Quickie Book mentions

So, I’m actually terribly behind on my GoodReads challenge of reading a book a week for the whole year to read a total of 52 books this year. Last year I managed it pretty well, reading a total of 64 books by the end of it. Whereas as of this article I’ve only read 13 book-books this year – only 25% of the whole target. I’m pretty confident I’ll be able to catch up to be honest; there’s just been a bunch of other stuff going on.

The reason I mention book-books is because I actually read a lot online: news, articles, people website posts, reviews, lots and lots of FanFiction. I still count all that as real reading – I’m not sure why you wouldn’t – I just still have a great fondness for reading a physical book, and I love using my local library. (free books!)

So I wanted to quickly mention what I’ve read recently, and what I’m reading.

First of is ‘Why Do You Overeat? When all you want is to be slim’ by Zoe Harcombe – in brief, terrible. But not just terrible, deceptive. It has some really good points about how things work, and the diet industry, and what doesn’t work. But the writer then devolves into the usual worrying diet advice. ‘You can’t eat any x.’ In this case it’s carbohydrates. I should eat fat and protein. This isn’t true. Looking at the book as a whole as opposed to the diet advice, it’s also not fantastically written in the end. It has a very strong beginning, but then repeats itself over and over. It also has things like a whole chapter devoted to simply listing all the essential vitamins and minerals, which just feels like filler material. I’m assuming the problem would have been, properly edited; the book would have been too short. Ah well.

Next is ‘The Woman Upstairs’ by Claire Messud – again in brief, interesting, and then good. It’s one of those strange ‘about someone’s life in general’ type of book that isn’t really about any one thing (other than mostly the main character I suppose) and I’m never sure what genre to put it in. The books about art in the background, but mostly it’s about the main characters possibly (probably) unhealthy relationship with a family that moves to where she lives for a year. It has a great ‘voice’ throughout the book, in that it’s written from the character’s perspective, who is at times angry, strange, contrary, worrying etc. I do like this style when it’s done well; it gives the character real life. I’m not sure how much I was expecting the end revelation, but I liked it, and the book overall.

Right now I’m reading The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon, and from the first chapter I’ve read I like it so far. It’s a science fiction/fantasy mix in genre almost, and so far has reminded me a bit of The Magician’s Guild by Trudi Canavan. I think I’ll enjoy it. I have a bunch of other books bookmarked and noted down that I still want to read this year as well, so hopefully it’ll go well. Until next time.

Learning to Program

For quite a while I’ve been wanting to teach myself how to program. Unfortunately, It’s definitely been a start-stop process. I bought a book on Visual Basic which did seem pretty good, but I found it a little hard to follow quite early on – so I figured I should try a ‘Learn to Program’ style book before picking up any particular language.

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The Year in Review: Books!

Now that we’ve reached 2013 – without the world ending and everything – I wanted to post about the books that I read in 2012. I took part in the GoodReads Reading Challenge to try and read a set goal of books over the year as I’d really felt like I wasn’t reading as much as I used to, and I love reading.

I originally set the challenge figure at something like thirty books, as I started properly in April after finally sorting out and getting into the habit of using my local library more (free books are awesome!), but I soon upped it to sixty. I beat the goal in the end, reading sixty four books last year. I read some great ones…and some not so great ones.

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My Secret Garden by Nancy Friday

Well, this post turned out a little rant-ier than I thought it would – it might get edited later, but probably not – It’ll just have to be ranty.

I’ve just finished reading My Secret Garden by Nancy Friday, and I wanted to talk about it a bit. While I don’t talk about it much, I do read ‘Feminist’/Egalitarian blogs and one of the often talked about issues is ‘sexy’ stuff. Sadly, a lot of Internet feminism is still pretty backwards while trying desperately to convince itself otherwise. So, My Secret Garden is a pretty popular book about sex, written in the 70s and reprinted about eight or nine times a decade each decade since then.

An obvious warning – I’m gonna talk about a sex book…with sex in it. Duh.

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The Salmon of Doubt – Douglas Adams

Short Review! Having enjoyed previous Adams books, I was recommended one of his lesser read books. Salmon of Doubt gives a funny little insight into Douglas Adams with a collection of articles and bits and pieces written over the years. I very much enjoyed it. The end section is an unfinished Dirk Gently novel that starts off very strange and does genuinely make you wish Adams had been able to finish it.