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I may be overdosing on this particular susgenre, since I read Blue Remembered Earth recently, and The Quiet War not long before that. They essentially
Jun 10, 2012
Jun 08, 2012
Panama Fever: The Epic Story of the Building of the Panama Canal
Sometimes, when reading non-fiction, there will be on person that sort of jumps out. Not necessarily someone who was terribly important to the events, ...more
Feb 26, 2013
Dec 16, 2012
Final Days
it was ok
Alas, a mess. The only thing that got me through to the end is the big SFnal apocalypse scenario, and we never do find out what thats all about. There ...more
Oct 08, 2011
Sep 07, 2011
Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys over Girls and the Consequences of a World Full of Men
Fascinating examination of sex selection, abortion and family size. Hvistendahl does a good job in poking a flashlight into the different, murky corne ...more
Jan 16, 2013
Sep 30, 2011
Under the Dome
This reminded me a great deal of JK Rowling's "The Casual Vacancy," being a portrait of a small town doing wrong by inhabitants. It is big, mad, rilin ...more
Jul 13, 2013
Jul 10, 2013
The Man in the High Castle
I was surprised by how sophisticated this was, in some ways. It feels much later than 1962. The way Dick constructs the different characters inner nar ...more
Sep 12, 2013
Sep 05, 2013
Eighty Days: Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland's History-Making Race Around the World
This is not a terribly interesting book about what appears, actually, to have been not a terribly interesting event.

Bly and Bisland raced around the
Nov 19, 2013
Nov 16, 2013
Evil Paradises: Dreamworlds of Neoliberalism
Too much economics, not enough geography.

Perhaps because I'm pretty much the choir here, there's nothing terribly interesting in explaining that neol
Apr 19, 2014
Apr 16, 2014
The Death and Life of Great American Cities
Finally finished! I think Jacobs has retained a reputation for a certain cosy New-Urbanist kitchiness, and that's sadly unfair.

The first few chapters
Jul 06, 2015
Jan 24, 2011
Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72
Woah. The politics are more or less incomprehensible to me, but ocassionally things float up. It's hard to tell how much of Hunter's writing is someth ...more
Nov 13, 2012
Sep 04, 2012
The Rise of the Creative Class--Revisited: Revised and Expanded
Both smug and petulant.

Not, I guess, anything terribly objectionable as such, but so poorly, tone-deafly written, dripping with elitism and myopia, p
Dec 28, 2016
Oct 16, 2016
Ready Player One
Sweet but still somehow...gently alienating. Only so far you can go on nostalgia you don't share. Theres a recursive kind of mirroring between the dif ...more
Dec 03, 2011
Dec 02, 2011
Kiss of Pride (Deadly Angels, #1)
oh god never again. How hard is it to write silly sexy fluff without including rape, torture, AIDS, slut shaming, dead children, guilt, the holocaust, ...more
Nov 22, 2012
Nov 05, 2012
The World in 2050: Four Forces Shaping Civilization's Northern Future
Flimsy. Compelling neither as analysis nor as description. Argument not so much unconvincing as simply uninteresting. First part is an ok overview of ...more
Dec 18, 2016
Nov 19, 2016
Dream Hoarders: How the American Upper Middle Class is Leaving Everyone Else in the Dust, Why That is a Problem, and What to Do About it
Probably accurate in describing a mechanism. Acknowledges that a key driver of the greater class mobility he's espousing calls for lowering the stakes ...more
Aug 10, 2017
Aug 10, 2017
American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America
Lively and, I think, worthwhile historical perspective, but grows less persuasive approaching the present.
Dec 15, 2016
Nov 08, 2016
A People's History of the United States
Well, that was...that. Theres not much to complain about, certainly. Well written, well structured, an indispensable array of Things To Know. As a bro ...more
Dec 30, 2012
Aug 03, 2012
The Great Derangement: A Terrifying True Story of War, Politics, and Religion at the Twilight of the American Empire
I wanted to read something mean and funny, only to feel a bit bad when he says in the introduction he doesn't want to be that guy that people only thi ...more
Jul 24, 2011
Jul 23, 2011
The Gatekeepers : Inside the Admissions Process of a Premier College
Beats me why I'm happily reading this genre of Elite-American-College-Process all of a sudden, except some kind of train wreck fascination. Yes, I'm i ...more
Aug 23, 2016
Aug 23, 2016
Overbooked: The Exploding Business of Travel and Tourism
Interesting, but I felt ended a little weakly, at the chapters on China and the USA, where tourism-to and tourism-from were mixed together haphazardly ...more
Oct 08, 2015
Sep 23, 2015
One Summer: America, 1927
Happily prurient. So it's not the most rigorous historical account, but is a seemingly very effective and extremely entertaining portrait of that mome ...more
Oct 24, 2013
Oct 20, 2013
Maphead: Charting the Wide, Weird World of Geography Wonks
Not nearly weird enough. Jennings talks to various map enthusiasts, from geocachers to Geography Bee contestants to antique map collectors, and they a ...more
Nov 14, 2013
Jan 22, 2013
The Rosie Project (Don Tillman, #1)
This is The Remains of the Day meets the Big Bang Theory, and ends up less than the sum, being considerably less subtle, complex or critical than eith ...more
Jul 09, 2015
Jul 09, 2015
The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer
Fascinating, personal, scary, optimistic.
Dec 14, 2016
Dec 10, 2016
Dreadnought (The Clockwork Century, #2)
I liked this one better than Boneshaker (which I enjoyed quite a bit,) it feels less YA, and the relative lack of zombies is just lovely. The wider, o ...more
Oct 2011
Sep 30, 2011
Modernity, or post-modernity, or the difference, or whatever that thing we're in now is. Very precisely, very elegantly, theres an evocation of a styl ...more
Apr 14, 2012
Apr 11, 2012
Ephemeral Vistas: The Expositions Universelles, Great Exhibitions And World's Fairs, 1851 1939
So these were like the Olympics, but even bigger, (several early Olympics were actually sideshows in World Fairs. So was the Second Internationale, at ...more
Dec 30, 2012
Dec 20, 2012
A Renegade History of the United States
This starts out as history but it quickly just turns into pointification. There's a lot less actual knowledge about how people lived and thought and f ...more
Dec 05, 2014
Nov 13, 2014
Lust: or No Harm Done
I probably wouldn't have picked this up by its own description, but I loved Air so much i'll basically give anything by Ryman a shot, and in this inst ...more
Dec 07, 2011
Dec 03, 2011
The Snow Child
I liked the atmosphere and the writing, the kind of clarity that they both have. The emotional lives and tragedies of the old couple are beautifully - ...more
Mar 19, 2013
Mar 10, 2013
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