Literary, scientific, and artistic genius, I tell ya. These poems are clever and great fun to read aloud. The scientific method takes the bat insteadLiterary, scientific, and artistic genius, I tell ya. These poems are clever and great fun to read aloud. The scientific method takes the bat instead of Casey, an astronaut stops by a planet on a snowy evening, Hey Diddle Diddle ponders the dual nature of light, and (my favorite) Jabberwocky becomes Gobblegooky, a meditation on the monstrosities of modern nutrition. ...more
Konnikova combines an overview of psychology (learning, memory, and cognitive biases) with her lifelong love of Sherlock Holmes. I don't actually thinKonnikova combines an overview of psychology (learning, memory, and cognitive biases) with her lifelong love of Sherlock Holmes. I don't actually think this book will teach you how to think just like Sherlock (which might be for the best: in what seems like an odd omission for a psychology grad student, Konnikova glosses over any drawbacks to Sherlock's unique mental perspective). The book is, however, capable of improving your mindfulness, self-awareness, and resistance to bias. The majority of the studies she cites I'd already come across elsewhere (though to be fair I studied social cognition in undergrad) and I would have appreciated more instances of unique and concrete suggestions, though she does offer a few. The research examples are well chosen though, and it was nice to be reminded of their applications and interesting to see them connected to Sherlock Holmes. I actually paused at various points to hunt down some of the Holmes stories that I hadn't read before, which is both a compliment to Konnikova's infectious enthusiasm for Doyle's work, and a warning that she includes a fair number of spoilers. I don't know why she cites the Sherlock passages more meticulously and directly than she does the scientific studies, but I'm excited by the reading list at the end. The intersection of literature and psychology always fascinates me, and I enjoyed following the explorations of someone with the same interests who wants to help us all think a little bit more sharply. 3.5 stars....more
I've always enjoyed portal fantasies, and what I love even more are books that dissect, parody, or otherwise play with portal fantasy conventions. ThiI've always enjoyed portal fantasies, and what I love even more are books that dissect, parody, or otherwise play with portal fantasy conventions. This book is one of the best, and one of the strangest, such a delightful and dark twist on the genre. It has the themes of The Magicians, the atmosphere of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, and a cast of utterly unique characters and portal worlds all its own. I was completely immersed in the fantastic concept and setting, and then sucker punched by the gruesome and emotional turns. (The only reason I wouldn't recommend picking this one up is if you can't handle a touch of horror in your fantasy.) McGuire also incorporates gender dysphoria and asexuality in a respectful and effective yet refreshingly offhand way. It's an engaging, clever, and quick read, and I'm very excited that it's the start of a series. ...more
For aspiring minimalists who wanted to be inspired by Marie Kondo but found her book too obsessive, goofy, autobiographical, or anthropomorphizing, thFor aspiring minimalists who wanted to be inspired by Marie Kondo but found her book too obsessive, goofy, autobiographical, or anthropomorphizing, this may be the alternative guide for you. (I happened to like both books, but can certainly understand the criticisms.) Francine Jay offers helpful inspiration and strategies for decluttering your house, reorganizing your possessions, and rethinking your relationship with consumption. I found it quite motivating and refreshing, and even though I was already on the minimizing (war)path before I read it, it helped give me an added push to let go of a few more "aspirational" items (those books I want to have read but won't at this point, for example), and I'm hoping it will help improve my skills at maintaining order, such as her tricks for keeping surfaces clear and the reminder that filing should be a two way street.