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Monthly Archives: December 2011

Books in 2011

With my “falling out” with video games, particularly from June onwards, I found myself with more time to read than in previous years.

There were a few disappointing books and some abandoned halfway through but overall the quality of the books i’ve managed to read has been excellent.

In recent years my reading habits have changed as i am turning towards non-fiction books.

However, it seems that i might have been mistaken as to the extent of this shift. Of the 15 books i read during the year only 6 were non-fiction. Had i not written them all down i would have said that it was the other way around.

My impression proved to be so wrong that it is definitely something i need to think about!

In any case, here is the list of the books read in 2011 and HAPPY NEW YEAR:

Must read
(i have linked the must read and recommended books to the Kindle editions on Amazon US)

  • Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline. If you’ve lived in the 80s and/or have an interest in that decade’s geek culture then this is a fantastic book. Brilliant!
  • The Art of Racing in the Rain, by Garth Stein. A tear jerker  of a novel, as narrated by a dog. I haven’t read a book that made me feel this way since Tony Parsons’ Man and Boy.
  • The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine, by Michael Lewis. This was my first Michael Lewis book and it wasn’t the last in 2011. Lewis has a gift in making a subject accessible and exciting regardless of the reader’s background. A fantastic read on how a few people were predicting the US housing market collapse and were ready to gain from it.
  • Nothing to Envy, by Barbara Demick. Another book which deals with a topic that is hot at the moment. It’s about life in the totalitarian and secretive state of North Korea. About people living in another world.

Covers


Highly Recommend

  • The Dark Tourist, by Dom Jolly – I know of Dom Jolly as he is the star of the UK TV show Trigger Happy TV. He travels to countries and location where there was death and suffering (which is the definition of Dark Tourism) and also to oppressive regimes. Funny, sad, interesting and  is worth more than the sum of its parts.
  • Moneyball, The Art of Winning an Unfair Game, by Michael Lewis – About people looking at the sport of baseball from a different angle than the one long-established over decades in order to compete against baseball teams with greater financial muscle. Someone who is not familiar with the sport needs to look up some baseball terms along the way but still engrossing. Although the book is better, the movie is also very good.
  • Underground, by Haruki Murakami – A non-fiction book by one Japan’s most renowned novel writers. Murakami interviews survivors from the sarin gas attacks in the Tokyo Underground. He asks them about what happened on that day, how they are coping and what their feelings are towards the perpetrators. He also interviews some people who were members of the Aum Shinrikyo cult which was behind the attacks. This is almost a must read.
  • The Giver, by Lois Lowry – This is a short, classic utopian book and is easily enjoyed over a few days.
  • World War Z, by Max Brooks – Fun, exciting, interesting, action packed “Zombie” book. I loved it even though i hate zombies!
  • The Forever War, by Joe Haldeman – Another very good and short sci-fi book.

Covers

Undecided

  • Get Me Out of Here, by Henry Sutton – The first quarter was enjoyable but later on it felt like it was repeating itself. After the halfway mark i just wanted it to be over. However i keep thinking about it which is why i’m still undecided on how i feel about it (Best not to reveal anything about the plot to avoid spoilers).

Do not recommend

  • The Last Child, by John Hart
  • The Prague Cemetery, by Umberto Eco (70% and then gave up)
  • The Plot Against America, by Philip Roth
  • Lying, by Sam and Annaka Harris
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Posted by on December 30, 2011 in Books

 

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Incoherent Thoughts

It’s been almost a year since my last post on www.lostingames.net. Lostingames was my first blog and it was focused on my experiences with video and board games. I stopped updating it in early 2011 for a number of reasons. One was because i slowly reduced my time investment in videogames. At first it was not a conscious decision but later on it was.

Why? Because i stopped enjoying the hobby. I haven’t yet pinpointed what has changed and whether it is a permanent thing but this meant that i had fewer and fewer video game experiences to talk about.

Although my alienation from videogames might have been the trigger it was not the only reason i stopped blogging. It was also because i had lost track of why i started blogging in the first place.

Initially it was so that i could put my thoughts in order and force myself to think about what i was playing and experiencing with video games. Then it became a means to an end. Attract followers to establish a video gaming community in Cyprus with a possible business venture if the right idea came along. Once that never materialised i became disillusioned with the blog.

The purpose of re-starting my blogging is again so that i organise my thoughts but this time on more varied topics. Basically i want to put all my incoherent thoughts on paper where hopefully they will someday start making sense.

 
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Posted by on December 29, 2011 in About the blog