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chadkoh

chadkoh

 

Dirty Wars: The World Is A Battlefield

Dirty Wars: The World Is A Battlefield - Jeremy Scahill An extremely dense book, Dirty Wars uses the story of the targeted killing of an American Muslim as a thread to tie together hard scrabble investigative reporting of America's post 9/11 war policy and actions. Fear, radicalization, deceit and a whole lot of political maneuvering make the story distasteful enough, regardless of Scahill's personal politics. He does a particularly excellent job tying together the simultaneous actions in Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan, showing how each theater affected the others. It is a magnificent, horrible tapestry. However, I fear that its extreme attention to detail will relegate it to the bookshelves of academics and wonks. I plan on watching the film next, which hopefully has delivered the lessons of this investigation to a wider audience.

The Tombs of Atuan

The Tombs of Atuan - Ursula K. Le Guin, Rob Inglis Much prefer the narrative structure of this book, compared to the first of the series. There is some beautiful writing and the narration by Rob Inglis is good. The plot is fairly simple, and the book is short (I finished it in just a few hours) but the setting is very well fleshed out. The concept of losing your faith is a brave thing to put into YA. I really admire Le Guin for not talking down to kids, and I look forward to reading more about Ged's adventures.

Ready Player One

Ready Player One - Ernest Cline, Wil Wheaton 2 stars for the story and writing, but an extra star for Wil Wheaton, who did an excellent job narrating. If you are going to go through the motions of reading this book, do it on audio, unless you can read really fast.

Extraordinary Canadians Marshall Mcluhan

Extraordinary Canadians Marshall Mcluhan - Douglas Coupland Coupland's conversational tone is fluid as ever, and entertaining in his trademark ADHD fashion. Like [b:Microserfs|2748|Microserfs|Douglas Coupland|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1389626938s/2748.jpg|851428] and [b:JPod|221059|JPod|Douglas Coupland|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1316729451s/221059.jpg|820439], this book is a physical work of art. Pages are adorned with language experiments in consonants, vowels and anagrams. He pastes in quotes and AbeBooks book reviews of McLuhan's works. I think he goes a bit far including excerpts from his own writing, revealing his inherent narcissism. The book is a fun and short read, but not all that enlightening of its subject as far as biographies (are supposed to) go. I can't imagine Coupland going any further than Wikipedia to do his research. This book is more about Coupland than McLuhan. I admit, my rudimentary understanding of McLuhan's history might mean I am missing some clever jokes and insights, but I doubt it.

Superheroes!: Capes, Cowls, and the Creation of Comic Book Culture

Superheroes!: Capes, Cowls, and the Creation of Comic Book Culture - Laurence Maslon Nice introductory (if hagiographic) history of comics since the 20th century. A quick and easy read with some great facts and insights on the industry. The audio book is great as it mixes in some of the interviews from the show.

Red Moon Rising: Sputnik and the Rivalries that Ignited the Space Age

Red Moon Rising: Sputnik and the Rivalries that Ignited the Space Age - Matthew Brzezinski A well written and excellent account of the competing US and Soviet rocket programs from WWII to orbit. I wish there was a second volume, detailing the actual space competitions.

By the way, the audiobook version of this is excellent.

Doomsday Book

Doomsday Book - Connie Willis, Jenny Sterlin Much respect for all the research Willis did for this book. It is EXTREMELY detailed. However, the plot is so meandering and repetitive, it comes off has boring. I started skimming and it wasn't a problem, because I knew if I missed a plot point, it would be repeated 2 or 3 more times and I could keep up. Moreover, since the foreshadowing was pretty heavy handed, the reader already can predict what is going to happen, making the repetition positively excruciating. This book could have easily been half the length, and it would have been better for it.

I started with [b:To Say Nothing of the Dog|77773|To Say Nothing of the Dog (Oxford Time Travel, #2)|Connie Willis|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1363105428s/77773.jpg|696], which is brilliant, and thought I would go back and read this book before continuing on with the series. There was no need. Just go straight to the Dog. It is a much more entertaining book.

The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers

The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers - Ben Horowitz I am not a CEO, but this book contained some excellent reminders of the good leadership I have been under before, validating my positive and negative experiences. I am sure I will return to this book again someday.

Furthermore, it was very interesting in an historical sense to read about the growth, fundraising, going public etc. during the bubble (or, the end of it). Staggering numbers.

Wolverine by Claremont & Miller

Wolverine by Claremont & Miller - Chris Claremont, Frank Miller The last page of issue #3 redeems this crazily stereotypical, dated book with bad spelling.

A Wizard of Earthsea

A Wizard of Earthsea - Ursula K. Le Guin Points off for style. A strange choice. Props to her for pulling it off, but I just don't like it. maybe if I listened to the audio book it would have been a better experience?

Regardless, I plan on reading the rest of the series. Excellent world-building.

Among Others

Among Others - Jo Walton I wish the world would plant more trees
So we may have more books like these

Journey to the Center of the Earth: A Signature Performance by Tim Curry

Journey to the Center of the Earth: A Signature Performance by Tim Curry - Jules Verne Amazing content, smart writing, but I thought this performance by Tim Curry was not his best work.

Automate This: How Algorithms Came to Rule Our World

Automate This: How Algorithms Came to Rule Our World - Christopher Steiner, Walter Dixon Although there were a few historical tidbits that were interesting, this book is effectively a tour of how "algorithms" are bringing new efficiencies to many different fields... maybe one day YOURS! <<>> Maybe enlightening to the buggy whip manufacturers out there, but not exactly breaking news for the rest of us.

At the end of the 8th chapter there is a paragraph or two of _actual_ critical thinking about algorithm-based business operations, but otherwise this book is basically the work of a Matrix-apologist, cheering on the victory of our machine overlords.

To Save Everything, Click Here: The Folly of Technological Solutionism

To Save Everything, Click Here: The Folly of Technological Solutionism - Evgeny Morozov Truthfully, I stayed away from this book. The overwhelming opinion of the popular tech press is that Evgeny Morozov writes like an asshole with an axe to grind. I found his first book The Net Delusion frustrating (but certainly worth it) and thus was unduly influenced by the digerati. If you feel the same way, ignore the pressure: read this book. Morozov’s writing can be “strong”, but imagine it being written with a playful smirk. I thought it rather funny actually.

The fact is that this book is an excellent first attempt (he did say he would return in a tank) at a critical assessment of “The Internet” as a cultural phenomenon. Without using the actual term, Morozov attacks the trend of using the internet as a “machine metaphor” — as a lens for understanding and revolutionizing human society.

READ FULL REVIEW HERE: http://chadkohalyk.com/blog/2014/02/10/the-death-of-the-internet/

Homeland

Homeland - R.A. Salvatore, Victor Bevine It's not Chaucer, but it sure is pacy and fun! I read these about 20 years ago, and I am glad my memories have not failed me.

Consent of the Networked: The Worldwide Struggle for Internet Freedom

Consent of the Networked: The Worldwide Struggle for Internet Freedom - Rebecca MacKinnon I have owned this book for more than a year, and now that I have finally read it I have to say it was pretty boring. Wait! I am not saying it is a bad book, not by any means! Overall it is excellent and a must read for anyone interested in "internet theory". The reason it might come off as boring is that it is one of the most cited books on internet freedom. In my last year of reading I have read so many citations of MacKinnon's work that there was barely anything left! That says a lot about the importance of this book (whether you agree with its premise or not).

Full review at: http://chadkohalyk.com/blog/2013/12/31/consent-of-the-networked/