What I’ve been reading, Vol. IV
Published by António Lopes on February 13, 2012
Categories: Books, Personal, Technology

Sarah Silverman – The Bedwetter: Stories of Courage, Redemption, and Pee

My Review: If you like Sarah Silverman‘s type of comedy (meaning rape or holocaust jokes, or basically anything controversial) and you can go past her huge ego (the book’s foreword and midword – yep, she invented that just so she could brag a little bit more about her book – is written by herself) you’ll love to hear about her life story. I, for one, am a fan and the book did not disappoint. But it’s not brilliant.

My Rating: 4/5

Al Gore – Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis

My Review: This is the handbook that was missing in the “An inconvenient truth” feature documentary. The documentary was all about telling people how bad the planet was, climate-wise. It was alarming but it wasn’t very informative regarding our options or our choices (we won’t change global warming just by changing lightbulbs). This book fulfills that purpose by exposing every possible alternatives while discussing its pros and cons and it does so quite well (with a few exceptions).
I read the iPad app version that, except for some multimedia elements, fails at too many levels to justify this kind of format:

  • You can’t read it in portrait mode. For many people, this is simply unacceptable
  • There’s no clear way of assessing the reading progress. There are no page numbers, no reference to the current chapter and no table of contents for random access. That’s the most basic feature of books!
  • No customization whatsoever. You can’t choose font type, size or color (including for background). No brightness controls too.
  • Multimedia components do not follow iOS’ best practices. For example, there’s no way to control sound or video playback or volume. If something wasn’t clear at first, you have to wait until the video finishes to play it again and listen to the whole thing again.

My Rating: 4/5

Tina Fey – Bossypants

My Review: I’m a big fan of 30 Rock but I have to admit I didn’t quite know Tina Fey before that TV Show. So, obviously, once I knew she had a book coming out, I saw it as an opportunity to know a bit more about her. And I was not disappointed at all. This is the perfect example of what a biography should be: part life story novel, part comedian tutorial, part parenting manual, part LFMF book, all awesome.

My Rating: 5/5

Simon Pegg – Nerd Do Well

My Review: This one is not that different from Tina Fey’s Bossypants since it follows more or less the same approach in biography style. A lot of humiliating episodes, a lot of funny and hilarious moments but most of all, Simon describes his path towards success with constant wit and self-consciousness that really makes you crave for more. However, I don’t really know how to explain it but I didn’t like it as much as Bossypants. Perhaps they shouldn’t even be compared, but since I read one after the other, the comparison is inevitable. And because of that, Nerd Do Well falls short. But it’s still worth a read since it’s terribly hilarious sometimes.

My Rating: 4/5

Ray Kurzweil – The Singularity is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology

My Review: if you’re really interested in this kind of subject (the singularity and the general concept of the next step in the evolution of the human race), this book is definitely a must-read. However, Kurzweil fails in some aspects of the book although, luckily, not the ones that really matter. Kurzweil likes to call himself a futurist and, because of that, the accuracy of his predictions and his statements throughout the entire book are of the utmost importance…for him. That is, every statement that he makes on the likelihood (or the time-frame) of something happening has to be justified to exhaustion. And I mean, exhaustion in the most literal sense of the word. We get it, Kurzweil, technological advancements are exponential. But do you really need 300 pages to show us that? But as I said, luckily, after that phd-thesis period of the book passes, the rest of the reading is quite pleasant and totally fulfils its purpose: to speculate on the future of the human race if the singularity does occur. I still have some doubts that we’ll actually get there, but it’s always interesting to think/discuss about it 🙂

My Rating: 3/5

Related: What I’ve been reading, Vol. I, II and III


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