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allanderek

allanderek@bookwyrm.social

Joined 1 year, 2 months ago

Software developer in need of enlightenment.

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Several leasons

4 stars

I enjoyed reading this book, full of interesting information. I fear that many of the book's intended/actual readers will probably know most of the content, but still it's always good to get a recap. The author takes pains to be pretty politically neutral throughout the book, and because of this doesn't stray too far into economics, when that is not really the book's bailiwick.

I'm not 100% convinced by the book's structure, nor, given that structure, the ordering of the chapters, but that's probably a very personal complaint that wouldn't be shared by many/most others.

Easy reading, not great humour

3 stars

This is quite easy reading, each topic is not delved into particularly deeply, it's pretty shallow. The sort of person who would read this, could probably have written 90% of each chapter without doing any research, so you're not going to learn much new, but it's still quite pleasant to read.

Except for the attempted humour, I haven't heard their podcast, so it's possibly a case that their brand of humour doesn't translate well to the written word. Still it grates on you pretty quickly. I feel like a decent editor should have been taking most of the attempted jokes out. If you can get past the attempted humour (which is easy to sample because it's mostly in either speech bubbles or footnotes) this is a pleasant read, but also pretty skippable.

Sabine Hossenfelder: Existential Physics (2022, Penguin Publishing Group) 4 stars

Pleasantly shallow

4 stars

This is a pleasant dive through what science has to say about many of life's more philosophical questions. It's very pleasant to read, but most of the questions are approached in a pretty broad manner, meaning that each question has mostly only the surface scratched. In that sense the book is rather shallow. That's not necessarily a bad thing, each question in the book could be the topic of an entire book in itself, and I'd probably rather read these intros rather than a set of nice books, or even, say, the most appealing three.

It does mean though, that you're not going to learn much new here, unless, well unless you're the sort of person who wouldn't read this book anyway.

Bernardine Evaristo: Girl, Woman, Other (2019) 5 stars

Girl, Woman, Other is the eighth novel to be written by Bernardine Evaristo. Published in …

Satisfying portrait of modern Britain

4 stars

A very readable book. I enjoyed it more or less from cover-to-cover. I like that the stories are mostly pretty independent of each other but interlaced just a little a bit. I also like that we get to see the interlaced parts from two or multiple points of view, from that aspect it's a little like Bret Easton Ellis's Rules of Attraction. You hear one protagonists feeling of a relationship/interaction and then later hear the other side's perception of it, this is most obvious in the after party between a former pupil and teacher. Overall, well worth reading.

Maria Konnikova: The confidence game (2016, Canongate Books) 3 stars

From the New York Times best-selling author of Mastermind, a compelling investigation into the minds, …

Not quite as fascinating as I'd hoped

3 stars

I expected to be glued to this, but didn't really find that to be the case. The best parts are really just the stories of the cons, of which there simply aren't enough. There is quite a lot of description as to what has gone wrong in each case, some psychological biases, and human frailties which allow for these cons to be successful, but ultimately I found myself a bit lost during the book.

Peter Swanson: Rules for Perfect Murders (2020, Faber & Faber, Limited) 4 stars

Pleasant but run-of-the-mill

3 stars

Content warning There are some spoilers here it's difficult to review without.

Bill Bryson: One Summer: America 1927 (2013, Bantam Dell) 4 stars

The summer of 1927 began with one of the signature events of the twentieth century: …

Gripping, informative and a great ride

5 stars

I pretty much loved this from start to finish. I am a slow reader, but found myself frequently picking this book up whenever I had a spare ten minutes.

He also uses a trick, that John Irving uses, which really hooks me. At the end of several chapters, he gives a spoiler about the current topic, but then the next chapter is on a different topic. The spoiler just teases you enough to want to keep reading now to get closer to when the teaser is fully expunged.

His voice and style is the same as with pretty much all Bill Bryson books, if you love Bill Bryson, there is no good reason not to read this one. That said, if you aren't a fan this will likely be a long slog. If you've never read any Bill Bryson, perhaps start with a shorter one as a taster.

Gabriel García Márquez: Collected Novellas (Paperback, 1991, Harper Perennial) 4 stars

Contains:

Too abstract for me, but perhaps not for thee

3 stars

Content warning Contains some minor and vague plot points, but I don't think any real spoilers.

Alexander McCall Smith: 44 Scotland Street (2005, Polygon) 3 stars

Welcome to 44 Scotland Street, home to some of Edinburgh's most colorful characters. There's Pat, …

Pleasant but forgettable

3 stars

This was very readable, very easy and pleasant, almost cozy to read. It's a little tougher to say that I'll remember it, or see exactly what the point was. I understand that this was a serialised novel, and I could imagine reading it one chapter a day (for some 200 days) and that would be quite nice.

But reading it as a book novel, I struggle to see what the point is? It's almost like a soap opera in written form. That said I did like the character development, it just didn't seem to go anywhere with those developed characters.

Robert Harris: The Fear Index (2011) 3 stars

The Fear Index is a 2011 novel by British author Robert Harris. It is set …

Presciently gripping

4 stars

Excellent thriller writing. For most of the first third I was gripped with the unfolding drama, and then once the culprit was relatively obvious the rest of the book is interesting as to how it will all end. It certainly kept me turning the pages.

Richard Overy: Russia's war (1998, Penguin Books) 4 stars

Very well written

4 stars

A very good overview of the topic of the Soviet Union side of world war two, and the many contradictions therein. It's a little difficult to say more, and I don't know how well it can be judged for factual correctness as I'm not a historian. But nonetheless this was a useful book, and I, at least, enjoyed reading it.