Jan 14, 2021

Billy's Books 43: Dune

Whoa, not another Star Wars book! Instead, Dune is Frank Herbert's original sci-fi epic. As I was discussing it at work today, a comrade walked by and said, "The greatest science fiction novel ever," and kept walking. I don't know if that's true; there was no time for discussion. I never even got his name...

As always, hats off to the Saint Louis Public Library for allowing me to read so many books. Support your local library!

Dec 26, 2020

Super-weird Kate Bush "Christmas" Special

It's OK to watch this after December 25. If you're up to it.

Don't let the preview image deceive you. This is no hum-drum singer-songwiter crooning at the piano; it's barely a Christmas special. Ten minutes pass before anything resembling Christmas is even hinted at, and that's really just a prelude to an unexpected (also un-Christmassy) surpise.

What stands out most about this variety show (a '70s phenomenon unto itself) is how profoundly weird Kate Bush is. She's as theatrically and musically bizarre as David Bowie, yet from a far more distant planet. To the weirdos!

Great band, too.

Dec 7, 2020

Billy's Books 42: From a Certain POV: Empire

Yes, another Star Wars book: From a Certain Point of View: The Empire Strikes Back, a compilation of short stories surrounding the events in the classic movie, The Empire Strikes Back. 40 stories to match the 40 years since the original.

As always, hats off to the Saint Louis Public Library for allowing me to read so many books. Support your local library!

Nov 5, 2020

Billy's Books 41: The Splendid and the Vile

Billy D reviews The Splendid and the Vile by Erik Larson, a Churchill-centric look at the first year of the Battle of Britain from the ground.

Oct 16, 2020

Billy's Books 40: Revenge Of The Sith

"While one Jedi lives, survive the Order does. Resist the darkness with every breath we must."
He lifted his head and the stick angled to poke Obi-Wan in the shin. "Especially the darkness in
ourselves, young one. Of the dark side, despair is."
The simple truth of this called to him. Even despair is attachment: it is a grip clenched upon pain.
Slowly, very slowly, Obi-Wan Kenobi remembered what is was to be a Jedi.

I read this book because I heard the book was better than the movie. Success! A low bar, for sure. But this book made me ache -- why wasn't the movie better? It's a great story. Very sad, but psychologically and historically very interesting.

The brighter the light, the darker the shadow...

Oct 2, 2020

Billy's Books 39: Thrawn Ascendancy: Chaos Rising

Yes, it's a Star Wars novel, another in the Thrawn series, Thrawn Ascendancy: Chaos Rising. This one's a "prequel", showing Thrawn's climb in rank and status with his own people, the Chiss Ascendancy, beyond the galaxy far, far away.

If you'd like some further reading, here is an interview with the author about this book.