Monday, January 24, 2011

Finished - "The Prophet of Yonwood" - Jeanne Du Prau

"The Prophet of Yonwood" is book 3 of 4 of Jeanne DuPrau's "City of Embers" series.

This took a little to get into, though it is not a particularly long book.  The first two books dealt with the underground city (Ember) and the ultimate escape and merge with an aboveground city (Sparks) - characters carried over.

This book is a prequel to the first book, and eventually explains part of the rationale for the move underground.  As all characters are new, and the story has moved into current (or near-future) timeframe, it is quite different than the first two.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Finished - 'I'd Rather We Got Casinos And Other Black Thoughts" - Larry Wilmore

Larry Wilmore's book is a good time.  "Why brothers don't see UFOs", "how the government can apologize for slavery" and his campaign to change "NAACP" from National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People" to "National Association for the Advancement of Chocolate People" are all brilliantly conceived and written, as is the funeral and trial of the "n" word.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Finished - "The People of Sparks" - Jeanne DuPrau

Finished the second "City of Ember" book - "The People of Sparks".

A good follow-up on the Ember book.  The story takes place after the Emberites leave their underground city and find themselves in a sparsely populated surface world.  The only town close has roughly the same population as Ember.  The book focuses on the interactions between the surface and newly-surface dwellers in a society that is roughly at the "wild west" level of civilization - horse and buggy (though the buggies are often cars or trucks with the engine's removed).  The "event" that resulted in the loss of surface life seems to be a combination of war and plagues.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Reading (Comics) - Squadron Supreme (Marvel Comics)

Read the mid '80's Squadron Supreme "live" many years ago.  Fell into the mini-series "Supreme Power" when released by Marvel in the '00s.  Really liked it - didn't make the connection to "Squadron Supreme" until later series (which had to be titled "Squadron Supreme" or I might never have made the connection to the earlier incarnations).  (

Of course I read "Supreme Power" not as an origin for the Marvel characters, but a re-imagining of the Superman story - raising an alien kid with super powers.  As the '90s were a more realistic comic world than the '30s, the alien's adoptive parents weren't the kindly small town Kents, but male and female army officers given a long term assignment.  It was very interesting to see how a "Superman" would make short work of armed conflict (they had him remove the weapons from Iraqi soldiers in the first Gulf War).

Nighthawk (Batman) and Dr. Spectrum (Green Lantern) are also well portrayed characters, along with Hyperion (Superman).

I was very disappointed that the 2006 series ended on a cliff-hanger - the big confrontation with the villain - and it was never resolved - no additional issues.  If they exist, please publish them.

A nicely revived character set, short series (Supreme Power ran 18 issues, Squadron Supreme ran a 7 issue and 12 issue series, smaller 5-6 issue Nighthawk, Hyperion, Nighthawk vs. Hyperion and Dr. Spectrum series, along with an Ultimate Universe version (Ultimate Power).

All series are well done and worth the read.

Finishing "Electric Universe: The Shocking True Story of Electricity" by David Bodanis (Audiobook)

On the last few chapters of "Electric Universe:  The Shocking True Story of Electricity" by David Bodanis (  I can't say it grabbed me like some other books, but it was worth the read.

I learned that Thomas Edison was a bit of a prick.

I never thought about the early ideas of electrons running through wires "like water through a hose" metaphor, if accurate, would end up with piles of electrons sitting on one end of a telephone line, assuming one speaker is chattier than another.

Heard again about the tragic life of Alan Turing, and the poison apple.

Never really thought of what the term "semi-conductor" really meant/\.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Reading (E-Reader) - "The City of Ember" - Jeanne DuPrau

My daughter insists that I read the four book "Book of Ember" series ( .

My daughter read the book a year or so ago, and received the next three books for Christmas.  The book was recommended by one of her cousins.

I did like the movie, and am enjoying the book.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Reading (E-Reader) - "I'd Rather We Got Casinos And Other Black Thoughts" - Larry Wilmore

I'm in reading limbo at the moment, recovering from the Christmas season.  Partially started a number of books, some on "Intelligent Design", "Red Pyramid" with my son (Rick Riordan's new series) and a stab at a few others.

The only one that's "sticking" right now is Larry Wilmore's  "I'd Rather We Got Casinos And Other Black Thoughts".  I'm familiar with Larry Wilmore from his recurrent spots on "The Daily Show with John Stewart", and like his low-key approach.

The book is a series of essays and letters he's written over time on various "Black" topics (e.g. his suggestions to alter the term "African American").

The essays read like his Daily Show character - quiet but biting.