A Princess of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

A Princess of Mars (Mars (del Rey Books Numbered))

You can view this book’s Amazon detail page here.

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Started reading:
31st Jul 2006
Finished reading:
2nd Aug 2006

Review

Rating: 6

I started reading A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs to my kids a year ago. I downloaded the text to my PDA from which I can read to them with the lights out. I picked it up again in audio format when I finished Dragons Dawn.

This is a very important peice as the John Carter’s story was the tale ever sold by Burroughs. At age 35, Burroughs had previously had a largely unsuccesful life. He quickly followed this success by publishing the first Tarzan novel. From that point on, his success was secured. This novel grew into a series of 18 novels covering the adventures of John Carter, Apache hunter from the late 1800’s and his heroic wife Dejah Thoris, Princess of Mars.

Reading books from around the turn of the last century is always interesting. In the year 1900, everyone assumed all was known and science was at an end, yet novels such as this one would strive to stretch the boundaries.

I do think this novel was initially intended as a commentary on such social topics as Native American relations, communism, slavery and the affects of war on culture. Many of these themes were eventually lost as the adventure of the story grew on Burroughs. Throughout these advendures is characters portrayed the strict honor and morals of Burroughs’ time.

BTW DO NOT or even borrow the audio version of this book. It will ruin the story. The directorial decisions made in the production of the audio book, insult and ruin the story. The free audio version available from librivox, though read by almost a dozen narrators, from what I’ve heard, its quality far out strips the quality of the one that is for sale.

Dragonsdawn (Dragonriders of Pern Series)

By Anne McCaffrey

Dragonsdawn (Dragonriders of Pern Series)

You can view this book’s Amazon detail page here.

Tags:

Started reading:
24th Jul 2006
Finished reading:
31st Jul 2006

Review

Rating: 8

You won’t find me giving any of the books from the Dragon Riders of Pern series anything other than an 8, 9 or a 10. This is my favorite series.

This book jumps back several thousand years in the history of the planet PERN and describes the first 10 years of its colonization. This is a period of time when there is no such thing as a “dragon” on PERN or any other planet. The colonists of this planet look forward to setting up a peaceful agronomical society. An escape from the years of war against the Nathy and from the poluted and corrupted mother earth and subsequent colonies on Mars, First Centauri and elsewhere.

It describes the first obstacles that faced a society that would soon splinter and begin a millenium of decline into an economy similar to those found during Earth’s middle ages.

This is a good pre-history to the main thrust of the PERN series. I highly recommend it to you – AFTER you have read the other PERN books.

Now Reading – Recently Completed – The Worthing Saga by Orson Scott Card

Originaly posted here.

The Worthing Saga

By Orson Scott Card

The Worthing Saga

You can view this book’s Amazon detail page here.

Tags:

Started reading:
17th Jul 2006
Finished reading:
24th Jul 2006

Review

Rating: 7

The Worthing Saga is a series of short stories and novels that tells the story of an empire’s death and rebirth. It is the story that began Orson Scott Card’s career. This book includes stories as published in 1978 and continuing through its release in 1990. The audio version includes readings by both Emily Card and Orson himself.

This book, the Worthing Saga, includes both The Worthing Chronicle and a grouping of short stories. The Worthing Chronicle is a grand unifying story that combines both the novel HotSleep and many of the short stories that were worked into the Worthing Chronicle.

Those stories were not rewritten for this book, but appear in close to their original format. So, the do not all quite align with the saga, but that’s OK. They are entertaining none the elase. They were written as independent works and published in magazines and in part in one or two novels (Hot Sleep and Capital). OSC decided to publish them as-is without removing inconsistencies for the Worthing universe is after all a story about memory, its truths and its lies.

This was my second reading of The Worthing Chronicle. I don’t normally do short stories, so it was a difficult book to read the first time through. I don’t think I ever finished it. Too often short stories ends before the author can fully explain the characters and I read almost exclusively to hear people’s stories – even if they are fictional people.

In the end – though I will say that the Worthing Chronicle was a more craftily interwoven story, I enjoyed the HotSleep version of the story much more. HotSleep rings true to me where as Chroncicle is perhaps told in a more technical correct manner.

I do recommend you read both Hot Sleep and The Worthing Saga, but you should read HotSleep first. It delves more deeply into every character in the story and helps you understand the Worthing Saga in a deeper way.

Unless you have a really good used book store around you (my favorite was flooded two years ago and never recovered a REAL shame), the only place you will find Hot Sleep is attached to the second issue of OSC’s magazine The Intergalactic Medicine show. You can buy each issue for under $3 and you get MORE than your money’s worth.

Visit it at: http://www.InterGalacticMedicineShow.com

New Blog Feature – Now Reading….

I’d decided to install Rob Miller’s “Now Reading…” version 4.0 plugin ages ago to replace my Read in 2005 and 2006 categories. But I knew there was a new version of my current theme out. So, it didn’t make sense for me to manually add the required template changes especially when the new version of Binary Blue supported Widgets and writing a Now Reading Widget woud be simpler than updating the template all the time. Skip a few months and now Rob himself has investigated widgets and made his own available for Now Reading. So I rushed over to his site, grabbed it and installed it right away! S0000 SWEEET!

Unfortunately, my excitement got the better of me. I failed to notice that the download page for Now Reading had, not only the widget available, but also an updated version of the plug in. The current version of Now Reading was 4.2 and installing the plug in with 4.0 caused the side bar to blow up with a missing function error. I realized my probably mistake right away, uninstalled it all and reinstalled in the correct order with the latest.

Unfortunately, my woes did not end there. I found three problems with 4.2 that could be fixed with relative ease. The first problem was a ” *Fatal error*: Cannot redeclare now_reading_add()” Error. That was very easy to find. I had one link that didn’t work and one link for the same page that did work. A quick change to make now-reading-admin.php always use the “post.php?page=now-reading-add.php” syntax instead of “post.php?page=now-reading/now-reading-add.php” and the problem was solved.

The next problem was a “1 book *Warning*: Cannot modify header information -” error message that came up each time I edited a book. That looked just like a debug comment, and indeed Rob confirmed that this one was fixed in his own code already but didn’t say how. I didn’t have access to check out the latest code yesterday, so I fixed it myself. The total_books routine takes a parameter to termine whether or not to print to the screen. In one place, the parameter was needed but not specified. So I changed
if ( $count > total_books(0) )
to:
if ( $count > total_books(0, false) )

and that problem was solved.

I sent those two changes and a recommendation that the widget check for the correct version of the plugin to him and he replied with a thanks, he’d put in the changed the code as I’d suggested (b4 or after I don’t know) and notice that 4.21 was released! Cool, that means no one else should get these errors.

Unfortunately, I noticed two minor things after that point. First, one book I entered had an apostrophe in the title. Unfortunately, the plugin now put a slash in front of the appostrophe. I SUSPECT that this is a WP 2.03 issue and I have not reported it to Rob. I’ll install 2.04alpha/beta/whatever soon and see if the problem goes away.

The next minor issue was reported to Rob with the fix. After I put in the 12 books I read this year, the plugin was reporting that I had an average of 144 books a month. I admit that my 2 books* a month average this year is pathetic compared to last year’s 3.6 (I read nothing in March this year oddly enough – I guess that’s when I started the blog and nothing struck me as interesting enough to take my time away from that. And I’ve also been reading a lot from Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show), but I’m not going to bolster it to 144 books a month…

So, I dug into the average query and found the problem…

I shot another email to Rob just before two this morning:

>I’ll add a version check to the widget now, good idea.
Thanks!

Oh and I have one more update if you haven’t fixed this one already too..

Your average books calculation was off. You’re missing a MIN statement around the b_added.

So it should look like this:
SELECT
( COUNT(*) / ( TO_DAYS(CURDATE()) – TO_DAYS( MIN(b_added) ) ) ) AS books_per_day
FROM
{$wpdb->prefix}now_reading
WHERE
b_status = ‘read’

Nice plugin… Now I’m just trying to remember all of the books I’ve read so far this year… I just remembered another… So that’s 12…

That change is in template-functions.php around line 145. I think I’ll keep my current version installed till the fix is out.

So, now you can look at my sidebar now and see all of the books I am reading and have read this year. And if you like the idea of any of the books I’ve read, you can purchase it through the links and I’ll get a peice of the action. (Actually for now Rob will. I’ve not put in my own Amazon ID yet.) I don’t think I’ll put in last year’s 44+ books for a while yet. Each book deserves a comment but that’s 44 more blog entries I need to write. So, I’ll piece meal them in. If you like what you see, please visit Rob’s site and download the latest and greatest versions of now reading. Just click this link: http://robm.me.uk/projects/plugins/wordpress/now-reading/

BTW, I put together the promised context menu post I mentioned the other day, but was debugging something and decided to backup the file and wipe out most of the file so that I could Isolate what I was debugging. Unfortuately, I forgot I’d also already changed the name of the working file. *smacks head* So, I lost some of my change and all of my extended commenting. I just need to re-review the comments ( the second time you put in comments they are never as good as the first time you put them in ) and I’ll publish the post. Probably tomorrow. I’ve got a lawn to mow and a carpet or two to shampoo… Cheers!

* One of the people in our shipping department had a discussion with the UPS guy saying both stated that they’d each only ever read 1 book cover to cover. How sad (not not meaning pitiful but saddening) is that…

Books I’ve read in 2005 but have not yet reviewed

I didn’t plan on doing anything like this.  So I didn’t track everything  I read.  Luckily I was on a series binge in 2005.  So I could look up the most of them easily.  I’ll try to get reviews of each of these on here later. 

Here’s what I remember:

The Burglar in the Rye by Block, Lawrence.
The Burglar Who Studied Spinoza by Block, Lawrence.
The Burglar Who Traded Ted Williams by Block, Lawrence.
The Burglar Who Painted Like Mondrian by Block, Lawrence.
Burglars Can’t Be Choosers by Block, Lawrence.
The Burglar in the Closet by Block, Lawrence.
The Burglar Who Liked to Quote Kipling by Block, Lawrence.
The Burglar Who Thought He Was Bogart by Block, Lawrence.
Marker Cook, Robin.
Seizure by Cook, Robin.
Shock by Cook, Robin.
Saga of Seven Suns Book 1: Horizon Storms by Anderson, Kevin J.
Saga of Seven Suns Book 2: A Forest of Stars by Anderson, Kevin J.
Saga of Seven Suns Book 3: Hidden Empire by Anderson, Kevin J.
The Dark Tower I: The Gunslinger by King, Stephen.
The Dark Tower II: The Drawing of the Three by King, Stephen.
The Dark Tower III: The Waste Lands by King, Stephen.
The Dark Tower IV: Wizard and Glass by King, Stephen.
The Dark Tower V: Wolves of the Calla (title originally announced as The Crawling Shadow) by King, Stephen.
The Dark Tower VI: Song of Susannah by King, Stephen.
The Dark Tower VII: The Dark Tower by King, Stephen.
Anne of Green Gables by Montgomery, L. M.
Anne of Avonlea by Montgomery, L. M.
Anne of the Island by Montgomery, L. M.
Anne’s House of Dreams by Montgomery, L. M.
Vulcan’s Soul. Book I, Exodus Star Trek; by Sherman, Josepha.; Shwartz, Susan
Captains Corageous by Rudyard Kipling
Dagon’s Kin – Todd MaCaffery
Faith of the Fallen by Terry Goodkind
Left Behind: A Novel of the Earth’s Last Days by Tim F. LaHaye,Jerry B. Jenkins
Tribulation Force: The Continuing Drama of Those Left Behind by Tim F. LaHaye,Jerry B. Jenkins
Nicolae: The Rise of Antichrist by Tim F. LaHaye,Jerry B. Jenkins
Soul Harvest: The World Takes Sides by Tim F. LaHaye,Jerry B. Jenkins
Apollyon: The Destroyer Is Unleashed by Tim F. LaHaye,Jerry B. Jenkins
Assassins: Assignment: Jerusalem, Target: Antichrist by Tim F. LaHaye,Jerry B. Jenkins
The Indwelling: The Beast Takes Possession by Tim F. LaHaye,Jerry B. Jenkins
The Mark: The Beast Rules the World by Tim F. LaHaye,Jerry B. Jenkins
Desecration: Antichrist Takes the Throne by Tim F. LaHaye,Jerry B. Jenkins
The Remnant: On the Brink of Armageddon by Tim F. LaHaye,Jerry B. Jenkins
Armageddon The Cosmic Battle of the Ages by Tim F. LaHaye,Jerry B. Jenkins
Glorious Appearing: The End of Days by Tim F. LaHaye,Jerry B. Jenkins

Books I’ve read in 2006 but haven’t reviewed yet

Read in 2006
Saga of Seven Suns Book 4: Scattered Suns by Anderson, Kevin J.
The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
The Time Machine by Wells, H. G.
Califia’s Daughters by Richards, Leigh
Those Who Walk in Darkness by Ridley, John.
S is for Silence by Sue Grafton – Not yet completed

Angels and Demons by Dan Brown – Not yet completed