July 1, 2008

Books reviews: The Audacity of Hope and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time

Note: the links to the left are referral based things that might, at some point in the future, make me money somehow. I don't really care about that, but I couldn't find any other way to get pictures of the covers to show up (since it looks like they block non-amazon referrers.) Also, in general I like Amazon and don't mind driving traffic to them.

The Audacity of Hope

On the last international flight I took, before getting on the plane I picked up two books. One of them is a kind of current-events sort of deal, Barack Obama's "The Audacity of Hope". I'm really excited about the upcoming US Presidential election. To tell the truth, I can see positives in each of Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and John McCain, but I'm most excited about the prospect of Barack Obama becoming president. He made a joke about bubble sorts. He's also been covered a lot on Slashdot, and it really seems like he has a good grasp of some issues important to people in the technology field. I've been intrigued, and have become interested in learning more about his views, so I thought it would be my civic duty to read his book.

I'm not really going to give any summaries or big overviews, but I enjoyed the book, and thought it was an easy, fun read. I found his analysis of some of the problems that America faces to be well thought-out and his policies also look very reasonable. There was one chapter on religion and the family that sounded like an appeal to a broad American religious base, but it isn't a fanatical style of mixing religion and government; he clearly believes in the separation of church and state, which is good enough for me. His oft-mentioned points of diversity and hope are also very appealing, so I'm really looking forward to the upcoming election.

It is disappointing to me that we only have two major parties and two realistic candidates, but at least that means that if I want to be fair, I only have one other book to read.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time

This is a book that I bought purely on recommendation of a random person on slashdot. It came up in a discussion of science fiction novels (of which I'm a big fan) although it isn't of the space ships and aliens variety. I wouldn't even really classify it as science fiction so much as just fiction written from an interesting perspective.

It is really interesting to go into this book without knowing much about it, but I will say that I really enjoyed this book, and highly recommend it. I don't generally like novels that use narrative gimmicks (I can't tell if I'm sick of, or enjoy, the unreliable narrator) but even though this book has its gimmick, it doesn't come off as gimmicky.

This is apparently a young adult novel, but I have a thing for well-written young adult novels - particularly Garth Nix's Abhorsen Trilogy and Shade's Children - so that isn't a problem for me.

Anyway, I really liked this book, and am going to make space for it on my bookshelf. That's pretty rare because I get the feeling that I won't have too much bookshelf space after the move to the new apartment.



Comments

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Re: Books reviews: The Audacity of Hope and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
You may have already read it (since it won a Hugo), but I recommend To Say Nothing of the Dog, which is a science fiction time-travel Victorian mystery. Reading what I just wrote, I could imagine The Fiery Furnaces making a CD with the theme based on that...

At the moment I'm caught up in non-fictional books on just about anything, so I might give The Audacity of Hope a go.
Posted 14 years, 4 months ago by Alex • @wwwReply
Thanks for the pointer!
Thanks Alex, I've added To Say Nothing of the Dog to my list of books to check out. Also, I enjoy the The Fiery Furnaces myself (although I haven't listened to them in ages - I'm trying to listen up to groups that will be at Summer Sonic and Fuji Rock this year, since the wife got us tickets to both Summer Sonic days, and Saturday for Fuji Rock...)

Also, only related by the booky-ness property, I saw a poster for ブラック会社に勤めてるんだが、もう俺は限界かもしれない which looks interesting. Well, I actually just want to read about the life of a programmer in Japan, even if it is fictional, so I might put that next on my "In Japanese" list.

I've been so busy lately that haven't been making any headway on that list at all, but you've got to have goals!
Posted 14 years, 4 months ago by Fugu • • wwwReply
Re: Books reviews: The Audacity of Hope and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
Oh, and this is more for my own note-taking purposes, but here is a great list of top sci-fi novels compiled by Marc Andreessen that look interesting. I've read a good number of them, but there are some I need to put on my (ever growing) list.

(Also, random spam prevention field shortened, and no comments need to be moderated now.)
Posted 14 years, 4 months ago by Fugu • @wwwReply

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