Sunday, November 16, 2008

Book catchup

I have a ton of stuff to post about, but "housekeeping" first in this post - the latest books.

Book #20 - Tanequil by Terry Brooks. The latest read in the Shannara series holds true to form. A great escape that swept me away for a weekend. The Rock Trolls are great. It got a little sappy with the latest Ohmsford, Pen, and the blind Rover girl, Cinnaminson in one spot, but generally you get at least one super-sappy spot in each trilogy in the series. Evil forces are out to do the unthinkable, something that will destroy life as the people of the Four Lands know it - and you really feel the impact of how terrible that can be.

Book #21 - The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame. Another classic I never read as a kid. Not bad, good fun. Although after a point Toad's nonsense just got annoying and I was looking for the end.

Book #22 - Abyssinian Chronicles by Moses Isegawa. Traces the chaotic life of Mugezi, a guy growing up in Uganda, from the end of colonialism through the reign of Idi Amin and rebel government after rebel government, into the era of AIDS. I was struck by the ways in which the various elements of Ugandan society needed to transform themselves, and how often, in order to survive the latest crisis. Powerful, if a bit dry and dull in spots.

Book #23 - A Sorcerer's Treason by Sarah Zettel. I found this a bit dull at first, but got swept into the stories a few chapters in. I found some elements stiff and predictable at times. The dialogue,intended to be late 19th century, seems forced at times. But the story is good. My favorite is when Bridget weaves spells through the air via dance. I love the idea and the image. I will most likely pick up the second book.

Book #24 - Good Omens: The nice and accurate prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. My spirits lift thinking of this. It was refreshing - a blast of cool, fresh air on a hot and sticky day. And a lot of fun. Not laugh out loud funny, but smirks and sideways grins, definitely. The end of the world has come to pass, or is supposed to, anyway, and all sorts of different folk - people, witches, demons, angels, dogs, have roles to play. A great piece that seemlessly blends the styles of Gaiman and Pratchett into something very entertaining.

Book #25 - Made to Stick: Why some ideas survive and others die by Chip Heath and Dan Heath. I was hooked on this book from the first time I read the prologue online. Dealing with ideas that are able to burrow into our subconscious and influence our behaviors, the brothers approach this from the standpoints of business and academia. In researching sticky ideas, urban legends are an obvious place to start. What really sticks with me is the research into tainted Halloween candy - which shows that there NEVER WAS any apples w/ razor blades reported to police!!! Only two incidents showed in records from WWII to the 80s - one was a kid who got into his uncle's coke stash and they sprinkled it on his candy to throw off the cops, and one was a kid whose father put cyanide on his candy to get life insurance. Think about how much this has changed our behaviours! Incredible. The brothers have a sound approach to making ideas sticky that hopefully will be useful for me in the future.

That's it for now - more soon!

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