Thursday, April 24, 2014

Links and Stuff: April 24, 2014

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Book 4: Worm

TITLE: Worm: The First Digital World War
AUTHOR: Mark Bowden
STARTED: February 10, 2014
FINISHED: March 25, 2014
PAGES: 288
GENRE: Non-Fiction

FIRST SENTENCE: The new worm in Phil Porras's digital petri dish was announced in the usual way: a line of small black type against a white backdrop on one of his three computer screens, displaying just the barest of descriptors - time of arrival... server type... point of origin... nineteen columns in all.

SUMMARY: [From BN] Worm: The First Digital World War tells the story of the Conficker worm, a potentially devastating piece of malware that has baffled experts and infected more than twelve million computers worldwide. When Conficker was unleashed in November 2008, cybersecurity experts did not know what to make of it. Exploiting security flaws in Microsoft Windows, it grew at an astonishingly rapid rate, infecting millions of computers around the world within weeks. Once the worm infiltrated one system it was able to link it with others to form a single network under illicit outside control known as a “botnet.” This botnet was soon capable of overpowering any of the vital computer networks that control banking, telephones, energy flow, air traffic, health-care information — even the Internet itself. Was it a platform for criminal profit or a weapon controlled by a foreign power or dissident organization? Surprisingly, the U.S. government was only vaguely aware of the threat that Conficker posed, and the task of mounting resistance to the worm fell to a disparate but gifted group of geeks, Internet entrepreneurs, and computer programmers. But when Conficker’s controllers became aware that their creation was encountering resistance, they began refining the worm’s code to make it more difficult to trace and more powerful, testing the Cabal lock’s unity and resolve. Will the Cabal lock down the worm before it is too late? Game on.

THOUGHTS: Mark Bowden will, in all likelihood, always be my favorite non-fiction author. All of his books manage to capture the story in a way that makes them highly readable. That said, this was my least favorite of his books. Worm was all build up and no pay-off.

Unlike his other books which tend to move like fiction, Worm was very chronological. There was a very this, then this, then this pacing to it. While Bowden did expand on side-stories when necessary, this book felt a bit one-dimensional. All of the steps on discovering and handling conficker led to a big ole (spoiler) flop. The worm itself was DOA and I think this fact did not help the book. By the end, I wanted a pay-off to all the name and fact learning. Instead I got, "So.. yeah. It's out there, just toodling it's thumbs." Le sigh.

All in all, not a bad book, just a sophomoric effort from on my favorites. At least he got be to read about a topic I would otherwise ignore.

RATING: 6/10 [Good]

Read-a-thon: Book Selection

I'm a bit of a last-minute-lucy on picking out my books this year. Last night, I hit my cookbook shelf to grab my palate cleanser books. This is what I found:

Bake It, Don't Fake It by Heather Bertinetti
Smoothies and Shakes by  Elsa Petersen-Schepelern
Budget Bytes by Beth Moncel (Totes excited about this one as I adore the blog)

Then I perused the relatively small collection of romance novels I still I have and found my "in case I manage to read everything else" book. And the winner was:

Surrender by Pamela Clare

Today, during my lunch break, I hit my library's Juvenile Literature stacks and Popular Reading collection to find the bulk of my reading. And I collected:

Flora & Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo
Parasite by Mira Grant

I have one more book (Caitlin Moran's How to Be a Woman) coming through CLS. If it arrives in time, I might put it in the rotation for read-a-thon.

Should be an interesting day of reading.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Read-a-thon: First Book

When I find a charity that is awesome, I continue to support it. First Book continues to provide books to underprivileged children, schools, and neighborhoods. Their goal is to fight illiteracy by providing books to children to encourage them to become lifelong readers.

For every page I finish during read-a-thon, I will donate a nickle to First Book. Since I think they're awesome, the minimum I will donate (regardless of my reading performance) is $50.

YouTube Tuesday: Dating

Monday, April 21, 2014

Read-a-thon Countdown

Read-a-thon is on Saturday, and I have a confession to make. I almost didn't want to participate this time. The non-reading side of my life has been so busy that read-a-thon felt like just another thing on my calendar. I was worried that booking off a whole Saturday for reading would put me behind in wedding planning, distract me from my to do list, and just generally be a hurdle in my life. I respect read-a-thon too much to make it a chore.

After a few days of thought and a serious look at my calendar, I decided that I could still participate in read-a-thon and enjoy doing so. Most of our wedding vendor meetings are ending up on Sundays or weekdays, The Fiance and I have no pressing issues or errands, and all of my friends assume I do read-a-thon anyway so there are no big events on the calendar. Heck, at this point, the idea of lying around and reading all day sounds downright indulgent and relaxing.

So, participating I shall be but don't expect me to stay up very late. In the lead up to Saturday, here is the blog posting plan:

  • Monday: This here post
  • Tuesday: Charity Introduction
  • Wednesday: Book Selection
  • Thursday: Book Order
  • Friday: The Noms

Also, this read-a-thon is sort of special in that it marks the one year anniversary of The Fiance and I's engagement. D'awww.

Can't help myself... I love this picture.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

What I Read This Week: April 20, 2014

You know what I love, short work weeks that allow me to catch up on my massive at home to do list. I super-cleaned the apartment, did ALL the laundry (even the weird stuff like our shower curtain), baked, ran errands, and got around to a few ideas on my wedding list.

I'm tired. Can I have another short week please?
  • Books
    • I put another hefty dent in Pope Joan. There is a marginal chance that I might finish this book before read-a-thon on Saturday.
  • Other
    • As I've mentioned previously, I'm a bit of an NPR fanatic. That love extends to their various blogs. Krulwich Wonders is a science-y blog that explores various curiosities in a fun way. A post this week was all about whale poop and krill populations. It was fascinating.
    • I'm new to NHL hockey, but thanks to The Fiance, I have become a huge fan of the Washington Capitals. Our season is over and there will be no play-off games for us to attend. It's sad. John Walton, the voice of Capitals radio, has eloquently stated why we still care.

Friday, April 18, 2014

The Friday Find: Nook

I love me a good reading nook. When I was growing up, I arranged my bedroom furniture so that my bed, a day bed, was planted right in front of a window. Instant window seat! It was a perfect location to read (particularly on rainy days). Whilst perusing through Pinterest, I came across a window seat that reminded me of my happy days reading for hours on end. 


This reading nook came from a delightful house tour. Every abode needs a reading book.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Links and Stuff: April 17, 2014

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Why I Love... Judging a Book By Its Cover

Raise your hand if you've ever picked a book up because the cover was pretty. Me! Raise you're hand if you've ever picked a book up because the title made you giggle. Me! Raise you're hand if you've ever noticed a book out of the corner of your eye because the dust jacket was shiny. Me!

I have done all of these things and I regret none of them. I judge books by covers all of the time. It's the cover that often first attracts me to new titles and authors. When I peruse a bookstore, I am more often than not drawn to fun titles and beautiful dust jackets. I love attractive, eyeing-catching design. I'm also a fan of repurposed artwork and maps. And typography. And minimalism. Essentially, if there is a book that is "nice" to look at, I'm likely a fan. It's these style choices that makes book jump out from all the others.

Even when I've picked up a book to laugh at it (coughRideTheFirecough), I always give the blurb a read. (Ride The Fire turned out to be a most excellent romance novel.) It's the cover that draws me in, the blurb that gets me to buy or check-out, and the actual writing to keep me coming back to an author.

Judging a book by its cover is simply the first step in my love affair with a given book.