Tag Archives: nonfiction

EXPIRED | Double Deal Alert: Kodansha Manga & Brain Wave Non-Fiction Humble Bundles

Currently, Humble Bundle is offering two book bundles that look pretty interesting. First off, Kodansha is offering a number of manga including AjinInuyashikiThe Seven Deadly SinsGhost in the Shell, and Battle Angel Alita. There aren’t so many titles in this bundle as there are a lot of times, but the nice thing here is that each title includes a good chunk of volumes–most of them at least the first 10 volumes of the manga–so you can get a good idea of the style and story and go from there if you want to continue reading. Maybe some of them are even complete; I could check, but I’m too lazy to bother. Sorry. You can find more about this bundle here.

The other bundle of note is a selection of science-related non-fiction. Now I’m not usually one to read much non-fiction, but some of this looks pretty interesting. And while all of it’s pretty science-y, the topics covered are actually pretty diverse–physics, evolution, earth science, history of science, astronomy, relativity, etc. If you’re interested, you can find out more here.

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EXPIRED | Deal Alert: Geek Gals Humble Bundle

Strong female protagonists? Check. Geekiness in abundance? Check. Humble Bundle’s newest offering features the best of this powerhouse combination, with a good selection of geeky graphic novels with some great female leads. More of a starter set than a library builder, this bundle includes the first volumes of a number of series rather than multiple volumes of any one series–which gives a great chance to try a number of different stories to see what’s interesting. In addition, this bundle includes some non-fiction including some random volumes on wearable tech, a book of geeky lifehacks, and (possibly the most exciting to me) the anthology The Secret Loves of Geek Girls. All in all, it looks like a fun mix and well worth trying.

You can find this bundle at https://www.humblebundle.com/books/geek-gals-books.

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Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking

Author: Susan Cainquiet

My rating: 4.5 of 5

Did you know that somewhere between one-third and one-half of the people in this world are introverts? Sure doesn’t seem like it most times. In fact, a lot of the time, it seems like if you’re not talking all the time and involved in all sorts of social activities, there’s something wrong with you. But what if there’s more to the quiet people than meets the eye? If there are things hidden inside that the extroverts of the world would do well to take the time to listen to?

I’m usually not really into non-fiction very much, but I really enjoyed reading Quiet. As someone who is constantly being told to speak up, to be more aggressive, to be more involved, I feel the messages of this book very personally. It does a great job of affirming introverts without excusing them from the real world–because let’s face it, it’s probably impossible to just hide away somewhere for the rest of your life. At the same time, this book provides a powerful message for extroverts, showing a bit of what’s going on inside quiet people, the different things they need, and the unexpected insights that introverts can have. The author does a good job of compiling lots of different research and drawing logical conclusions from both that and her own experience, while at the same time presenting the material in a very readable, approachable manner. One of the things I most appreciated was the practical recommendations Cain gave for handling life as an introvert–nothing groundbreaking perhaps, but very practical things that you might not think of normally. I would recommend Quiet especially for introverts who need encouragement and (perhaps even more so) for extroverts.

 

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Dragon’s Breath: and Other True Stories

Dragon's Breath: and Other True StoriesAuthor/Illustrator: MariNaomi

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

In this collection of comic shorts, artist MariNaomi provides a unique look into her own childhood and young adulthood. From her impressions of relatives growing up to the guys she dated, she gives a (sometimes painfully) honest evaluation of a series of events that stand out as influential in her growing up.

I have to be frank: I’m probably not the best person to review Dragon’s Breath. It’s really not my style. The art is very good–spare and expressive–but not to my taste. Furthermore, I just don’t get the impression that I would like the author as a person if I met her, just personally, and I think that flavors my experience with this volume significantly. Having said that, I wasn’t hugely impressed. As I said, the art was good and the stories are similarly spare and yet emotionally loaded . . . but not to my taste at all. I think a lot of other readers would enjoy these comics a lot, however, so I guess Dragon’s Breath is one collection that I’ll just say you should see for yourself whether you like it or not, okay?

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The Skiver’s Guide

Author: Diana Wynne Jones

Illustrator: Ros Asquith

I think the Weasley twins would be proud. In The Skiver’s Guide, renowned author Diana Wynne Jones crafts a witty how-to book on avoiding unnecessary work in all aspects of life. It covers everything from general techniques like acting dreamy or becoming ill to specifics like tips for avoiding homework or dealing with specific family members. This book is delightfully multi-layered. On the one hand, it is written in an extremely straightforward manner–and could be taken quite seriously. Actually, there probably are tips in it that you could put to good use. On the other hand, there’s definitely a tongue-in-cheek feel to the whole thing–you could read it as one big gag (I did). Either way, I think you’ll find The Skiver’s Guide to be an interesting and intelligent little volume.

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Behold the Trees

Author: Sue Alexander

Illustrator: Leonid Gore

In this creatively illustrated picture book, Sue Alexander speaks of the trees and their place in what is current-day Israel from the times of ancient history to the present day. She speaks movingly of the lush growth that once covered that land; of the ignorance, war, and lack of care that eventually caused the land to be nearly barren; and of the world-wide efforts which have led to the planting of thousands of trees and to a renewed life in the land. Behold the Trees is a unique blend of ecology and history. In a lesser author, it would be a truly boring and didactic work; however, Alexander’s deft writing and Gore’s craggy, earth-toned illustrations craft this into a moving story instead. I probably wouldn’t read this as a picture book for small children, but I think Behold the Trees is a beautiful book that everyone should read at least once, if only for the perspective it provides.

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Persepolis

Author/Illustrator: Marjane Satrapi

In this visually and emotionally stunning graphic novel, author and artist Marjane Satrapi tells of her childhood and young adulthood, growing up in Iran during the unsettled time of the Islamic revolution. Her story is in many ways heartrending, showing a government intent on stifling its people and their freedoms. But it’s also a story of the persistence and hope inherent in humanity, that spark that inspires secret rebellions against tyranny and that keeps us getting back up when we’re knocked down. I found the historical and political insights given in Satrapi’s memoir to be particularly significant, as Iran in the 1980s to 1990s is a place and time that I knew almost nothing about. It’s also really neat (although also extremely sad at times) to see life at this point from the perspective of the people, rather than from the government or a biased media. While not a story for children, I think Persepolis is an important and interesting work that is a must-read for adults, and possibly mature teenagers.

Note: This was originally published in the U.S. as two separate volumes, but is also available now as an omnibus, The Complete Persepolis, which I would recommend as it is quite a nice edition and includes the entire story.

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