Archive for Book Review

Honey and Clover (Box 1)

Posted in Book Reviews with tags , on August 12, 2010 by Bradley Hall

This is one of a handful of titles I have, for one reason or another, have forgotten to review on this site.

This is Box 1 (of 3) of the uncut Honey & Clover anime. It contains episodes 1-13 (of a total of 38 episodes for the who series).

Box 1 starts with YĆ«ta Takemoto as a second year art student in college. He has a friend who has been in college for six years and is in danger of having to be a college student for yet another year.

The series, at least in these 13 episodes seem to be that this is a group of friends. The main plot points so far point to them hanging out and trying to make good grades, etc, and of course, they all try to fall in love with someone.

This is only the first 13 episodes, and there are 25 more to go, but right now, I’m not really feeling the love with this series. I don’t really know why. I will give the rest of the series a chance to see if it grows on me, but right now, it’s not one of my favorite series.

Good news is, the entire series is available on Hulu. It’s only available subtitled though, which is good for me, since I only watched the series subtitled anyway.

Hulu page
Official website from Viz

Flyboys

Posted in Book Reviews with tags on November 25, 2009 by Bradley Hall

The short review of this book would be “This book is awesome, if you even remotely like WWII related things, you will dig this book.”

The long review is thus:

After watching the film based on Mr. Bradley’s first book, “Flags of Our Fathers” and eventually reading the book, I knew I would seek out anything this man wrote. That was when I found Flyboys. I had purchased the book around the same time as I was reading Flags, but felt I could not read it immediately as I could only handle so many real war accounts in one go.

I made my way back to Flyboys a week ago and loved it, of course. I love Mr. Bradley’s writing style, how he handles the subject matter with grace and aplomb, never interjecting his own thoughts into the mix.

He could have written the whole book without talking to any Japanese soldiers, no one would have minded. But that’s not his way. He sought out and talked to people on all sides of the war. From the surviving pilots from the American side, the surviving members of the Japanese army and even the civilians affected by war: The family of those who went off to war and the people whose family were unfortunate victims of circumstance.

A few times throughout the book I came across passages that I could scarcely believe (if you read the book, you will not have any difficulty identifying them), but it’s all true.

My grandfather served in the Navy in WWII, he was stationed on a submarine chaser in the Pacific. I’ve been wanting to write a book about his ship for a long time. I hope that when it’s completed it’s seen as being as good as Mr. Bradley’s books.

Mr. Bradley’s website for Flyboys.

Book vs. Movie

Posted in Book Reviews, Commentary with tags , on November 19, 2009 by Bradley Hall

It’s a fight that has been waged since film became a viable storytelling medium.

The book or the movie the book spawned (sometimes the opposite!) has been a war that has been waging for years.

A few weeks ago, I read the Russian book Night Watch. I told someone about it and found the films Night Watch and Day Watch (both are based on stories in the Night Watch novel).

We watched the films and over the course of several hours the differences between book and movie were enormous. At the end, my friend asked “You liked that book??” the tone of his voice made it clear that he disliked the film, just as I had.

I then tried to counter by telling him exactly what was different, that you can’t judge a book just by watching the movie based on it. In all, the film contained about 30% of the story from the novel and changed around a lot. Some of it good, others bad, mostly bad.

I did like a few of the scenes of the Dark vampire family, trying to live like normal people despite being outcasts in the human world and in the Other world.

I don’t want to say it was an unmitigated mess, but it’s one of the things where the film is the film and the book is the book. There is no comparison.

That said, I loved the book. I plan on getting the rest of the books in the series. It’s almost a “What if Harry Potter became an IT administrator and part-time Auror in Russia.”

Moral Panics

Posted in Book Reviews with tags on October 24, 2009 by Bradley Hall

moralpanics

The argument posed in “Moral Panics and the Copyright Wars” by William Patry is familiar to those who have read the writings of Lawrence Lessig, Mark Helprin, Kembrew McLeod, and several other people whose works I have reviewed on this very blog.

Each one of those people listed above has a distinct view on the “copyright wars” – Lessig as a lawyer and professor, Helprin as a writer, and McLeod as a communications professor and “media prankster.”

What viewpoint does Patry bring to the table? He’s the Senior Copyright Counsel at Google, Inc. According to his disclaimer at the front of the book, he did not write this book to spread Google’s point of view, the words written in it are his own and have nothing to do with Google.

It touches on the same ground that each of those writers focus on before venturing into other territory such as Apple and Microsoft missing out on acquiring Overture, a company that paired search results with advertising. Yahoo! bought the company soon afterward.

Oxford University Press page for this book.

Official book blog

Delete

Posted in Book Reviews with tags on October 24, 2009 by Bradley Hall

delete

Astute readers are no doubt aware of Gordon Bell’s book “Total Recall” that was reviewed on this site last month. This book, by Viktor Mayer-Shoenberger, should be viewed as a companion piece.

Where Mr. Bell advocated that everyone should record their lives digitally, Mr. Shoenberger’s point of view seems to be “record your life if you must, but tread carefully.”

Several times throughout Delete, the author makes mention of several times in history when archives of data have been used for nefarious purposes, such as Hitler’s using the records of a country to eradicate over 70% of that country’s undesirable population (Jews and everyone else the Nazi’s didn’t like).

While Mr. Shoenberger never comes right out and says recording your life is a bad idea, he does make several arguments toward the normal setting life has: We’re supposed to forget.

That those who are blessed (some would say cursed) with never being able to forget are outliers, their unhappiness in life is because they’re unable to do something nature demands: To forget and move on.

If you’ve read Mr. Bell’s book, you must read Mr. Shoenberger’s just so you can see several sides of the same story.

Princeton University Press page for this book.

Clannad: After Story

Posted in Book Reviews with tags on October 24, 2009 by Bradley Hall

*While this is listed as a book review, this is an anime, not a book (though there should be a manga or two based on it)*

Earlier this year, I watched the first episode of Clannad via an anime channel’s OnDemand service. Before the second episode could appear, the service was canceled. I was sad. I started to enjoy Clannad in that one short episode.

I found that the first volume of the anime had recently gone on sale so I snatched it up. A few weeks later, the next volume came out and I purchased it the day it came out.

The series was fantastic. It’s based on a Japanese “dating sim” game. I know that turns a lot of people off right there. Mention “dating sim” and people tend to look down at you like a monster.

I never played the game, I’ve just seen the anime based on it.

A few days ago, the first volume of the sequel series, Clannad: After Story, was released state-side. It picks up right where the first series left off. If I had to guess, I’d say it begins the next day.

In my fervor to learn more about this series, I came across a horrible spoiler, but I do plan on watching this series in its entirety.

Dangerous Professors

Posted in Book Reviews with tags on October 15, 2009 by Bradley Hall

professors

Professors have always been dangerous. They always try to make their students think differently about the world, the subject matter, themselves.

Dangerous Professors is a series of essays (some written by dangerous professors themselves). One of the authors mentions the story of W.E.B. Du Bois who, after attending a German university for some time was rejected from obtaining his doctorate degree.

Mr. Du Bois later became the first black person to graduate Harvard and went on to write a novel referring back to that initial shunning in Germany.

Each essay in the set, especially the one toward the back in the Case Studies section, written by Ward Churchill about academic freedom really rings a bit of shocking truth that while professors are often the people to look to for information, they can be blacklisted and shunned because of it.