Archive - Dec 2017

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How Pleasure Works: The New Science of Why We Like What We Like

How Pleasure Works: The New Science of Why We Like What We Like

author: Paul Bloom

name: Steev

average rating: 3.71

book published: 2010

rating: 0

read at: 2016/09/15

date added: 2016/11/10

shelves: fun, spirit-self

review:
It's good. It kind of doesn't go as deep, as philosophical, as I was hoping. but it's pretty interesting. especially the evolutionary biology stuff.

I wish we were more like penguins.

The Baffler, No. 31: Memory Holes

The Baffler, No. 31: Memory Holes

author: Summers, John

name: Steev

average rating: 4.27

book published:

rating: 5

read at: 2016/11/18

date added: 2016/11/18

shelves: politics, own-it, fun

review:

The Bug

The Bug

author: Ellen Ullman

name: Steev

average rating: 3.58

book published: 2003

rating: 5

read at: 2016/12/01

date added: 2016/12/03

shelves: novels, own-it, fun

review:
Excellent read. Ullman really captures well both the technology and the mental lives of people in the software industry. The story also has a narrative arc that's relatively non-standard and unexpected - it's not one of those stories where I'm constantly thinking "oh I bet I know what will happen now."

(Also, parenthetically, the short tryst between programmer and system administrator is one of the most erotic sexual subplots I've read in a while.)

Really good, expertly written, and covers such a range of concerns: the social trends involving computers and human-computer interfaces, the personality types of programmers, the economics of startups, the "geek pride" that makes computer people go a little (or a lot) crazy, existential philosophy, alcoholism, sex, love, dashed hopes for life... the list goes on...

How to Sit (Mindfulness Essentials, #1)

How to Sit (Mindfulness Essentials, #1)

author: Thich Nhat Hanh

name: Steev

average rating: 4.30

book published: 2014

rating: 5

read at: 2016/12/29

date added: 2016/12/29

shelves: spirit-self, own-it

review:

An Illustrated Book of Bad Arguments

An Illustrated Book of Bad Arguments

author: Ali Almossawi

name: Steev

average rating: 4.01

book published: 2013

rating: 5

read at:

date added: 2017/01/02

shelves: fun, to-re-read, own-it

review:

The Baffler No. 32

The Baffler No. 32

author: Chris Lehmann

name: Steev

average rating: 3.75

book published:

rating: 5

read at: 2017/01/12

date added: 2017/01/12

shelves: art, fun, own-it, politics

review:

Liberation: Being the Adventures of the Slick Six After the Collapse of the United States of America

Liberation: Being the Adventures of the Slick Six After the Collapse of the United States of America

author: Brian Francis Slattery

name: Steev

average rating: 3.64

book published: 2008

rating: 4

read at: 2010/09/30

date added: 2017/01/17

shelves: after-the-fall, fun, novels, own-it

review:
This is a fun book, a page-turner, but also very thought-provoking about the end of the industrial and political United States.

Anyone who is thinking about possible ways things could go after industrial collapse would do well to read this. It doesn't provide a wholly realistic vision, but it provides a lot of little scenarios, different characters and communities that react to the collapse and survive (or don't) in various ways.

The big flaw of the story is the premise that the rest of the world does not collapse. This is highly unlikely, given how the global economy is so tightly coupled together. When the U.S. economy explodes, everyone else will be caught in the blast, unless steps are taken in the coming years before the collapse in which other major economies (the EU, China, etc) start to disconnect from the U.S. But this will be difficult and might even *cause* collapse.

So we have a fundamental lack of realism, but other than that there are lots of compelling little situations that are worth thinking about. Tiny farm collectives, hippy travellers, "free states", the return of slavery, warlords and revolutionaries, etc etc...

The writing is fluid and artful and full of poetic imagery, and the story careens along like an epic superhero comic book. It's fun and it's relevant. who could ask for much more?

The Sellout

The Sellout

author: Paul Beatty

name: Steev

average rating: 3.78

book published: 2015

rating: 5

read at: 2017/02/04

date added: 2017/02/04

shelves: fun, novels, own-it, politics

review:
Brilliant, hilarious, intense satire. Really really good.

Michael Caine - Acting in Film: An Actor's Take on Movie Making (The Applause Acting Series) Revised Expanded Edition

Michael Caine - Acting in Film: An Actor's Take on Movie Making (The Applause Acting Series) Revised Expanded Edition

author: Michael Caine

name: Steev

average rating: 4.33

book published: 1989

rating: 4

read at: 2008/12/01

date added: 2017/03/02

shelves: filmmaking, own-it

review:

Every Anxious Wave

Every Anxious Wave

author: Mo Daviau

name: Steev

average rating: 3.51

book published: 2016

rating: 5

read at: 2017/03/22

date added: 2017/03/23

shelves: fun, novels, own-it, after-the-fall, spirit-self

review:
I really enjoyed this book. It was funny, sad, moving, hip, and surprisingly suspenseful for a story in which you pretty quickly know how will end (because the main character travels forward in time). It also had a powerful social message about body image and "fat shame" that was pretty firm and present but didn't hit you over the head. It was also a great satirical but respectful look at super music fans.

I found, for the record, the portrayal of the male narrator to be really realistic. This had me thinking that the female author had quite good insight on the male psyche, especially given that a lot of male writers don't do a very good job of writing from the point of view of their female characters. Maybe it's because, as my wife said "men are a lot more... straightforward."

Anyway, I hope we see more novels from Mo Daviau. Her debut effort is very impressive.