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  #51  
Old 08-29-2019, 08:22 AM
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Started today on The Singularity Trap by Dennis E. Taylor. I loved his Bobiverse books, but this one's not taking off as I'd hoped. I'll persevere a bit further.
Well, The Singularity Trap surprisingly did get better and really got its claws into me. I finished it this morning. The only problem I had with it is that it was harder sci-fi than I am accustomed to. The game theory talk and politics was losing me, but there was still enough plot to keep things rolling. Dennis E. Taylor remains firmly on the list of authors I will always pick up.
  #52  
Old 08-29-2019, 04:36 PM
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Finished Bunch of Amateurs: Insides America's Hidden World of Inventors, Tinkerers, and Job Creators, by Jack Hitt, which I enjoyed. The subtitle's somewhat misleading. It's mostly about people challenging the established viewpoint or way of doing things. It's about everything from (among other things) DIY telescopes to Kennewick Man to the 2005 "sightings" of the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker, which is the best chapter, in my opinion.

Started The Red-Hot Chili Cook-Off, by Carolyn Brown.
  #53  
Old 08-31-2019, 08:28 PM
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Finished David McCullough's The Pioneers, an account of the founding of Marietta and the early settlement of the Ohio Country, from the 1780s to the Civil War. He discussed the prohibition of slavery, Indian treaties and wars, the development of river travel, and the Burr Conspiracy, among other issues. Mostly interesting, but not his best book.

Now I'm listening to an audiobook of Rocket Ship Galileo by Robert A. Heinlein (1947), his first YA novel. A Nobel-finalist astrophysicist and three teenage engineering nerds cobble together a rocket to go to the Moon after the astrophysicist's employer declines to put any money into the venture, citing the $1.5 million projected cost as too damn much. That was a bookkeeping rounding error for Project Apollo! Heinlein also has a character say (paraphrased here), "Government will never pay to go to the Moon; whoever proposed it would be laughed out of the halls of Congress." Heinlein was not always perfectly prescient, it seems.
  #54  
Old 09-01-2019, 09:11 AM
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I will get the new thread up today. Yesterday was a busy day and when I got home, I just collapsed and fell asleep.
  #55  
Old 09-01-2019, 09:43 AM
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Finished The Red-Hot Chili Cook-Off, by Carolyn Brown, which I enjoyed.

Now I'm reading And It Was Good: Reflections on Beginnings, by Madeleine L'Engle.
  #56  
Old 09-01-2019, 12:27 PM
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I will get the new thread up today. Yesterday was a busy day and when I got home, I just collapsed and fell asleep.
Done and done: https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb...d.php?t=881346
  #57  
Old 09-01-2019, 02:54 PM
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I often find myself grabbing two books that appear to be unrelated, and yetthen finding they have something in common. This month the library did it for me, by virtue of a hold coming up. The theme was "a marsh girl" and the books are The Marsh King's Daughter by Karen Dionne, and Where the Crawdads Sing, by Delia Owens.

Four stars to Marsh King's Daughter, wich would have been five except for a plot hole. A woman has disguised her identity and nt even her husband knows that she's the product of a man who kidnapped her teenaged mother and took her into the marsh and kept her captive for years. He was caught and imprisoned; now he's broken free, and she knows he's coming for her. But...he's her father, he taught her everything she knows about the natural world, and she loves him. It may only be me who senses a plot hole here. The writing was very good and the story was engrossing.

Where the Crawdads Sing ought to have a trigger warning on it for excessive poetry. If I wanted bad poetry I would have checked out a poetry book, dammit! The marsh stuff is beautifully described, if you like a lot of description, and felt very authentic. The characters seemed like they had been lifted from various other books and they did not seem authentic. I don't think it's a spoiler to say that I get very annoyed when characters (note: as opposed to people) go around talking out loud to themselves, and even more so when they are quoting "one of her favorite Amanda Hamilton poems." This one has been on the best-seller list for months so apparently people are quite hungry for cliches to read about. I mean, archetypes. Archetypes.

Marsh King's Daughter is also somewhat thematically linked to another book I've just gotten, Conviction by Denise Mina, where a woman has assumed a new identity to conceal things in her past. But that's a September read for me.
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Old 09-01-2019, 08:58 PM
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Stiletto, second novel in the Checquy* Files, which started nearly 7 years ago with The Rook. I read The Rook not long after it came out, and only remember a little about it. Hes done a good job of filling in details you need for following the story and he follows different viewpoint characters, so you dont need to have read the first one, but it helps a little for orientation and background.

If youve read any of the Laundry Files, youll probably like this. Stross writes with a more detailed SF-y feel, but with a similar blend of humor, bloodiness, and WTF-idness. About halfway through, and Im really liking the fact that hes making the bad guys sympathetic in a realistic way by contrasting their narratives about past conflicts with the good guys.

I just started Grit, which I picked up at the library due to a now years-old interview on The Art of Manliness podcast and a few recommendations from different sources. I remember feeling like luck/privilege got downplayed too much in the interview, so Im interested in seeing how a book, with presumably more research and depth possible, will handle it. Id like to believe the message, but Ill tell you that someone who grew up with scientist parents and was able to attend Harvard for her undergrad degree opining about perseverance as a prerequisite for success makes me a bit dubious.

***

*Pronounced /tʃɛki/; from heraldry: checked, chequered [pattern]. Even though I know buttloads of archaic words I had to look that one up.

Case in point: Me. It took me nearly 8 years to get just a BA because I had to work my way through school. My income was right at the poverty line that entire time. Spent several years being 12 paychecks away from being homeless or starving even while attending CC. Kind of hard to succeed even with both grit and brains when you dont have enough economic resources to do much more than tread water. If Id been able to attend Harvard, even with no other opportunities or support, Im pretty damn sure Id be making 3x more money and would have at least a Masters if not a PhD.
  #59  
Old 09-01-2019, 11:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Hilarity N. Suze View Post

Where the Crawdads Sing ought to have a trigger warning on it for excessive poetry. If I wanted bad poetry I would have checked out a poetry book, dammit! The marsh stuff is beautifully described, if you like a lot of description, and felt very authentic. The characters seemed like they had been lifted from various other books and they did not seem authentic. I don't think it's a spoiler to say that I get very annoyed when characters (note: as opposed to people) go around talking out loud to themselves, and even more so when they are quoting "one of her favorite Amanda Hamilton poems." This one has been on the best-seller list for months so apparently people are quite hungry for cliches to read about. I mean, archetypes. Archetypes.
Oh God.... that's my book club's choice for next month. Sounds like I'm going to be glad I got it as a freebie on Audible...
  #60  
Old 09-02-2019, 12:05 AM
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Please note that the September thread is open here: https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb...d.php?t=881346
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