Tag Archives: Book discussion

These tend to be short-ish reviews of books I’ve read recently. I tend to focus on character development more than the plot of the story, so the interestingness of the story itself is not likely to be ranked too highly in my review.

It’s Okay to Breathe

Gregory, looking properly industriousI just finished The Money Book for Freelancers, Part-Timers, and the Self-Employed yesterday, although the book was eye opening and (fer skerious) life changing throughout–I’m leaving it under Greg’s pillow, on his keyboard, and in his underpants drawer–one paragraph near the end caught my eye:

Return calls promptly. How many times has someone explained away a long delay in response with that lame excuse “I’ve been swamped”? Expunge this phrase from your lexicon. It’s horse hockey. Newsflash: it’s the twenty-first century, and we’re all swamped. If someone leaves a voice mail message for you, log it in and get back to them within twenty-four hours. E-mail etiquette is slightly different, we know, but even here you should set a high standard for yourself, such as committing to get back to an e-mail correspondent within one to three days. If you need to, set aside one hour a day to return calls and emails. (272-273)

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Bogleheads’ Retirement Planning: Hitting the Highlights

I finished The Bogleheads’ Guide to Retirement Planning last week, and I have to say, it’s the single best resource on retirement planning that I’ve seen or read so far. Hands down. Other books might add more depth to particular areas or have different approaches, but this book has given me the crucial vocabulary and background to know where I need to research further.

Greg, trying on a way-too-big sports coat.Each chapter is written by different combinations of writers (with repetition) and touches on everything from how much to save, how taxes work, retirement account and plan types, investment strategies, how to withdraw for retirement (including some tax minimization strategies), and what to do when fecal matter hits the rotary impeller (divorce, nasty debt, etc.).

That said, it’s not a personal finance book in the popular sense. It includes some ideas on how much to save, but doesn’t throw out anything like “save 15% of your income” or get into coupon clipping. If you need to save $10 million to have the post-retirement lifestyle you want, then you need to figure out what that means on a paycheck-to-paycheck budgeting level.

…If $10 million is what you need for self-sustainability, you may want to switch to cat food (much tastier than dog food!) now so that you can eat well later.

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What Is This Thing Made of Paper and Glue?

All the reading I need to do can happen in Google Reader, right?

I read a lot of books last year. Like, maybe 50. I didn’t post or write about many of them, because plenty were über-pulpy and just time-killers. All but the couple of technical books were electronic. Being unaware of what I was reading made it pointless. Why’d I pick those books? What’d I learn from them? Meh.

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Spirits in the Wires: Mid-book Thoughts

I’m in the midst of reading Charles de Lint’s Spirits in the Wires, and what’s a really, really cool concept is choking me in the specifics. The book was published in 2003, the year I graduated high school. I don’t see any reference to dates that would place the novel’s setting as significantly before that, so my brain completely skipped the track when I saw the following statement:

I give the machine a quick look-over. It’s a 386–still running Windows 3.1, Geordie tells me–but it has a PCMCIA modem card so that I can get on the Internet and the processor should be plenty fast enough for what I need it to do. All I want to do is send some e-mail.

Even pushing the book back to 2000 doesn’t work here. Sticking with Windows, Windows 95/98 was the standard for non-power users, or–and don’t run screaming–Windows ME. Broadband was already fairly wide-spread. People wouldn’t have considered a 386 running Windows 3.1 “plenty fast enough”.

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The Gunslinger (Re)born

The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger BornThe Dark Tower: The Gunslinger Born by Robin Furth

It’s been a while since I read the Dark Tower novels, but I was immensely impressed with the style and narrative of the first Dark Tower graphic novel. I don’t read much in the way of graphic novels, but I’m familiar with some of Peter David’s novels–yes, including the Star Trek ones–and figured the story couldn’t be too bad if he was involved in the adaptation of the series.

If the comic deviated mildly from the series in feel or details, I probably didn’t notice. I did definitely appreciate the faster and more consistent pacing over the novels. I wish the novels had been written with similar pacing.

The art hooked me first as I flipped through the book in the library. Lots of dark colors, lots of dramatic posing, and lots of glinty eyes. A bit over the top, but hell, it’s a comic. If it’d been more drab it’d have been too true to the novels. It was all gorgeous and gory and fitting with my imaginings of young Roland. The art also stayed marvelously consistent throughout this book–omnibuses are jarring when different artists were pulled in for individual issues.

The narration was the next big thing to hold my attention. Also a little over the top with the dialect, but it was more cute than annoying, and managed to not be confusing.

I enjoyed the presence of Alain and Cuthbert (who I barely remembered from the books), but the women other than Rhea were disappointing. Roland’s mother was a static Gothic figure, nothing more than a stricken-looking pawn between Roland and Marten. Susan… I hate to even get started on her. Her one flash of personality came when she threatened Roland with a knife, after which she went right back to being a whiny, powerless character. I can only hope she grows more personality as the series continues.

And yeah, I’m definitely getting my hands on the other collections in the series.

My other Goodreads reviews.

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