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Umberto Eco RIP

Umberto Eco was a great author, and I really enjoyed several of his books. In particular, The Name of the Rose and Foucalt's Pendulum are top notch stuff. He passed away today. RIP.

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2016/02/20/world/europe/ap-eu-obit-umberto-eco.html

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book catch-up

2/3/16
Dropped Blackbirds about halfway through. I just didn't care for it. Too graphic at times, and the protagonist is not likable at all.

Next up is Shop Class as Soulcraft by Matt Crawford. It is about how making stuff with your own hands is actually really good for your soul/ego, and how the modern West has largely abandoned this field because of the concept that you need college to succeed.

Today

I read Shop Class as Soulcraft. It was alright, but was a bit too academic and dry.

Next up is Hammer and Anvil, by James Swallow. It's a 40k novel about the Sisters of Battle. I'm about a third of the way through, and I like it.

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Eyes Like Leaves and Blackbirds

Recently finished Eyes Like Leaves by Charles de Lint. It is a fantasy novel with a strong Celtic flavor (druids, etc.). I liked it.

Now reading Blackbirds by Chuck Wendig. It's pretty interesting so far. Urban fantasy where the main character can see a person's death if she makes skin contact with them, and at least at first, isn't trying to save anyone, as helping never works.

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Black Swan Rising

I finished up Black Swan Rising by Lee Carroll. It was a pretty good urban fantasy book, though the ending was kind of meh. Not sure what I'm going to read next.

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Black Swan Rising

Now reading Black Swan Rising by Lee Carroll. It's an urban fantasy story set in NYC. Just started, but so far, it seems pretty decent.

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Deadeye

I finished up Deadeye. It's ok. The book had some interesting ideas, but overall, was just kind of average. Not sure what I'm going to read next.

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The Purge: Anarchy

Watched The Purge: Anarchy. It was a pretty interesting show. One night every year, all crime is legal in America (with caveats that high level politicians are exempt, and no bombs allowed. Guns, knives, baseball bats, etc, are all perfectly fine though).

It was an interesting look at just how messed up people are. It's presented on TV as a great, patriotic duty. Because of the purge, unemployment is low, there are a lot less people on welfare, and everything is just awesome for everyone...

A funny part is that all of the major banks, etc, move all their money out, so they are not good targets, and the business districts in the cities are largely deserted, because there is no good looting.

Rich people pay old poor people's families so they can murder the old person, while in the safety of their mansion. Gangs slaughter each other and anyone unlucky enough to run into them. A wacko religious lady sets up on a roof and machine guns people, while spouting religious bile about God cleansing America from the filth of the poor.

The main characters are caught outside, with one actively looking to kill a certain person, two having their car sabotaged so that they can become targets, and two dragged out of their home. Only the "killer" is in any way competent, but he ends up protecting the others as best he can.

A fun note is that the government is also sending in killing crews, because the general citizenry aren't killing enough people. They also mention how the homeless and poeple living in the projects are a priority target.

All in all, a good action movie. Violent, but not gory. An interesting (but unrealistic) premise.

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Deadeye

I finished Toujours Provence. It was pretty good. Some funny stories and an interesting look into life in rural France.

Next up is Deadeye by William C. Dietz. It's a scifi police book, set after a terrorist unleashes a biological agent on the world that kills a huge chunk of the population and also mutated some survivors. The main character is a "normal" cop in what is left of LA. I'm a few chapters in, and so far, it's pretty good.

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Toujours Provence

I'm now reading Toujours Provence by Peter Mayle. It's presented as a series of anecdotes and stories, each a chapter long. I really enjoyed his first book (A Year in Provence), and so far, this book is also really good. Mayle has a very conversational style, and his stories are informative and humorous.

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Blood and Bone

I just finished Blood and Bone by Ian Esslemont. It is very good, and if you like the Malazan setting, definitely a must-read.

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