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Archives for Books

glamourist histories

I’ve been going through back issues of Asimov’s on my train ride, and a story by Mary Robinette Kowal caught my eye (Kiss Me Twice (PDF), I suspect?), so I figured I’d give her novels a try. So I started with Shades of Milk and Honey; I’m not familiar enough with relevant genres to be […]

social norms and market norms at work

Reading Predictably Irrational got me thinking again about workplace organization: in particular, the extent to which companies try to set up the employer/employee relationship as a primarily social relationship instead of as a primarily market-driven relationship. And, of course, it’s both: work involves people interacting together over a long period of time, but work also […]

the moirin trilogy

The last time I read Kushiel’s Legacy, only the first two trilogies had been published. Since then, there’s been a third trilogy, and I wasn’t optimistic about it: I’ve read way too many fantasy or SF series that go off the rails as they get extended, so it’s time for that series to lose its […]

rereading the kushiel trilogy

Liesl and I are in the middle of a reread of the Kushiel series, and the original trilogy continues to be, in its own way, great. I thought I’d written more about it here, but it turns out that I’ve only barely touched on the series. So I think it’s time to touch on it […]

object thinking

One of the books I read over vacation was Object Thinking, by David West. I should probably reread it, I certainly don’t claim to understand it well yet or know to what extent I trust the ideas therein, but it’s the sort of melange that appeals to me. The book doesn’t shy away from grand […]

player of games

Player of Games has always been my favorite Iain Banks novel, but I’ve never been sure how much of that is because it’s good and how much of that is because it presses my buttons. I like the Culture quite a bit as a universe, and I’m also pretty obsessed with games, so it’s only […]

mushishi

Mushishi struck me right off the bat as an unusual manga series from a formal point of view; looking back, though, I’m not sure why I got that feeling quite as strongly as I did. Comparing it to the rest of my bookshelf, it is the case that most of the manga that I read […]

first, break all the rules speaks truth

When I became a manager at Sun, they sent me to new manager training; they asked us to read a book called First, Break All the Rules which seemed to do a pretty good job of presenting a research-based approach towards management. One of the findings that the book presents is that, if you want […]

plus ca change

From Thomas Cleary’s introduction to his translation of Zen Lessons: In contrast to the relatively plain and straightforward Zen literature of the Tang dynasty, Song dynasty Zen literature is convoluted and artful. This is not regarded, in Zen terms, as a development in Zen, but as a response to a more complex and pressured society […]

games and my soul

I’ve always been an unconventional video games blogger, because of the low volume of games that I find time to play, but that’s become much more the case over the last year. I was surprised to look at my recently played games list and realize that I didn’t finish any games for five months solid […]

the dangers of micromanaging

There’s a fine line between keeping in close touch with how your subordinates are doing and micromanaging them. Some team leaders in our study stepped way over the wrong side of that line. Operating under a misguided notion of what management involves, they held themselves aloof from their teams. Rather than working collaboratively with the […]

the go consultants

John Fairbairn and Mark Hall have been doing a series of books on single go games or a small series of games, and they’re really good: a great combination of historical context paired with detailed commentary on the moves of the games themselves. The one I just finished reading was The Go Consultants, devoted to […]

whipping girl

A friend of mine loaned me her copy of Whipping Girl, because she thought I would enjoy it and find it interesting; she was quite correct in that suspicion. I’m copying down some quotes here largely for my own future reference, but if y’all find something of interest in them, so much the better. (If […]

teaching games

In the January VGHVI Symposium, we discussed some of Roger’s thoughts on teaching. Which was a very interesting conversation, and I’d like to follow it up more. Unfortunately, I’m hampered for a couple of reasons: I haven’t been in a classroom at all for a couple of years, I haven’t been the primary instructor in […]

lifelode, among others

I’ve been a Jo Walton fan for a while—all of her books are quite good, and Tooth and Claw is rather wonderful book if you’re a fan of Victorian novels and dragons—but Lifelode got to me in a way that none of her previous novels did. It’s a fantasy novel, and makes contact with many […]

the mad man

I recently (re)read The Mad Man, by Samuel R. Delany. Which is a book that I’m still trying to figure out: on the one hand, it’s one of the most life-affirming books that I know, but on the other hand, it’s pornography, and pornography where the protagonist spends a fair amount of time drinking piss. […]

time to read

As is doubtless clear from this blog, for the last several years most of my time interacting with art has been spent with video games. And that’s been wonderful, no question. What is less clear from this blog, however, is the extent to which that wasn’t always the case: while I’ve played video games regularly […]

national coming out day

This month’s theme seems to be “blog about David’s sexuality”; one of my coworkers recently reminded me that National Coming Out Day is today, so let’s just make that theme still more explicit. Because it’s kind of amazing (embarrassing, really) that I’ve written more than 1100 posts on this blog, and this is the first […]

bye-bye, breakfast

A few years ago, I was spurred by the book Good Calories, Bad Calories to worry less about fat and to cut down on some of my carb excesses. And, in general, I was happy enough with the results, but it hadn’t had a huge impact on my life after the first year or so. […]

notes on books

Some tangentially related notes on recent experiences reading books: When I was thinking about getting an iPad, I wondered what format I should buy books in. I was thinking the contenders were Amazon’s proprietary format versus ePub books (sadly largely with encryption in both cases); but when I actually got the iPad, I discovered that […]