Booknotes: April 2024

In which I briefly comment on the books I read each month, so a few years from now when I’m trying to remember one I think I read, I’ll be able to find it here. I’m also not going to limit this just to books because I’m a media omnivore. Maybe you’ll find something interesting, too?

Let’s find out!

Book Notes

Bicycle/Race: Transportation, Culture, & Resistance by Adonia Lugo, PhD

  • (3.75; print) Part memoir, part case study — Dr. Lugo candidly lays bare the challenges she faced in tackling race’s impact on predominantly white advocacy efforts, connecting dots that are relevant way beyond biking. An occasionally frustrating but always insightful read, and a good companion to Blue’s Bikenomics.

Press Reset: Ruin and Recovery in the Video Game Industry by Jason Schreier

  • (3.5; print) An overlapping series of insightful profiles of notable studios and developers devoured by an unsustainable approach to game development that delivers more on the ruin than recovery of its subtitle. Reading this while almost every video game company is still playing the layoff game gives those stories a bit more subtext.

Malleus (Eisenhorn: The Omnibus) by Dan Abnett

  • (4.0; print) Abnett’s pacing is excellent, deftly balancing a multi-year tale of research and intrigue —very Mission: Impossible — with spurts of 40k violence, and a tidy ending that leaves you wanting more. If this is the character Henry Cavill is trying to bring to the small screen, it could be really good!

The Comic Book Story of Beer: The World’s Favorite Beverage from 7000 BC to Today’s Craft Brewing Revolution by Jonathan Hennessey, Mike Smith, Aaron McConnell, Tom Orzechowski

  • (3.5; print) Informative and entertaining, although maybe a little too ambitious in scope, especially when it gets to present times. I learned some things I didn’t know, but very little of it is likely to stick.

A Wrinkle in Time: The Graphic Novel by Madeleine L’Engle & Hope Larson

  • (2.5; print) I didn’t read the original novel until a few years ago, shortly before I saw the movie, which I liked a bit better but can’t remember why. Larson’s adaptation is solid overall, but it didn’t make me like the heavy-handed story nor any of its main characters, and its historical significance isn’t enough to overcome that.

Media Notes

Diablo IV (Xbox)

  • I’ve long considered myself a Diablo fan, but a few hours into Diablo IV, I realized it’s just one of the most famous (and influential) representatives of one of my favorite genres, and that I’d only ever finished (I think) the main story for Diablo III, but I never got into any of the endgame grind. Destiny 2 and The Division 2 are the games that introduced me to and hooked me on the loot grind, and my GOTY last year, Inquisitor – Martyr, was the first ARPG to suck me into the endgame grind and seasonal mechanics. Having finished Diablo IV’s entertaining campaign after 70+ hours (So. Many. Good. Side. Quests.), I’ve been enjoying the endgame activities and current season’s storyline, but the deeper mechanics of the Paragon system and the never-ending chase for improved gear probably mean I’ll bail before the new season starts in mid-May.

Dark, Season Two (Netflix)

  • Season One was a mind-bending time travel mystery that ended on a fun twist, so Season Two upped the ante by choosing not to stick the landing, but instead flows right into a quadruple axel, ending in mid-air. I’m avoiding reading anything about it until we finish the final season, but I’d love to know what was happening in the writer’s room as they continued to add more layers. If they don’t pull it off, it will still have been two entertaining seasons with a great cast, but what if they do…?

Your Notes?

If you’ve read (watched or played) any of these, let me know what you thought. And if you have related recommendations you think I’d like, drop ’em in the comments like we used to do in the good old days! Some of you prefer email, which is cool, too. You do you!

PS: Notes on Notes

Where possible, I’m linking to as the least offensive online shopping option for books, although I’ve been disappointed to find some books I’ve read don’t have a listing there, as if the book I held in my hand didn’t exist. They’re affiliate links, but feel free to switch to your preferred local bookshop if you have one and decide to buy anything. Where Bookshop doesn’t have a listing, I’ll link to the publisher’s page, which is often the best place to purchase your books anyway, although it may be a little more expensive and less convenient. If you’re lucky, some of them may also be available at your local library, in print or digital format!

Despite my day job, I still mostly read in print, but I’m noting the format along with my rating for context. If the format has any impact on my rating, I’ll mention that, but it rarely will since I try to avoid reading ebooks of anything that has a visual element.

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2 thoughts on “Booknotes: April 2024

  1. I enjoyed Diablo 4 but gave up after the first or second season. The seasons don’t have enough content for a seasonal character or your main. I’ve never been a fan of starting over with a new character each season either. The quests were amazing but after that its just the same thing over and over for slightly better numbers if you even get that.

    1. Yeah, I really need fresh story content to keep me engaged in the grind, although I am a little intrigued by the depth of S4’s revamp, I may give it a week to impress me.

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