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« April, 2016 »
The map of lost memories

An interesting travel mystery about people searching for lost scrolls in the dense jungles of Cambodia via Shanghai and Saigon. Some unreflective Colonialism and then some reflective Colonialist, this book has a heroine who is thoughtful and smart and a snappy dresser to boot and she has interpersonal mysteries to unravel as well as the ones of the lost temples and missing scrolls. Kept me interested all the way through to the end.


I got really excited after reading Seveneves that maybe Stephenson was back writing things that I would enjoy reading. I’ve always liked even most of his older stuff but got off the train at Baroque Cycle. Turns out this story (some sort of possible future where the braniacs are split off from the normals for thousands of years) was more like BC than the other books and I struggled through it hoping against hope that it would turn into something a little more accessible for me. I have friends who LOVED this book so I don’t mean to put anyone off of it but MAN was it a slog for me.

To Forgive Design

Another great book about bridge collapses! No, I am serious. If you like Petroski’s slightly rambling style, this is a great book about engineering, engineering education, bridge collapses and other engineering failures and how a profession “learns” over time how to do more good stuff and less bad stuff. A lot of great stories and a little overlong but generally quite good reading.

The World’s Strongest Librarian

This book is a quick read about Josh, a Mormon with Tourettes. Over time he learns strength training and after a long period of being worried that he’s unemployable, finds a good space for himself at the Salt Lake City Public Library. I liked but did not totally love this book because I felt the author took a lot of potshots at the library early on as a way of “setting the scene” and even though he talks a lot more and a lot more well about the library later, it was a weird foot to start off on. Hanagarne sounds like a nice guy with poorly-managed Tourettes and it was tough to tell from his narrative how much he’d tried and how much his story was a bit of a “we didn’t go to doctors much in my family” situation. Like many early-memoirs, it will be interesting to see where Hanagarne goes from here.

Delusions of Gender

Loved this book about the science behind a lot of the “neurosexism” people saying that men and women are different because their BRAINS are different. Fine has written a meta analysis that is cogent and enjoyable to read. She’s a delight and the book is full of good data, but for some reason I put it down about six months ago and it took me a while to pick it back up again. There’s a samey-ness to it which is not a bad thing but depending where you are in your life it may or may not be as useful to you.

Things Organized Neatly: The Art of Arranging the Everyday

Pictures and a little more detail from the blog of the same name. Fun and interesting and I learned a few things including the word knolling. A little surprised that only one of the featured artists was female (really?) but enjoyed a little peek into a blog that I’d already liked.