ITHCWY: Robert Ellison's Blog

Book reviews for August 2017

Empire Games (Empire Games #1) by Charles Stross

Empire Games (Empire Games #1) by Charles Stross

4/5

 

The Delirium Brief (Laundry Files, #8) by Charles Stross

The Delirium Brief (Laundry Files, #8) by Charles Stross

4/5

 

The Thirst (Harry Hole #11) by Jo Nesbø

The Thirst (Harry Hole #11) by Jo Nesbø

4/5

 

The Revolution Trade (The Merchant Princes, #5-6) by Charles Stross

The Revolution Trade (The Merchant Princes, #5-6) by Charles Stross

4/5

 

The Traders' War (The Merchant Princes, #3-4) by Charles Stross

The Traders' War (The Merchant Princes, #3-4) by Charles Stross

4/5

 

Influx by Daniel Suarez

Influx by Daniel Suarez

4/5

 

The Bloodline Feud (The Merchant Princes, #1-2) by Charles Stross

The Bloodline Feud (The Merchant Princes, #1-2) by Charles Stross

4/5

 

Book reviews for July 2016

The Nightmare Stacks (Laundry Files, #7) by Charles Stross

The Nightmare Stacks (Laundry Files, #7) by Charles Stross

4/5

 

The Girls by Emma Cline

The Girls by Emma Cline

3/5

OK, but lots of foreshadowing, not much shadow.

 

Book reviews for May 2016

When to Rob a Bank by Steven D. Levitt

When to Rob a Bank by Steven D. Levitt

3/5

I didn't realize this was just a collection of blog posts! There are some good ones for sure (my favorite is the evisceration of Good to Great for the exact same reasons that I hate that book). But it's just some blog posts and they're mostly too short and not fleshed out.

 

The Magic of Reality: How We Know What's Really True by Richard Dawkins

The Magic of Reality: How We Know What's Really True by Richard Dawkins

2/5

I'm not really sure what the point of this book is. I guess Dawkins is trying to bring people round to believing in science and so the main device used in the book is to mock religions and myths for a while before sketching in a light summary (very light for the non-Biology sections) of some area of science. If you're in it for the science then you're going to be mostly disappointing. If you're not of a scientific bent then you're going to be alienated by the heavy handed myth bashing and so I don't think you're going to be in a positive frame of mind to listen to what Dawkins has to say when you get the science bit. Not recommended for either audience.

 

Three Tales from the Laundry Files by Charles Stross

Three Tales from the Laundry Files by Charles Stross

3/5

 

The Mind Club by Daniel M. Wegner

The Mind Club by Daniel M. Wegner

3/5

The central theme of this book is some research about how people feel about different kinds of minds. At it's heart it's a Harvard Business Review style quadrant analysis with the two dimensions being doing and feeling (and doers doing things to feelers). This isn't nearly as interesting (or difficult) as actually trying to understand different minds. This is touched on briefly and mainly via that experiment where people report that they made a decision half a second after their body started doing the thing that they decided to do. Which is fascinating and hard to explain but it's only really a detour here. The meat of the book is how people feel about dogs and dead people and gods. There are some interesting anecdotes and the book is saved by the good humor and gentle snarkiness of at least one of the authors.

 

Book reviews for November 2015

The Children Act by Ian McEwan

The Children Act by Ian McEwan

3/5

 

So You've Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson

So You've Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson

4/5

 

Traveling Sprinkler by Nicholson Baker

Traveling Sprinkler by Nicholson Baker

4/5

 

The Annihilation Score (Laundry Files, #6) by Charles Stross

The Annihilation Score (Laundry Files, #6) by Charles Stross

3/5

Too much flat pack furniture assembly, not enough slaying of eldrich horrors. Also I miss Bob.

 

Book reviews for October 2015

The Rhesus Chart (Laundry Files, #5) by Charles Stross

The Rhesus Chart (Laundry Files, #5) by Charles Stross

4/5

 

Follow You Home by Mark  Edwards

Follow You Home by Mark Edwards

4/5

 

Make Me (Jack Reacher #20) by Lee Child

Make Me (Jack Reacher #20) by Lee Child

3/5

Everything you need in a Reacher book, and nothing you don't. Too well oiled.

 

The Fuller Memorandum (Laundry Files, #3) by Charles Stross

The Fuller Memorandum (Laundry Files, #3) by Charles Stross

3/5

 

The Girl in the Spider's Web (Millennium, #4) by David Lagercrantz

The Girl in the Spider's Web (Millennium, #4) by David Lagercrantz

3/5

 

The Apocalypse Codex (Laundry Files, #4) by Charles Stross

The Apocalypse Codex (Laundry Files, #4) by Charles Stross

4/5

 

Book reviews for September 2015

The Jennifer Morgue (Laundry Files, #2) by Charles Stross

The Jennifer Morgue (Laundry Files, #2) by Charles Stross

5/5

I wanted to like The Atrocity Archives more than I did (which is still quite a bit)... I'm glad I pressed on to The Jennifer Morgue which is a tight spy thriller, a send up of spy thrillers and manages to be funny and moving in turns. I'm stuck in for the duration of the Laundry Files at this point.

 

A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson

4/5

 

Armada by Ernest Cline

Armada by Ernest Cline

3/5

 

Book reviews for July 2015

The Atrocity Archives (Laundry Files, #1) by Charles Stross

4/5

 

Seveneves by Neal Stephenson

Seveneves by Neal Stephenson

4/5

I really enjoyed it but the timescale is so long and so much happens that it feels a bit rushed until the last section of the book. I wish this had been teased out into a trilogy.

 

Reviews and links for August 2011

RESTful .NET by Jon Flanders

4/5

Great coverage of exposing and consuming a RESTful service using WCF. Note that you'll need the services of a good WCF book, this builds on existing WCF expertise and doesn't try that hard to bring you up to speed. Which isn't a bad thing, it keeps the book relatively short and focused. I'll be referring back to this one often.

 

Rule 34 by Charles Stross

4/5

Stross flips out concepts in a sentence that many SciFi authors would build an entire book around. It's a near-future police procedural set in Edinburgh. Twisted, tongue-in-cheek, profane and most excellent. The only miss is the assumption that people will use Wave in the near-future, let alone now. It's the first book of his that I've read... will be seeking out more soon.

 

The Information: A History, A Theory, A Flood by James Gleick

4/5

Epic. A must read for cybernauts who may have forgotten their roots. Good for anyone else interested in what information actually is, and how pervasive information theory has become.

 

Links

- Password Strength from xkcd.com (Read this now, then change your passwords!).

- Baby sex blood tests 'accurate' from BBC News - Home (Bad news for girls...).

- Are your genes somebody else's property? from All Salon (More patent stupidity, this time genes (@myEV)).

- IE users have lower IQ says study from BBC News - Home (Highest IQ? Telnet to port 80 directly).