Tag Archives: books

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.


A Shadow in Summer by Daniel Abraham

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Some are saying this book is a modern masterpiece and I would have been inclined to agree, would have. It started off amazing, compelling and unique. I raced through half the book and was both intrigued and a bit confused. It’s written¬†beautifully despite some mistakes and packs a lot into each¬†sentence. However at the halfway point it dragged on, and it’s already a very slow paced book. I managed to get to about 80¬†percent and then just could not go on, oh the boredom of it all.¬†

Not really worth the read but the video below gives a pretty good review of it. My rating, 2.5/10. 


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.


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.


In the year 2889 by Jules/Michel Verne

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A fun frolic into the future by Jules, or more likely his son, Michel Verne. This book is a glimpse (30 pages) into a day in the life of Fritz Napoleon Smith, editor of the Earth Chronicle, in the year 2889.

The story is very short and sharp and could easily have been fleshed out in many ways. However, it was amusing to see Verne’s imaginations of the¬†future.

Elements were very skimmed over, such as the unsuccessful¬†resuscitation¬†of a hundred year old dead doctor, which frankly was a bit odd. My¬†favorite¬†bit of the book, just near the end, is when they use the¬†‘Piano Electro-Reckoner, where the most complex calculations can be made in a few seconds.’ Also a variation of modern day Skype was through¬†‘the transmission of images by means of sensitive mirrors connected by wires,’ – brilliant.

Oh yeah, and instead of reading the news online like we do now:¬†“Instead of being printed, the Earth Chronicle is every morning spoken to subscribers… each subscriber owns a phonograph, and to this instrument he leaves the task of gathering the news whenever he happens not to be in a mood to listen directly himself. As for purchasers of single copies, they can at a very trifling cost learn all that is in the paper of the day at any of the innumerable phonographs set up nearly everywhere.”

So overall it was a quick and amusing read, more than likely not for everyone though. I give it a 4.5/10.