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Don's books

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Chelsea Manning: README.txt (Hardcover, 2021, Farrar, Straus and Giroux) 4 stars

An intimate, revealing memoir from one of the most important activists of our time.

While …

Review of 'README.txt' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

Chelsea tells her story with drive and intelligence and compassion. There is a lot of detail of the time in Forward Operating Base Hammer in Iraq, the documents leaked, the torture of solitary confinement, the details of the court-marshal, and her time in prison. Its a good look inside the government.

William Shatner, Joshua Brandon: Boldly Go (2022, Atria Books) 4 stars

Review of 'Boldly Go' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

I enjoyed this book. It was an easy read and page-turner. It has a lot of positivity about life, sometimes to the point of being saccharine but mostly it felt genuine. He spoke of lonely younger years and a great love for dogs and for horses. He mentions multiple actors from the original series and wished for a better relationship with them. His interest in music and singing is a huge part of the book. I picked up the book because it included his Blue Origin trip to the edge of space.

Scott Kelly, Margaret Lazarus Dean: Endurance: A Year in Space, A Lifetime of Discovery (2017) 4 stars

Endurance: A Year in Space, a Lifetime of Discovery is a 2017 memoir by American …

Review of 'Endurance: A Year in Space, A Lifetime of Discovery' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

Great storytelling. Remarkably direct in parts, such as the CO2 failings of the ISS, the differences between the launch experience from Russia and from the USA. It kept me turning pages the whole time. Remarkable to me is how Kelly seemed to always have a long term goal for himself.

reviewed Red Team Blues by Cory Doctorow (Martin Hench, #1)

Cory Doctorow: Red Team Blues (2023, Doherty Associates, LLC, Tom) 4 stars

Martin Hench is 67 years old, single, and successful in a career stretching back to …

Review of 'Red Team Blues' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

Fun story of the precautions the main character did to hide his tracks from powerful people that were looking for him. That being said the story didnt have the overarching lesson or message that Doctorow's books normally have such as avoiding copyright over-reach. This was just a good story about electronic surveillance with some cryptocoin elements.

Sophie Pinkham: Black square (2016) 4 stars

"This captivating and original narrative blends politics, history, and reportage in a street-level account of …

Review of 'Black square' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

The best part of this book is Pinkham is a fantastic writer. I really enjoyed the descriptions and phrasing used throughout the book. The first two thirds were something of a personal memoir of her travels there from 2000-2010 working with harm-reduction NGOs, the last third was more of a history lesson of Maidan and the years following. I think the structure of the book was a bit disorganized but overall a great read.

John Green: Looking for Alaska (Hardcover, 2008, Brand: Paw Prints 2008-04-18, Paw Prints 2008-04-18) 4 stars

Before. Miles “Pudge” Halter is done with his safe life at home. His whole life …

Review of 'Looking for Alaska' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

The best part of this book is how philosophy is brought into the storyline so primarily and clearly. The whole book is geared towards getting the reader to think about life and what it means. Its a great read.

The least believable parts of the book is how the main character goes along with everything he's told. He's established as a kid with a sheltered upbringing yet does every expulsion-worthy task he's given. There is an emphasis on sexuality and drinking that seems over the top.

The ending is intentionally left partially unresolved and it adds to the theme that getting answers out of life is an exercise left to the reader.

Barack Obama: A Promised Land (2020) 4 stars

A Promised Land is a memoir by Barack Obama, the 44th president of the United …

Review of 'A Promised Land' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

Reading this book is like getting professional narration over the significant events in USA politics from 2008-2012. Everything is framed from a rah-rah-america point of view, practically a necessity in his position, but there is still some genuine insight into what it was like inside the halls of the White House during that time. The financial crisis, the hunt for BinLaden, and republican obstruction are large themes.

Andy Weir: Project Hail Mary (Hardcover, 2021, Ballantine Books) 4 stars

Ryland Grace is the sole survivor on a desperate, last-chance mission--and if he fails, humanity …

Review of 'Project Hail Mary' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

This book was a fast, fun read. Weir took the phrase 'science the shit out of this' and made a whole book based on that. Here's a science (usually physics) problem that feels very realistic for the problems one would encounter on a space ship. Then in the next paragraph, here is the solution. Also its a nice homage to science teachers. If you liked The Martian, then you'll probably like this one too, but I gave it three stars because the story, the novel itself, is weak. The book uses flashbacks to fill in the backstory of how the book opens, and I didnt feel particularly attached or interested in the characters described there in. The two main characters are what kept it going for me. It has some good humor too. I laughed out loud more than once.

Review of 'Ghost Boy. Martin Pistorius with Megan Lloyd Davies' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

This book hit me like a ton of bricks. I read it in one sitting. The suffering and triumphs are about as personal and human as I can imagine. The patience and empathy from the author and his family were very moving.