📚Noisy Deadlines

reading

A reunification, someone gets high and have stupid ideas, a longer than expected stopover on a comet-planet settlement and more awesome (meaning pleasantly weird) alien species. A family still trying to just...survive in a crazy world where appearances and race matter more than it needs to.

This series only gets better and better. Two more to go!

Saga Volume 7

#saga #graphicnovel #reading

Books I read July 2019

  1. Vessel by Lisa A. Nichols: A woman astronaut temporarily lost in space during a mission comes back to Earth 10 years later and weird things happen. It's loose on sci-fi, NASA makes unlikely decisions and I'm not sure I bought into the reason why the astronaut was having these mysterious experiences.

  2. Saga, Vol. 4 by Brian K. Vaughan (Writer), Fiona Staples (Artist): I'm hooked! Will read the entire series.

  3. Saga, Vol. 5 by Brian K. Vaughan (Writer), Fiona Staples (Artist): Best quote from this one: “Together, my parents had learned to be much more than “the sum of their parts”, whatever that means. Separately, they were kind of just a mess.” I already got Vols. 6 and 7 lined up!

  4. Exit Strategy (The Murderbot Diaries #4) by Martha Wells: The bot that hacked it's governor module becomes more independent and becomes more human-like, without even wanting to, I'd say. It's so familiar to know that all that Murderbot wants in life is to watch more media. But at the same time, Murderbot can't stay away from its ex-owner problems and goes into a complicated rescue mission.

  5. BrainChains: Discover your brain, to unleash its full potential in a hyperconnected, multitasking world by Theo Compernolle: It's full of scientific research reference and it can get repetitive. It talks a lot about the disadvantages of using e-mail, stress, multitasking, texting while driving and the importance of rest. Good message but I think the book could be shorter.

  6. Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari: Made me wonder about tomorrow but question if I really want to be transformed into a stream of data to live forever.

#readinglist #books #reading

What I read in June 2019

  1. Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig: a great audio book! A call to a quieter lifestyle and how to avoid the things that makes us nervous (without even realizing it). More thoughts here.

  2. Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay: beautiful writing, epic world building. Maybe a little bit too slow for my taste. More thoughts here.

  3. Goodbye, Things: On Minimalist Living by Fumio Sasaki: A Japanese view on minimalism. Inspiring reasons to adopt a minimalist lifestyle, even if you don't want to be as extreme as the author.

  4. Saga, Vol. 3 (Saga (Collected Editions) #3) by Brian K. Vaughan (Writer), Fiona Staples (Artist): the Saga continues and I am on the wait list for Volume 4 at my library :)

  5. Blood, Sweat, and Pixels: The Triumphant, Turbulent Stories Behind How Video Games Are Made by Jason Schreier: This book gave me a new perspective on gaming and how passionate people dedicate endless hours on creating a game. Fascinating, specially if you play video games.

On my to-read pile for July:

  1. Vessel by Lisa A. Nichols
  2. Infomocracy (Centenal Cycle #1) by Malka Ann Older
  3. Exit Strategy (The Murderbot Diaries #4) by Martha Wells
  4. Conscious by Annaka Harris
  5. Homo Deus: A History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari

#readinglist #books #reading

Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay

Tigana was written by the Canadian author Guy Gavriel Kay in 1990. It was the first time I read one of his books. Kay is known for his fantasy fiction that resembles real historic places and even historical events, but transformed into fantasy. It seems like alternate history with fantasy elements in it. Tigana has lots of fantasy elements but I read that Kay's earlier books gravitate more towards alternate history.

Tigana is a stand alone fantasy novel which is extremely rare these days. It tells the tale of a people that lost their identity since their kingdom was conquered by two powerful tyrant Wizards. It's a story about lost names and culture and how a group of brave rebels prepared themselves over years to overthrow the tyrants and reclaim their homeland. The two tyrants split the kingdom into two and one of the provinces was put under a spell to basically transform it into another place and make its past forgotten.

It's a slow burn story that develops leisurely and in an almost dream like state. The writing is poetic, almost to the point where it is too flowery, but then it isn't. Some chapters are a deep dive into the characters memories and emotions that later helps us understand their motivations and their actions. The characters are not good nor bad. There is ambiguity in their actions. Even the tyrant wizard Brandin is portrayed as a conflicted villain and at times he seems unsure about his decisions. But for me, he is evil.

There is a lot of world building and it almost feels like the world he created could exist on its own and many other tales could be told about it. The newest editions of the book have a foreword in which the author explains his Italian inspiration for the Peninsula of the Palm. The author was inspired by the Italian Renaissance history. The powerful wizard Brandin of Ygrath was inspired by a proud and arrogant Borgia or Medici of the 1500's.

Best and worst characters:

  • Best character: I loved Catriana, the red head woman who is brave and basically makes the story less boring.
  • Second best character: Devin, the bard/singer.
  • Worst character: Dianora, who lived in the saishan (kind of a harem) with the wizard Brandon. She wanted to defeat him but Stockholm's Syndrome got her and she just couldn't do anything against him.

My thoughts

I enjoyed it but it's not on my “best books of the year list”. I thought the pace was too slow. Until 40% of the book we just get background story and not much action. Not really my cup of tea. But the writing is beautiful. Not sure if I'm going to read another book from this author.

The book

#books #bookreview #reading

I really enjoyed this book by Matt Haig. It's part memoir, part essay, part blog post.

First of all, the author does a great job at narrating it. It felt like I was having a conversation as I nodded and sighed at various passages. His personal stories add a lot of depth to the discussion: how can we be sane in a world that bombards us with information.

It's a call to quieter lifestyle and makes us think about our standard behaviors. And it's all in the little things: watch the stars, observe the clouds, listen to the birds, read a book, appreciate music, have a conversation in person without looking at your phone. Beautiful writing!

I loved a chapter where he talks about books and reading:

“Reading isn’t important because it helps to get you a job. It’s important because it gives you room to exist beyond the reality you’re given. It is how humans merge. How minds connect. Dreams. Empathy. Understanding. Escape. Reading is love in action.” ― Matt Haig, Notes on a Nervous Planet

And there is a look of talk about self image which is particularly relevant in today's Instagram's selfies:

“Remember no one really cares what you look like. They care what they look like. You are the only person in the world to have worried about your face.” ― Matt Haig, Notes on a Nervous Planet

It was a refreshing read (or should I say “listen”?). It's about living. And being happy. And embracing what is important. Letting go of the burden.

The book: Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig Published January 29th 2019 by Penguin Books (first published July 5th 2018

#book #bookreview #reading

Books I read in April 2019

  1. Rogue Protocol (The Murderbot Diaries #3) by Martha Wells, 158p
    • Another adventure with the anti-social murder bot. It is full of action inside enclosed spaces and lots of hearing other people's feeds. An enjoyable read, as always.
  2. Team Human by Douglas Rushkoff, 256p

    • I heard about this book on Sam Harris' “Making Sense” podcast. The topic interested me so I picked this one up. I did not love it. It was okay to a certain point but then I felt that the chapters were getting a little bit repetitive.
  3. Theft of Swords (The Riyria Revelations #1-2) by Michael J. Sullivan, 649p

    • This one was fun and comforting. Also it was my first time listening to a fiction book. It has the old Dungeons & Dragons feeling: cool characters, adventures and lots of talk about swords. It is not a dark fantasy and at some points the story is predictable because it contains some classic fantasy tropes: good vs evil, chaotic-neutral thieves, elves and dwarves, a really old and powerful mage, a prophecy. But that doesn't spoil it. A good book to read under a blanket.

Plans for March 2019:

  1. The Armored Saint (The Sacred Throne #1) by Myke Cole
  2. Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle by Emily Nagoski, Amelia Nagoski
  3. Blood, Sweat, and Pixels: The Triumphant, Turbulent Stories Behind How Video Games Are Made by Jason Schreier

#readinglist #books #reading

Books I read March 2019

  1. Bitten (Otherworld #1) by Kelley Armstrong, 436p.

    • I did not like this book. Maybe it just wasn't for me. When you get into the details of being a werewolf, the pain, the tearing of clothing and the wild hunger, it just puts me off. Maybe I don't like shapeshifters at all.
  2. The Fated Sky (Lady Astronaut #2) by Mary Robinette Kowal, 384p.

    • This book is way more action packed than the first one. It feels more sci-fy-ish with a great deal of ordinary human life details. And that makes the story and the characters feel alive. Diversity, racism and human rights discussions are intertwined with the story. There is even a Brazilian astronaut that curses in Portuguese. Anyway, highly recommended as an entertaining and exciting soft sci-fi read!
  3. The Lady Astronaut of Mars (Lady Astronaut #4.5) by Mary Robinette Kowal, 31p.

    • A short story about older Elma and Nathaniel living in Mars. It happens 30 years after Elma joined the expedition to Mars. It's sad and hopeful at the same time. Will Elma go on another space travel exploration or will she stay and watch her husband die? I read it in one sitting.
  4. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari, 414p.

    • An evolutionary perspective with science mixing up with anthropology, politics, culture, religion, biology, economics, history. It's a fascinating read and it made me think about many things and change my world view. It gives us a higher perspective on how we got here and leaves an open question as to why we are here.
  5. Blameless (Parasol Protectorate #3) by Gail Carriger, 355p.

    • A fun read, as always. But something about werewolves started to bother me. And all the fictional “aether” and “soul” content theories that governs this world. It's extremely well built but my suspension of disbelief was not so strong while I was reading this book. Overall it's a great steampunk fantasy, with lots of Victorian humor!

Reading plans for April:

  • Team Human by Douglas Rushkoff
  • Theft of Swords by Michael J. Sullivan
  • Rogue Protocol (The Murderbot Diaries, #3) by Martha Wells
  • Exit Strategy (The Murderbot Diaries, #4) by Martha Wells

#readinglist #books #reading

by Charlie Jane Anders

All the birds in the sky

This was a surprisingly weird book. It's a mix of urban fantasy, light science fiction, nonsense and disastrous near futures. There's an AI, witches and mad scientists (sort of...). There is romance. Childhood adventures. Nerdy hipsters. Birds and trees talking. There are philosophical discussions about life, universe and everything. A clash of magic and science.

It's one of those books that can't really fit in one genre box. It's multi-genre (if such a classification exists). I enjoyed reading it mostly because of the unusual dialogues and crazy ideas. It reminded me a little bit of Douglas Adams's style (like The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy).

The AI Peregrine was my favorite character. And in my head I was sure the AI was a female. But then later in the story I realized they actually called her with a masculine noun. Anyway, the genre doesn't matter at all, the AI was cool. I thought the best portions of the story were when Patricia and Laurence were having some existential discussion, like the end of the world.

At around 70% I thought the story dragged a little bit and it became a little depressing. But then the story picks up and extraordinary things happen.

It's an interesting mixed bag of magic and “sciency” near future story.

To be read with an open mind.


#bookreview #reading #books

I started listening to audio books recently. The first month of 2019, to be exact.

So far I've listened to 23 hours distributed between 3 books.

Audible total listening time

And I have mixed feeling about audio books... I mean, it's a great way to squeeze in more reading hours in moments when you can't actually sit down and hold a book (or a Kindle, in my case).

And that's the point: 99.99% (*)  of my listening happened while I was:

  • Running on a treadmill at the gym
  • Exercising/stretching at the gym
  • Folding laundry
  • Preparing food
  • Doing the dishes
  • Eating breakfast
  • Commuting
  • Cleaning the house

(*) Note: the 0.01% was due to 5 minutes today that I was actually sitting down and listened until I reached the end a chapter before I started something else at the same time.

Focus?

So I was never fully focused on the “reading act” the way I am when I'm with my Kindle.

It's...different. Different levels of focus.

I know that I could sit down and just listen to a book. But somehow that didn't seem an attractive option for me. And probably that's because I'm used to listening to podcasts while doing all the activities I pointed above.

So I replaced podcasts with books.

I concluded I don't immerse myself and assimilate information the same way when I'm listening. And that's probably because I've multitasked while listening to Audiobooks.

I'm not saying I can't remember what I read. I just feel that I might have missed small pieces of information. A quick-witted phrase. A savvy detail. A stirring revelation I wanted to note down and muse over. I got the overall message, no problem. But the act of listening wasn't conducive to reflection while I was receiving the information.

Distraction?

And that brings me to my wandering mind...

Our minds wander, that's normal. From moment to moment it gets filled with random thoughts and to-do's for an undetermined future date. When that happens with my Kindle I just pause, acknowledge, take a breath and find the last sentence I remember processing and continue reading from there.

With Audiobooks, my mind got lost in not only my internal thoughts but also with all the things going on around me (remember: I was multitasking).

So the combination of my inner musings and external stimuli kept me not paying attention to the audio for what? 30 seconds? 2 minutes? 5 minutes? I really don't know. When I realized I was distracted I just paused the audio feeling a little bit overwhelmed.

And eventually I would come back to listening when the situation I was in felt less distracting.

Wrapping it up...

I don't hate Audiobooks. I actually enjoyed it most of the time and I'm sure I would not be able to read 3 books as fast as I did if I was reading.

I will continue to listen to Audiobooks. At least 1 per month, that's part of my Reader Goals for 2019.

But I'll choose wisely which books to listen to. If it's a more contemplative reading that I know I would like to take notes and assimilate slowly, I will probably not choose the audio version.

And I will experiment with just sitting (or lying) down to listen, distraction free.

#audiobooks #reading

My good old Kindle

I challenged myself to read 52 books this year. And I have a plan... 🧐

...Read more “Hell, Yeah!” books.

The past few years I was experimenting a lot and reading books I would not really pick up at first glance. And looking back I saw that my average rating for all the books I read was 3.9. I think that's low. That means I didn't read enough books that I thought were really exciting. I read lots of “meh” books. You can see a list of all my read books here.

This year I want to read books that have been on my “to be read list” for some time because they are sequels to stories I already love.

Also, I was inspired by the Reading Glasses challenge (great podcast about Book Culture, BTW) and borrowed some of their ideas to my Reader Goals:

  • Read a graphic novel (or two...)
  • Read more of authors I already know and love
  • Read a book by a trans author
  • Listen to 1 audiobook per month (non-fiction)
  • Listen to 1 fiction audiobook [never tried it before!]
  • Read sequels of the Series I already love:
    • The Expanse by James S. A. Corey (#4 to #7)
    • Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells (#3)
    • Old Man's War by John Scalzi (#2 to #6)
    • Parasol Protectorate by Gail Carriger (#2 to #5)
    • The Witcher by Andrzej Sapkowski
  • Start Reading The Dresden Files Series by Jim Butcher [never read it before! Wanna try!]
  • Read books I've already have purchased/pre-ordered:

    • The Armored Saint by Myke Cole
    • Paladin of Souls (World of the Five Gods #2) by Lois McMaster Bujold
    • Changeless (Parasol Protectorate #2) by Gail Carriger
    • Enough by Patrick Rhone (Kindle Unlimited)
    • Drive by Daniel H. Pink
    • Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport [pre-ordered]
    • Team Human by Douglas Rushkoff [pre-ordered]
    • Blood, Sweat, and Pixels: The Triumphant, Turbulent Stories Behind How Video Games Are Made by Jason Schreier
  • Read some picks from The Sword and Laser Bookclub and Vaginal Fantasy Bookclub throughout the year, because they are awesome (love their podcast)!

  • Also read some picks from Vaginal Fantasy

I am sure I'll keep adding titles to this list but I will try to consider this my priority list for 2019 😎

#reading #books #list