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BreadAndCircuses

BreadAndCircuses@bookwyrm.social

Joined 4 months, 1 week ago

I’m male, he/him, hetero, strongly supporting LGBTQ rights. I’m a baby boomer, born at 312 PPM 🌏, with a passion for the climate and the environment. I'm a United Statesian, although I’ve traveled extensively for work and lived in Europe (mostly Hungary) for several years.

In the past, our rulers gave us "bread and circuses." Now we get fast food and apps. But it's basically the same — distraction from what's REALLY happening.

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The Harmless People (1989) 5 stars

In the 1950s Elizabeth Marshall Thomas became one of the first Westerners to live with …

Beautiful, haunting, and heartbreaking

5 stars

This is the kind of book that makes me think humans, as a whole, are a failed species. The strongest and most ruthless among us will always dominate and eventually overpower less aggressive groups of people. Now, in the Industrial Age, we are doing the same thing to the global environment. It's our legacy.

The Climate Book (Hardcover, 2022, Penguin Books, Limited) 5 stars

You might think it's an impossible task: secure a safe future for life on Earth, …

Essential Reading

5 stars

I've read dozens of books about climate change, and this one is easily the best. It's packed with information, written to be accessible for anyone from high school (or a bright middle school student) on up, and most important, it does NOT shy away from the true severity of our situation and the imperative need not only for individual action but for system change.

It's stunning to me that a young woman who just turned twenty years old was able to pull together such a massive project — coordinating the submissions of more than a hundred scientists, activists, and educators — while also writing a large part of the content herself. A truly amazing accomplishment.

This essential work should be in every school library and in every home. It will remain relevant for years to come, I believe, because although there certainly is plenty of data, mostly it's about …

The Deluge (2023, Simon & Schuster) 5 stars

Dark, Disturbing, Brilliant

5 stars

The topic here is climate change and how different groups of people respond to the challenge, the threat, the opportunity — depending on their points of view. The author starts about 10 years in the past and then slowly moves forward about 20 years into the future, following various characters over a long arc.

I was pleasantly surprised to discover how honest the novel is, how it doesn't flinch from depicting the greed and corruption all around us, or from portraying the ugly results of climate breakdown and societal fracturing.

Truly a great book, highly recommended, though I'll warn it's not an easy read. It sometimes takes effort to keep up with everything that's happening, and it's often very sad, even disturbing. But I believe this is the most accurate projection of where we're probably going that I have ever read.

My only disappointment is that the conclusion, the final …

Household gods (2000) 5 stars

Household Gods is a 1999 science fiction time-travel novel written by Harry Turtledove and Judith …

A time-travel treasure

5 stars

It's funny, it's smart, it's touching, it's endlessly fascinating, and the unlikely premise feels real and believable. This is a great book. I've just finished my third reading (in 20 years) and enjoy it more each time.

The Boys from Biloxi (Hardcover, 2022, Doubleday) 4 stars

A Good Long Ride

4 stars

I’ve read every one of John Grisham’s novels, many of them more than once. He is easily one of my favorite authors. But his previous book, Sparring Partners, was not good at all, and I was afraid it might herald a permanent decline. I'm glad to say I was wrong, because The Boys from Biloxi is a strong rebound.

This new novel is written in an unusual style for Grisham, covering multiple character arcs over a long span of time. But it works — so well, in fact, that I often felt I was reading a non-fiction account of fascinating historical events. Definitely recommended.

reviewed Galaxias by Stephen Baxter

Galaxias (Gollancz, The Orion Publishing Group Limited) 3 stars

Starts off well, but then...

3 stars

We have a grand concept, a BIG IDEA, a different take on First Contact and the Fermi Paradox. That’s the good part.

The bad part is that after an interesting opening, we have to slog through page after page, chapter after chapter of talking, talking, and more talking. A bunch of people we never come to care about just sitting around talking. Almost nothing ever seems to happen. And when something finally does happen, we don’t actually see it. We are told about it. This book does a whole lot of telling and very little showing.

My other objection is the way the climate crisis is casually waved aside with a few facile suggestions of carbon-capture trees. Would that it were so easy in real life. There’s no mention at all of ocean acidification and almost nothing about species depletion or loss of biodiversity. I suppose the author just wants …

Buster Keaton: A Filmmaker's Life 2 stars

Buster Keaton: A Filmmaker's Life is a 2022 book by James Curtis that examines the …

There are many other much better Keaton biographies

3 stars

This was hugely disappointing. I was hoping for a meaningful, in-depth look at one of history's greatest filmmakers. However, although the author apparently knew everything about Buster Keaton, he didn't know the real Buster Keaton. We get page after page of factual detail, tedious reporting of even the most incidental occurrences, but no insight, no revelation of character. What a letdown.

Four Winds (2021, St. Martin's Press) 3 stars

Texas, 1921. A time of abundance. The Great War is over, the bounty of the …

Her editor should have stood firm.

2 stars

Kristin Hannah: I've got a great idea for my next book. It’s a story about a family who leaves the Dust Bowl during the Depression and travels to California where they face hardships and fight against prejudice.

Editor: Um, isn't that just like John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath?

Kristin Hannah: Yes, but my version will be different in several small ways and I won't even mention Steinbeck in the Acknowledgments!

Editor: Well, it's not quite plagiarism, I suppose, and I'm sure it will sell, so let's go for it.