Books, Podcasts, and Such

Books

Lord of Chaos (Wheel of Time 6)– It had a few lulls, but the developing action was compelling and kept me interested throughout. Wow, the ending. The world is dramatically different as the book closes.

A Crown of Swords (Wheel of Time 7) — Much stronger than I remembered, thrown off by a weak confrontation at the end of the book. I think that must have soured the whole book in my memory, undeservedly. Mat’s story feels like filler too, until it finally isn’t near the book’s end. Oh, the Seanchan’s return is well telegraphed, and scary.

The Path of Daggers (Wheel of Time 8) — The series is still going pretty strong, though the Rand channeling sickness is a weird development I hadn’t remembered. The guerrilla war with the Seanchan continues strong; so far, all of the plots are holding up. [I’m currently about 2/3rd through.] In this book it becomes clear that there are enough major characters that just updating everyone’s story slows the advancement of the overall story substantially–even when it’s not diluted with “who was that again?” extraneous characters.

Overall, the books are holding up when read straight through. I do remember the next book [Winter’s Heart] being painful, but maybe with momentum it’ll also be good!

Podcasts

Fear the Boot 318, 319: About “PAUS” [precious and unique snowflakes]. Interesting discussion so far. I’m looking forward to the third (and final) part on my drive home tonight.

Independent Insurgency 31 — A little less focus; Robert had a goal, but didn’t get enough engagement.

This American Life 477 was a repeat that I enjoyed enough to listen to all through.

TAL 511 –The 7 things you’re not supposed to talk about. It’s a good guideline; the show may have revealed a corner case or two, but also reaffirmed the wisdom of the rules. Six boring stories; a good rule about polite conversation, and stories to contradict the rule.

Dice Tower 329 — Lots of discussion of good kids games. We should stock our store with these…

Dice Tower 330 — A more conventional episode; good, balanced, not terribly memorable.

Ken and Robin 64-66: Interesting as always.

TJ Hour 1048– An interesting examination of wealth concentration, and Jefferson’s musings inspired by the French Revolution… how do you keep accumulation of wealth from stealing the subsistance from the poorest? Delves in Lockian state of nature… interesting.

TJ Hour 1049– Jefferson’s interaction and life in Paris; how it affects him.

TJ Hour 1050– Founding Fathers; Jefferson’s opinions of the other founding fathers. Not a lot of surprises, but a good restatement of his opinions.

Movies and TV

Talking with Chris, it sounds like there are several more series that would be great to catch. In particular, Arrow sounds well done and actually interesting.

Cloud Atlas also sounds like a great movie for me; I’ll have to Netflix it with Jennifer one of these nights.

We also discussed Ender’s Game, which he recommends as a theater only experience, mostly for great special effects. So, if I’m going to see it, it sounds like the clock is ticking. (He expressly advised against it as a watch at home movie due to the truncation of the story.)

Onward with the Wheel of Time

(4) The Shadow Rising was a strong continuation of the series. I really liked the focus on Perrin and home; it made for an excellent counterpoint. Similarly, Rand’s story and interaction with the Aiel was handled well. The Thom, Julian, Elayne and Nynaeve story line was a little less interesting, in part because of the focus on conflict between the girls. It’s also more clearly a “B” plot… important, but not as important.

In the end, this book was a nice recovery from the non-Rand focus of The Dragon Reborn.

(5) The Fires of Heaven was also a solid book. Elayne and Nynaeve continued to be a misstep, and the “join the circus” seemed like a writer’s fancy instead of fitting the characters, but the interaction with Brigitte and Moghedien made this storyline feel more central.

Mat earned his role in this book; he’s interesting and has lots of issues to play with–as well as some solid development.

Perrin’s absence was felt more in retrospect than as reading. Rand’s continuing development was well handled–as was Morraine’s alteration. The “first ending” at the wagons was dramatic and very well done. The “second ending”, was rushed and blurred; the battle was handled pretty well, and balefire’s risks (and benefits) came clear.

The big misstep seems to be the tucking in of the final few pages. Really, that’s how Asmodean is going to end? Just a rough paragraph or two? The “chosen” disappeared awfully quickly this time.

(6) Lord of Chaos I’m a few chapters into the book. The initial 70 pages of prologue felt long, but the action advanced nicely with Bashere fitting in and Rand’s amnesty shaking things up.

Podcasts

TJ Hour 1044: Interventions — About America intervening abroad. No surprises, but a useful corrective to our meddling impulse.

TJ Hour 1045: Leith — About the intersection between free speech and accepting speech we hate. Specifically about Hate Speech and its boundaries, and Leith, ND, and white supremacists.

Dice Tower 327 & 328 continued strong.

Fear the Boot 317 was good; I didn’t realize that the short shows were due to resting a throat. That’s too bad… I enjoy the short run time.

TAL #509: It Says So Right Here — Interesting tales about identities, documentation and who we are. The first story, about identity theft, stuck with me.

Ask me Another 1310304: How Punk Is This? — Pretty cool; I hadn’t heard of the guest, but will look for some of his music now.