W.S. by L.P. Hartley

“W.S.” is a short story by L.P. Hartley that I read in an anthology entitled Roald Dahl’s Book of Ghost Stories. It’s the first story in the the book after the preface, which was interesting reading all by itself. I’ll comment more about the actual collection itself in a later post, when I’ve finished reading the entire collection, but I wanted to comment on the first story in this post. Continue reading

The Castle Ravenloft Board Game

The Castle Ravenloft board game is a Dungeons & Dragons based board game. Dungeons & Dragons (or D&D) is an old-school roleplaying game. If you’re not familiar with the concept, a roleplaying game is different from a board game. Players take the roles of individual characters in a fantasy setting, and the gamemaster (or “dungeonmaster,” in D&D), sets the stage and plays all the other characters that the player characters interact with. People who grew up during the 80s and 90s, like me, probably thought of roleplaying games as being the next step in the evolution of the board game. After all, in a board game, you also take the role of someone else, albeit in a much more abstract manner. In Monopoly, for example, you take the role of a real estate developer. But in traditional board games, you have a limited number of choices. In a roleplaying game, you have a nearly-infinite number of choices. Continue reading

The American MENSA Guide to Casino Gambling: Winning Ways

Most books written about gambling are just this side of worthless. It makes sense that most of the free gambling strategy advice you find on the Internet is junk (although there are exceptions, like Casino Gambling Strategy, for example), but you’d think books published by major publishing houses and ostensibly reviewed by editors would be well-written and informative. Unfortunately, most of them aren’t. Continue reading

How to Be Invisible by JJ Luna

The subtitle of JJ Luna’s How to Be Invisible may be a better guide to what’s actually contained in the book: “The Essential Guide to Protecting Your Personal Privacy, Your Assets, and Your Life.” Obviously, the phrase “How to Be Invisible” is more eye-catching, easier to sell to book browsers at the airport book store or browsing an online eBook store. Luna’s book is designed to help you protect your privacy in an age where everything and everyone seems more connected and exposed than ever before. Continue reading

The Best Advice from Your Money Or Your Life

Your Money Or Your Life was originally published in 1992 and has appeared in several revised versions since then. Your Money Or Your Life was a phenomenon, almost immediately translated into eleven languages and occupying spots at the top of “best book” lists for years to come. This book, subtitled “Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence,” was co-written by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin. The whole purpose of the book is to change the way you think about your money and your relationship with finances in general. Continue reading

The Hunger Games Books Aren’t Just for Kids

I don’t read a lot of young adult literature, but I was given The Hunger Games trilogy for Christmas, and I couldn’t put the books down. The Hunger Games books are set in a post-apocalyptic future, in a totalitarian society where the capitol of the country forces the other districts to do all the blue collar work. The people in these districts rebelled a few decades ago, and they lost. As a reminder, the capitol forces these district to pay tribute each year by sending two of their children to “The Hunger Games.” Think of these games as being an amped up version of the Survivor reality show, with one big difference–the goal of the participants in The Hunger Games is to kill the other contestants. Continue reading

The Best Books of 2011

I read about 40 books in 2011, and not all of them were published this year. So keep in mind when reading MY list of the best books of 2011, you’re reading a really individual and idiosyncratic list of books. But here are the new books I enjoyed the most this year. I’ll probably follow this up with a list of books I’m looking forward to reading next year. Continue reading