Nayeli has a vision for her hometown of Tres Camerones, but it's going to take an epic trip North to the US to fetch their men back. Inspired by the fNayeli has a vision for her hometown of Tres Camerones, but it's going to take an epic trip North to the US to fetch their men back. Inspired by the film The Magnificent Seven, Nayeli collects her friends and starts out to bring back her father and six other men who can help the town reestablish themselves and look to the future... but getting into the Beautiful North is harder than it appears. This novel is a beautiful blend of bittersweet humor and wry observations on modern life on the border - on the border of adulthood and childhood, one country and another, as well as the border between past and future. Highly recommended....more
The author of Bowling Alone takes on socioeconomic mobility in his newest book. While other scholars has been saying these things for years (notably iThe author of Bowling Alone takes on socioeconomic mobility in his newest book. While other scholars has been saying these things for years (notably in Kozol's Savage Inequalities), perhaps Putnam's stature among American civic leaders will connect more decision makers with these ideas: that today's kids fall into one of two categories, and whether you're a Have or a Have-Not, you're likely to remain in that category for life due to increasing disparities in economic and life experiences. More to come... ...more
I've read a lot of organization books over the years, but this is a book that might actually change your relationship with your possessions. Instead oI've read a lot of organization books over the years, but this is a book that might actually change your relationship with your possessions. Instead of focusing on categories, fiddly buckets, or accessories from Bed Bath and Beyond, Marie Kondo asks us to reevaluate the way we relate to our homes and belongings. The question, "does this spark joy?" seems pat, but it truly liberates you to think critically why you keep something around. By the end of the book, you'll understand that we keep things that don't enhance our current lives because we are not fully living in the present - that we cannot let go of the past, or are not yet ready to make room for something new in our future. A transformative look at consumerism and its discontents in the 21st century, with extremely helpful tips to help you make deliberate decisions about what to keep, and what to thank and let go of. ...more
Want to know what happens when you're stranded on Mars, in an unforgiving environment with limited food/water and absolutely no way to contact MissionWant to know what happens when you're stranded on Mars, in an unforgiving environment with limited food/water and absolutely no way to contact Mission Control? Darkly humorous hard scifi with plenty of practical tips about how to make your own water, farm potatoes on alien planets, and de-stress with your coworker's collection of 70s television shows while tapping every bit of your strength to invent a way off the Red Planet. ...more
Ostensibly a send-up of Ikea & retail life, actually a sly bit of commentary on economic oppression & wage slavery. Great way to pass a lazy aOstensibly a send-up of Ikea & retail life, actually a sly bit of commentary on economic oppression & wage slavery. Great way to pass a lazy afternoon!...more
The world that Holmberg starts to create is pretty amazing - a steampunk sort of magical Edwardian universe in which there are different divisions ofThe world that Holmberg starts to create is pretty amazing - a steampunk sort of magical Edwardian universe in which there are different divisions of magic that never converge (once you begin your studies in an area, you're bonded to a material like paper, glass, metal, or similar and cannot work in other mediums). Ceony arrives reluctantly to her assigned mentor's house to study paper magic, apparently because there are QUOTAS for students in magic-land (is anyone studying library magic in this world?). But Ceony falls in love with her enigmatic mentor, Magician Thane, and ends up trying to save his life from the evil that is his excisioner ex-wife. Excisioners are magicians that work with the human body, and so Ceony goes on a sappy, pretty predictable journey through Thane's heart in order to save him. The romance in this book was just so earnest and innocent, it perfectly suited the inexperienced 19 year old protagonist but read oddly on the page. Sort of a cross between L.M. Montgomery and Harry Potter, as odd as that sounds. ...more
There's something about Mae, the newest girl at the Circle. She's sort of a 21st century everywoman: over-educated for her depressing job at the publiThere's something about Mae, the newest girl at the Circle. She's sort of a 21st century everywoman: over-educated for her depressing job at the public utility, forced to work in a drab, uninspiring office doing seemingly pointless work under a cringe-worthy boss, living in a shitty rental with roommates & basically not doing anything meaningful with her life. But her college roommate changes all that: Annie is one of the it-kids at the Circle, a tech company that's ostensibly a stand-in for the 2nd generation Facebook of our immediate future. Annie rewards Mae with a chance to enter her glittering world filled with rivers of booze, freebies, food, friends, and data. Mae finally feels like she's made it, and even her parents are thrilled with her good fortune. But this story is about what happens when you buy into the idea that perfection is attainable, that hiding away from the "real world" is possible, and that if you can quantify a human life you can perfect it. The surface-level story is about how desperate Mae is for meaning, interaction, and friendship in a world that seemingly denies her the chance at those very things, but when you dig deeper you see that the real villain is Mae's performative lifestyle: living her life so publicly that she is acting at being herself, especially as she posts online, and feeling as though she cannot get validation without an elaborate framing and orchestrating of her life.
I choose to believe that Eggers isn't warning us about possible Orwellian dangers of a future surveillance society, but about the surveillance societies that we currently create for ourselves, however voluntarily, in order to appease the demands of social media. Just as Mae is complicit in her own indentured servitude to the Circle, we are complicit in creating online worlds of "likes" and one-upmanship and only showing the shiny sides of ourselves rather than the gritty human sides that we mostly live every day. Don't be afraid of the Circle, because essentially the Circle is you....more