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Anathem
 937 Seiten
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I'm glad this one is over, it really became a drag on the last 400 pages or so. I'd had Anathem on my list for a long time, picked it up after reading @rixx' recommendation, and because I had enjoyed Cryptonomicon very much, but this one wasn't for me. For all of the endless time the book spends on world-building, it isn't interesting enough, for the time it spends discussing quantum physics, I didn't find it clear or insightful enough (I don't know who quipped 'quantum mechanics are weird, and so is the brain, therefore they are equal', but it seems apt), and I didn't find the characters compelling. Plots feel wrought and weird, gadgets that are super-important for a couple of chapters suddently drop from the narrative, and (above all) the narrator is an angsty late teenager who cannot help but judge every female character he encounters by his degree of attraction to her. Maybe I ended up skimming too much (I switched to the audio edition toward the end), didn't pay sufficient attention, or just didn't pick up on whatever the notions the author was trying to get across — I can't help but come away from the book feeling that the time wasn't well spent.

This Is How You Lose the Time War
 208 Seiten
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This is a great book! I always love @rixx' recommendations, and this was once again spot-on: Some suspense, a neat plot, and (above all) beautiful writing and two awesome characters. Would lose a time war with these two, highly recommended!

GIER – Die Welt steht am Abgrund. Wie weit willst du gehen?
 450 Seiten
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A suspenseful and gripping read, with a few neat notions about economics, but ultimately empty — apparently the author (or possibly his editors) didn't want to get into more detail about the theories he scratches the surface of. The academic papers referenced are utterly fascinating, and I'm glad to have been introduced to them, but it's a shame that the book doesn't develop the ideas further.

The Calculating Stars
 384 Seiten
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A fantastic and well-written geekfest, this book is a delightful aerospace nerd-out. I've talked to several folks to whom the story and its characters mean the world, and I think I understand why. I came away unsure whether I really understood the protagonist, but maybe I don't have to, and certainly it doesn't take away from the book. Hope to read more from this author soon!

The Player Of Games
 320 Seiten
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This was a nice read, but I'm not sure I'm a fan of Banks' writing. The worlds are great, but the story so-so -- my impression was that there was a lot of 'telling' going on, and, over time, got frustrated by things just happening somehow. Maybe I need to read more culture novels?

↑ 2019
2018 ↓
The Dream Machine
 502 Seiten
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"The Dream Machine" traces the origins of personal, networked computing to J. C. R. "Lick" Licklider, a psychologist-turned-computer scientist who witnessed (and often supported) almost every major development in 20th-century IT, from integrated circuits to human-computer interaction, to the ARPA- and Internet, inventing the entire field of Cybernetics on the way. It's a fascinating and inspiring account of the idea of a machine as a complement to human thinking and decision-making, and the rise of personal computers. The book follows the big ideas of this rise with its inventions and hacks, as well as its dead ends, squandered opportunities, ego clashes and management failures (which take up a sizable part).

I read a large chunk of this book over Mozfest, and it really struck me how white and male the entire story was (if there was a Bechtel test for books, this would fail disastrously), and it got me thinking how things might have turned out if a more representative crowd (like the one at Mozfest) had gotten the chance to provide input on the tech we use today.