Books / Year 2015
Date: 2015-11-15 (permlink)
Author: Ernest Cline
Name: Ready Player One
Rating: Reread

Decided to reread the seminal VR novel while waiting for Oculus Rift to arrive.

Date: 2015-10-15 (permlink)
Author: George R.R. Martin
Name: A Knight Of The Seven Kingdoms
Rating: 4 stars

If The Winds Of Winter is not coming, one might as well console oneself with this one.

Date: 2015-08-20 (permlink)
Author: H.P. Lovecraft
Name: Omnibus 3 - The Haunter Of The Dark
Rating: 3.5 stars

Absolute classics here, but it's still a slog reading through all of them one after the another. Like most good things, Lovecraft is better in small doses.

Date: 2015-07-25 (permlink)
Author: GĂ©rard de Villiers
Name: Chaos In Kabul
Rating: 2 stars

I thought I'd check out how this French spy thriller differs from Fleming/Carre.

It's a very weird book: Malko, the so-called hero, is the worst spy I've ever encountered. He does nothing that couldn't be accomplished better by Skype calls from back home; the only thing him physically being in Kabul accomplishes is having his activities traced and his collaborators captured and tortured (about which he is quite nonchalant, I might add).

The famous sex scenes are laughably bad. Apparently the book is cut in half from the original French version; it already feels repetitive at 376 pages in the English translation, I have no idea how the French one manages to fill in twice the pages. More pointless sex scenes I suppose.

Date: 2015-07-02 (permlink)
Author: Koushun Takami
Name: Battle Royale
Rating: 3 stars

It feels weird complaining that a book about high school kids forced to kill each other is not bloodthirsty enough, but that is my main complaint. Too many of the kids remain unaccepting of the situation they've been thrust in and do not participate in the game fully.

Date: 2015-06-15 (permlink)
Author: David Nicholls
Name: Us
Rating: 4.5 stars

Enjoyable and has some good insight into how marriages either survive or don't. The father-son aspect feels a bit off somehow, though.

Date: 2015-05-12 (permlink)
Author: Jeffrey Eugenides
Name: The Marriage Plot
Rating: 2 stars

What a disappointing book. The characters are uninteresting, unbelievable, and cliche. The same description can be applied to the plot, such as it is.

Date: 2015-03-26 (permlink)
Author: Terry Pratchett
Name: Mort
Rating: Reread

I decided to reread one of the Discworld books since the first line on the first page of this book is no longer true: "Terry Pratchett was born in 1948 and is still not dead."

I see from my review history that I gave up on reading Discworld books 13 years ago, after becoming disappointed in their quality. So I decided to reread a book I had vague memories of liking, a book wildly mentioned among the "best of" lists of Discworld books, a book where Death takes an apprentice.

It was a mixed experience. I might have laughed once or twice, but mostly it was just "oh, he's inserted a joke here, I see what he's doing". Humour needs to actually provoke a reaction in you to be effective; if it doesn't do that, and the book doesn't contain anything else besides these "jokes", I'm not sure what's left.

Date: 2015-03-15 (permlink)
Author: Hugh Howey
Name: Wool
Rating: 2 stars

What an awful book. Not only does none of the the setting, the characters, or the action make sense, they are often literally physically impossible.

150 floors does not take three days to walk up or down, it takes at most a few hours. It does not get colder as you go deeper into the earth, it gets hotter. The diving sequence, where she would've died from either oxygen toxicity or decompression sickness. Etc etc etc.

I have no idea how this trash became so popular.

Date: 2015-02-20 (permlink)
Author: Jonathan Franzen
Name: Freedom
Rating: 4.5 stars

Starts off great but can't maintain it all the way to the end. Some of the things happening make literally no sense at all.

Date: 2015-02-01 (permlink)
Author: Michel Faber
Name: The Apple - Crimson Petal Stories
Rating: 1 stars

What a horrible book. Not only does it suck on its own, but it manages to make me rethink my opinion of its predecessor.

The most striking thing about this book, beyond the general pointlessness and boringness of it, is how anti-men it is. Every single man portrayed in the book is a horrible human being.

Date: 2015-01-24 (permlink)
Author: Andy Weir
Name: The Martian
Rating: 3 stars

Nerdy fun reading about the logistical problems of surviving on Mars. On the other hand, a bad reminder of how science fiction books can get away with paper-thin characters.

Date: 2015-01-20 (permlink)
Author: Michel Faber
Name: The Crimson Petal And The White
Rating: 5 stars

Finally, proof that my inability to enjoy Dickens has nothing to do with the period he was writing about, and all to do with him!

Whenever I've read or tried to read Dickens, it's driven me mad how vague he is about things, especially if the things are about women, sex, or you know, anything else interesting at all. Maybe he had to write like that in order to be publishable in those times, who knows; doesn't mean I have to like, or even read, his novels.

Because, in these times, despite the best efforts of religious lunatics, we have something called freedom of speech, meaning writers can write whatever they want. And what does that freedom mean when combined with a talented writer like Faber?

It means a thrilling voyage into the world of prostitution in late 19th century London. Everything that was vague in Dickens is displayed here under floodlighting and described in meticulous detail.

Reading about Sugar's struggle to raise herself up from the gutter where she was born was one of the best experiences I've had in quite a while.