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© Rakhesh Sasidharan

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Interesting podcast episodes

Quick shoutout to some interesting podcast episodes I listened to lately. Sorry they are Overcast links than links to the podcast site. I am being lazy here.

  • The Tradeoffs of Information Hiding in the Control Plane – this one’s from the Packet Pushers network and while the title sounds very techie it is actually a discussion about a book written by the podcast host and the person he is talking to. The book seems interesting, I must buy it sometime to read (or at least add to my library).
  • Episode 221 of The Committed podcast – again an interview, with the author of a productivity book. It’s less of an interview (as both podcasts are) and more of a discussion. Both host and author share a lot of their workflow and apps they use. The apps are mostly Mac or iOS based but it’s a good listen.
  • Episode 222 of The Committed podcast – listening to this currently. I liked the discussion. It’s about books and reading and I resonated with a lot of the discussion. Especially a bit where one of the hosts mentions that he has cut down on his audiobook and podcast listening recently as they were taking up all his time, and started listening to more music. Same here. In my case audiobooks were taking up all my ear time so I have cut them down over the month to listen to more podcasts and also a lot more music than I usually do. Hope that pattern sticks! It’s difficult because my huge Audible library of unheard books make me feel guilty and so I tend to subconsciously prioritize audiobooks unless I actively counter this tendency. :)

… forcefulness (personality) of the magician’s character

A paragraph from “Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell”, which I am still reading.

“But in the end,” added Dr John, “it is by the imposition of his will upon his patient that the doctor effects his cure. It is the forcefulness of the doctor’s own character which determines his success or failure. It was observed by many people that our father could subdue lunatics merely by fixing them with his eye.”

“Really?” said Strange, becoming interested in spite of himself. “I had never thought of it before, but something of the sort is certainly true of magic. There are all sorts of occasions when the success of a piece of magic depends upon the forcefulness of the magician’s character.”

So true!

Reading & Listening Updates

  • Started reading (on my Kindle) “Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norell” by Susanna Clarke. Wow, never imagined I’d read a book like this and love it. I am hooked to the olden English used by the author and the way she writes – the long descriptions, details, foot notes, etc. Reads like a children’s novel from a long ago age. I am about 25% done. Looking forward to finishing it.
  • Going to start listening to in Audible “The Dead Mountaineer’s Inn: One More Last Rite for the Detective Genre” by the Strugstsky brothers. I listened to the introduction. Sounds like an interesting book fingers crossed.
  • Listened to this episode of the Vector podcast. It’s an interview by Rene Ritchie of Ashraf Eassa who is an expert in CPUs, and is a good listen.
  • Speaking of podcasts, I came across (and loved the first episode of) a new podcast from Microsoft. It’s called Behind the Tech with Kevin Scott. Going to listen to the second episode next.

Reading Updates

This is going to be a short one, but I wanted to put it down anyways. :)

Uncommon Types (audiobook)

Written and narrated by Tom Hanks, I had high hopes for this one. And it started off well too. The first story was amazing. A bit cliched in certain parts, but good nevertheless. The second story started off well as a Christmas Eve family story but ended up being about war reminiscences. That’s fine, can look past. I forget what the third and fourth stories were about – I know the third was about an actor on a press junket world tour, but both stories are easily forgettable. I think I began listening to the fifth story and left it … There was no investment from my side in any of the stories. It just felt pointless continuing with them.

The Great Train Robbery (audiobook)

Written by Michael Crichton, narrated by Michael Kitchen (who plays DCS Foyle in “Foyle’s War”, a must watch murder-mysteries TV show set during World War II). I listened to the first two chapters but had to leave it as I didn’t like the narration, and the content seemed too “heavy”. I think I was expecting a story, but this book was more non-fiction. And while the narration was good I didn’t like it for the fact that the author’s voice was too intense. There was a lot of drama and emphasis in the words. Difficult to explain it, but that’s what I was referring to in one of my earlier posts that sometimes I prefer a narrator who just reads out the story with minimal emoting letting my brain do the play-acting.

The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger (book + audiobook)

Dunno if I mentioned this before but I have been reading this for a while. Mostly the physical book but I bought the audiobook too when I feel tired of “reading”. Maybe it’s my age (hah!) or the times (not used to reading) I get tired fast if I read for a while, so it is easier use an audiobook as a crutch for when I need a helping hand. I’ve read the majority of the book, but I also re-read the first quarter of the book by listening to the audiobook version; and occasionally I have re-read a chapter by listening to the audiobook or skipped a chapter or two entirely in the book and listened to it instead. The audiobook is narrated by George Guidall, who is amazing and I have mentioned in my earlier posts.

Update 19 July: I stopped reading this book today. Pity coz I was nearly done and was beginning to think I might not mind sci-fi and fantasy after all. But the book was a drag. Too much thinking. Every scene, every line had so much undertones and meaning to it. No one just spoke or did something – there was always an inflection to it. A note in the voice or a thought behind the action. Goodness! Plus I was beginning to lose interest in what the whole thing was about. I read till the section on the slow mutants and Roland’s coming of age story and left it. I guess I had different expectations from this book. It wasn’t as verbose as Stephen King’s later works. Terse statements. Too much drama. It was just too much. I listened to the audiobook for the last few chapters hoping that would be better – but nope, same thing. Eventually I went to Wikipedia to see if there’s any point to the story – nope! I guess a few books later it gets better but I don’t care nor do I have the patience. Sci-fi and fantasy aren’t for me, I should just get used to it!

An Accidental Death (audiobook)

Started this one yesterday. Written by Peter Grainger, narrated by Gildart Jackson (listening to him for the first time, I like what I am hearing). So far so good, seems to be a slow police procedural and I am liking what I am hearing.

Update 17 July: Finished it. Good book! Loved it. The last chapter was a bit too much – guitar playing and all, but whatever to each his own. Was thinking of buying the next one in the series but some audible reviews put me off. I’ll wait before spending a credit on them.

“The Outsider”

Just wrapped up an 18 and half hour listen of Stephen King’s “The Outsider”. My longest audiobook probably.

“The Outsider” is good but not great. It has its moments though and the story gets better and picks up pace as we go along. It’s very “procedural” and you can think of it as a piece of tapestry slowly woven together by the various threads that is each chapter. That part is good. I don’t mind verbosity and lots of detail and meandering etc., and it’s good to see everything slowly come to place and fit together.

What didn’t make this great for me though is that it is less in the vein of his “Bill Hodges” trilogy, although the book is meant to be a spiritual successor to it I think in that it’s a murder mystery and has one of the characters – Holly Gibney – play a central role in this book. I loved the “Bill Hodges” trilogy. They had the right pace and mystery for me and while the third one was less mystery and more of Mr. King’s usual super natural stuff I didn’t mind it and it gelled along with the rest of the books. “The Outsider” continues this by taking up the supernatural a notch.

Holly Gibney was amazing. It was nice how towards the middle of the book he just introduces her into the story. Didn’t expect that but I wasn’t too surprised coz I think I read somewhere that she plays a part in this book. (I purchased the audiobook as it was narrated by Will Patton and seemed to be a murder mystery like the “Bill Hodges” trilogy). Holly took charge of things once she was introduced and slowly got everyone to see the big picture and “believe” in the Outsider. All that plot development was great. The few ending chapters were good too – not much action just a slow putting us Dear Readers back on the floor after taking us for this journey.

Reading Updates

Altered Carbon

Loved it! Not exactly like the TV show, but similar, and good in its own way. The book was able to convey more internal dialogue and Takeshi musings by way of the medium it is. I read this from cover to cover, but cheated towards the end by listening to the audio book (coz I don’t get much time to read and it’s easier to listen to a book while commuting). As I mentioned earlier the audio book quality is poor, but since it was only a few chapters here and there I didn’t mind.

Apart from the musings and such I think I also enjoyed the book because the sci-fi stuff wasn’t presented in an “oh wow this is awesome” kind of way. Richard Morgan (the author) just brings up things as if they naturally are so. Everything has an air of “this is how things are / have always been” so the book didn’t feel too sci-fi to me. Plus the fact that it tended towards noir / mystery also helped. I definitely love noir / mystery books.

To quote a paragraph that I loved a lot from the book:

Suppose you know someone, a long time ago. You share things, drink deeply of each other. Then you drift apart, life takes you in different directions, the bonds are not strong enough. Or maybe you get torn apart by external circumstance. Years later, you meet that person again, in the same sleeve, and you go through it all over again. What’s the attraction? Is this the same person? They probably have the same name, the same approximate physical appearance, but does that make them the same? And if not, does that make the things that have changed unimportant or peripheral? People change, but how much? As a child I’d believed there was an essential person, a sort of core personality around which the surface factors could evolve and change without damaging the integrity of who you were. Later, I started to see that this was an error of perception caused by the metaphors we were used to framing ourselves in. What we thought of as personality was no more than the passing shape of one of the waves in front of me. Or, slowing it down to more human speed, the shape of a sand dune. Form in response to stimulus. Wind, gravity, upbringing. Gene blueprinting. All subject to erosion and change. The only way to beat that was to go on stack forever.

Just as a primitive sextant functions on the illusion that the sun and stars rotate around the planet we are standing on, our senses give us the illusion of stability in the universe, and we accept it, because without that acceptance, nothing can be done. But the fact that a sextant will let you navigate accurately across an ocean does not mean that the sun and stars do rotate around us. For all that we have done, as a civilization, as individuals, the universe is not stable, and nor is any single thing within it. Stars consume themselves, the universe itself rushes apart, and we ourselves are composed of matter in constant flux. Colonies of cells in temporary alliance, replicating and decaying and housed within, an incandescent cloud of electrical impulse and precariously stacked carbon code memory. This is reality, this is self knowledge, and the perception of it will, of course, make you dizzy. […] All and anything you achieve as Envoys must be based on the understanding that there is nothing but flux. Anything you wish to even perceive as an Envoy, let alone create or achieve, must be carved out of that flux.

Broken Angels

The sequel. I didn’t love it as much as Altered Carbon and in fact I left it about 1/3rd (chapter 14 to be precise). I tried listening to the audio book in hopes that it will engross me more, but it didn’t (in spite of being of better quality). I just couldn’t connect with the story or the characters. While Altered Carbon was more personal, Broken Angels was about war and politics and all that abstract sort of stuff which I have no interest in. And I dunno why, I kept getting irritated by how often kept saying “Envoys are this” and “Envoys are that” – too much self praise.

Reading this book made me doubt (again) whether I like sci-fi or not. When reading Altered Carbon I had gotten over that doubt coz I enjoyed it a lot, but Broken Angels for all its military sci-fi and Martians and all that bored me.

Woken Furies

I had thought of skipping this one – the third book in the trilogy – but am going to give it a chance in case it’s different. Mustn’t judge a trilogy by an unpleasant second book. :) Apparently it’s got a younger Takeshi hunting down an older (present day) Takeshi – can’t say no to that sort of a story!

A good thing about these books is that each one is independent. No relation to the events of the previous books.

Update [24th June]: Nope, skipped it after 4 chapters. The prologue was amazing and had me hooked but subsequent chapters sounded more like “Broken Angels”. I am not a fan of adventure sci-fi I guess. Although “adventure” is not the right word to use. I guess it’s more like a gaming sci-fi or military sci-fi or action sci-fi. Dunno. Anyways, left the book. I might have tried harder but I read this Goodreads blog post recently containing tips from readers who read 100+ books in a year, and most of them said it’s not worth it to stick with a book if you don’t like it/ it’s genre. At the end of the day we read books for fun or coz it hooks us – not to just suffer through it. “Woken Furies” wasn’t worth it for me.

Full Dark No Stars

Since I loved “1922” the movie, I decided I had to read/ listen to the book. I tried listening to the audio book early this year but didn’t like the narration. So I returned the audio book and when I saw the physical book recently I purchased it. Read “1922” – loved it! – and also “Big Driver”. Good stuff! Got two more short stories to go.

Update [24th June]:”Fair Extension” was short but evil! Hah. Loved it. I was waiting for some twist like stories of its sort tend to have, but there was none. Fun! One of those stories where you get away with the robbery – you can have your cake and eat it too. Good stuff. Now onto “A Good Marriage”.

Update [28th June]: Finished “A Good Marriage” and the Afterword and the bonus short story too. Loved them all! “Full Dark No Stars” has been a great read. As I was reading the last story I realized I enjoy reading these stories and my mind is much more at ease slipping into the imaginary worlds of these stories. Unless say “Broken Angels” or “Woken Furies” where I have to concentrate coz it’s so dense with information and new worlds.

Fahrenheit 451 (book)

Listened to “Fahrenheit 451” narrated by Tom Robbins this weekend. It’s a short book of about 5 something hours. I left reading when there was 1 hour to go.

I decided to listen to this book as a movie adaptation is out and I wanted to read/ listen to the book first before watching the movie. It’s a good book, but yeah it didn’t hook me on too much and so I left eventually. I think the fact that I listened to it rather than actually read was what helped me get this far. Tom Robbins was a good narrator.

I didn’t leave this book because it was poorly written or anything. It was good. I liked the language and how things were presented etc., but I didn’t really connect to the story. Going through the Wikipedia page I see that the book was written at a time when book burning was a possibility and I guess since that whole concept sounds so alien to me I don’t really get it. Not that book burning can’t or won’t happen in this day and age, just that it feels a bit far fetched and not overly dystopian (I guess one could always have an ebook version of whatever is being burned!). The book also seemed to be a commentary about the rise of television and how it keeps people happy as it’s “dumb” or mind numbing, while books provoke thought and discussion and this in turn leads to dissatisfaction and unhappiness – but this too kind of feels far fetched in this day and age when there are good TV shows and games and tablets etc. encourage creativity among its users.

Considering all this I didn’t feel like wasting more time on the book. I don’t have an hour of free time today, and I could leave the book for my morning commute tomm – but why bother. Decided to leave it where it is.

ps. Saw the movie, and it’s terrible!

Audiobooks

I love Audible and audiobooks but I notice that off late I am less enthusiastic about it. The last good audiobook I enjoyed was “City of Thieves” and that itself was found after skipping a lot of books in my library. Similarly since then I have skipped many books. Am not sure if I skipped most of these because I didn’t like the story or because I wasn’t much a fan of the narration.

Thing is the narration in most of these books I skipped is great but just not to my taste. For instance I listened to “The Hobbit” (which I’ve already read) but gave up soon coz the narrator Rob Inglis was amazing but I just didn’t want this much “input” from him. He did all the voices perfectly, it kind of took distracted me (for lack of a better word). I would have loved it if he were just reading the book and less focused on the various voices – that way he would leave something for my mind to imagine, but not my mind was a mere passenger in his bus ride (not sure if that analogy made sense). I think that’s an especial issue I have with audiobooks in general. With a book I know I have to focus and give in to the book – since I am reading my eyes and my mind is concentrated on the act, and I visualize things and have the world and characters built up in my head. But when listening only one of my senses is engaged while my eyes are free to wander around and get distracted and think of other things, and also there is less character build up in my head. Added to that if the narrator does a more than perfect job of emoting and doing different voices, there’s pretty much nothing left for me to do except just listen and I am not fully focussed or into the story. I am much better of watching a TV adaptation of it as they go one step further and show me things too.

This is the same issue I had with Stephen King’s “The Mist” recently read by the amazing Will Patton. He was too perfect, inflicting his voice with various emotions such as fear and sadness etc. I felt it took something away from my pleasure of reading.

Then there’s some audiobooks where the editing or quality of the recording isn’t great. For instance “Altered Carbon” read by Todd McLaren which seems to be a good book (am reading the physical version) but the quality was so horrible it distracted me too much.

Maybe it’s my mood of late or maybe I am just moving on – I don’t know, but I am less excited about audiobooks. I hope it’s just a case of me not coming across stuff I like, because I do love audiobooks and I have listened to many great books on it and discovered a few authors I wasn’t aware of. So I don’t really want to give up audiobooks, I just want to be able to use it properly.

I think one reason many people prefer audiobooks is for this reason that I don’t like it. :) Audiobooks lets you consume a book while doing other things side by side. I wouldn’t read a physical book in my morning commute for instance coz of all the noise – I would want peace and quite. Yet I can do an audiobook coz it’s in my ear. Similarly there are people who listen to audiobooks while doing household chores or washing dishes etc. – something which I too tried initially but left it coz I don’t want to read a book like it’s some background music or radio. I would like to get lost in reading a book, if I can (but one can’t coz of the lack of time and also coz as I get older I find my eyes are unable to concentrate for too long on reading).

Anyhow, that’s enough audiobook rant for today. Am listening to Tim Robbins narrate “Fahrenheit 451” now. I started it yesterday and he’s a great narrator but I started feeling sleepy and left it. Got to see how it goes today. He doesn’t do too much voices (not yet at least).

I listened to “Brave New World” two weeks ago and left it quarter way. Great narration, but irritating voices. And I didn’t get too hooked on the book either. Yeah it’s dystopian and all that, but didn’t catch my fancy. Surprising considering it’s a popular book, and also coz I usually like dystopian novels. That said two of the three previous dystopian novels I read/ listened to, I mixed it with audiobook and reading. “1984” and “A Handmaid’s Tale” – I alternated between reading and listening; while “Animal Farm” was purely listening (but the story had a faster pace so maybe it didn’t matter much that I didn’t read). So maybe that’s why I enjoyed those books more, and if I were to read “Brave New World” I might enjoy it. (Or maybe not. I was hooked on to “1984” and “A Handmaid’s Tale” from the start when listening, and I started reading them so I could go through it faster – so I guess I simply wasn’t a fan of “Brave New World”).

Speaking of reading I finished “Alias Grace” recently. Had loved the TV show so I bought the book when in London last month. Amazing book. I simply loved it. I bought the audiobook too and tried reading it side by side but I was having so much fun just reading the book that I returned the audiobook. Now I am reading “Altered Carbon”.

Station Eleven – Boring!

When in the UK recently I bought a bunch of books to rekindle my reading habit. One of these was Station Eleven. I am not sure where I came across this book – I have a memory of it being on one of the TWiT shows – but I can’t find any hits when searching for this book and any of the shows of that network, so it must be a mistaken memory. Anyhow, all the blurbs on the book cover made it sound amazing, and it’s won some sci-fi award, and it’s supposed to be one of these dystopian future sort of novels from a Canadian authoress (and I think of Margaret Atwood whose books I like), and it was on half price in the book store … so I purchased it. Bad decision!

To be fair I have read about half the book. Am on page 146 of 333 and finally giving up. I think if I stick with a book till nearly midway and it still doesn’t interest me then there’s no point spending more time further. There are other books to read or stuff to do, I must call quits here. Sucks that I spent money on this book though coz I can’t just return it like I would do an audiobook, and I don’t want to keep it in my library either, so I’ll have to donate it I guess. Bad decision. Very bad decision buying this book!

The book just meanders on and on. There’s some flu, the end of the world, civilization has come to and end, everything’s reverted to an older age of small towns and no technology and a bunch of survivors. No there’s no zombies or some crazy dystopian future – it’s just people wandering around. There’s some group of traveling artists, and a lot of flashbacks to some character who died initially … it’s just so boring and pointless. In fact, I don’t even know why I am wasting time writing about the book. :) I just need to vent it out somewhere I guess and get it out of my system.

To be fair the book is not like some of the newer books that read more like they are written for a movie or TV series. A lot of books I read recently on the Kindle are written that way and it’s irritating – I’d much rather watch it on screen then. No, this one is well written and I could have fallen in love with it had there been some point or purpose or direction or pace to the whole narrative. As of now it’s just wasting my time.

Currently listening to: City of Thieves

Every now and then Audible has some sale and I try a new author I haven’t heard of. I am not very good at exploring different authors or genres coz I don’t like leaving my comfort zone. But with Audible I can at least give something a shot, and then return the book if I don’t like it. Usually I try a new book based on the narrator or just the book cover. I read some of the review to try and get an understanding, but it’s difficult to judge a book by reviews as different people have different tastes (and I have found I don’t like most sci-fi stories that a lot of people rave about).

Anyways, City of Thieves by David Benioff is one such book I tried recently and I am loving it. I bought it coz of the cover and also coz it is narrated by Ron Perleman. It’s been a good listen so far and while I still have a long ways to go I thought I should mention it here. Ron Perleman narrates it good too with the different voices and all that.

While Googling on some of the places and authors in the book (most of which turns out to be fictional) I came across the following wonderful quote from this blog post:

Talent must be a fanatical mistress. She’s beautiful; when you’re with her, people watch you, they notice. But she bangs on your door at odd hours, and she disappears for long stretches, and she has no patience for the rest of your existence: your wife, your children, your friends. She is the most thrilling evening of your week, but some day she will leave you for good. One night, after she’s been gone for years, you will see her on the arm of a younger man, and she will pretend not to recognize you.

David Benioff has two other books but they don’t seem to be in Audible. Will have to read them the old fashioned way. :o)

Update: Finished the book. Loved it!! A must read/ listen.

Reykjavik Murder Mysteries

After a few Audible listens that I had to leave midway because they held no interest, I finally came across the Inspector Erlendur Sveinsson series of audiobooks by Arnaldur Indridason. Good find! And so glad I decided to check it out.

So far I listened to “Jar City” and “Silence of the Grave” (which I just finished today). Two great listens, each one better than the other! They aren’t as depressing as the Wallander mysteries. They are slow and serious, with a lot of self-rumination and all that, but it’s great! Just the sort of books I love. And great narration by George Guidall as usual.

This is the second set of Icelandic detective series that I am reading/ listening to. Previously I had read the books by Viktor Arnar Ingolfsson and loved these too – “Daybreak”, “House of Evidence”, and “Sun on Fire”.

Side by side I am also currently reading “Stories of your life and others” by Ted Chiang. One of the short stories in this book is what got made into the movie “Arrival”. I loved that so decided to check out the book. Tried the audiobook first but that didn’t hook me much. So switched to Kindle and that’s been good so far.

Random audiobooks post

(I found this post in my drafts. Think I started typing it some weeks back on my phone and then forgot about it as I got side-tracked. Didn’t want to delete so here it goes).

I’ve been listening to a lot of audiobooks recently which seem to be generally well received but for some reason I don’t like them. In fact I have had to return so many of these. Makes me feel odd that I have different tastes to the majority. That doesn’t seem right.

For instance the “Bobiverse” trilogy by Dennis E Taylor. I finished the first book but it was a bit of a drag. And I listened to one chapter of the second book and couldn’t take it.

Or the “Three Body Problem” trilogy by Liu Cixin. I struggled through till about midway and then couldn’t take it anymore. But the book has such amazing reviews and is widely well received.

Then there was “Ready Player One” (left quarter way) and more recently the “Fear the Sky” trilogy (left midway of first book).

Somehow I don’t feel the excitement that everyone else seems to feel with these books. I don’t connect with them for some reason. It’s not that I don’t like sci-fi, it’s just that I didn’t feel so much for these books or like their plots or pace. (Oh and don’t forget “Gateway” and “Calculating God” – though the latter was due to the narrator. “Gateway” was good till about 2/3rd when I lost interest).

I think the right narrator matters a lot when it comes to audiobooks. Kind of obvious I guess, which is why Audible even lets you return books you don’t like. Recently I have been listening to a lot of James Bond audiobooks. I started off with “Casino Royale” which was read by Dan Stevens, and was amazing! Then I moved on to the rest – mostly the ones read by Simon Vance (who again is amazing!) and also “Moonraker” read by Bill Nighy (a great listen!). Then I listened to “Diamonds are Foreover” by Damian Lewis and that was “mehhhh”. I don’t know if that’s because I didn’t like the narration or coz the plot was boring. But the next two in the series, again read by Simon Vance were quite good, and just recently I completed “Goldfinger” read by Hugh Bonneville and that was superb both in terms of plot and narration.

Similarly I love the Wil Wheaton + John Scalzi combination. Great stories & perfect narration. Or Will Patton’s narration of Stephen King’s “Mr. Mercedes” trilogy – blew me away! I thought I’d love anything read by Will Patton as he was just great. But I listened to “Deliverance” and while I still loved the narration the story wasn’t enough to keep me hooked on. I’ll have to see if I can find some other Stephen King + Will Patton combination.

Another favorite narrator is Simon Prebble. I think except one book (“Mrs. Queen Takes the Train” – which I found boring but again, unsurprisingly, has great reviews on Audible) I have finished anything he has read.

Other narrators that I like (but I have sometimes had to stop listening to midway coz the stories didn’t hook me enough) are Ray Porter (especially his Raymond Chandler audiobooks) and also Luke Daniels.

Update: Oops, how could I forget George Guidall. His reading of the Walt Longmire series is something I can never forget. Sadly though, since he was so amazing in that and now his voice is forever associated in my head with Walt Longmire and the characters of those books whenever I hear him in any other setting I imagine Walt Longmire. Which is funny coz now I am listening to him narrate “Jar City”, which is an Icelandic murder mystery, and it’s so hard to get over the feeling of Walt Longmire and his cast somehow being in Iceland and having Icelandic names. :)

Endless Night

Just finished listening to Agatha Christie’s “Endless Night”. It was an amazing listen. Very unlike in tone and story to Dame Christie’s usual detective stories (but with a plot twist she has used in the past but which nevertheless came as a surprise to me here too). This was a dark story and I enjoyed it!

Came across the following from William Blake’s “Auguries of Innocence” via this book and I liked it a lot:

Man was made for joy and woe;
And when this we rightly know,
Through the world we safely go.

Joy and woe are woven fine,
A clothing for the soul divine.
Under every grief and pine
Runs a joy with silken twine.

Every night and every morn
Some to misery are born,
Every morn and every night
Some are born to sweet delight.

Some are born to sweet delight,
Some are born to endless night.

A good quote from “Murder is Easy”

Just finished listening to Agatha Christie’s “Murder is Easy” and came across this quote towards the end. Loved it.

Bridget: Liking is more important than loving. It lasts. I want what is between us to last, Luke. I don’t want us just to love each other and marry and get tired of each other and then want to marry some one else.

Luke: Oh! my dear Love, I know. You want reality. So do I. What’s between us will last for ever because it’s founded on reality.

The Man in the High Castle (book)

Wow, the book is so different from the TV show! Damn. Can’t even compare the two. And because I saw the TV show first (and that’s more fast paced) I kept waiting for the book too to pick up pace. And because of that I don’t think I read the book the way I should. It’s not sci-fi, it’s not a thriller, it’s somewhat political (what if Japan and Germany won), and a lot (a lot lot lot!) philosophical (which was amazing really but I didn’t read it with that mind frame as I was waiting for things to pick up pace). 

Lots of good stuff about life and fate and objects etc. Some real good stuff really. But because I came from the TV show background I found it slow. And I also didn’t relate much to any character – I don’t think that’s due to the show though, I think even otherwise I’d have found the characters very distant and unrelateable to. 

I didn’t enjoy this one as much as “1984”. That was amazing. Some real, deep, blow your brains out stuff! “The Man in the High Castle” was more meandering, well written but not really blow your brains out sort of stuff (at least for me). I’ll remember it for it’s philosophical bits on the I Ching and how objects get value and how it doesn’t matter what the outcome of the war was, etc. But that’s about it – it didn’t hit me on a personal level like say “1984” (or recently “Slaughter House 5”). 

Full disclosure: 🙂 I cheated “1984” a bit as I both read it and listened to the amazing audiobook version by Simon Prebble. That would have made a difference I am sure. I am proud of “The Man in the High Castle” in that I actually read it. Took a while as I don’t do much reading, but I stuck with it and now I can say I actually read a book (as in fully read, no audiobook side by side) after a long time. 

As an aside: I haven’t seen Season 2 of “The Man in the High Castle” (I got bored midway of Season 1 to be honest, especially with Julianna) but the score (music) is amazing. Check it out if you are into that sort of stuff.