Tag: Writing

Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman – Lives of the Stoics | Review

Title: Lives of the Stoics

Author: Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman

Type: Non-Fiction

Page Count: 334

Rating: 5/5

I picked this book up after hearing about it on BookTube, which was a happy little coincidence because I’d already been getting into stoicism after being introduced to it by my girlfriend. I just wish I could remember whose channel I saw the video on.

What we have here is essentially a cracking little introduction to the key figures of stoicism in ancient Rome and Greece, and it’s written by a well-known figure in contemporary stoic circles. In fact, at the same time that I ordered this book, I also subscribed to a bunch of Stoic YouTube channels, and it turns out that the host of one of them is one of the authors of this book.

I found it to be super accessible, with the story told slowly but surely through short chapters on some of the key figures of the Stoic movement. After a while, it gets a little difficult to remember who was who, but that doesn’t really matter. The important thing here is the lessons that are on offer, and the interesting thing about the figures that are profiled is that as well as writing about and teaching their beliefs, they also lived them.

All in all, it’s a pretty accessible read whether you’re new to stoicism or not, and if you’ve been looking to learn more about the philosophy then this is a pretty good place to look. I enjoyed reading it, and I also ended up tabbing out half of the pages for my video review, which meant that I had a lot to say about it. It’s definitely food for thought.

Now that I’ve read this, I’m keen to learn more about stoicism, and I’m also looking forward to watching some more of the author’s videos. You should give it a Google and check out both the book and the YouTube channel.

Learn more about Lives of the Stoics.

 


Dan Simmons – Hyperion | Review

Title: Hyperion

Author: Dan Simmons

Type: Fiction

Page Count: 484

Rating: 4/5

To begin with, I wasn’t too sure that I was going to like this one, because it’s one of those books where it sort of throws you straight into the world and if you can’t keep up, that’s your own problem. I usually find that’s quite off-putting, and it comes down to the strength of the story. Here, the story was easily enough to keep me going.

But there’s also the fact that it was extremely well written. It’s one of those books where I would have read to the end regardless of my actual enjoyment just because I wanted to learn what I could from the writing style. I also think this is definitely one that you could re-read and because of the new perspective, you’d get an entirely different experience.

Another thing that I liked was the structure of the book itself. It was reminiscent of The Canterbury Tales, although I haven’t actually read that and so I don’t know how valid the comparison is. When you combine the structure, the worldbuilding and the quality of the writing as a whole, you’re on to a winner.

It’s just a little heavy duty, although I’d argue that it’s easier to read than Dune was. That’s partly because you can break it up into the individual microstories, and also because there’s a pretty constant pace throughout, whereas I found that Dune sometimes felt a bit “stoppy and starty”. I think they’re both must-reads if you’re a serious sci-fi fan, although perhaps not if you’re only a newbie to the genre.

I’m somewhere in between, in that I’ve read my fair share of sci-fi but I don’t particularly enjoy it above any other genres. Horror is much more up my street, and so reading this has made me keen to try out The Terror, although I think I’m going to have a little wait between the two. I’ve also read one of Simmons’ novellas in a collection called Dark Visions that he was in with Stephen King and George R. R. Martin, and I found the same thing then. I need a bit of downtime after reading Simmons.

Still, I’m glad that I picked this up and I will probably continue with the rest of the series, although I have no plans to do it immediately and I might not get to it in time to join in with the readalong that’s happening on BookTube. For me, that’s fine, because it seems as though Simmons is an author who’s like a fine wine that should be savoured and enjoyed every now and again, instead of with every meal. And that’s just fine.

I’d say overall, if you’ve been thinking about giving this book a try, you should. If you haven’t, don’t. It lived up to my expectations, I guess.

Learn more about Hyperion.

 


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