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Showing posts from March, 2006

Selected Stories of Philip K. Dick

This volume gathers twenty-one Dick stories, including "Faith of Our Fathers", "Paycheck", "The Minority Report", and "We Can Remember It for You Wholesale".This is a good, representative Dick collection that spans some of his early works to his later classics. All of the famous Dick tropes are in this collection: paranoia, shifting realities, pulp culture, dystopia, authoritarian states, and machines.

Tehanu by Ursula K. Le Guin

Tehanu is the fourth novel in the Earthsea Cycle and is more of a simple and understated story than the previous Earthsea novels.The story revolves mostly around Tenar, now a widow facing obscurity and loneliness, who rescues a badly burned girl from her abusive parents. Ged, now broken and without magic, seeks refuge with Tenar and attempts to learn how to live with the great loss he suffered at the end of the trilogy. Overall, while I appreciate Le Guin's attempts at infusing new threads of feminism into the Earthsea series, I found the novel a bit boring and bland.

The World is Flat by Thomas L. Friedman

The World is Flat has been over-hyped a bit, but I think overall the text is well-researched and provides a good overview of globalism and the implications of a global, flat world.Friedman does maintain a clear technological determinist bias throughout the text, but I think he's pretty upfront about that and does a good job at presenting contrasting viewpoints to his arguments.

Imperial Ambition by Noam Chomsky

Imperial Ambition includes a collection of Chomsky interviews with radio journalist David Barsamian.In these exchanges, Chomsky offers his views and analysis on the invasion and occupation of Iraq, US propaganda, and the US doctrine of preemptive strikes against so-called rogue states.

My Friend Leonard by James Frey

You can likely read My Friend Leonard as a true-life story, a wildly embellished memoir, or as a work of pure fiction, shamelessly masquerading as a memoir.Ostensibly a continuation of James Frey's A Million Little Pieces, My Friend Leonard focuses on Frey's attempt to start over after rehab, and his relationship with Leonard, a classic Italian impresario who Frey befriended in rehab. The problem with the text is not in the writing or the story -- the text is engaging and evokes emotion, although it lacks the edge of A Million Little Pieces. No, the issue with the book, at least for me, was that I found it impossible to separate the narrative and story from the recent revelation that Frey embellished many details in his writing. One of the inside pages in My Friend Leonard states in very small type that "some details and sequences of events have been changed". That added to what we know Frey altered made me wonder while reading the text what really happened and what …