Tag Archives: books

Children of Time

Another book post, how boring!

Children of Time is one of those presents that I knew was coming (Pestering for it for quite some time), and once it was in my hand it took me a couple of weeks to finish, it is one of the most exciting science fiction books I’ve read in a while.

The idea is an interesting one. Humanity has reached a point where it starts colonizing and terraforming other planets, but disaster ensues, and we’re brought back to less technological times, while some of the terraformed planets still inhabited start their own story.

Flash forward lots of years from the fall of that technologically advanced civilization, the earth is dying, and some groups start some sort of Noah’s ark spaceship only with people inside with the hope that they can reach one of those old fabled terraformed planets. But they will have to deal with whatever has evolved there (hint, it has 8 legs).

Interestingly, those inhabitants are not painted as horrible mutations that humanity has to fight, but a relatable nascent civilization that has its own fears and hopes. The book dabbles in both storylines, one of the humans travelling and their social problems inside the spaceship, and the spiders, how their society progresses in strange ways for us, and their own way of seeing the world. All of it coming altogether for the book finale.

This is an open ended book, and as far as I’ve checked online the second book should come soon enough (2019 according to wikipedia)

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Spon book & spoon carving

Continuing with the weirdness and going totally off-topic from the type of posts you usually find here, let’s talk about a book of spoons and what it meant to me!.

The book is a short one, split into three parts:

  • A story about the author, and how he got into spoon carving.
  • Instructions on spoon carving techniques and knife grips.
  • A beautiful collection of spoons, with some words about each one of them.

I’ve never heard of Barn The Spoon, he is a spoon artisan carving from green wood mostly using a knife and an axe. I actually got attracted to this book after seeing it while attending a workshop on wood carving, the idea of such a specific book and the hippie feel of everything related to carving without any advanced tools picked my interest, so immediately ordered it from Amazon.

I can’t recommend this book to everybody, but the vibe that it transmits it’s something felt close. The story of Barn is an interesting one, worth reading. And the included pictures are gorgeous (yes, those spoon photos are actually amazing, kudos to the photographer). The only point where it fails to me is trying to explain the knife grips using only prose, probably my engineer’s mind is tricking me here, but some drawings on what is trying to be conveyed would help.

After skimming it, and then thoroughly reading the book, Armed with a sharp knife, a hook knife and the explained techniques I started to carve my first spoon. Which was ok, chunky and nicer to look at than to use, but a second one followed, then a third… and after half a year spoons keep coming out of my hands!.

That’s the best compliment to give to the book, it made me want to carve and enjoy the carving process in itself. I feel that this was the point of all of it :-D.

some spoons after this

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The Fisherman


(Spanish cover, since I like it better)

This blog is dead :-O, so why not create a small entry with the latest book I’ve read that I enjoyed more than usual?

Quite an inventive horror story. I’m not a big horror reader (mostly Stephen King, some of Poe and Lovecraft), but the theme was one of what I believe is classic cosmic horror (Leviathan and incomprehensible things) with some original sprinkles.

The book is split in two stories. What I would consider the main story (Dan and Abe), and a long flashback (Rainer and the origin of the evilness). And this seems to be quite divisive between the readers of this book. I’m leaning on the side that the main story is fantastic, while the flashback takes too long to develop and eats half of the book for no added benefit.

That nitpick apart, the story of Abe the widower and how meeting Dan transforms his life, for good and bad, is an amazing one, and John Langan knows how to paint the scenes beautifully. Let me tell you, that there’s a couple of passages that gave me goosebumps, and if I have to go take a leak at night my brain ensures that I remember them.

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Hyperion

hyperion
What to say about Hyperion.

It’s a Sci-Fi book about 7 pilgrims with 6 stories in it. (Yes, there’s a story missing there, that’s not a typo).

I have this book since 2014 but I did not dare to start it until recently. I excuse myself telling people that it is a long book about weird tales, but there’s no excuse, you should recommend this book to everyone, sci-fi lover or not.

The different narrations range from impressive to breath taking, I don’t think I’ll ever forget Father’s Dur├ę notes, or Weintraub’s sad account of his family’s misery. All the other are also well told, but as it happens, everybody will remember their favourites. Sometimes seems that Simmons gets over the top, but those are minor flops easy to forget.

Be warned though, you may feel swindled when finishing it. Every pilgrim is set off to meet a mysterious god-like machine called the Shrike, but the book does not revolve around this adventure, but on the backgrounds of the pilgrims. So, at the end of the book, you know the same things that you knew back when you started sort of.

Don’t forget that there’s a second book “The fall of Hyperion” (I’m reading right now), that may solve some of the mysteries presented here.

hyperionimage

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Fall of Giants

Fall_of_Giants

The Welsh author did it again. It’s a skill, he can write a huge book that you can read in no time.

It is the first book of a triology, following the lives of different people scattered around the world as the Great War develops. A soldier that comes from the Welsh mines, a russian that will become an important part of the bolshevik revolution, an english earl that has a lot of money and pride, an idealistic american trying to get the best outcome, a german that sees how everything crumbles around him, and a long etcetera.

As it is usual with Ken Follet, those characters play different parts on the same story and their paths will cross multiple times in different places.

The main story is about these fictional characters, each one representing an archetype of person from that time. At the same time they meld perfectly with real life people like Stalin, Churchill and Wilhem II to name a few.

I am reading the second book now, “Winter of the world”, that continues with the adventures of those characters and their sons as the cherished peace comes to an end again. I am thrilled.

Totally recommended.


I realize that I recommend most of the books that I read… maybe I’m not a very good critic, or I happen to pick up nice books ­čÖé

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Ceros y Unos. And other history books on computing.

ceros y unos

The last book I read is “Ceros y Unos” (ones and zeroes), a present from my sister for Sant Jordi (23 abril).

This book itself is a compilation of the articles that can be found in libertad digital. If you feel that the topic is interesting but don’t like to read big/boring history books, this book is for you (and of course, you have to be fluent in spanish). It is just a pack of articles, that makes it the perfect book for a quick read in public transport, or the toilet :-P.

But at the same time it lacks part of the rigour of other books. I was not surprised to see that the book cites as references some books that I already read.

3 Other books

This is a very interesting topic, so I would like to list 3 other books that I read in the past.

Una hist├▓ria de la inform├ática – Miquel Barcel├│
This book is a light read that gets you up to speed in the topic. Miquel Barcel├│ has a fluent writing that makes it very easy to read. And again, I think it is only in catalan and spanish.

A history of modern computing – Ceruzzi, Paul E
This is for me the best book I ever read on computing history. It is a long (488 pages) book where you can find the foundations of computing. It gives a lot of emphasis on the old computers of yesterday.

IBM and the Holocaust – Edwin Black
Not a general picture, but a small period of one of the biggest companies. This book narrates the history of IBM and the Nazi regime.

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