"Strange Contagion" is a look at how ideas, thoughts, and emotions can be passed between different people. When I hear the word contagion, I think abo"Strange Contagion" is a look at how ideas, thoughts, and emotions can be passed between different people. When I hear the word contagion, I think about things like communicable diseases. They are passed from person to person because of people being in close proximity to others. In this book, Kravetz explores how this same sort of passing from person to person can happen with a whole array of things to include thoughts even when the person being passed the thoughts had never had that particular thought before.
I thought it was interesting that Kravetz was drawn to this subject after a rash of teenage suicides plagued his town. Now he happens to live in Palo Alto, California, one of the most affluent areas. It has good schools and the families that live there have the resources to be able to take care of whatever is illing them so the rash of suicides is puzzling. Kravetz wonders what is going on.
Looking at theories and data, he starts drawing connections between how our feelings can pass to each other and what is to be done about it. It is fascinating and something that I hadn't really thought about before but when you start parsing it out, it makes sense. If someone around me is sad or scared, I can feel myself picking up on that feeling. Kravetz also explores how these catching feelings can also mean something good like innovation.
This would be a good read for those who enjoyed books like "The Tipping Point" or other books about things that on their face don't seem to have a real connection to each other but you find the connections when you're willing to dig a bit and consider the unexpected....more
"The Voice of America" is the story of Lowell Thomas, a journalist whose life seemed to follow the news through its different forms of presentation: p"The Voice of America" is the story of Lowell Thomas, a journalist whose life seemed to follow the news through its different forms of presentation: paper, radio, television. He was once the most well-known journalist in the U.S., truly the Voice of America, well before the likes of Walter Cronkite and Tom Brokaw.
It's no secret that there are a lot of questions about journalism and media these days. Have a certain opinion? There is probably a news outlet or "news outlet" that will cater to your opinion without making you think critically or examine your beliefs. Back when Lowell Thomas first started writing, he was very much interested in giving people the "just the facts, ma'am" treatment of the news in a thorough yet entertaining way. He is the journalist that brought us the story of Lawrence of Arabia (frankly, I don't think I knew that was a true story before this book)! As you get to see in the book, he was not afraid of getting his hands dirty and going to the places where the news was being made.
I also found it fascinating how his career spanned the different popular news resources of the 20th century. He first wrote his stories before moving on to the radio. The way that the author shows how his career changed as the medium changed was fascinating. The author gives a lot of detail of how Thomas was able to continue to be relevant for decades by adapting to new technology while still telling good stories.
This book was fascinating! Although I never lived through those times truly, this book made me long for the day of news based on what was actually happening rather than a talking head's lens of what was happening. This is a good pick for history lovers!...more
3.5 stars. "The Space Between the Stars" is the story of Jamie, a woman who survives an illness that kills 99.9% of humans. Her almost solitary quiet3.5 stars. "The Space Between the Stars" is the story of Jamie, a woman who survives an illness that kills 99.9% of humans. Her almost solitary quiet existence on a distant planetary outpost is suddenly too solitary and she finds herself alone and trying to find other survivors. She teams up with a band of survivors who first travel to a planet where they may not be welcome as survivors of the outbreak and there is a plan to repopulate using forced breeding. They eventually travel back to Earth where she will have to make a choice between a new future and a grasp back to some thread of the past. This is a thought-provoking sci fi/ dystopian story that I enjoyed!
Although this story has sci-fi and dystopian elements, it is still very much a character driven story. Most of the focus is on our main character, Jamie. We find out that she is still haunted by her ex-lover and by a miscarriage. She wonders if she will ever get another chance to make amends and if she does get to make amends is it to try to go back to the way they once were or is it to make amends to find peace. Jamie will have to decide this for herself. We the readers get a good look at her thought process and how she goes about trying to figure out what she wants. To some degree, this book almost feels like a spiritual journey for Jamie.
We learn a lot about Jamie and the other survivors that include a priest and a scientist. The differences between all of the survivors were really interesting to me. We see how each of them views the new world and their place in the new world differently and the perspectives are definitely interesting.
I liked some of the concepts in the book. Yeah, the epidemic has been done before a lot but what makes this one different is the idea of interplanetary epidemics added to the very different worlds that people can choose from. For instance, Jamie comes from a place called Solitaire that doesn't really have many people before the epidemic in contrast to how Earth is at the time. I did wish for more detail on things like how the different places came to be and why they are the way that they are. More back story would have been nice but overall, this was still a satisfying character driven story....more
"Hold Back the Stars" is the story of Carys and Max, two star-crossed lovers who live in a world that is supposed to be a utopian world. Earth has bee"Hold Back the Stars" is the story of Carys and Max, two star-crossed lovers who live in a world that is supposed to be a utopian world. Earth has been broken up into regions and every certain number of years, everyone in the world switches in order to be more equal. Youth and younger years are supposed to be dedicated to finding and building yourself. Love and family is supposed to be confined to the later years. Max and Carys meet too young and against all odds, they plan to stick together and continue to be in love.
When the book opens, Carys and Max are trapped in space drifting away from their broken spaceship. They have a limited amount of oxygen before they will die in space. The book flashes back and forth between the present and the duration of the meeting and subsequent relationship between Carys and Max. The back and forth works really well through about 2/3 of the book. We see why Carys and Max are longing for things to have been different in their world when their relationship was unfolding. We see that even utopias are not always utopias for everyone. I don't want to give anything away but there are multiple endings and this really confuses the story. It was an interesting choice but it almost left me wanting more closure even though you get various kinds of closure through the multiple endings. It almost watered things down for me.
The world building in this book was good. The concept of Earth being broken down into regions to promote equality was interesting. I wish that the author had included more information about which regions covered which places. I also wanted to understand more about people not being able to have serious relationships until they are established. Both concepts are interesting and kept me engaged but I wanted more detail.
Overall, this book was a good read but I wanted more detail and more solidity in the ending....more