This Blog is Moving

I’ve got my own domain now! All future posts can be found here: http://www.sharpeningthetip.com

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Gardens of the Moon Review

Gardens of the Moon (The Malazan Book of the Fallen, #1)Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Ecstatic to be done, I am… I am done! Man, was that ever a long read!
Where to begin?
If I could give the book two and a half stars, I would. I almost, just-about, liked it. However, in the end I do not like the novel because of its ridiculously artificial and needless complexity.
Gardens of the Moon is an utter chore to slog through, complete with two-dimensional characters that are all drawn the same. Scenes change, as do settings, but you’re really just reading the same character rehashed. The only indication characters have indeed changed are the different nouns associated to their dialogue after each stick finishes talking: “X said blah,” “Y said bleck,” and so on, ad nauseam.
That famous mantra “show, don’t tell?” Yeah, the author should have followed that advice. Gardens of the Moon novel is all tell, a labourious slab of exposition that lacks any immediacy or punch.
And the audio book! Drive me off a cliff already! I switched back and forth between both print and audio, as it was the only way to plough through this tomb in a semi-timely fashion – and it in no way helps bring the book to life. If anything, the audio book is even more obtuse and difficult to follow, what with all the stupid accents and annoying inflections and switching back and forth in and out of scenes ad hoc with no rhyme or reason.
People are way too kind to this book.

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The Troop, by Nick Cutter

The TroopThe Troop by Nick Cutter
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed .The Troop. I saw that Stephen King gave Nick Cutter a great review, so I thought I’d give him a whirl; I was not disappointed. The book had everything one would want in a spooky, intriguing, fun horror read.
I plan on reading more of his work in the near future. I may someday also re-read.

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Waging Heavy Peace

Waging Heavy Peace: A Hippie DreamWaging Heavy Peace: A Hippie Dream by Neil Young
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

To paraphrase my Dad, “I don’t think Neil Young is that good of a writer.”
Imagine: my Dad and I were at hunt camp, in the Fall of 2012. Young’s autobiography had just come out not long before, and as a long-time fan, I bought the book the day it came out. I was mid-way through the book by the time hunting season came around, and so Waging Heavy Peace was the book I brought with me to camp, to read when I had moments to spare.
After dinner one evening, my Dad picked up the book and started thumbing through, probably reading for about an hour or so, at which point he summed up his sentiment that kicked off this post: Neil wasn’t that great at writing prose.
I could not disagree.
I suspect it may have something to do with Neil being, first and foremost, a terrific songwriter and musician. His talent lies in painting pictures with words that listeners may glimpse when delivered according to the rhythm of music. Strip away the song, the timbre and beat, and Neil’s prose loses a lot of the magic that makes his music so great.
If you are a fan of Young, you will no doubt enjoy reading his own interpretation of the past; your interpretation of the book will no doubt be skewed more favourably. If you’re not a fan, this book may be a more challenging read. A professional editor would have helped tremendously.

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Catching Up & Moving Forward

It’s been too long since my last post. Unfortunately, I’m probably writing to no one. If I have any faithful readers left — if I had any to begin with–I apologize. I can only explain it as, Life took off. 

I’m the proud father of a boy named Sam, soon to be three. That’s one major life event that took over my time. He’s the best thing that ever happened to my wife and I.

I have also had a few career changes since we last met up. Career-wise, these new roles are trending upwards. With these roles comes ever increasing responsibilities, and, even more to the point, a lot more travel. There are only so many hours in a day.

Nonetheless, I’m rekindling this blog anew, with the hope that it will inspire me to read and write more. I spend way too many nights uselessly wiling away time watching Netflix and endeavoring other activities that are, at the end of the day, not very productive. Who knows, maybe my productivity at work will even increase…

Faithful reader, if you’re still out there, I hope to see you again.

Stay tuned…

New Writing Implement

I am the proud new owner of a Unicomp Classic 104 key keyboard. Writing doesn’t get any better than this. I vaguely remember typing on something similar when I was a kid in grade school. Thinking that such 80s technology was so inferior, I was  quick to dismiss these old keyboards — until now.

This thing, though bulky and loud, is really a nice keyboard to type on. For some reason it is easier to type on. This observation coming after using many varieties of more “modern” keyboards over the years.

To recap in brief, the Unicomp Classic is just a modern day IBM Model M, made in the USA (!), and fabricated using the original molds that IBM used 30 years ago.