Wednesday, February 20, 2019

To Hold the Bridge by Garth Nix

To Hold the BridgeTo Hold the Bridge by Garth Nix
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In revisiting the works of Garth Nix, my appreciation for his talent has grown. This collection of short stories was surprising, impressive, and an overall great experience. Very few of these stories left me without a desire to hear more. The few that built on worlds he created in other books (that I have read) did not disappoint on the expectations built in the original work. The stories built on worlds from books I haven't read yet were the best advertising possible, and the stand alone ideas were largely intriguing. I recommend this to anyone who has enjoyed any of Nix's other works, although I do recommend getting to know a few of his completed books before taking this on, just so you are ready for his style, but either way, I don't think you'll be disappointed.

Monday, February 11, 2019

The Year of Less: How I Stopped Shopping, Gave Away My Belongings, and Discovered Life Is Worth More Than Anything You Can Buy in a Store by Cait Flanders

The Year of Less: How I Stopped Shopping, Gave Away My Belongings, and Discovered Life Is Worth More Than Anything You Can Buy in a StoreThe Year of Less: How I Stopped Shopping, Gave Away My Belongings, and Discovered Life Is Worth More Than Anything You Can Buy in a Store by Cait Flanders
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

There were a lot of things that I didn't like about this book, and somehow that gives me more to say about it. I wrote a long review, and then decided to re-write it. Why? Because it sounded trollish because I made a lot of comments about Flander's personal story she lays out in this book. While I am opinionated, and I like to share my opinions in appropriate venues, I am not, and have never been, and Internet troll.

So why did I write the first version? As a blogger, and following her own style, Flanders wrote a book about her personal life, making it fair game for comment. Instead of responding at that level, I'll just share what I learned from this book. You can read what you want between the lines.

What I Learned:

Don't write a book about your mistakes in life unless you can handle uncensored comments/reactions to it on the Internet.

Good parenting is very important to having successful, well adjusted adult children. This includes conservative values, close family relationships, work ethic, self sufficiency, open communication, and regular religious observance. Yes, parenting is hard.

Self improvement is more than short term personal projects, but those projects can insight real change.

Personal objectivity is hard. You can claim to learn something, say to not buy stuff just to soothe emotional pain. But when you encounter another painful situation you may go on a shopping binge anyway, and buy stuff you'll never use, such as gardening or canning paraphernalia. You may never even admit that you did the thing you said not to do.

Emotional stability is hard, but without it, there are things you are unlikely to have. Emotional self sufficiency. A committed, loving marriage. Signs you have achieved that stability may include the ability to weather a joke about your wardrobe without it becoming a life event.

The millennial generation is learning that there is a benefit to unplugging and living in the real world. I think their children will learn the value of privacy and minding their own business. I hope that the economy of earning a living by selling your dirty laundry comes to an end. Interesting and useful content is fine, but I hope that our children stop the useless consumption of other people's personal drama that started with Jerry Springer and reality TV, and perpetuated with personal bloggers and YouTubers.

There was some value and good tips in this book here and there, but most of it fell in the category just mentioned, and did not spark joy in me:) So I can't keep it.

Friday, February 8, 2019

Goldenhand by Garth Nix

Goldenhand (Abhorsen, #5)Goldenhand by Garth Nix
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

So when I restarted the Abhorsen series I wasn't even aware of this book. When I learned about it, I was concerned that it would mess with the mostly clean wrap up in the previous book. Thankfully, this continuation worked well. The carryover of a known antagonist helped the story work as well.

I have two [minor] complaints. One, Sabriel and Touchstone have gone flat. They are too perfect. What are their weaknesses? How are they going to grow now? I'm not saying that they have to fall, or that their relationship should deteriorate, but they need some oppression or room to grow of their own.

My second beef is with Sabriel as well. When a nearly insurmountable foe shows up, her resistance to sending her inexperienced apprentice out to deal with the danger is cursory at best. Sabriel had faced Chlorr and knew the danger. I just don't see her backing down so easily, Clayr or no Clayr. Did the plot need her to back down? Yes. But that makes it feel gimmicky, and when Nix addresses the issue directly in dialogue, it actually gets worse. Do I have an alternate solution to suggest? No.

Criticisms aside, this was a good continuation to the series.