geekery, drawing and then some

Posts about books

Review: The Joy of Less

The Joy of Less, A Minimalist Living Guide: How to Declutter, Organize, and Simplify Your LifeThe Joy of Less, A Minimalist Living Guide: How to Declutter, Organize, and Simplify Your Life by Francine Jay

My rating: ★★★★☆

I read this book in preparation for a massive declutter/clean-up planned for my tiny but overflowing flat.

It did have some redundant info in it, which I read about before starting so I felt prepared. I like the enthusiasm and kindness of the book. The 10-step STREAMLINE process sounds very attractive to try out (I'll add my experience with it as soon as I've tried it out).

Part three of the book mostly consists of redundant parts, however, I do not mind. It goes through the most common rooms according to the streamline principle with some specific advice for the specific rooms. I have not read all the rooms as I plan to go through them as I tackle the rooms, as a reminder and a re-motivator.

All in all an easy read that left me motivated to declutter/minimalise promptly. I've already used my goodreads account to see what books I will part with ;)

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Review: The War of the Worlds

The War of the WorldsThe War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells My rating: ★★★★☆

Even though the story takes place in the 1890s and the language sometimes seemed outdated, I had no problem getting into it and it didn't read as a very outdated story. Sure, nobody had cellphones and cars, but the cellphones would have stopped working soon anyway when the Martians take down the power lines. (because they would, of course) I liked the analytical descriptions the main character made and how he still didn't come across as a cold hard scientist. He did care deeply for his wife and most of the book actually deals with him trying to get back to her, as he promised (without getting killed, so it takes him a while).

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Review: The Moomins and the Great Flood

The Moomins and the Great FloodThe Moomins and the Great Flood by Tove Jansson

My rating: ★★★☆☆

The first of the Moomin books. It reads a bit clunky but I found it charming nonetheless. It introduces the main characters of books, their house and why they live in the valley. Promising enough to read the other books too. Wouldn't recommend it as the first Moomin book to read. Book 3 (Finn Family Moomintroll) would probably work better as an introduction.

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Review: The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 3/4

The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 3/4The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 3/4 by Sue Townsend

My rating: ★★★☆☆

I probably would have liked this book more as a teenager because I could have related to it more. The character seemed a bit silly at times, however, his behaviour does seem to fit the weirdness of teenagers. Even if it didn't sweep me away, I did enjoy it, it made me laugh several times.

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Review: 13 Little Blue Envelopes

img13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson My rating: ★★★★☆

I zoomed through this book, which had a lot to do with the entertaining writing. Some bits of the book didn't match up with my reality, however, after some thought, I'd rather read and enjoy a book with some factual errors, than read a boring but highly factual book. Besides, a story has the right to stray from reality ;)

At Ginny's age I did not travel Europe, I waited some more years because I didn't have the guts to do it at 18.

I enjoyed reading the parts about places that I have visited myself and could easily imagine myself back there for which the book gets points. I wanted a story to entertain me. I feel entertained. :)

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Review: Winnie the Pooh

Winnie the PoohWinnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne My rating: ★★★★☆

I love Pooh, especially the BD (before Disney) drawings of him. This book contains a bunch of stories about Pooh and his friends, introducing them and their quirks one by one. They show how Pooh really loves his honey, Piglet fears nearly everything -- especially when it actually does happen, Rabbit doesn't really like anyone but he wants his friend around anyway, Eeyore, well... he doesn't like anything and doesn't ever see the bright or sunny side of it. They all have their own way of dealing with things and seeing them in a certain way, and they all stay friends. They set a good example ;)

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Review: Het Medaillon van Thrianta

Het Medaillon van ThriantaHet Medaillon van Thrianta by Mariska Buijs My rating: ★★★★★

I can't not like this book. I've waited (patiently) years to read it.

The book tells the story of princess Quahira who dreams of adventures, the kind she reads in books about. When the chance of adventure happens to present itself -- like they do -- she grabs it with both hands and sets off to make the kindgdom of Thrianta whole again. Not a small feat for a girl who has barely left the castle all her life. Luckily she gets help from several friends and together they go save the world! The story has a good dose of romance, humour and other exciting moments.

I have my doubts the people in the metro with me appreciate me giggling, however, I still enjoyed this book thoroughly. :-)

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Review: Little Brother

Little BrotherLittle Brother by Cory Doctorow My rating: ★★★★★

As '1984' did, this book left me feeling slightly paranoid, and I mean that in a good way. I found this an easy read, it pulled me in and I really wanted to read the ending (a happier one than 1984 had). The last few pages of the book contain the URLs for websites which have more info about the hacks done in the book itself, I appreciated that thoroughness.

A few times I seemed to have missed things that I probably should have read between the lines (which I suck at) which made the story a bit jumpy for me, but overall I enjoyed the 'voice' of the book. I thought I wouldn't get into a story about a bunch of 17-year olds and liked that I did.

Now excuse me while I go faraday my backpack...

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Review: 1984

19841984 by George Orwell My rating: ★★★★★

This book left me feeling slightly haunted and paranoid, which I believe the writer intended. Although I don't think we find ourselves in the same society today as the one portrayed in the book, I definitely see similarities. At the first mention of the 'victory cigarettes' (or coffee) I thought of 'victory fries', or 'freedom fries;' I forget which one really happened ;)

Ironically, while finishing the book I read about the rewrite of Mark Twain's 'Adventures of Huckleberry Finn' and 'Tom Sawyer' to exclude a certain word and replace it by another (not quite the same). Hello, Newspeak!

At times I thought the book went on a bit (specifically the parts where they read from The Book) and I had to struggle to get through it; nothing I hold against the book though, it seemed to fit the story.

The rebellions of Winston and Julia seemed small when held against today's society, however, they already lived in theirs for a long time and didn't know any better. Although I hoped for another ending, the way the book ended added to the haunting feeling I had.

It all does not seem very unlikely to happen.

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Books to read

I recently ordered an e-reader and because it did cost quite a bit more than a book I decided to challenge myself by first reading enough free books to compensate for its price. By free I really mean free, either public domain books or free as decided by the author. This means I've decided on reading a lot of classics I've either read as a kid (in Dutch) or 'always wanted to read'.

I discovered GoodReads and created a list of books to read. I planned on having 42 books on there -- we all know 42 is the only correct number -- and ended up with 44. I'll leave the extra two on, so I can skip a book or two because they suck.

Check out my readinglist: my before-buying-ebooks shelf: Tanja's book recommendations, favorite quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (before-buying-ebooks shelf)

Also, I created a reading list page with links to books I've read and books I want to read. I spent the day geeking out and tweaking Goodreads-wordpress-plugins so I can have my shelves show up nicely.

Very excited, it got shipped today and should arrive tomorrow. Snow might interfere so keeping my fingers crossed!