August 31, 2018

  • Review

    3.5 rating based on 1,234 ratings

    The Price You Pay (Aidan Truhen (pseudonym), 2018)

    Whoa. This is one in-your-face crime novel. Not for the faint-of-heart. That said, it can be fun to get inside the head of a charming sociopath every now-and-then. As long as you can get out again.

    I saw someone guessing this is a Nick Harkaway novel and I’m pretty sure it is.

    I am a fucking asymmetric criminal startup. I got limited expertise in criminal strategic warfare. I hotdesk and I outsource and I franchise, but what I mostly have is a core concept, forward momentum.

     

August 26, 2018

  • Review

    4.5 rating based on 1,234 ratings

    Ball Lightning (Liu Cixin, Joel Martinsen (Translator), 2005/2018)

    Liu Cixin really is a worthy successor to A.C. Clarke – the first author I became obsessed while a mere wee tike). This is a new English translation of an older novel that doesn’t quite have the expansiveness of Three-Body Problem, but was still a joy to read.

August 11, 2018

  • Review

    3.5 rating based on 1,234 ratings

    The Incendiaries (R.O. Kwon, 2018)

    A great debut novel by R.O. Kwon. Cults and terrorism examined from a new angle. Maybe it’s “cult adjacent” more than about cults.

August 1, 2018

  • Review

    3.5 rating based on 1,234 ratings

    My Year of Rest and Relaxation (Ottessa Moshfegh, 2018)

    Moshfegh writes wonderful stories about damaged women doing terrible things. This fantastical story of a woman going to extreme lengths to avoid the consequences of her life didn’t please me as much as her earlier novel Eileen, but it was satisfying nonetheless.

July 29, 2018

  • Review

    2.5 rating based on 1,234 ratings

    Give Me Your Hand (Megan Abbott, 2018)

    Sometimes when I’m reading a murder mystery told from the suspect’s perspective, I like to think about the same book told from the detective’s perspective. In this case, the detectives would have to be the most bumbling cops ever to not figure out what’s happening here. I’m not sure a novel set in 2018 can just ignore modern forensics and the ubiquity of surveillance technology.

July 22, 2018

  • Review

    2.0 rating based on 1,234 ratings

    This is a near-future story about people having babies. It won a bunch of awards, but I can’t say I get it. The people seem very parochial in their opinions about reproduction and what they want from their kids. I hope we progress a LOT more than over the next century.

July 14, 2018

  • Review

    5.0 rating based on 1,234 ratings

    My Absolute Darling (Gabriel Tallent, 2017)

    This was fantastic. Very dark and disturbing, but essentially redemptive in the end.

July 8, 2018

  • Review

    3.5 rating based on 1,234 ratings

    Echopraxia (Firefall, #2) (Peter Watts, 2014)

    Still full of fascinating ideas, but didn’t work for me the way the first book of the series did. The Vampires and Gods and what have you were a bit too fantastic for me and take the foreground in this installment, leaving me less satisfied.

July 3, 2018

  • Review

    3.0 rating based on 1,234 ratings

    The Colonel (Firefall 1.5) (Peter Watts, 2014)

    A short story that tells us what’s been happening on Earth while the Firefall saga continues in space. Onward to book two in the series!

  • Review

    4.5 rating based on 1,234 ratings

    Blindsight (Firefall 1) (Peter Watts, 2010)

    Hard SF with… vampires? Okay, sure. I love books that can stretch my understanding of what’s possible – real flights of imagination. Not just “West Wing on a gas giant” or “King Arthur, but robots” stuff. This fit the bill quite nicely. If there are aliens in the story I really want them to be, well alien.

June 29, 2018

  • Review

    4.0 rating based on 1,234 ratings

    The Freeze-Frame Revolution (Peter Watts, 2018)

    Got to love a novel that measures time in millions of years. This is my first encounter with Watts, but I’m diving into one of his bigger, more challenging novels (Blindsight) immediately after reading this.

June 27, 2018

  • Review

    5.0 rating based on 1,234 ratings

    In The Distance (Hernan Diaz, 2017)

    I’ve read a few novels about the final days of the American frontier, but none have given me this visceral sense of the immensity and the brutality of that landscape.

    A (very) rare five-star review from me.

June 24, 2018

  • Review

    4.0 rating based on 1,234 ratings

    Convenience Store Woman (Sayaka Murata, Ginny Tapley Takemori (Translator), 2018)

    A short glimpse into the very odd existence of a misfit in a world with little room for misfits. I’d mention Catcher In The Rye and Confederacy of Dunces as American counterparts, but this feels less grand and more subtle.

June 22, 2018

  • Review

    4.5 rating based on 1,234 ratings

    American War (Omar El Akkad, 2017)

    Reading this during the Trump-induced immigration crisis and creation of internment camps made this a difficult respite from the news. Still, what a fantastic read.

    El Akkad spends little time on exposition about this climate-shocked future America. Instead, he focusses on the impact of geographic and political upheaval on a small group of climate refugees in the American south some 70 years from now.

    I found it fascinating, compelling, and beautifully written.

June 11, 2018

  • Review

    4.0 rating based on 1,234 ratings

    Sea of Rust (C. Robert Cargill, 2017)

    This was loads of fun. Having killed all humans, robots now need to worry about being killed by global AI.

June 6, 2018

  • Review

    3.0 rating based on 1,234 ratings

    The Outsider (Stephen King, 2018)

    King mixes real-world police fiction with supernatural horror with greater success in The Outsider than the Mr. Mercedes series. I got mad at the latter because it flipped genres without warning and I felt cheated. I knew what I was getting with The Outsider, so it didn’t bother me.

June 1, 2018

  • Review

    3.0 rating based on 1,234 ratings

    Bandwidth (2018) by Elliot Peper

May 12, 2018

  • Review

    5.0 rating based on 1,234 ratings

    The Overstory (Richard Ford, 2018)

    Absolutely wonderful. Such rich language, such wonderfully explored characters.

October 7, 2007

  • Thought

    I just finished Douglas Coupland’s latest novel “The Gum Thief”. The novel was a light, likeable read but the ending left me rather unsatisfied. Those new to Coupland’s funny but heavily stylized prose might do better to start with “Jpod” or “Microserfs”.

September 6, 2007

  • Thought

    I just finished the third in my series of “why I was right to never believe in god in the first place” books, namely “god is not Great”. I listened to Christopher Hitchens’ audiobook version which I highly recommend. Hitchens is a total character and his fearlessness shows through in his reading.

December 16, 2003

  • Online Marketing Book Recommendations

    Recenting I asked a whole whack of smart online marketers (the AIMS Discussion List) if they could recommend one definitive, current online marketing book.

    I got a bunch of responses, but no one could identify one book that provided an overview of the essentials of online marketing. I can’t believe that the subject is too large because authors tackle much broader topics (like, say, how to market in ALL channels). It must be that publishers have lost THEIR appetite for this topic.

    Here’s a summary of the feedback I received.

    Pete Mosley says you can start and stop with:

    “The Cluetrain Manifesto: The End of Business as Usual”

    Rick Levine, Christopher Locke

    Doc Searls, David Weinberger

    Buy at amazon.com

    Buy at amazon.ca

    Howard Firestone of iPerceptions suggests anything written by Seth Godin and particularly points out Seth’s latest:

    “Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable”

    by Seth Godin

    Buy at amazon.com

    Buy at amazon.ca

    Lisa Wong of the City of Calgary thought SEM was key and that this book was essential reading:

    “Search Engine Visibility”

    Shari Thurow

    Buy at amazon.com

    Buy at amazon.ca

    While not really a marketing book, Brian Bimm suggests you might want to check out:

    Online! The Book

    by John C. Dvorak, Chris Pirillo, Wendy Taylor

    Buy at amazon.com

    Buy at amazon.ca

    So my search continues. If you come up with other online marketing books worth a read, let me know.