Category Archives: Book review

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

Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen

Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free ProductivityGetting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Back in 1995, I tried a time management calendar application that could categorize and color code everything I did to down 5 minute packets. It took me embarrassingly too long to realize and admit how much time I was putting into classifying and recording my time. Some years later (~2004), an arm of the Navy wanted those in administrative positions – I was a civilian Deputy Public Works Officer – including the military(!) to assign our activities on a time sheets in 15 minute granularity. I caused a stir when I created a new job order number for accounting for our time, which ended up taking several hours per week. (The requirement went away after three two-week cycles.) And when I got to my current employ ten years ago, one of my staff had an insanely complicated multi-tiered file folder system for tracking documents for construction projects – I nixed that after waiting the appropriate now-I’ve-seen-enough time.

This book is assigned reading for a class, related to a track on productivity in the pubic sector. Apparently, quite the thing long enough ago that I wasn’t paying attention while working on whatever other quite-the-thing fad was the buzz. I’m going to go out on the proverbial limb and guess that most in my class won’t read it. It’s bad. Continue reading