Thinking Fast and Slow 
Release Date: October 2011
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Pages: 499
Buy this book: Amazon

Synopsis (from Goodreads): In the highly anticipated Thinking, Fast and Slow, Kahneman takes us on a groundbreaking tour of the mind and explains the two systems that drive the way we think. System 1 is fast, intuitive, and emotional; System 2 is slower, more deliberative, and more logical. Kahneman exposes the extraordinary capabilities—and also the faults and biases—of fast thinking, and reveals the pervasive influence of intuitive impressions on our thoughts and behaviour. The impact of loss aversion and overconfidence on corporate strategies, the difficulties of predicting what will make us happy in the future, the challenges of properly framing risks at work and at home, the profound effect of cognitive biases on everything from playing the stock market to planning the next vacation—each of these can be understood only by knowing how the two systems work together to shape our judgments and decisions.

Engaging the reader in a lively conversation about how we think, Kahneman reveals where we can and cannot trust our intuitions and how we can tap into the benefits of slow thinking. He offers practical and enlightening insights into how choices are made in both our business and our personal lives—and how we can use different techniques to guard against the mental glitches that often get us into trouble. Thinking, Fast and Slow will transform the way you think about thinking.

Review: This was such an interesting book and one of the most difficult to read. I cannot say that I remember too much from it considering it was chalk full of insights, too many to count but  I love to learn about the human brain, behaviour and why we do what we do. If you like that sort of thing as well then this is the book for you. Give it a go, but just make sure to have the patience for a long and complex read because this one is all of that and a bag of chips.


The Name of the Wind 
Release Date: April 2007
Publisher: Penguin Group DAW
Pages: 662
Buy this book: Amazon

Synopsis (from Goodreads): Told in Kvothe's own voice, this is the tale of the magically gifted young man who grows to be the most notorious wizard his world has ever seen. 

The intimate narrative of his childhood in a troupe of traveling players, his years spent as a near-feral orphan in a crime-ridden city, his daringly brazen yet successful bid to enter a legendary school of magic, and his life as a fugitive after the murder of a king form a gripping coming-of-age story unrivaled in recent literature.

A high-action story written with a poet's hand, The Name of the Wind is a masterpiece that will transport readers into the body and mind of a wizard.

Review: I now know what all the fuss was about. Patrick RothFuss (insert What a delightful writer and what a delightful book. Incredible use of words, a mastery of imagined worlds and a flair for imagery that i have rarely encountered. He is one of my favourite new authors. If you've never read this book, go out and get it. If you love fantasy and have yet to hear of this book, go out and get it. If you've, like me, heard whispers through the grapevine about it, then please don't waste any more time and go out and get yourself a copy. This book will... not change your life, but it will make you remember what epic fantasy at its best can be.


Superman: Birthright 
Release Date: October 2005
Publisher: DC Comics
Pages: 287
Buy this book: Amazon

Synopsis (from Goodreads): The entire modern day retelling of Superman — from his early days in Smallville with Lana Lang and Lex Luthor, to his first meeting with Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen and Perry White in Metropolis — is recounted in this lavish hardcover collection by writer Mark Waid and artists Leinil Francis Yu and Gerry Alanguilan! SUPERMAN: BIRTHRIGHT collects the best-selling, critically acclaimed 12-issue maxiseries of the same name and features an introduction by Smallville television producers Al Gough and Miles Millar, plus a sketchbook section showcasing Yu's development work in addition to notes by Waid. Witness the making of a legend, as Clark Kent learns the tough lessons needed to become the World's Greatest Hero! Also watch as Lex Luthor comes to Smallville, befriending Clark. But it's a relationship that may ultimately spell disaster for Metropolis and the Man of Steel.

Now I feel like I should preface this review by saying that I am not a huge comic book fan. That is not to say that I don't enjoy them because I do. But I didn't grow up on them. That being said I think that this was one of the ones I really loved. I thought the way the story was told and the sequential art was beautiful. There were twists and turns in the story, which I appreciated. Overall it was really a great read.


Ready Player One By Ernest Cline
Release Date: August 17, 2011
Publisher: Crown Publishers
Pages: 374
Buy this book: Amazon

Synopsis (from Goodreads): In the year 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he's jacked into the virtual utopia known as the  OASIS. Wade's devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world's digital confines, puzzles that are based on their creator's obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them. When Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade's going to survive, he'll have to win—and confront the real world he's always been so desperate to escape.

Ernest Cline's Ready Player One was an awesome surprise. It came into my life at a time when I hadn't been reading much of anything. As evident from my last post, I haven't been blogging much either. So I was trapped in this cycle of not reading and as a result not blogging. 

Thankfully this novel broke that curse.

Let me start by saying that Ready Player One is incredibly well written. There is such attention to detail and an authenticity and respect for character and setting that it amazed me at how Cline managed it all. This story is also relatable and approachable. Cline keeps his language simple as he weaves story with music, art and culture. 

Moreover, Ready Player One is, at its heart, homage to all we loved about the 80's such as the movies, music and videogames of that seminal era. Even though I was not familiar with a lot of the references in the novel Cline still managed to make me nostalgic for that era the same way his characters did. This is another testament to Cline's talent as a writer. 

Also, the future that Cline paints is built upon an inter-connected alternative cyber reality that is not that far removed from the one we live in now. Cline successfully writes a story that is simultaneously looking backwards and forwards. 

This story was a fun ride and the writing was great. Go and get it as soon as you can (before the movie, that Spielberg is slated to direct, comes out).


Heir to the Empire (Star Wars: The Thrown Trilogy #1)
Release Date: January 1, 1991
Publisher: Bantam Spectra
Pages: 404
Buy this book: Amazon

Synopsis (from Goodreads): It's five years after Return of the Jedi: the Rebel Alliance has destroyed the Death Star, defeated Darth Vader and the Emperor, and driven out the remnants of the old Imperial Starfleet to a distant corner of the galaxy. Princess Leia and Han Solo are married and expecting Jedi Twins. And Luke Skywalker has become the first in a long-awaited line of Jedi Knights. But thousand of light-years away, the last of the emperor's warlords has taken command of the shattered Imperial Fleet, readied it for war, and pointed it at the fragile heart of the new Republic. For this dark warrior has made two vital discoveries that could destroy everything the courageous men and women of the Rebel Alliance fought so hard to build. The explosive confrontation that results is a towering epic of action, invention, mystery, and spectacle on a galactic scale--in short, a story worthy of the name Star Wars.

I liked this book. A lot. I loved the characters and I felt like they sounded exactly as I remembered them from the movies. Their voices were authentic. I also loved the introduction of Mara Jade into the story. If you read more literature on the characters beyond the movies then you know that Mara Jade becomes and important part of the Star Wars canon. I won't leave any spoilers here but I have to say being introduced to her in Heir to the Empire was satisfying. She was as I imagined and I can't wait to read the second book to see how she is developed.

That being said Timothy Zahn clearly knows about the Star Wars Universe based upon the delicate care he takes with weaving a great story. So excited about finally finishing this one and I cannot wait to start on the second.


A Monster Calls By Patrick Ness
Release Date: September 27, 2011
Publisher: Walker Books
Pages: 215
Buy this book: Amazon

Synopsis (from Goodreads): The monster showed up after midnight. As they do.

But it isn't the monster Conor's been expecting. He's been expecting the one from his nightmare, the one he's had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments, the one with the darkness and the wind and the screaming...

This monster is something different, though. Something ancient, something wild. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor.

It wants the truth.

This novel was short and heartbreakingly sweet. I felt like I was a part of Conor's world and I felt his fear, his pain, his confusion and lack of understanding at the crazy and sometimes unfair world around us. There are so many lessons slowly unraveled and learned in this book that even as I write this review I still feel like I'm understanding new things about the book. This was an enjoyable read despite the weighty subject matter. I would highly recommend this novel.


The Ocean At The End Of The Lane By Neil Gaiman
Release Date: June 18, 2013
Publisher: William Morrow Books
Pages: 181
Buy this bookAmazon

Synopsis (from Goodreads): Sussex, England. A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. Although the house he lived in is long gone, he is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock, and her mother and grandmother. He hasn't thought of Lettie in decades, and yet as he sits by the pond (a pond that she'd claimed was an ocean) behind the ramshackle old farmhouse, the unremembered past comes flooding back. And it is a past too strange, too frightening, too dangerous to have happened to anyone, let alone a small boy.

Forty years earlier, a man committed suicide in a stolen car at this farm at the end of the road. Like a fuse on a firework, his death lit a touchpaper and resonated in unimaginable ways. The darkness was unleashed, something scary and thoroughly incomprehensible to a little boy. And Lettie—magical, comforting, wise beyond her years—promised to protect him, no matter what.

Having just finished this book, I am at a loss for words to describe all the emotions I'm feeling.Well let me just start off by saying Gaiman is a master writer and I don't know any other author that can take pen to page, or in this case keyboard to screen, and make you feel every emotion under the sun whilst having you begging for more. I was sad to get to the end of this rather short work (it was only 181 pages).

However, let me say that I LOVED The Ocean at the End of the Lane. I was teary at times, smiling at others, terrified and genuinely touched. This book captures the innocence of childhood, of dreams and the imagination. I honestly don't know how Gaiman does it but I'm glad he does what he does like no other writer out there. His voice is so unique and sweet and different that I'm glad he was a destined to be a writer so that those of us who are in awe of his skill at least get to enjoy his beautiful words. Thanks Mr. Gaiman for introducing us to Lettie Hempstock and letting us escape to her ocean.

Here are some bits and pieces that stuck with me:

"All monsters are scared.
That's why they're monsters."

"I found myself thinking of an ocean running beneath the whole universe, like the dark seawater that laps beneath the wooden boards of an old pier: an ocean that stretches from forever to forever and is still small enough to fit inside a bucket, if you have Old Mrs. Hempstock to help you get it in there, and you ask nicely."

"I saw the world I had walked since my birth and I understood how fragile it was, that the reality I knew was a thin layer of icing on a great dark birthday cake writhing with grubs and nightmares and hunger. I saw the world from above and below. I saw that there were patterns and gates and paths beyond the real. I saw all these things and understood them and they filled me, just as the waters of the ocean filled me. Everything whispered inside me. Everything spoke to everything, and I knew it all."

Adults are content to walk the same way, hundreds of times, or thousands; perhaps it never occurs to adults to step off the paths, to creep beneath rhododendrons, to find the spaces between fences. 

“I’m going to tell you something important. Grown-ups don’t look like grown-ups on the inside either. Outside, they’re big and thoughtless and they always know what they’re doing. Inside, they look just like they always have. Like they did when they were your age. The truth is, there aren’t any grown-ups. Not one, in the whole wide world.”

“And did I pass?"
The face of the old woman on my right was unreadable in the gathering dusk. On my left the younger woman said, "You don't pass or fail at a being a person, dear.”