Unbroken

In Portland I went to watch the movie “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” with my cousin and saw the trailer of “Unbroken”. I was intrigued by the trailer and My cousin recommended the book to me, said it was a bestseller and pretty fun to read. I bought it right after.

It took me a few weeks to read the book, mostly on subway. From the movie trailer I thought this book would be full of cruel tortures done by Japanese, which can be quite out of imagination and usually attract readers. But actually there is much more than that. The book is a biography of Louie Zamperini, from his childhood to his short but shining athlete career, then his legendaries in the army and as a POW. The days he drifted in the ocean were like a “Life of Pi” story but more real. And there is indeed a large part of the book dedicated to his POW experience. There is even a pretty large part at the end to cover Louie’s post-war life.

I like the book a lot. It’s a truly amazing story that drives readers asking what is going to happen next. A better part of credits should go to Louie. His real life story makes most fictions look mundane. The author also did a great job of collecting story pieces and weaving them together wonderfully.

Believe it or not, the sadistic anecdotes in Japanese POW camps somehow resonate with my middle school life. The book said in a POW camp “he wasn’t permitted to speak, whistle, sing, tap, read or look out his window”, and there are camp guards inspecting outside and look inside windows, who may jump through windows and catch someone. The rules and the scenario are almost exactly the same as the evening self-study sessions in my middle school. Also the POWs were forced to kill flies and have a “competition”, that also happened in my middle school..

I read the book on Kindle and it made me realize one shortcoming of Kindle e-book compared to paper book: it’s not as convenient to flip to the later part of a book and take a peek. When I read Louie was freed from Japanese, Kindle showed it as 60% of the book. So I kept wondering what the hell was the remaining 40% about… But it would take quite a few clicks and flips to find it out quickly on Kindle, so I chose to hold my curiosity and keep reading page by page, until I found the book actually ended when the progress showed 70%! The last 30% is acknowledgement, references and a preview of the author’s other book…

猎命师传奇・九把刀的iOS App

忘了是在哪儿看到说九把刀出了一个叫『真・九把刀全集』的iOS应用,把自己的所有小说免费放上去让人看。看到这新闻就觉得这一招还真是挺屌的。装上之后第一次启动会蹦出来一段九把刀自己录的很扯的视频,充满了这人一贯很臭屁的风格。然后这里面的书还真不少,制作水平也还不错。所谓全部其实也不是真的就全部了,最近一两年新出的估计由于合约的限制是没有的,但之前的也已经很多了,而且都是免费的,没有in app purchase。

感觉人有时候就是会想读一些纯消遣性质的书的,就好像中学时候读的金庸古龙。读起来很爽,翻起来很快,哗哗哗读完了晕乎乎的也不记得什么。九把刀的小说就是很不错的这类读物了。我直接挑了一个看起来最长的系列『猎命师传奇』来读,App里面有十七本,断断续续读到一半的时候大概算是被吸引住了吧,然后就很快的把后面的读完了。作为大致上的同龄人,看着九把刀把各种地方的设定拼凑起来搞成自成体系的一套大乱斗式的题材,还真是蛮好笑的。大概想起来,这个书里面猎命师的设定应该是原创的,也是比较核心的设定。除此之外可以看到吸血鬼,金庸武侠里的门派,古龙武侠里的小李飞刀和很装逼的写法,HunterXHunter里的气的设定,日本忍者,甚至还有圣斗士什么的。。。

从商业角度来说我觉得这个app应该还是满不错的举措吧,可以发展很多没接触过他小说的潜在读者,看完了之后很可能会去买新出的书。相比之下应该比卖出了比较久的书要划算,尤其是考虑到盗版已经很泛滥的状况。我觉得这人的脑袋还是很灵活的。

The Hunger Game

Finished reading the first book of The Hunger Games today. I enjoyed it and want to watch the movie very much now, lol.

The vocabulary of this book is at a moderate level, much much easier than read The Game of Thrones. So it’s a more enjoyable reading experience. It’s a little hard for me to understand why this book has been so popular. It was said to be the successor of Harry Porter. But I don’t think the fictional world in Hunger Games is not as spectacular as HP, neither is its story. Maybe it’s popular because it’s more close to real life? Or because it’s more bloody?

As a Chinese, I do realize some similarities between the model in Hunger Games and in the famous novel “1984”. And some descriptions did remind me of my life in China, especially in the middle school. Fortunately those uncomfortable memories are only memories for me now.

冰火第五部

经过长达数月(可能得有半年。。)的阅读,终于在上周读完。大部分是在地铁上用手机Kindle App读完的。这书在iPhone Kindle上长达两万多页,囧。有一次在地铁上看见一个女生捧着第五部的原书在读才知道这书这么厚。而且词汇对我来说还是很难的。。基本上每页都会有不认识的词,虽然也可以跳过不认识的词来读,但大部分时候还是不停的查。好在有触摸屏查词还比较方便。

读英文版的感觉跟读中文版还是有些不一样。感觉好像写得更细致了,其实应该是因为读得慢所以读得更细致了。不过有些章节人名跟以前读的前四部中文版对不上的时候真是一头雾水。

以下轻度剧透

Continue reading 冰火第五部

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team

Read recommendation of this book from a technical blog. Sounds like an easy book for management, and kindle version only 5$ (oops, 10$ now…). So I bought it immediately.

It’s a fairly short book, tells a fable of how a woman CEO comes from a traditional industry (automobile) to rescue a silicon valley company. The “five dysfunctions” are 5 traps a team could fall into on the way to real teamwork. The author visits them one by one in the story, then summarized them very clearly. The book introduces each dysfunction with indicators, reasons, methods to overcome, how leader should behave, and connections among these dysfunctions. It answers a few questions in my mind for a long time, like “what is politics (in  company)”, “what is trust”, etc. Some parts are really enlightening, and they are usually “popular highlights” in Kindle version (social reading? lol).

Nice book for management newcomer!