Author Topic: Rate the last book you just read  (Read 40255 times)

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Offline fuzzyMarmot

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Re: Rate the last book you just read
« Reply #675 on: May 14, 2016, 12:22:22 AM »
Seveneves by Neal Stephenson - 9/10

So pretty much what I've come to expect from Neal.  Incredibly detailed descriptions of science and technology, odd concepts that get stuck in your head for days, a good action scene or twist sprinkled in when things start to go dry, and a handful of great characters among a lot of larger cast of fairly bland ones.  Minor spoilers here but not enough to ruin anything - Earth is under serious pressure to put a lot of people into space aboard an ever expanding ISS, spearheaded by a gigantic asteroid.  Things go shockingly well for about 200 pages, to the point where I was thinking "this may be scientifically accurate, but the social and political representations seem way too optimistic".  Then things start to go ... not so great.  There's a character that I suddenly started envisioning as Gaius Baltar from Battlestar Galactica, and I found myself pleading for a painful death scene numerous times.  Despite one extremely negative portrayal of women coping with space travel, this book passes the Bechdel test a hundred times over, which now that I think about it is NOT true of any other Stephenson book I've read.  Turns out us males have a lot of marks against us when Armageddon comes. 

Lots of robots, orbital mechanics, structural engineering, genetic manipulation, and resource management.  Don't think I've ever seen Gantt charts mentioned in fiction before, so use that as a reference as to whether or not you'd enjoy this book.  Not as fast paced or emotionally appealing as something like The Martian, but a lot more ideas crammed in. 

JBF 2020!  Make Spacemerica Great Again.   ;D
I really enjoyed Seveneves. I totally agree with your assessment about Stephenson and the Bechdel test. It shows his growth as a writer-- it seems like he really listened to criticism, and his writing has benefited from it. I also agree with you about being stunned with how well political systems functioned in the first part of the book; I would have expected a campaign to "Defund the Cloud Ark!" would have derailed everything.

Online Sawyer

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Re: Rate the last book you just read
« Reply #676 on: May 21, 2016, 05:59:47 PM »
Lab Girl by Hope Jahren - a strong 8/10, probably higher if you like botany

Looking at the previous books I rated, I suppose this is part three of my "female scientists not taking shit from anyone" series.  Hope Jahren tells an amazing story of fighting tooth and nail to start her own paleobiology research lab, and a tremendous amount of personal growth that happens along the way.  For a "motivational" autobiography I was happy that this didn't instantly turn into overly maudlin crap, which is impressive considering how easy it would have been to write it that way.  Doesn't pull any punches on the abysmal state of funding for basic scientific research, but ALSO hints at the fatal flaw of professors cranking out an excess of overly qualified labor.  Good coverage of mental health issues as well.

Oh and monkey glory holes.  Don't ever get a job at the Miami zoo.

Offline lonely moa

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Re: Rate the last book you just read
« Reply #677 on: May 22, 2016, 12:11:35 AM »
"Eat Fat Get Thin", Mark Hyman, 8/10.  Great message from a man who has treated thousands of overweight/obese, T2D individuals over the last 30 years, head of functional medicine at the Cleveland Clinic so he's got the chops.  But he isn't as good a writer as he is a conversationalist in podcasts.  It would be a great book for someone new to healthy nutrition with a serious weight/diabetes problem, but having just finished Nina Teischolz' "Big Fat Lie", I wanted writing of her calibre; bu no.

A very practical book, a plan to start and maintain a healthy diet and lose fat, plenty of recipes and questionaires to help one along.  The big plus fort the plan is that one needn't count calories, just restrict some macronutrients and focus on a variety of fats to make a tasty and satiating way to eat; calories restrict themselves.  I know this works for weight and body composition... at least for me (and others I know).

"It's the home of the brave and the land of the free
 Where the less you know the better off you'll be"

Warren Zevon (Disorder in the House)

Offline pandamonium

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Re: Rate the last book you just read
« Reply #678 on: May 25, 2016, 10:17:40 PM »
"You Too Can Have A Body Like Mine", Alexandra Kleeman 8/10

Very surreal, but compelling. I don't even know what it's about except in the sense that I followed the plot, but I know that it's at least several metaphors and I think it's going to be with me for a while.
I am become destroyer of biology.

Offline nameofthewave

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Re: Rate the last book you just read
« Reply #679 on: May 28, 2016, 08:47:40 AM »
The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell. Really enjoyed this, finally got round to complete the unabridged audiobook. It's similar in style to his previous novels Cloud Atlas and Ghostwritten, lots of jumping around in time between different characters to spin an interwoven narrative with quite a range of underlying themes. Highly recommended.

9/10. Loses a point for being slightly confusing in the middle part, and I would also have liked more from the war reporter's story. But that's being picky.
« Last Edit: May 28, 2016, 08:52:24 AM by nameofthewave »

Offline drwfishesman

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Re: Rate the last book you just read
« Reply #680 on: May 30, 2016, 06:33:47 PM »
The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell. Really enjoyed this, finally got round to complete the unabridged audiobook. It's similar in style to his previous novels Cloud Atlas and Ghostwritten, lots of jumping around in time between different characters to spin an interwoven narrative with quite a range of underlying themes. Highly recommended.

9/10. Loses a point for being slightly confusing in the middle part, and I would also have liked more from the war reporter's story. But that's being picky.

Read it a while ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. Can't say why, just did.
"A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky, dangerous animals". Kay, from Men in Black

 

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