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qaphsiel

qaphsiel

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Foras-da-lei barulhentos, bolhas raivosas e algumas outras ...
Ted Thompson, Sam Swope, Nick Hornby, Neil Gaiman

Private Myths: Dreams and Dreaming

Private Myths: Dreams and Dreaming - Anthony Stevens One of the very few books about dreams and dreaming to ground the phenomenon in actual science. Can't recommend it enough.

Ship Breaker

Ship Breaker - Paolo Bacigalupi I downgraded this from to-read to maybe-to-read since it's both part of an unfinished series and young adult. There's such a flood of YA series fiction these days, and so much of it sub-par and/or poorly edited I'm wary.

The Windup Girl

The Windup Girl - Paolo Bacigalupi, Jonathan Davis I wanted to like this book more than I ended up liking it. At first I was smitten. Loved the setting, the narrator was great (I listened to the audio version), and I was genuinely interested in the resolution of the plot.As the book progressed though, it was clear the writing was so-so. It didn't grab me, there were awkward sentences, flat and/or repetitive word choices. I also discovered that although I was very interested to know how the plot lines would resolve themselves, I was not particularly interested in the fates of the characters on a personal level. A little bit, but who lived and died and if they lived what their disposition were simply not things with which I was overly concerned.So, like a lot of sci-fi and fantasy, I view this book as another combination of great setting and a good story but with so-so writing and weak characters. Easy to appreciate on an intellectual level, but not much going on at the emotional one.

Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom...Why the Meaningful Life is Closer Than You Think

Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom...Why the Meaningful Life is Closer Than You Think - Jonathan Haidt, George K. Wilson First, let me state that this is NOT a self-help book. It is a survey of various ideas concerning happiness that cross various cultural, philosophical and religious boundaries.Each idea is examined in the light of the latest neurological, psychological and sociological science. Some are found wanting, some very accurate and some useful in particular circumstances or cases.It is a fascinating read, at times depressing because of just poorly our minds work in some cases, but at other times very inspiring. Today we really do have a vast body of knowledge and set of tools to apply to both our own happiness and well-being as well as understand that of others.The facts and analysis presented are more broadly applicable - in politics most especially, but he dips into other fields as well.I can't thinking of anyone who shouldn't read this book for the knowledge and analysis it contains alone.

Zombie, Ohio: A Tale of the Undead

Zombie, Ohio - Scott Kenemore Probably more of a 3.5, but as I grew up in Ohio, and lived there as an adult for 12 years, I'm rounding up.Zombie horror from the point of a zombie - the only sentient zombie in the book. Though he does encounter another zombie who seems to have a bit of intelligence and awareness. It makes fun of various zombie tropes and is a fun, quick read. If you are into zombie horror you should give this a try.

Portuguese Verbs & Essentials of Grammar 2E. (Verbs and Essentials of Grammar Series) (v. 2)

Portuguese Verbs & Essentials of Grammar 2E. (Verbs and Essentials of Grammar Series) (v. 2) - Sue Tyson-Ward A very nice grammar primer and reference. Love how it's organized and laid out. The focus is on European Portuguese but the author clearly points out where the grammar differs with that of Brazilian Portuguese.

Let Me In

Let Me In - John Ajvide Lindqvist Excellent book. Great characters and development. Creepy because it's all so plausible - that vampires exist and Eli is on are just additional aspects of the setting. Vampirism is not overdone, or overwrought at all. It's a seamless part of the setting that motivates the characters in quite reasonable ways. And the characters, you care about them, flawed as they all are. Definitely one of the best books I've read recently.Also, I should add that it's very nice to see that not all modern vampire fiction has devolved into glitter and schlocky romance. Vampires are visceral, primal things, so thanking, Mr. Lindqvist for writing this the way you did.

Roadside Picnic (SF Collector's Edition)

Roadside Picnic - Boris Strugatsky, Arkady Strugatsky What's most amazing about this book is how the authors write prose that is so thought-provoking but not at all heavy. I might rate it 4 stars for that alone, but add to that the solid, lean prose, interesting characters and the compelling mysteries of the zone, and it's definitely a 5 for me.

The Hundred-Foot Journey: A Novel

The Hundred-Foot Journey - Richard C. Morais This book has little substance to it. It is the story of a middle-class Indian boy who rises to become a top chef of French haute cuisine.Aside from his mother being killed when he is a youth, there are no substantial obstacles to his rise. A little bit of prejudice that is lightly touched upon. Various friends and family dying as they grow old.Crises of creativity and finance that are resolved as quickly as they come about and long before they become anything dire.What I must give the author credit for is writing well and so compellingly that I was never tempted to set the book aside.If you're looking for a light, summer read, this is one; if you want something to make you think, to discuss with others, this is not what to read.

Idiot America: How Stupidity Became a Virtue in the Land of the Free

Idiot America: How Stupidity Became a Virtue in the Land of the Free - Charles P. Pierce I've had this on my shelves for a while, but hadn't picked it up as I suspected it was more a rant than anything else. That turns out NOT to be the case. The central thesis is that how the marketplace of ideas in the US operates has fundamentally changed - and largely to the detriment of both mainstream society and the crank/fringe elements of the country. These latter elements are an essential part of how we generate notions and ideas here and the marketplace, now broken, no longer 'processes' them in the way is used to.Having finished this, I can say that it gets even better nearer the end.While it seems, on the surface, to be a rant against the right, this is because the right has, by its own admission, embraced irrationality and showmanship over reason. Nor are all the examples of idiocy in it confined to the right. There are idiots aplenty on all sides.

Essential Portuguese Grammar (Dover Language Guides Essential Grammar)

Essential Portuguese Grammar - Alexander da R. Prista This is a great reference for Portuguese grammar. My only reasons for not giving it 5 stars are that it is a little dates (published in 1966, and a couple formal changes to the language have occurred since then) and the layout is not as clean as it could be. The latter is more an issue when one is flipping around looking for something - the poor layout makes it easier to miss what you're looking for.

Tao of Pooh (Wisdom of Pooh)

The Tao of Pooh - Benjamin Hoff This book was very disappointing. While there is some wisdom in it - slow your life down, try to live more harmoniously, etc - this had way too much of the "don't try, just let things happen and it will all work out" message that was present in Coelho's "The Alchemist."(Maybe Hoff was channeling Coelho when he wrote this.) However what I found most deplorable was Hoff's flat out repudiation of science. His reasoning for this was ill-informed at best, willfully ignorant at worst; and, I'm quite sure he makes use of the inventions of science just as much as the rest of us. Science doesn't have all the answers concerning life, the universe and everything, but it has some (and clearly far more than Hoff bothered to educate himself concerning), and the number and quality of them is every-increasing.If you want to read a useful book about engaging life and other people, get James Carse's "Finite and Infinite Games". It's a better book, better written and doesn't hypocritically tell you to ditch the very thing that made mass distribution of it possible.

Mockingjay (The Hunger Games, Book 3)

Mockingjay - Collins Suzanne A good conclusion to the series. Nothing terribly shocking (plot-wise or in other ways). Fairly predictable in many ways. Metaphors explained so you don't have to think too much. It's YA fiction so this will not surprise anyone too much I suspect.

The Reader

The Reader - Bernhard Schlink, Carol Brown Janeway I wanted to like this book more than I did.It's well written, and the description indicated to me a good foundation for a story.The description implies that the reader will wrestle with some interesting moral dilemmas. In particular a secret the protagonist's lover, Hanna, considers more shameful than murder. And I love a good moral quandary.However, two things are very wrong with this novel. First, it's painfully clear what Hanna's secret is from about page 35 on (and there are easy clues to it well before that). Second, that anyone considers that particular 'shame' fact worse than having been an SS guard at a concentration camp is, frankly, ridiculous.I'm sure there's a cultural divide here. Positive actually. But, even granting that, it was too much to credit for me. I, and others I know who've read this, spent the next 125 or so pages waiting for Michael to clue in to what Hanna's secret was, which made the rest of the book very tedious. Michael's inner monologues during the trial were rendered flat because of the inept hiding of the secret combined with it being completely out of scale with Hanna's alleged crimes. He doesn't come across as contemplative, but instead as wishy-washy.SPOILER ALERT(Though given that I think an eight year old could figure out the secret by page 40, I'm not sure how much of a spoiler this really is.)Hanna's secret? She's illiterate. I'm not sure what the literacy rate amongst women was in mid-20th century Germany was, but I'm sure she wasn't the only one, particularly given that Germany was just as wrecked by recession and depression in decade before WWII as any other country.She's too ashamed by it to bring it up in her own defense in the trial - even though she faces life imprisonment. Even though the other defends use her lack of knowledge of what's going on (because, of course, she can't read any of the documents relevant to her trial) to heap guilt on her and off themselves.That's not a moral issue. That's what we called 'stupid'. I was not wondering if it was more moral for Michael to let Hanna hang herself versus letting her secret out, I was wondering if these two people are both too stupid to do the right thing and let the court know all the facts about the case.They are - and in Michael's case, as he was practically bludgeoned with evidence of Hanna's illiteracy - I suppose I should not have been surprised. Hanna spend's 18 years in prison.As her release nears, things are particularly awkward. There's no tension around the question of whether they will be together after she gets out, only a question of what the nature of their non-relationship will take.

The Alchemist

The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho I think how much this book resonates with you depends a lot on your world view and outlook on life at the time you read it.If you ascribe to a secular outlook and are generally happy, while the book is well written and the characters interesting, it probably won't click for you.On the other hand, if you believe in fate and destiny or are in need of a dash of hope in your life, I think this book could be almost life altering.Either way, I would recommend it to nearly anyone, and mention the caveat above.

Play: How It Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul

Play: How It Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul - Stuart Brown, Christopher Vaughan I really liked this book, and the explanation of the role play plays in our lives is amazing and profound.I can't think of a reason for anyone not to read this, but if you are a parent or a teacher you should absolutely make the time for it. (I plan to give it to a couple teachers I know for Xmas.)The only fault I find for it is the large amount of anecdotal evidence the author cites, this isn't to say he doesn't cite some scientific studies, not at all, but I would have preferred to see more focus on the objective science behind play. I suspect this focus has its roots in the fact that the study of play is a fairly young field.