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Joined 2 years ago

Reading for sanity, solace, meaning, meandering.

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Arcadia (AudiobookFormat, 2012, Recorded Books, Inc. and Blackstone Publishing) 4 stars

Is any way of living sane when you look closely?

4 stars

I love that this story which begins on a hippy commune really wrestles with the fact that people do attempt to create lifestyles that reject some of the insanities of our mainstream culture, and probably always have, but it rarely becomes the dreamed-of utopia. And for a publish date of 2012 there is an eerily familiar pandemic event that gives even more gravitas to a very convincing story.

We, the Drowned (2010, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) 4 stars

A charmingly strange tour of seafaring history

4 stars

For me this was an introduction to Danish history via the island town of Marstal. Though I have some seafaring ancestry in the Dutch branch of my family, that was just enough keep my curiosity perked in these stories where the sea is always present. The human characters were foreign enough to keep me guessing, and they grew to inhabit a realistic historical world. Not sure how I came across this book, but glad I did.

The Code Breaker (Hardcover, 2021, Simon & Schuster) 4 stars

A scientific biography of Jennifer Doudna, a founder and co-developer of the CRISPR gene-editing mechanism, …

A view into the work and lives of gene editing researchers

4 stars

This is an area of research with huge potential impacts that I had little understanding of. The basic explanations are pretty good, though I still have plenty of questions. Why are CRISPR RNA sequences palindromic? Etc. Mostly this is the stories of the people, though. Somehow I hadn't heard that there are genetically modified humans walking the earth, and how that happened is pretty interesting. Also these researchers managed to agree on some guard rails to safeguard our species, which has parallels with what is happening with artificial intelligence now.

A Half-Built Garden (Paperback, en-Latn-US language, 2022, Tordotcom) 4 stars

Good ideas inhabiting a challenging story

3 stars

I wanted to like the story but had trouble with the implausibilities. Interesting themes like algorithmic governance, ecological integration with technology, and collaborative family redefinition kept me going and were ultimately more rewarding.

The Body Keeps the Score (Paperback, 2015, Penguin Books) 4 stars

Trauma is a fact of life. Veterans and their families deal with the painful aftermath …

Added a new dimension to my view of humans

5 stars

I was not very curious about trauma and its impacts, but I was interested in learning about the ways our experiences affect our body and vice versa. It quickly became clear that trauma is just the more extreme reaches of this relationship, and the study of it sheds light on nearly everything about being human and relating to humans. I felt a foundational shift of my perspective on my life and relationships as I read, and already my life is changing as a result. If I made a manual for being human, I would put this book near the front.

The Mists of Avalon (Paperback, 1984, Ballantine Books) 4 stars

The Mists of Avalon is a 1983 historical fantasy novel by American writer Marion Zimmer …

When reality bends to belief

4 stars

This was my father's book. He said his mother read King Arthur stories to him as a child, I wish I knew which ones. For me the most interesting connection to my world is the idea that our collective and even individual beliefs shape our shared reality. The religious and political dimension of the story is a battle for mindshare where power flows toward the most influential zealots and extremists, remaking the world. There were a lot of other dimensions too, making it a more thought provoking read than I expected.