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Posts Tagged ‘Harry Dresden’

Book Review:
Last week I finished reading “Skin Game” (2014©), written by Jim Butcher.  This is the fifteenth book in the Dresden Files fantasy / horror / detective / adventure series.  The series traces the life of Harry Dresden, who is a practicing wizard, working in Chicago as a private detective / investigator.  In this volume, Harry joins up with a band of bad guys to try to steal some holy relics from a safe in Hades.
If you are not familiar with the series, it is quite formulaic: good guy (Harry) is placed in an awkward position and must overcome a series of bad guys in order to resolve the novel’s main story, while devoting about 10% of the book to furthering the main arc of the series – Harry’s continuing process of discovering the hero in himself while fighting to overcome evil.  Like all volumes in the series, it mostly stands on its own, but will be a lot more enjoyable if you’ve read all the preceding volumes.
Obviously, as I’ve now read fifteen of them, I’m a fan of the series and the author.  Are these “great” novels?  No.  Are they (is it) well written and enjoyable reads?  Yes!  So, highly recommended…  Again, as stated in reviews of the prior volumes, while the series is intended for the “young adult” reader, it (the series and this volume) contain graphically described violence and are probably not appropriate for most young teens and definitely not pre-teens.  This series is NOT Harry Potter for slightly older children.
As an additional mention, two things I learned from reading this book are: Hades is the name for the Greek god who rules “the underworld” and it has also come to be the name used for the “underworld” and precedes the Christian term “Hell”.  (I guess I already knew these things, but they never really settled into my conscious mind.)  The second thing I learned is that the Greek god Hades is not the equivalent of the Christian devil (“Satan”).  Hades is, in fact, more closer to a final judge of souls than a promoter of “evil” on Earth.
Movie Review:
Today I had my initial viewing of the movie (on DVD) “Ip Man: The Legend Is Born“.   Dennis To stars in the title role.  The movie came out in 2010 and is the third in the series of four, although it is fourth in my viewing order simply because that’s the order I was able to purchase them.  “Series” is a bit misleading, as the movies are not really chronological or meant to be viewed in any particular order.  They’ve simply been very popular and therefore additional portions of Mr. Ip’s life have been dramatized.  The movie comes with English language translation, so you don’t have to read sub-titles.
If the movies were an actual series, this movie would be the prequel to the first movie as this covers his life from childhood through early manhood, roughly up to the Sino-Japanese War.
So, is it any good and how does it rank vis-à-vis the others in the series?  I think it is number two, after only the original (Ip Man).  The fights are energetic, well choreographed and well filmed without too much wire-work, which is popular in China, but detracts from a movie’s realism (IMHO).
All in all, I rate this movie as highly recommended both as a movie and as a pure martial arts film.
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On This Day In:
2013 Real Honor
Catching Up
2012 Thoughts And Communications
2011 But How Does Peter Feel?
2010 Name That Regret

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See, that’s the tragedy of the human condition.  No one WANTS to be corrupted by power when they set out to get it.  They have good, even noble reasons for doing whatever it is they do.  They don’t want to misuse it, they don’t want to abuse it, and they don’t want to become vicious monsters.  Good people, decent people, set out to take the high road, to pick up power without letting it change them or push them away from their ideals.
But it keeps happening anyway.
History is full of it.  As a rule, people aren’t good at handling power.  And the second you start to think you’re better at controlling your power than anyone else, you’ve already taken the first step.
   —    Harry Dresden
The narrative character in the novel: “Cold Days
Written by:  Jim Butcher
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On This Day In:
2012 Take Time
2011 A Mother’s Lesson
2010 3rd Pair – Shoe Review (DOA and Final)

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I read an article once that said that when women have a conversation, they’re communicating on five levels.  They follow the conversation that they’re actually having, the conversation that is specifically being avoided, the tone being applied to the overt conversation, the buried conversation that is being covered only in subtext, and finally the other person’s body language.
That is, on many levels astounding to me.  I mean, that’s like having a freaking superpower.  When I, and most other people with a Y chromosome, have a conversation, we’re having a conversation.  Singular.  We’re paying attention to what is being said, considering that, and replying to it.  All these other conversations that have apparently been going on for the last several thousand years?  I didn’t even know that they EXISTED until I read that stupid article, and I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one.
I felt somewhat skeptical about the article’s grounding.  There were probably a lot of women who didn’t communicate on multiple wavelengths at once.  There were probably men who could handle that many just fine.  I just wasn’t one of them.
So, ladies, if you ever have some conversation with your boyfriend or husband or brother or male friend, and you are telling him something perfectly obvious, and he comes away from it utterly clueless?  I know it’s tempting to think to yourself, “The man can’t possibly be that stupid!”
But yes.  Yes, he can.
   —   Harry Dresden
The narrative character in the novel: “Cold Days
Written by: Jim Butcher
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On This Day In:
2012 Enquiries
2011 The Prize: Understanding
2010 Can You Tell My Scanner Works?
Rebecca – The Early Years
James – The Early Years
Brothers By Another Mother

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I’ve said before that only the dead feel no pain, but I’d never spoken from experience before.  Pain used as a weapon is one thing.  Personal pain, the kind that comes from just living our lives, is something else.
Pain isn’t a lot of fun, at least not for most folks, but it is utterly unique to life.  Pain — physical, emotional, and otherwise — is the shadow cast by everything you want out of life, the alternative to the result you were hoping for, and the inevitable creator of strength.  From the pain of our failures we learn to be better, stronger, greater than what we were before.  Pain is there to tell us when we’ve done something badly — it’s a teacher, a guide, one that is always there to both warn us of our limitations and challenge us to overcome them.
For something no one likes, pain does us a whole hell of a lot of good.
  —    Harry Dresden (a fictional character)
From “Ghost Story” a novel written by:  Jim Butcher
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