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« October, 2018 »

This book is so deliciously dense with things to think about. It takes place in a possible future where we have humans that are autonomous or indentured, and robots that are the same. Watching the interplay of these groups, overlaying a complex story of corporate greed and various kinds of responses to it (both legal and extralegal) is a fun and delightful romp of a sci fi novel

The Copper Axe

Was looking forward to this time travel book but couldn’t get through the opening chapters that were sort of clunky character development. This may be a good book for some not-me person.

The Keeper of Lost Causes

The person who suggested I read this book is now officially not allowed to reccommend books for me unless she lets me know if there is torture in it or not.

Hotel Silence

This book was full of difficult issues but over all pretty good to read. It’s about a middle-aged man trying to figure out what is going on with his life after his wife leaves him. He has a daughter he is close with, a neighbor friend and a mother with dementia. It’s tough to be him. He goes away for an unknown location but somewhere that war has destroyed. And he finds a space there, and heals. Unlike some of the other books Iv’e read recently, this book has difficult otpics and descriptions (especially of some of the wartime stuff that has happened to this town) and yet it’s not difficult to manage. There’s a flatness to it that, given the subject matter, actually presents as calm. I liked this very much.

Atlas of Unknowns

Picked this up on a libraryt’s booksale shelf which, I’ll be honest, an awful lot of my pleasure reading comes from. It’s a really interestingly complicated story of two sisters growing up without a mother in a somewhat rural part of India in a not very well off family and the different paths their lives take and how they come back together. I loved the different groups of people that sort of played off each other: Christian Indian people versus Hindu Indian people. Indian people who live in the West versus those who have come right from India. Older generations versus younger generations. Men versus women. Fulfilled versus unfulfilled people. Liars versus truth tellers. All of these groups dance around each other and figuring out who is in which groups and why is an interesting exercise. The actual plot here is almost secondary to watching all the interpersonal relationships play themselves out in various ways. So interesting.

Automating Inequality: How High-Tech Tools Profile, Police, and Punish the Poor

A great, if sobering, look at how the tools that are supposed to help us live better are actually helping big companies and governments keep track of us in ways that don’t always help. Eubanks outlines how tools that are intended to link people with social services can also become surveillance devices and that once you’re in you’re never really out again which creates a culture of the spied-upon and the spyers. Deeply unsettling especially because with all the research she’s put into this, you know she’s right.

Noodling for Flatheads

Great cover and a great topic. Bilger was raised in the South and then left. Then he goes back and talk to people who engage in a lot of “local customs” such as grabbing catfish out of the water with your bare hands and playing marbled with largeish rocks. He talks to the people involved, is generally decent and respectful to them, even though sometimes they have way-out ideas. Along the way you the reader learn about moonshining, catfishing, cock fighting and whether you can raise frogs in bulk. This book is from 2002 and I’d really love to read an update since some of these traditions seemed on the verge of dying out at the time but I’m pretty sure I saw guys catfishing in this way on the tv.

The Aviary

Grabbed it from a booksale shelf at a teeny library. I liked the cover and I wanted to read about a big spooky magician house and not be stuck in the Jonathan Strange universe which, quite frankly, I did not like. This was a great YA book about a girl being raised by her mother while taking care of a very old woman in a big spooky house after the resident magician had died. And there is a big birdcage out back with noisy birds. Fun to sort of see where it’s going, some nice friendship and a very female-centered novel. Enjoyable.