ASK Musings

No matter where you go, there you are.

Daily Archive: December 30, 2017

Saturday

30

December 2017

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COMMENTS

Black Panther #1 by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Written by , Posted in Reviews

Three Stars

Best for: Fans of graphic novels in the Marvel universe.

In a nutshell: I’m not entirely sure what is going on.

Line that sticks with me: N/A

Why I chose it: We are in the midst of a huge book purge because it costs an absurd amount of money to ship books overseas, and this one from my partner’s pile caught my eye.

Review: I think this is a situation where I needed to have more background to fully understand what was going on. I felt like I was dropped into the middle of a story that everyone else already knew. Like, starting on book three of Harry Potter without having read the first two. It’d be confusing, right? That’s how this felt, although this is the first book.

Despite having trouble understanding exactly what was going on, I still enjoyed reading it. There were interesting characters, and the story’s ending definitely made me interested enough to seek out book two when I have the chance.

This is also the 104th book I’ve read this year. I kind of can’t believe it. I’m going to do a wrap-up post about my reading over on my own website (askmusings.com) sometime in the next couple of days if you want to check that out. It was fun to set such a big goal and reach it primarily with non-fiction books (although I did have a few novels and graphic novels in there as well). I think I only did maybe one audio book this year too. Which isn’t to say that reading 104 audio books would have been any less of an achievement; it just wasn’t my focus this year.

However, I did notice that setting such a high goal meant that some longer, more involved books went unread. There’s a 500+ page book on the problems of policing that I want to dive into, for example, but every time I looked at it, I thought about my reading goal. And that’s probably not how this all should go down. So next year, it’s back to the regular 52-book cannonball read for me.

Saturday

30

December 2017

0

COMMENTS

It’s All Relative by A. J. Jacobs

Written by , Posted in Reviews

Three Stars

Best for: Fans of the experiential non-fiction genre. (I don’t know if that’s actually a thing; it’s just what I call books based on people doing something and then writing about it. Like Morgan Spurlock’s SuperSize Me, but in book form.)

In a nutshell: Author Jacobs decides to explore the connection between all of us, via our ancestors.

Line that sticks with me: “You want to be a Steve Jobs? You want to be an Albert Einstein? Don’t ever confuse that with being a good family man, or a good human being.”

Why I chose it: I’ve read his other books and enjoyed them.

Review: You might be familiar with Mr. Jacobs’s other work. He’s the guy who read the encyclopedia Britannica, who spent a year living by different commands from the Bible, and who tried all sorts of different ways to live his healthiest life. In this book, he decides to throw the world’s largest family reunion, based on the idea that we are all family.

He comes onto this plan when he is contacted by someone who claims to be his eighth cousin. Which, if I understand correctly, means they share the same great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandparents. The full premise is, if you go back far enough, we all have the same initial great x whatever grandparents. But even without going back that far, you can find relatives that you can actually trace your connection to.

Why does this matter? Because, according to Mr. Jacobs’s hopes, perhaps if we think of the stranger in front of us as a possible relative, we’ll be kinder to them. And not just on an individual level, but on a larger philosophical level.

The book itself is a fun, pretty quick read. If you like his previous work, this won’t disappoint you.