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The Earth is Near   book icon  
by Ludek Pesek (1974)

read: 7 July 2017
rating: [+]
category: fiction

This is one of those books I don’t know how it made it on to my Kindle but it was just there on my laptop. It’s a “mission to mars” type of book, as written by the ship’s psychologist. It’s really interesting, though not exactly lively. It wasn’t until I had suggested it to another friend that I realized the book was nearly as old as I am! It’s a great mix of big ideas about travel and space and the day to day grind of being on a hostile and even somewhat foreign planet with the unknowns and sudden shifts of fate. Very much enjoyed it.

The Bug   book icon  
by Ellen Ullman (2003)

read: 1 July 2017
rating: [+]
category: fiction

Actually I read this book years ago but I somehow forgot to write it down. I really liked it. Its a story about tech development and (sort of) start up culture or what passed for it in 1984 and the havoc it wreaks on the psyche of the main character.

Tribe   book icon  
by Sebastian Junger (2016)

read: 30 June 2017
rating: [+]
category: non-fiction

I like but do not love Junger. I think he is a great writer but he seems a little more... SRS BZNS than I am. So this book which talks about some heavy things, seemed like it would be in his wheelhouse. It’s one of those “essays turned into a short book” things about why we’re isolated, sort of. About how things like PTSD and depression are, seemingly, factors of industrial society and when people come together with a sense of purpose and community, people feel better. He discusses this in terms of soldiers coming back from a war zone (where they had purpose) to a country where they are people seen as victims and/or people with mental health challenges. He talks about how in colonial times White people would often run off with Native Americans and not the other way around. A lot of it seemed WAY too facile for me, but it got me interested enough in the ideas to want to at least learn more about them even if I wasn’t quite sure I believed what he was specifically saying.

Dogtown: Death and Enchantment in a New England Ghost Town   book icon  
by Elyssa East (2009)

read: 28 June 2017
rating: [+]
category: non-fiction

Known about this book since forever but hadn’t picked it up. Glad I finally did. It’s a very evocative look at the history of a place, a slightly wild place in the middle of a very fusty New England locale. East gets enchanted with it via some artwork and then digs deeper. I recognized a lot of Massachusetts in her portrayals but I think it was useful that she’s actually not FROM there because it’s good to see that sort of thing from the outside. At its core this is a story about a murder, but there’s a lot more than that. It made me want to go walk in the woods which is about as good as I can say for a book.

Her Fearful Symmetry   book icon  
by Audrey Niffenegger (2010)

read: 24 June 2017
rating: [+]
category: fiction

I read The Time Traveler’s Wife and loved in and was hoping this would likewise be good but maybe not as soul-crushingly poignant and ... it was and wasn’t. A very good story centered around a woman who dies and a bunch of people who live near a cemetery. And twins. Niffeneger’s author profile in this book claims she works at HIghgate Cemetery which is sort of true (she did in the process of doing research for the book) and sometimes the book veers a little too far off into factual recitation, but overall it was good and not quite as gut-punching as her debut novel.

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