Saturday, February 28, 2009

That's a relief two more seasons at least

OK so it's only been average for the last half dozen years or so but, it's better than nothing. The Simpsons to break US record.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Napoleon On the Art of War by Jay Luvaas

Napoleon On the Art of War by Jay Luvaas contains snippets from Napoleon's correspondents on various topics. The introduction claims this took 30 years to write. Somehow I doubt that. Each chapter is introduced in less than a page. There is no context given to the sources. If you're not an expert on the campaigns you may have trouble following things. The translations are decent enough. It's too bad a book like this could have been so much more.

Not recommended!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Baptism of Fire: The Second Battle of Ypres and the Forging of Canada, April 1915 by Nathan M. Greenfield

Baptism of Fire: The Second Battle of Ypres and the Forging of Canada, April 1915 by Nathan M. Greenfield first off yes the title is a little goofy. What we have here is a description of the training of the Canadian units and the Second Battle of Ypres. Probably most famous for the Germans first use of poison gas on the western front. Not only has Greenfield used Canadian sources but also material from the Germans opposing the Canadians. A nice change from most Canadian military history that rarely goes into the opposition's archives. I did find that the book is trying to cover all audiences both scholarly and newbie. Simple terms are explained than a few pages later is an extensive discussion of the veracity of a source. So the writing is uneven. Besides this complaint this is an excellent book on a WWI battle.

Recommended!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Closing a loophole

FIA set to refine engine usage rules

Quotation [occasional]

No doubt the author intends such remarks to convey the horrors of the Holocaust, but “The Kindly Ones” instead reads like a pointless compilation of atrocities and anti-Semitic remarks, pointlessly combined with a gross collection of sexual fantasies. That such a novel should win two of France’s top literary prizes is not only an example of the occasional perversity of French taste, but also a measure of how drastically literary attitudes toward the Holocaust have changed in the last few decades.
- Michiko Kakutani on The Kindly Ones.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Friday, February 20, 2009

The First Casualty by Ben Elton

The First Casualty by Ben Elton murder mystery set during the First World War. An officer is killed in a recovery home for shellshock cases. A conscientious objector police officer is sent to look into the case. The whole thing is rather ridiculous mainly because Elton works in every WWI stereotype he can think of. We have war poetry, incompetent officers, conscientious objectors, trench raids, communists, yellow journalism and even homosexuality and suffragettes. I understand that Elton is thought to be a comic writer but if this is trying to be funny it's not. The solution although satisfying is rushed.

Not recommended.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Worst spin in the world

We never intended to claim ownership over people's content even though that's what it seems like to many people. This was a mistake and we apologize for the confusion.
Liar! That's exactly what both the old and new Facebook TOS says. The fact that you're too stupid or incompetent to actually fesse up says something.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Dollhouse

Well that was uninspiring. Considering the ratings I don't think it'll be around much longer. If the first episode is any indication I can't really blame Fox for this. Probably doesn't help that the entire setup sounds like some sort of soft core porn series. "Like, there are these hot women and you can program them to do whatever you want...."

Friday, February 13, 2009

Cry of Justice by Jason Prat

Cry of Justice by Jason Pratt is the first book in a fantasy trilogy. After a conflict refugees make their way through a ravaged landscape. Portunista an ambitious leader uses magic to gain power. The structure of the book is a little unusual. Not only are there chapters from several different points of view, included are also journal entries written by the characters. The longer I read the more interested I became. The first 50 pages or so is pretty confusing but, the book does settle down. The magic is different than the standard fare. A nice change.

Recommended!

Note: this was provided for review purposes by a PR outfit.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Chain reading

Yes I haven't been doing much for the blog lately. I've started reading more fiction in the last 6 months. So I've decided to try something different. If I like an author or series I'm going to order the next book write after I'm done. I've noticed that in the past I haven't picked up the next book. It was only after looking back on my reading that I remembered to grab the next one. So I guess we'll see if this works.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

First Among Sequels by Jasper Fforde

First Among Sequels by Jasper Fforde is the fifth and most recent book in the Thursday Next series. It is 2002 and Thursday is trying to juggle several different lives. What remains of SpecOps is being run secretly under the front of a carpet company, the book world is worried over dropping reading rates and Thursday is involved in a cheese smuggling ring. The social commentary in this one is sharper than the last several books. The book is still funny but the pacing is quite a bit better than the last book. Considering the ending it sounds like this may be the end of the series. It's been enjoyable. I'm looking forward to his next which looks like it may be little more serious.

Highly recommended!

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Alone on Guadalcanal: A Coastwatcher's Story by Martin Clemens

Alone on Guadalcanal: A Coastwatcher's Story by Martin Clemens let's get one thing out of the way first the title is a misnomer which to his credit Clemens faces up to almost immediately. Since he was never really alone he was the only white person. The nucleus of this was a diary he wrote while trying to gather intelligence on the Japanese. The stories of close shaves and trying to maintain some semblance of British administration are interesting enough. When the Marines do arrive he liaison with them. He has mostly positive things to say about the Americans. This nicely fills in the time before the Americans set up at Cactus.

Recommended!

Monday, February 02, 2009

Goshawk Squadron by Derek Robinson

Goshawk Squadron by Derek Robinson follows the exploits of a fighter squadron during the latter stages of the First World War. This is very much in the war is surreal school of historical fiction. It is extremely dark. Farce is seemingly everywhere. The constant specter of violent death not just from the enemy but from flying itself. This was nominated for the Booker Prize.

Highly recommended!