Category: Book Reviews


After reading Ender’s Game I thought that I should try a much older sci-fi adventure to see how the writing differs.  When I discovered that C.S. Lewis wrote “Out of the Silent Planet” and the fact that the title is a very catchy Iron Maiden song, I set about to listen to that book next.

CSLewis_OutOfTheSilentPlanet

 

Lewis was extremely descriptive is his settings.  So much that I literally allowed my mind to blur the scene together and not get to hung up on what the scene would exactly look like.  I did like, however, the description of how Ransom could not make sense of much of what he saw on the new planet.  I compare this to learning my new job.  When I became a “pump man” for oil well bottom hole pumps, when I entered the shop for the first time…all the pieces were just bits of metal, that they had purposes and different sizes. It took my brain a moment to understand that and about six months to internalize the same, and just now after about my seventh month I am becoming useful.

I will comment that it was an exhausting mental effort to listen to the whole book as quickly as I did (about 3 days in the work truck and a little at home), but it was a fantastic story and even better from a viewpoint of science in the 1930’s and 40’s.  It felt oldschool and classy as the characters were all gentlemen in their own way.

I fear that much of the philosophy was lost on me, I know that the book makes the alien planet out to be a heaven of blissful people that never think any harm and makes humans out to be monstrous…but there was a lot more that if I had been reading the book instead of listening to the audio, I would have underlined or highlighted.

Some great quotes from the book:

“The love of knowledge is a kind of madness.”
C.S. Lewis, Out of the Silent Planet

It is a little maddening to start learning something, get really excited or experience please from the learning and then want to know everything there is to know on the matter and all in the same night!

 

“And I say also this. I do not think the forest would be so bright, nor the water so warm, nor love so sweet, if there were no danger in the lakes.”
C.S. Lewis, Out of the Silent Planet

Opposition in all things makes the good enjoyable and the bad fearful…or something like that…

 

“A pleasure is full grown only when it is remembered.”
C.S. Lewis, Out of the Silent Planet

This makes sense in the book, but I fear that dwelling on one good memory instead of moving forward to make many more worth while memories is a dangerous thing.

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I read “Enders Game” when I was in Elementary school…and I can easily say that I did not absorb a single word of it.  Though I did remember the little surprise near the end of the book.  It was really interesting to listen to the book and the company that did the recording did a masterful job even with the impersonations of different characters voices.  I has to listen to the book in 5 minute intervals to and from work in the morning, coming home for lunch and leaving work for the day.  I was fortunate to have a few times where I delivered an oil pump that I could listen for a 2 hour stretch.

Enders Game has an incredible way of showing how a bully to a young child can be torture and also how it can make you stronger if it does not break you.  I also really enjoyed how the characters were so young and yet doing amazing things.  I wonder how far from fiction this would be if children could be given the opportunity or even the pressure to excel.

I have some quotes that I really liked that were just mind blowing when you stop to think about them for a few minutes:

“Perhaps it’s impossible to wear an identity without becoming what you pretend to be.”
― Orson Scott Card, Ender’s Game

I have found this to be true, the meanest example that I will admit to is when I was really young and was making fun of a kid for stuttering…after a little bit of that it took me a little while to stop stuttering, either way I got my just deserts.

“Humanity does not ask us to be happy. It merely asks us to be brilliant on its behalf.”
― Orson Scott Card, Ender’s Game

This quote rang loud and clear over and over again in my mind.  It adds to my theory on how no one cares and it does not make them evil…they just don’t.  When you make interactions with people, they need you to work, or to do something or to even listen to them and help them through their problems.  But they are not, initially, asking you to be happy, just to be brilliant on their behalf.

“No book, however good, can survive a hostile reading.”
― Orson Scott Card, Ender’s Game

Pretty self-explanatory…a book cannot combat a bias.  I on somewhat on the fence about this…if you are really looking for the truth or for understanding a book can whittle away at you.  If you are dead set to not be persuaded you will likely not read the book or get very far in it.

“The essence of training is to allow error without consequence.”
― Orson Scott Card, Ender’s Game

Probably my favourite words in the book.  So many times I have been terrified in training, when this should have been my mantra.

I have not finished this book yet, but I am getting exhausting with all the reading and listening of content, that tonight it feels like a chore.  And that would be perfectly alright if I were a paid commentator or reviewer of books…

But I did like this book, it was a really cool, life story of someone who did a lot with their life and had a lot of joyful experiences as well as a lot of d-bags that only made her life more interesting…I don’t know if she really says d-bags or just used that for the book, but it’s cool all the same.

I doubt Tina Fey will ever read this since she is doing so many other things right now, so I will admit that I got her audio book because I want to write a book myself and when I first glance at her book it seemed like it was nothing but being silly and telling some life experiences just to tell them.  While contemplating  my own book(s), I had realization that I don’t have time to write a decent book or put any quality into them.  So I thought I will get all my journals and notebooks and just write a book from them.  I was starting on that and it seemed to be going really slow and had no point…and then I thought back to Amazon comments on Tina Fey’s “Bossypants.” and thought, I will see how she did it and then I can surely write a book!

I don’t think I will exactly mimic her writing, but it was a great book to see the makeup of a successful person.  And since she is a comedian, the whole book is very entertaining.  Although I would not recommend playing the Audio book while you at work, with some of the comebacks and insults she received and gave out.

Another great thing to take away from this book is the amount of work she put into her life in general, here I was whining to myself that I cannot work on a book with one job, a wife and one kid!  She was producing a show, throwing a party for her kid as a mom, and then moonlighting at SNL (Saturday Night Live)…I had knots in my stomach last week about giving a talk in church, cleaning up the ordering info at work, and not getting a decent blog posting out.

Also the way that Tina speaks (I imagine the way she wrote this book is the way she speaks) is the way I think that my older sister (the only other one in the family that has red hair) speaks, and she will surely have many great stories to tell if she wrote a book that people wanted to read cause she was famous…for whatever reason.

I really dunno if I would recommend the book to people or not, I enjoyed it, but there were parts where I thought it was pointless, only later to find that it was some good backstory to who she was and how she got to where she is.  The ghettoness of her YMCA job gave me hope that lame jobs do not destroy you, if you don’t let them.

 

I suppose this can fall under a book review, and it is really the only thing I can think about since I made myself read over 80 comics in the last week or so.  I have always liked the cartoon in the 90’s as a kid, the movies are pretty good, and I owned about a grand total of 6 or 7 comic books as a kid.  But a friend of mine had the complete series of Ultimate X-Men, so I told myself I should really figure out what the story is, how it was meant to be read…from comic books!

First off the thing I noticed is that 16, 17, 18, and 19 year olds were bigger and buffer than anyone of that age that I have ever seen.  I had a friend that was pretty big, and played football, but not like in the comics.

I think this series was done over this last decade so close to somewhere around 2002 or 2003, so the phones were flip phones and what not.

All the female characters were way hotter than they were in the 90’s cartoon… especially Storm!  Storywise I have never really cared for her much, but she had a naughty fishnet punk look to her for most of the series, too bad something had to happen to her boyfriend to get her to that stage.

I learned a lot more about the Jean character and that whole Phoenix thing that she is having problems with, that is actually a really neat side story.

Wolverine is, of course, the hard ass loaner…with a soft spot for any particular person or cause at any time that suits the overall story line.  But what I love the most is that we he gets really messed up and heals….his sideburns and long hair grow back just right!  I hate people who nit pick, but I was reading these comics for fun, so I picked here and there.

The other cool thing about this series is that they changed up the animation style ever so often, it feels really fresh and new when they do that!  You are reading a story of everyone having powers and being hardcore in their own special way, then when it has a more cartoony feel, you see the sillier side of them…despite what they are saying.   When they were in the sewers to rescue a friend the animation style was rather serious and really made for the mood of the story.

I love the full pagers that have incredible detail and a small line or a single word.  For example, five or six blocks are on one page where they meed a new guy who just killed a million bad guys…In amazement they ask, “Who are you!?”  Then you slowly, (creating the dramatic effect for yourself…you would be amazed at how you help yourself experience the drama in comics…) “Wolverine…” and there is blood dripping from his claws, his shirt ripped to shreds so you can see where he is quickly healing. a few bodies, and the people who asked the question blurry in the background but still showing complete shock and awe…it is super cheesy in the movies…but an absolute must in comic books!

I wish there was more about Gambit…he’s awesome, exploding cards? Who does not love that!

I really enjoyed it once I got a few comics in, if you are not into the comics…the first one or two will be really cheesy, but you gotta get into that universe.  I plan to read the Marvel Civil War series next, and was told that was a really good series.

As soon as I got word the Steve Jobs had passed away, I saw all these links pop up about a biography of his life with a black and white picture of him in round rimmed glasses.  I have been smitten with the iPhone when it came out in 2007, and I have day dreamed a lot about technology when I read Mac magazines in a technology class in high school where the teacher was almost never there.  I don’t prefer Apple products but I will always happily admit they have stirred my imagination.

I got this book on my Kindle, when my Android app sales brought in a whopping $39.36 on November 2nd from my sales in October.  I bought the book and start reading it as quickly as I could.

The biggest thing I take away from this book is Steve Jobs audacity.  He did things that no one else could cause he would be brutally honest with people, and disregard, or more accurately discard, people who would not play up to his standards.  He had emotional highs and lows but always was doing something amazing.

As fas as the computer industry goes this books shows to the wondering reader how Apple (Steve) made things amazing while all other companies made thing a hair better each iteration.

I told my wife when I was about 3/4th done with the book that I wanted to buy Macs, nothing to do with the computer, but with the personality and sheer power of the man behind the products and the company (we already have a Mac Mini that is almost exclusively my wife’s computer).

I am hoping that I will retain and apply many of the business and life principles that I have gleaned from this book, I listened to the last half of the book via Audible.com, and as I listen to the last of it off of my Asus Tablet, I had the same melancholy feeling that I had when I got watching Cowboy Bebop.  If there are others with the same drive and vision that this man had, then the future holds some very interesting things!

This book was lent to me by a sweet older lady who I was teaching how to use an iPhone and iTunes, we somehow got on the topic of finances and investments and she found that I was extremely weary of risk.  She lent me two books and then left for the States for the winter!  One of those books was called “The Templeton Plan 21 Steps to Success and Happiness.

Minutes after starting this book I decided to make a mind map on Thinking Space (the Android app) and was good too because I had a lot of notes to take.  This book was a shot of adrenaline into my stagnating self improvement regiment that I have neglected from time to time.  Such simple concepts such as “Using what you have” and “Putting first things first” liberated my mind to focus and not worry so much.

Strangely enough it seemed like a very light read, I was able to finish it in three days only devoting a lot of time to it on the third day.  The book took endless examples from the life of John Marks Templeton, which the lady who lent this book actually heard speak a few times in person.  The book was published in 1987 when I was only 3 years old!

The whole experience around this book has been a fascinating one, and the book is well worth the read, every bit as good as the Dave Ramsey and Dan Miller books I have read before for financial and business inspiration.

Here are some quotes that I have gleaned from this great book:

“The most wonderful thing we can experience is the mysterious.  It is the source of all art and science.  He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead; his eyes are closed.”

– Albert Einstein

“Nobody can think straight who does not work.  Idleness warps the mind.  Thinking without constructive action becomes a disease.”

– Henry Ford

“Most careers are made or marred in the hours after supper.”

– C.R. Lawton

It is really hard to describe all the benefits of this book without copying the content word for word, so just read it, funny to think that an older books is every bit as helpful as any of the newer books…

Jon Acuff’s book titled “Quitter” was a hard pill to sallow.  I bought the book thinking that it would ramp me up to quit my day job and get me racing on my dream work and income.  But instead it gave me the hard truth that I already knew was the truth and slapped me in the face with it.  The first chapter is “Don’t quit your day job.”  While those are the words I hear toxic people say cause they aren’t willing to do what it takes to succeed and don’t want you to either, I made myself keep reading.  Mostly because I asked my wife if I could blow ten dollars on a kindle book that Dave Ramsey keeps suggesting and didn’t want to blow the investment….of a whole whopping ten dollars.

Anyhow, the book walks you through all the reasons and the logic and the emotional strings of not killing your dreams with being impulsive, lazy, or mellow dramatic in the name of following your dream.  I read this at a pinnacle time.  I am getting a lot more responsibility at my current job and seeing the dream job slip away.  This book show you reasons to be grateful for your day job and work towards your dream job.

The score card of wither or not you are ready to quite your day job was a fantastic touch, I scored a measly 24 and the book suggested that I keep at it and I am in the beginning stages, which I know is true.  I am really impatient and probably should have had a lot more points taken away according to the scorecard, but I just didn’t want to believe it.

This book is not a magic pill that will make it so you can quit your day job right away, but it is a magic pill in that if you accept the realities that it points out, you will be well on your way to be able to quit you day job, be a hero to your spouse, kids, friends, family and whoever, and start enjoying your work!

This book is what good friends should be telling you, thanks Acuff for showing me that I had broccoli in my teeth!