Townhouse Books

Monday, June 18, 2007

Rainbows End by Vernor Vinge

Great Book. A future I can see. Wearable computing. Cooperative Assignments. World Powers working together. Cured Alzheimer patients struggling to reinvent themselves.
etc..

Did I mention Vernor prominently features library digitization projects, and deals with real world issues faced by such issues. You can see Google themes in the background.


Enter your zip code to find this in your local library:

Labels: ,


Search Worldcat

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

To your scattered bodies go; a science fiction novel: Philip José Farmer

I read this book over the break and I am currently reading the Sequel "
The fabulous riverboat"

I enjoyed the book, it had an interesting concept for an afterlife. Essentially everyone who ever made it past the age of 5 is resurrected at the same time on an alien planet. They are not told why, but they are given a perpetual source of food and decent living conditions. They apparently don't age and if killed they are resurrected somewhere else on the planet.

The story revolves around the historical character Richard Burton, and his attempts to get to the bottom of things. Who are the godlike beings who brought them here and why. To this end he builds a boat and travels from community to community seeking the source of the river. A number of other historical figures are introduced and the author plays with the idea of how they might react in a situation such as this one.

Overall a decent read.

-Jason


Enter your zip code to find this in your local library:

Labels:


Search Worldcat

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Dead of Night: Randy Wayne White

I read this book while flying to CA. It made for a good read, but I thought it might take me longer. Now I have to figure out what I will read on the way back. I could grade papers or buy another book. I'll look through the posts and see what I can find.

I guess this is a sort of eco-thriller set in Florida. It includes a plot to introduce harmful exotics into the states. Florida is portrayed as a breeding ground for potential exotics that would find a great home to thrive in. The protagonist of the story tries to solve the case with the help of his family and friends. I think he has one two many lives, and I was really thrown by the ending. I don't think it was really plausible but tell me if you think I am wrong.


Enter your zip code to find this in your local library:

Labels:


Search Worldcat

Cinnamon Kiss by Walter Mosley

Another 40's LA detective story starring Easy Rawlins. Easy needs some cash to send his daughter to see a specialist who may be able to save her. He is just about to take a "job" with mouse, but fortunately a case comes his way. He has an opportunity to earn the money in a more legitimate manner. Unfortunately the case turns ugly and dangerous. It is fortuante that most of his family is out of town because they too could be in danger with the way things are going. Sex, Violence, Racial issues, Hippies.

Labels:


Search Worldcat

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

A place so foreign and eight more stories: Cory Doctorow


I enjoyed about half of these stories. I recommend

  1. Craphound: it is about an alien who roams around looking for good junk at yard sales, what is not to love.

  2. 0wnz0red: definitely worth the price of admission. You are not in control (of yourself), or are you?

  3. Return to Pleasure Island: Interesting, but I found it a bit slow. I do like books that talk about the private lives of amusement park castmembers.

  4. A place so foreign: Showed some promise. The background is that different time periods have ambassadors to other time periods. I liked the future of 1975. I felt that the end was a letdown though

  5. Shadow of the Mothaship: just didn't grab my attention. There were 2 other stories in the same "world" and I only liked one of them because of a strange character who thought he was the reincarnation of Nicola Tesla. (Home Again, Home Again)

Labels:


Search Worldcat

Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town: Cory Doctorow



I enjoyed this book, although it does require a great leap of faith. I won't give the premise because it should be a shock to you like it was for me. I was well into like the second chapter when I read a sentence, and assumed the author was just taking some creative license with images he was trying to convey. I soon found out that he actually meant what he was saying. Never quite got what he was trying to actually say, but it was interesting. If nothing else you get a look into the subculture of people who are actually willing to put themselves on the line and do things.

Labels:


Search Worldcat

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Bloodsucking fiends : a love story


I have been having a hard time picking up books, or finishing the ones I have already started. But a friend handed me this book so....

It is by the same author as

"Lamb : the Gospel according to Biff, Christ's childhood pal

by Christopher Moore"
http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/50518600

So I thought it might be a good read.

Not to mention that it was a book about vampires.

I wouldn't necessarily say it was a bad book, or that you should be discouraged from checking it out. But... it was a light read and not terribly original.

New vampire learns the ropes.

The side story about a young schmuck writer trying to make it in L.A. was slightly better, but I didn't much care for the ending.

Labels:


Search Worldcat

Monday, March 20, 2006

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky



This is a YA book set in 1991/1992. I enjoyed it very much. The main character is a freshman in high school who hangs out with a bunch of seniors. The book is constructed from a series of letters from this kid to an unknown reader, supposedly us. It reads like a diary in that the kid says a lot of things he wouldn't normally tell anyone. I enjoyed a lot of the honesty, and the mixed tapes. The problem I have with the book is that the parents never notice their child's descent into drugs and alcohol. He seems to spend many nights out late with these older kids. I assume that I won't be as good/bad of a parent, but who knows. By the end he fbegf bhg nyy bs uvf ceboyrzf naq unf fjbea bs qehtf naq nypbuby. Jurer ner gur nqqvpgf. Bu jnvg ur qbrf pbagvahr gb fzbxr ohg ur unf cebzvfrq uvf fvfgre ur jvyy dhvg.

Labels:


Search Worldcat

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Technology for the rest of us: Nancy Courtney



A conference was held by the same title, and the organizer of that conference decided to ask the presenters to write chapters for this book. All of the articles pertain to current technologies that libraries should be aware of.

I found the book to be interesting and insightful. The authors of each chapter are the best in their particular field. Feel free to skip ahead to the chapter(s) that interests you. But, make sure you at least read the chapter on "Blogs and RSS".

Labels:


Search Worldcat

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Never let me go: Kazuo Ishiguro



I enjoyed this book. It reminded me of Oryx and Crake, and Children of Men. A dystopian future as told by a pybar. The first person narrative lends itself to an intimate view of the main character's life. The only thing is you feel like she is leading you to a grander revelation than there actually is. Although in one sense that leads to a more fulfilling yank at the end. The reader is left feeling incomplete, which may be the point. Definitely something to think about, although I wouldn't dwell on the technical aspects of the underlying story.

Labels:


Search Worldcat

Monday, January 23, 2006

The Confusion :Neal Stephenson



This is the second book in a massive trilogy. I read Quicksilver over a year ago and my memory seems to have faded somewhat. From what I can remember The Confusion was easier to follow than Quicksilver, but I missed all the references to Cryptology. There was one notable cypto posrtion of the book when the evil French discovered how to re-encrypt a series of messages. Speaking of Jack's story: Since when is he an nypurzvfg?

I did get bored when Eliza started going on and on about money. I almost believe that I now have a thorough understanding of 17th century finance now. A lot of Jack's story was glossed over but I was glad to see that he was erhavgrq jvgu uvf puvyqera.

The end of the book was somewhat mystifying. I mean what in the world does it mean that Jack gur "Pbvare" vf orvat frag gb Ratynaq gb qrfgebl gur Zvag??

Labels:


Search Worldcat

Thursday, January 19, 2006

iRex : The iLiad

Starting my birthday wishlist early...

iRex : The iLiad:
The iLiad is a first generation electronic reader product. Availability as of April 2006.
Filed in del.icio.us:

Labels:


Search Worldcat

Friday, January 13, 2006

A Million Little Pieces: James Frey (audio)


Well the current controversy over the book is really more interesting than anything I have to say. I will just mention that I listened to the author read the book, which has to be a much different experience than reading it. I found that he repeats phrases on a regular basis for effect. However, that effect comes across as too simplisitc sometimes. Not a cheery book so only read this book if you have a strong stomach.

The Smoking Gun report began it all
The Man who conned Oprah

Winfrey stands behind 'Pieces' author

Labels:


Search Worldcat

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Prey: by Michael Crichton


I reserved this book from the public library, and when I went to pick it up i discovered that it was LARGE print. So I think this might have colored my thoughts about the books itself. For some reason Large print makes everything simplistic and childish, or is that just Micahel Crichton? I enjoyed the thought process that went into the novel. The defense department commissions tiny nano cameras to be built. The contractor keeps fiddling with them to make them work, until they are out of control and they start eating people.

Labels:


Search Worldcat

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Anansi Boys


I just finished this book. Well worth the read.

The God Anansi has a family. One of his children grows up to work in an office in England. His life is OK, but not great. His dad dies (he doesn't know about the godliness) and he learns more about himself. For instance he has a brother. The story really starts when his brother comes to town. Full of mischief and mayhem, a great story all around.

Nanafv ernyyl bayl unf bar fba, ohg ur jnf fcyvg va gjb ol n jvgpu ng nebhaq ntr B. Fcvqre terj hc xabjvat ur jnf zntvp. Sng Puneyrf terj hc oryvrivat ur jnf yvxr rirelbar ryfr.

Labels:


Search Worldcat

Thursday, October 13, 2005

The Perfect American:Peter Stephan Jungk; Michael Hofmann



The Perfect American is a fictionalized biography of Disney by a former employee. The immigrant employee works hard making animation cells for Disney, but then he gets caught up in an attempt to discredit Disney for his politics. Disney who will harbor no dissidents fires him as soon as he hears about the plot. Wilhelm Dantine goes to great lengths after this to stalk Disney until the day he dies. It is hard to say what Dantine is hoping to achieve through this cat and mouse game. Half the time Disney is hardly aware of his existence. You end up really just wanting to tell Dantine to start a new life and stop worrying about the past so much.

It was interesting to hear a lot of details about Disney's life. It almost makes me want to check out a real BIO and read it to compare. I especially like Disney's conversations with Abe.

Labels:


Search Worldcat

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Case Histories: Kate Atkinson

I got this book free from ALA, so there were a couple of typos which I'm sure Ms. Atkinson has fixed by now.

I enjoyed this book tremendously. Each chapter represents a different thread that alternates between approximately 3 different stories about mysteries that are being solved by the main character. Jackson is the name of the Private Investigator who goes about solving the crimes in typical fashion. I enjoyed the fact that Jackson was actively thinking about his future, and wanting to break out of the business and retire happily in France. Although you definitely got the impression that never would happen. The individual stories themselves were interesting, and the author devoted the same amount of time to each.


-Jason

Labels:


Search Worldcat

Friday, September 09, 2005

Unused Audio Commentary for LOR: Fellowship of the Ring: JEFF ALEXANDER AND TOM BISSELL

This is a short story from a wonderful book that Amanda gave me (thanks Amanda!)
The Book is called Created in Darkness by Troubled Americans: The Best of McSweeny's Humor Category:

This short story is such a gem. The authors have imagined a conversation between tow people picking apart the lord of the rings movie as if it would have been an extra on the DVD. You can bet that if this was real it would have been added on the Diamond Version of the DVD, along with in-depth interviews with every single orc.

Here is one great exchange, but read the story (see link above) for yourself!

"Chomsky: "Let's leave the most powerful object in all of Middle Earth with a weak little Hobbit, a race known for its chattering and intoxication, and tell him to keep it a secret."


Jason

Labels:


Search Worldcat

Monday, August 22, 2005

Box Man: Kobo Abe


I read this over the course of a month. I don't know.

I enjoyed it, but I think I liked kangaroo notebook more.

A box man is someone who constructs a carboard box in such a manner that it can fit over their entire body. The box allows the person to move around the city as a vagrant of sorts.

Kobo Abe went to lengths to distinguish the box man from the bum/homeless person. I think the main difference is that the box man is always at home (?).

The story is convoluted and involves 4 characters, and several case stories (?) a good percentage of the narrative is spent talking about the writing of the book. Is the author the sentient person? Which character is the author, or did the author just happen to find the diary of a box man?

At times, I just wanted to say who cares, tell me more about the box man.

Jason

Labels:


Search Worldcat

The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana:Umberto Eco



Well I did it. I finally read the thing.

An older man becomes an amnesiac when he has a stroke caused by high blood pressure. He remembers most everything he has ever read, unless some emotional significance has been attached to it.

The first 100 pages were most intriguing for me. He has to come to grips with where the real world meets the printed word. Drinking coffee results in burning his mouth etc... He is able to recite ad nauseum from passages relating to subjects inspired by words he hears. However, he can't remember how to have sex with his wife.

He appears to be on a relentless quest to reclaim his memories, but I don't actually feel the passion he has to get his life back. Iinstead I get the idea that he wants to passionately read the books he read as a child. Which is strange because I would think that he would remember most of these from memory. I don't know quite where Umberto draws the line on that one.

The ending comes in throes, so watch out for the waves.

I enjoyed it, but I'm not sure who should devote what little time they have to it.

Jason

Labels:


Search Worldcat

Thursday, June 30, 2005

To the point of breaking, the rope was stretched.

Guardian Unlimited Books | Special Reports | To the point of breaking, the rope was stretched.: "To the point of breaking, the rope was stretched. At the end of which hung a twitching, whey-faced Arthur, and his pig, Marmite."

From the winner of Dave Eggers' short story contest: To the Point

400 word short short story.

I don't care for animal violence. Even if the pig was not slaughtered I'm not sure if I can handle this story. It is robust though and worth taking a glance over.

Labels:


Search Worldcat

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Cloud Atlas: David Mitchell

I liked this book very much

I would compare it to Ghostwritten, Of course the difference being that Ghostwritten, is Cloud Atlas is There are common elements However, the book itself reads like each story was published as a pamphlet, and then opened in the middle and stapled one on top of each other. that tie the stories together.harder to describe.like a collection of short stories where an element is common to all. because of the manner in which it weaves narratives.

This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it can be distracting at first. Please read it.

-Jason

Labels:


Search Worldcat

Friday, June 24, 2005

State of Fear: Michael Chrichton

I just finished up listening to this book, and it did keep me entertained. Don't think of it as a book, but instead a mediocre lecture with murders, near death experiences and journeys to exciting locations.

Conspiracy Level: 9/10
Enjoyment reading: 3/5
Recommended: 3/5


Jason

Labels:


Search Worldcat

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Saturday:Ian Mcewan

4.5 out of 5 stars

Thought provoking day in the life of a British Neurosurgeon. The main character spends a Saturday preoccupied by a lot of different things. He is 10% Jackass, 5% pretentious, 50% Loving Family man, 35% existential philosopher.

I enjoyed the way that he dissected every stuation as if he was in the operating room. His family is interesting, and offers a nice contrast to his otherwise sterile personality.

Well worth the read.

Labels:


Search Worldcat

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Broken Angels:Richard Morgan

3 stars

I enjoyed this book on its own, but don't read it expecting a detective novel on the level of Altered Carbon. The premise is that Takeshi Kovacs is a mercenary for hire, but he is bored working for the police force that is putting down a rebellion in one of the human colonies. He finds an opportunity to leave and work on a side project hunting for valuable martian artifiacts (spaceship). The first half of the story is spent putting together the team working on the project. I think perhaps one or two of these people could have been left off to spare the reader from remembering their background and motivations.


The end was slightly confusing. You might end up wondering if the author revealed something new, or if you should have put some pieces together to arrive at the same conclusion. Not everything is resolved, so don't mind the details or they might drive you batty.


EOL:Don't read it expecting a sequel to Altered Carbon.

Labels:


Search Worldcat

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Motherless Brooklyn: Jonathan Lethem

Amazing,... well It was at least very interesting, and well worth the read. I may have disagreed with how the author tied up a few things near the end, but overall it was written very well. (unlike my posts)

Short story. Tourettic (sp, is that a word?) thuggish detective. sets out to discover who has murdered his boss. Virtually no one wants him to pursue this course of action, but just try and stop him from doing anything. (it's a compulsion thing) There is some romance in the book, but sudden outbursts always seem to destroy and sense of calm that ahs been achieved.

I think Lethem could even take the character he has created here and start a new series of detective novels, like Ian Rankin's series.

storycode

Labels:


Search Worldcat

Monday, May 23, 2005

Digital Fortress-Dan Brown

My one word description is fluff. If you have nothing else to do and you would like to keep your brain semi-awake, and out of a persistent vegetative state then you might want to check this out. Adding a second word I might say "suspenseful fluff". You have to at least admit that Dan Brown keeps the plot moving, even if you can kind of guess what is going to happen next. And this review might be a trifle unfair because I was exposed to the Cryptonomicon before reading this. So any other cryptographic novel pales in comparison.

This book discusses how the NSA supposedly snoops on all of our emails. The author seems to be debating the merits of this with himself throughout the book. Totally Evil to completely necessary. The NSA claims it is being done with our best interests in mind, but other characters in the story believe that we should have privacy. etc.. So I don't know you could read it for that alone I suppose.

Final note, Decent fluff. I wouldn't advise anyone not to read it really

storycode

Labels:


Search Worldcat

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Maximum Ride:James Patterson

This is James Patterson's foray into Young Adult Literature. It has a sequel that hasn't come out yet, and I am looking forward to reading it, if that gives you any indication as to how I liked this book.

It was fast paced, and interesting. The plot involved a flock of mutant bird children. Details were good, and sounded reasonable intriguing for the intended age bracket. The plot itself was a little predictable, but the author hits you with suprises along the way. Dead ends are plentiful, but oddly fortuitious gains are also present.

A close comparison might be with the Rats of Nimh???

-Jason

story code

Labels:


Search Worldcat

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

The Children of Men-P.D.James

This was an interesting book about the future. This book is about what would happen if all of a sudden our race stopped producing children. What would the reaction of the general populace be? This book focuses solely on the reaction to this kind of an epidimic in england. The theme recalls Herbert's "White Plague" without the whole vengeance angle.

Specifically the story details the accounts of one man who has intimate connections with the leader of England, but has also been contacted by members of a rebel group. The story flows at a decent pace, and doesn't let the reader down when it comes time to make hard choices. However, I feel that the author stumbled at the end, and produced an inadequate solution. That is just a fancy way to say I despise how this book was ended. So if you want I can rewrite the last 3 pages for you.

I believe that an erroneous observation was written into the entire latter portion of the book, but I can look past that for the most part. I believe that the author is trying to insinuate that everyone would love for a baby to be born, after 20 some odd years of no babies, and no hope for babies. It is my hypothesis that the general populace would prefer at that point to just let the race die in peace. I don't know maybe that is just me.But again, the very end did not sit well with me.

Jason

Labels:


Search Worldcat

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Lovely Green Eyes-Arnost Lustig

I just finished reading Arnost Lustig's "Lovely Green Eyes"

Very enjoyable read, but depressing of course because of the subject matter.
As it turns out I was reading this on Remember the Holocaust day. Yom Hashoah

Told from the POV of the future associate of a former jewish war time prostitute. I guess the Nazi's never knowingly put jewish women to work in their prostitution camps. This is a story of survival by any means.

Gives you a good insight into some of the atrocities you don't usually hear about.



Story Code

Labels:


Search Worldcat