The first book I have finished this year is Dogfight: How Apple and Google Went to War and Started a Revolution by Fred Vogelstein. The book covers the development of the iPhone, iPad, development of Android based phones, looks at the legal battle that erupted between Samsung and Apple, and finally, what these gadgets have done to change the market in a broad sense. I have seen this stated in other reviews and it held true for me after reading the book myself, that the first two-thirds of the book is the best part of the book and that it tails off after that. I read the first two-thirds of the book over the course of five days and it took me another week to finish the last third of the book.
The first seven chapters make up the telling of the creation of the iPhone, Android, and the iPad and the battle that takes place between Apple and Google once Apple learns about Android. Those first seven chapters are the strongest and where we learn most interesting details about the inside stories of the two most popular mobile operating systems. It is in the telling of the back and forth story between Apple and Google where Fred Vogelstein shines in the book. The chapter covering the trial between Samsung and Apple was alright, just did not grab me as much as the previous seven chapters. It did not cover as many interesting details which I guess is not a huge surprise given it was focused on a patent trial. The next two chapters are a bit different than the rest of the book, focusing on the more industry-wide effects that iOS and Android devices have had on the world of technology. From how it has effected websites, to media publishing, and the entertainment industry of movies and TV among other things. While there is some good information in this section it just is a bit of a different turn for the book after a much closer look at a smaller set of topics in only two companies and topics in the first seven chapters.
Overall if you enjoy reading about technology and parts of the inside stories surrounding Apple and Google, there is enough good information I think to read this book in the end. Although it is interesting after reading this book and now several weeks after I have finished it, a lot of the details from it have not stuck with me as well as I might have thought since I have just so recently read it.
I have been looking back at some books I have read and which I have given shorter reviews to in the last few years and I have decided to update and do a little expanding on those reviews.
First off is The Magicians by Lev Grossman, which is set in modern day New York and based around a young teen named Quentin Coldwater who ends up finding out that magic is real and is accepted into a school that teaches modern day magic. Quentin Coldwater faces the standard problems teens face but also faces some uniquely magical problems that he must confront in this new world of magic he is in.
The Magicians by Lev Grossman I would say is not an amazing book but is still an enjoyable read overall. I found it a bit interesting how Lev Grossman can sometimes pass a few months of time simply in a few pages. I sometimes wished he had slowed down a little in how much time he covered to give us more of the story that the characters where going through in the book. The jumps in time certainly contrast to the Harry Potter series where each book covers one school year. I don’t think I would need to see the book confined to one school year per book just slow down a little more than Grossman ended up doing in the book.
Overall I found it was an enjoyable book, in that it gave me a different view of magic then say Harry Potter did over course of that series. I have the sequel The Magician King and plan to read it some time soon just not sure when. I just have so many books to pick from that I want to read that it is hard to decide what to read next.
I just finished reading ‘A Game of Thrones’ by George R.R. Martin, the first book in the “A Song of Ice and Fire” series. I discovered the series of books once HBO starting making a series of shows of it and it was a type/genre of show that I normally like. I also learned that a friend I knew from college was a big fan of the series and had good things to say about it.
The basic setting for the book is like a medieval/feudal system, with lords and a king and all that you would expect. Throughout the course of the book you follow several noble families and the events surrounding them. The broad over arching story I have heard compared to several times is that of the War of the Roses in England during medieval times. The story is not just a straight medieval adventure, it has a bit of magic and fantasy elements but they are not an over bearing influence, just enough to make the story a bit different and give it a little flair.
Martin manages to handle a large group of characters well and is able to interconnect the different stories with one another eventually once he set things up. Part of how Martin manages those characters is that in each chapter he switches between characters and rotates the chapters among a handful of them, and we see the world through their eyes in each chapter. One Being Lord Edward Stark pictured below. Normally at the end of most chapters I don’t want to leave the character I have been dealing with and start in on the new one. To Martin’s credit I normally end up just getting as interested in the next chapter as I was in the last.
The book is a good mixture of adventure, political intrigue, back stabbing, a bit of war and fighting, and good character growth as the book goes along with the historical/medieval setting I mentioned above. All of those things for me add up to a compelling story and one while it is a larger book, kept me wrapped up and wanting to keep reading until I finished it, which is what a truly good book should do.
In the end if you like a mix of adventure, some fantasy, history and political intrigue you likely will enjoy this book. It is a longer book than I normally read but the story kept me engaged and wanting to read more. Now off to read the next book in the series ‘A Clash of Kings’
Here is the official book description behind the cut.
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