MyTBR 40: Amulet and Out of Darkness

This week on the TBRPodcast we revisited our Non-Fiction reading, since Michael didn’t get a chance last time when he was at his penultimate hospital visit before his daughter was born. And this time poor Patrick’s internet was giving him a hard time (mine was too, so I actually recorded through my phone’s internet, hence the different angle in my office). Sorry for the technical difficulties.

I know I mentioned Whole Earth Discipline by Stewart Brand again, but one I should have mentioned as it’s optimistic cousin with more of an economics than ecologist focus, was Matt Ridley’s excellent book The Rational Optimist, which in large part is about how human life is getting better and better, despite what the omnipresent negative media would say.

and I briefly mentioned Niall Ferguson’s Civilization, which I also really liked.

If you want to hear Patrick’s take on non-fiction, and my first list I shared, check out episode #18 from back in October:

My son and I read The Amulet #1: The Stonekeeper by Kazu Kibuishi, a graphic novel that was endorsed by Jeff Smith, creator of Bone. This one follows a girl and her brother as they lose first one parent and won’t let the other be taken, so follow a strange creature through a door in their old family house into another world. It is a little disturbing and creepy for kids at the beginning, to the point where my son said he wanted to stop, but then the next day decided we should keep going. That worked out great because it gets more whimsical as you go along, and I really enjoyed the artwork. The next one just came in at the library, of 5 in total, so we’ll be continuing soon.

This week I also finished Out of the Darkness by K. Caffee, her indie fantasy debut, and book 1 of the Followers of Torments series. It follows the life of a nameless slave born and bred to fight in the Sands of the arena. The author does an incredible job of giving you the limited perspective of this person growing up in the darkness without love, with nothing but harsh lessons learned by observation and repetition, trying to make sense of this world he’s thrown into. The battle scenes are detailed and believable, and the second half of the book is a lot of fun as he starts to explore the world outside the arena. She’s still working on polishing up the book, but I definitely enjoyed it, and the partially non-human heritage of the main character, combined with the intriguing setting provides a lot more for future exploration.

Yes, if you happen to buy one of these from Amazon based on my recommendation links, they’ll throw a few cents my way as a thank you. Or go get the book out of the library (I love my library), buy it in a used bookstore, or borrow it from a friend. If it catches your eye, you’ll find a way.