Saturday, 01 January 2011

Books 2010: The Year of the Movie Tie-In

Below follows the list of books I read in 2010. Links go to the dead-tree edition (for the most part) on Amazon. You can see this list, as well as past years on the reading page.

An asterisk signifies the book was read electronically, most likely on my iPhone.

Beginning in May, I started noting the completion date of reading a tome. This doesn’t necessarily translate into x amount of time between books being the actual amount of time it took to read a book. There are days where I’m in between books and simply haven’t started a new one. Other times, I’ve got two books going at once (usually one in print, one on the iPhone). I just thought it would be fun to note those dates.

Since I began tracking toward the end of 2007, this proved a banner year for my reading. I got through 43 books, graphic novels, and novellas in 2010, and I’m already excited about 2011. I’m currently in the middle of two books (one in print, one on the iPhone), with four more in the queue I can’t wait to get to.

Traditionally, I’ve been a heavy fiction reader, and this trend did not change in 2010. I only read five non-fiction books last year, and two of those were memoirs of a sort.

What jumped out at me when reviewing the list was how heavy it was with books turned into movies. It starts with Youth in Revolt, recommended and loaned to me by Brent, then moved to Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief, The Losers, The American, The Town, and True Grit. I’ll admit that five of those six were a result of being prompted to read them before seeing the movie, or as a result of having seen it. This amounted to nearly one-seventh of my entire list being tied to a movie.

The list is presented in reverse order, so the last book I read is at the top.

posted by retrophisch at 10:31 PM -->in read
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Tuesday, 08 June 2010

Thank you, Lord, for books

Randy Alcorn:

No offense to ebooks and Kindle, which have their place, but there’s no substitute for a book that has an actual history, that takes up space on a shelf, that has been somewhere, strapped to the back of a bike, that was being read in a British boys’ school library while Lewis was still teaching at Oxford.

Thank you, Lord, for books. Not just the words, but actual physical books you can hold in your hand and touch and smell, and ponder where they have been and what lives they may have touched.

posted by retrophisch at 6:41 PM -->in God , love , read
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Monday, 12 October 2009

The Complete Infidel’s Guide to the Koran

Jamie Glazov interviews Robert Spencer for FrontPage Magazine, on Spencer’s new book, The Complete Infidel’s Guide to the Koran (Amazon link).

Money quotes:

Spencer: Political correctness would have us believe that the Koran is a book of peace, and that anyone who says otherwise is “bigoted,” “hateful,” and “Islamophobic.” But is it, really? What the Koran really says can easily be verified. If the Koran really curses Jews and Christians (9:30) and calls for warfare against them in order to bring about their subjugation (9:29), it is not “Islamophobic” to forewarn Infidels by pointing this out. It is simply a fact. And it should go without saying that it is not a fact that should move any reader of my book to hate anyone. The fact that the Koran counsels warfare against unbelievers should move readers to act in defense of freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and the legal equality of all people, before it is too late.

[…]

But most government and media analysts dare not even question the assumption that the Koran is peaceful, for they believe that any insinuation to the contrary is racist, bigoted, and effectively brands all Muslims as terrorists. In other words, they think the implications of the possibility that the Koran teaches warfare against unbelievers are too terrible to even contemplate. Thus, many policymakers simply assume the Koran teaches peace without bothering to study the text. They do this to their own peril — and ours.

posted by retrophisch at 8:41 PM -->in Islam , learning , national security , read
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Tuesday, 17 March 2009

The boy hearts books.

Tony Woodlief (yes, again):

Isaiah loves books. He loves to read them, loves it when people read them to him, loves to hit his brother Isaac upside the head with them. The boy hearts books. I hope he never stops loving them, even as the world around him transitions into a post-modern funk of hyper-links and text messages and overstimulating audio-visual mind sludge. Then one day he can visit me wherever he and his brothers have finally put me out to pasture, and maybe read to me there.

Davis is getting to this point, too. At times he will decide that he’s had enough playing with his Star Wars Galactic Heroes™ figures, or pretending to duel a dragon, or building with Lincoln Logs™ or LEGO™ pieces, and he’ll plop down in the play room and “read”.

My parents instilled a deep love of reading in my sister and I when we were growing up. Weekly visits to the local library (which was about as big as the downstairs area of our current home, minus the garage) were the norm. While we’re not going weekly, Kelly and I have both taken Davis to our local library (which is larger than the downstairs area of our house, including the garage), and he loves it.

Davis will often ask for a second or even third book to be read before going to bed, although I suspect this is as much about staying up as late as possible as it is about loving books.

I’d hoped to pass on this love of reading to both our boys, and so far, it’s looking pretty good.

posted by retrophisch at 4:23 PM -->in love , parenting , read , that's life
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Friday, 02 January 2009

Reading 2008

Taking a cue from my good friend Brent, I’ve been tracking what I read, and here’s the list of 19 books from 2008 (in reverse chronological order):

My goal for 2009 is 26 books, one every two weeks. You can see what I’m currently reading, as well as what I read in 2007 and prior (from what I could remember reading), over on the Read page.

posted by retrophisch at 12:12 PM -->in fiction , non-fiction , read
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Monday, 22 December 2008

Don’t keep it in the closet

Glenn Beck, in the epilogue of The Christmas Sweater:

My mom gave me the sweater, but the greatest gift was given to all of us by a loving Father in Heaven. It is the only true gift ever given to all and yet opened or appreciated by so few. It is the gift of redemption and atonement, and it sits on the top shelf, largely untouched, in the closets of our soul.

At Christmas we celebrate the birth of the Christ child, but by doing so, sometimes we miss the real meaning of the season. It is what that infant, boy, and then perfect man did at the end of His ministry that makes the birth so special.

Without His death, the birth is meaningless.

posted by retrophisch at 11:59 PM -->in God , love , quote , read
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Friday, 04 January 2008

Gifts that keep on giving

Yesterday, I put to good use the Barnes & Noble gift cards I received for Christmas and my birthday. (I get at least a couple every year.) The “big” card was used online a few days before, to purchase two other items which were on my wish list:

The in-store Barnes & Noble shopping resulted in:

  • The Shooters, by W.E.B. Griffin. The fourth in Griffin’s Presidential Agent series, which I’ve thoroughly enjoyed to date. W.E.B. Griffin writes some of the best military fiction out there, and this current-day, antiterrorism series is no exception.

  • Spirit of the Wolf by Shaun Ellis and photographer Monty Sloan. Wolves are among my favorite animals, and I believe a lot can be learned from their pack behavior. (Especially when you have a dog, and therefore a pack, of your own.) Sloan’s got some stunning photos in this coffee-table book, and I’m looking forward to reading Ellis’s commentary.

  • Star Wars Jesus - A spiritual commentary on the reality of the Force by Caleb Grimes. Any book that combines the movie franchise which impacted, informed, and defined my tweener childhood (and which continues to impact and inform my son’s childhood), and the Author and Finisher of my faith, well, that’s just something I’ve got to give a whirl. I think all of my other book reading just went on hold…

So my thanks to my family members who were very generous this year with the gift cards. They were well invested, I assure you.

posted by retrophisch at 9:37 PM -->in fiction , fun , movie , non-fiction , read
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Tuesday, 27 November 2007

I Am Confusion

Last night (this morning?), I finished reading I Am Legend. Well, re-reading would be more of an accurate statement. And yet…

This is the I Am Legend I recall from many years before, and at the same time, it’s not the I Am Legend I recall from many years before. For clarification, I have not seen The Last Man on Earth or The Omega Man, but I’m beginning to wonder if maybe I’ve read some homage to Matheson’s original work. Here’s some of what I recall, in the hopes that a reader can point me to the story I remember:

(Oh, and if you haven’t read I Am Legend and you plan to go see the Will Smith movie, there are some potential plot spoilers ahead, so you may want to stop reading now, since it’s likely you cannot help me anyway. Thanks for stopping by, though!)

  • as in the book, the story I remember takes place in Los Angeles, only the Neville character is living in a house on a hill, and has an actual moat in front of the place, so deep the vampires can’t cross it. I want to say he even bulldozed the dead vampire bodies in to the moat.

  • I recall the story mentioning the vampires having blue tattoos.

  • the story was obviously more recent than Matheson’s, since it has the Neville character watching a video of a plague victim, the Ben Cortman character, actually becoming one of the vampire creatures.

  • the Neville character has a dog that goes around with him, as we’ve seen in the trailers of the Will Smith movie adaptation, as opposed to the dog Neville tries to befriend in the book, but which ends up attacked by the vampires.

  • the Neville character, while foraging/hunting in the city, is trapped by a snare attached to a light pole. He spends a lot of time trying to get free, so much so that the sun begins to set, and vampire dogs come out. The Neville character’s dog defends him while he frees himself, and is mortally wounded. This also looks like it will be in the Will Smith movie, and seeing this split-second snare bit in the trailer is one of the memories that jostled me to re-read Matheson’s book.

  • the Neville character goes to a park to wait for any survivors who might still be alive; he leaves signs tacked up all over the city with the when and where.

  • the Neville character discovers a female survivor, very much like Ruth in Matheson’s book; except in this story, instead of hitting him with a mallet, she drugs him after learning how to turn off/undo all of his house’s defense mechanisms, letting the vampires in.

  • the Neville character is taken by the vampires to their underground lair, a miniature city below the real city, where he is somewhat put on display, and some of the vampires feed off of him. The Ruth character has a son or little brother, and the Neville character feels somewhat sorry for them, wants to help them, etc.

  • the Ruth character, and maybe others, help him escape, and they leave the city by a sailboat.

That’s the stuff I remember, and that stuff is not in the Matheson book. So where did I read it? I’ve spent a couple of hours searching the Internet for answers, all to no avail. Perhaps my Google fu isn’t strong enough. Perhaps I just don’t know what I should be searching for. But I know I’ve read this story as I’ve described above. Help me, scifi/horror readers. You’re my only hope.

posted by retrophisch at 11:52 AM -->in fiction , read
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I would love to witness a conversation like this

Another nugget from Sheriff Bell:

Here a year or two back me and Loretta went to a conference in Corpus Christi and I got set next to this woman, she was the wife of somebody or other. And she kept talkin about the right wing this and the right wing that. I aint even sure what she meant by it. The people I know are mostly just common people. Common as dirt, as the sayin goes. I told her that and she looked at me funny. She thought I was sayin somethin bad about em, but of course that’s a high compliment in my part of the world. She kept on, kept on. Finally told me, said: I dont like the way the country is headed. I want my granddaughter to be able to have an abortion. And I said well mam I dont think you got any worries about the way the country is headed. The way I see it goin I dont have much doubt but what she’ll be able to have an abortion. I’m goin to say that not only will she be able to have an abortion, she’ll be able to have you put to sleep. Which pretty much ended the conversation.

posted by retrophisch at 11:07 AM -->in fiction , quote , read
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Saturday, 24 November 2007

“If it aint too late.”

Some keen cultural insight, courtesy of Sheriff Bell in Cormac McCarthry’s No Country For Old Men (complete with McCarthy’s trademark non-punctuation):

I read in the papers here a while back some teachers come across a survey that was sent out back in the thirties to a number of schools around the country. Had this questionnaire about what was the problems with teachin in the schools. And they come across these forms, they’d been filled out and sent in from around the country answerin these questions. And the biggest problems they could name was things like talkin in class and runnin in the hallways. Chewin gum. Copyin homework. Things of that nature. So they got one of them forums that was blank and printed up a bunch of em and sent em back out to the same schools. Forty years later. Well, here come the answers back. Rape, arson, murder. Drugs. Suicide. So I think about that. Because a lot of the time ever when I say anything about how the world is goin to hell in a handbasket people will just sort of smile and tell me I’m gettin old. That it’s one of the symptoms. But my feelin about that is that anybody that cant tell the difference between rapin and murderin people and chewin gum has got a whole lot bigger of a problem than what I’ve got. Forty years is not a long time neither. Maybe the next forty of it will bring some of em out from under the ether. If it aint too late.

[Emphasis added. —R]

posted by retrophisch at 1:54 PM -->in fiction , quote , read
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Friday, 23 November 2007

Recent additions to the library

Earlier this evening, in an attempt to drown our sorrows over the Tigers blowing their national title shot, the family dined at Rockfish, then did a little shopping. Normally, I try to avoid frequenting retail establishments on Black Friday, but by dinner time things had quieted considerably in our little corner of the metroplex. Part of the shopping involved an excursion to Barnes & Noble.

I’d been wanting to read No Country For Old Men for quite a while, more so after Nathan told me his impressions of it, as well as my own reading of Cormac McCarthy’s more recent bestseller, The Road. Now that the movie is out, and I, like Nathan, am jonesing to see it, I figured it would behoove me to read the book from whence it came.

(Seriously, what is the deal with McCarthy and dialogue? Does the guy just not believe in the use of quotation marks? All three of his books which I’ve undertaken to read have been bereft of this usual aspect of literature, and while it seemed to work well in The Road, at least for me, it’s made reading Blood Meridian quite a slog. I’m only 19 pages in to No Country as of this writing, and it’s not a problem so far, but geez.)

I first read Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend in…gosh, I really don’t recall, but it was late middle school, early high school. I really enjoyed it at the time, read it once or twice more before leaving college and getting married. After that, I didn’t give it much thought until, some time in the `90s, I learned that Tom Cruise’s production company had optioned it for a motion picture. I was worried about what Cruise’s involvement, notably as the star of the movie, might do to Matheson’s work. Of the myriad actors in Hollywood, Cruise is certainly not one I could picture as Robert Neville.

I’m somewhat apprehensive about the 2007 film release, even though I’ve yet to see it. I have no problem with Will Smith as Neville; from the teaser and trailer I’ve seen, he seems to bring the right elements to the character. I am disappointed with the film’s movement of the plot location from Los Angeles to New York City, mostly because I don’t really see the point; it seems to be a change simply for change’s sake. I totally understand updating the story for our modern time: the book was written in 1954, and the story takes place in the mid- to late-1970s. There are minor tweaks to the main character—Smith’s Neville is currently in the military, rather than formerly, and is a scientist, whilst Matheson’s Neville is more of an everyman—and those are also understandable and digestable. But the change in the plot location… I guess I’ll just have to see the film to make a final, informed judgment. Until then, another rereading of what I consider to be a classic is in order.

posted by retrophisch at 11:46 PM -->in fiction , read
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Wednesday, 17 October 2007

I knew there was something familiar about those Potter books


[From Lee, via IM]

posted by retrophisch at 11:50 PM -->in Star Wars , fiction , fun , movie , read
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Friday, 14 September 2007

Life now has meaning

According to the rules laid out in Punk Rock Dad, my punk rock name is:


(Are you ready for this?)


(Are you sure?)


(Really?)


(Okay, you’ve been warned…)


Larry Leprosy.

posted by retrophisch at 10:42 AM -->in fun , non-fiction , parenting , read
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Monday, 10 September 2007

Currently reading

  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – J.K. Rowling (hardcover)
    Yeah, yeah, yeah. I’ve only read the first Potter book once before, way back when it was released. So now I’m going through the whole series. And does anyone actually buy the paperbacks of the Potter books? Have parents actually made their children wait a year after each novel is released so they can buy the paperback because they’re that…thrifty?

  • Blood Meridian – Cormac McCarthy
    Does this man ever use quotation marks to designate dialogue?

  • The Hunters – W.E.B. Griffin
    The third in the Presidential Agent series, following By Order of the President and The Hostage. The paperback won’t be out until December, so if you must read it now, nab the hardcover.

Apparently I’m in a fiction mood at the moment, and a widely varying one at that. Fantasy, western, and modern thriller. Yes, I am a man with many sides…

posted by retrophisch at 10:42 PM -->in fiction , read
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Friday, 13 April 2007

Bad Luck and Trouble

Late last night, I learned that Lee Child’s next Jack Reacher novel by will be released on May 15th. Bad Luck and Trouble is the 11th novel featuring the former Military Police officer turned drifter. I’ve been reading the Reacher novels since the beginning, and I’m anxiously awaiting this latest from Child.

posted by retrophisch at 4:34 PM -->in fiction , read
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Monday, 12 March 2007

How much has actually changed

Mark Steyn, in the introduction to America Alone:

1970 doesn’t seem that long ago. If you’re in you fifties or sixties, as many of the chaps running the Western world are wont to be, your pants are narrower than they were back then and your hair’s less groovy, but the landscape of your life—the look of your house, the layout of your car, the shape of your kitchen appliances, the brand names of the stuff in the fridge—isn’t significantly different. And yet that world is utterly altered. Just to recap those bald statistics: in 1970, the developed nations had twice as big a share of the global population as the Muslim world: 30 percent to 15 percent. By 2000, they were at parity: each had about 20 percent.

And by 2020?

September 11, 2001, was not “the day everything changed,” but the day that revealed how much had already changed. On September 10, how many journalists had the Council on American-Islamic Relations or the Canadian Islamic Congress or the Muslim Council of Britian in their Rolodexes? If you’d said that whether something does or does not cause offense to Muslims would be the early twenty-first century’s principal political dynamic in Denmark, Sweden, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, and the United Kingdom, most folks would have thought you were crazy. Yet on that Tuesday morning the top of the iceberg bobbed up and toppled the Twin Towers.

This book is about the seven-eighths below the surface—the larger forces at play in the developed world that have left Europe too enfeebled to resist its remorseless transformation into Eurabia and that call into question the future of much of the rest of the world, including the United States, Canada, and beyond. The key factors are:

  1. Demographic decline
  2. The unsustainability of the advanced Western social-democratic state
  3. Civilizational exhaustion

Let’s start with demography, because everything does.

I’m already enthralled.

posted by retrophisch at 3:35 PM -->in national security , non-fiction , read
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Saturday, 10 March 2007

I love how Dewey thinks


Unshelved comic
If the comic is too small to read, click on it to go to the Unshelved page.


posted by retrophisch at 3:09 PM -->in fun , read
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Wednesday, 07 March 2007

Recently added

New additions to my ever-increasing Amazon wish list:

Just thought the readership might be interested in some of these titles for their own reading (and learning) pleasure. (And in the interest of full disclosure, all of the above links are through my Amazon affiliate ID.)

posted by retrophisch at 11:32 AM -->in fiction , non-fiction , read
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Thursday, 15 February 2007

Happy Birthday, Brent!

Wishing a joyous and loving birthday for you, my friend. As I stated in my comment to your post, I shall celebrate with some Lost And Found and by starting This Beautiful Mess.

See you at lunch. :D

posted by retrophisch at 11:13 AM -->in God , fun , love , music , non-fiction , read
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Saturday, 09 December 2006

OSC gets a dig in on Bill and Ballmer

From Orson Scott Card’s Empire:

“I’m not surprised,” said Cole. “What do you think it takes to build one of those? Two million? Six?”
“Real costs or Pentagon costs?” asked Reuben.
“Microsoft costs.”
“These are not a Microsoft product,” said Reuben.
“Developed in secret, though.”
“Yeah, but they don’t lock up.”

posted by retrophisch at 12:21 AM -->in fiction , read , tech
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Saturday, 22 July 2006

Israel Update

If you’d like a first-person account of the Hezbollah attacks on Israel, and the Israeli response, head over to David Dolan’s site and subscribe to his e-mail list.

David is a Christian pastor and author who has been resident in Israel for many years. Last year, David spoke at our church, and even for someone like me, who has followed the Mideast conflict, and the region’s history, for many years, it was eye-opening.

posted by retrophisch at 5:24 PM -->in learning , national security , read , web/site
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Sunday, 04 June 2006

Miscellany

O’Reilly has a web site devoted to Lightroom.

[Via John.]

* * *

Though I do not speak, read, or write either, I still think it very cool that Gmail now supports Arabic and Hebrew.

* * *

The World eBook Fair is a month away.

[Via AWAD.]

posted by retrophisch at 3:49 PM -->in read , tech
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Sunday, 21 May 2006

Miscellany

The iPatch.

* * *

This likely has made its rounds through the blogosphere already, but I just read in the latest dead-tree edition of Wired that Choose Your Own Adventure books are getting republished, updated for the 21st century.

Though he’s not old enough yet to read on his own and appreciate them, I may have to pick up these titles for my little phisch. I had a great time with them when I was eleven, though I don’t believe I was ever able to successfully navigate The Abominable Snowman without “cheating”.

* * *

What happened to all that wreckage from the Twin Towers after 9/11? Twenty-four tons of steel girders ended up in one of the Navy’s latest ships.

posted by retrophisch at 11:14 PM -->in Macintosh , armed forces , national security , read
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Tuesday, 09 May 2006

The Cat in the Hat as business-lesson book

Stanley Bing:

This little tale, which appears to be a book for children, is actually a clever evocation of what happens to a corporation when a management consultant is hired by absent, clueless senior management to evaluate its organizational structure and to effect change. Beginning slowly, the Cat proceeds to take everything apart, make a total mess and get everybody in potentially the worst trouble in the world—all at no personal cost to itself. By the time the Cat leaves, it has frightened everybody, and very little has changed except the mind-set of the protagonists, which has been forever disrupted and rattled.

posted by retrophisch at 9:51 AM -->in non-fiction , quote , read
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Saturday, 18 March 2006

The dangers of multiculturalism

I haven’t started reading Robert Ferrigno’s Prayers for the Assassin yet, though I need to soon. I have started reading his blog the past few days, and like this post from last month:

[I]t seems to me that the issue of the cartoons points out the dangers of multi-culturalism, which has been embraced by Western societies post WW2. If all cultures are equal, and each culture reserves the right to be offended and to act on that offense in a matter it deems appropriate, whether burning cartoons or cartoonists, than we’re in for a rocky ride. When do the Hindus in the West start torching McDonalds for promoting the sinful eating of cows? When do the Amish run amok in shopping malls outraged by the rampant consumerism and excess vanity? When do the Scientologists go after South Park, one of my three favorite TV shows?

Eerie how some things come to pass. Not that Scientologists are going after South Park (yet), but it was odd reading Robert’s post from February 5th, in light of the recent Isaac Hayes-South Park flap.

I don’t think we’ll see the Amish run amok any time soon, either, since they tend toward pacifism, but I must say I won’t be surprised to learn of any Hindu violence, should it erupt in this country. Like many Muslims in other countries, the Hindu within India can be exceedingly violent against Christians, Buddhists, and other persons of faith.

posted by retrophisch at 10:24 PM -->in fiction , politics , read
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Saturday, 07 January 2006

Today’s miscellany

Ron Moore, creator and executive producer of the best show on television, shares his favorite science-fiction tomes.

—||—

From the “You’ve Got to Be Kidding Me” Department

“Hi, we’re Western Digital. Since our hard drives are slightly above average in performance and reliability, rather than making them top-notch, the industry’s best, we thought we would throw our research and development in to making clear cases for the drives, so you can see the inner workings…”

It actually is a rather impressive drive, specification-wise. I just prefer Seagates, when I can get them.

—||—

From the “You’ve Got to Be Kidding Me” Department: Part Two

The mail arrived at the house today at approximately one o’clock this afternoon. I know this only because I was walking down the stairs at that moment, and saw the postal worker depositing today’s mail in our box.

Within today’s delivery was my latest order from the BMG music club of which I am still a member. I don’t order from them very often, waiting for the really good sales they have from time to time, but that’s not really the point here.

The point is that at approximately two-thirty, an hour and a half after I pulled the order out of the mailbox, an e-mail from BMG hit my In box, informing me my order had shipped.

Way to stay on top of things, guys.

posted by retrophisch at 2:47 PM -->in fiction , fun , read , tech
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Monday, 02 January 2006

The Broker

The last John Grisham book I read was The Summons, and it was a decent read. Before that, the last Grisham book I had tackled was The Chamber, but I got bored and put it down before I was even a fourth of the way through, and have never picked it up again.

Now, as far as decent fiction you don’t have to really think about, the kind of books perfect for waiting around in airports, flying, or while on your daily bus or train commute, Grisham’s work is usually perfect. I adore The Pelican Brief, not only because of the the writing, but also because my wife went to Tulane Law, and we were living in New Orleans when I read the book and when the movie came out. It’s the only Grisham novel I have in hardcover.

However, like I said, with one exception, it’s been awhile since I picked up a Grisham book. That changed two weeks ago.

On Sunday, December 18th, while browsing the books at Costco, I happened upon The Broker. I read the synopsis on the back cover. It sounded intriguing. Certainly more intriguing than the synopses for the other Grisham books I’d picked up and not purchased for the past decade or so. It went in to the cart, and I started reading it a couple of hours after we got home.

I finished it Monday night. Yes, that Monday, as in the very next day, the 19th. I told my wife how good I thought it was, and she started it three days ago, and finished it off last night.

It’s as if after a long dry spell of just churning out books because that was what was expected of him, Grisham decided to write a book he would enjoy writing (which it sounds like he did, based on the acknowledgments) as well as one he would enjoy reading, and it shows.

Most of the book takes place in Italy, which Grisham traveled through as part of his research. This could very well have a lot to do with why I enjoyed the book, as the author transports you to the cities and towns of Italy, and it gave my imagination a workout. Yet it has to be more than that, and I believe it’s because it has the Grisham flow that made his early works so popular.

The Broker is not going to win any literary awards, but let’s face it: as with the Academy Awards, awards don’t often reflect the reality of the marketplace. It’s a fun book, and Retrophisch™ Recommended.

posted by retrophisch at 3:55 PM -->in fiction , read
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Tuesday, 29 November 2005

Retrophisch™ Read Redux

So I decided the whole blog post thing regarding my book reading was taking up more of my time than I wanted to devote to it. I have a stack of books on my desk that are in the queue to be blogged, and quite frankly I cannot muster the willpower to write said posts. So, back to a static list, which is now also part of the navigation links in the banner at the top of each page.

posted by retrophisch at 12:32 PM -->in read
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Wednesday, 05 October 2005

Blog

If you’re new to the world of weblogs, and looking to start a blog yourself, Hugh Hewitt’s Blog: Understanding the Information Reformation That’s Changing Your World is not a starter tome. Rather, it is a work that examines the impact blogs have had on American culture, notably in the realms of politics and the mainstream media.

On his radio show, Hugh has repeatedly gone to the blogosphere as a source of news and correction of news from the mainstream media. He cites four major events from the past two years as showing the power of weblogs: the removal of Trent Lott as Senate Majority Leader, the Jayson Blair scandal at the New York Times, the campaign against John Kerry spearheaded by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, and the 60 Minutes Bush National Guard forged documents scandal.

Hugh is a huge champion of weblogs, and his constant encouragement of people to start their own blog led Joe Carter to begin a running list of blogs inspired by Hugh. Hugh offers advice to pastors, entrepreneurs, and a wide variety of occupations on starting their own blogs. His conclusion is that you never know where it may take you.

I was so inspired by Blog that I passed it on to my pastor; I would love to see Tim blog on a regular basis.

posted by retrophisch at 9:50 PM -->in non-fiction , read
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Saturday, 25 June 2005

The Last Disciple

Hank Hanegraaff, of the “Bible Answer Man” radio show, and author Sigmund Brouwer have teamed up to write The Last Disciple, a novel about first-century Christians, and the people they come in to contact with, undergoing the Great Tribulation under the reign of Nero.

Hanegraaff and Brouwer operate from a different view of biblical translation and interpretation than Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins do in the Left Behind series. As they state in the Afterword, they seek not to divide the Church over this issue, but rather encourage debate and study of the book of Revelation. Simply put, Hanegraaff and Brouwer believe that many of the prophecies the apostle John was witness to, and transcribed in to what we know as Revelation, have already been fulfilled, as they were written to the early Christian church. You can read more on their take at the book’s Web site.

The Last Disciple features several characters, including the wicked Nero, but follows mostly the path of Gallus Sergius Vitas, one of Nero’s inner circle. Vitas, a former military commander and from a Roman founding family, has grown tired of Nero’s persecution of Christians. He doesn’t care for the Christians because they are followers of Christ who refuse to bow to Nero, but rather he is tired of bloodshed in general, having seen too much of it when he was fighting in Britannia, and lost his wife and son, natives of the isle. In the course of his trying to subtly subvert Nero, Vitas discovers an old friend has accepted Christ, and Vitas falls in love with a former slave, also a Christian.

In the mean time, Vitas’s brother Damien, in an attempt to recapture the honor he has cost the family name, becomes a fearsome slave hunter. Damien is hired by another of Nero’s inner circle, this time to find the writer of Revelation, the letter Nero fears and hates. Damien is hired to hunt down John, the last disciple of Christ.

Hanegraaff and Brouwer craft a good read, taking you through the workings and machinations of Nero’s inner circle, the duplicitous politics, the last moments of a Christian on the arena floor, and the feelings of a man who walked and talked with the Creator and Savior of the universe.

posted by retrophisch at 11:05 PM -->in fiction , read
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Sunday, 19 June 2005

Mac hacking

A dual reading selection today, mostly because both are sitting next to me, waiting to ship up New England way to my friend Rich, and both deal with the same topic. Mac OS X Hacks, by Rael Dornfest and Kevin Hemenway, was one of the early—if not the first—books in O’Reilly’s Hacks series. The authors, along with numerous contributors, take the reader through many different aspects of the Mac OS X operating system. The book was published in 2003, and covered OS X up through the Jaguar edition.

The second title, Mac OS X Panther Hacks, is the follow-up to the aforementioned book, and will soon be supplanted, I’m sure, by Mac OS X Tiger Hacks. Credit must be given to Rael and co-author James Duncan Davidson for not regurgitating hacks from the first book, but rather, again with the help of contributors, introducing one hundred new ways to make using OS X easier, more efficient, and more fun. Both tomes are highly recommended for those who want to get under the hood of Apple’s great operating system.

posted by retrophisch at 12:48 PM -->in Macintosh , non-fiction , read
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Saturday, 18 June 2005

State of the Union

Brad Thor delivers another Scot Harvath adventure in State of the Union, as the former Navy SEAL and ex-Secret Service agent is pitted against a Cold War enemy bent on the domination of the United States.

Thor sets a good pace, and lets the reader inside Harvath’s head. I found at times that Thor was trying too hard to be Clancy-esque in his descriptions of weapons systems and other equipment, but otherwise, this is a decent thriller.

posted by retrophisch at 2:09 PM -->in fiction , read
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Retrophisch Read

I started a static list of books I had read on my old blog. As the list grew, I thought about starting a separate blog just for the books, even going so far as to setting the foundations within Movable Type. Finally, I’ve decided to simply incorporate these book entries in to this blog, with a few new categories to help along the way. These books will be presented both as I come across them in my memory, and as I read them from this point forward.

posted by retrophisch at 1:40 PM -->in read
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Monday, 28 July 2003

Critical Space

This is the first of Greg Rucka’s Atticus Kodiak novels I’ve read, even though it’s the fifth in the series, but Critical Space had me hooked and reeled in.

Saturday night, maybe a dozen pages were read. Sunday, however, Sunday was a different story. I zoomed through over 450 pages; the story is just that good. Finished it off this morning, and went to my local Barnes & Noble to pick up the first in the series, Keeper. Started reading that during lunch, and can’t wait to get home tonight after baby CPR class. (Though I promise, sweetheart, that I won’t be up as late as last night!)

Definitely a Retrophisch Recommends Read™!

posted by retrophisch at 4:13 PM -->in fiction , fun , read
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