Category: Uncategorized

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Nonfiction About Amazon in Review: Fulfillment

July 27, 2021 Uncategorized 9 ★★★★★

Nonfiction About Amazon in Review: FulfillmentTitle: Fulfillment: Winning and Losing in One-Click America
Author: Alec MacGillis, Stefan Alexander MacGillis
Source: Library
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads
Rating:five-stars

Summary: An incredibly timely, relevant read that manages to be both infuriating and engaging.

This story isn’t a look at Amazon itself, but a sweeping exploration of the people and places impacted by that company’s expansion. The author talks to an incredible variety of people. They live across the United States and their lives have intersected with Amazon in countless ways. The author also talks to older people and sprinkles in some history himself, showing how we reached the current state of the country. He particularly focuses on the way Amazon has exacerbated national, regional, and local inequality. Read more »

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Popular Literary Criticism in Review

July 21, 2021 Uncategorized 5 ★★★★★

Popular Literary Criticism in ReviewTitle: Lolita in the Afterlife
Author: Jenny Minton Quigley
Source: Library
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads
Rating:five-stars

I read this collection of essays about Lolita at the prompting of Rennie of What’s Nonfiction and it was a great choice! As with most collections by multiple authors, some worked for me more than others, but there were a very few duds in this one. The editor did an incredible job selecting an array of essays that were diverse along many axes, yet all worked together. The authors are of different races, genders, sexualities, and nationalities. They bring perspectives from a variety of careers too – mostly authors, but also professors, activists, a fashion journalist, and more. The authors represent a great variety of experiences with Lolita. Some of the essay writers have loved Lolita forever; others struggled to get through the book. Several female authors read the book as teens. Hearing about their different responses to the book at that age was particularly fascinating. Read more »

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Perspective-Swapped Jane Eyre Retellings

July 19, 2021 Uncategorized 8 ★½

Perspective-Swapped Jane Eyre RetellingsTitle: Wide Sargasso Sea
Author: Jean Rhys, Andrea Ashworth
Source: Library
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads
Rating:one-half-stars

Based on whether or not I’ve found books to love, I must admit that my project to read a bunch of Jane Eyre retellings hasn’t been a complete success. Fortunately, I have simply enjoyed spending a lot of time with one text. It adds some depth to my experience to see so many different takes on the same material. This retelling from the perspective of both Bertha and Rochester, covering their meeting and marriage, is itself a classic. Nevertheless, it was one of my least favorite retellings so far. I worry that this is at least partially because I’m not familiar with novels from the Caribbean literary tradition. My expectations may simply not match the project the author is taking on here. I also think I might have enjoyed this more if I read it in a class, where I could try to understand it through deeper analysis with other people. Read more »

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Science True Crime in Review: The Monsanto Papers

July 12, 2021 Uncategorized 6 ★★★★½

Science True Crime in Review: The Monsanto PapersTitle: The Monsanto Papers: Deadly Secrets, Corporate Corruption, and One Man’s Search for Justice
Author: Carey Gillam
Source: Library
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads
Rating:four-half-stars

Summary: A gripping story where the author did a great job portraying complex characters.

In the past decade, there have been numerous law suits aimed at holding Monsanto accountable for hiding the fact that their flagship weedkiller, RoundUp, can cause cancer. This story focuses on one of the first of those cases. Lee Johnson was a hardworking school handyman, who had an accident that led to him being covered in RoundUp. He then developed an aggressive cancer that upended his life with his family and was expected to kill him before his case came to trial. In addition to Lee’s story, we also get to know the lawyers who chose to pursue these cases. While they can make an absurd amount of money if they win these cases, they also risk a lot of money and put in a ton of effort to get these cases to trial.

Read more »

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A New Science Classic in Review: A Crack in Creation

July 8, 2021 Uncategorized 6 ★★★

A New Science Classic in Review: A Crack in CreationTitle: A Crack in Creation: Gene Editing and the Unthinkable Power to Control Evolution
Author: Jennifer A. Doudna, Samuel H. Sternberg
Source: Library
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads
Rating:three-stars

Summary: A valuable perspective, but less comprehensive or engaging than the more recent Isaacson bio.

This memoir from Dr. Jennifer Doudna, Nobel prize-winning co-discoverer of the CRISPR gene editing system, is sure to become a science classic. Like The Double Helix by James Watson, it’s a chance to hear about an incredible scientific discovery from one of the scientists involved. Read more »

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Science Memoir in Review: The Disordered Cosmos

July 5, 2021 Uncategorized 4 ★★★★★

Science Memoir in Review: The Disordered CosmosTitle: The Disordered Cosmos: A Journey into Dark Matter, Spacetime, and Dreams Deferred
Author: Chanda Prescod-Weinstein
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads
Rating:five-stars

Summary: This blend of physics concepts, the author’s own experiences, and her thoughts on how to improve science was incredible.

This book by theoretical physicist, Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, is an introduction to her field of study. It’s also a memoir describing her experiences with racism and sexism in science and a thoughtful examination of how we do science. I’m aware that science, historically and today, has problems with sexism and racism. As a scientist, I still found this uncomfortable to read about. That may inform some of my reactions to the book, although I did my best to sit with and get past that discomfort. Read more »

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