Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Mini Review - The Flash Vol. 1: Move Forward by Francis Manapul & Brian Buccellato

13533744Genre: comics
Pages: 192
Rating: 3/5

Struck by a bolt of lightning and doused in chemicals, Central City Police scientist Barry Allen was transformed into the fastest man alive. Tapping into the energy field called The Speed Force, he applies a tenacious sense of justice to protect and serve the world as The Flash!

The Flash knows he can't be everywhere at once, but he has seemingly met his match when he faces DC Comic's hottest new Super Villain, Mob Rule, who really can be everywhere at once!

As Mob Rule wages a campaign of crime across Central City, including an electromagnetic blast that plunges the city into darkness, The Flash learns that the only way he can capture Mob Rule and save Central City is to learn how to make his brain function even faster than before - but as much as it helps him, it also comes with a steep price.

My thoughts
After seeing the tv series The Flash I got curious of the comic, so I decided to pick it up. Eventhough the tv series is a little different from the comic I'm glad that I had already watched it before reading the comic. I felt like the story was a little bit all over the place. Villains popping up out of nowhere, flashbacks and flashforwards... They all made me feel a little cofused at times. The story was enjoyable to read, but I did have to reread some parts to fully grasp what was going on. I honestly enjoyed watching the tv series a lot more than I enjoyed reading the comic. I was expecting this to be an origin story, but it isn't really. Just briefly in a few lines the Flash's origin is explained. The characters in the story all seem quite flat, even the main character Barry Allen. I might pick up the next volume to see if things will improve, but I'm not sure yet. Maybe superhero comics just aren't for me...

Monday, 21 September 2015

My Favorite Booktubers

I do love reading blogsposts about books, but there is also something fun in actually watching people talk about books! I'm subscribed to many booktubers on youtube, but here are some of my favorites:

Mia from Against Idleness & Mischief
Many booktubers post videos about books they think are great, but I actually do like it when people also post reviews of books they didn't like as much. Mia always has great discussions on books and I really feel like she is a critical reader, which I can appreciate. She also has a podcast that I enjoy listening to while doing chores!

Jen Campbell
After reading her book Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops I started following Jen. I don't read a great deal of literary fiction and poetry like she does, but I still find her videos a lot of fun to watch since they are very cozy. She has many pretty books and I got some great graphic novel and picture book recommendations from her.

Connor O'Brien
Connor was one of the first booktubers I started following. I stumbled upon his channel because he reviewed a book in the Ranger's Apprentice series, a series that I really love, but hardly ever hear anyone talk about. When I watch one of his videos it sounds just as a friend of mine is chatting about books. He reads a lot of fantasy and also middle grade books, which I do too, and I especially get a lot of great middle great recommendations from him!

Sanaa from InkBonesBooks
Sanaa is one of my recent favorites. She really made me add a lot of books to my TBR list. She reads a lot of fantasy, just like I do, and she also has some interesting discussions.

If you enjoy watching booktube videos, go check out their channels!

Do you have some favorite booktubers?

Friday, 18 September 2015

Review - 30-Second Brain by Anil Seth

21057712The 50 most mind-blowing ideas in neuroscience; each explained in half a minute

Genre: non fiction, science
Pages: 160
Rating: 3.5/5

Are we all at the mercy of our brain chemistry? Do you think that the amygdala and the hippocampus are fantastical sea monsters? What can an MRI scan tell us? Could you explain to dinner-party guests why we don't giggle when we tickle ourselves? 30-Second Brain is here to fill your mind with the science of exactly what's happening inside your head. Using no more than two pages, 300 words and an illustration, this is the quickest way to understand the wiring and function of the most complex and intricate mechanism in the human body. Discover how the networks of 90 billion nerve cells work together to produce perception, action, cognition and emotion. Explore how your brain defines your personality, and what it gets up to while you are asleep. Illustrated with mind-bending graphics and supported by biographies of pioneers in the field of neuroscience, it's the book to get your grey matter thinking about your grey matter.

My thoughts
This popular science book is a nice introduction to many neurological topics. Since every page contains a different topic it does not go very deep into these topics, but in the back of the book there is a list for continued reading. Every topic is explained over one page and on the page next to it is an illustration that goes with the topic. Personally I really love these kind of bite-sized chunks of information, but the illustrations did not really add anything to the book. They did not help to understand the topics better and they also weren't that pretty.
The book is divided into seven sections, each starting with a page that explains the meaning of some words. Also a couple of biographies of people that were important for the development of neuroscience are included in the book. The explanations of the words were clear, but in some cases I found them to be unnecessary, since the words also became clear by reading the explanations of the topics. I thought the biographies were interesting. I wouldn't read a whole book on most of these people, but it was nice to get an idea of the people who really made a difference in de development of neurscience as a science.

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Goodreads Reading Challenge

I just reached my reading goal for the year: 45 books. Eleven of those were actually graphic novels, but I'm glad that I've already managed to read quite a bit. I'm defenitely reading a little more every year. Ofcourse the year is far from over, so I'll probably have plenty time to read some more. Maybe I can reach 60?

Did you set yourself a reading challange this year? How is it going so far?

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Review - Legend by Marie Lu

9275658Genre: dystopian, science fiction, young adult, romance
Pages: 305
Rating: 3.5/5

What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a notation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic's wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic's highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country's most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.

From very different worlds, Juna an Day have no reason to cross paths - until the day June's brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family's survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias's death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lenghts their country will go to keep its secrets.

My thoughts
My friend Suzan has been recommending me to read this book since forever and I finally got around to it. It is hard to not compare a book like this to the Hunger Games or Divergent, but eventhough I still think those two books are better, I really enjoyed reading Legend. The chapters of the book alternate between Day and June's point of view and I thought that was a good way of getting to know the different layers of the society of the Republic of America. I did not like June that much at the beginning of the book, but as the story progressed she grew on me a little. In the beginning I found it a little annoying that she was so naive, but she certainly got to see a different side to the 'perfect society' she lived in. Eventhough I related more to Day than to June I still enjoyed reading June's chapters. June's memories of her brother Metias increased my curiosity about Metias and it would have been interesting to learn a little more about his experiences in the army.
From the beginning of the book it was obvious what romance there was going to be. there was definitely insta-love in this book, but I liked that all the bumps in the road made it a lot harder for an actual relationship to develop. I'm really not a big fan of insta-love, and that was probably the reason I wasn't really invested in the romance.
This book contains a mystery that gets unraveled. I do like mysteries, but in this case I didn't think the clues were really obvious enough for the characters to draw a certain conclusion.
Except for June, there wasn't a lot of character growth in this book, but I did really like how my view of Metias's killer changed so much throughout the book, that person really creeped me out at the end!
Day's companion Tess was a sweet girl and I thought her addition to the story was a great way of showing what kind of person Day was.
What I loved the most about this book, was that there wasn't just a character who fought the system from within, but the country was actually also at war with another country. Often in dystopians it seems that besides the country the story is set in, there isn't anything out there, which is not very realistic. In this case I really got the feeling like the Republic of America was part of a larger world.
The book ended rather abruptly, and this somehow made it a little difficult to gather my thoughts on it. I didn't feel like I immediately had to read the sequel, but after giving it a few days I got more excited to read on.

Monday, 7 September 2015

Mini Review - Dark Entries by Robert Aickman

19246479Genre: short stories, mystery, horror
Pages: 256
Rating: 3.5/5

Dark Entries was the first solo collection of "strange stories" by British short story writer, critic, lecturer and novelist, Robert Aickman. First published in 1964 it contains the classic "Ringing the Changes" and perhaps Aickman's best femme fatale in "Choice of Weapons." The version of "The View" is slightly re-written from its first appearance in We are for the Dark.

My thoughts
This short story collection took me quite some time to read. As with a lot of short story collections I did like some of the stories, but others weren't really for me. The stories were not as scary as I expected them to be, but they definitely had a mysterious atmosphere. Eventhough I was not always sure what exactly was going on, the stories somehow still intrigued me. They are not the best short stories I've ever read but I am compelled to pick up another of Aickman's short story collections.

Friday, 4 September 2015

Terugkijkend - Looking back

Ik weet het nog,

Jij stond aan de overkant en je keek naar hier

De beslissing was al genomen

Maar toch

toch stond jij daar nog

I still remember
You stood on the other side and you looked this way
The decision was already made
But still
still you were standing there

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

August Wrap-up

August was a good book month! I managed to read a lot more than I usually do, and I also bought quite some books...

Book Haul
I bought a lot of books this month, most of them second hand and in Dutch. Since I was on summer break from university I had a lot of time to browse thrift stores and I had a lot of fun doing so!
The books that I bought this month are:
De grote Van Gogh atlas [The big Van Gogh atlas] by Nienke Denekamp and Rene van Blerk
I stumbled upon this book at my local bookstore. Not only does the book have a beautiful cover, the interior is beautifully designed as well.
- Het boek van alle dingen [The Book of Everything] by Guus Kuijer
I read this book as a kid and at the time I really enjoyed it. I wonder if I will still feel the same way.
De vloek van Woestewolf [The curse of the werewolf] by Paul Biegel
Another book that I read as a kid. I used to own a copy, but at some point I lost it. The edition I have now is a beautiful hardback that is illustrated throughout.
- Wij zijn ons brein [We Are Our Brains: From the Womb to Alzheimer's] by D.F. Swaab
At university I am taking some neuroscience courses and I want to read more about it, but I was looking for something that was a little more readable than the books that I use for uni (which are not books you will read hours on end)
The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by Oliver Sacks
I got this one for the same reason as the previous one and this book seems like it contains a lot of interesting stories.
- De komst van Joachim Stiller [The Coming of Joachim Stiller] by Hubert Lampo
I don't tend to read a lot of Dutch literature, usually it isn't really for me. I personally prefer British literature or literature that contains magical realistic elements. This book does contains magical realism, so perhaps it will be more to my liking.
- Nine Agatha Christie detectives translated into Dutch. I bought a couple in the same edition years ago, so when I stumbled upon some more I could not wait to expand my collection. I am a huge fan of Christie's stories. They always have a mysterious atmosphere, but are never scary. They are rather 'cozy' mysteries.
- Lastly I bought Jules Verne's 20.000 Mijlen onder zee [Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea] in two parts. I already own an edition in two parts as well as a bind up up of several of Jules Verne's stories that includes this one, but I love the drawings on old fantasy and science fiction covers so I could not help myself...

This month I finished reading 8 books. At the beginning of the month I was reading 6 books at the same time, but I finally managed to reduce that number a bit. Now I'm only reading 3 books!
Of the books that I read, Saga Volume 3, The Lily Pond and Lydia's Secret were my favorites. Coming month I probably will not have a lot of time to read because university has started again, but I am getting on with a Swedish book that I have been reading forever so hopefully I will be finishing it this month.
My writing has been going very slowly lately. The fantasy story that I'm working on has only gotten a little bit longer, but the story world always keeps expanding. My other projects haven't progressed at all, I just wrote one poem. Hopefully coming month I can find the time to write a little more!