very little when I first put my hands on “Do Androids Dream Electric Sheep” by Philip K. Dick (Blade Runner 1; ISBN 0345404475; 244p.; Goodreads), and recall it best in relation to other non-related sci-fi books on bounty hunters, profession I highly wanted to participate in back then. Yet the reading now was delicious. Funny how sci-fi has such a special spot in my heart, and yet I read so little of it.

Rick Decard is a bounty hunter with a license to kill, if you please. His job is to test suspicious individuals and, if they can’t pass the test, kill them, any means necessary, excluding human endangerment. Otherwise his mission would sort of lose the purpose. For he kills androids who pose as humans, androids who escaped Mars, usually, after killing humans there, and who are getting just too good to track down. There is only one test they always fail. Androids, unlike real humans, are too logical to have proper empathy. They can be trained to respond, but there’s only that much you can wiggle your way out of. Yet Rick’s job is no easier due to this. No empathy, for starters means they’ll kill people if they have to, even if “have to” is a mere distraction.

So the hunt begins. Decard follows in the tracks of androids his colleague has fallen to. Falsely gaining confidence after the first kill, he soon finds himself in far more trouble, than he ever thought possible. Worse, slowly but surely he is uncovering a far deeper rooted plan to survive that androids have cast in a web across his city, if not planet. They infiltrated places they had no rights to be in, right under their noses, every day at their ears. And newer models make even him question the morality of his work, hell, even his own humanity becomes questionable… Because, what if memories are false too?

I really like the characters in this book. Decard is not the only protagonist, but I excluded the other one purposefully. I also really love how androids have this delusion of what a head hunter for androids is: this unstoppable machine they’ll fall to if they as much as lock eyes with. If you like cyberpunk – you must read this. It’s a very easy to read and follow book, and I’ll gladly give it a 5 out of 5. And if anyone’s wondering about those sequels – someone else wrote it, I don’t feel like reading them right now.

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Categories: 5-5, Books: Everything, Books: Sci-Fi, Sci-Fi Books | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

George Orwell – 1984

5470It was due time I picked up “1984” by George Orwell (ISBN 0451524934; 328p; Goodreads), what with all the things happening in real life. It is also one of those rare classic books that got good reviews from some people I follow, who I didn’t expect to rate it well. So I’ve read it, and I’m pretty blown away.

Individual makes mistakes. Only together, led by strong Party, people, their nation, can survive among the enemies, win wars, thrive, prosper. Individual thinking, thus, is a weakness punishable by jail, or even death. For if you seek to think on your own, declining the Big Brother doctrine, you, obviously, wish for the Party, and therefore – your own nation, to fail. By disagreeing with the truth given by Party, by not destroying the false memories, you are doing ill for your nation, you’re a traitor, and thus, you must be punished.

 

Winston tried to live with the memories of yesterday’s enemy, who, today, is a friend that was never an enemy. He tried to live one step behind the Big Brother, the all seeing eyes, the all hearing ears. He tried to live with false, individual thinking induced freedom, believing that at least in his own head – he must be safe.

From the reviews I’m seeing, I dare assume the book is on the harder works of literature. But that aside, I also saw some reviews claiming this is too thick a fantasy book to feel realistic. So let me tell this: ideas never die. If you believe that things like communism have died, let me show you the images of Confederate flag, defended as part of South history. Let me show you the photographs of Neo Nazis, marching with their stupid tiki torches. Let me show you the thriving “I’m better than thou” individuals, who are gathering into clusters. As one smart boy in a video game once said: It’s dangerous when too many men in same uniform believe themselves right. No idea that can make an insecure little man believe himself better than someone else will ever die. So I give this book a 5 out of 5, and I pray that we never forget.

Just because you didn’t suffer it, doesn’t mean it’s not happening (e.g. if as a woman you were never discriminated against, doesn’t mean you don’t need feminism; if as a person you never been racially, ethnically, religiously, or otherwise persecuted, doesn’t mean it’s not happening out there)

Categories: 5-5, Books: Dystopian, Books: Other Fiction | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A.C. Bextor – Empires and Kings [1]

x3Sometimes I pick a book up just because, because it sat there, taunting me or whatever. Sometimes due to such an action I even find good reads. Sadly, “Empires and Kings” by A.C. Bextor (Mafia 1; ASIN B01MZA0MS5; 322p.; Goodreads) is not one of those. It’s just a book about a Russian Mafia Family head, portrayed as the most vile and ruthless monster, who, beside the few base things he did that’ll make you roll your eyes, rather than fear him, hardly did anything.

The book is told from two perspectives. One, the first, belongs to our scary mister Vlad Zaleski, the head of this Mafia Family, one of the most powerful men in the underworld. Back in the day he was required to exterminate a family of a traitor. Wrong time, wrong place, the traitor’s daughter, a mere child, runs into the room, scared by all the noises. Vlad makes her watch the killing of her family, and, due to reasons unclear, takes her with him, and puts her into his own family. Maybe he took pity on the child. Maybe he wanted her there, as a reminder to anyone else who’d like to try and betray him, what’s left of the last man who did: a single girl devoted, loyal to him.

She’s better known as the Traitor’s Daughter. She grew up fearing and revering Vlad as some sort of a god. His son became her best friend, her brother. His sister became her sister, and best friend. Growing up among the mafia men has changed her perspective on life, has given her a different rhythm to things, a certain sense of power, even in captivity, where no one could touch her, for she was jailed and protected by their boss. The only truly bad outcome in this is that she fell in love with her god, she fell in love with Vlad.

Talk about Stockholm Syndrome, right? The book has a good idea, even for a romance novel it’s a pretty fair one, for I am sure there’s many who’d enjoy a creature like Vlad, the mafia boss, the gangster, the mister danger in the modern world of darkness. Yet the story, the way it was told, the fleshing out of the small ideas, making them seem artificially bigger felt a bit weak. So for the time being I can only offer this book a 3 out of 5, and we’ll see on whether I can pick up the second one.

Categories: 3-5, Books: Everything, Crime Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Chloe Neill – Some Girls Bite [1]

8160905I recently received the gift of books, first two in Chloe Neill series “Chicagoland Vampires“. Lucky for me, they came in German too, and believe me, there’s no better way to refresh your memory on a language, than something as light as these kinds of books: the Sookie kind, with vampires out and about. So I went ahead and read the first one, “Some Girls Bite” or “Frisch Gebissen” (Chicagoland Vampires 1; ISBN 0451226259; 341p.; Goodreads). It’s not a masterpiece, true, but if you need a light read that leaves little to nothing in your brain afterwards, it’s always better to have vampires, than not to, right?

Caroline Merit was never good enough for her New Money family. They finally have the New American Dream life, and want to show it, while she doesn’t care all that much, and prefers making her own life, for herself, not for show. But she was coping. Up until everything went to waste on that bad night, when she got attacked, and had to be turned to have her life saved. To her family it’s just another silly, and rebellious act of hers, as if she asked to be turned. Tho, mind you, that does happen. And to Merit this is a start of a very annoying series of events.

For from now on Merit belongs to an infamous house of supernaturals, the kind that still drink from humans. She has to swear fealty to their insufferable master, learn their rules, learn to fight, learn their history, learn the history of other supernaturals… And then also deal with the murders somehow connected to her house, house rivalry, and the angry scent of war in the air, for by far not everyone’s happy about this whole coming-out thing.

I both liked, and disliked the book. I didn’t like it, because there’s just no simpler than this. But then I also liked it for it. Really, there’s worse things than vampires who always want to chew on something. And the little detective story wasn’t too bad. Too bad was that whole scene with the favors and oaths… Anyway, 3 out of 5, and I’ll go read the next one.

Categories: 3-5, Books of Supernaturals, urban fantasy, vampires | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Monday: Stuck in Central America [LT]

Currently reading a book by Lithuanian author Martynas Starkus “Stuck in Central America“, of their (him, and his great friend Vytaras Radzevicius) adventures in Central America.

Categories: Books: Everything, Monday: Promo | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

William Bass – Death’s Acre

15251I feel like “Death’s Acre” by William Bass (ISBN 0425198324; 320p.; Goodreads) goes together with the previous book “Beyond the Body Farm” very well. They feel like one book split in two, no matter which way around you pick it up. The only bad thing about it, is that I can say all the same things about this book, as I told of the previous one.

Dr Bill Bass tells a fine story of how it all got started. From the shabby spaces no one else wanted, to an angry janitor, who found an experiment body in his closet, to an acre of land somewhere behind a prison, and the need for a privacy fence. The experiments got more elaborate, sometimes going as far, as marking the flies, that’s how much those bugs are important when it comes to solving the crimes. They even helped a famous murder detective author write a book, by figuring what body leaves in the first spot of keeping, when transferred to another.

This is a book every murder detective lover must read, really. Dr Bill Bass is an amazing person, highly aware, and considerate of people around him, even if sometimes he seems to care about the dead a little more, due to the stories, and truths they can tell (remember the poor janitor?). It’s a great book, really.

All in all, if you read Death’s Acre, read Beyond the Body Farm too, for they go together perfectly. I can give this book 5 out of 5.

Categories: 5-5, Books: Everything | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Eddie Izzard – Believe Me

24611840Ah, Eddie. It’s hard to not love this wonderful person, with his simple, honest humor. Once I laughed to tears when he cracked a joke about printers, I’ll add the video below if I can find it. So when I saw his memoir “Believe Me: A Memoir of Love, Death, And Jazz Chickens” (ISBN 1611764696; 368p.; Goodreads), I grabbed it right away. Because, come on, it’s the one, and only: Eddie Izzard.

This is the type of memoir I like – about everything, in details, from the beginning, with fill-in’s, and explanations. Eddie Izzard seems to be a mighty flexible person, able to adjust to almost anything. Starting with his career as street performer, then stand-up comedian, writer, TV star, and so on, and to this day. He followed his heart, and so today we know him both as cold hearted killer in, say, Hannibal series, and as that wonderful transgender comedian, a man in a dress on stage, killing it!

When Eddie was still a child – his mother died. He loved her, and still does, very much. Father, unable to care for children, and work at the same time, sent them to boarding school. Eddie, with his poor health, and away from home, and loving parents, felt quite abandoned. Add his gender identity to it, and you get a fairly poor cocktail. Yet his spirit was ever so wonderful, and his wonderful childish discoveries were everything, I tell you. For example, one time someone told their class there’s a spot in, I don’t remember now, either a better class, or even a higher class, and so they asked whether anyone would like to pass there. Before little Eddie could even roll this thought in his head, some kid just raised his hand, and bam, that was that. Eddie thus came to conclusions: if you just learn to raise your hand real fast, one day you might even become the president of some country!

The memoir is full of everything, as I already mentioned, including the backstage of comedian life, what it’s like, how are the people. The only problem people might get with it: Eddie has a mighty complex way to telling his story, full of long sentences, side clauses within, explanations, and even footnotes. It’s not an easy book, is what I’m saying. But oh how worthy it is, 5 out of 5, there’s no way I can give less.

Categories: 5-5, Biographies, Books: Everything, Books: Funny! | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Amy Schumer – The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo

29405093I love Amy Schumer stand-ups, and I love the reactions of people who’d watch them with you. I could give you a long why’s-that story, but maybe next time. Right now, let’s talk about her biography “The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo” (ISBN 1501139886; 323p.; Goodreads). I can’t say I enjoyed it much, but it really had some super good points, that made it worth the while.

 

I love how this wonderful comedian owns her truths, and shameful moments. Instead of letting you call her out, she’ll go ahead, and stand up to tell you about it herself! And it’s great not only on a personal scale of her, me, you. It’s important in a larger scale of the world too. For instance, she mentioned the stigma in America of Old Money vs Young Money. Old Money equals being born into money. You’re a rich refined kid in a fancy car, with little understanding of what this poverty thing is. Young Money is the kind you made on your own, being born average, or in said poverty. Amy bravely admits acting like trash who just won the lottery, not wanting for anything, not saving now, when she could, and instead eating dumplings for months to come later, when she couldn’t. But then she mentions the other aspect of Young Money. The giving aspect. Someone with little to no understanding of what it’s like to need, let alone want something will not feel the same joy Amy had when she finally could afford to give her sister a 10k check. I mean, I guess they could be that good of people, and feel joy, but how many rich people with sense of generosity do you know? Old Money and generous? So here Amy Schumer stands: you can’t judge me, I already judged myself, we’re done, time to move on!

And that’s just one of the great examples. There’s plenty of less good-humored ones, less funny, and even truly sad episodes. Like her broken family, sick father, mother who can’t seem to find her spot in this life, the forced cynicism, ought to protect from attachments to people who will inevitably leave your life anyway.

And while I see great value in this book, and respect Amy Schumer, I can’t say I enjoyed this book as much as I did some other biographies of wonderful women out there. But I guess that’s the thing, right? She passed a good message, and you don’t have to like the way it was given, to see the value in it. 4 out of 5 to the girl with the lower back tattoo.

Categories: 4-5, Biographies, Books: Everything, Books: Funny! | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Earned Break: Re-release of Witcher books

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Making sure the new translation is good.

So far – it’s good.

Categories: Books: Everything | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Diana Wynne Jones – Castle in the Air [2]

47520Ah, well, okay. “Castle in the Air” by Diana Wynne Jones (Howl’s Moving Castle; ISBN 0064473457; 298p.; Goodreads), second book in Howl’s moving castle trilogy, is not per se a direct sequel to the Howl’s family. Instead, for the most of the book, story follows other characters, in a whole other land, with whole different beings granting wishes.

Abdullah was selling carpets, minding his own, when a man came offering a flying one. Abdullah, not being an idiot, tested the carpet, and bargained to the last penny too, but did buy it. Happy with his new piece, he fell asleep content, just to wake up… In a strange garden, with the most beautiful woman looming over him that he ever had the luck to lay eyes upon. Sadly, Abdullah doesn’t know why carpet brought him there, and so he can never be sure he’ll see her again, thus he decides he’ll propose once they meet again. And when that day came at last… The love  of his life was kidnapped by an angry Djinn.

Abdullah is not the kind of a man who gives up his hopes, and dreams, once he already found him, so he ventures out after the djinni, determined to find the evil bastard, and get his princess back. On his way there he meets a soldier no other person can recall. He, reluctantly, befriends a cat, who turns out to be far more than just a cat. And eventually even meets Howl himself…

It’s a great story, fitting Arabian Nights very well. But I did miss Howl, and his family very greatly, so I would’ve preferred some more of them. Thus I’ll give this book 4 out of 5, for the repetitive nature mostly, but will absolutely read the last one in the trilogy.

Categories: 4-5, Books: Everything, Books: Funny!, Fantasy Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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