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Monthly Archives: June 2012

T.G.I Zolos, 29 June 2012

It was another slow week and so another short T.G.I Zolos post. Things should pick up from next week.

  • MoviesIt’s Kind of a Funny Story is a film that could have been good to great. Instead it’s safe to say that it’s ordinary in its plot, jokes, characters and acting. It was even disappointing in some respects. Especially the main character, who turns out to be a talented teenager and quite popular in the psychiatric ward, where he is self-admitted, whereas i would find him a lot more interesting if he was just ordinary instead with more than just superficial confidence issues. However, i could still relate to it on some level and therefore rated it higher than maybe i should have. A very biased recommendation from me.
    A Better Life
    is the story of a mexican illegal immigrant father trying to raise his US born son. I really liked this one a lot.
    “Why do all these poor people have kids? What’s the point?”  Luis Galindo
  • Books – Finally finished American Tabloid. Since i’ve mentioned this book many times before i will only say that i highly recommend it and i will definitely read even more James Ellroy novels in the future.
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Posted by on June 29, 2012 in T.G.I Zolos

 

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The Book Backlog (update 2)

Yeap, 5 more books finished from the backlog list so time to get a new book! I will actually cheat a bit since i am getting the first two books of the A Song of Ice and Fire series. But i think I’ve been doing rather well in terms of keeping this particular new year’s resolution so i deserve a bit of leeway. 🙂

The Backlog list
(highlighed in bold are books i’ve read)

Kindle edition
Fiction

  1. Hard Boiled Wonderland And The End of The World, by Haruki Murakami
  2. 1Q84, by Haruki Murakami
  3. Snowdrops, by A.D. Miller
  4. The Sense of an Ending, by Julian Barnes
  5. Ender’s Game: Ender Series: Book One , by Orson Scott Card
  6. Black Lung Captain, by Chris Wooding
  7. The Windup Girl, by Paolo Bacigalupi
  8. Rashomon and Seventeen Other Stories, by
  9. Room, by Emma Donoghue

Non-Fiction

  1. Operation Mincemeat, by Ben Macintyre
  2. Bank 2.0: How Customer Behaviour and Technology Will Change The Future of Financial Services, by Brett King
  3. Crisis Economics: A Crash Course in the Future of Finance, By Nouriel Roubini
  4. Byzantium: The Surprising Life of a Medieval Empire, by Judith Herrin
  5. The Party: The Secret World of China’s Communist Rules, by Richard Mcgregor
  6. River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze, by Peter Hessler
  7. Shadow of the Silk Road, by Colin Thurbon
  8. The Making of Modern Britain, by Andrew Marr
  9. With The Old Breed, by Eugene B.Sledge
  10. Havana Nocturne, by T.J. English
  11. The Essential Bertrand Russel Collection, by Bertrand Russel
  12. History of Western Philosophy, by Bertrand Russel
  13. Unit Operations: An Approach to Videogame Criticism, by Ian Bogost
  14. Homicide: A Year On The Killing Streets, by David Simon

Paperback/Hardback edition
Non-fiction

  1. Born To Run, by Christopher McDougall
  2. Once A Runner, by John L.Parker JR.
  3. The Fate of Africa: A History of Fifty Years of Independence, by Martin Meredith
  4. After The Prophet, by Lesley Hazleton
  5. Puskas On Puskas, by Ferenc Puskas
  6. What The Dog Saw, by Malcolm Gladwell
  7. Hitler’s Willing Executionaries, by Daniel Jonah Goldhagen
  8. We wish to inform you that tomorrow we will be killed with our families, by Philip Gourevitch
  9. The World Cup’s Strangest Moments, by Peter Sheddon
  10. Fermat’s Last Theorem, by Simon Singh
  11. Hitler’s Empire, by Mark Mazower
  12. What i talk about when i talk about running, by Haruki Murakami
  13. The Myth of Sisyphus, by Albert Camus
  14. A long way gone: Memoirs of a child soldier, by Ishmael Beah
  15. Money (Art of Living), by Eric Lonergan
  16. The Gate, by Francois Bizot

Fiction

  1. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradburn
  2. Baudolino, by Umberto Eco
  3. Burnt Shadows, by Kamila Shamsie
  4. The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak
  5. A Quiet Belief in Angels, by R.J. Ellory
  6. Say You’Re One of Them, by Uwem Akpan
  7. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
  8. The Fall, by Albert Camus
  9. Small Island, by Andrea Levy
  10. Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh
  11. Battle Royale, by Koushun Takami
  12. Everything Illuminated, by Safran Foer
  13. The Bookseller of Kabul, by Asne Seierstad
  14. Uncle Petros and Goldbach’s Theorem, by Apostolos Doxiadis
  15. Mister Pip, by Lloyd James
  16. The Complete Stories Vol. I, by Isaac Asimov
  17. 2001: A Space Odyssey, by Arthur C. Clarke
  18. The Black Dahlia, by James Ellroy
  19. American Tabloid, by James Ellroy
  20. The Venus Fix, by M.J.Rose
 

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The Black Dahlia

“Shitbirds. If they weren’t cops they’d be in Atascadero. Do as i say, not as i do, partner. They’re afraid of me, and you’re just a rookie here.”

Lee Blanchard

 
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Posted by on June 27, 2012 in Books

 

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Financial Times Kindle Edition

If you’ve clicked on the Something New page in the past couple of days you would see that i’ve wiritten my first customer review of Amazon. Considering how long i’ve been using that site it really took me a long time to do it.

This is what i wrote on 21 June 2012 regarding the kindle edition of the Financial Times UK under the heading Expensive and no FT Magazine:

“I love the FT.

But two problems i have with the Kindle edition, of which i am still a subscriber:

1. Expensive. At US$27.99 you should also have access to the site, not just the kindle edition. Otherwise it should be a lot cheaper like US$10-US$14 max.

2. No FT Magazine in the weekend Kindle edition which i think is a big omission.”

On 23 June, the first Weekend FT after i wrote the above, the kindle edition included the FT Magazine as the final section. It blew my mind. At first i thought i must have made a mistake and that there was always a section of the FT Magazine and i just had not noticed it. But i confirmed it with another regular FT kindle edition subscriber that it was indeed the first time he had seen it as well.

I went back yesterday, 23 June 2012, and added the below to my review:

“Ok, i don’t know whether this is just a coincidence or an unbelievably fast response from FT, but today’s Weekend FT includes the FT Magazine. Thank you. I have added a star to my original rating.”

I still find it difficult to believe that the FT management was so responsive to a customer review. But i have not  found another explanation yet. I hope that some day they will also respond to the pricing criticism but one thing that i am certain of is that this is not going to be my last customer review.

 
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Posted by on June 25, 2012 in Antidote, The Web

 

It’s the alcohol stupid

Old and regular readers of the blog know that I am currently taking medication which affects the liver. One of my new year’s resolutions was to limit my drinking as per my doctor’s recommendation. After some stomach problems i decided to stay completely sombre. I haven’t had a single drop of alcohol for 4 months now.

Then came the Euro and i am talking about the football! To me Euro tournaments always meant beer, snacks and more beer. So i decided to get some non-alcoholic beers to join my friends in the beer drinking while watching the games.

I tried 4 different brands of lager and all of them were quite refreshing and tasty. Two of these brands i never drank the alcoholic version so there was no way for me to tell the difference.

But while drinking i thought “what’s the point?”. I could not see why i should not drink something else instead, say ice tea or coffee, or juice. And i could not find an answer. Because maybe there is no point in drinking non-alcoholic beer.

And it’s not just beer. Now I don’t think i would even drink whiskey if it was non-alcoholic. Even if the taste was the same. I do enjoy the taste but at the end of the day that’s not why i am drinking it. It’s the alcohol i desire in all these drinks and without the alcohol these look pointless in my eyes.

Of course one could say the same thing about de-caffeinated drinks like tea and coffee which i do drink. Is there a difference between caffeine and alcohol then? Hmmm..

 
 

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T.G.I Zolos, 22 June 2012

I have not been able to do much because of the Euro. That’s why there was no T.G.I Zolos last week!

In fact even my sleep has suffered since i could not go to bed before midnight with the exception of the past couple of days. I am an early riser but i am an early sleeper as well. These past two weeks i have only been the former and it caught up with me big time.

In any case here’s what i have been doing in terms of entertainment:

  • TV Series – I’ve been watching Men of a Certain Age (season 2). What do i think of it? Hmmm. I don’t think it’s particularly good. It’s pretty average and it’s a great shame as i find the issues that are dealt in this show relevant to me since i feel that the decisions i make now will affect how i am when i am 50. I think it’s too superficial in the way it deals with people’s relationships. Even the 3 main characters’ relationship feels that way. And i always feel sympathetic towards them and their actions whereas i would like some moral ambiguity in terms of the decisions they make. More grey areas which is something that HBO usually does well. I am going to finish the season but i am not sure if i will continue with season 3. The thing that is drawing me towards it is that it feels relevant to me. It’s the possible future of my life in a way. Maybe not strictly speaking but in general i think that applies.
  • Books – As i mentioned on Wednesday i started reading American Tabloid by James Ellroy. Two things. First, he is one of the most difficult writers I’ve read in terms of style and writing. There are times when i find myself completely lost. The second thing is that i’m certain i’m missing lots of details, jokes, historical events that get twisted or “explained”. Nevertheless i’m loving it. A fantastic book so far and one that deserves to be re-read one day.
  • Coffee – Finally made the switch to cold coffee. Freddo (black, no sugar) from Coffee Island for just EUR2. It’s not a complete rip off. 🙂
 
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Posted by on June 22, 2012 in T.G.I Zolos

 

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A first with books

I started writing this a few minutes after finishing James Ellroy’s, The Black Dahlia and added the last paragraph a few days ago.

It was only in the final quarter of the book that i realised how good it was. Up until then the book felt ordinary and unremarkable to me. There is no specific reason to attribute for this u-turn of my opinion of it. It just dawned on me. “This is very good” and at the same time i was a bit sad that i did not realise it earlier. Suddenly all the character development and plot details became clear to me. For example, the lead character to whom i could not relate to, i finally felt like i understood what he was about.

This caught me by surprise as it’s not a feeling i’ve experienced before. I’ve read books that gradually got better or worse. Books which for a specific reason i changed my mind about them after a certain point.

With The Black Dahlia I basically revised my opinion “subconsciously” for the first 2/3s of the book which i had on first impression found just ordinary.

The thing is, i find Ellroy quite difficult to read and get into. His style and also the vocabulary he uses is very foreign to me. Sometimes because of the cop talk he uses, the era the books take place in, the detailed description of the locations he uses in and sometimes because of reasons i still don’t understand.

Now i am reading his American Tabloid. This is actually my 3rd attempt with this book, the last time being 5-6 years ago. I find the style and vocabulary in this one easier now.  Maybe it’s because i got some practice with The Black Dahlia and i am reaping the rewards with American Tabloid from the beginning. This is one of those rare books you want to re-read even while you are reading it for the first time.

 
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Posted by on June 20, 2012 in Books

 

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