Bookworm's book reviews

Being a selection of to be increased literary reviews by me.

Wicked
Gregory Maguire Characters 2.5/5 The Witch is interesting towards the start as is the Wizard despite contradicting character traits (Committing suicide due to anti-Irish discrimination then he starts the S.Gale Nazi troopers of the Ozish Reich). Still character growth while evident doesn't make up for the lack of detail on the supporting cast past the 2d portion of the book or lack of background on many others (Such as Dorothy's companions). Word craft 2/5 An overuse of ornate overly complex language is rife, and the writing is frequently dull with painfully overdone description ("She mounted him like the living stag-horns shaking him on the wall" and so on). It also relies overmuch on dense ending paragraphs which contain too many events, almost always a character death in a hard to read or understand fashion. Plot 2.5/5 The story is nominally original (Though hardly an unique idea) but plot holes abound, and the story tends to jump & drag while being hard to follow. A sample of plot holes include: "How can she drink" "Did he commit suicide or come from another world" "A racist Irish" "How did the wizard sieze power" etc' Overall impression 1.5/5 A major disappointment. The book is dull & boring, the plot dragging & obtuse and the entire book feels like fan-fiction, rather than a tale of Evil, corruption, Fall or an alternate Point of view. Far from resembling the epics of the "Decline" archetype such as Anakin Skywalker's gradual change from youth to monster, here we see the same good person who does not truly change either in outlook or personality. True, she has a pair of "The ends justify the means" acts but she doesn't even commit the act (Such as Nessarose and Nick Chopper). We have the book showing the witch as a Rebel Animals rights activist persecuted by the Nazis (Sorry, Gale) stormtroopers of the Irish (that is Ozian) Reich (Sorry, Empire) and an Irish Hitler (Sorry, detached fish eyed Irish wizard) who's the victim of propaganda and isn't bad at all, who only threatens Dorothy out of self defense and thinking that she's a killer (While losing all rationality in the last part of the book by act of authors fiat). Rather than showing her fall or Evil as a moral outlook (justification from her eyes, beyond the freeing of the Animals & a political prisoner) or at least the causes for her being bad (If she was bad) we see what almost feels like a generic "Evil wizard!" with the protagonist dying in the end "By the one person just like me [cue reader crying as to the irony of the sad totally unpredictable scenario]" due to a bucket.

Final 1.9/5 Avoid this boring fan-fiction, see the musical instead (I haven't but I hear that it's good).

If you liked this, you'll like: Wicked (The musical), The Discworld books (Especially the Granny Weatherwax books, especially "Wyrd Sisters", "Equal Rites" & "Witches abroad".

Naked Economics: "Undressing the dismal science"
Charles Wheelan
Writing 5/5 Very easy to read, accessible and requires little if no foreknowledge. Clear as crystal in terms of comprehensibility and how easy it is to read and understand the concepts and points therein. Refreshingly fascinating with many delightful instances of economists humour ("Why did the Chicken cross the road? To maximize its "potential"") Information 4.5/5 This book won't shatter the world view of your typical non communist but it will challenge those of many a socialist (Such as I lean towards) or anti Globalization-ists or anti trade-ers. The book is chock full of interesting & at times thought provoking facts (Especially on Outsourcing, Brazilian farmers, trade & the Bangladesh sweat shops if you want some controversial opinions as well as the consequences of labour limit laws) and their consequences. The information is also (As far as I could grasp) well researched, barring 3 statistics/numbers (The age of the world confused with that of the universe, Ethanol & the proportion of liberals to conservatives in the population, though this might be a translation error). The book offers large amounts of information in a very easy to "digest" & understand fashion. Overall impression 5/5 One of the best books about Economics & its impacts on society that I've ever read (Though I haven't gotten around to reading my dad's old copy of the classic "Wealth of nations" yet). It caused me to rethink many of my old "Knee-jerk" opinions on a variety of issues (I'm a capitalistic free market economy Socialist, an off times contradictory position) while reinforcing my positive opinion of many aspects of the market Economy and "People/human Wealth" (Education and the like). The book is a bit too right wing for my tastes at times, but Economics is one of the few fields where I veer away from being a massive liberal left winger (Though not an extremist), and he makes very strong & informed points so I'll forgive that minor peccadillo. Final 4.8/5 An excellent book that I highly recommend for [u]anyone[/u] who wants to learn about Economics ("The Dismal science"), the basics of it, its impact on society, why they should be worried rather than pleased at Deflation and why outsourcing doesn't mean the downfall of America and a variety of other fascinating topics. Buy. If you liked this then you'll like: "Freakonomics" (4.8/5)

The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers: Economic Change and Military Conflict From 1500 to 2000, by Paul Kennedy Overall impression 5/5

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