Friday, July 22, 2016

Some Reads of Late

I'm awful behind in posting reviews (so I'll limit this to 5 or so) and such, but I have been reading quite a lot this summer - mostly on my kindle and at the day job. . . shhhhhh

Ego is the Enemy and The Obstacle is the Way, by Ryan Holiday

I was bookshopping for my birthday at B&N and saw Ego is the Enemy and glancing it over, noticed the Steven Pressfield blurb and then once inside - the author (Holiday) is namedropping Marcus Arelius left and right - always a good sign so I was intrigued enough to read further on and see just what he was trying to say.

I ended up with the audible version and then noticed that my wife, Melissa already had Holiday's previous book The Obstacle is the Way. Each represents positive attitudes in overcoming our daily problems with self mastery and humble yet determined drive.

I don't normally go in for books like these but have to say I really enjoyed them because of how much Holiday uses historical examples as the benchmark of being an outstanding person - so while Holiday is an impressive person in his own right, these really aren't about him so much as other great examples we could all strive to be similar to. And I love reading a mix of historical examples that I know and don't know further reaching into the noble of human character. We need more that this wretched political season.

That Way Lies Madness, by James R. Tuck

I really enjoyed the title story of this two tale collection. The mixture of space and Lovecraft is one I am especially fond of. While it started just a little slow for me, I was soon captured, racing through the pages to see what happened next. That Way Lies Madness is an edge of your seat, nail biting thrill ride for anyone who loves Alien, Outland, The Thing, Space Eldritch or other Lovecraftian type monstrosities in the isolation of space. Bravo Mr. Tuck!

The Life Eaters, by David Brin and Scott Hampton

I've got mixed feelings about this one. It is the first Brin I have ever read and I have heard great things from a few of my online friends. I LOVE the concept of alternate history with Norse Gods being involved with the Nazi's and finding out the real reasoning behind the mass genocide to satiate the gods need for blood and sacrifice and with Loki in the mix thwarting plans of course. All of that is genius and it is a concept that I have thought about many times myself- so I am absolutely on board, being a number one target audience member. But as the story wound on, I found myself disinterested in its execution.  The framing device protagonist didn't grab my interest and a nuke as an answer for dealing with bad guys is kinda blase. Most of the side characters and gods didn't really have any punch to me either.  I found myself very underwhelmed overall. Hampton's art however is great and atmospheric. I think the most damning thing is now that its been a little while since I read it, I'm having a hard time remembering it.

The Curse of Lono, by Hunter S. Thomson

I'm a big fan of Thompson, having read his Hells Angel's before I had any idea he was cult favorite. That reading predated the Depp/Gilliam film too! I've since enjoyed quite a lot of his work and this was the latest I have indulged in.
I imagine that like so much of his other work this is a slightly fictionalized memoir of himself and it bounces all over the place dealing with his trip to Hawaii, fishing and making an ass of himself.
But IF you enjoy Thompson you'll enjoy the dark absurd humor herein - if you don't like Thompson (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas) I don't imagine you'll like this one either. It is rather open ended as life goes on etc, but still it a fun trip.

The Wendigo, by Algernon Blackwood

I've been meaning to get to this one for some time and while it is slow and brooding, it is enjoyable in that old school atmospheric (there I 'm using that word again) mood. In a lot of ways it seemed to me this could have been shorter - even though its really not that long - maybe its our modern day attention span - but even with setting the mood etc it seemed rather drawn out - but when it gets downn to it - the mystery, the horror, the terror was wnderful. As someone who has camped far out n the wilderness many times, it was easy to feel myself lost n that situation, to feel the claustrobic lonliness and confusion of someone going missing and the lack of answers. Recomended.


Charles Gramlich said...

David Brin's Startide Rising is one of the best SF books ever, in my opinion.

David J. West said...

I'll have to check that one out Charles.