Ever since the Grand Theft Auto series leapt to 3D, Rockstar has continued to push the cinematic elements of the series even further.
Hadn’t put up a post for a while, so dug one out of my goodreads archive
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I first read Fahrenheit 451 in high school, and if you’d asked me at the time what it was about, I would tell you it was a parable about censorship. it is, to a point, but re-reading it now I pick up different things.
Bradbury wrote the first version of the book in nine days, and it shows- the book is very focused, and at times the characters lecture one another for pages upon pages. what emerges, however, is the author railing against the idea of a simplified society- Bradbury wants there to be complexity, and diversity, and ideas that make you sit up and listen. in the current age of soporific reality television and big dumb movies, it’s as noble a goal as any.
is it a perfect book? no. but it stays with you and occupies your thoughts after it is read; it calls for discussion, and debate, and disagreement. in doing so, it enriches those that read it, and that’s precisely the kind of thinking that Bradbury is calling for.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I’ve been on a bit of a Hannibal Lecter kick of late- the TV series sucked me in good, and I recently rewatched The Silence of The Lambs. One story I’d never really approached was Red Dragon, even though it’s been filmed twice. What I really wanted to know was: is Hannibal Lecter so powerful just because he’s performed well, or is it a combination of acting and material?
I reckon it’s the latter. Red Dragon (pre Clarice Starling, but starring the TV show’s Will Graham) only features Lecter briefly, but he’s certainly memorable. Possibly more compelling is the deranged but in some ways sympathetic Francis Dolarhyde, a deformed and broken man who is haunted by apocalyptic visions and a vicious alternate personality.
As a procedural, it’s very good- Harris’ attention to detail during the FBI investigation is excellent. It’s also made me appreciate the TV series more- the characters presented here are perfectly in line with the series (well, except Dr. Bloom, who’s had a gender switch). all up, Red Dragon is a well done procedural that certainly set the stage for where Lecter was going next.
Wrote this one while I was away:
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I’m probably what you’d call an occasional reader of fantasy- while I read a fair bit, I am pretty particular about what I read. I tend to get bogged down and put off by all of there x-son-of-y’s and whatever the latest bog-standard variant of orcs or evil empires are, and that stops me from really engaging with the story- the world tends to get in the way of the plot. The Name of the Wind has managed to cut through all of that, and as a consequence I found it gripping.
Kvothe, a former adventurer turned innkeeper, is living a quiet life in an isolated village. The arrival on his doorstep of a pack of demonic (for lack of a better term) creatures leads to him saving the life of a chronicler, who recognises him as the legendary hero. The book then takes the form of Kvothe recounting his early life to the scribe, interspersed with the ongoing life in the inn.
Kvothe’s life is interesting. starting as a member of a travelling troupe, Kvothe quickly displays an aptitude for learning, and he is tutored early on by a travelling mage. His life is turned upside down by the slaughter of his troupe by a group of mythic villains, and from here Kvothe’s life leads him through stages as a wild-child and a beggar/thief, before he finally arrives at the University where he learns the ways of magic.
While is is very much a coming-of-age story, Kvothe’s tutelage is not a Harry Potter-esque schooling. The University is serious and dangerous, and Kvothe must navigate the politics, rivalries and surrounding life of the uni.
What sets this book apart is the rich worldbuilding that’s almost in the background- I never felt like I was receiving an info dump, and the steady pace of new information is expertly handled. The cutting between Kvothe’s reminiscence and the “current day” narrative breaks the story up well, and the structure allows for a naturally conversational style. I was excited by the late-novel encounters with a dragon and the ongoing rivalry with another student, and Kvothe’s growth as a magician and pursuit of the band of godlike thugs that slaughtered his family hints at larger things to come.
To give you an idea of how drawn in to the story I was, not only did I finish it in four days, I went onto the Kindle store and immediately bought the next one!
I highly recommend this to anyone who’s into fantasy- not since I read A Song of Ice and Fire have I been this suckered into a fantasy novel, even though they are quite different. Do It.
South America trip, days 23-27
We arose early in San Pedro for our transfer to Calama. Leaving in the dark, we saw the sky lighten as we drove back through the gravelly Atacama and to the aeropuerto. Our flight was only two hours so we got into Santiago just before 1. A local guide, Manuel, met us at the airport and pointed out landmarks on the way into the hazy city.