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Joined 1 year, 6 months ago

I’m male, he/him, hetero, strongly supporting LGBTQ rights, also a baby boomer, born at 312 PPM 🌏, with a passion for the climate and the environment, and finally 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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reviewed Galaxias by Stephen Baxter

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 …

James Curtis: 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.

Kristin Hannah: Four Winds (2021, St. Martin's Press) 4 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.

Mark Lynas: Our Final Warning (Hardcover, 2020, Fourth Estate) 5 stars

Scary but honest

5 stars

This book was published in 2020, but because gathering material and writing and editing all take time, much of the research the author reports on is from around 2015 to 2019. And you know what? It's already largely out of date.

I'm not faulting the author, Mark Lynas. He couldn't help that. Almost no one could have predicted how rapidly the climate would continue breaking down in just the next few years. But anyway, it's a very good book, an honest and frightening account of how bad the situation already is and how much worse it's likely to become within our lifetimes.

In the end, we're not left without hope. But that hope is based upon the possibility of our industrial society taking unprecedented steps, making enormous and drastic changes between now and circa 2030. Will that happen? Well, even if we the people wanted to make a start, I'm …

Shelby Van Pelt: Remarkably Bright Creatures (Hardcover, 2022, Ecco) 4 stars

For fans of A Man Called Ove, a charming, witty and compulsively readable exploration …

Not what I was hoping for

2 stars

  1. I wish I liked this book more. 😕
  2. I wish the story had been more about the clever octopus, and less about the boring, predictable humans and their silly "mystery." 🙄
  3. I wish the author had bothered to get her geography right. How could they drive a car from the mainland to the San Juan Islands without taking a ferry? There is no bridge to the islands. 😡