Old Man’s War

I did two things on my seventy-fifth birthday. I visited my wife’s grave. Then I joined the army.
Visiting Kathy’s grave was the less dramatic of the two.”
― John Scalzi, Old Man’s War

Old Man’s War is a military science fiction / space opera novel by American writer John Scalzi, published in 2005. His debut novel was nominated for the Hugo Award for Best Novel in 2006.

Good news first. Humanity has finally made it into interstellar space. Bad news: planets fit for life are very few and we have to fight for them against other alien races.

“Guns don’t kill people. The aliens behind the triggers do.”
― John Scalzi, Old Man’s War

Some minor spoilers in this review.
This sort of reminded me of Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. Except that obviously, there are some great big differences. Major one being:  It’s not about the kids! It’s about the old people! Har har har! And it’s a space opera so it doesn’t carry the same almost depressing tone like Ender’s game. The plot and even the very first lines of the book are amazing.On his 75th birthday, John Perry joins the army. And it’s not something uncommon. Everybody knows that when you reach retirement age, you can join the CDF or Colonial Defense Force. You’ll be taken off Earth and never allowed to return. You’ll serve two years at the front. And if you survive, you’ll be given a generous homestead stake of your own, on one of our hard-won colony planets. John Perry takes the deal.

This is why I picked up the book really ..It was very unique story blurb to read from Audible description of the book.  Life apparently just starts when you’re old. And so our John joins the army and gets a new, green, better body, a BrainPal he call “Asshole” and off he goes to fight battles with alien life forms.

“Many BrainPal users find it useful to give their BrainPal a name other than BrainPal. Would you like to name your BrainPal at this time?
“Yes,” I said.
Please speak the name you would like to give your BrainPal.
“Asshole,” I said.
― John Scalzi, Old Man’s War

Needless to say that I very much enjoyed this book. There were many reasons.  As so often in books, I adored the humorous style. And jokes of Perry that no one but him really got (happens to me all the time). Then there was the age factor. Perry was so tactful about everything and simply wise in many situations and there was little of this stupid arguing between the characters. I Iiked how aliens were written… I liked how people were written. Descriptions of personalities were awesome. And world and aliens were just unbelievable enough for them to be believable. Moreover, even though it is a space opera, it carried some quite serious observations and thoughts. For example, there was no diplomacy because CDF had basically decided that it’s too slow and it’s easier just to start a war… Perry also describes his feelings when he fights seemingly intelligent life forms and the whole book also questions what it is to be human really. And then because it’s war, many die…
BUT there are great plot twists!

Once again, I listened to this on Audible (It’s my new favorite app) and I really liked William Dufris’ performance. This will sound weird to those of you who don’t listen to audio books but he was good with both female and male voices and old and young voices. Moreover, I guess with good audio books you can’t quite tell what it was but you just like the performance.
I guess what I didn’t like was that it ended so quickly :(

4,5/5 stars

How-To Read Old Man’s War

1. If you love science fiction, read this (or listen to it), you’ll be very entertained. If you like space opera, you’ll love this.
2. Just 10 hours on Audible! (Or about 400 pages).
3. Easy kind of sciene fiction, surely as a scifi fan you’ll overanalyze everything anyway but good authors make it easy for you to overanalyze it.
4. There’s  5 more books to this series! (Ah I can’t wait tor read them.)
5. John Scalzi has this greatest blog called Whatever – This machine mocks fascists. It’s quite humorous.

Do not mourn me, friends
I fall as a shooting star
Into the next life

― John ScalziOld Man’s War

 

The Sunday Post #11: Take Me Back to the Madding Crowd

Hi guys, how’s your week been?

I read… Brave New Girl by Rachel Vincent:
Blurb: Dahlia 16 sees her face in every crowd. She’s nothing special—just one of five thousand girls created from a single genome to work for the greater good of the city.
Meeting Trigger 17 changes everything. (…. )When Dahlia can’t stop thinking about him—when she can’t resist looking for him, even though that means breaking the rules—she realizes she’s flawed, too. But if she’s flawed, then so are all her identicals. And any genome found to be flawed will be recalled.

It was pretty good. Nothing super new or exciting but interesting YA dystopian for a change. I read 2 so-called classics: I read and reviewed The Decameron by Boccaccio and then I read

Far from the Madding CrowdFar from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

description

Far from the Madding Crowd made me internally yell “take me back to the madding crowd”… So…For starters, I didn’t like the setting very much. It’s very rural and there is a lot of countryside and sheep and descriptions of nature. And I felt like there was too much of it. Like enough already with birds signing for the whole chapter.

Then the plot. Ah, there’s not much to the plot because descriptions nature takes too many pages… Basically, the plot focuses on Bathsheba and who she’ll marry because apparently, she’s the only female in 50 km radius. 2 stars because what I did like was the humor and maybe some ironic undertone. How people far from madding crowd live, how all the characters had very fascinating fun names: Katniss Everdeen Bathsheba Everdene, Boldwood, Angel Gabriel Oak, Francis Trojan Horse Troy, Fanny Hill Robin…

Enough of classics for me for now.  Finally, a little bit of nonfiction. Funnily devastating Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt.What else…I joined a book club. Only once a month which is pretty good schedule for me. I updated my laptop (never update anything) and now it doesn’t recognize headphones…

What have you done? What you have you read?
//Anastasia

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

Top Ten Unique Book Titles

As always, Top Ten Tuesday meme is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is: Top Ten Unique Book Titles

1. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick
Why I like it: It’s creative. Androids look like human but what kind of dreams do they have? Do they dream of sheep? This is somehow very clever title.
2. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury / Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
Why I like these two: They are just iconic titles. A catch-22 is a paradoxical situation from which an individual cannot escape because of contradictory rules. And Fahrenheit 451 is a pretty genius title for a book where the books are burnt.


3. Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist
Why I like it: Let the Right One In…not the wrong one. Except that in this book it’s kind of the wrong one anyway.
4. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
Why I like it:  It’s a combination of something beautiful, yet devastating. There’s all this beautiful, amazing light and we cannot see it.
5. By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept by Paulo Coelho
Why I like it: There’s a surprise in the title. Anything could have happened. For example, By the River Piedra, there were birds…or maybe a boat? But this makes you wonder that who is crying.
6.  A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
Why I like it: Because it’s odd. It’s like something has gone terribly wrong with the orange and it is now half clockwork.
https://thefloatinglibrary.com/2009/04/20/a-clockwork-orange-resucked/
“I do not think so because, by definition, a human being is endowed with free will. He can use this to choose between good and evil. If he can only perform good or only perform evil, then he is a clockwork orange — meaning that he has the appearance of an organism lovely with colour and juice but is in fact only a clockwork toy to be wound up by God or the Devil or (since this is increasingly replacing both) the Almighty State.”



7. If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler by Italo Calvino
Why I like it: You can guess that it will be a wild ride ahead.
8. Tales of Ordinary Madness by Charles Bukowski
Why I like it: Madness is ordinary. Or is there something mad with the ordinary?
9.The Slow Regard of Silent Things by Patrick Rothfuss
Why I like it: Because I don’t quite get what it means but because it’s obviously meant for me. You know.
10. The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
Why I like it: The symbolism goes over my head (if I didn’t catch it). Knife is obviously not only a knife. It’s a decision

Happy TTT! What are the most unique titles you’ve encountered? Do you like these?

Ten Book Recommendations For Horror Junkies

I’m so happy TTT is back! As always, Top Ten Tuesday meme is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is: Ten book recommendations for ______________: (Skies the limit here…examples: for Hufflepuffs, for fans of Game of Thrones, for people who don’t normally read YA, for animal lovers, for video game lovers, etc. I decided to go with horror. I love horror, don’t you? As a warning, this list might include many works by Stephen King. And I might add some suspense and thrillers here too.

1.Hearts in Atlantis by Stephen King
“Hearts can break. Yes, hearts can break. Sometimes I think it would be better if we died when they did, but we don’t.”― Stephen King, Hearts in Atlantis

Hearts in Atlantis holds a very special place in my heart as it was the first book by Stephen King that I read. I don’t think it’s his scariest books but it is definitely creepy. And what it doesn’t have in scariness, it has in depth.

2. IT by Stephen King
“We lie best when we lie to ourselves.” 
― Stephen King, It

IT is just a masterpiece. It’s scary and a book that makes you really uncomfortable. Also, some disturbing events makes you wonder why they were written in the book in the first place.

3. The Outsider by H.P Lovecraft

Best Lovecraftian horror I have ever read.

4. The Black Tongue by Marko Hautala

“You’re all sitting here wondering what Granny Hatchet does. Granny Hatchet kills children.”
― Marko Hautala, The Black Tongue

I bet you didn’t know that we Finns write horror too. Black Tongue is something I would describe with a word odd.  It has good descriptions and interesting story.

5. Duma Key by Stephen King

“Life is like Friday on a soap opera. It gives you the illusion that everything is going to wrap up, and then the same old shit starts up on Monday.” 
― Stephen King, Duma Key

This, again, is one of my favorite ones by King. You’d think you get what’s coming but I didn’t guess and that was pretty exciting.

6. Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill
“The mad sometimes drilled holes in their own heads to let the demons out. To relieve the pressure of thoughts they could no longer bear. Jude understood the impulse. Each beat of his heart was a fresh and staggering blow felt in the nerves behind his eyes and in his temples. Punishing evidence of life.”
― Joe Hill, Heart-Shaped Box

Joe Hill writes as perfectly as his father.

7. The Strain Trilogy by Guillermo del Toro & Chuck Hogan
“Awareness of insanity does not make one any less insane. Awareness of drowning does not make one any less of a drowning person–it only adds the burden of panic”
― Guillermo del Toro, The Night Eternal

Vampires. Better-made vampires.

8.  Little Star by John Ajvide Lindqvist
“We are always in a certain amount of pain. There is chafing somewhere, and if it isn’t in our body, then it’s in our mind. There’s an itch, all the time.”
― John Ajvide Lindqvist, Little Star

Creepiest girl (have I over-used that word already) in literature ever.

9. Jaws by Peter Benchley
“The great fish moved silently through the night water.”
― Peter Benchley, Jaws

I wasn’t really even afraid of sharks before reading this.

10. Watchers by Dean Koontz
“It’s so damn hard to bloom… to change. Even when you want to change, want it more than anything in the world, it’s hard. Desire to change isn’t enough. Or desperation. Couldn’t be done without…love,”
― Dean Koontz, Watchers

I really liked Travis and Einstein.

Happy TTT! What are your recommendations and for whom? Have you read any books out of my list?

The Boy Who Would Not Grow Up

“Dreams do come true, if only we wish hard enough. You can have anything in life if you will sacrifice everything else for it.”
― J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

Peter Pan; or, the Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up or Peter and Wendy is J. M. Barrie’s most famous work, in the form of a 1904 play and a 1911 novel. It tells the story of Peter Pan, a mischievous little boy who can fly, and has many adventures on the island of Neverland that is inhabited by mermaids, fairies, Native Americans, and pirates.

“Second star to the right and straight on ’til morning. ”
― J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

I think Peter Pan was something that I first learned about through Disney’s film adaptation many years ago. I think no matter in what format you first learned about this story, it will always be a story of making the impossible possible by believing. And that one must believe in fairies.

“When the first baby laughed for the first time, its laugh broke into a thousand pieces, and they all went skipping about, and that was the beginning of fairies.”
― J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

There are many magical things about Peter Pan’s story. The story is wonderful. Something magical happens and three ordinary kids are taken to a magical land. The Neverland and to find it you must find the second star to the right and straight on ’til morning. And there they encounter many different kinds of adventures.

“Stars are beautiful, but they may not take part in anything, they must just look on forever.”
― J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

Characters are one of a kind, I think. There’s the one and only boy who would not grow up, Peter Pan, a young boy dressed in leaves and the only one able to fly without the help of Tinker Bell’s golden fairy dust. And Tinker Bell. I understand very well why she became the messenger of Disney’s magic. She’s no fancy fairy, she mends pots and kettles and even though she’s usually helpful and kind to Peter, from time to time she’s also ill-behaved and vindictive.

“Tink was not all bad: or, rather, she was all bad just now, but, on the other hand, sometimes she was all good. Fairies have to be one thing or the other, because being so small they unfortunately have room for one feeling only at a time. They are, however, allowed to change, only it must be a complete change.”
― J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

Then there’s The Darling Family and the children: John, Michael & Wendy Darling. The lattest one is the eldest one of the children who likes the idea of homemaking and wants to be a mother which she sort of also becomes for the Lost Boys. I never liked Wendy’s character for some reason. & The Lost Boys, sad but fascinating idea about how they turned up in Neverland. And then also one of my all-time favorite villains: Captain James Hook. Who wants to kill Peter Pan. Not so much because Peter cut off his right hand but because Peter drives him to madness. Oh and the ticking crocodile.

“The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease forever to be able to do it.”
― J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

I really adore Peter Pan, however, I can’t quite bring myself to give it 5 stars review as there were a couple of things that I did not like: Wendy was really annoying and the last chapter of the story was also rather annoying. I think perhaps the book would have been better without it. And then the background of this story is a sad one.

“To live will be an awfully big adventure.”
― J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

4/5 stars

How-To Read Peter Pan
1.
A dear child has many names. This novel goes by different titles such as: Peter Pan or Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up or Peter and Wendy. If you’re looking for one with illustrations you might want to look for Peter & Wendy.
2.
There are two prequels to Peter Pan’s story called: Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens: “Before he flew away to Neverland, the little boy who wouldn’t grow up dwelt in the heart of London, with birds and fairies as his companions.” and  The Little White Bird where only few chapters are about Peter Pan and the rest focus on Barrie’s ponderings. I think only Peter Pan’s story matters but if you’re a fan, I warmly recommend the first part too.
3.
You can read and download Peter Pan and all the other works by J.M. Barrie for free at Project Gutenberg: https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/16
4.
Don’t get me started about Disney’s adaptation. I love it. And it’s nice to read the story after you’ve seen the film. The novel is a bit darker.
5. Clap your hands and say, ‘I believe in fairies!’

“Never say goodbye because goodbye means going away and going away means forgetting.”
― J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

Thoughts? Did you first read Peter Pan or see the Disney adaptation of it?