I love books. My siblings and I grew up on a steady diet of Dr. Seuss and The Bernstein Bears. This was followed by a whole lot of books from my parents’ bookshelf. There’s The Book of Knowledge, The Fascinating World of Animals, the dictionary (which I tried and failed to read from A to Zymurgy), a whole bunch of Reader’s Digest Condensed Books, and so much more. You can say that that bookshelf to me then was what the Internet is to me today.

At around 7 years of age, I found and read The Hobbit. Followed soon after by the full Lord of the Rings Trilogy. I don’t know exactly when I finished it but I recall when I was 9, I was telling my schoolmates about lembas during recess. That means I could be in The Two Towers or The Return of the King by then. I even tried to read The Silmarilion. I’ve read many more novels since but nothing ever came close to JRR Tolkien’s books. They have a special place in my heart. And I sure hope Jeanne will read them someday, too.

Yes, books definitely were a huge part of my childhood. So I’ve always worked towards instilling Jeanne a love for books. I give her books once in a while and we read them during bedtime. Sometimes, on trips to the mall, we visit the bookstore. Today, we went there again, I sat down and she got book after book from the shelves and we read and read them. And she enjoyed it so much she didn’t want to leave. It’s great to see progress in your parenting.

No Easy Day

Read Mark Owen/Matt Bissonette’s No Easy Day. It’s a narrative of the author’s getting into SEAL Team 6 aka DEVGRU, his eventual involvement in the assault that ended UBL, and some of the events afterward.The book is written in a first person perspective. Normally, I’m not a fan of the first person but it’s appropriate for this case and it’s written in a straightforward, easy-to-read manner. I was done in a few hours worth of reading.

There’s really nothing new in No Easy Day if you’ve already read a few SEALS books and you’ve already narratives of the UBL raid. Sure there were some deviations from other narratives but then pretty much all the narratives deviate from each other. It could have been just another narrative, just another SEAL book except for the noise the US government had been making. Only made the book more fascinating and even raised the author’s credibility. But with or without the noise, it’s an entertaining read.

Rating: 4/5

Steve Jobs

Finished reading Steve Jobs, the official biography by Walter Isaacson, over the long weekend. The biography is very personal with Jobs himself confiding directly to Isaacson his opinions, his thoughts, his motivations, his aspirations. This is further supported by close friends and business associates, even rivals and enemies. Of course, given Job’s intense privacy, you still feel you’re not getting everything. But I guess this is as close as you can get.

Even better, this book is not just about Steve Jobs. Because they’re closely intertwined, it is also about the companies he founded, Apple, NeXT, and Pixar. Creativity and innovation are Job’s hallmarks and it provides a glimpse of the creative and innovative processes in those companies. One thing you note is that in these companies, it’s not just Jobs coming up with ideas. A lot, including many that he initially rejected, also came from his colleagues. A definite read not just for fans and admirers of Jobs but also for any student of business.

A Dance With Dragons Is Out!

Alex told me that book five of the Song of Ice and Fire, A Dance With Dragons, is out. I knew that  the US release was supposed to be July 12 but it somehow skipped my mind. But now it’s out and I can’t wait to get reading. Just as well since I’ve run out of TV episodes to watch, books to read, and I can’t seem to get the momentum to play through Infamous, my PSN welcome back freebie. Thanks, Alex!

UPDATE: Finished the book. Definitely better than the previous book A Feast for Crows. As intended, while the previous book focuses on the south, this book focuses on the north (and across the narrow sea). Although there’s an overlap in narrative (notably the POVs of Cersei and Jaime), it simply brings together the two separate threads into one book as teaser for the next. The book itself got all the elements that was missing in the previous one, i.e. big things happen, and when it ends, I’m left satisfied and yet looking forward for more. Looks like it’s going to be a long wait.

A Feast For Crows

Finished A Feast for Crows last night. More like a feast for flies. This book is where things became mundane. Pretty much nothing happens. Good thing it’s short. Things did start to pick up towards the end. But then it ends… in multiple cliffhangers. What’s really disappointing is that it seems you can skip quite a lot of this book and it wouldn’t have mattered much. We’ll have to see on the sixth book because while this book focuses on what happens on the south, the fifth book focuses on what happens in the north. I just hope fifth book is not of the same content as this.