Icon’s 2013 Reading list

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Viewing 15 posts - 31 through 45 (of 45 total)
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  • #214738
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    A historical look at encryption throughout the centuries with descriptions of important events in cryptography as well as explanations of how different ones were implemented. Very accessible with quite a bit of depth, it makes for comfortable reading even though the subject is one that has enough intricacies to be very dry.

    #214739
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    Book 10 of the Wheel of Time series, it essentially treads water as far as the main plot is concerned. Things do happen, but not much that is particularly important nor feels particularly threatening to the protagonists. Although there is value in showing the depth of and breadth of the ocean, it is difficult to get exited about every patch of water even if it is occasionally disturbed by a shark. So although there is a good deal of information here to help in understanding what is known or not know by different factions, and how the lack of accurate facts affects their decisions, the book could have easily been condensed.

    #214740
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    #214741
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    The 11th book in the Wheel of Time series from beginning to end it moves. Not always at a breakneck speed and sometimes quite sedately, but for most of the book plot lines start to get resolved. Nothing is completely finished of course, but you do start to see that there is an end in sight. The final book in the series written solely by Robert Jordan, coming on the heels of one that was simply treading water, it is a much more enjoyable read and in a way redeeming what came before.

    #214742
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    A memoir about parenting that makes you think. An easy read it does make you question how people go about raising children and deciding what is good or bad. A very personal account that does not necessarily put the Chua in a good light but nevertheless brings out what all parents want, the best for their children, for which there is unfortunately no universal guidance manual or recipe.

    #214743
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    The truth is stranger than fiction and Collider explorers some of that strangeness as it relates to Physics. Easy to read, the book details the history of particle physics up to the creation of the Large Hadron Collider that some have intimated might put an end to the world. Giving a mix of the science and the personalities involved, it is a very accessible book about the quest to understand the nature of the universe.

    #214744
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    Having dabbled a little in Magic and having an interest in Houdini, just the title of the book was enough to get me interested. Within it was the story of the author as he grappled with his love of Magic and figuring out what it is that fascinated him about it and how to become a more accomplished magician. A book that is not meant to give away secrets, it reveals a living culture that is essentially completely unknown to non-initiates and full of interesting and amazing characters. Not because of some special powers they have, but because of skills they have honed in order to fool and entertain the rest of us.

    #214745
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    Book 12 in the Wheel of Time series, it picks up nicely from where the previous book ended and if there was any doubt as to Brandon Sanderson’s ability to continue the epic by Robert Jordan they are quickly removed and then completely erased by the end of the book. In some ways it is certainly more enjoyable to read than some of the previous books in the series, whether this was due to how the plot was written or Sanderson himself is difficult to know, but things certainly move forward at a quicker pace than before. A very welcome addition to a series that has had its lulls and peaks.

    #214746
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    Jim Abbott was born different in a way that it is obvious to anyone who meets him, and as a result has had to deal with that difference his whole life. In this biography he details how that affected him as he grew up and eventually ended up as a Major League pitcher. A straightforward account of his life, related around a no-hitter he pitched, it is not overly sentimental nor does it try impart some deep philosophical insight about life. What results is a very readable account written with honesty and humor that captures the feelings and environment, both good and bad, of a talented athlete who, like all of us, just wants to fit in.

    #214747
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    Book 13 of the Wheel of Time series, it finally puts to rest a large number of plots that had been developing throughout the series. This book seems to finish the picture needed to begin the last battle. It is an appropriate penultimate book that prepares without finishing on a cliff hanger leaving you wondering what will happen next. All the main characters are now whole in who they are and their roles. The growing up is done, now it is time for action.

    #214748
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    The final book in the Wheel of Time series, it delivers a mostly satisfying conclusion to the story that has spanned 14 books. All the pieces that have been part of the story so far play a part in bringing it to its conclusion. Just like a piece of thread that brings together a whole weave by pulling it tight, so A Memory of Light brings it all together. The last battle is well fleshed out in its execution and although we know that in the end the forces of good will win, you keep wondering the cost which is quite large. The battle with the dark one ends up being an existential one that is in some ways disappointing though it makes sense. And of course, the very end, as do virtually all novels in this genre, leaves out what will happen next.

    #214749
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    The first James Bond novel, it is fairly straight forward in execution. Although there are few surprises and tense moments on the whole it really does not feel to be so much about the action, but about how the protagonist handles it. There is a definite focus on masculine desires though without a large amount of bravado. James Bond, although sure of himself, does experience fear and uncertainty and is, although calculating, decidedly human.

    #214750
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    A simple tale of two people from different milieus brought together by chance and the developments in their relationship. It is a rather simple story with only a sprinkling of the humor that usually infuses Wodehouse’s work. In some ways it is an exploration of a relationship, though not too seriously and not too deeply.

    #214751
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    A good mystery novel that is in many ways more about a small community than it is a murder. The titular character rabbi small is interesting and likeable and the whole cast of characters with their different viewpoints and personalities makes for an enjoyable read as well as giving a little insight into what it truly means to be a rabbi.

    #214752
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    A romantic comedy without the mean spirit that often imbues that genre where even the bit characters have their amusing traits and roles to play in the story. Although the conclusion does not involve a dramatic twists of the kind that leave you scratching your head there are unexpected moments within that serve to underscore the motivations of many of the characters. As is usual with Wodehouse part of the pleasure of the novel is not simply the story, but the humorous way in which he crafts many of the descriptions of the situations and the motivations of the characters. A fun, light read from start to finish.

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