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Review: The Silence of the Lambs

The Silence of the Lambs
The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Longer review in book journal.

This was an amazing book. Haven’t read it for reasons I need to get a psychologist to dissect, but ultimately got to it and it proved to be an hell of a read. Excellent story, excellent villain, great characters, great pacing. Writing a little sparse, but it worked.

Looking forward to watching the movie now! Ok, not like *now*, now, but soon.

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Review: Storyteller: Writing Lessons & More from 27 Years of the Clarion Writers’ Workshop

Storyteller: Writing Lessons & More from 27 Years of the Clarion Writers' Workshop
Storyteller: Writing Lessons & More from 27 Years of the Clarion Writers’ Workshop by Kate Wilhelm
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

(Didn’t track actual Finished Reading Date)

Very informative. I learned a lot here.

(Review in book journal)

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Review: I Am The Secret Footballer: Lifting the Lid on the Beautiful Game

I Am The Secret Footballer: Lifting the Lid on the Beautiful Game
I Am The Secret Footballer: Lifting the Lid on the Beautiful Game by The Secret Footballer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Fun! I wanted to read about the naughty wives of famous footballers, but he doesn’t explain it here. The stories he does tell was fun.

He makes it clear that not all footballers are dumb oafs. Well, that’s obvious, not every footballer’s idea of a good time is getting drunk and laid all the time, at the same time, and several times at once. At least, not all the time. But to see it articulated in such a manner, with such a sense of self-awareness is refreshing.

From an education perspective, however, I do prefer The Secret Footballer’s Guide to the Modern Game, which isn’t all textbook, but explains a little more behind some of the things that are happening on the screen.

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Review: The 4-Hour Chef: The Simple Path to Cooking Like a Pro, Learning Anything, and Living the Good Life

The 4-Hour Chef: The Simple Path to Cooking Like a Pro, Learning Anything, and Living the Good Life
The 4-Hour Chef: The Simple Path to Cooking Like a Pro, Learning Anything, and Living the Good Life by Timothy Ferriss
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is an audiobook, provided for free by Ferriss himself. It’s clearly a promotional tool, and he leaves out all the recipes and sidebar notes and stuff, so a good portion of the book is not covered here.

I’m aware I’m on shaky ground here if I portray myself as having ‘finished’ this book, but this isn’t about you. I’m writing my impressions here, so an old man like myself doesn’t forget. Technicalities be damned.

This book isn’t about cooking alone, although it does feature quite a lot of that. It’s really about how you can learn a skill quickly, in the shortest possible time. Ferriss covers things like learning a new language, competition level dancing or whatever, about how it’s important to do something that isn’t ‘conventional’ to get to the heart of the matter in learning – something that isn’t learning by rote. There’s an optimized path to learning things, and he lays the framework for doing exactly that.

And he applies that to cooking. There are recipes that accompany pretty interesting stories, so it isn’t outside the realms of possibility that I pick up the actual book to see how things are done. Which is brilliant marketing on Ferriss’s part.

I enjoyed the parts that aren’t hardcore cooking. The anecdotes and the non-cooking stuff had knowledge that I’d like to remember and incorporate in my life. Language learning is something I’d like to do in a couple of years, so the principles should apply.

Now if only I have that damn book to refer to…

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Review: Tess of the D’Urbervilles

Tess of the D'Urbervilles
Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Excellent book. I prefer Far from the Madding Crowd, but I think that’s possibly because it had a different ending (I’m almost tempted to say a happier ending, but then that was never a ready I preferred one book to another, was it? Right?).

It was a book simply filled with tension, because it was just so… unfair, for Tess. And I found myself getting angry several times during the book, and not the least of which was the scene where the secrets where laid bare between Tess and Angel. This was bait and switch, baby!

I’ve a work document to prepare before I head to bed, and this sentence has no business doing in a book review, but it speaks to my state of mind as I write this. The writing is brilliant, and the plot moved along well enough. It’s the ladies, I tell you. In this time period what happens to the ladies and how they are treated and how they feel like there’s literally nowhere else to turn to when things go sour is so unfair.

The ending was almost shoddy, in my opinion. Tess’s act at the end there was almost clumsy and if I didn’t know any better Hardy himself didn’t know how to get her out of the quandary and decided to just fast track everyone to the ending. After what happened it was clear what was to come, so no surprises there, but everyone was frankly an ass to her, and what happened to her again smacks of total injustice.

Bah.

It’s a great book. Read it. Despite my bah.

[Finished in March 2016 – exact date unknown]

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A Quick Reader Profile Quiz

And I’m the Eclectic Reader. I have to say I don’t disagree.

The Eclectic Reader

You read for entertainment but also to expand your mind. You’re open to new ideas and new writers, and are not wedded to a particular genre or limited range of authors.

 

Check out the quiz here: https://www.bookbrowse.com/quiz/.

Review: The Secret Footballer’s Guide to the Modern Game: Tips and Tactics from the Ultimate Insider

The Secret Footballer's Guide to the Modern Game: Tips and Tactics from the Ultimate Insider
The Secret Footballer’s Guide to the Modern Game: Tips and Tactics from the Ultimate Insider by The Secret Footballer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wonderful. I’m one of those fans described exactly in the book – love to watch the game, has opinions but have absolutely no idea what I’m talking about.

This book obviously didn’t change me in a major way, yet at the same time it did. I now know a little more about the tactics employed by managers, and truly, it cements the fact that there’s simply no way for someone to truly understand what happens on the pitch when the only way you’re seeing it is via the telly (I’m going British now). So much of the nuance appears outside the area where the ball is being played, and as the Secret Footballer points out, the only way one would know something is taking place tactically is when you know the secret nods and signals, or ‘triggers’, that the players use among themselves.

Anyhow, it’s an entertaining read, and I got the ‘I am the Secret Footballer’ as a result.

Looking forward to it.

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Review: The Revenge of Lord Oda

The Revenge of Lord Oda
The Revenge of Lord Oda by Nick Lake
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

(Don’t remember when I started and finished this book. Didn’t take a month to finish, though)

The first book was brilliant. It was fun and unexpected (I mean, it’s ninjas with vampires. This could go wrong in so many ways). I didn’t expect to much on this sophomore volume, and I suppose it did well enough.

We find early on that the hero’s teacher, the vampire Whatshisname, didn’t die after all after the huge fight at the end of the first book. I thought that was a mistake. Apparently I’m more bloodthirsty than the vampires in the book.

The hero reunites with his mother, only to see her die at the hands of a confused ex-companion who mistakenly believes the hero murdered her sister. This was interesting, I thought, and a move in the right direction from a plot perspective. What I didn’t expect, however, is the ghost of the mother haunting her son. A sad, passive-aggressive ghost following the son, draining him of his life energies, and periodically appearing before him in leaving frustratingly undecipherable clues – apparently she forgets that as a ghost her instructions/warnings/apologies don’t come through living world, so the hero sees her mouthing… something… and he can’t for the life of him figure out what the heck she’s saying.

This is, literally, an unhealthy basis for a mother-son relationship. He finally figures out what he needs to do on the cusp of dying (I think I face-palmed myself here), dies and meets his mother finally in hell who (finally!) can communicate! Luckily she doesn’t say, “I just wanted to tell you all this while that you didn’t tie your shoelaces.”

He gets the vital clue he needs to uncover the treasure of the plot, which is something I feel is the wrongly named Buddha Ball. There didn’t seem to be anything vaguely Buddhist about this weapon of mass destruction. Anyway, he gets this, and proceeds to destroy the same guy he supposedly killed in the last book. The bad guy got his guts sliced open at the end of the last book, but because the hero was bleeding, some of his blood flowed into the open mouth of the fallen bad guy, turning him into a vampire (because the hero is a vampire ninja – I had forgotten to mention this bit. You know, just in case you didn’t realize from the title of the book).

The love interest is the daughter of the said bad guy, and I’d imagine he’d have a hard time courting her now, having killed her father not once, but twice. In fact, he’d have such a hard time of it I suspect he’ll spend a big portion of the third book doing just that. I have that very book, and I’m looking forward to seeing how he accomplishes this.

I’m slightly cheeky with this review, but I have to say I did enjoy this book, though admittedly not nearly as much as the first one. There wasn’t an expectation with the first book, and the second has to be coloured somewhat with some kind of expectation.

I seriously look forward to the concluding volume of this story.

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