pyromagnestir's forum posts

Avatar image for pyromagnestir
pyromagnestir

4506

Forum Posts

103

Wiki Points

35

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 22

#1  Edited By pyromagnestir

Alright, I got time for another update I suppose.

For non fiction I finished John Quincy Adams. The book was an interesting look at a guy who probably isn't one of the better known historical political figures of the US but I ended up liking him quite a bit.

He seems to have been a talented ambassador, then as a senator he was a sort of lone wolf who stuck to his own principles rather than fall in with any party lines, but that same tendency to not fall in with a party is one reason he was completely ineffectual as president, another reason being he was accused of making a corrupt bargain with Henry Clay to steal an election that otherwise probably would have gone to Andrew Jackson and this accusation doomed JQA's presidency before it even started. But after he was inevitably voted out of the presidency he was elected to the House of Representatives and oh boy did he then really seem to hit his stride.

He became an extremely outspoken abolitionist at a time where it seems most politicians would preferred to carry on pretending slavery wasn't an issue. He was so vocal the other members of the house slapped a gag rule on the topic. He then railed against that gag rule as a violation of free speech, and continued to find every excuse to still bring up the evils of slavery. He seems to have gained a national popularity that he completely lacked while president.

I have now started Unfamiliar Fishes by Sarah Vowell, it's about Hawaii, particularly the American influence in Hawaii leading up to the eventual annexation. I decided to read it after having gone on a family trip to Oahu for this past new years. I'm not very far into it yet.

It does not seem to be considered the author's best book but it's the first work I've read by her. She's got a bit of a scattershot approach to writing where she'll mix the history with personal anecdotes and deviate every so often to inform you of a fact she finds interesting or quirky, and she does all this haphazardly without warning and when it works it's fun but at other times I just sorta find it to be easy to zone out and lose the thread of things so when I snap back I wonder what the hell she is talking about.

As for fiction.

I finished Three Body Problem. I dug it. The setting and the context of that setting, plus some clever sci fi touches, made it seem like an interesting approach to a familiar trope.

Then I finished a book called She of the Mountains by Vivek Shraya. It was pretty cool.

The author is a trans woman (though the book appears to have been released before she revealed this as the about the author stuff in the version I read still uses male pronouns) and that's relevant as half of it is story about a character coming to terms with their sexuality and their body. But there's also another half that's based on Hindu mythology. It shifts back and forth between the two stories and both are quite interesting. It also had some nifty art mixed in (note: I actually thought it was going to be more along the lines of a graphic novel when I decided to check it out but was wrong about that it was a story with some art every so often to add to the tone and theme). I really enjoyed it and thoroughly recommend it.

Now I'm gonna start Battle Royale. All the talk about it with the Battlegrounds stuff has had me itching to start it for a while.

I also started Return of the King and intend to slowly read through that.

Avatar image for pyromagnestir
pyromagnestir

4506

Forum Posts

103

Wiki Points

35

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 22

I want them to make each other cry during the debate for number 1. Except Alex. Alex should be the only one who leaves happy.

Avatar image for pyromagnestir
pyromagnestir

4506

Forum Posts

103

Wiki Points

35

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 22

#3  Edited By pyromagnestir

My top 5 of the generation as described thus far would probably be:

  • Zelda BotW
  • Talos Principle
  • Fire Emblem Awakening
  • Doom
  • Mario Maker

None of them would break into my top 5 overall, though I struggle to even come up with what that might look like. Probably

  • Ocarina of Time
  • Link to the Past
  • Mario 64
  • WWF No Mercy/WWF Wrestlemania 2000 aka the best fighting games ever

What might round out a top ten after that? Kotor?/Perfect Dark?/Portal?/Fire Emblem Path of Radiance?/OH GOD THIS IS STARTING TO HURT I NEED TO STOP NOW

Avatar image for pyromagnestir
pyromagnestir

4506

Forum Posts

103

Wiki Points

35

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 22

@sinusoidal: Blindsight is so good. There's a follow up called Echopraxia that's alright, but as complex as some of the concepts present are in Blindsight it has a sort of simplicity to the set up and overall plot that I think really works for it but from what I recall I felt the sequel is a bit more convoluted. Has some cool ideas though.

Avatar image for pyromagnestir
pyromagnestir

4506

Forum Posts

103

Wiki Points

35

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 22

My thoughts get a bit long so I'll just stick them in spoiler blocks if anyone wants to read them.

Well I finished Country of Vast Designs a week or so ago, it was a very interesting look at the presidency of James Polk who seems to have been a fairly accomplished president in a couple ways, though I do not think much of him as a person.

After that I finished Stolen Legacy by George G.M. James, who proposes that Greek philosophy that has been attributed to various still well known names such as Pythagoras, Socrates, Aristotle, and Plato was in fact mostly if not entirely actually Egyptian philosophy which these people either plagiarized intentionally or have just been given undue credit for.

I listened to it as an audiobook but the format of the book was such that I think that hurt my experience a bit. It is an academic book and was broken up into heading and subheadings and various arguments and pieces of evidence and there's lots of repetition and the narrator read it at kind of a fast pace (and at times it was just poorly edited as there were times where they'd repeat the sentence or say a word wrong and then just start reading over again which were left in somehow) so all these things in conjunction made it so I feel like a lot of it just didn't sink in as much as I woulda liked.

As for the arguments themselves I'm partial to believe that the Greek philosophers probably were at the very least building off of ideas previously established by people who had come up with them before and that as the Egyptians were the longest lasting and most advanced society of the Mediterranean they likely would be the ones to have come up with much of it, but this book was written in 1954 so some of his evidence seemed perhaps odd or maybe out of date and he was quick to dismiss the possibility that the Greeks contributed anything at all which, I dunno, seems a bit much and is equally as impossible a claim to verify as the claim they did in fact come up with all their ideas themselves from scratch.

Now I'm starting John Quincy Adams by Harlow Unger. He's staunchly anti slavery so I already like him much better than Polk.

And for fiction:

I finished Warrior's Apprentice, another fun book in Lois McMaster Bujold's sci fi series.

This particular book was about a kid from a planet that is reminiscent of ancient Sparta as on this planet being a soldier is all that matters, and his dad is the second most powerful person on the planet to only the emperor, only this kid was born with some serious physical defects so he relies on his cleverness and wit as he gets into various sticky situations that his cleverness and wit get him into in the first place. This kid is the main character of most of the books in this series, though the ones I read before were about his parents.

I also finished LOTR Two Towers and hey guess what that book's alright.

Now I'm on to Three Body Problem by Cixin Liu and I'm digging it thus far.

Avatar image for pyromagnestir
pyromagnestir

4506

Forum Posts

103

Wiki Points

35

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 22

This thread reminds me of people freaking out after Dan's "loser leaves town" match, as if I recall correctly many were convinced that was just a dumb prank that wouldn't lead to anything and were angry about it too.

Avatar image for pyromagnestir
pyromagnestir

4506

Forum Posts

103

Wiki Points

35

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 22

#7  Edited By pyromagnestir

Touching the Void, a couple mountain climbers try to go up a mountain and one of them breaks his leg real bad and they have to make it back down. I thought it was pretty darn great.

Avatar image for pyromagnestir
pyromagnestir

4506

Forum Posts

103

Wiki Points

35

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 22

Had a bit of a slow period where I wasn't reading as consistently for a bit but right now I'm in the middle of:

A Country of Vast Designs, about the presidency of James K. Polk, who was president during a very active point of early U.S. history, when Texas was annexed, war broke out with Mexico, and negotiations were heating up with Britain over Oregon territory. Polk's the main focus of the book but I don't really have much of a read on him, as there are a lot of other much more colorful figures around him who stand out much more, while he's rather ambitious and a bit full of himself, but generally a politician's politician who keeps his real thoughts and aims close to the vest. Also at this point in history slavery is a big problem, and becoming a very heated point of contention in U.S. politics, but he doesn't seem to care about that at all.

Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, I'm a guy who loved the movies but only recently have been getting around to reading through the books. Turns out they're quite good.

And I'm near the end of:

Black Powder War, book 3 of a series about the Napoleonic wars, only if everybody also had dragons, and the dragons could talk and were quite fun. It's rather enjoyable.

Avatar image for pyromagnestir
pyromagnestir

4506

Forum Posts

103

Wiki Points

35

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 22

SoM being this site's GotY I have zero problem with because hey it's their site and it's their choice and we have an entire podcast of why they chose that game on that day. Would the choice be different on a different day, if they had more time to reflect and try other stuff? Almost certainly! But what difference does that make.

I have played it but didn't finish it for reasons that had nothing to do with how much I enjoyed it, I just had to stop playing right in the middle for reasons and by the time I came back to it I felt rusty and thought I'd finish it later and later has yet to become now. And I was rooting for Bayonetta 2 during the debates because I figured if it won it meant there would have been a more entertaining discussion leading up to that choice and I'm always rooting for what I think would be the most entertaining discussion, but it went the other way.

I have not actually played B2 at all nor much of the original Bayonetta as that kind of character action game is not really my thing so while it seems really crazy and interesting from a distance I struggle to actually get into it.

I also want to point out I like the GotY debates because it's the one time they will usually pull out all the stops and really get into a discussion about what they feel about most games. The bombcast and quick looks are understandably more vague, and spoilercasts are rare. Though yeah in practice what that often means is they end up picking some games apart to all hell and maybe even be hyperbolicly harsh towards them rather than really focus on positive stuff as they all want their favorite to make the list and the "knives come out" but even so I still find that genuinely interesting and sometimes quite compelling.

@frodobaggins: What was better in 2014? I see people rag on Shadow of Mordor, but what were the 2-3 games people think were more deserving of GotY in 2014?

While I understand why, for several reasons, it wasn't this site's game of the year and didn't have a chance, I would like to say that Talos Principle came out in 2014 and hey I personally think that game is pretty great. Though it released super late and hell I myself didn't actually play it until 2016.

Avatar image for pyromagnestir
pyromagnestir

4506

Forum Posts

103

Wiki Points

35

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 22

Oh I finished American Gods and it was quite good, now I'm watching the tv adaptation and it seems pretty good too.

After that I kinda slowed down on my pace for books for a week or two, but now I've started The Two Towers, as I've never actually read through Lord of the Rings and been meaning to get to that for some time now.

Also I'm going through a book called Muhammad by Karen Armstrong, it's the second book she wrote on the prophet Muhammad I believe. It's going through his life and what he actually preached and did. It's interesting.