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koth's reading log

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  • The End of Faith (religion, terror and the future of reason) - Sam Harris
    From play.com

    This important and timely book delivers a startling analysis of the clash of faith and reason in today's world. Sam Harris offers a vivid historical tour of mankind's willingness to suspend reason in favour of religious beliefs, even when those beliefs are used to justify harmful behaviour and sometimes heinous crimes. He asserts that in the shadow of weapons of mass destruction, we can no longer tolerate views that pit one true god against another.

    Most controversially, he argues that we cannot afford moderate lip service to religion - an accommodation that only blinds us to the real perils of fundamentalism. While warning against the encroachment of organised religion into world politics, Harris also draws on new evidence from neuroscience and insights from philosophy to explore spirituality as a biological, brain-based need. He calls on us to invoke that need in taking a secular humanistic approach to solving the problems of this world.

    If you can read this, you're too close!





  • Smile or Die: How Positive Thinking Fooled America and the World - Barbara Ehrenreich

    From amazon.co.uk

    This brilliant new book from the author of Nickel and Dimed and Bait and Switch explores the tyranny of positive thinking, and offers a history of how it came to be the dominant mode in the USA. Ehrenreich conceived of the book when she became ill with breast cancer, and found herself surrounded by pink ribbons and bunny rabbits and platitudes. She balked at the way her anger and sadness about having the disease were seen as unhealthy and dangerous by health professionals and other sufferers.

    In her droll and incisive analysis of the cult of cheerfulness, Ehrenreich also ranges across contemporary religion, business and the economy, arguing, for example, that undue optimism and a fear of giving bad news sowed the seeds for the current banking crisis. She argues passionately that the insistence on being cheerful actually leads to a lonely focus inwards, a blaming of oneself for any misfortunes, and thus to political apathy. Rigorous, insightful and bracing as always, and also incredibly funny, "Happy Face" uncovers the dark side of the 'have a nice day' nation.

    If you can read this, you're too close!





  • Things The Grandchildren Should Know - Mark Oliver Everett
    From amazon.co.uk

    How does one young man survive the deaths of his entire family and manage to make something worthwhile of his life? In Things The Grandchildren Should Know Mark Oliver Everett tells the story of what it's like to grow up the insecure son of a genius in a wacky Virginia Ice Storm-like family.

    Left to run wild with his sister, his father off in some parallel universe of his own invention, Everett's upbringing was 'ridiculous, sometimes tragic and always unsteady'. But somehow he manages to not only survive his crazy upbringing and ensuing tragedies; he makes something of his life, striking out on a journey to find himself by channelling his experiences into his, eventually, critically acclaimed music with the Eels.

    But it's not an easy path. Told with surprising candour, Things The Grandchildren Should Know is an inspiring and remarkable story, full of hope, humour and wry wisdom.

    If you can read this, you're too close!





  • I usually stay away from (auto-)biographies (the concept doesnt interest me) but Im giving some serious consideration to buying Everetts one. I think the Eels lyrics are pretty personal and that the book could be enlightening and interesting.

    Would you recommend?




  • I usually stay away from (auto-)biographies (the concept doesnt interest me) but Im giving some serious consideration to buying Everetts one. I think the Eels lyrics are pretty personal and that the book could be enlightening and interesting.

    Would you recommend?
    Yeah, I'm an Eels fan so I was already interested in the book. Quite an easy read, and was interesting to find out the story behind some of the songs.

    If you can read this, you're too close!



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  • Their Darkest Hour: People Tested to the Extreme in WWII - Laurence Rees
    From play.com

    How could Nazi killers shoot Jewish women and children at close range? Why did Japanese soldiers rape and murder on such a horrendous scale? How was it possible to endure the torment of a Nazi death camp?

    Award-winning documentary maker and historian Laurence Rees has spent nearly 20 years wrestling with these questions in the course of filming hundreds of interviews with people tested to the extreme during World War II. He has come face-to-face with rapists, mass murderers, even cannibals, but he has also met courageous individuals who are an inspiration to us all. In "Their Darkest Hour", he presents 35 of his most electrifying encounters.

    If you can read this, you're too close!





  • The Blue Zone - Andrew Gross
    From play.com

    A breathtaking novel of suspense from the co-author of five bestselling James Patterson novels, including 'Judge and Jury' and 'Lifeguard'. THERE ARE NO RULES IN THE BLUE ZONE. They were the perfect family. And he was the perfect family man. One day changed it all. Arrested for racketeering, Ben Raab must take his family into America's Witness Protection Programme. Only his eldest daughter, Kate, chooses to stay on the outside.

    But the Programme's perfect success rate is about to come to a shocking end. A case agent is tortured to death and Ben vanishes. The one person who might be able to find him is Kate. Pursued by killers, forced to question everything she knows about her life so far, Kate is plunged into a terrifying existence for which nothing has prepared her. Most people would call it certain death. The FBI calls it the Blue Zone.

    If you can read this, you're too close!





  • relentless - Dean Koontz
    The stunning new thriller from one of the world's bestselling authors. Hostile reviews may have hastened the deaths of some writers, but Cubby Greenwich is made of sterner stuff. At least this is what he tells himself, meanwhile obsessing about the scathing review of his latest bestseller by Shearman Waxx in a national newspaper. A feared and therefore revered critic, Waxx has an aura of mystery about him that has carried him far as an arbiter of taste, but the mystery itself is about to break cover. In an unexpected encounter with Waxx, Cubby says one innocent word, but it is the wrong word, and it seems to trigger an inhuman fury in the critic, who becomes bent on destroying Cubby and everything he loves. For it soon becomes apparent that Waxx is not merely a ferocious literary enemy, but a ruthless sociopath. When Cubby finally learns the truth, can he save himself and his family from the appalling danger they are in? The terror has only just begun!

    It was an okay book, but after reading a look of Koontzs books, it felt too similiar to other books he'd written.

    If you can read this, you're too close!





  • The Way of Shadows (The Night Angel Trilogy) - Brent Weeks
    From amazon.com

    For Durzo Blint, assassination is an art-and he is the city's most accomplished artist.

    For Azoth, survival is precarious. Something you never take for granted. As a guild rat, he's grown up in the slums, and learned to judge people quickly - and to take risks. Risks like apprenticing himself to Durzo Blint.

    But to be accepted, Azoth must turn his back on his old life and embrace a new identity and name. As Kylar Stern, he must learn to navigate the assassins' world of dangerous politics and strange magics - and cultivate a flair for death.

    If you can read this, you're too close!





  • Shadow's Edge (Night Angel Trilogy, Book 2) - Brent Weeks
    From amazon.com

    Kylar Stern has rejected the assassin's life. The Godking's successful coup has left Kylar's master, Durzo, and his best friend, Logan, dead. He is starting over: new city, new friends, and new profession.

    But when he learns that Logan might actually be alive and in hiding, Kylar is faced with an agonizing choice: will he give up the way of shadows forever and live in peace with his new family, or will he risk everything by taking on the ultimate hit?

    If you can read this, you're too close!



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  • Shivering Sands - Warren Ellis
    From amazon.com

    SHIVERING SANDS is a bit of an experiment: part Greatest Hits collection, part late-night ramblings, all crackling text transmissions sent down the wire from anywhere Warren Ellis had access to a computer and something to say. These essays, stories, music reviews, the occasional chemically-induced rant, and a couple of recipes because, for whatever reason, everyone seems to love his recipesrepresent a cross-section of the past seven years worth of Warrens writing online. From jumping around Britain, Europe and North America to just dragging his carcass up to the local pub for a think, this is the unedited spillage from the inside of the writers head during the 00s. Some of it even makes sense.WARREN ELLIS is the award-winning creator of graphic novels such as Fell, Ministry Of Space, Planetary, and Transmetropolitan, and the author of the underground classic Crooked Little Vein.

    If you can read this, you're too close!





  • Hold Tight - Harlan Coben

    If you can read this, you're too close!





  • 1984 - George Orwell
    Novel by George Orwell, published in 1949 as a warning about the menaces of totalitarianism. The novel is set in an imaginary future world that is dominated by three perpetually warring totalitarian police states. The book's hero, Winston Smith, is a minor party functionary in one of these states. His longing for truth and decency leads him to secretly rebel against the government. Smith has a love affair with a like-minded woman, but they are both arrested by the Thought Police.

    The ensuing imprisonment, torture, and reeducation of Smith are intended not merely to break him physically or make him submit but to root out his independent mental existence and his spiritual dignity. Orwell's warning of the dangers of totalitarianism made a deep impression on his contemporaries and upon subsequent readers, and the book's title and many of its coinages, such as NEWSPEAK, became bywords for modern political abuses.

    If you can read this, you're too close!





  • The Novice - Trudi Canavan

    Black Magician Trilogy, Book 2

    Imardin is a city of dark intrigues and deadly politics, where those who wield magic wield power. Into this established order has blundered a young street-girl with extraordinary magical gifts. Adopted by the Magicians' Guild, her life is changed forever - but for better or for worse? Sonea knew that she'd face a tough time training within the Magicians' Guild but she little realised the level of animosity she would face from her fellow novices. The sons and daughters of the most powerful families in the realm, her classmates seem determined to see her fail - at whatever cost. But in accepting the protection of the guild's high lord, Sonea may have embraced an even bleaker fate. For High Lord Akkarin harbours a secret that is far darker than his magician's robes.

    .

    If you can read this, you're too close!





  • The High Lord - Trudi Canavan

    In the city of Imardin, where those who wield magic wield power, a young street-girl, adopted by the Magician's Guild, finds herself at the centre of a terrible plot that may destroy the entire world ...Sonea has learned much at the magicians' guild and the other novices now treat her with a grudging respect. But she cannot forget what she witnessed in the High Lord's underground room - or his warning that the realm's ancient enemy is growing in power once more. As Sonea learns more, she begins to doubt her guildmaster's word. Could the truth really be as terrifying as Akkarin claims, or is he trying to trick her into assisting in some unspeakably dark scheme?

    If you can read this, you're too close!





  • The Good Fairies of New York - Martin Millar
    British author Millar offers fiercely funny (and often inebriated) Scottish fairies, a poignant love story as well as insights into the gravity of Crohn's disease, cultural conflicts and the plight of the homeless in this fey urban fantasy. Due to the machinations of the obnoxious Tala, Cornwall's fairy king, only a few humans can see the 18-inch-tall fairies who alight in Manhattan: Magenta, a homeless woman who thinks she's the ancient Greek general Xenophon; Dinnie, an overweight slacker; and Kerry, a poor artist/musician who hopes her Ancient Celtic Flower Alphabet will win a local arts prize. Fairies Heather MacKintosh and Morag MacPherson scheme to put Dinnie and Kerry together, rescue fairy artifacts and prove that in love or war, music is essential. Neil Gaiman provides an appreciative introduction.

    If you can read this, you're too close!





  • One Day - Dave Nicholls
    'I can imagine you at forty,' she said, a hint of malice in her voice. 'I can picture it right now.' He smiled without opening his eyes. 'Go on then.' 15th July 1988. Emma and Dexter meet for the first time on the night of their graduation. Tomorrow they must go their separate ways. So where will they be on this one day next year? And the year after that? And every year that follows? Twenty years, two people, ONE DAY. From the author of the massive bestseller STARTER FOR TEN.

    If you can read this, you're too close!





  • Altered Carbon - Richard K. Morgan
    In the futuristic world of Altered Carbon, consciousness is a downloadable product that can be easily "re-sleeved" in a new body when the old one gives out. In such a renewable realm, where death is seen merely as a passing technological glitch, Takeshi Kovacs is an unwelcome oddity; a man who asks too many questions about the moguls of this brave new world. As he searches for answers in the seedy underworld of Bay City (formerly San Francisco), Kovacs learns that the price of failure is death. Final death. This first novel by Richard K. Morgan blends science fiction and crime noir in an unusual and appealing way

    If you can read this, you're too close!





  • Diary of the Wolf - Frank Whelan
    A gripping werewolf novel set in a very real world. When university student Ciaran Connelly is bitten by a werewolf, he has to cope with more than exams, women and everyday problems. Ciaran finds himself changing dramatically and is suddenly plunged into the world of the supernatural, where witches want his body and hunters want his hide.

    By one of boards.ie own :)

    If you can read this, you're too close!





  • You Are Not A Gadget: A Manifesto - Jaron Lanier
    Something went wrong around the start of the twenty-first century. The crowd was wise. Social networks replaced individual creativity. There were more places to express ourselves than ever before ... yet no one really had anything to say. Does this have to be our future?

    In You are not a Gadget digital guru and virtual reality pioneer Jaron Lanier reveals how recent developments in our culture are deadening personal interaction, stifling genuine inventiveness and even changing us as people. Showing us the way to a future where individuals mean more than machines, this is a searing manifesto against mass mediocrity, a creative call to arms - and an impassioned defence of the human.

    If you can read this, you're too close!



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  • Supergods - Grant Morrison
    Supergods is your opportunity to join one of the great figures of modern comics on a mind-bending journey into the world of the superheroes. In 1938, the first superhero comic ever published, Action Comics #1, introduced the world to something both unprecedented and profoundly familiar: Superman, a caped god for the modern age. In a matter of years, the skies of the imaginary world were filled with strange mutants, aliens and vigilantes: Batman, Wonder Woman, the Fantastic Four, Captain Marvel, Iron Man, and the X-Men – the list of names is as familiar as our own. In less than a century they’ve gone from not existing at all to being everywhere we look: on our movie and television screens, in our videogames and dreams. But why?For Grant Morrison, possibly the greatest of contemporary superhero storytellers, these heroes are not simply characters but powerful archetypes whose ongoing, decades-spanning story arcs reflect and predict the course of human existence: through them, we tell the story of ourselves. In this exhilarating book, Morrison draws on history, art, mythology, and his own astonishing journeys through this alternate universe to provide the first true chronicle of the superhero – why they matter, why they will always be with us, and what they tell us about who we are.

    If you can read this, you're too close!





  • Grave Peril (Dresden Files Book 3) - Jim Butcher
    Harry Dresden's faced some pretty terrifying foes during his career. Giant scorpions. Oversexed vampires. Psychotic werewolves. It comes with the territory when you're the only professional wizard in the Chicago area phone book.
    But in all Harry's years of supernatural sleuthing, he's never faced anything like this: the spirit world's gone postal. All over Chicago, ghosts are causing trouble--and not just of the door-slamming, boo-shouting variety. These ghosts are tormented, violent, and deadly. Someone--or something--is stirring them up to wreak unearthly havoc. But why? And why do so many of the victims have ties to Harry? If Harry doesn't figure it out soon, he could wind up a ghost himself . . .

    If you can read this, you're too close!





  • Summer Knight (Dresden Case Files [book 4]) - Jim Butcher
    Ever since his girlfriend left town to deal with her newly acquired taste for blood, Harry Dresden has been down and out in Chicago. He can't pay his rent. He's alienating his friends. He can't even recall the last time he took a shower. The only professional wizard in the phone book has become a desperate man. And just when it seems things can't get any worse, in saunters the Winter Queen of Faerie. She has an offer Harry can't refuse if he wants to free himself of the supernatural hold his faerie godmother has over him - and hopefully end his run of bad luck. All he has to do is find out who murdered the Summer Queen's right-hand man, the Summer Knight, and clear the Winter Queen's name. It seems simple enough, but Harry knows better than to get caught in the middle of faerie politics. Until he finds out that the fate of the entire world rests on his solving this case. No pressure or anything ...

    If you can read this, you're too close!





  • Death Masks (Dresden Case Files [book 5]) - Jim Butcher
    Meet Harry Dresden, Chicago's first (and only) Wizard P.I. Turns out the 'everyday' world is full of strange and magical things - and most of them don't play well with humans. That's where Harry comes in. Harry Dresden should be happy that business is good - makes a change. But now he's getting more than he bargained for: a duel with the Red Court of Vampires' champion, who must kill Harry to end the war between vampires and wizards; professional hit men using Harry for target practice; the missing Shroud of Turin (less missing than expected) and a headless corpse the Chicago police need identifying ...Not to mention the return of Harry's ex-girlfriend Susan, still struggling with her semi-vampiric nature. And who seems to have a new man. Some days, it just doesn't pay to get out of bed. No matter how much you're charging. Magic - it can get a guy killed.

    If you can read this, you're too close!





  • Screen Burn - Charlie Brooker
    'These days, watching television is like sitting in the back of Travis Bickle's taxicab, staring through the window at a world of relentless, churning shod . . .' Cruel, acerbic, impassioned, gleeful, frequently outrageous and always hilarious, Charlie Brooker's Screen Burn collects the best of the much-loved Guardian Guide columns into one easy-to-read-on-the-toilet package. Sit back and roar as Brooker rips mercilessly into Simon Cowell, 'Big Brother', Trinny and Susannah, 'Casualty', Davina McCall, Michael Parkinson . . . and almost everything elso on television. This book will make practically anyone laugh out loud.

    At the turn of the millennium, Charlie Brooker created the notorious website TV Go Home. More recently, he co-wrote Channel Four's Nathan Barley with Chris Morris. Prior to become the Guardian Guide's TV critic, Brooker worked as a cartoonist, a journalist, and a TV and radio presenter.

    'Charlie Brooker doesn't so much go for the jugular as decapitate his targets altogether.' Jim Shelley, Daily Mirror 'He watches these things so we don't have to. Bless him for that.' Graham 'Father Ted' Linehan 'This belongs on everyone's bookshelf. With a big spotlight pointing at it.' Julie Burchill 'The funniest newspaper columnist in the world.' Racing Post

    If you can read this, you're too close!





  • bossypants - Tina Fey
    Before Liz Lemon, before "Weekend Update," before "Sarah Palin," Tina Fey was just a young girl with a dream: a recurring stress dream that she was being chased through a local airport by her middle-school gym teacher. She also had a dream that one day she would be a comedian on TV.

    She has seen both these dreams come true.

    At last, Tina Fey's story can be told. From her youthful days as a vicious nerd to her tour of duty on Saturday Night Live; from her passionately halfhearted pursuit of physical beauty to her life as a mother eating things off the floor; from her one-sided college romance to her nearly fatal honeymoon -- from the beginning of this paragraph to this final sentence.

    Tina Fey reveals all, and proves what we've all suspected: you're no one until someone calls you bossy

    If you can read this, you're too close!





  • Animal Farm - George Orwell
    From amazon.com

    Since its publication in 1946, George Orwell's fable of a workers' revolution gone wrong has rivaled Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea as the Shortest Serious Novel It's OK to Write a Book Report About. (The latter is three pages longer and less fun to read.) Fueled by Orwell's intense disillusionment with Soviet Communism, Animal Farm is a nearly perfect piece of writing, both an engaging story and an allegory that actually works. When the downtrodden beasts of Manor Farm oust their drunken human master and take over management of the land, all are awash in collectivist zeal. Everyone willingly works overtime, productivity soars, and for one brief, glorious season, every belly is full. The animals' Seven Commandment credo is painted in big white letters on the barn. All animals are equal. No animal shall drink alcohol, wear clothes, sleep in a bed, or kill a fellow four-footed creature. Those that go upon four legs or wings are friends and the two-legged are, by definition, the enemy. Too soon, however, the pigs, who have styled themselves leaders by virtue of their intelligence, succumb to the temptations of privilege and power. "We pigs are brainworkers. The whole management and organisation of the farm depend on us. Day and night, we are watching over your welfare. It is for your sake that we drink that milk and eat those apples." While this swinish brotherhood sells out the revolution, cynically editing the Seven Commandments to excuse their violence and greed, the common animals are once again left hungry and exhausted, no better off than in the days when humans ran the farm. Satire Animal Farm may be, but it's a stony reader who remains unmoved when the stalwart workhorse, Boxer, having given his all to his comrades, is sold to the glue factory to buy booze for the pigs. Orwell's view of Communism is bleak indeed, but given the history of the Russian people since 1917, his pessimism has an air of prophecy. --Joyce Thompson

    If you can read this, you're too close!





  • Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
    The story centres on Charles Marlow, who narrates most of the book. He is an Englishman who takes a foreign assignment from a Belgian trading company as a river-boat captain in Africa. Heart of Darkness exposes the dark side of European colonization while exploring the three levels of darkness that the protagonist, Marlow, encounters: the darkness of the Congo wilderness, the darkness of the Europeans' cruel treatment of the African natives, and the unfathomable darkness within every human being for committing heinous acts of evil.[2] Although Conrad does not give the name of the river, at the time of writing the Congo Free State, the location of the large and important Congo River, was a private colony of Belgium's King Leopold II. In the story, Marlow is employed to transport ivory downriver. However, his more pressing assignment is to return Kurtz, another ivory trader, to civilization, in a cover-up. Kurtz has a reputation throughout the region.

    If you can read this, you're too close!





  • The Neil Gaiman Reader - Darrell Schweitzer
    Neil Gaiman's talent is so vast that any exploration of his work can only be described as a beginning. Here is one such beginning, an examination of the creative genius being The Sandman, American Gods, Coraline and so much more. His prose fiction has achieved enormous acclaim and popularity. Now leading scholars provide insights into the Sandman universe, its mythological underpinnings, Gaiman's technique and his relationship to other masters of the fantastic imagination. Two extensive interviews with Gaiman are included, along with a thorough bibliography of his work to date.

    If you can read this, you're too close!



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  • A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 1) - George R.R. Martin

    51aeUv8h6CL.jpg
    Here is the first volume in George R. R. Martin’s magnificent cycle of novels that includes A Clash of Kings and A Storm of Swords. As a whole, this series comprises a genuine masterpiece of modern fantasy, bringing together the best the genre has to offer. Magic, mystery, intrigue, romance, and adventure fill these pages and transport us to a world unlike any we have ever experienced. Already hailed as a classic, George R. R. Martin’s stunning series is destined to stand as one of the great achievements of imaginative fiction.

    If you can read this, you're too close!



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