The Last Wish
The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski, translated by Danusia Stok, 4/5
I’m a bit of a fantasy snob to say the least, so it was a pleasant surprise to find that Sapkowski is a competent writer, capable of reworking the tired tropes of a well-worn genre instead of merely ripping them off. At times, he purposefully incorporates elements of popular fairy tales and legends into his own in a skillful way, making it almost seem as if his stories predate the originals. I found the book’s layout to be bewildering, but after learning from its Wikipedia article about the concept of a “frame story” interspersed with other short stories, it made a lot more sense. I am looking forward to reading more books in this series as soon as the library, currently closed thanks to the COVID-19 virus, re-opens.
Why I read it: I figured that any book series spawning popular video games and a Netflix show must be worth checking out.
Verbal Judo: The Gentle Art of Persuasion by George J. Thompson, Ph.D., and Jerry B. Jenkins, 4/5
This book contains some helpful, commonsense advice about communicating that I think would be especially useful for parents and other people in leadership roles. Of course, the author is a bit full of it and there are endless acronyms and 5-steps to this and 9-stages of that, but the big emphasis is on the concept of empathy and its related technique–paraphrasing. There is also a helpful list of “Eleven Things Never to Say to Anyone (And How to Respond If Some Idiot Says Them to You),” which includes my personal favourites: “Come here!” (usually shouted threateningly) and “Calm down!” (“BUT I AM CALM!!!”).
[Why I read it: Came across it while sorting through some of my Dad’s books.]
Deeper Thoughts by Jack Handey, 5/5
This is a hilarious collection of random, unreasonably funny quotes, such as:
“Probably the earliest fly swatters were nothing more than some sort of striking surface attached to the end of a long stick.”
“I wish my name was Todd, because then I could say, ‘Yes, my name’s Todd. Todd Blankenship.’ Oh, also I wish my last name was Blankenship.”
“Sometimes I think I’d be better off dead. No, wait. Not me, you.”
[Why I read it: I came across the book in the thrift store and recognized the author from reading his stuff online. I bought the book for my brother, Samuel, but had to read it before sending it to him.]