Reviews and Comments

Henry

henry@books.theunseen.city

Joined 2 years ago

My BookWyrm Account. Runner, artist, musician, book nerd and privacy advocate. I'm the owner of Techlore & co-host of Surveillance Report.

I've developed resources for nearly a decade, using my voice and expertise to improve people's relationship with technology. I play the role of CEO, content creator, consultant, video producer, and more.

Website: henryfisher.tech

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F. Scott Fitzgerald: The Great Gatsby (Paperback, 1995, Scribner Paperback Fiction) 4 stars

This is the definitive, textually accurate edition of a classic of twentieth-century literature, The Great …

So Happy To Experience It Again!

5 stars

I was (like many) forced to read The Great Gatsby in high school, though I wish I hadn't as I was incapable of truly appreciating it at the time.

As others have mentioned, Fitzgerald's prose is unbelievable. In just a few words he can paint vivid imagery in your mind with layers of depth and analysis to accompany the emotions. The story and characters are beautifully written with a natural complexity that avoids the cliche 'good guys' & 'bad guys' we typically experience.

Just from my perspective alone, I found many themes and interpretations to the story which resonated with me, just to name a few:

  • Clinging to the past and trying to repeat history expecting a different outcome. Recently this has tied nicely into my romantic life, where I've been noticing some repetition compulsion.
  • Nick's character in general was someone I found myself heavily relating to, as I feel …
Edward Hollis: How to Make a Home (Paperback, 2017, Pan Macmillan, imusti) 4 stars

"Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful"

4 stars

I had no clue what to expect going in to this book, but I was thoroughly surprised! It opened me up to a whole new world I had never considered—my home. While I spend nearly every day in my home, I don't think too much about the countless decisions I make and how they impact the aura, efficiency, story, and experience when I'm within the home.

But also, what constitutes a 'home'? How should we treat furniture? What's the point of furniture? How do our homes reflect our lives? How to Make a Home takes a critical look at something I once thought was simple, and has given me a lot to think about.

Neil Gaiman: Coraline (Paperback, 2003, Scholastic Inc.) 4 stars

Looking for excitement, Coraline ventures through a mysterious door into a world that is similar, …

Quick, Fun Read

4 stars

Coraline is a children's book good enough to be organically read by adults. As it's fairly similar to the movie, I'll cover some not-so-obvious interpretations I had:

Throughout the read I couldn't help but feel like Coraline's other mother was a perfect embodiment of a BPD parent. Aside from the obvious BPD characteristics exhibited by the other mother, I felt the following quote summed everything up beautifully: "It was true: the other mother loved her. But she loved Coraline as a miser loves money, or a dragon love its gold. Int the other mother's button eyes, Coraline knew that she was a possession, nothing more. A tolerated pet, whose behavior was no longer amusing."

After reading the book, I found a great blog analysis that touched on the many thoughts I had throughout the read: pensievely.wordpress.com/2020/12/17/seduced-by-borderline-an-analysis-of-coraline/

BPD-aside, very fun book. Made me laugh a few times, a bit creepy, and …

Tom Chatfield: How To Thrive In The Digital Age (2012, MacMillan) 2 stars

How to complain about the digital age

2 stars

This was a useless book to read in 2023.

Perhaps when it was written the ideas and concepts were novel, but there was not a new perspective I received reading this book.

Additionally, the title is misleading. There is no addressing the “how” aspect of thriving in the digital age. Rather, the author explores difficult ethical questions an increasingly digital age introduces into society. No personal insight, no advice, no analysis, just asking tough questions.

Not at all what I was expecting, and frankly I’m not sure what value it brings in 2023.

Overall Good On A Broad Scale

4 stars

This book was not quite what I was expecting, and that’s not a terrible thing.

I was expecting a lot of advice and practical tips on minimizing different areas of my life. What I received was a birds-eye perspective on simplifying life as a whole, in addition to helpful mentalities to have on the journey (which is all arguably more important than basic advice)

Another way of putting it: Rather than this book telling you how to decide which clothes to remove from your wardrobe, it will make you consider the friends in your life and which ones deserve your time and energy.

Rather than dealing with the BS of 5 vs 10 pieces of clothing, this approach at simplicity and minimalism focuses on the largest drainers of our time/energy/life:

Poor relationships, poor jobs, poor friends, poor decisions.

So this book served as a healthy reminder to focus on the …

Stieg Larsson: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Millennium, #1) (Hardcover, 2008, Alfred A. Knopf) 4 stars

A spellbinding amalgam of murder mystery, family saga, love story, and financial intrigue.

It's about …

I spent 4 hours finishing the book, then I went for a run.

5 stars

The first half captured me, the second half was…insane. I picked an intense read for my first fiction book in years. When I finished, all I could do was grab my running shoes and go for a run, even though I already ran in the morning. It was a lot to process, and I needed the run to work through it.

Heavy, dark, insightful, scary, and beautiful. So happy I read it. And the broad theme of violence (and hatred) towards women is beautifully crafted into the story.

Johann Hari: Stolen Focus (2022, Crown Publishing Group, The) 4 stars

Really Fantastic, A Must-Read

5 stars

I was expecting Stolen Focus to predominantly focus on digital focus, and the negative impacts big tech companies have on our attention. That’s definitely a good portion of this book, which was incredibly insightful, but there are many more concepts tied to focus I had never considered which were equally amazing to learn about.

Diet, environment, social factors, economy, politics, and more. Stolen Focus ties relations between the focus crisis to the climate crisis, the obesity crisis, the mental health crisis, and much more. These are all interlinked problems which feed on each other in disastrous ways.

This book is not a “how to reclaim your focus” guide, it’s rather a thorough investigation into how and why focus is so important, and what has happened to it. It gives you the context and understanding required to not just fight back personally, but socially.

Writing-wise, I was thoroughly impressed with the …

Tom Greenwood: Sustainable Web Design (A Book Apart) 4 stars

The internet may be digital, but it carries a very physical cost. From image files …

Could’ve Been A Blog Post

2 stars

This is a tiny book, and the actual takeaway information is even tinier. While context is very important and I’m happy the book covers the importance of sustainability, I found myself skipping through many pages. I was looking for something with more technical advice and things to do to improve web page efficiency. This book has many great tips, it just requires some unnecessary reading to get there. I think a blog post with the core takeaways would’ve been a better medium for this book.

If you’re brand new to web design, this may be a great book. If you’re already fairly well-versed and already have a decent understanding of the sustainable considerations of building a site, you’ll find a lot of this book to probably be skipworthy.

Seth Godin: The Icarus Deception How High Will You Fly (2012, Portfolio) 4 stars

Really Great Reminders

5 stars

The oddest thing reading this book was realizing how much I likely related to much of it several years ago, but slowly fell away from these important ideals.

I think the longer you spend working on something you’re passionate about, the easier it is to lose your original vision and get lost in the BS that doesn’t matter.

This was a great reminder to put me back on the right track of how to make good art. What good art means. And why my art really matters.

This book will show you that art is simple, it’s nothing fancy and isn’t reserved for the elite. But that doesn’t make it easy.

Like most things in life, simple doesn’t always mean easy.

Reading through this book has ignited some passion I thought was long gone.

Haruki Murakami: What I Talk About When I Talk About Running (2008) 3 stars

What I Talk About When I Talk About Running (走ることについて語るときに僕の語ること, Hashiru Koto ni Tsuite Kataru …

Honestly…A Painful Read

2 stars

I went in with high expectations for this book. Running has been a massive part of my life since I was 8 years old, and getting to hear new perspectives on running was all I was expecting from this book.

Unfortunately, this book reads like a mid-level runner giving us a stream of consciousness about running; some of what’s shared being accurate, and some not. He shares many theories as to why and how certain things work - mainly based on hunches. Some hunches are correct, and some not.

I’m going to choose to ignore the frustrating number of hunches the author utilizes in place of science, and instead focus on the philosophy and emotional aspects of this book. (Which are the only somewhat redeeming parts of it)

Even in this realm, I really struggled to connect with the author with the exception of a few pages. A huge part …

Michael A. Singer, Michael A. Singer: The Untethered Soul (Paperback, 2007, New Harbinger Publications/ Noetic Books) 4 stars

Apparently I’ve Had a Roommate in My Head My Whole Life

5 stars

I don’t know where to start this review, though a bit of context is necessary:

I’ve never been a spiritual person, so I was expecting this book to challenge my perception of things. I also wasn’t planning on finding much value from it, my exceptions were fairly low. Well that was all wrong.

While some parts of this book are still difficult for me to wrap my head around, I can officially say this book is formally my first real experience with exploring my spiritual side.

I’ve always been a “recognize the issue” then “fix the issue” kind of person. Extremely logical, accepting all my life experiences as the reality. If these life experiences deviated from my internal concept of reality, then I need to go through some emotional stress to re-integrate what I learned from the event into my new reality.

It’s not a terrible strategy, and it’s been …

Katy Bowman: Move Your DNA (Paperback, 2017, Propriometrics Press) 4 stars

"In Move Your DNA, biomechanist Katy Bowman explains our deep need for movement - right …

A big mental shift!

4 stars

Context: I'm big into exercise, an almost daily runner getting in 50-60 miles a week during the season. With that said, I had a hunch my lifestyle when I finished my runs wasn’t fantastic. So I picked up this book and I’m very glad I did!

Starting with the positives:

1) This book changed my relationship with movement. A bike ride can be exercise or movement. Exercise is forcing yourself on a 30 minute ride to move. Movement is riding your bike to the grocery store. Movement is a byproduct of your lifestyle. Exercise is a byproduct of lack of movement.

This mental shift exposes the toxic modern-day relationship we have with movement. Since we live such sedentary lives, we've invented this concept of 'exercise' to prescribe ourselves 20-60 minute intervals where we try to fit in all the movement we need into a single session. It's the closest thing …