March 18th, 2012

running, shoes

Review: Never Let Go by Dan John

Never Let Go: A Philosophy of Lifting, Living and LearningNever Let Go: A Philosophy of Lifting, Living and Learning by Dan John

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book somewhat betrays its origin as a series of posts from Dan John's blog. There's occasional repetition between chapters, and the emphasis is on short, easily digestible chunks of information rather than long considered discussions.

Having said that, what this means is that you get a lot of short, easily digestible chunks of information from a guy who has years of experience in strength training and teaching strength training. If you want a specific workout program, this is not really the book for that. But if you want ideas about training philosophy, motivation, program design, and how to honestly assess whether you're making progress towards your goals, this book is great for that. (The book also has some ideas about weight-loss that frankly strike me as a little loopy, but Dan John's probably got a lower body-fat percentage that I do, so I guess it works for him.)

Some of the stuff in this book was quite frankly over my head. I expect I'll be able to go back to this book in a few years when I'm a more experienced lifter, and gain a whole new set of insights.

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Review: With Fate Conspire by Marie Brennan

With Fate Conspire (Onyx Court, #4)With Fate Conspire by Marie Brennan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Probably the best of Onyx Court series yet, although my personal favorite will probably always be A Star Shall Fall just for its even greater emphasis on faerie science.

I think this book may have the most engaging set of POV characters yet. I've felt like some of the previous books in the series took a little while to really get going, but I was interested in Eliza and Dead Rick's problems pretty much from the start. And the narrative does a really nice job of tying in these characters' individual problems to the larger fate of the Onyx Hall.

Another interesting thing I noticed while reading this book is that the previous books have left a very vivid picture of the setting in my mind, to the extent that it's almost a character itself. When I was about 50 pages into the book, someone asked me what I thought of it. I replied, "The Night Garden is all overgrown. I am so sad!" (Pause) "Also, I miss Irrith." I feel bad that I thought of the garden before poor Irrith, but I did. (Anyway, Irrith turns up eventually, but I can't tell you what happens to the Night Garden without being horribly spoilery.)

Like the other books in the series, you could probably read this book and enjoy it perfectly well without having read the previous ones in the series. However, you really should read the previous books first, so that you, too, can be sad about the Night Garden.

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