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  • sore ice 7:12 am on January 17, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Reviews   

    Book Review: 1000 books to Read Before You Die 

    1000 books to read before you die1000 books to read before you die by James Mustich
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    Very informative and interesting commentary from the author

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  • sore ice 10:01 am on January 10, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Reviews,   

    Book Review: Elevation by Stephen King 

    ElevationElevation by Stephen King
    My rating: 3 of 5 stars

    A very quick read. I’d give it a 6 out of 11 in may ratings. I was expecting more of the story’s premise but I felt that I needn’t expect too much while following the protagonist’s own actions and inactions.

    I do like it short and simple. Honestly, If he did use unnecessary dialogue and backstories, I would definitely give this a 3 out of 11.

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  • sore ice 7:28 am on April 18, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , David Levithan, Reviews   

    Review: The Lover's Dictionary 

    The Lover's DictionaryThe Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan

    My rating: 3 of 5 stars

    Rated 6/11: A decent book and yet lacking. Inasmuch that I was supposed to give it a 8/11, I was not pleased by its final pages. Witty and neatly written; I enjoyed reading the passages mostly but somehow I was waiting for more ; some twists I think?…not commonly known? But still I’m looking forward for my next David Levithan book, “Everyday”. I hope I would have time to read it by June.

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  • sore ice 11:10 am on April 27, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: birds, , Jennifer Ackerman, Reviews   

    Review: The Genius of Birds 

    The Genius of Birds
    The Genius of Birds by Jennifer Ackerman

    My rating: 5 of 5 stars

    Excellent book! I was very impressed by the amount of research the author used to compile for this project. While I was reading the book, I can almost imagine myself watching a documentary in Animal Planet or NatGeo and the author’s descriptive style is almost similar to fiction writers’ narrative technique. Even though, there is an enormous amount of scientific explanations, It feels natural to my untrained ear.
    This is my first bird book and I admit that it would be harder to top it off. What suprised me the most was that I have no specific interest in birds at all. But wait!, scrap that. I do remember that my older brother got into pigeons way back in grade school and the early part in high school. He was so passionate in training and testing homing some of them. I do recall, he had a minimum of 5 and had a group of enthusiasts that were teaching him some tricks. He was very diligent and feeding and caring for them but what sparked interest in me was not the actuality of pigeons as pets, but was when I read in our library that these birds do have a mysterious skill of returning back to their lofts unaided with previous knowledge on where they will be left. I said to myself “Whaaatt???” And then I read that “True Navigation” in birds were both fascinating and baffling. That was in Grade School, probably 2nd Grade. Fast forward to 2017 and I got so engaged in reading this book I forgot about my short stint in reading that brief article. Funny how small things could make you remember tiny bits of your past. Information about the Avian family is generous throughout and I thought I was going to be bored but I realized later on, I already reached the end wanting for more. Sadly, I didn’t have the precious time to push through with other works in the bibliography section, instead I came to decide that If there will be a time in the future that I will read another bird book, it would still be this one.

    I admit I was too slow to finish this as it took me almost a month ‘coz I kept on rereading the initial chapters almost 3 times because I really liked the content. Even though many questions were left unanswered I still felt satisfied due to the manner in which Ackerman made it genuine for the readers/herself to feel the wonder in nature itself. Yes! We need more Ackermans in animal research!

    Finally, before I finish this review, all at once, I have the strongest urge to list this as one of my favorites. Birds are not my favorite but this book is.

    Wow!!!Birds are truly amazing. Nature is!

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  • sore ice 8:19 am on April 24, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Percy Jackson, , Reviews   

    Review: The Sea of Monsters 

    The Sea of Monsters
    The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan

    My rating: 5 of 5 stars

    Amazing adventures by Percy and the gang of half-bloods!!! Funny and fast-paced, engaging plot with honest morals for young adults. I love how Percy is developing to be one of the most powerful youngsters in all of the fantasy genre. I really want those toys and weapons that he has right now. Book 3, here I come!

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  • sore ice 8:54 am on April 12, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Reviews, Richard Dawkins, The Selfish Gene   

    Review: The Selfish Gene 

    The Selfish Gene
    The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins

    My rating: 1 of 5 stars

    I felt the book was very selective of scientific evidence on how the writer came up with his theory. Many times he would use analogies which he uses to compare other animal classes with us and how it should be thought that our genes are the ones controlling our evolution and therefore our future as a species. Being a scientific work, the writer negates many factors which shaped and will shape animal/human evolution in the modern era and mostly focuses on a select number of examples which he uses as analogies and metaphors to describe his point of view. This method of writing misleads the readers into thinking that many things are best compared and defined in popularized scientific commentary.

    I felt that if the theory must be proven universally true, he should refrain from avoiding “hiding” behavioural experiments of other animals that would debunk his research.

    One example was when he came to the menopause topic in women. And I quote:

    This seems a good moment to mention the puzzling phenomenon known as the menopause, the rather abrupt termination of a human female reproductive fertility in middle age. This may not have occurred too commonly in our wild ancestors, since not many women would have lived that long anyway. …
    … there is something genetically ‘deliberate’ about the menopause-that it is an ‘adaptation’. It is rather difficult to explain.

    See what he did there? After two sentences he dismissed the issue and went on to continue expounding the Medawar theory of ageing in connection to how he assumes it explains menopause. The flaw here is he can’t explain why in other classes in our own animal family, this is not present at all. I am not a zoologist, biologist etc or something of a person who deals with scientifically proven facts in the internet but I do remember when I was in high school, my biology teacher told us humans are unique in that menopause is only experienced by female humans. I did a quick google search and here it is:

    “Survival of the fittest” hypothesis
    This hypothesis suggests that younger mothers and offspring under their care will fare better in a difficult and predatory environment because a younger mother will be stronger and more agile in providing protection and sustenance for herself and a nursing baby. The various biological factors associated with menopause had the effect of male members of the species investing their effort with the most viable of potential female mates. One problem with this hypothesis is that we would expect to see menopause exhibited in the animal kingdom.
    “Other animals
    Menopause in the animal kingdom appears to be uncommon, but the presence of this phenomenon in different species has not been thoroughly researched. Life histories show a varying degree of senescence; rapid senescing organisms (e.g., Pacific salmon and annual plants) do not have a post-reproductive life-stage. Gradual senescence is exhibited by all placental mammalian life histories.
    Menopause has been observed in several species of nonhuman primates, including rhesus monkeys, and chimpanzees. Menopause also has been reported in a variety of other vertebrate species including elephants, short-finned pilot whales, killer whales,and other cetaceans, the guppy, the platyfish, the budgerigar, the laboratory rat and mouse, and the opossum. However, with the exception of the short-finned pilot whale, such examples tend to be from captive individuals, and thus they are not necessarily representative of what happens in natural populations in the wild.
    Dogs do not experience menopause; the canine estrus cycle simply becomes irregular and infrequent. Although older female dogs are not considered good candidates for breeding, offspring have been produced by older animals. Similar observations have been made in cats.

    There are numerous parts in the book of this sort.
    He quickly dismissed it and that he can’t explain why there is some sort of phenomenon in humans but not in most other animals. If genes do master the control of our biological well being, why then can’t he explain that mystery and if it really is by chance that women has a distinct control switch not found in men(which is also another mystery being in the same species)…why does he always digress and keep on following his theory already flawed from the start.

    Another one:

    When it finally breaks down I shall introduce other metaphors. Incidentally, there is of course no ‘architect’. The DNA instructions have been assembled by natural selection.

    If I remember it right, this was is Chapter 2. My question is: did the writer just jumbled letters in his mind and let natural selection make the paragraphs, outlined chapters, sentences, punctuations, spelling to come up with a book so organized and defined to be published and printed for mass market appeal? We are complex beings and yet he does refuse the fact that he himself is a by-product of this mind-boggling feat. If he is produced by natural selection only, why is it that we are so very different from the rest? We can’t even deal proving that chimpanzee to human is 100% gapless in evolution. How else could we be certain that nothing happened in that gap?

    An underlying problem with this book is that he uses scientific investigation to prove that everything is by chance and what is confusing all the more is that the reader is misled by his case in point that everything is controlled by genes without external help from environment, climate, events, culture, technology, ecology, morality, affection and so on. Oh my, we have a lot of things to think of to consider if we are to study even one species, and that is us. Humans are not solely controlled by a limited number of these gene theory or Meme as he calls it as we are capable of higher knowledge than most of what we see around us. The writer lacks clearness in his definite approval of his subject.

    Dawkins’s own position is somewhat ambiguous: he welcomed N. K. Humphrey’s suggestion that “memes should be considered as living structures, not just metaphorically” and proposed to regard memes as “physically residing in the brain”. Later, he argued that his original intentions, presumably before his approval of Humphrey’s opinion, had been simpler. At the New Directors’ Showcase 2013 in Cannes, Dawkins’ opinion on memetics was deliberately ambiguous.

    Finally the most flawed statement which could be found at the final pages:

    The only kind of entity that has to exist in order for life to arise, anywhere in the universe, is the immortal replicator(DNA).

    Wow! an ethologist, evolutionary biologist speaking as if he knew how the universe works. Even Stephen Hawking or Carl Sagan aren’t certain of how life came to be in our own planet, more so on other galaxies which might have possible life probabilities existing on their own. You’ve got to have a clear sense of knowledge and expertise in cosmology to even include the universe in your own biological research done in your small home called Earth which is but a tiny piece in the vastness of existence.

    That’s conceited.

    That’s insulting.

    You can’t just rely on Charles Darwin’s concepts and theories in evolution and force your way through your own hypothesis without proving salient notes for all living things in the planet. With his final statement, he just gave away his true intentions of writing this book and that is: he has no belief in a creator who created everything. Everything he has to say leads to this premise which fails miserably on all points. Ultimately, he disguises his theory in the form of misdirection.
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  • sore ice 2:06 pm on April 11, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Reviews,   

    Review: The Theory of Everything: The Origin and Fate of the Universe 

    The Theory of Everything: The Origin and Fate of the Universe
    The Theory of Everything: The Origin and Fate of the Universe by Stephen Hawking

    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    This is very similar to his book, A Brief History of Time. Not so much to review about but still a very good reference for most cosmology enthusiasts, students and scientists.

    View all my reviews

  • sore ice 1:17 pm on April 10, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Lolita, Reviews, Vladimir Nabokov   

    Review: Lolita 

    Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

    My rating: 5 of 5 stars

    A literary masterpiece!
    One of the most disturbing novels that I have read so far and yet, there are many points to discuss that can give many readers a plethora of opinions and discussions for analysis. I grant this book a perfect 5-star rating but I won’t ever place it in my all-time favorites list. If you really are into books, you might come across the fear of reading this just because one of your friends told you how creepy it is and the inquisitiveness in you led to the purchase of the novel(thanks to a friend of mine who shared his e-book library from Kindle, I don’t have to worry about that). I am no rookie to shocking/unsettling literature/film/music or any art in general and I can attest that this novel sent shivers through my spine and optic nerves greater than:

    The Beatles’ Revolution 9
    Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Salo (The 120 Days of Sodom)
    Ruggero Deodato’s Cannibal Holocaust
    Anthony Burgess’ or Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange

    Depending on your social/intellectual/spiritual/psychological background, this might be the one book you need to read but never ever want to read again. Love it or hate it but I know I won’t read this again because of its sinister mastery of style and narrative. Whatever way I analyse it, there will always be a realization that people are people and we have got to use our understanding of ourselves through others.

    Before I begin to analyze, let me cite that “Lolita” is technically not about a pedophilia but a…

    Hebephilia is the strong, persistent sexual interest by adults in pubescent (early adolescent) children (especially those showing Tanner stages 2-3 of development), typically ages 11–14. Hebephilia differs from pedophilia, which is the strong, persistent sexual interest in prepubescent children. It also differs from ephebophilia, the strong, persistent sexual interest in later adolescents, typically ages 15–19.
    -from Wikipedia-

    I first came across the title of the book back in college when I was reading/talking about discussions pertaining to the social impact of Japan’s Lolicon culture which is greatly manifested on most of Japanese manga and anime. Japan’s demographic statistics back then(in 2000) show a measly +1.1% birth rate and is now(in 2017) certified negative -0.8% birth rate. The point of the discussion was: Does the culture of people being attracted to young prepubescent girls have a negative/damaging effect to the social working class in general, relate to the low percentage of male young adults aiming to settle down and build a family? The so-called Lolita complex might be precursor to their media prevalence of Kawaii(quality of cuteness) on most of their modern way of life, if not all. The discussions are very broad and we know for a fact that many young and middle-aged men are already influenced by it in many of the South-East Asian countries. Most people influenced are already lessening the manliness in them. I am not expert in their religion, culture, socio-historical and economic factors but for the sake of argument I chose to side with the Negative. Anyway, this is not about that but rather a reference to the book’s influences.

    I am not going to delve into the novel’s summary but rather how I felt by the sheer greatness of the writer. The novel is written in the first person narrative and the storyteller is a cruel unreliable narrator and he speaks in truth of his manners and intentions all throughout the story but what is most commendable is the style in which it is done. I feel that the manner and style is very similar to J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye and Mark Twain’s Huck Finn but in no way is the content the same. The novel has a lot of anagrams, neologism, double entendres(double meanings), play of words and phrases, puns and the vernacular. The reader will forever wonder if Lolita’s motives are true coz’ we can only listen through the words of psychologically ill person and how it comes through to us is mostly hit or miss if we are not ready for justifiable interpretation. Part 1 is mostly erotic in motif but the second part opens up with social commentary and metaphors but keeping in mind that we are still inside the mind of helpless individual who can’t get out of his predicament. I had strange Kafkaesque feeling while reading this book and even at that it is truly a page-turner.

    Most will argue that it is just an erotic novel which should be taken at face value but I think that there are more aspects to look into. The plot is engaging and if not for Nabokov’s talent to combine plot and literary stylistic method, this might be quickly dismissed as such. The fact that the 12-year old’s character perception of things cannot be revealed is one way to symbolize women in general. At one point, we can take this as a matter of offender versus victim but we can also think of it as victim versus offender. The protagonist tells his side and gives information that even Lolita is aware of the crime being done. He even accuses her as the one initiating the crime he has done. We cannot be sure anyway but that real life tells of cases wherein it has happened. The story can be taken as how can we, normal people, deal with a mind of a sick man who is entangled in a web of obsession of a girl who he truly adores and cares about but unfortunately, the societal norm just won’t have it. Even if his motives are true, society judges via his integrity. How can we empathize with a person who commits murder or frustrated Uxoricide? The novel also can be taken as a book of manners where we can use it as a reference to have first-hand knowledge inside the mind of a child molester. Most parents would want to consult books of non-fiction with regards to topics regarding their daughter’s developmental growth with society and venues outside of their own homes. We have the reports of crime against children being exposed in a 60-second report in most television networks’ primetime programming telling us that but do we really know how it happens? The mode and method of a crime being committed can never be revealed in such a brief TV spot. You have to be inside their criminal minds to better understand the workings of sinister evils around the world today. Another interpretation of this story might be a take on tyranny in the modern world. It might be an essay of a writer who came from communist Russia wanting to reform and speak of the ills his culture have experienced from the recent past.

    The morality is not just about how to avoid being victimized but also how do we understand the criminals. We have limited background about the criminal’s family upbringing more so of the victim’s too. The environmental factors also contribute to each person’s character and we, as the reader( observer of the crime) judge the book as we judge them. I do intend to recommend this novel to anybody who is currently emotionally stable but not the interpretations that I have from it. Creeping out is normal but you’ve got to pull yourself through it in order to get the most of this one.

    And now I conclude with the final passages from the book. Until the very end the reader is given a hint of the protagonist’s final advice for Lolita(to the reader) and still he ventures again on his uncontrolled psychological illness/obsession which we may never know if he truly did and will have remorse due to the fact that he died without ever being a truly changed man.

    “Be true to your Dick(Lolita’s husband). Do not let other fellows touch you. Do not talk to strangers. I hope you will love your baby. I hope it will be a boy. That husband of yours, I hope, will always treat you well, because otherwise my spectre shall come at him, like black smoke, like a demented giant, and pull him apart nerve by nerve.”

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  • sore ice 6:38 am on April 7, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Reviews, , The Dark Tower   

    Review: The Dark Tower 

    The Dark Tower
    The Dark Tower by Stephen King

    My rating: 1 of 5 stars

    Sad. Finally, I am done with the Dark Tower multiverse and I never thought that I would end up rating the final book 1/5 stars, to be more exact 1/11 (in my own personal ratings system). Yep, that’s the lowest rating that I have done for any book. Probably, I was more pressured to rate it as a series conclusion and not as a stand-alone book due to the fact that I invested a great amount of time and effort to read almost everything about the series. Being a comic book fan, I tried hard to include also the series’ graphic novel publications by Robin Furth and it helped that by looking through the art of comics, pushed myself to understand more of the various characters, time, time-space, dark fantasy aspects of the Dark Tower continuity.

    I reserved my review just now maybe because I was a bit jumpy to conclude my belief in Stephen King’s talent in writing as genius. So now, I am quite certain that even though I’ve enjoyed and praised his other works (past and recents) I felt that too much detail in this series led to an overall bore. The downward trend I felt started at the introductory pages of book 4( The Wizard and Glass). My expectations, being at series of 4 out of 7, should be going up as there were already signs of repetitive useless efforts to keep myself, as a reader, to be led by the writer, as a storyteller, entranced by narrative and prose style. At this stage, I was looking for improvements of levelling up the protagonists’ abilities of matching up with the power of their adversaries. I clearly have knowledge that this is a combined effort by King to mix Western with fantasy, magic, sci-fiction, realism together with his plot including his other works into the lore of series. The build up of the first 3 books were almost excellent and I never doubted his skill as he himself said that this is his Magnum Opus but I closed my eyes in book 4 and told myself that I should be more vigilant in reading the remaining stories coz’ there should be fewer reasons to fail at this point. Unfortunately, I felt that it came true. Being a Constant Reader, I therefore conclude that the writer cannot maximize his writing talent/ narrative skills in a coherent manner to keep me enthralled up to the last moment.

    Be that as it may, I don’t want to ramble on and on anymore as I give this final book and ultimately the series in total a disappointing star that you now see just below the name of its writer. This is a hard lesson readers can encounter and accept and I for one have now become a better person after each and every story I have read in my extra-ordinary everyday life.

    The man in black fled across the desert and I do not follow coz’ I know better that there are other worlds than these that I am now about to enter.

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  • sore ice 6:51 am on March 31, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Reviews   

    Book Rating: The Dark Tower 5-Wolves of the Calla 

    Wolves of the Calla (The Dark Tower, #5)Wolves of the Calla by Stephen King

    My rating: 2 of 5 stars

    View all my reviews

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