Novel Reactions: Children of the Moon

A short but compelling read, Anthony De Sa’s Children of the Moon follows the story of Po and Ezequiel, both outsiders in their society. The story is told through Po’s and Ezequiel’s flashbacks, with Po recalling her side to a reporter, Serafim.

It was hard to put down this book (I read it in a day), and even when I was finished reading it, I was thinking of what could have happened if so-and-so had happened instead. So it’s not the kind of read that you finish and (sort of) immediately forget about or move on from. No, I thought about Children of the Moon the next day still; I needed some time to decompress.

Pick up this book if you can.

PS, YES I do have a signed copy! (!!!) This was in Indigo Books’ “We the North” recommendations shelf. (“We the North” is the Toronto Raptors’ battle cry, and Anthony De Sa is a Canadian writer.) At first I was a bit hesitant to pick it up (I wasn’t in the mood for sad books), but now that I’ve finished the story I’m glad that I changed my mind and bought a copy.

Novel Reactions: Project Management for the Unofficial Project Manager

Project Management for the Unofficial Project Manager is a very good example of a book that communicates with its target audience really well. However, it’s also the kind of book that people outside of its target audience will might not appreciate.

So, who is the target audience of this book?

Clearly laid out in its title, this book is for informal project managers and newbies to the field. The book offers a big picture view of project management, so it tends to be very basic. And this is good. If the book became too technical, readers would be intimidated by it. The idea is it’s a great starting point for anyone curious about the topic. For more detail, readers can look into more technical material.

One thing I appreciated was that the authors of the book do not come off as condescending. (Since I read with feeling, I always pay attention to the tone of the writing.) Their overall writing style (and content) is very approachable, which makes for an easy and informative read.

I would definitely recommend this to anyone who belongs to the target audience.

Novel Reactions: The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

I think I’ve just found my new favorite Murakami book: The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. I’d been holding off on reading it for a while now because (1) I tend to feel overwhelmed whenever I read Murakami’s books; and (2) the book is 607 pages. But due to a self-imposed deadline (see Until Next Time, Books without Borders), I pushed myself to read and finish the book, so that I can pass it on.

And what a worthwhile read it was. I admit that I didn’t immediately get attached to the main character, but he grew on me. The world of The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle is very typical of Murakami (sort of out of this world), but it wasn’t as crazy as his other worlds. I think the length of the book (again, 607 pages!!!) allowed for this intricate world building. Additionally, the pace was well set, and the story did not feel long nor rushed at all.

I was also a bit hesitant to read this book at first because it’s about a man looking for his lost cat. …But that only starts off the plot, and there is really a lot more to the story. There was one character whose role I couldn’t quite grasp, and, in result, I didn’t like this character as much. That’s my only “eh” comment, and I’m thinking it might also be a personal preference kind of thing.

Story and world-wise, this book has made it to the top of my Murakami list. (In case you’re curious, the other two in my top three are Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World and Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage.)

Novel Reactions: Rebel Cities

David Harvey’s Rebel Cities challenges the capitalist norm in which owners of capital are the only ones thriving in cities and poses that we can find a socially just solution to allow the majority to reclaim the cities.

This book made me think: yes, that’s true; our cities are flawed.

Rebel Cities doesn’t dictate the one solution to solve the issue—to be frank, there isn’t any one yet—but Harvey gives us a comprehensive background on the issue and provides us with some alternatives.

For a book of ~160 pages (paperback edition), it was quite a heavy read. There were times I’ve had to look up concepts mentioned in the text to make sure I was on the same page as Harvey. I think this was largely due to the target audience being people with economics or policy backgrounds. Nevertheless, the content wasn’t that hard to follow, so and it wasn’t at all intimidating to read my way through this book.

This is one of my favorite nonfiction reads. It has made me curious enough about social and political issues that I will likely read up on related topics to this. I would recommend this to anyone interested in social justice.

Novel Reactions: Radicalized

Wow, never has science fiction felt so real to me. Cory Doctorow’s Radicalized is a collection of four stories—all “what if?” scenarios people have probably thought to themselves at some point:

  • What if we take the internet of things too far?
  • What if our favorite superhero clashes with our justice system?
  • What if regular people finally crack?
  • What if the world goes into turmoil?

Of course, all of the stories stretch things (a little) too far, but, to be fair, they’re not too far from what we can imagine. All of the themes are current and familiar, and the social commentary is spot on: if these situations actually happened today, the stories in Radicalize portray potential reactions pretty well. How unfortunate.

The stories are longer than the typical short story, but each one can still be read in one sitting. I limited myself to one story each time I picked up this book because …well, it is a little chilling. Also, Cory Doctorow wrote the characters so well that, even if I didn’t love them, I understood them. Society can be crazy sometimes.

Radicalized is a very timely and worthwhile read, and I have super glad I picked it up at the bookstore. I would definitely recommend this to anyone, even to my friends who don’t really venture into sci-fi.