The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia by Patrick Thorpe et al

Title: The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia
Authors: Patrick Thorpe, Various Artists, Translators, and Others
Date Added: October 30, 2016
Date Started: April 11, 2017
Date Finished: June 4, 2017
Reading Duration: 54 days
Genre: Art, Reference

Pages: 274
Publication Date: January 16, 2013
Publisher: Dark Horse Books
Media: Hardback

Dark Horse Books and Nintendo team up to bring you The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia, containing an unparalleled collection of historical information on The Legend of Zelda franchise. This handsome hardcover contains never-before-seen concept art, the full history of Hyrule, the official chronology of the games, and much more! Starting with an insightful introduction by the legendary producer and video-game designer of Donkey Kong, Mario, and The Legend of Zelda, Shigeru Miyamoto, this book is crammed full of information about the storied history of Link’s adventures from the creators themselves! As a bonus, The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia includes an exclusive comic by the foremost creator of The Legend of Zelda manga – Akira Himekawa!


I would recommend this book too Zelda lovers both young and old.  It not only has amazing artwork, some of which is conceptual, never finding its way into any games, but it gives a well organized explanation of the quite confusing and convoluted timeline as well as background information on each game’s individual narrative and the overarching one of the Legend.  For example, it confirmed that the loftwings introduced in Skyward Sword were indeed based on a real life bird, the shoebill.

The importance of these birds transcends the game they originated from for they are preserved for all time in the insignia on Link’s Hylian Shield.

Legend of Zelda is the first game series I’ve ever seen with a contingency for the hero’s failure with Ocarina of Time as the appropriate turning point.  If Link succeeds in defeating Ganon, Majora’s Mask is the continuation of the story, but if he is defeated that loss leads to Link to the Past in hopes he can save the future.  There’s also the Child Link Timeline and the Adult Link Timeline, which begins in Ocarina as well.  That game serves as a hub of convergence, which makes sense since it’s the first (in release, not chronological order) to feature the Temple of Time.

Continue reading

The Illustrated A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking

Title: The Illustrated A Brief History of Time/The Universe in a Nutshell
Author: Stephen Hawking
Date Added: June 25, 2016
Date Started: January 2, 2017
Date Finished: April 9, 2017
Reading Duration: 97 days
Genre: Science, Astronomy, Astrophysics, Quantum Mechanics, Theoretical Physics

Pages: 464
Publication Date: June 7, 2007
Publisher: Bantam Dell Publishing Group
Media: Paperback

One of the most influential thinkers of our time, Stephen Hawking is an intellectual icon, known not only for the adventurousness of his ideas but for the clarity and wit with which he expresses them. In this new book Hawking takes us to the cutting edge of theoretical physics, where truth is often stranger than fiction, to explain in laymen’s terms the principles that control our universe. Like many in the community of theoretical physicists, Professor Hawking is seeking to uncover the grail of science – the elusive Theory of Everything that lies at the heart of the cosmos. In his accessible and often playful style, he guides us on his search to uncover the secrets of the universe – from supergravity to supersymmetry, from quantum theory to M-theory, from holography to duality. He takes us to the wild frontiers of science, where superstring theory and p-branes may hold the final clue to the puzzle. And he lets us behind the scenes of one of his most exciting intellectual adventures as he seeks “to combine Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity and Richard Feynman’s idea of multiple histories into one complete unified theory that will describe everything that happens in the universe.” With characteristic exuberance, Professor Hawking invites us to be fellow travelers on this extraordinary voyage through space-time. Copious four-color illustrations help clarify this journey into a surreal wonderland where particles, sheets, and strings move in eleven dimensions; where black holes evaporate and disappear, taking their secret with them; and where the original cosmic seed from which our own universe sprang was a tiny nut. The Universe in a Nutshell is essential reading for all of us who want to understand the universe in which we live. Like its companion volume, A Brief History of Time, it conveys the excitement felt within the scientific community as the secrets of the cosmos reveal themselves.


Professor Hawking has managed to take something supremely difficult to understand, the nature of the universe and in fact our very being, and explained it in the simplest terms possible.  Sadly, the simplest terms possible are still wildly complicated, and I spent a good portion of this book rereading and rereading again in attempt to wrap my head around the concepts.  I can say that I understood 70% on a good day and 30% on a bad.  I am still woefully clueless on string theory and can probably only consider 20% of that to my credit, but the internet exists for a reason, and I’m certain I’ll find myself looking it up again one day.

This is not a volume that can be read casually.  It is not a book that’s picked up before repose as a bedtime browser.  Brief History should be treated more like a textbook, and this is not a slight on its part.  Professor Hawking is attempting to teach laypeople/non-scientists about highly complex scientific concepts, many of which even those in that community do not fully understand.

It is possible that some of the more complex ideas could’ve been explained a little more clearly.  Because Mr. Hawking was the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge University and because he’s taught physics for many, many years, I believe his writing reflects the attitude that readers will have more than rudimentary knowledge of what he’s trying to explain.  Instead of being Physics 101, A Brief History of Time may be more in the neighborhood of Physics 102.  This could also just be my own personal failing to adequately grasp it, and other readers unfamiliar with theoretical physics may have no problem at all.

The book did serve to dissuade me from pursuing serious studies of astrophysics, as I was considering that at some point,  I do not say this with remorse or in an attempt to seek sympathy.  I’m actually happy I was able to come to this conclusion, as I can spend my time in more fruitful endeavors.  I’ve been thinking about studying law, which is a far more mundane matter in comparison to the universe.  Briefly, I chosen micro concerns (which are no less important) as opposed to macro.  I will most definitely continue to read about/study astrophysics on a more casual level, since postulating where the universe comes from and how it operates is paramount to understanding ourselves.

4 stars.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

The State of the Reader: 1/18/17

<–The State of the Reader: 1/11/17          The State of the Reader: 1/25/17–>

A weekly post updated every Wednesday detailing my current reading projects and where I am with them in addition to what new titles I’ve added to my to-read list.  Title links go to Goodreads to make it easier for interested parties to add any books that might strike their fancy.  I attempt to use the covers for the edition I’m reading, and I’ll mention if this is not the case.  If you have a Goodreads account feel free to friend me!  I’d love to see what you’re reading and/or planning to read.

Books Finished This Week: 1

Title: Tuf Voyaging
Author: George R R Martin
Date Added: January 27, 2016
Date Started: January 5, 2017
Date Finished: January 17, 2017

Media: Kindle

While it may seem impressive that I went from 29% last week to finished this week (if you’re keeping track of such things, which I in no way expect you to), I’d already read two of the stories: “A Beast for Norn” and “Guardians” in Dreamsongs Volume I.  The most interesting offerings in the Tuf anthology definitely center around the stories of S’uthlam.  Martin seems to enjoy playing with the trope of A God Am I, but not in the ways I’ve seen before; however, his methods draw into question the very fundamentals of what godhood is or may very well be.  I’ll be writing a review for this this week, hopefully Friday, where I’ll discuss all of this and more.


Books Currently Reading: 5

Title: In the House of the Worm
Author: George R R Martin
Date Added: June 21, 2013
Date Started: January 17, 2017

Media: Kindle
Progress: 9%

Finish one GRRM book and start another.  As I was going through the stories in Tuf Voyaging, I was listening to reviews/analyses of them by YouTuber Preston Jacobs.  His insights are pretty good, though he didn’t say everything I would’ve, but conversely he said things I wouldn’t know (I haven’t read Plato’s Republic yet, though it is on my TBR list).  He mentions Worm quite a bit in other reviews (in fact, I’m pretty sure he’s spoiled the story already, but I don’t quite remember, so it’s okay), and I figured I should download it, and read it next.  It’s brief at only 56 pages, so I imagine I should be able to knock it out in a week.  I’m pretty interested for various reasons.  One, Martin tends to write about the same thing over and over again.  His stories have similar themes, and this will give clues/insights to how Song might end, at least thematically.  Two, I’m interested for the story’s sake alone.  It takes place on a world with a dying sun.  The people consider themselves “Children of the Worm” or yaga-la-hai, which sounds a bit like yog-shoggoth (at least in the first syllable), which puts me in the mind of Lovecraft (no, I will not post a picture of a yog-shoggoth.  They’re eldtricthy; it’s dark, and I’m home alone).  I do know that the true nature of the Worm is dark and terrifying, which definitely feeds the Lovecraftian vibe.

Title: A Court of Thorns and Roses
Series Title: A Court of Thorns and Roses
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Date Added: June 15, 2016
Date Started: November 20, 2016

Media: Paperback
Progress: 83%

I’m hoping to finish this before next week.  I keep dandling the rating between a 3 and a 3.5, but if I give it a 3.5, I’ll have to round up on Goodreads to a 4, and this is definitely not a 4 in my book.

What’s odd is that it’s a very compelling tale for the sake of getting to the ending.  I want the evil Faerie Queen to go down, that smarmy bitch, and Feyre is a very capable and likable character.  The issue is her main motivation for fighting is her love for Tamlin, and that just wasn’t pulled off believably for me.  I don’t like their relationship, so her whole motivation for enduring suffering is a bit tainted (though of course I understand doing such for the one you love).  I like the intrigue, the faerie court politics, and the stakes, but it’s like one half of the story is silent.

Oddly enough, I’m just as torn on reading the sequel as I am the rating.  The world is interesting, and Maas is certainly setting up some compelling bits for the next part with the High Lord of the Night Court, but again, the relationship dilemma.  I think I’ll finish this one up, and then make my decision.

Title: The Illustrated A Brief History of Time/The Universe in a Nutshell
Author: Stephen Hawking
Date Added: June 25, 2016
Date Started: January 2, 2016

Media: Paperback
Progress: 34%

I’m trying to plot out my reading of this as if it’s a text book, and honestly, I’m not sure it isn’t.  I might have had to buy this for some obscure class.  Even the price tag on it looks like one you’d find in a student book store.

I finished the chapter that outlined general relativity, which is the macrocosm.  The next part will focus on quantum theory, which is the microcosm, so from the very big to the very small.  I’m too tired to expound upon the fascinating facts this volume explains, but the terms it does so in are simple enough for the average mind to grasp.  Although if you asked me to explain what general relativity was, I’d stare at you slack-jawed.  Einstein had a pretty harsh observation for people who couldn’t explain things simply.  To be blunt, it meant you didn’t understand them well enough.  I am okay admitting that.

Title: The Raven Boys
Series Title: The Raven Cycle
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Date Added: April 21, 2015
Date Started: January 1, 2016

Media: Kindle
Progress: 60%

What continues to fascinate me about this book is how it can burn so slow, yet be such a page turner.  For chapters and chapters, nothing really happened, only the promise of something, and now, the promise is being fulfilled.

Latin.  Speaking.  Trees.

I posted today on Facebook that I really need to teach myself Latin.  While I can always use Google Translate, I would like to have a knowledge base myself.  It is my favorite language to sing in after all.

Title: The Mabinogion Tetralogy
Author: Evangeline Walton
Date Added: August 24, 2014
Date Started: July 31, 2016

Medium: Paperback
Progress: 51%

After more than six months, I’ve finally read more than half of this.  I’m trying to read 1-2 chapters a session.  I still can’t shake the haunting sadness of the last branch though, when the Children of Llyr were all but extinguished.  That was a part that was worthy to be read aloud.  Now only one remains, Manawyddan who is now wed to Rhiannon mother of Pryderi (Manawyddan is his birth father as well, but the prince believes otherwise), and I think this section is really just their long lingering.  I know from needing to see how many pages the compendium has that the book ends with Gwydion son of Don whose name I recognize as he’s an integral character in The Chronicles of Prydain.  It will be interesting to see how the Mabinogion Gwydion compares to the Chronicles one.


Fanfictions Finished: 0

Fanfictions Currently Reading: 1

Title: I’m the Darkness, You’re the Starlight
Author: runicmagitek
Fandom: FFVI
Pairing: Celes Chere/Setzer Gabbiani

I’m worried about my friend 😦

Fanfictions Added to TBR List: 0


Books Added to Goodreads TBR List This Week: 4

Title: The Borrowers
Series Title: The Borrowers
Author: Mary Norton
Date Added: January 12, 2017

Years ago, I read The Borrowers Afield as a part of huge haul of books my mother’s employers gave her.  They were constantly doing that: giving her things for me and my brothers along with Christmas presents.  Now that I’m older, I have mixed thoughts about this (nothing scandalous or anything like that), but as a child, the more books the merrier.

I logicked out that there had to have been a prior Borrowers book since in this current one they were afield, but I never had access to it.  The Well-Red Mage reminded me of this series in his review of Studio Ghibli’s The Secret World of Arriety, whom along with her parents Pod and Homily make up the eponymous Borrowers of the book series.  Now I must correct two egregious affronts: not reading the first book and not seeing the Studio Ghibli movie.

Title: Red Rising
Series Title: Red Rising
Author: Pierce Brown
Date Added: January 12, 2017

She wore me down.  I’ve been seeing this book floating around the blogosphere (and general webosphere) for a few months now.  The blurb was interesting, but as I’ve repeated ad naseaum (and will again, sorry!) I have a ton of books on my TBR list, but Cupcakes and Machetes’ review, well, she got me.  It’s obviously an amazing book, and I trust my friends, so it’s another addition to my TBR list.  Also it has one red wing on the cover, so there’s a little bit of tingling in my VII Sense, which is totally superficial…though it is a story about people who work and live below the surface so there’s that.

Title: Lumberjanes, Vol 1: Beware the Kitten Holy
Series Title: Lumberjanes
Authors: Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Shannon Waters, and Brooke A. Allen
Date Added: January 13, 2017

With a motto like “Friendship to the Max!” this comes off as a human, more LGBTQ version of My Little Pony, and that along with so many other things makes this another comic/graphic novel I need to read.  I mean holy kittens look at that cover, the diversity is beautiful, and there are lesbian, bi, and trans characters set in a magical summer camp..  I don’t need much more to tell me this is something I should read.  I owe the Writing Hufflepuff a great debt for introducing this to the world through her post!

Title: The Pendragon Protocol
Series Title: The Devices Trilogy
Author: Philip Purser-Hallard
Date Added: January 15, 2017

Despite my lack of official study, I am quite fond of and interested in Arthurian Legend.  I used to own a deck of the Arthurian Tarot, which was beautiful, but didn’t really connect with me.  Either way, a modern day retelling of the legend is refreshing and a necessary deviation from the typical medieval fare.  I was put onto this by a review of the third book by Kim of By Hook and By Book, and conveniently, she had one for this.  It was highly rated, and so I thought it worthy for an add.


Total Books on Goodreads TBR List: 545
Change from Last Week: +4


Books Added to Goodreads To Be Reread List This Week: 0


Books Purchased This Week: 1

  1. In the House of the Worm by George R R Martin – purchased and started this week.

What are you currently reading and/or what’s on your radar to read next?  What would you recommend based on my current and recently added?  As always I look forward to your comments and suggestions!

<–The State of the Reader: 1/11/17          The State of the Reader: 1/25/17–>

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

The State of the Reader: 1/11/17

<–The State of the Reader: 1/4/17          The State of the Reader: 1/18/17–>

A weekly post updated every Wednesday detailing my current reading projects and where I am with them in addition to what new titles I’ve added to my to-read list.  Title links go to Goodreads to make it easier for interested parties to add any books that might strike their fancy.  I attempt to use the covers for the edition I’m reading, and I’ll mention if this is not the case.  If you have a Goodreads account feel free to friend me!  I’d love to see what you’re reading and/or planning to read.

Books Currently Reading: 5

Title: Tuf Voyaging
Author: George R R Martin
Date Added: January 27, 2016
Date Started: January 5, 2017

Media: Kindle
Progress: 29%

Somewhere in my madness, I decided to pick up a fifth book to read.  What happened in actuality is not atypical for how I fall into things.  I don’t even think I was on a site for such, but the written transcript of the FFVII Remake showed up somewhere in my periphery, and while I don’t know it verbatim, I do recall it constitutes something about looking up at a fated star (I’m probably really off in this, and I don’t feel like looking it up (…), because it lends the chance of falling down VII’s many rabbit holes), but there was something about an ominous star, and that reminded me of a story by GRRM called “The Plague Star.”  Internet perusing led me to Tuf Voyaging, a novel I’ve been wanting to read ever since I got a “Taste of Tuf” from Dreamsongs Volume II.  “The Plague Star” suggests some serious implications for ASOIAF insofar as the comet presented in the latter tale may be more than just astral debris as the original meteor in FFVII was.  So while I had every intention of reading more about Haviland Tuf, I was spurred along by that chance noticing of those particular words.

When I bought the Kindle copy and opened it up on a whim, it automatically updated my Goodreads to say I was currently reading it.  I’d set that up and forgotten about it, but since I was well drawn into the the fore mentioned story, I figured what the hell.  I’m currently reading quite a bit of this along with The Raven Boys during my lunch breaks at work, and as you can see I’ve made significant progress in just one week.  I finished “The Plague Star” and am currently on “Loaves and Fishes.”  I’ve noticed that most if not all of Tuf’s tales have some sort of Biblical reference, and in “Plague,” he is the only really likable character.  He’s a consummate cat lover so I’m already endeared.

Title: A Court of Thorns and Roses
Series Title: A Court of Thorns and Roses
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Date Added: June 15, 2016
Date Started: November 20, 2016

Media: Paperback
Progress: 70%

I am now entirely convinced that this is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, which is a nice bait and switch, as I was expecting a retelling of Tamlin owing to the High Lord’s name.  I’m coming down to the final climax of the novel, and something has been revealed that pushes this paradigm even further to the forefront.

I already have an idea what rating I’m going to give this book.  Is that something that normally happens to you?  You realize where a novel is going to fall even before you finish reading it?  Usually about halfway through I’m fairly set on a rating, though factors could still definitely change it.  This book would have to do something pretty miraculous to achieve higher than what I’m set on.

Title: The Illustrated A Brief History of Time/The Universe in a Nutshell
Author: Stephen Hawking
Date Added: June 25, 2016
Date Started: January 2, 2016

Media: Paperback
Progress: 17%

Absolute time used to be a believed concept, which is fascinating.  It’s been rejected and rightly so, but still fascinating to think about.  Prior physicists also believe that the earth and other bodies must be moving through something called the ether, which is what accounted for certain factors, but this was ultimately rejected as well.

Title: The Raven Boys
Series Title: The Raven Cycle
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Date Added: April 21, 2015
Date Started: January 1, 2016

Media: Kindle
Progress: 35%

What’s amazing about this story is how little has happened and yet how utterly compelling it is.  There’s only the promise of discovery for both readers and characters alike, but that promise as well as the lovely prose are more than enough.  Currently, all of the important people have now met, and I’m actually on the part of their meeting now.  I imagine I’ll be finished this book either next week or soon afterwards.

Title: The Mabinogion Tetralogy
Author: Evangeline Walton
Date Added: August 24, 2014
Date Started: July 31, 2016

Medium: Paperback
Progress: 49%

I’ve kind of neglected this poor book.  It seems that the nights I skip reading tend to be the nights I’m supposed to read this and/or I only read a page or two.  It’s not that I don’t enjoy it; it’s just that I’m so damn tired all the time.  I’m almost halfway finished…though it’s been nearly six months since I started.  I do think I’ll be finished before the year mark though.


Fanfictions Finished: 0

Fanfictions Currently Reading: 1

Title: I’m the Darkness, You’re the Starlight
Author: runicmagitek
Fandom: FFVI
Pairing: Celes Chere/Setzer Gabbiani

Still hoping…

Fanfictions Added to TBR List: 0


Books Added to Goodreads TBR List This Week: 2

Title: Death Note, Vol. 1: Boredom
Series Title: Death Note
Author: Tsugumi Oba
Date Added: January 7, 2017

I just spent about ten minutes trying to figure out who the hell recently reviewed this.  I read it today, but it had to have been posted between 12/31 and 1/3, because my blog sub backlog is gigantic and only growing.  It was one of my frequently read blogger friends, and your review of it made me add it to my TBR list (I also commented the same).

I’d heard of this manga, but had no clue it was about something so interesting as a book that allows you to kill people by writing down their names.  Of course I’m not thinking of what I would do with such a device!  How dare you accuse?!  And of course I’m not thinking of writing down anyone’s name that begins with the letter D.  What do you take me for?  Good day to you sir/madam! *stomps off in huff*

Anyway…I’m throwing more comic books/graphic novels/manga on my TBR list.  It’s nice padding and quicker reads so I may be able to make if not surpass my 15 book goal.  I feel short of my 20 books of 2016 so lowered it.

Title: Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions
Author: Edwin A. Abbott
Date Added: January 9, 2017

Unless I’m mistaken (and there’s a good chance I am), there was a movie made about this book.  I could also be thinking of the cartoon about the line and the circle, which could very well have been based on/inspired by this as well.  I could also be thinking of another film called The Point that I wanted to see when I was younger, but never was able to catch.

Either way, this is a sci-fi novel about a two-dimensional world where the main character is A. Square, a mathematician, who journeys to other dimensions beyond and less than his own.  It is a near turn of the century satire, published in 1884 (yes, that century, not the most recent one) where women, as thin straight lines, are considered the lowliest shape (not much has changed), and the more sides a man has, the higher his status.  There are some books that stand the test of time.  Even though this one is over a hundred years old, I have a feeling many of the themes will still be valid today.


Total Books on Goodreads TBR List: 541
Change from Last Week: +1


Books Added to Goodreads To Be Reread List This Week: 0


Books Purchased This Week: 3

  1. The Bees by Laline Paul – Exactly what it says on the tin.  It’s about bees and written in such a delightfully intriguing way that I knew I had to obtain it after reading the sample
  2. Saga: Volume 1 by Brian K. Vaughn & Fiona Staples – Yasss finally!  To hell with that $50 hardback copy I saw at KOP’s comic book story.  I flipped through the first few pages, and it…is…thrilling from the get go.  You are instantly thrown into the story, and it’s no holds barred, not sugar coated.  I love it already.  I’m hoping to shoehorn it into my reading cycle soon.
  3. The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia by Various Authors – I was talking to a major Zelda fan this week who gave his approval on this compendium.  The pictures are gorgeous, and it was worth all 30 of my (GC) dollars.

img_9759


What are you currently reading and/or what’s on your radar to read next?  What would you recommend based on my current and recently added?  As always I look forward to your comments and suggestions!

<–The State of the Reader: 1/4/17          The State of the Reader: 1/18/17–>

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

The Mystical Qabalah by Dion Fortune

Title: The Mystical Qabalah
Author: Dion Fortune
Date Added: August 13, 2012
Date Started: Unknown
Date Finished: September 12, 2016
Genre: Theology/Mysticism

Mystical Qabalah, ThePages: 360
Publication Date: January 1, 1957
Medium: Paperback

Dion Fortune’s classic, The Mystical Qabalah, explores all aspects of the Qabalah, including the esoteric sciences of astrology and tarot, which form the basis of the Western Mystery Traditions. It provides a key to the practical working of this mystical system for both novice and initiate alike.


Let me just put this out there right now.  I read this book because of Final Fantasy VII.  It’s about the Tree of Life, which is made up of the Holy Sephiroth, the emanations or “God-names” that focus principle archetypes behind evolving human activities.  I had no idea the rabbit hole I was diving into, nor did I realize either how well SquareSoft (now Squeenix…unfortunately) had done their research or had managed to align their usage of that term with the appropriate symbolism.  The Qabalah seeks to solve the paradox of “the Many and the One,” speaks about microcosm and macrocosm, and essentially serves as a guide through the metaphysical and esoteric.

This is not a post dedicated to me espousing the virtues and glory of FFVII (I do that often enough), but it has to be mentioned that the game led me to this study, and one of the first definitions of “Sephiroth” I found was “the path that leads to God.”  It’s clearly present in the game’s narrative, and reading The MQ showed not only how much the symbolism of the Tree is present there, but in so many other stories as well.

Continue reading