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Books

Guns, Germs & Steel: The Fates of Human Societies, Jared Diamond, 528 pages

This is an amazing read. It is a pretty deep topic that I found to be both interesting and easy to read. Perhaps the highest compliment one can give a book is that it made you think. This particular book not only kick started my brain but managed to offer me the opportunity to rethink my perspective on topics without the need for a conflict. I highly recommend it.

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Books!

White House Ghosts: Presidents and Their Speechwriters, Robert Schlesinger, 592 pages

It took me a little while to chew through this one. It was really interesting but sometimes my brain vapor locks and I need a little brain candy before I can focus on reading anything serious. I liked this book a lot and recommend you pick it up. It has a particularly interesting perspective on the power of speech as it relates to political success.

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Still reading

The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde, 208 pages

I am not sure how I missed reading Oscar Wilde. I clearly should have read some of his work sooner as I truly enjoy his style of snark.

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GPS Review

For the winter holiday this year I recieved a Garmin Nuvi 265WT. It is super important to me that the interface is designed to not be something that a user needs to think about. I don't want to be distracted by it while I am driving. I like that it works as a bluetooth device for my cell phone. I suppose the biggest reason to upgrade was my curiosity about the NAVTEQ FM traffic capabilities.

NAVTEQ works by consistently evaluating traffic on the road you are on or the route you are being guided on. If it finds an epic snarl it will announce it and reroute you to avoid it. The down side is that the FM service is paying for itself by serving tiny pop up ads on the GPS occasionally. They are pretty easy to ignore but if it would piss you off to see advertising you can opt to do traffic through your cell signal and pay for it monthly instead. (I cannot speak to the quality of that service as I have not tested it.) I have saved enough time in traffic since December to justify the expense already.

I give it a 7 on my gadget rating scale.

Escaping into books a bit? Inconceivable!

Sandworms of Dune, Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson, 496 pages.

OK, we all know I love Dune. Somehow this book felt rushed which is saying something when you consider the patience it takes to consume all the books leading up to it. The authors did pay a lot of attention to tying in the detail that needed to be there for this book to stand as an installation in the Dune series. It was patently obvious that the goal was for the reader to feel the dead heat of the story coming to a head at Krazilec. I think they played the "OMG Bees" card entirely too much. I firmly believe in the value of using a gear that is somewhere between neutral and 5th.

It is still worth reading to finish this part of the series. Just don't be surprised if the person you think you know isn't who you think they are. Ah, what a lovely nebulous non-spoiler ending to the review. :)

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Catch up post on reading

A Meeting at Corvallis, S.M. Stirling, 512 pages.
This is the final book in the first Dies the Fire Trilogy. I can't wait to get to the next series of books.

Hunters of Dune, Brian Herbert & Kevin J. Anderson, 576 pages.
I have an ongoing love affair with the Dune series. I vastly preferred the originals written by Frank Herbert but enjoy the expansion on the series enough to muddle through the style differences with the new authors. I recommend them if you have been bitten by the Dune bug.

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Brain Candy

Dies The Fire, S.M. Stirling, 592 pages

The Protector's War: A Novel of the Change, S.M. Stirling, 608 pages

I blame sage_and_sea for this particular choice. She loaned me Dies The Fire a while back which completely sucked me in. These are 2 of the 3 books in an interesting post-apocalyptic series. It has a bit of a different slant on the end of the world and is partially set in the Northwest. The down side is that the character development is pretty lame and the books are relatively predictable. They are worth the read if you are in the mood for brian candy and into this kind of book.

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Jan. 6th, 2009

Just in case LiveJournal dies under the lovely management of SUP. You can find me at http://taoskye.vox.com

I will not be switching over right now but I will if LJ goes down the tubes.

Books!

The Stuff of Thought, 512 pages, Steven Pinker

I very much enjoyed this book. There were parts where it drug a little but not a lot when you consider the depth of the semantics that Pinker dives into. I highly recommend it if you are interested in the relationship of language to thought.

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Sometimes it is just THAT day.

Stealing the giant fluffy ball from the big dog against overwhelming odds?

Epic.

Completely biting it in the process?

Lame.