Sunday, June 22, 2014

Books I've Read This Week

Skin Game is the latest novel in Jim Butcher's Dresden Files. I've been a fan of this series for a long time and each novel is an enjoyable fast paced read. In this outing the wizard Harry Dresden who became the Winter's Knight a few books ago must obey Queen Mab and pull a "bank job" with one is his most hated enemies. Obviously Harry is going to get backstabbed but he's gotta play by the rules until his enemy makes a play then all bets are off.
All You Need Is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka is now adapted into the movie Edge of Tomorrow. I am such a sucker for reading a book before going to watch a movie. It really is the best way to jump a book to the top of my queue. I'm not even sure if I'm going to go see the Edge of Tomorrow but I figured I'd read this first.

This is actually a pretty damn good book. It reminds me a bit of the older power armour books like Starship Troopers by Heinlein and Armor by John Steakly with a dash of the Ken Grimwood's Replay. Anyway in it we follow a Jacket Jockey (power armor) as he fights the invading aliens, then dies only to wake up 48 hours earlier with all of his memories in order to do it all over again. Each battle he gets a little bit better until he is a combat wizard. That's where he runs into another soldier who is experiencing the same thing as he is. Will they be able to figure it out and use this power to defeat the invading aliens?

Anyway, this is a greatly entertaining short (200 pages) or so read. Has anyone seen the movie yet?

Monday, June 16, 2014

Books I've Read This Week

Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie is the multiple award winning debut novel in the Ancillary series. In it we are following Breq, the last vestige of a massive star cruiser the Justice of Toren, who's bodies or ancillaries one numbered in the thousands. We follow along with Breq as she attempts to obtain a device which will allow her to get revenge on the killer of the Justice of Toren.

This is a fascinating novel exploring what it means to be human in a world where you can have multiple bodies and artificial intelligences run most things. I don't want to give too much away but I really enjoyed this book and I can't wait for the sequel.
Dad Is Fat is a hilarious memoir of raising 5 kids by stand up comedian Jim Gaffigan. If you are a parent you this material is rolling on the floor laugh out loud stuff. Even if you don't have kids you will find this book genuinely entertaining.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Books I've Read This Week

Leviathan Wakes by James SA Corey is my new favourite space opera. I'm glad there is two more books in the series with a fourth one coming out soon. Anyway, in the future humanity has colonized Mars as well as the outer asteroid belt. In this universe where tension between Earth, Mars and the belt, the ice mining ship, Scopuli, responds to a distress signal. Now XO James Holden is in possession of a huge secret that multiple forces are pursing while he attempts to keep himself and his crew alive. At the same time Detective Miller is looking for a missing girl who's investigation will cause him to cross paths with the Scopuli.

Can they figure out what the hell is going on an advert an inter-planetary war?
Think Like A Freak by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner is the third book in their Freakonomic's series. This book is a bit of a departure from the first two. Instead of diving deep into a number of different topics the author's instead try to teach the reader how to think like a freak. There is some good stuff in this book especially the chapters on how to admit "I don't know", how to think like a child and the upside of quitting.

The bad is the book is pretty short clocking in at just over 200 pages. The actual book is 256 pages but I'm only counting the actual content and not all the Notes and Index sections. That's not a lot of content for $34. Additionally if you are a listener of the Freakonomic's podcast, and you should be it's great, you will find much of the content of this book is a rehash of the podcast.

If you want to save the cash you can get the book from the library or listen to the episodes on How to Think Like a Child and The Upside of Quitting.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Most Expensive Starbucks Rewards Coffee Ever

I haven't posted a coffee related link in awhile but this one is too good to pass up. From Boing Boing:

Most expensive, caffeinated Starbucks drink ever

Andrew Chifari of Dallas, Texas used the free drink earned with his Starbucks Rewards card to get a $54.75 frappuccino containing 60 shots of espresso.

What makes it even more awesome is it was his "free" drink. As well this post brought the website Caffeine Informer to my attention.

Books I've Read This Week

Homeland by Cory Doctorow is a follow to his previous novel Little Brother. Once again the protagonist, Marcus Yallow is caught up in events surrounding shady government agencies. Marcus is given a set of documents by a hacker acquaintance that contains startling wikileaks/Edward Snowden level information and the instructions to publish them on the internet if anything ever happens to her.

This causes no end of problems for Marcus as he's recently been employed as a web master for a crusading politician. How does he get the word out without getting fired or worse getting snatched up by a shadowy government organization.

You don't need to read Little Brother to enjoy this book but I'd recommend that one to anyone as well. This book is part entertainment and part warning of the surveillance state. Based on all of the revelations coming out about the global surveillance infrastructure it is a excellent but chilling read.

As with all of Cory Doctorow's books you can download them free from his website.
Revival Volume 3: A Faraway Place TP by Tim Seeley, art by Mike Norton continues this rural noir tale. Officer Dana Cyprus is closing in on the killer of her sister Em, a reviver, while at the same time Em is looking further into the mystery of the ghostly figures in the woods.

This continues to be one of my favourite series being published. Can't wait for volume 4.