Blogging the Bookshelf

Blogging my bookshelf – one book at a time

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Entries from July 25th, 2009

“Foundation”, Isaac Asimov

July 25th, 2009 · Comments Off on “Foundation”, Isaac Asimov · ICT, Sci-Fi, Under-Rated

Synopsis: First novel (in order of release, not chronology) of the seven volume Foundation series tracing ‘psychohistorian’, Hari Seldon’s efforts to restore civilisation in the wake of the collapse of the Galactic Empire. My Take: I’m not usually a fan of Science Fiction (and I’m NEVER a fan of fantasy. Yes that includes The Lord […]

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Tags:Isacc Asimov

“The Reasons I Won’t Be Coming”, Elliot Perlman

July 24th, 2009 · Comments Off on “The Reasons I Won’t Be Coming”, Elliot Perlman · Australian, Literature, Short Stories

Synopsis: Series of nine short-stories published before Perlman really hit the big time with “Three Dollars” and then “Seven Types of Ambiguity”. Not badly written, but just not to my taste. My Take: The way I remember it (and it could have course been completely different for everyone else), the mid-90s were a strangely depressing […]

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Tags:Elliot Perlman

“The Sun Also Rises”, Ernest Hemingway

July 23rd, 2009 · 4 Comments · History

Synopsis: A group of American dilettantes living in post WW1 Europe travel from France to Pamplona for the Running of the Bulls.  The men in the group (as well as many of the locals they encounter) covet and vigorously pursue the beautiful and promiscuous Brett Ashley, but the narrator, war veteran Jake Barnes, is unable […]

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Tags:Ernest Hemmingway

“We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families”, Philip Gourevitch

July 21st, 2009 · 1 Comment · African, History, Policy, Politics

Synopsis: Philip Gourevitch, a staff writer for The New Yorker spends two years travelling in Rwanda in 1995-97 and produces an illuminating, if not always objectively rigorous, account of the Rwandan genocide, its causes and its aftermath. My Take: Philip Gourevitch’s account of the collective insanity of late 20th century Rwanda is a moving account. […]

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Tags:Philip Gourevitch

“Magical Thinking: True Stories”, Augusten Burroughs

July 20th, 2009 · Comments Off on “Magical Thinking: True Stories”, Augusten Burroughs · Literature, Short Stories

Synopsis: An assortment of hilarious vignettes from the periods of Burroughs’ life not already canvassed in “Running with Scissors” or “Dry”. Brilliant, Brilliant, Brilliant. My Take: Here’s the thing about Augusten Burroughs. I love him – at its best, his writing zings and fizzles with caustic, but good natured wit. Sadly, my fiancée’s first exposure […]

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Tags:Augusten Burroughs

“The Da Vinci Code”, Dan O’Brien

July 19th, 2009 · 1 Comment · Trash

Synopsis: I think everyone pretty well knows the deal here. My Take: WARNING RANT AHEAD I would have never picked up this book if left to my own devices but I was bullied into it by both friends and family who accused me of being a shallow snob for turning my nose up at a […]

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Tags:Dan Brown

“The Long Tail”, Chris Anderson

July 16th, 2009 · Comments Off on “The Long Tail”, Chris Anderson · ICT, Policy

Synopsis: As search, storage and distribution costs trend towards zero in an increasingly digital world the economics of commerce are changing. While massively selling high-demand ‘hits’ remain important, lower costs have made it economical to trade in an ever increasing ‘Long Tail’ of low (but not zero) demand niche products a la iTunes, Amazon, eBay […]

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Tags:Chris Anderson

“The Polysyllabic Spree”, Nick Hornby

July 15th, 2009 · Comments Off on “The Polysyllabic Spree”, Nick Hornby · English, Reading Related

Synopsis: A month by month reflection on one year of Hornby’s personal reading. Not a collection of book reviews, but a review of the reading process. My Take: I knew I would love this book from the moment I opened Chapter One to see two columns containing separate lists for ‘Books Bought this month’ and […]

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"Love is a Mix Tape", Rod Sheffield

July 14th, 2009 · Comments Off on "Love is a Mix Tape", Rod Sheffield · Trash

Synopsis: Autobiographical account of Boy meets girl. Boy marries girl. Boy and girl live happily until girl dies of pulmonary embolism. Boy spirals into depression before loving again etc etc. My Take: Hmmm. I was rooting for this one to come off. The subject matter has great potential – very emotionally rich. Unfortunately, the author […]

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“All Too Human: A Political Education”, George Stephanopoulos

July 13th, 2009 · Comments Off on “All Too Human: A Political Education”, George Stephanopoulos · biography, Politics

Synopsis: One time choir boy, Rhodes Scholar and Dukakis operative pens a first person account of the experience of being a senior staffer for the Clinton campaign and subsequently presidency. Honest, insightful and controversial. My Take: The best book ever written by a political insider. Odds are, that if you ask someone who has spent […]

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Tags:Bill Clinton·George Stephanopoulos