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The Way of Kings - Volume II
American Gods
Thing Explainer

This is a nice little book by the author of xkcd. The whole idea behind it is to explain complicated stuff in simple English vocabulary. There is a lot of great publicity around it wile being endorsed by people like Bill Gates, so it tends to be a bit overhyped. The book is an interesting read, but at times the limitations of the vocabulary are obvious, and the entire explanation ends up sounding stupid.

Read in 2016

Peplum 2/5

A small novel by a Belgian writer built as a dialog between herself and a man from the future. It is a casual, easy read, but it manages to touch some interesting discussion topics and some original perspectives. All these are built as a manifest against the people’s narrow-minded and self-centered nature.

The Way of Kings - Volume I 5/5

Brandon Sanderson is one of the best fantasy authors out there, and this book is the leaving proof of it. The Way of Kings is the first in a ten book series, and has a bit more than 1000 pages. Due to this magnitude, Sanderson has the chance to create a very detailed fictional, various races and religions. He takes his time in building multiple characters with unique background stories and with different level of impact in the main storyline. In a sense, it shares similarities with The Game of Thrones series both in structure and in complexity.

In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom 1/5

Shameless. This is one of the most frustrating readings I had, not because the writing is bad (on the contrary, the touch of a well versed editor is obvious), but because I simply cannot understand how a story that clearly has A LOT of holes in it can be held in such a high regard.

A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies 3/5

The Christianity references are quite welcomed since they reveal the nature of the educated world in the 16th century. The Short Account is clearly a very subjective writing, and las Casas leaves a lot of things out of his story. Obviously, the new world had a lot to suffer at the hands of the Spaniards, and las Casas did his best trying to emphasize this irreversible damage. I wonder though if this repetitive way he chose to present his arguments was too boring for the intended reader of his account - the King of Spain.

Snow Crash 4/5

Snow Crash managed to change my preconceptions about the SF genre. In his book, Neal Stephenson creates the setup to tackle both controversial topics such as the impact of religion on the uneducated mind, and more mundane issues like the unproductive corporation / government job. The end result is an original novel with a great plot and just enough humor.

Of Mice and Men 3/5

Even though it is a simple and accessible read, Of Mice and Men has something interestingly complicated about it. The fast-paced style combined with the strange setup in which the events take place really push you forward to finish the book. However, in the end I got the feeling of going through one of Steinbeck’s writing experiments which has no other purpose than testing out his skills in creating an odd universe for some unfolding events quite easy to guess.

In the Skin of a Jihadist 2/5

This looked like an appealing read since it offers details about the IS atrocities from a rather unexpected perspective. I believe that the book doesn’t reach its full potential due to the style Anna Erelle chose for depicting her story. Of course, anyone can understand the risks and psychical turmoil brought by an experience such as hers, but she really does go to great lengths to bring her character’s drama in the foreground.

The Pillars of the Earth 5/5

Most would say that this is a well written historical novel. It has all the bloody knight fights and the graphic rape scenes usual for that period. However, to me this is more of an in depth look into the Christian church, and the struggle clerics went through to make it a “legit business”. Ken Follett manages to capture the events and decisions made around a still young religion which is searching for the right rules and symbols to appeal to all social classes, and control the established monarchy power.

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