The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

Books, Review

This title-provoking book tries to tell a very important lesson: not everything is worthy of your attention and worries. In fact, most of things that makes us worried and down could be easily avoided if we maintain a strict rule of not

It’s kinda a Buddhism in modern blogger language. Like the book, Buddha tells that wanting leads to suffering. So you must clear your mind of all desires, not giving a f*ck about stuff. Specially material stuff.

The first third of the book is pretty nice. Is a bit thought provoking, giving you a sense of perspective of your life. I liked this part very much. I believe that it’s worth of a reread time to time. The second and third parts directs the same philosophy towards more practical aspects of life, like relationships, love and work. There the advises becomes a bit too narrow and full of must do and must not do kinda lists.

Overall, I liked the book. It’s that kind of self helping book that shakes a bit the status quo and makes as reevaluate our lives.

My Grade: 7.5

Goodreads: 4.00/5

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

Books, Review

I first “met” Yuval Noah Harari in a TED talk last year. He was talking about Nationalism vs. globalism: the new political divide. I like him and his ideas. Very interesting and compelling. I didn’t know at the time he was a writer. By accident, I found his book.

I read it entirely in 2 days. Love it.

It is a comprehensive visual of the mankind. Several sub subjects are in my top interest subjects, like religion (in a scientific perspective), politics, economics and scientific advances. It dedicate several initial chapters explaining what we know about the origin of our own species. The point when we forked our hereditary tree from other primates and from other man-like species, like Neanderthals (in fact, he argues that it is not exactly like this). It is a 50000+ years analysis of the importance of agriculture, language and religion. The origin of states. It is mind blowing.

Then he enters in a revision of the know history, also, focusing one layer at time. He explains why the Homo Sapiens because the rulers of the planet Earth. Why we managed to be so successful. The book is very centered on religion and religion-like lines of through, like capitalism (yes… very thought provoking).

The book is mostly founded on science and data. But also on plausible extrapolations and reasoning. And his writing style is quite convincing.

It is not an accident it is a best seller. It is not an accident it is a loved book by many.

Simple: READ IT.

My Grades: 10

Good Reads: 4.4/5

Old Man’s War

Books, Review

John Scalzi’s debut scifi adventure is amazing.

It tells a story of old people from Earth that are recruited for a intergalactic military organization. There, their bodies are reconstructed to it’s younger form and enhanced.

From there, they have to fight against alien races in order to protect humanity. Humans on Earth do not have a clue about this galactic war BTW.

I must recommend the reading.

Note: I also read the sequel, The Ghost Brigate. And also love it. But much of the original wow was, of course, gone.

GoodReads: 4.23/5

My rate: 7.5

Fuzzy Nation, by John Scalzi

Books, Review

Fuzzy Nation is a great story about fighting for what is right, and getting a personal revenge in the way. Scalzi created a very funny story about a underdog fighting against all odds and powerful enemies.

Jack Holloway is anti hero. You can think of him like Han Solo working as lawyer. He is a former lawyer that was expelled from the job for a not-that-clear facts, losing a very important case on purpose, it seemed. He became then a geologist freelancer in a very distant planet, scanning for underground for mineral richness. In the way, he discovered a very different thing. And it puts him in a position to work back as a lawyer, fighting against the former employer, that are no short on money and resources.

fuzzy nation 2

Holloway is clever. But this is one of the main complains I had. Holloway is so clever that you cannot follow that he is thinking. It is, in fact, intentional. The book hides the inner thoughts of Holloway in order to deliver some surprising turns in the story. But sometimes it makes you feel a mere passenger.

Despite any complains, it is a solid title. I loved to read it and totally recommend. I would not be surprised if it gets a movie adaptation eventually.

GoodReads: 4,07 / 5

My rate: 8

The Martian, by Andy Weir

Books, Review

The Martian is often described as Cast Away in space. I definitively agree. It presents the incredible task of surviving, alone, in Mars. Just like Tom Hanks surviving in the island.

But improvising a life in Mars is several degrees more complex than in that island. That is why the main character in The Martian have to be a very very very smart guy, a little too MacGyver to be honest. Imagine Apollo 13, the movie, when NASA focus on converting ship scraps into a oxygen filter, but for the entire duration of the movie an done mostly by one guy.

80% of the book, Mark Watney is in dire straights. Always facing high odds of dying. That is why the book is so compelling. It sucks your soul, making you wonder at night “how he can pull this off now?”. Watney must have a clear state of mind all the time. I totally understand that it would not make any sense to write a book about a normal guy that get lost in Mars and dies after the first disaster. But Watney is too much the perfect guy to be lost in space.

the martian 2

The book sometimes abuses the technical description of the solution. It could be shorter by a bit. However, and is not a small achievement, there are at least 2 moments that I was totally crying due the narration and climax feeling.

It will become a movie directed by Ridly Scott and started by Matt Damon. I will definitively see the movie too.

GoodReads: 4.38 / 5

My grade: 7

Saga

Books, Review

What a great story!
What a great universe!
What a great art!

Without any further words, I loved Saga.

Saga is a epic space opera, with a rich and VERY weird universe, full of bizarre races and locations. Like Star Wars, there is a galaxy-wide conflict, but unlike the reference, there is no good-and-evil motto.
The main characters (the couple Alana and Marko) are involved, but they are not the center of the conflict. They are fugitives hunted by governments and bounty hunters and they challenge the odds to remain alive. All this with a new born girl Hazel.
The story is incredible, yet believable.

The overall look is really good. Brian K. Vaughan, the author, mention the amazing art from Fiona Staples several times in the author area over and over and I cannot disagree. It enhances the experience like it should. Comics are a mixed of visual and story and both are covered.
Probably one of the recurrent mentioned feature of the series is the sex references. Sex is part of the story but is not vulgar. It is dealt as a part of the universe.
The liberty given by Image Comics to authors really pays off on Saga. In fact, Brian K. Vaughan is one of my preferred authors of this generation. I liked very much X: The Last Man, at least the first half.

You have to read it

NOTE: I just read the first 8 issues. I totally want to read the rest.

My Grade: 9

Inferno

Books, Review

From the acclaimed author of Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown brought another story from his symbologist Robert Langdon.
Now, instead sitting under Leonardo Da Vinci’s works to create the conspiracy and mystery, the author drank from another Italian writer: Dante Alighieri. This fellow was the responsible for written the Divine Comedy, a narration about the 9 rings of hell.
Without revealing to much information about the book itself, I did not like the book. The character seems to know all the places too well, from secret doors, geography, history and local informants. He knows everything. Also he remains too calm and lucid even on life threatening situations.

All the characters, good or bad, including Langdon, are also too resourceful. They need to travel across the globe now? No problem, there are always a contact that can spare a private jet, boat or helicopter. There isn’t any dead end moments, It is too much straight forward adventure.
The Dante’s material is fascinating, but it was over used. He is not Da Vinci, it is not believable that everything in the world somehow conspired to link to his works. Finally, Brown used too many repetitive artifacts in his writings. It annoyed me by half of the book.
I would not recommend this book. I going to read some technical books to change the air…

My grade: 6

Ender’s Game

Books, Review

I heard so many good reviews about this book. There is also a movie being made, staring Harrison Ford and the little actor not more that little from Hugo, Asa Butterfield.  So I was expecting another masterpiece ready to be trashed by Hollywood.

The main concept explored in the book is the war room. Like a video game, war commander see the battle and issue orders. Special maneuvers and spacial positioning are critical. It’s pure Sun Tsu. It’s Blizzard StarCraft.
However. [spoiler alert]
 
Orson created an story of a super hero that do not ever fail. Like… never. It is a tale of success after success. The main character knows the extension of his own abilities, knows how to master it and can perform formidably every single time. It seems that the character is cheating in an RPG game to the point to exploit the fun. Super smart, super fast, super agile. Super man.
The narrative style is nice. Besides being a futuristic sci fi universe (usually hard to understand), Orson is good in description so readers always understand the world from the first time. However, the movement description, important to the story, is too visual and difficult to compreend.
Wow.
There is, tough, a nice message about training. Because for the little Ender, training brought perfection for him. It is somewhat inspiring.
My grade: 4