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Quarterly review: FY15Q3

Each quarter I do a quick roundup of the book and film reviews that I do on Goodreads and Letterboxd. These reviews are too short and too off-the-cuff to be included with the more in depth reviews I do on this site. Below are the highlights of the quarter.


Currently at 37 of 50 books in my 2015 Goodreads challenge, my pace this quarter dropped significantly since reading Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln and starting Infinite Jest, both which are over a thousand pages. Yes, the Infinite Summer is not over for me and looks to last into winter. I should be able to polish off this year’s particularly ambitious challenge. In the meantime, here are some of my shorter reviews:

★★★☆☆ Nine Princes in Amber

★★★★☆ Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln

★★★★☆ Whispers Under Ground

★★★★★ Understanding Cultural and Human Geography

★★★☆☆ The Goblin Emperor


This quarter I have been watching a lot of TV — at least, a lot for me. Mr Robot and Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell were highlights.

Mr Robot has fueled much discussion at my office. Although I generally liked it, I think the conversations afterward are even more interesting than the show itself. I hope other — especially non-tech people — are also talking about the issues brought up in the show, and are not sidetracked by the (undermining in my opinion) sensationalism around drugs and sex (a particular obsession of the USA network?).

I would like to take this opportunity to highlight another (documentary) series I watched this quarter and thought was excellent: Adam Curtis’s All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace. This film encapsulates much of my observations and concerns about technology, politics and society over the last three years, but was released in 2011. The first two episodes are particularly recommended.

As for Strange & Norrell, I read it a few years back and rated it 5 stars. I love this book. The TV show was not as satisfying, but I think that was mostly a function of length. The sets, costume and acting were brilliant. And even though I could only inhabit this world for 7 hours (compared to the 32 hour audiobook), I think the abridgement actually cleared up a few plot points for me. Regardless, I am sure glad that they didn’t try to squeeze it into a 2 hour movie.

As for movies, I watched quite a few while my kids were in Japan, but the rate tapered off dramatically once they returned (and once I got into the above-mentioned television series). Only 3 micro-reviews:

★★★★☆ Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief

★★★★☆ 12 Years a Slave

★★½☆☆ Lone Survivor