2 Following
scottobear

Scotto, He likes the books.

About me: Male, Near Washington DC

 

Birthday: February 02, 1969

 

Website: http://blog.scottobear.com

 

Fave types of Books - Weird stuff, Westerns, Sci-fi, Fantasy, Thrillers, Muilti-genre, mysteries

 

Interests -agnosticism, american history, ancient civilizations, ancient history, animal rights, animals, applied science, art, bare feet, bioluminescence, blackhellkat, blogging, blowing bubbles, bob ross, bones, books, butterflies, camping, cartoons, cats, clouds, comedy, comic books, comics, compassion, computers, conversation, critical thinking, cryptozoology, curiosity, dark humor, dragonflies, dreams, dwarves, egyptology, etymology, exotic cuisine, film noir, finding a solution, fireflies, foggy mornings, folklore, forests, forteana, freaks, freedom, friendship, games, gaming, giant rubber monsters, green, groundhog day, halloween, happiness, health, helping others, herbs, hiking, history, hong kong cinema, hope, horror, hugs, human rights, humor, illumination, innocence, inspiration, irony, journaling, karma, kindness, libraries, love, magic, memoirs, monkeys, movies, museums of art, music, my wife, mythology, naps, nature, newton, numbers, occidental culture, oriental culture, palendromes, parks, peace, people-watching, petroglyphs, philosophy, photography, playing, primates, problem solving, programming, pyewacket, questions, rain, reading, reason, roadside attractions, robots, roleplaying, rpgs, salmagundi, science, science fiction, scottobear, shiny objects, sound effects, staying up late, super heroes, synchronicity, the boston molasses flood, the moon, the ocean, the prisoner, the unknown, thinking, thunderstorms, tiki, trees, trivia, truth, urban legends, used bookstores, vegetarianism, veves, vikings, vintage art/ads, voodoo, walking, webcams, weird tales, westerns, wind, wisdom, wit, writing, zombies

Currently reading

The Dawn of Malevolence / Urinal Cakes All the Way Down - Two Pack (The Annals of Absurdity)
Joshua Price
Beekeeping: A Practical Guide
Richard E. Bonney
Storey's Guide to Keeping Honey Bees: Honey Production, Pollination, Bee Health (Storey's Guide to Raising)
Richard E. Bonney
Back RX: A 15-Minute-a-Day Yoga- and Pilates-Based Program to End Low Back Pain
Vijay Vad
Fortune's Daughter: A Novel
Alice Hoffman
Shotguns v. Cthulhu
Chris Lackey, Chad Fifer, Steve Dempsey, Natania Barron, Jason Morningstar, Ekaterina Sedia, Kyla Ward, Adam Scott Glancy, Dennis Detwiller, Rob Heinsoo, Nick Mamatas, Kenneth Hite, Dave Gross, Daniel Harms, Robin D. Laws, Larry DiTillio
Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore
Robin Sloan
The Fuller Memorandum (The Laundry Files)
Charles Stross
Summer
Edith Wharton
Expiration Date
Tim Powers

Raptor Threat (Dino Squad Book 1)

Raptor Threat (Dino Squad Book 1) - Tom Wright cute quickie freebie.

334

334 - Thomas M. Disch Well, first off, it’s colored as science fiction, along the lines of Fahrenheit 451, Brave New World, or 1984, in the style of “bleak land of the future”… centering less on the bigger political issues, and more on day-to-day life.

334 is a collection of short stories, focusing on characters that to some degree or another connect back to a single three-generation family living in Building #334; tenement housing subsidized by the government.

The most interesting non-story element of the book is the end is the closing piece. It’s a string of little literary sketches, each centering around one of three women in the main family. On the first page of this collection of sketches, there’s a three-dimensional flow chart. The z-axis covers the family’s three women, youngest to eldest being Shrimp, Lottie, and Mrs. Hanson. The y-axis covers three locations in time: the years 2021, 2024, and 2025, and the x-axis covers the four ways that a sketch is written: monologue, reality, fantasy, and another POV. So the chart contains 36 distinct points, each of which sums up one character, one place in time, and one point of view. There’s a line drawn through this guide, tracing a path over, around and through, crossing all the points. At each point’s intersection, there’s a number, being a title of one of the sketches. So, each sketch is shown in respect to its place on the chart.

The line always moves by 90 degrees, so that it never changes more than one axis at a time. If you’re reading a sketch about Mrs. Hanson’s monologue in 2021, you know that the next sketch will either be about someone else’s monologue in 2021, or a different point of view on Mrs. Hanson in 2021, or a Mrs. Hanson monologue in a different year. Sometimes the line crosses itself, generating two different sketches at the same point, which is why there’s 43 sketches with only 36 points. The chart's path really didn't leap out and require me to take notice of it, or really shift my reading style at all… if the chart wasn't there, you might not notice at all that it was set up in such a way, but it’s an interesting thing to include, and the paths stick out in an nifty pattern.

The book really isn't much about the the future world the characters live in, but more closely on the characters themselves, their hearts and minds, rather than the environment that they live in…. with a few twists and tweaks, it could be placed in almost any location and time-line. I could see it being equally at home in a Victorian or current urban setting.

Final analysis… I liked it, and it was a quick read. I can see returning to it again in perhaps another 10 years or so, even if only to refer back to certain character designs and motives.

Paddle Your Own Canoe: One Man's Principles for Delicious Living

Paddle Your Own Canoe: One Man's Principles for Delicious Living - Nick Offerman The first thing to remember is that Nick Offerman is not Ron Swanson.

There are some great similarities, and certainly he projects a similar earthy / by your bootstraps vibe... it's written in a like style to Swanson's speech patterns. It's a challenge to not hear his voice when reading the text. I have heard that the audio version of this book is narrated by him, and can only imagine it flows better in that form.

He touches on a number of subjects, and I agree with a goodly amount of them. There's a solid live and let live philosophy there, and he surely praises his wife to the sky.

When he's preachy, it can be a bore. When he's on point, and not just standing on a soapbox, it can be quite enjoyable in parts.

Like his stand-up comedy, this book has some seemingly misplaced or unneeded profanity. Sometimes it feels that he is putting words in for some effect that isn't being delivered to me.

I give it a solid meh. Didn't much take to it, but I didn't hate it. If between 1 and 2 stars, (2 being "it was ok") I'll err on the side of charity, and say 2.

I was disappointed.





A Commonplace Book of the Weird: The Untold Stories of H.P. Lovecraft

A Commonplace Book of the Weird: The Untold Stories of H.P. Lovecraft - Joseph Fink, Marcus Goodyear, Will Hartwell, Christopher Scheer, Jonathan Herzog, Kyle Levenick, Hannah Lott-Schwartz, Justin Marquis, Daniel McCoy, Rob Neill, Zack Parsons, Brian James Polak, Marta Rainer, Brock Savage, F. Omar Telan, Kathleen Akerley, Meg Bashwiner, Gar A real mixed bag. Depending on the author... stuff can be great, or weak.

Fink's story is great.

Becoming Agile: ...in an imperfect world

Becoming Agile: ...in an imperfect world - Greg Smith, Ahmed Sidky A bit dry, but really, what do you want from case studies in project management using the agile method?

Something Wicked This Way Comes & A Sound of Thunder

Something Wicked This Way Comes & A Sound of Thunder - Stefan Rudnicki, Ray Bradbury time to pick this up again for the season.

Who Moved My Cheese?: An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life

Who Moved My Cheese?: An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life - Spencer Johnson, Kenneth H. Blanchard The subtle, underlying message of this book is "Don't waste time fighting against bad changes: accept that bad stuff will happen to you for no good reason and just keep moving, like an animal." The animal analogy is a valid one: animals do not question or complain about changes that hurt them, they just try to survive. Any CEO would love a company full of mice--and this book is a great step along that road.

Furthermore, the book's core analogy makes the insulting assumption that employees shouldn't bother with reason or analysis: pure survival instinct is all the CEO wants to see. Real humans in a maze, confronted with vanishing or moving cheese, wouldn't just whine; they'd analyze their situation and find a creative solution, instead of just going back to foraging. Maybe the cheese-deposit mechanism is stuck; maybe the cheese is shifting in a pattern that can be understood; maybe there's a way out of the freakin' maze! "Just accept it and keep moving" is not only a simpleminded philosophy, it's often dead wrong.

Change is not always bad, but it should always be questioned, and opposed if it's harmful. Be a man, not a mouse.

Secret Santa

Secret Santa - Randy X. Porter Superb

exactly what you want from a book about a secret agent Santa. I'll read it again for the holidays. kudos to Mr porter.

Jimmy Solves the JFK Assassination

Jimmy Solves the JFK Assassination - Randy X. Porter Quick read

entertaining little slice. I'll happily
read more as other stories become available.

2nd tale of his I've read and better than the first.

Tacos of Doom

Tacos of Doom - Randy X. Porter Cute

not bad for a quickie and a freebie. I was entertained and wouldn't mind seeing more of his stuff. kudos.

Caravaggio: A Life Sacred and Profane

Caravaggio: A Life Sacred and Profane - Andrew Graham-Dixon So Far, so good. A fascinating person, and thus far it's a well-written accounting of this life.

Stephen Fry in America

Stephen Fry in America - Stephen Fry a far too brief skim over the bbc series of the same name. (which can only cover so much in each episode, as it is.) View the series, but the book is hardly a companion piece.

Soulless

Soulless - Gail Carriger cute - I'll continue on to the next in the series

Furies of Calderon

Furies of Calderon - Jim Butcher Pretty standard horse and sword fantasy - I prefer the dresden books but these were pretty good too.

Zombie Spaceship Wasteland

Zombie Spaceship Wasteland - Patton Oswalt meh. I prefer his stand-up. Not really worth my time. Fortunately, it was a quick and easy read.

The Best of 2600: A Hacker Odyssey

The Best of 2600: A Hacker Odyssey - Emmanuel Goldstein entertaining look back at the magazine... likely a pretty niche group, from phones to computers and general hacking too.