Feb 17, 2017

Weekend Reading - RAW 170217

The weekend is upon us again and here are some articles which may help you choose a new book. Enjoy over a cup of coffee in the morning or anytime you want to put your feet up.
Last Sunday I published an article about J.R.R. Tolkien and Epic Fantasy. It has some interesting advice for aspiring readers... and whenever you do this weekend, remember to Read More and Think More... with your favourite beverage.

Neuroscientist Sam Harris Selects 12 Books Everyone Should Read | Brain Pickings

On an excellent recent episode of The Tim Ferriss Show — one of these nine podcasts for a fuller life — neuroscientist Sam Harris answered a listener’s question inquiring what books everyone should read.

4 Series To Read Instead Of Watching Star Trek: Discovery (because it’s pushed back to who knows when) | Hachette Australia

We begin with Becky Chambers. Why? Because Becky deserves your love, respect, fandom and hard earned dollars. She deserves them because she’s a damn fine author who has this to say about Star Trek: First Contact: ... it confronts the reality of poised, measured hero Jean-Luc Picard struggling with – and owning up to – the psychological remnants of a horrifying trauma that occurred well in the past

Scientists Probe Mystery of Pluto’s Icy Heart | Astrobiology Magazine

Was Pluto’s frozen heart formed in an ancient impact basin and was it once closer to the north pole? And does the icy heart conceal a subsurface ocean?

How Japan’s Radically Different Approach to AI Could Lead to Wild New Tech | TIME

Honda's "emotionally intelligent" car highlights Japan's unique philosophy regarding artificial intelligence.

Why the Technology in 'Rogue One' Is So Old-Fashioned | The Atlantic

We expect certain storytelling forms to pay special attention to setting. Historical fiction spends a great deal of energy in recreating the past. Fan fiction does something similar for its source material. Science fiction and fantasy fans expect world-building. Rogue One, a combination of all of these forms, does this very well on multiple levels. It is, after all, science fiction, and the Star Wars universe has long had a strong fantasy vibe.

The Hyper-Examined Life Is Not Worth Living in 2017

As we approach the end of 2016 and the beginning of the new year, many of us will reflect, even if briefly, on our lives and loved ones in the past year. For some, that will mean reliving warm and cherished moments, and for others, feeling yet more grief and pain. In either case, there can be no doubt that American culture, as distracted and unfocused as it often is, encourages a kind of serious introspection this time of year.

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Feb 15, 2017

Up and Coming Reads | The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

I was immediately attracted to this book when I read a comment made by one of the Penguin editorial staff, Gillian. She put it quite nicely when she said The Bear and the Nightingale is a fantasy novel in the same way that The Martian was a science fiction novel; Katherine's beautiful writing gives it universal appeal. I've given it to people who would never read fantasy, and every one has loved it.

Even thought Andy Weir's The Martian wasn't the sort of science fiction novel I would pick up, I was thankful that I did, so hopefully this endorsement holds true. If you've read it let me know what you think.

The Bear and the Nightingale

by Katherine Arden

A magical debut novel for readers of Naomi Novik’s Uprooted, Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus, and Neil Gaiman’s myth-rich fantasies, The Bear and the Nightingale spins an irresistible spell as it announces the arrival of a singular talent with a gorgeous voice.

At the edge of the Russian wilderness, winter lasts most of the year and the snowdrifts grow taller than houses. But Vasilisa doesn’t mind—she spends the winter nights huddled around the embers of a fire with her beloved siblings, listening to her nurse’s fairy tales. Above all, she loves the chilling story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon, who appears in the frigid night to claim unwary souls. Wise Russians fear him, her nurse says, and honor the spirits of house and yard and forest that protect their homes from evil.

After Vasilisa’s mother dies, her father goes to Moscow and brings home a new wife. Fiercely devout, city-bred, Vasilisa’s new stepmother forbids her family from honoring the household spirits. The family acquiesces, but Vasilisa is frightened, sensing that more hinges upon their rituals than anyone knows.

And indeed, crops begin to fail, evil creatures of the forest creep nearer, and misfortune stalks the village. All the while, Vasilisa’s stepmother grows ever harsher in her determination to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for either marriage or confinement in a convent.

As danger circles, Vasilisa must defy even the people she loves and call on dangerous gifts she has long concealed—this, in order to protect her family from a threat that seems to have stepped from her nurse’s most frightening tales.

Interested? Get yourself a copy by clicking here: The Bear and the Nightingale
In these post titled 'Up and Coming Reads', I want to provide you with some suggested reading material. These are books which look interesting to me and that I'd like to share with you. The links will be affiliate links, so if you going to make a purchase at Amazon I'd appreciate you using the link. Doing so will help me buy more books so it should be a win-win for us both.

Enjoy reading more and thinking more... with your favourite beverage!

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Feb 12, 2017

Fantasy Is Not Escapism But Equipping - J.R.R. Tolkien Biography

This book is part of the Christian Encounters series. A series of biographies that highlight well known people from all ages and areas of the Christian Church. Some are familiar faces, like our friend J.R.R. Tolkien. Others are unexpected guests.

This is the first book I've read in this series and I found it to be an approachable biography, mainly due to the fact that it's a short and quick read (about 130 pages), unlike some of the other biographical tomes out there. So while it's not too in-depth we still get a comprehensive overview of J.R.R Tolkien's life and I was left with a more intimate idea of who he was. My favourite part was the final section which looked at Tolkien's influence and legacy. It was really concise and, if anything, I would have loved to spend more time exploring that area. I would recommend this as a starting point for those wanting to read a biography on J.R.R. Tolkien.

In a sense, the history of Middle-earth was his own version of an Atlantis myth—the legendary recollection of a lost world. pg. 25

Feb 10, 2017

Random Articles - RAW 170210

Welcome to the weekend! Here are a few articles you can read during your down time, maybe over a cup of coffee in the morning or a peaceful time during the day. Keep an eye out on Sunday evening for my article about J.R.R. Tolkien and Epic Fantasy, but whenever you do it remember to Read More and Think More... with your favourite beverage.

Preview of upcoming post. 

Feb 8, 2017

Up and Coming Reads | The Long Cosmos by Pratchett and Baxter

The Long Earth series is a great series and I've loved reading it. There is so much to it that five books don't scratch the surface. The amount of stories that can be told in this universe is as unlimited as is.  If you've not read any of the books in this series I'd encourage you read through the article Memorable Reads:The Long Earth Series. where I talk more about this series and what I loved about it. If this whets your appetite start with the first book in the series The Long Earth.

Feb 4, 2017

Weekend Reads - RAW 170203

Welcome back! This week we see George Orwell's dystopian classic 1984 sell out at Amazon, why Tolkien's eagles weren't used more often in his epic fantasy stories, a prediction on the most disruptive tech tends this year plus more.

So sit back with your favourite beverage and enjoy reading this weekend. Before you go don't forget to see which book I selected as my Book of the Year (2016)

Jan 31, 2017

Wolf's Book Of The Year 2016

You may be surprised at my choice for 2016 Book Of The Year, especially since I read and talk a lot about the Science Fiction and Fantasy genre but I made my decision based on the impact these books have had on my life in 2016. These are books which captured my mind and had me constantly thinking about them, and how to incorporate what I'd learnt into my everyday life.