Friday, January 01, 2010

2009 - Media Consumed - part 1 of 3 - Books

I decided at the beginning of 2009, to keep a list of the media that I consumed. I listed movies that I saw in the theater, movies that I rented on dvd, and books. In hindsight, I WISH I thought to include my music purchases (and gifts) to this list as well.
Since the lists also include short "reviews" they've added up to a lengthy post, so I decided to split them into 3 parts: Books, dvd's, and theater.
Comments are welcomed.


The Judas Strain - ∆∆∆∆∆ - A bit out there but really good. Enjoyed.

A Year of living biblically - ∆∆∆∆ - To be fair, I started this book in 08, read about half, then put it down until Jan of 09. I needed that break as it was getting a tad monotonous. But I enjoyed finishing the book and it gave me lots of good thoughts to ponder.

Mondrian - ∆∆∆∆ - A "small" book with lots of pictures, but it had small type too so I'm counting it in this list. At the Cezanne exhibit - much to my surprise I walked away with a much higer appreciation of Mondrian. This little book talked about his life and paintings in more detail. I enjoyed it.

Brain Rules - ∆∆∆∆ - A really intersting book about how the brain works. I took a small break while reading as it got a little tedious at points, but overall lots of interesting facts and stats and stories... sad irony is that I now have a very difficult time remembering any of the interesting facts, stats to relate to others. ugh.

Napoleon's Pyramids - ∆∆∆∆ - While the book had a lot of technical flaws, and in my opinion some poorly written material, I really liked the story. The subject matter was interesting to me, as I've always had an interest in the Great Pyramid and its mysteries. The story moved along well like a hollywood action movie.

The Road - ∆∆∆∆ - An odd book, but it held my interest til the end, and made me think about things afterward. I happened upon this book while on vacation and I don't recall if I picked it up, or if my sister handed it to me, but regardless, she said it was "(one of?) the best books I've ever read"! Wow, with an endorsement like that, I HAD to check it out! I found the writing style different but I liked it (for example no quotation marks! If I wrote a book, that's how I'd do it too!). I do have a complaint (though it's my own short fall, and not the author's)... the vocabulary was a bit above me. I felt like every other page, I would stumble on at least 1-2 words that I didn't know the meaning of. But I really can't fault an author for that! I also have to admit I wanted to know more "answers" while reading the story, but again, that's just me.
I felt pressured to finish the book quickly too, because it's being released soon on the Big Screen! It should make for a good movie for sure.

Daemon - ∆∆∆∆∆ - A really entertaining book. I don't suppose this book is for everyone though, it has a lot of computer related information, that perhaps the "average joe" may not understand or get lost in. Some of it over my head as well, but I had the general gist of what was going on. It moved along quickly like a good thriller should, and didn't get too bogged down in the details. While I wouldn't call it perfect (the ending felt rushed to me, and didn't make a lot of sense at times). But overall, if you are a geek in anyway, and these topics interest you, then you should def check it out: computer viruses, MMORPG's, computers, cryptography, hacking, government conspiracies, end of days, society, classism, engineering, and on and on.
::::Semi - Spoiler alert::::
I kinda wish someone would have warned me so I will do the same - This book appears to be the first in a series - the second book is due for release in 2010 - I look forward to it.

Paranoia - ∆∆∆ - I enjoyed this book as a fun read, but I also feel like there were some flaws in the writing and story-line so I took some points off for that. In a nutshell it was a book about corporate espionage. A guy gets "blackmailed" into infiltrating another rival company, and proceeds to work the social ladder and several late night snooping sessions to get company secrets. There was a subplot as well that dealt with a man and his aging and sick father - which was a good side story. I felt like the author was writing down to me at times, and I couldn't tell if he was doing this on purpose or if perhaps he was struggling to write from a higher point of view (in regards to portraying a "working class Joe" versus a high profile corporate CEO). All in all a good summer read I guess. AND this marks a historical moment for me in that it was my first completed ebook on my Kindle. It was FREE to boot - I doubt I would have read it otherwise, so it was a nice surprise to have enjoyed it.

Fantômas - ∆∆∆∆ - I overall enjoyed this book, but towards the end, it kinda fell apart for me. I felt like new characters were being introduced every other page and I was having a hard time keeping track of them all. Speaking of every other page... the other thing that made this book difficult to enjoy was the words... yes the vocabulary was very difficult for me. In my defense, it was written in 1911, and it was orignally written in French, so a lot of words were period related, and French related. I kept a list of them and ended up at 85 words! Still an interesting "who done it" book that some credit as being the first book of its kind in the murder mystery style.

The Call of Cthulhu - ∆∆ - It's odd... I've read this story before, and enjoyed it, but for some reason this time around was just tedious. I think it is because my heart wasn't in it... I found some 'free' Lovecraft e-books online and downloaded them to read on my kindle. But I think I was just reading it cause it was free - not a very good reason to read. So, don't take this "review" as anything serious, if you've never read Lovecraft - you must. But do it on a cold october evening with some drizzling rain and perhaps by candlelight.

Doomsday Key by James Rollins - ∆∆∆∆ - I had a little trouble following this story this time, but I suspect it was just me. I tended to let too much time go in-between readings and I felt slightly confused. But all in all, yet another J. Rollins book that I very much enjoyed. As I mentioned... I feel like he's writing his books specifically for me and I thank him for it. Action, adventure, religion, conspiracy, dark-ops, history, etc... Only problem now... I think this was the last of his books that I needed to read - I've read all his others, so now I must wait until he comes out with a new one! Maybe I'll pick up one of his other books and re-read it.

The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown - ∆∆∆∆ - Disclaimer: The topics included in Dan's book are right up my alley. Secret Societies, Religion, Conspiracy, Science = awesome. So that being said, this story probably could have been written by a 6 year old, and I would have enjoyed it. But, trying to be objective for a minute... There were times when i felt Dan was spoon feeding me the plot. Little "reminders" of the story that he just finished setting up became annoying to me. I can't help but to wonder if coming off his big success of his last book (The DaVinci Code) that appealed to the masses, if he didn't deliberately dumb this book down. Now, about half way through the book, I didn't notice this anymore. Perhaps he did this only in the beginning to hook people in, or perhaps I just didn't become aware of it later on, I can't be sure. Would I recommend this book to others? Probably not. I think you either like Dan's material or you don't. If you didn't like DaVinci, you will def not like this one. But for me... it was a great read!

Dracula - ∆∆∆ - This is a solid three ∆∆∆. I took off 2 ∆'s mainly because about half-way through the book it became VERY tedious. The story-line focused mainly and almost entirely on the preparation of the group planning an plotting to kill Dracula. I so much wanted the story to move on faster. But, it did hold my interest enough that I plodded through it all with them. I found it interesting, in that of all the movies, TV shows, comic books, etc... that I've seen about Vampires, (Including Copala's version which was supposed to be truer to the book) there were a lot of elements I had never heard before regarding Dracula himself, and or vampires in general. I appreciated thegothic tone in the book as well. The vocabulary again was a struggle for me, something about these older books and the words they used fascinates me. I just hope I am able to retain a FEW of the MANY words I had to look up (Thank goodness for my kindle that has the built in dictionary.)

On the Road - ∆ - Jack Kerouac was either on drugs when he wrote this or he has ADD (or both). Way too scattered of a story for me to enjoy. I did a longer more involved review on my blog here.

Carmilla - ∆∆∆∆ - I discovered this book - or rather short story - in doing a little wikipedia searching about Dracula. Turns out Carmilla came out about 25 years before Dracula, and many credit (or accuse?) Bram from lifting similar ideas and plot lines from Carmilla. I defintely saw some similarities, but whose to say what's "stealing" and what's "Inspiration"... Anyway, I enjoyed Carmilla very much. It was fairly short (being a short story and all). Granted, there is somewhat of a spoiler by knowing ahead of time that this is a vampire story. The author treats it like a mystery, yet the reader already knows what most of the other characters in the book don't - but that was a minor point I suppose. Overall, I just liked the storyline of it all.

Sidenote about books: This year I took the plunge and bought a Kindle. That has influenced my reading list (I've enjoyed several "out of copyright" books because of it. - In other words, they were free!)


comic books:


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