Tag Archives: book reviews

David & Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell

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Wow, it’s been a while since I did a book review. It’s actually been a while since I’ve finished a book. I’ve made the mistake of reading too many books at once, and not finishing any… Also I went on a Breaking Bad watching binge ūüôā

So anyway, David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell. I really loved it. It was an exploration of the advantage of disadvantage and the disadvantage of advantage. “You wouldn’t wish dyslexia on your child. Or would you?”

The book explores different people in different situations that have overcome some giants in their lives (hence the title), but also he looks at people who have reacted poorly to giants and made bad decisions. What I liked most about about the book was the story of the ‘Impressionists’ who had to rethink the way they expressed their art; would they be little fish in a big pond or big fish in a small pond. Also Gladwell wrote a very readable book. It flowed smoothly, was insightful and was free from tedium.

Overall I give it a 8.5/10 and would recommend it ūüôā


The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

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The previous book I read left me wanting something good, something great. I thought I found it at the Night Circus. I was dazzled and mystified, enchanted and excited. This book started out fantastic. If I could sum up what I felt about it: it was like reading Water for Elephants mixed with Harry Potter.

But it didn’t last. I zoomed through the first hundred pages, I managed through the next hundred and fifty and at 250ish I had to stop… It had lost all it’s magic. The story was slow, too slow and began to amble around in a stupor of¬†boredom. So I, with a bit of¬†disappointment, quit! Baaa… I hate having a run of crappy books. I need something really good. I’ve been thinking of picking up The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer… anyone read it, any good?

Overall rating for The Night Circus 3/10. Flat, but with so much potential.


Much Ado About Nothing by Shakespeare

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I liked this one, not as much as A Midsummer Nights Dream, but still liked it; it didn’t have quite as humorous a quality. I thought the set up for¬†Benedick and Beatrice was really good and enjoyed Beatrice’s adamant refusal of her love. Likewise Claudio and Hero were a great pair and the trickery played on them by John the Bastard was well played out, although I found it a little confusing when Dogberry was investigating the situation.

Also the $0.99c Kindle version I got was crappy and had html scripting in it, and it didn’t have much in the way of consistent formatting. That aside, it was a good short read. I give it a 7/10 and imagine the play would be a whole lot better.


The Orthodox Heretic by Peter Rollins

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This is another book I feel like I’ve been reading for months. It’s a collection of stories complied to make you think deeply about various aspects of life, love and faith etc. I read this after finishing Rollins’ book ‘How (Not) to Speak of God’ (which was amazing) and this, to be honest, felt like a bit of a chore. It just didn’t seem to have that same punch-in-your-gut effect, or maybe I just wasn’t in the theological and¬†philosophical¬†frame of mind I needed to be in. That being said however it is a good book to use for a group discussion; to read the story/parable and discuss the message or the moral of the story. I probably¬†shouldn’t compare the two books but I have, and it’s a bit hard not to considering the weightiness of ‘How (not) to…’ which I would highly recommend.

So overall I give it a 5/10.


20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne

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Thank god it’s finally over! I feel like I’ve been reading this book for months. Not that I didn’t like it,¬†because¬†I did, well the first 2/3 were fantastic and then tedium set in and it ambled around towards the dismal end.

I loved Professor Aronnax and his endless barrage of questions and insights about the Nautilus and the untapped underwater world. Captain Nemo also was extremely¬†likable for his wise, misanthropic, phlegmatic and confident personality. I was captivated by the Nautilus; a reading room with an ample supply of sea-cigars – Fantastic! The innovation of Verne’s insight and imagination was well thought out and we explored first-hand the wonders of the sea with the professor. However the descriptions of different species of fish and mammals did start to resemble The Origin Of Species in it’s¬†tedious exhaustive detail. I was hooked for most of the book. But I determined to finish it, not something I usually do, but I¬†persevered. I felt like it became¬†repetitive¬†and at the point they found the cavity under the volcano I was ready to move on.

Overall however I did enjoy it, it could have easily been punchier at half the length. My rating is 6.5/10.


A midsummer night’s dream by William Shakespeare

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A wonderfully fun and laughable tale, beautiful and all of the characters have that ‘jump off the page’ quality. I loved it and it is now, without a doubt, one of my¬†favourite¬†stories.

The plot was brilliant. My two favourite scenes were, firstly, that of the woods; when Demetruis and Lysander are under the fairy love spell and Helena thought that they, with Hermia, were making sport of her. It was actually laugh out loud funny. And the other part that got me giggling was when Snout the tinker acts as a wall in the play at the wedding ceremony:

“In this same interlude it doth befall¬†

That I, one Snout by name, present a wall;  

And such a wall, as I would have you think, 

That had in it a crannied hole or chink, 

Through which the lovers, Pyramus and Thisby, 

Did whisper often very secretly. 

This loam, this rough-cast and this stone doth show 

That I am that same wall; the truth is so: 

And this the cranny is, right and sinister, 

Through which the fearful lovers are to whisper.”

The running commentary of ”The Mechanical’s’ play by the Duke, his fiance Hippolyta and the four lovers (primarily Lysander) was really great and you could visualize the banter.

What more can I say, a timeless classic. I would love to see the stage show. I give this a maximum rating of 10/10.


Quick bit of self promotion

Hey all. Just wanted to quickly say that I’ve started a new blog; one where I plan on doing more writing. I still plan to keep reading and reviewing books here just as¬†much, but you can check out my new one here

Thanks

Jason