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That Kiyo was born in Okinawa and raised in New Jersey are not likely the reason he’s a mythology, science fiction, fantasy, classic manga and comics aficionado. Painting, drawing, behavioral economics, gaming, philosophy, pop culture, psychology, science, and technology equally light him up, suggesting he’s either a polymath--or just confused. It may be interesting to know he’s been a graphic designer, PC support manager, software consultant, and software product manager. Yet if you seek to plumb the inner Kiyo, you need to know his two favorite D&D classes are Bards and Monks.
By 2024, through a combination of economic collapse, climate change, rampant drug addiction, and systemic corruption, the U.S. has devolved into a violent, feudal society. Against this grim backdrop, we're introduced to Lauren, a black teen with two secrets: She suffers from a genetic affliction called "hyperempathy", and she has lost faith in the Christian God of her father. To preserve her sense of purpose, Lauren chooses to redefine God. We know Lauren's days in her walled community are numbered, yet Butler surprises by imbuing Lauren with emotional depth, intelligence, and agency without making her superhuman. Though it may be perceived as too dark, this novel is at its core optimistic. One of Butler's finest works, it was nominated for the 1995 Nebula Award for Best Novel.
Like all Boomers and Gen-Xers, I watched the world transition from film to digital cameras, vinyl to mp3, and board to video games. With so many "brick and mortar" businesses closing by the late '00s, it was easy to believe that we had moved into a shiny new digital era. In that context, David Sax opens his book, wondering why some analog products like records, film, board games, and (dare I say) physical books, were seeing a resurgence. To answer these questions and more, Sax travels the globe to interview entrepreneurs and technology leaders who defied conventional wisdom and invested in analog businesses or are attempting to integrate the best of analog and digital business practices. What we learn along the way is insightful, always accessible, and ultimately optimistic. Whether you are an early adopter or card-carrying Luddite, there is something in this book for you. ~ Kiyo
Laced with humor and tragedy, Ghachar Ghochar is a lean and elegant portrait of an Indian family in Bangalore adapting to their newly acquired wealth. A very enjoyable quick read. ~ Kiyo
If you're shopping for a new science fiction reader, it's hard to go wrong with this seminal triple award winner from 1984. Considered a cornerstone of the Cyberpunk movement, Neuromancer follows the story of Case--a down-on-his-luck freelance hacker--and Molly-a badass, cybernetic mercenary--as the two become caught in a secret war between unknown powers. They must discover the nature of the conflict by pulling off the greatest data-heist in history. Gibson's prose shines as he deftly splices pulp-fiction and poetry to create something unique. I highly recommend this elegant hardcover edition for the holidays! ~ Kiyo
I admit that the title of Mark Manson's book initially irritated me, but after reading reviews, I decided to give it a try. I'm happy to report that Manson isn't proposing we go through life "not giving a f*ck". Instead, he encourages us to constantly question our values to determine what we should care about - because we must care about something - and then deprioritize the rest. As a person interested in Buddhist and Stoic philosophies, I found Manson's approach entertaining and more accessible compared to more "serious" writings on the same subjects. If you can imagine Marcus Aurelius, the Buddha, and George Carlin co-writing a book together, you have a pretty good feel for the tone of the book. Last, I found Subtle Art's examples timely for our current era of anxiety riddled news, instant digital gratification, and 24x7 social media culture. Look beyond the surface of the coarse language, and you may find, as I did, that Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck is worth giving a f*ck about.
Despite being over 78 years old, Batman remains part of our cultural zeitgeist because of his constant re-invention. Weldon recounts these leaps, from the superhero's origins as a brooding vigilante to the campy TV series with Adam West, and from Tim Burton's playful noir films of the 80s to Christopher Nolan's gritty reboot in the 00s. Lovingly researched and written with charm and wit, Weldon's book also examines the growing fan base, and the dark side of fan obsession. If you're a Batman aficionado, or interested in learning more about pop-culture history, you'll enjoy this entertaining and informative book! ~ Kiyo
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay chronicles the lives of Josef Kavalier, a 19-year old Czech forced to flee his country and live with his cousin; and Sammy Klayman, a 17-year old street-wise teen desperately seeking a way out of his poor Jewish New York City neighborhood. The two forge a unique partnership and together create the fictional masked crime fighter known as the Escapist. While part of this novel is a love letter to the Golden Age of comics, it's Sammy and Joe's relationship through the years of World War II and post-war America that is the most compelling part of this funny and heartbreaking 2001 Pulizter Prize winning novel. A must read.
This is a must read not only for writers, but for any aspiring creative person. The book opens with King’s formative years—from his childhood to his first commercial success—and abruptly ends with his struggles with addiction. The second part shifts to his thoughts on the writing process, or what he refers to as the “toolbox.” Using plain and concise language, he describes these tools and makes every effort to demystify the art of writing. King closes on an empowering note by sharing how writing aided in his recovery from the near fatal accident in 1999. While I’m not a huge Stephen King fan, this is one King book I will read again and again. ~ Kiyo
Art & Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking, by David Bayles & Ted OrlandFor those of us artists who struggle to improve our craft, this wonderful book shines a light on the fears hiding in our psyche. Bayles and Orland's central question about artists is "Why do so many who start, quit?" What follows is an honest inquiry into why making art can be challenging, why facing our fears is crucial, and advice on how to deal with new fears as our careers evolve. If you find yourself struggling with procrastination, creative block, fear of failure, or fear of success, give this book a try. It might be the kick in the pants you need. ~ Kiyo
The first graphic novel to win a Pulitzer Prize, Maus is an epic story. The framing narrative tells of Spiegelman's attempt to reconnect with his father Vladek, an Auschwitz survivor. Embedded within is Vladek's story of Nazi occupation and the horrors of Auschwitz. Maus is by turns honest, moving, comical, and brutal. Spiegelman's sketchy drawing style evokes a personal form of storytelling, and his use of animals to represent race does not trivialize but rather enhances our empathy for the main characters. Whether you are new to comics or a long time comic book reader, Maus is a seminal work. ~ Kiyo