Source: Library

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#NonficNov Review: Life in Code

November 19, 2017 Uncategorized 1

#NonficNov Review: Life in CodeTitle: Life in Code: A Personal History of Technology
Author: Ellen Ullman
Source: Library
Links: Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: five-stars

Summary: I loved both learning about computer history from someone who lived it and hearing Ullman’s thoughts on the role of technology in society.

The sub-title of this book, ‘A Personal History of Technology’ describes the contents perfectly. This is a history of the computer science industry from someone who was part of many of the iconic moments of that history. The essays in this collection cover classic computer history and timeless meditations on the role of technology in our lives. Dates at the beginning of each essay indicating when they were written made them even more meaningful by providing context. Read more »

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Nonfiction/Fiction Pairing For Hispanic History Month

October 2, 2017 Uncategorized 0

For Platypire’s Diversity Challenge, I’ve been trying to read one nonfiction and one fiction book for the theme she suggests each month. It’s led me to read a lot of great books I might not have picked up otherwise. When I remember to plan my reading, it also means I do a better job reading books with protagonists who are underrepresented in books relative to population stats. These are the two books I read for Hispanic History Month. Read more »

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Nonfiction Review: Weapons of Math Destruction

September 20, 2017 Uncategorized 4

Nonfiction Review: Weapons of Math DestructionTitle: Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy
Author: Cathy O'Neil
Source: Library
Links: Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

Summary: This was interesting and the author made some good points, but it was repetitive and not very technical.

More and more aspects of our lives are being dictated by hidden algorithms. In theory, this should eliminate human biases and lead to more fair decisions. Unfortunately, the reality is that models are made by biased human beings. Models are also built on data describing the way the world is now and so may codify existing inequalities. This is particularly dangerous because algorithms often escape the regulation human decisions would have to follow. The reasons for their decisions may never be revealed to people whose lives are influenced by those decisions. Read more »

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Sci-Fi Review: Robot Uprisings

September 13, 2017 Uncategorized 5

Sci-Fi Review: Robot UprisingsTitle: Robot Uprisings
Author: Daniel H. Wilson, John Joseph Adams, Julianna Baggott, Alastair Reynolds, Alan Dean Foster, Ian McDonald, Robin Wasserman, John McCarthy, Seanan McGuire, Nnedi Okorafor, Scott Sigler, Charles Yu, Anna North, Genevieve Valentine, Hugh Howey, Ernest Cline, Cory Doctorow, Jeff Abbott
Source: Library
Links: Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: three-stars

Summary: There were some awesome ideas in this collection, but many of the stories felt under-developed or incomplete.

I don’t read a lot of sci-fi any more, but it’s one of the genres I read the most in high school and I still often love it when I pick it up. So, even though short stories aren’t always my thing, I thought there couldn’t be much better than a collection all about robot uprisings. I also recognized the names of a number of authors in the collection, including Nnedi Okorafor, Ernest Cline, and Cory Doctorow.  Read more »

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Graphic Nonfiction Review: Persepolis

September 11, 2017 Uncategorized 10

Graphic Nonfiction Review: PersepolisTitle: Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood (Persepolis, #1)
Author: Marjane Satrapi, Mattias Ripa
Source: Library
Links: Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

Summary: The images made it easier to learn from this story and made it more moving, but it was disappointingly short.

Persepolis is Marjane Satrapi’s memoir of growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. In powerful black-and-white comic strip images, Satrapi tells the story of her life in Tehran from ages six to fourteen, years that saw the overthrow of the Shah’s regime, the triumph of the Islamic Revolution, and the devastating effects of war with Iraq. The intelligent and outspoken only child of committed Marxists and the great-granddaughter of one of Iran’s last emperors, Marjane bears witness to a childhood uniquely entwined with the history of her country.” (source) Read more »

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Fun Fiction Review: Shades of Milk and Honey

September 6, 2017 Uncategorized 8

Fun Fiction Review: Shades of Milk and HoneyTitle: Shades of Milk and Honey (Glamourist Histories, #1)
Author: Mary Robinette Kowal
Source: Library
Links: Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: three-stars

Summary: I enjoyed the idea behind this book and the hints of Austen, but there wasn’t much depth or originality.

Billed as Jane Austen plus magic, I could resist picking this book up. As in Austen, the characters’ main concerns focus on society and especially marriage arrangements. Unfortunately for our main character Jane, although she is skilled in the womanly magic of glamour, her younger sister’s beauty attracts all the attention. Her sister lacks Jane’s good sense though and so it will fall to Jane to use her magic to protect her sister from less than honorable suitors. And in doing so, she just might find her perfect match as well. Read more »

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Diversity Challenge Review: Still Alice

August 23, 2017 Uncategorized 6

Diversity Challenge Review: Still AliceTitle: Still Alice
Author: Lisa Genova
Source: Library
Links: Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: five-stars

Summary: I loved this book because it felt incredibly real, from the depiction of life in academia to the characters’ emotions –  even the petty ones.

“Alice Howland, happily married with three grown children and a house on the Cape, is a celebrated Harvard professor at the height of her career when she notices a forgetfulness creeping into her life. As confusion starts to cloud her thinking and her memory begins to fail her, she receives a devastating diagnosis: early onset Alzheimer’s disease. Fiercely independent, Alice struggles to maintain her lifestyle and live in the moment, even as her sense of self is being stripped away.” (source) Read more »

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Cozy Mystery Review: The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency

August 21, 2017 Uncategorized 10

Cozy Mystery Review: The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective AgencyTitle: The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, #1)
Author: Alexander McCall Smith
Source: Library
Links: Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: three-stars

Summary: An interesting story with a great protagonist, but disjointed and without opportunity for the reader to solve the mysteries.

When Precious Ramotswe inherits enough money to start a business, she decides to take the risk of starting Botswana’s first ladies’ detective agency. She’s pleasantly surprised when people immediately start asking for her help. Using her observational skills and knowledge of the area, she is able to solve all kinds of cases, from finding missing loved ones to foiling con men. Read more »

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Nonfiction Review: All the Rave

August 16, 2017 Uncategorized 0

Nonfiction Review: All the RaveTitle: All the Rave : The Rise and Fall of Shawn Fanning's Napster
Author: Joseph Menn
Source: Library
Links: Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: two-stars

Summary: A potentially interesting story told in a dry and problematic way.

This is the story of seventeen-year-old Shawn Fanning’s creation of the program that would become Napster and the disastrous company formed around it. From the beginning, Shawn’s huckster uncle assured himself a large stake in the company. His subsequent mismanagement made it even harder for the company to deal with technical and legal challenges. This account reveals the private, internal power struggles that accompanied the very public legal battle between Napster and the music industry. Read more »

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