Sunday, November 22, 2009

Review - Corey Doctorow - Little Brother

Little Brother is a book that I cannot recommend highly enough. Whether you are a geek that wants a book where you get the in jokes, a non-geek who wants to understand geeks, or anyone at all that wants a book that will make them really think about the way the world works, then this book is extremely excellent.

This book was especially powerful for me because I went into it not knowing what to expect. I highly encourage you to do the same, and if you would like to do so now you can actually obtain a legitimate free copy at Or if you would like to know more, read on.

Instead of being just a book about a bunch of kids running around being awesome, Little Brother is actually an incredibly well constructed story about censorship and terrorism. These aren't really issues that YA, or really any fiction I can think of, usually deal with, yet they are dealt with in this book so elegantly that it really makes you see how these issues relate to your everyday life, and why they are important to consider.

I think that the message of this book is so poweful for two reasons. Firstly, it is so very plausable. The book is set in a time that is in the very near future, perhaps as close as next year, where there are only slight changes to the way things are now, better smartcards and a new xbox for example. Any of the changes he made are so small, and more importantly logically consistent, that you can see how they are not just possible, but likely. This is one of the things that makes some of the bad things that happen in the book utterly terrifying. The other reason is that it is happening to normal people. A main theme of the book is that it's not just 'those with something to hide' that need to worry, but that issues like this can affect even the most nomal and well behaved citerzins.

The novel is not just a dry paranoid tome about how the government hates us all. It is very focussed on people, and the way they react to things, and the serious aspects aside, it is also very fun to read for the excellent geek subculture that the book also expolores. It's actually quite a light and easy read despite the issues it deals with - I just recommend you are somewhere where you can concentrate for the first few chapaters.

Feel free to comment and let me know what you think!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Just incase you happen to be reading...

... and are wondering what happened to 'next week's' post of over a year ago, Real Life(TM) has somewhat interfered with the running of this blog. For the curious, this mostly consisted of full time jobs, angst, and a very serious car accident. Recently however, circumstances have conspired to make me reconsider what is important in life, and I have realised this blog is something that I very much want to continue.

To keep you going until I decide which awesome book I'd like to review next, I thought I'd share the top three reasons I love writing reviews.

1. I love to share.

Many of the fantastic books that I've read I would never have experienced if someone didn't give them to me and tell me I had to read them. Sharing these books with as many people as possible is the best way I can think of returning the favour.

2. I like to know how things work.

When I read to review I pay so much more attention to what I'm reading. I think about what works and what doesn't, why the author is doing particular things, and if it's something I could be doing in my own work.

3. I am completely obsessed with 'the message.'

And I suspect this comes across a lot in my review. Books are such a powerful medium, especially YA which guides many of us in some of the most personality forming parts of our lives. And I'm not just talking about as teenagers. Even as a grown up, I turn to books when I am struggling with a particular issue in my head, or just to help reassure mysself that I'm on the right path.

So however you stumbled accross this page, I encourage you to stick around and read some of the reviews I will be posting over the next few weeks. I promise that it will be worth it, if not for my reviews, just because I know some books that you absolutely HAVE to read... YOUR WEBLOG NAME HERE