Showing posts with label graphic novels. Show all posts
Showing posts with label graphic novels. Show all posts

Friday, February 3, 2017

My Current Bookshelf - January 2017

Given that January was a month in which I was not in class, it will surprise few that I read a decent amount this month and many of them were phenomenal reads; a great way to start the year!  There were a lot of great books to discuss but I will restrict my posting to just a handful and I'll be curious if anyone can see a theme.   Feel free to ask me about any of them if you're looking for recommendations.

White Like Me by Tim Wise

Wise's memoir of his own awakening to systematic racism in the United States is a powerful and useful tale for white people to read and reflect on their own experience.  From his early upbringing in the south to his education in New Orleans and early days of activism against the David Duke campaigns in the 1990s, Wise explores the ways in which he has succeeded and failed in being an ally to non-white people.  But what Wise does best throughout the book is to mark with clarity the ways in which the privilege afforded him by being white created opportunities or nullifed threats that would have existed for him, were he not white.  Additionally, he is great at unpackaging the ways in which investment in whiteness doesn't harm just non-whites but does damage to white people as well.  For anyone looking to better understand how one can strive to address and engage with the racial strife in this country, Wise's book is a great start.  

March Volumes 1-3 by John Robert Lewis

These three graphic novels capture John Lewis's first-hand account as an activist in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. From his upbringing in Troy, Alabama to his entrance into college and earliest political experiences, the story provides his bird's eye view and experience in striving for a nonviolent revolution in the face of overwhelming white supremacy, oppression, and violence. His experience in the 1960s is paralleled with the inauguration in 2009 of President Barak Obama, providing a beacon to the harsh and vitriolic culture to which both Lewis and Obama (and for that matter all African Americans) were (and continue to be) subjected to. Through the three volumes, Lewis touches upon the leadership of the Civil Rights Movements, the different factions, and the challenges of trying to find the best courses of action to take. The book is both a history and a primer on attempting to change a racist culture that is worth reading for those interested in autobiographies, history, African-American studies, and organizational and cultural change. It would be fascinating to see a volume 4 that parallel's Lewis's experiences with the cultural backlash of the 1970s & 1980s that goes hand-in-hand with the inauguration of Trump.

Book covers for March by John Robert Lewis Volumes 1-3


Focus by Arthur Miller

Book cover to Arthur Miller's Focus.
I came across this novel in a used bookstore and thought the premise sounded fascinating, especially since I've been a fan of Miller's dramatic works.  The story follows Lawrence Newman after he awakes in the middle of the night to hearing a screaming woman being assaulted.  But since the woman is a minority, he largely seems to pay it no mind.  The bachelor enjoys a home in a white Christian neighborhood and works in New York City and is largely successful until his eyesight gets the best of him and he's forced to get glasses.  His glasses, as he feared, make him appear more Jewish in the race-obsessed world of the World War II 1940s.  What follows is Lawrence's demise as those around him increasingly suspect him to be a Jew and he becomes subjected to the same cruel realities that he perpetuated just months before.

Miller's tale is a classic tale of what it's like to live in another man's shoes but also well layered with reflection by Lawrence as he comes to weigh the meaning behind the white supremacist view and how easily it insinuates itself into the minds of the privileged.  Originally published in 1945, there is so much about this book that resonates with the world today that it could have easily been written as today with only slight adjustments.

Check out last year's reads if you are interested (and you can always look at all of my books that I've read on GoodReads)

BOOKS

  • Focus by Arthur Miller
  • Eservice-Learning: Creating Experiential Learning and Civic Engagement Through Online and Hybrid Courses by Jean Strait


AUDIOBOOKS

  • White Like Me by Tim Wise
  • Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
  • Simple Rules: How to Thrive in a Complex World by Donald Sull
  • Miniatures: The Very Short Fiction of John Scalzi by John Scalzi
  • Letters to a Young Muslim by Omar Saif Ghobash
  • Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America by Michael Eric Dyson
  • The Power Paradox: How We Gain and Lose Influence by Dacher Keltner
  • Delusions of Gender: How Our Minds, Society, and Neurosexism Create Difference by Cordelia Fine 
  • Boy by Anna Ziegler
  • Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
  • Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg


GRAPHIC NOVELS

  • March: Book 1-3 by John Robert Lewis
  • Han Solo by Majorie Li
  • Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet, Book 1 by Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • Birthright, Vol. 4: Family History by Joshua Williamson
  • Descender, Volume Three: Singularities by Jeff Lemire

What about you reader?  What book recommendations do you have for me?

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By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Friday, January 6, 2017

My Most Recent Reads - December 2016

I end the year with another month with a good amount of reads that I was full enthralled with but many of which I cannot really speak about since they are ones that I am reviewing elsewhere.  I will probably come back and write reviews for a good deal of them since some of them will likely be some of my most recommended reads for the year.  I can at least talk a bit about two of the books of the past month:


Difficult Men: Behind the Scenes of a Creative Revolution: From The Sopranos and The Wire to Mad Men and Breaking Bad by Brett Martin

Word cloud for this blog postMartin explores the history of dramatic television in the last two decades, defining it as the third golden age of television.  The title refers to the defining feature of this third golden age in that both onscreen in the form of lead characters and off-stage in the form of the rise of the "show-runner" writer is universally male.  In tracing the history of many of the most famous and genre-defining shows, Martin shows how the leading characters (Tony Soprano, Vick Mackey, Don Draper, Walter White and others) are men in constant desire of power in a variety of forms and willing to do harm to achieve it.  They are contrasted with often more-complicated but still flawed creators and writers who are also trying to leave their own mark on the world.  Taken together, the book holds up a fascinating mirror to the American culture and in particular, males.  It's a nice slice of Americana, gender studies (though not necessarily too overt), and cultural history.


TED Talks: The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking by Chris Anderson

Word cloud of TED Talks review in the form of a brain.
Anderson, the head of TED, the central repository for engaging ideas in small 7-18 minute speeches by many key industry leaders (of almost every industry) presents a concise and clear guide to organizing and preparing to give the best speech of one's life.  Focused largely on giving a "TED Talk," which is not necessarily every talk one is likely to give, Anderson walks readers through everything from different approaches on preparing, to technical considerations to delivery styles and wardrobe questions.  He draws upon many of the most famous TED talks to illustrate the best examples of what he is discussing and while he does refer to bad examples, he usually is vague on the details, sparing the targets (and probably himself from lawsuits).  I appreciate Anderson's ability to pull together different aspects of a speech and clarify with each, what is the essential consideration one must keep in mind. Anderson's guide provides a lot of great information and ideas about how to improve one's speaking technique and is likely to be useful to anyone trying to hone their presentation skills.

Monthly reads for 2016 (and you can always look at all of my books that I've read on GoodReads)


AUDIOBOOKS

  • Books for Living by Will Schwalbe
  • Difficult Men: Behind the Scenes of a Creative Revolution: From The Sopranos and The Wire to Mad Men and Breaking Bad by Brett Martin
  • The Third Reconstruction: Moral Mondays, Fusion Politics, and the Rise of a New Justice Movement by William J. Barber III
  • The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. DuBois
  • Invisible Man, Got the Whole World Watching by Mychal Denzel Smith
  • The Mountaintop by Katori Hall
  • The Industries of the Future by Alec Ross
  • Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist's Guide To Thriving In The Age of Accelerations by Thomas Friedman
  • The Untold Story of the Talking Book by Matthew Rubery
  • TED Talks: The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking by Chris Anderson


GRAPHIC NOVELS

  • Darth Vader, Vol 4: End of Games by Kieron Gillen
  • Poe Dameron, Vol. 1: Black Squadron by Charles Soule
  • Paper Girls, Vol. 2 by Brian K. Vaughan
  • Trees, Vol. 2: Two Forests by Warren Ellis
  • Huck by Mark Millar


What about you reader?  What book recommendations do you have for me?

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By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Friday, December 2, 2016

My Most Recent Reads - November 2016

Despite it being a busy month with classes and work, I impressed myself with reading two physical books this month, on top of the usual audiobooks and graphic novels.  I won't ramble too much about my reading since my time is short and I'd rather talk about some of the great books this month.    

Advice from a Wild Deuce: The Best of Ask Tiggy by Tiggy Upland

Advice from a Wild Deuce Book Coveropenly admit that I am biased in reviewing this book because I am close with the actual author (spoiler alert—Tiggy Upland is a pseudonym!).  Regardless, I found this book to be a fantastic dialogue on the subject of understanding bisexuality (my own, and others).  Upland pulls together the best questions from her advice column to provide a panoramic view of what it means to be a bisexual in the United States in the 21st century.  She’s great at taking on personal questions and drawing out the nuance issues present and parsing out specific advice to the person while also connecting the question to the larger tapestry of navigating bisexuality in a culture that still doesn’t appreciate or provide much room for it.  What’s more is that Upland’s tone is bemusing, sagely, and engaging.  She’s capable of calling out self-deceit in a way that doesn’t turn the reader away but rather endears them to her and to the letter-writer. Beyond the question and answer format that permeates much of the book, Upland includes various asides, resources, and even photo-comics that add more nuggets of wisdom.  For those looking to understand the complexity of bisexuality for personal or professional reasons, this book is a great resource. 



American Character: A History of the Epic Struggle Between Individual Liberty and the Common Good by Colin Woodard

Woodard provides a fascinating framework for understanding the differences in the United States between those who lean towards more collectivist approaches to society and those that believe in more individualistic approaches.  Building off his previous work, rather than provide a simple divide of socialist vs. libertarians, he articulates the presence of eleven "nations" within the United States that represent different historical-cultural origins and occupy different geographical spaces in the country.  From there, he delves into the history of the country and illustrates how different alignments of the nations resulted in the swaying of the country between its more collectivist and individualistic modes of governmental involvement.  It's a fascinating book that highlights the often-complex ways in which different people align and dissent from the different political groups in the country (and why so many people identify as "independent").  It will be interesting to see how much this work is used to better understand and address current politics.   

Monthly reads for 2016 (and you can always look at all of my books that I've read on GoodReads)



BOOKS

  • Advice from a Wild Deuce: The Best of Ask Tiggy by Tiggy Upland
  • Behold the Man by Michael Moorcock


AUDIOBOOKS

  • The Lion in the Living Room: How House Cats Tamed Us and Took Over the World by Abigail Tucker
  • Daredevil: The Man Without Fear Prose Novel by Paul Crilley
  • A Life in Parts by Bryan Cranston
  • Light Falls: Space, Time, and an Obsession of Einstein by Brian Greene
  • American Character: A History of the Epic Struggle Between Individual Liberty and the Common Good by Colin Woodard
  • Filthy Rich by James Patterson
  • The Secret History of Twin Peaks by Mark Frost
  • The Mindful Brain: Reflection and Attunement in the Cultivation of Well-Being by Daniel Siegel  


GRAPHIC NOVELS

  • Angel Catbird, Volume 1 by Margaret Atwood
  • Baba Yaga's Assistant by Marika McCoola
  • Deep Dark Fears by Fran Krause
  • Rackham's Color Illustrations for Wagner's "Ring" by Arthur Rackham
  • The Arthur Rackham Treasury: 86 Full-Color Illustrations by Arthur Rackham


What about you reader?  What book recommendations do you have for me?


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By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Friday, November 18, 2016

My Most Recent Reads - October 2016

No physical books read this month and that's no surprise.  We're in month two of the semester and that I'm writing coherent sentences is considered a win, right?  However, this month was an amazing month for some powerful and impressive books.   I talk about a couple here, but I would encourage you to check out my full Goodreads list to see the others as many of them were powerful and worth the read! 


Context: Further Selected Essays on Productivity, Creativity, Parenting, and Politics in the 21st Century by Cory Doctorow


Word cloud of this blog post's words in the shape of a person reading a book.
Cory Doctorow continues to impress me and many others with his thoughts on what it means to be a creator in the 21st century.  This collection of essays (which you can download for free on his website) brings together a lot of his different works that he's written for his blog and elsewhere about the nature of copyright, open source living, and censorship.  At its center are questions about how do we as a culture decide to empower creators new and old and what does it mean to create in a technological world wherein replication can happen without significant costs.  Doctorow makes a strong case to move in the direction of openness for all creators, believing that this will be more empowering than limiting.  What's also interesting about this book is the ways in which Doctorow illustrates how he is often collaborative with not just other writers but with fans and people who appreciate his work.  In total, the book provides a great look at how one can think about being a creator in a very mindful and engaging way. 



Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better by Clive Thompson


Thompson dives into the ongoing debate about how technology is impacting humankind with a fascinating look at how the relationship between humans and technologies tends to improve and enhance outcomes in many different ways.  He doesn't negate that technologies has limitations and can make things more complicated (e.g. we can now record everything but find nothing), but there are many more areas that he argues well that technology enhances life and meaning for people from the way we play games to how we understand and approach education to how it improves our ways of communicating.  It's not necessarily a particularly better book than many of the other ones out there that make similar arguments but it does introduce some different research and materials than what's been said.  


Grit: Passion, Perseverance, and the Science of Success by Angela Duckworth


Duckworth's book has gotten to be pretty popular by now and it's no wonder given the topic and her means of exploring it.  The first challenge of this book is that the reader is likely to be constantly comparing their experience to those in the book and wondering about their level of grit.  That's ok--just let it happy.  But more importantly, Duckworth's book provides a range of ways of understanding what grit is and how it can be developed in everyone.  It's a powerful book to help us think differently about what it is that we look for in developing youth as well as how we foster better outcomes for everyone.  If you are looking for a way to understand some of the ways in which we as humans can do great things or want a better sense of how one can improve their approaches for self development or development of others, this would be an ideal book to start with.  

For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood... and the Rest of Y'all Too: Reality Pedagogy and Urban Education by Christopher Edmin


Edmin's book shows the depths and methods needed to go in order to institute transformative teaching and learning in a classroom that engages all students.  He names his approach reality-based pedagogy and its core idea is that it is impossible to teach students if you do not embed their realities into the classroom; altering how one may teach, how power is negotiated, and what it means to demonstrate learning.  Clearly from the title, there is a specific context to which he is speaking, but the application of his approach can potentially open up any classroom (e.g. it's easy to imagine how this could play out in a rural environment).  He explores his pedagogy through his own triumphs and setbacks as he aims to help his students channel their enthusiasm and interest into productive learning experiences that reflect what he hopes they will learn with how it fits within their worlds.  It's a powerful book that in many ways takes the ideas of Paulo Freire and Lisa Delpit and demonstrates particular ways one can execute them in the classroom.


Monthly reads for 2016 (and you can always look at all of my books that I've read on GoodReads)


AUDIOBOOKS


  • Passing by Nella Parsen
  • Context: Further Selected Essays on Productivity, Creativity, Parenting, and Politics in the 21st Century by Cory Doctorow
  • Freedom Is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement by Angela Y. Davis
  • Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better by Clive Thompson
  • Grit: Passion, Perseverance, and the Science of Success by Angela Duckworth
  • For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood... and the Rest of Y'all Too: Reality Pedagogy and Urban Education by Christopher Edmin
  • Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World by Adam Grant
  • Feminism and Pop Culture by Andi Zeisler
  • Spontaneous by Aaron Starmer
  • The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter G. Woodson
  • Soul at the White Heat: Inspiration, Obsession, and the Writing Life by Joyce Carol Oates

GRAPHIC NOVELS

  • The Walking Dead, Vol. 26: Call to Arms by Robert Kirkman
  • Southern Bastards, Vol. 3: Homecoming by Jason Aaron


What about you reader?  What book recommendations do you have for me?


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By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Review: Sweet Tooth, Vol. 1: Out of the Deep Woods

Sweet Tooth, Vol. 1: Out of the Deep Woods Sweet Tooth, Vol. 1: Out of the Deep Woods by Jeff Lemire
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The story focuses on a boy named Gus who has lived in a forest with his parents for his entire life, believing that to go out of the woods would be dangerous (and I did enjoy this irony that the woods is the place of safety and to leave is to invoke horrible events). Gus is one of the few children who have been born since some apocalyptic event and has been imbued with antlers and other animal hybrid features. After his father’s death, he finds himself being hunted but quickly rescued by an old gruff man who promises to take him to a place of protection for children like himself. Scared and uncertain, Gus follows and steps into the rest of the world.

It’s pretty standard post-apocalyptic fair thus far with at least one good (albeit somewhat predictable twist), but as I’ve said before, Lemire still has the power to tell a good comic story through drawing. He does extremely well with subtle panels that often need re-viewing and facial experiences that convey a surprising range of emotion despite often being fully detailed. In large part because of these tools, it makes reading his piece rather delightful because it draws out the story in ways that many artists/authors can’t always do. The facial expressions are ones you can set your eyes to and slowly study for meaning.

View all my reviews


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By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Friday, October 7, 2016

My Most Recent Reads - September 2016

There is lots to talk about this month.  If August had me reporting little in terms of books to talk about, September had them in abundance.  Even though I only read thirteen books this month, many of them hit high marks for consideration.  I'll limit myself to three but know that I'm happy to chat about any of them!

The Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire

Book cover to Pedagogy of the Opressed by Paulo Freire
For those not in the realms of education or social justice, you may not have stumbled upon this book.  But for those interested in such subjects (as well as politics, cultural studies, criminal justice, etc), then this is one of those essential classics.  Freire's theoretical and complex book may come in well under 200 pages, but it's still an intellectual journey.  Reading and processing it reminds me of reading Foucault's History of Sexuality Volume 1; I might have had better luck learning the native language it was published in and then trying to read the book.  It's dense but particularly chapter's two and three (there are only four chapters), I found to be the most useful.  Basically, Freire explains a way to reconsider how teaching and learning is done at a time and in a place where teaching was entirely one-directional and more part of a system of regulating minds than encouraging actual growth.  His writing is sometimes a bit to etherial and he could do better with more grounded examples or clarifications throughout, but as a work that makes an educator think about how he or she will look to those seeking education, this book will change one's philosophy of education.


Asking for It: The Alarming Rise of Rape Culture and What We Can Do about It by Kate Harding

In many ways this is a brutal book for many people.  For victims of rape and sexual assault, it confirms and explains what many of them have gone through in a culture that pays mere lipservice to victims of such violence.  For those who have never been directly involved, it's an eye-opening exploration into how many of us are likely to be complicit in sexual violence in our culture.  But equally important, it's an eloquent and strong critique that gives victims and allies the means of which to see the pernicious assumptions about sexual violence in our culture and to call it out when we see it.  Harding's accessible prose, wit, and drawing out of the different aspects of American society that create a rape culture blend together so well that the reader is left speechless.  It's one of those reads that I feel that everyone should read and even if it people disagree with it, we'd be a better society for having read.


Of Dice and Men: The Story of Dungeons & Dragons and the People Who Play It by David Ewalt

I was always fascinated with but never got the chance to explore playing Dungeons and Dragons and other role-playing games.  I did fall in love with role-playing games on video game systems and the fantasy genre for books, films, and comics so there was always a hope and interest in getting the chance to play, but the possibility never availed itself.  So reading Ewalt's book on the topic was informative and inspiring for the most part.  His history of the game from its birth to the current state of role-playing games coupled with his own personal journey towards, away, and back again to role-playing game made for a great story.  He does slip, a bit problematically I think, into representing that game as borderline addicting, a cliche that is long overdue and annoying when it comes to games and gaming in general.  But if you can disregard that element, the book has some great explanations and considerations about the power and engagement that role playing games.

Monthly reads for 2016 (and you can always look at all of my books that I've read on GoodReads)


BOOKS


  • Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire
  • DIY U: Edupunks, Edupreneurs, and the Coming Transformation of Higher Education by Anya Kamenetz

AUDIOBOOKS


  • Asking for It: The Alarming Rise of Rape Culture and What We Can Do about It by Kate Harding
  • What Lurks Beneath by Ryan Lockwood
  • The Bull and the Spear(Corum, #4) by Michael Moorcock
  • Of Dice and Men: The Story of Dungeons & Dragons and the People Who Play It by David Ewalt
  • Seinfeldia: How a Show About Nothing Changed Everything by Jennifer Keishin Armstrong
  • Women in the Material World by Faith D'Aluisio
  • Invisible Influence: The Hidden Forces that Shape Behavior by Jonah Berger
  • The World According to Star Wars by Cass Sunstein
  • Reskilling America: Learning to Labor in the Twenty-First Century by Katherine Newman

GRAPHIC NOVELS


  • Caveboy Dave: More Scrawny Than Brawny by Aaron Reynolds
  • The Beginning of the American Fall: A Comics Journalist Inside the Occupy Wall Street Movement by Stephanie McMilan


What about you reader?  What book recommendations do you have for me?

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By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Review: The Boys, Volume 12: The Bloody Doors Off

The Boys, Volume 12: The Bloody Doors Off The Boys, Volume 12: The Bloody Doors Off by Garth Ennis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The end of a series that I've been following for years. Violent and raunchy to no end, it went out like it came in--as bloody and offensive as possible. I look forward to what new series Garth Ennis will be working on. It always seems like he and Warren Ellis are in a race to the bottom in terms of how low their standards are and yet, in the end, their storytelling is still highly enjoyable.

View all my reviews


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By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Friday, September 9, 2016

My Most Recent Reads - August 2016

More books!  YAY!  August was a busy month of job switching, getting ready for the start of the semester and a lot of socializing and catching up with peeps.  But that didn't keep me from getting in some great books!


SuperBetter: A Revolutionary Approach to Getting Stronger, Happier, Braver and More Resilient -Powered by the Science of Games by Jane McGonigal

Word cloud of this blog post
So I first fell in nerd-love with Jane McGonigal when she performed a TED Talk and wrote her first book (Reality Is Broken).  SuperBetter is even better and there's also a great TED Talk to introduce it.  Or rather, if Reality Is Broken gave readers a well-researched argument for why gaming is an important part of our human nature, SuperBetter gives us the guide on how to actually make life more like a game and improve mental, emotional, physical, and social health.  She stacks the first half talking about the game she has devised (SuperBetter) and the research it has been built and tested upon.  For the second half, she breaks down how you can play the game on your own and with friends.  There is even an app and website you can log your gaming efforts into.  What I like so much about McGonigal's prose is that it is accessible and lively.  She's encouraging throughout for people to make even the smallest bit of progress to their goals.  Additionally, the ways to play the game she offers up are actually really smart ways of just improving one's life without having to start some dread and draconian regime.  If you want to change your life and have fun doing it, check out this book!

Great Courses: How Great Science Fiction Works by Gary K. Wolfe

I'm a sucker for programs from The Great Courses.  They are phenomenal primers on diverse subjects that provide listeners with a rich understanding of the topic.  This production only reinforced my positive experience with them.  Wolfe provides a complex and dynamic exploration of science fiction that traverses not just time but themes, styles, and formats of science-fiction.  He knows his stuff and the complexity of it but provides easy-to-follow lectures that trace out different ideas within science fiction (e.g. time travel, alien invasion, evolution, etc) and some of the most know works grappling with those ideas.  He also delves into issues of authorial influence, politics of the time(s), and the impact of publishing industry on the content.  The over 12-hours of listening slipped by and I landed at the end wanting to hear more and with a "to-read" list 100 pages long!


Monthly reads for 2016 (and you can always look at all of my books that I've read on GoodReads)


BOOKS

  • Scholarship Reconsidered: Priorities of the Professoriate by Ernest Boyer


AUDIOBOOKS

  • Comic-Con and the Business of Pop Culture: What the World's Wildest Trade Show Can Tell Us About the Future of Entertainment by Rob Salkowitz
  • The Tao of Bill Murray: Real-Life Stories of Joy, Enlightenment, and Party Crashing by Gavin Edwards
  • The Express by R.K. Howard
  • Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy by Cathy O'Neil
  • Delicate Men: Stories by R. Dean Johnson
  • SuperBetter: A Revolutionary Approach to Getting Stronger, Happier, Braver and More Resilient -Powered by the Science of Games by Jane McGonigal
  • Captain America: Dark Designs Prose Novel by Stefan Petrucha
  • Demanding Respect: The Evolution of the American Comic Book by Paul Lopes
  • The Modern Scholar The Novel that Invented Modernity by Ilan Stavans
  • How Great Science Fiction Works by Gary K. Wolfe
  • Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northup


GRAPHIC NOVELS

  • Plutona by Jeff Lemire

What about you reader?  What book recommendations do you have for me?

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By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Review: Locke & Key

Locke & Key Locke & Key by Joe Hill
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This review is for the audio production by AudioComics. This is a fantastic production with a full cast that mixes celebrities and other talented narrators with sound effects and musical score. It's a 13+ hour audio drama that will easily convert new listeners to audio-drama. The story is derived from Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez's comic series of the same name and follows the Locke family as they deal with a set of strange keys that are found in this family home. Each key unlocks a new ability but there are sinister forces about that are trying to collect the keys for themselves. This production finds way of maximizing the horror through interesting sound effects and solid acting.


View all my reviews


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By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Friday, August 12, 2016

My Most Recent Reads - July 2016

July appeared to be a decent month for reading with twenty-one books under my belt.  Not bad considered I've been reading and writing so much to wrap up my course work.  There were a lot of great books to talk about but unfortunately, many of those I am reviewing so I may have to come back to them.  Regardless, there are definitely a few others that are worth talking about this month.


Interactive Open Educational Resources: A Guide to Finding, Choosing, and Using What's Out There to Transform College Teaching by John Shank

Overall, this book is a good introduction into the world of open educational resources and their implementation. it focuses on interactive open educational resources, which are free materials the require a bit more engagement from students.  It's  definitely a book geared towards instructors or instructional designers that have yet to really engage with OER as there are many sections that those familiar with OER will likely skim over.  But where it's most useful is the guidelines, instructions, implementation and evaluation considerations it walks readers through to actually using iOER.  It also has an abundance of resources that the readers will benefit from.  It's definitely for the neophyte but even the seasoned OER person will find some good uses by looking through it.


The Smarter Screen: Surprising Ways to Influence and Improve Online Behavior by Shlomo Benartzi


Benartzi's insights about usage and experience in the online world and what it means for how and why we interact (or don't interact) is quite insightful.  He emphasizes the different decisions that designers make in constructing websites and apps that could enhance our user experience.  Sometimes, they are as simple as where to place action buttons, other times, they emphasize how to reduce confusion and elicit clearer understanding by visitors.  In total, the book calls upon a variety of research of the last two decades to help us shape a virtual landscape that helps us rather than hinders us.  As an educator, I found there's much within this book to explore and make me think differently about online courses or even any kind of online content that I use or develop for students or faculty.  


Blackballed: The Black and White Politics of Race on America's Campuses by Lawrence Ross


As I continued my exploration into the depths of higher education, this book will be an important piece.  Ross delves deep into the racial politics on campus at a time when many different campuses are coming up against a generation of students who are calling out institutional racism with the resources to capture them and generate national conversations.  Ross captures some of the complicated histories that many institutions and college campuses must grapple with and negotiate as more diverse populations arrive on campuses and refuse to be ignored or devalued.  One of his most interesting discussions is around campus fraternities and the ways in which they directly and indirectly instill silence and isolation for African American students.  It's a timely book that can help campus leaders consider how to improve their campuses and become more welcoming to populations that have historically been outright denied or exiled on campus.


Monthly reads for 2016 (and you can always look at all of my books that I've read on GoodReads)


BOOKS

  • Interactive Open Educational Resources: A Guide to Finding, Choosing, and Using What's Out There to Transform College Teaching by John Shank

AUDIOBOOKS

  • Other People's Children: Cultural Conflict in the Classroom by Lisa Delpit
  • Heroes of the Frontier by Dave Eggers 
  • Space at the Table: Conversations Between an Evangelical Theologian and His Gay Son by Brad & Drew Harper
  • The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction by Neil Gaiman
  • Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley
  • Citizen Kane: A Filmmaker's Journey by Harlan Lebo
  • The Smarter Screen: Surprising Ways to Influence and Improve Online Behavior by Shlomo Benartzi
  • Little Rice: Smartphones, Xiaomi, and The Chinese Dream by Clay Shirky
  • The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yōko Ogawa
  • White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America by Nancy Isenberg
  • Blackballed: The Black and White Politics of Race on America's Campuses by Lawrence Ross

GRAPHIC NOVELS

  • Snowden by Ted Rall
  • Nightmare Escape (Dream Jumper, Book 1) by Greg Grunberg
  • Fieldhouse by Scott Novosel
  • Star Wars: Kanan, Vol. 2: First Blood by GReg Weisman
  • Star Wars: Obi-Wan and Anakin by Charles Soule
  • We Stand On Guard by Brian K. Vaughan
  • Outcast, Volume 3: This Little Light by Robert Kirkman
  • Monster Junkies (The Monsterjunkies #1) by Erik Daniel Shein 
  • Malice in Ovenland: Vol. 1 by Micheline Hess


What about you reader?  What book recommendations do you have for me?

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By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Review: Fables, Vol. 22: Farewell

Fables, Vol. 22: Farewell Fables, Vol. 22: Farewell by Bill Willingham
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Oh Bill Willingham--I know all things must end, but did you have to end Fables. For over a decade, it has been my favorite graphic novel series. Since I first read the firs trade, I have avidly followed the series, including the spin-off series (Jack of Fables, Literals, Fairest, Cinderella,), the book (Pete and Max), and even the crossovers (The Unwritten). You created an amazing universe that was both intimately known and perversely foreign and made me (and so many others) fall in love with your renderings of characters, places, and events. I know I am likely to re-read Fables several times over the span of my life, returning to a series that played with fiction in some many fantastic ways, I could teach a variety of different courses around the series. Thank you for this ending...but also, damn you!

View all my reviews


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By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Friday, July 8, 2016

My Most Recent Reads - June 2016

And June flew by in a whirlwind of classes, academic articles, commuting to UMASS Boston because that's what I do in June (catch up in my adventures in PhD land here), and other things going on.  I didn't get any physical books read (unless you combine the numerous articles I read for class), but between commuting, walking and cycling (running is out as I've injured my IT band), I got in a good amount of listening and some really great books to talk about today.  

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

Word cloud of the blog post.Alexander delivers a brutal and systematic accounting of the ways in which US culture has continued to disenfranchise, alienate, and marginalize African Americans in the 20th and 21st century.  Though she starts with the exploration of slave and post-slave society, she traces a variety of policies, practices, and laws within criminal justice on the local, state, and federal level coupled with explorations of public policy, economic policy, business and employment practices, sociological findings, and many other disciplinary research to paint a vivid tapestry of the legal language of colorblindness in many perpetuates drastic proportional inequalities between whites and African Americans in particular but other minorities as well.  It's an eye-opening and excruciating look that can be hard to fully accept, especially for those that have never considered such things.  She provides some ideas about how to fix it but just being able to name it so fully is the needed start.  For anyone trying to understand the modern cultural landscape, racial politics, and what it means to try to succeed as an African-American in the US, this book is a must-read.

Shortcut: How Analogies Reveal Connections, Spark Innovation, and Sell Our Greatest Ideas by John Pollack

Pollack explores the power of and importance of analogies in our personal and professional communication.  It's a solid book to help one think about the ways we fall into traps around analogies and how we can construct substantial analogies to get our point across.  I appreciated Pollack's ability to provide many examples that help show both the power and problem with analogies as well as the factors that go into making strong analogies.  If you plan to do any work wherein you need to convince other people or provide guidance to others to understand an approach actions or ideas in particular ways, this book will provide you with a strong toolset to get it done.  

The Fireman by Joe Hill

Hill's new novel is a fun joyride into a post-apocalyptic world in which a new fungus has spread across the world.  Once infect, the person develops a golden rash, known as dragon scale, which eventually leads them to burst into flames.  Unsure about what to do with them, the government begins to quarantine and eventually kill them as they cause increasing hazards, setting entire areas of the country on fire.  Enter Harper, a smart, caring, and pregnant nurse who gets the dragon-scale and is unsure what to do.  Her husband believes he knows what best, let them both take a bullet to the head, but she wants to live for the child inside her.  Along the way to her decisions, she meets the Fireman, a man that seems to get along with his infection and a whole camp of people who also manage to survive despite being infected.  Overall, it's a fun novel and while I don't mean this in a diminutive or derivative way, this novel makes clear that Joe Hill is the offspring of Stephen King.  Abusive and dominant partner, New England setting (with a fixation on Maine), unforeseen (but foreseeable) betrayal, batshit-crazy preacher, eclectic folks throughout, and several other King hallmarks make their appearance in this book.  But Hill does well with it and takes up King's mantle in a way that shows he has the same skills as his father.  Additionally, I listened to the audiobook which was narrated by Kate Mulgrew, who was largely enjoyable with the plot and characters, but occasionally bungled local pronunciations.

So that's all I got for now.  See you next month with some new reads!

Monthly reads for 2016 (and you can always look at all of my books that I've read on GoodReads)

AUDIOBOOKS


  • But What If We're Wrong?: Thinking About the Present As If It Were the Past by Chuck Klosterman
  • Leading the Learning Revolution: The Expert's Guide to Capitalizing on the Exploding Lifelong Education Market by Jeff Cobb
  • We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson
  • The Knight of the Swords (Corum, #1) by Michael Moorcock
  • Maestro Mario: How Nintendo Transformed Videogame Music into an Art by Andrew Schartmann
  • The Caped Crusade: Batman and the Rise of Nerd Culture by Glen Weldon
  • The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
  • Alexander
  • Shortcut: How Analogies Reveal Connections, Spark Innovation, and Sell Our Greatest Ideas by John Pollack
  • The Fireman by Joe Hill
  • The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle
  • Magic and Loss: The Internet as Art by Virginia Heffernan
  • The Stormlight Archive Volume 1 : The Way of Kings (1 of 5) by Brandon Sanderson


GRAPHIC NOVELS


  • The Heiress and the Chauffeur, Vol. 1  by Keiko Ishihara
  • Bitch Planet, Vol. 1: Extraordinary Machine by Kelly Sue DeConnick
  • Extraordinary X-Men Vol. 1: X-Haven by Jeff Lemire


What about you, reader?  What book recommendations do you have for me?

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By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.