Hawkeye, Vol 1: My Life as My Weapon by Matt Fraction

Filed under:Fantasy,Humor — posted by Randolph on February 25, 2019 @ 6:11 pm

This was recommended by a friend and I was glad for the suggestion. The book consists of two short stories in the graphic novel. This is a collection of the first issues of Hawkeye comic books.

There are two protagonists in one persona, Hawkeye. The two are Clint Barton and Kate Bishop. The backstory is that Clint was one of the Avengers, with no special ability but an extraordinary talent with the bow. When he was presumed killed, Captain America passed the bow on to Kate, who possessed similar skills. The story works on the relationship between these to versions of Hawkman.

I found the characters and the stories are interesting. The artists, David Aja and Javier Pulido do a good job. I like the composition, both the scenes and the page layout. They make good use of color to delimit segments of different sequences within the story. Although I felt the pacing was too fast, a common issue with graphic novels in general.

The story is both exciting and funny. They way the two characters interact can draw you in and make you believe and like both characters. It is well worth a good read.

Aventures d’Alice au Pays des Merveilles by Lewis Carroll

Filed under:Fantasy — posted by Randolph on February 19, 2019 @ 1:47 pm

I plan to read Alice in Wonderland and Philosophy and thought it might be interesting to reread the book, this time in French.

My first observation was that the translator did a good job and most of the book was translated well – at least to the limits of my memory. Then I did notice some shortcomings, for instance the wordplay in the mouse poem relating the mouse’s tail to the tale being told just didn’t work in French. However, the translator did include good footnotes. Here, he explained differences in the French and English version. He also added some historical notes that I found added value to the story. This included some symbology that I was completely unaware of.

Some of the jokes and puns were, if my memory serves, and perhaps were replaced with new or similar ones taking advantage of the language differences.

Overall, it is a quick read, delightful and imaginative and well worth some time spent.

Heroes and Philosophy: Buy the Book, Save the World Edited by David K. Johnson, William Irwin

Filed under:Philosophy — posted by Randolph on January 18, 2019 @ 1:59 pm

Yet another book in the Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture Series. I always enjoy them.

In this book, various philosophers look at the Heroes series of TV shows, books and webisodes, and explain different topics of philosophy using the actions and behaviors of the characters we’re familiar with.

I enjoyed this one a little more than some of the others. It didn’t spend as much time looking at the show and a little more on the philosophical topics. The other style is more useful when the reader isn’t as familiar with the topic, so someone unfamiliar with the Heroes characters may not get as much out of it.

50 Ethics Ideas You Really Need to Know by Ben Dupré

Filed under:Philosophy — posted by Randolph on January 9, 2019 @ 1:43 pm

I enjoyed this book and was disappointed. It does provide a brief overview to 50 interesting topics, but it provides too little information. It does little more than just whet the appetite, not even enough to figure out if a more in-depth study would be interesting to you.

I did like the layout. Each topic is two pages. There is a block of related information, a timeline of 4-5 major events related to the topic, and the text has about 3 or 4 tipics in easy-to-see section.

The quality of information is good when you have no, or very little, prior knowedge on the topic. But it is light reading and good as a reminder or refresher.

The Postman by David Brin

Filed under:Science Fiction — posted by Randolph on December 27, 2018 @ 2:42 pm


The Postman  by David Brin

In The Postman, David Brin tells the story of men in a post-apocalyptic world. Set in the near future (but an alternate past for today), the protagonist, Gordon Krantz, is traveling west looking for a place in the world.

It is set in Oregon almost two decades after a nuclear war where the young have no memory of the pre-apocalypse. Early in the book, it is Winter when he is robbed by three men who take everything of value that he has. Cold and seeking shelter, he finds a wrecked mail car with a dead mailman. Taking the dead man’s clothing and a mail sack so he’ll have something to read. This action determines his fate and that or Oregon.

In order to gain food and shelter, he presents himself as a mailman of a reformed USA. Shuffling through his bag, he is able to find a few letters to deliver to local survivors. His conscious bothers him for the lies, but his subconscious compels him to continue the farce.

In trial after trial, he is only trying to survive, but the uniform and his subconscious call him into action, he, or rather his uniform, becomes a symbol of a united country. Where he goes, people are inspired and form their own post offices. In spite of his own desires, he is making a truth out of his fiction.

David Brin has built a compelling picture of this world and its characters. The story is compelling and very well-told.

The Dove of Death by Peter Tremayne

Filed under:Mystery,Sister Fidelma — posted by Randolph on December 11, 2018 @ 4:21 pm


The Dove of Death  by Peter Tremayne

When returning home, Fidelma and Eadulf board a ship along with Fidelma’s cousins and diplomat. Then the ship is attacked by pirates and her cousin killed, she and Eadulf jump overboard and find themselves rescued by a monk and taken to an island.

Fidlema is duty-bound to find her cousin’s killer, with few clues other than the ship’s cat and odd comings and goings, she strings together a large collection of seemingly unrelated facts to not only discover the killer, but to uncover a conspiracy to seize power.

This is book 18 is Peter Tremayne’s series of Sister Fidelma. The series still holds my attention, this story is well-told and enjoyable.

Brno by Libor Sváček

Filed under:Travel — posted by Randolph on November 19, 2018 @ 3:42 pm


Brno  by Libor Sváček

This is a nice travel/picture book.

Pros:
– Nice pictures
– identification in 4 languages
– easily fits into a purse or larger pocket

Cons:
– small format leading to in small images
– lack of detailed information

MetaAutomation by Matt Griscom

Filed under:Technical — posted by Randolph on November 16, 2018 @ 3:47 pm


MetaAutomation by Matt Griscom

MetaAutomation is a collection of software automation patterns that, when combined, provide a greater value to your company than the sum of the parts.

The book presents a collection of software automation patterns that should be in every QA organization’s library. Most of the patters are fairly well known, but almost every organization I’ve seen still needs one or more of them. Having them in this collection makes this a valuable
book that should be in any software organization’s collection.

Fools and Mortals CD: A Novel by Bernard Cornwell

Filed under:Adventure,History — posted by Randolph on November 15, 2018 @ 3:21 pm


Fools and Mortals CD: A Novel by Bernard Cornwell

Bernard Cornwell takes a break from his traditional military-based historical fiction to tell the story of an actor, Richard Shakespeare, the younger and estranged brother of William Shakespeare. It is a coming-of-age story about Richard, but it is more a story about late 16th century theater and politics.

The story itself would have made a good Shakespeare play, it has love, politics and betrayal. The author brings the stage to life and gives the reader a good feel for life in the Elizabethan period.

In his usual way, Cornwell tells a very good story. The characters are real and the situations believable.

This isn’t what I expected when I started, I didn’t read the jacket and was expecting a typical Bernard Cornwell novel, but I was pleasantly surprised and could not turn away.

Star Trek Psychology: The Mental Frontier edited by Travis Langley

Filed under:Science — posted by Randolph on November 2, 2018 @ 3:57 pm


Star Trek Psychology: The Mental Frontier edited by Travis Langley

This is a collection of short papers on common subjects in psychology. It uses Star Treck characters and events to provide examples and explain concepts. Each paper is written by different experts in the field paired with someone more experienced in writing to the common man. Editing is done well, as each paper has a similar style, making the collection feel coherent.

I found the book both interesting and easy to read. The use of Star Trek to drive ideas home makes it easy to understand and (hopefully) remember.

The book is part of a series, Psychology of Popular Culture. I plan to read more of this series.


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image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace