Monthly Archives: October 2018

The Retreat of Western Liberalism by Edward Luce

The Retreat of Western LiberalismThe Retreat of Western Liberalism by Edward Luce

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Pay no attention to the one and two star reviews…those are from rightwing trolls that probably didn’t actually read the book, or if they did, Luce’s text sailed way over their heads. Lucidly assembled, well-researched, well-composed, Luce writes as the journalist he is, though at times percolates a little too academic. Published in 2017, Luce while doing well to capture the contemporary conditions and lay out his thesis, unfortunately used a great many at-the-time current names that he could have no way of knowing just one year later have already been dismissed, fired, or left of their own accord from the debacle that the 2016 US elections results created.

Luce divides his book into four parts that he calls
– Fusion … about the integration of the global economy and the impact to Western economies
– Reaction … about the degeneration of Western politics
– Fallout … about the decline of US, and Western leadership/dominance
– Half Life … about what can be done Continue reading


The Mortal Word by Genevieve Cogman, an Invisible Library novel

The Mortal Word (The Invisible Library #5)The Mortal Word by Genevieve Cogman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A bit of preface … I requested an advance copy of this from the publisher through First to Read, as I had read The Invisible Library in February and liked it. What I did not realize until First to Read notified me I’d been selected was that I’d not yet read three sequels! So I had some catching up to do…

Ms. Cogman has matured in her writing and this series has also matured (not always a necessary consequence). I thoroughly enjoyed this book – setting it sadly aside for those life annoyances like work, chores,…{sigh} sleep. It, and the previous three that I hurriedly ate up to get to here, suggest that I need to go back to the first again and fill in some understanding gaps.

There are subplots and subplots, intricately woven into a story that begs for more. As I’m given to understand, there will be!

But now I’ll have to wait…

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Democracy Hacked: Political Turmoil and Information Warfare in the Digital Age by Martin Moore

Democracy Hacked: How Russian Hackers, Secretive Plutocrats, and Freextremists Are Undermining Democracy and Gaming ElectionsDemocracy Hacked: Political Turmoil and Information Warfare in the Digital Age by Martin Moore

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I saw a question on a forum last week asking for “scary or Halloween” book recommendations. There were plenty of responses, and this was mine – the lone non-fiction. I haven’t been scared by a fiction book since I read one of ghost stories when I was 8 years old. Stephen King made me laugh 35 years ago; Koontz – no; Rice – emphatically no; well…you get the picture. No, for me, the real scary books are of this type – what the fiction authors try to impart: powerlessness against larger, malicious forces. Note: I received an uncorrected advance review copy of this from the publisher through LibraryThing Early Reviewers program.

Moore takes on a challenging task and did quite a bit of research – there are 35 pages of citations to sift if you’re game. He breaks the book into three parts: Hackers, Systems Failure, and Alternative Futures, each with three chapters. Americans interested in this might myopically think it pertains to a certain election, but Moore shows it is much bigger than that. This is a global problem. Continue reading

A Numerate Life: A Mathematician Explores the Vagaries of Life, His Own and Probably Yours by John Allen Paulos

A Numerate Life: A Mathematician Explores the Vagaries of Life, His Own and Probably YoursA Numerate Life: A Mathematician Explores the Vagaries of Life, His Own and Probably Yours by John Allen Paulos

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I had a four hour flight for the final leg home from Paris and decided to finally devote the time to reading this, as it’s been on my shelf for a few years. I’ve liked all of Paulos’s book that I’ve read, and this didn’t disappoint. Less about numbers and math- oh, they’re there, as they’ve been an integral part of his life, so not really much less – and more about parts of his life, it’s also a look at biographies and autobiographies in general. Memory is tricky, and despite the courts’ acceptance of it, eyewitness accounts are inherently flawed…even if it’s yours. Some readers were thrown off by the less than linear flow and dinged Paulos…more’s the pity, and I do pity them for their myopia. Oh, I’m on record more than once railing at incoherent stream-of-consciousness fictions, but while this is a story, there is still a logical transition between vignettes and semi-order to it. Continue reading