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Decalino

Decalino

Joined April 2016

Ex ex-pat
review
Decalino
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Pickpick

In this insightful and devastating book, Ghosh explores mechanistic, colonial attitudes toward Earth as exemplified by the Dutch takeover of Banda Besar, an island that was once the world's only source of nutmeg, then an immensely valuable spice. When did we collectively decide that it is human nature to destroy, exploit, and reap maximum profit, that financial gain justifies violence against nature and against each other? Powerful and haunting.

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Decalino
Damascus Station: A Novel | David McCloskey
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Mehso-so

I suspect this book features very accurate and realistic depictions of CIA spycraft, acronyms, etc. and the setting in Syria felt very detailed and real. The characters, on the other hand, were mostly two-dimensional or even cartoonish. If you are reading strictly for spy stuff, a Syrian setting, or just plot, this book is worth it. If you are particularly sensitive to cliches and occasional clunk, skip it and read Alma Katsu's Red Widow instead.

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Decalino
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Pickpick

Is suffering necessary for a meaningful life? Why do people sometimes choose suffering (e.g. mountain climbers, parents, BDSM participants)? Paul Bloom draws from psychology and philosophy in this engaging and wide-ranging look at what constitutes happiness and meaning in life, and how suffering plays a role. This isn't a self-help book and it raises as many questions as it answers, but makes for a thought-provoking read.

17 likes1 stack add
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Decalino
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Pickpick

Merlin Sheldrake brings such wonder and curiosity to his exploration of the world of fungi that it's impossible not to be drawn in. This book is a revelation, full of intriguing details and unknown connections, interposed with the author's playful engagement with his subject, such as when he makes cider from apples pilfered from a clone of the tree in Isaac Newton's garden. Loved it, from the dedication (to the fungi!) to the epilogue.

blurb
Decalino
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My son got me this book for Christmas. Just started it and it's already fascinating!

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Decalino
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In the world of The Constant Rabbit, a mysterious event in the 1960s caused a select few animals to anthropomorphize, growing in size and developing the ability to learn and speak human languages. Decades later, the Rabbit population has grown considerably and discrimination against them is rampant. Clever, inventive, and at times quite dark, this satirical tale of human xenophobia was a quick and memorable read.

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Decalino
Termination Shock | NEAL. STEPHENSON
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Pickpick

While the main plot of this hefty novel centers on a billionaire's plan to single-handedly kickstart efforts to geoengineer a global cooling, it's also packed with details on feral pigs in Texas, storm surge defenses in Rotterdam, and the Line of Actual Control between India and China. There's *a lot* going on. Set in the near future, it would be an even more entertaining read if only it were less plausible.

15 likes1 stack add
blurb
Decalino
Termination Shock | NEAL. STEPHENSON
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Current read: Termination Shock by Neal Stephenson

To do: last minute Christmas shopping (my son finally sent me a list of books he wants, mostly fantasy)

Top of the TBR: Shards of Earth by Adrian Tchaikovsky

#weekendreads @rachelsbrittain

review
Decalino
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Pickpick

In this delightful sequel to A Deadly Education, El remains cranky as ever, but now she has allies and possibly even friends. As graduation day approaches, they make a plan to survive, and El's increasingly obvious power attracts attention from all sides. I knew this was the 2nd book in a trilogy and honestly I loved it, but the ending made me want to throw the book through a portal into the void.

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Decalino
Leviathan Falls | James S. A. Corey
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I love this final book in The Expanse series--it really delivered, providing closure for both storylines and characters. It is sad to see it end, but what a ride! I especially loved the epigraph. So perfect! Now I can finally watch the final season of the TV series--it's at a much earlier point in the story, but I wanted to hold off until I'd finished the book.

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Decalino
Perhaps the Stars | Ada Palmer
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In this final book in the complex & inventive Terra Ignota series, all the threads of the previous three books culminate in an astonishing and satisfying ending. The extraordinary world building and vast cast of characters made it sometimes hard to follow, but it was worth it for the wealth of ideas about humanity, society, first contact, exploration and what it means to be human. It's impossible to do it justice in such a short format. Just: wow.

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Decalino
Leviathan Falls | James S. A. Corey
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Yayyyyyy! Look what came in the mail today, woohoo!

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Decalino
The Only Good Indians | Stephen Graham Jones
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One night before Thanksgiving, four friends--Ricky, Lewis, Cass and Gabe--young men from the Blackfeet reservation, went out on a hunt. In this superbly chilling horror novel, they face the consequences of their actions that night. I couldn't read this book before bedtime; granted, I am a horror lightweight, but something about the slow build of dread really got to me. Grisly and unforgettable.

24 likes1 stack add
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Decalino
The Dark Hours | Michael Connelly
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Pickpick

In this tightly plotted police procedural set during the pandemic, night shift detective Renee Ballard must balance the demands of a New Year's Eve shooting investigation with the search for two serial rapists. Ballard is a worthy successor to the legendary Harry Bosch; she cares more about solving the case and seeking justice for the victim than she does about sleep, her career, PR fallout for the LAPD, or the consequences of insubordination.

TrishB Just half way through now 👍🏻 2mo
Decalino @TrishB I read it too fast! Now the long wait for the next one... 2mo
TrishB I will probably feel like that too! 2mo
16 likes3 comments
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Decalino
This Alien Shore | C.S. Friedman
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Pickpick

In a world where interstellar travel has come at the cost of significant mutations, humanity is divided between the Terrans on Earth, determined to keep the gene pool pristine, and the Variant cultures of the outworlds. Intricate world building, an interesting take on neurodivergence, and multiple plotlines made this an engrossing read. I already put the sequel on hold at the library. TW:self-harm.

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Decalino
56 Days | Catherine Ryan Howard
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I've had uncharacteristic trouble finishing books lately, but this twisty thriller was a page-turner. Set in Dublin at the onset of the pandemic, the story jumps backward and forward in time as two newcomers to the city impulsively decide to spend the lockdown together. It opens with a dead body, so it's clear something goes horribly wrong, but I did not see that ending coming at all. Good stuff.

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Decalino
The Dark Hours | Michael Connelly
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Everything is crazy stressful at the moment, then this arrives in my mailbox! Thanks, past me, for pre-ordering and then forgetting all about it so it came as a delightful surprise.

EvieBee I think this is the best Ballard book thus far! 2mo
Decalino @EvieBee Now that I've read it, I agree 100%! 2mo
14 likes2 comments
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Decalino
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Pickpick

Francie is dying, but her adult children won't let her go, insisting on the most extreme care to keep her alive. Her daughter Anna, a successful architect, flies in from Australia to visit her mother at the hospital in Tasmania, but spends much of her time doomscrolling Instagram for images of the raging wildfires. Parts of Anna are vanishing: first a finger, then a knee, but no one seems to notice. A haunting story of love, loss and mortality.

24 likes1 stack add
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Decalino
Tomorrow and Tomorrow | Tom Sweterlitsch
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Panpan

Ten years after Pittsburgh was obliterated in a terrorist attack, former poet Dominic is still grieving his wife, and addicted to visiting her in a VR archive of the city, when he becomes embroiled in the search for a woman who's being erased from the archive. There might have been an interesting story in there somewhere, but the sordid dystopian setting and recurring violence against women left me feeling mostly queasy, and happy when it ended.

Decalino To be clear, I read a lot of dystopian novels, but this one felt boring when it wasn't kind of sickening. 3mo
13 likes1 comment
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Decalino
Providence | Max Barry
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Pickpick

Four very different people crew a warship operated by a powerful AI in this tale of interpersonal dynamics and inter-species war. After a worst-case scenario first contact, humanity has devoted vast resources to finding and eliminating their enemy, known as salamanders, and the Providence class ship is the culmination of their efforts. This was a one-sitting read for me, cinematic and psychologically interesting high concept SF.

16 likes1 stack add
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Decalino
Slow Fire Burning | Paula Hawkins
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A young man is found murdered in a houseboat, kicking off an investigation that opens up old wounds. The first page had me worried, but that was just a red herring--an excerpt from a novel within the novel. Complex characters who find the world difficult to navigate make this a particularly engrossing read, and the plot keeps twisting right up to the very end. Good stuff.

Ava_Black I‘m reading this now! Just started. Glad to hear good things about it. 3mo
19 likes1 comment
review
Decalino
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This book was intriguing and had me googling all kinds of things from flag manifolds & bees to the biblical Q source. Thomas Quinn, son of a famous author, has accepted that he will never be successful, unlike his father's reclusive assistant Andrew Black, author of the phenomenal bestseller Cupid's Engine. Mysterious occurrences lead him back to Black and a plot twist that felt more like a wild swerve. Not sure it fully worked, but worth reading.

14 likes1 stack add
blurb
Decalino
Last Graduate | Naomi Novik
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It's not my birthday until next week, but I'm celebrating a bit early.

Tamra No harm in that! Happy Book/Birth Day! 4mo
Decalino @Tamra Thanks! 🙂 4mo
Chrissyreadit Happy Birthday! Books are the best way to celebrate 🎉👏💛 4mo
21 likes3 comments
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Decalino
Book of Accidents | Chuck Wendig
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A family moves into a creepy old house, the site of past trauma, conveniently located near an ominous tunnel and an eerie field of boulders said to be the favored location of a notorious serial killer. So far so sinister, but there's more at stake than Nate, Maddie and their teen son Oliver could possibly know in this sometimes grisly, always gripping chunkster. This was a perfect Halloween read that also takes a potent look at the legacy of pain.

23 likes2 stack adds
quote
Decalino
Book of Accidents | Chuck Wendig
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"Edmund Walker Reese was a man of numbers."

#FirstLineFridays
@ShyBookOwl

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Decalino
The Plot | Jean Hanff Korelitz
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Who owns a story? After creative writing instructor and self-described failed novelist Jake Bonner writes the bestseller that will change his life, he is plagued by fear that the truth will be revealed: the pivotal plot twist was something a student of his shared years before. It's no easy feat to build up a plot twist as a surefire winner, and then deliver in the most meta manner imaginable.

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Decalino
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I'd heard of MK-ULTRA but I had *no idea* of the scale, the scope and the enormity of the program. Unwitting party guests, college students, addicts in recovery, the mentally ill seeking treatment, prisoners held in secret bases overseas--all were subjected to completely unethical testing with no regard for consequences. Some lost their minds, some died, but the CIA mastermind behind it all was never truly held to account. Horrifying and enraging.

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Decalino
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Mehso-so

I received an ARC of this book and really wanted to love it, but alas no. One of the main characters, Leah, just did not seem like a real person: sex-positivity is not a personality. Of the three parallel timelines, I found the elaborate world-building of 3012 the most interesting; the ancient Mayan twincest and 2012 tourism were just not as compelling, although Belize itself was a vivid setting. Also kind of romanticized cutting--big TW there.

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Decalino
Arcadia: A novel | Iain Pears
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Pickpick

With multiple interconnected storylines taking place in very different worlds, it took me a while to figure out what was going on, but once I did it was truly fascinating. It has elements of a LeCarre spy story, a soulless dystopian future, a utopian pastoral society, and one pivotal character: a brilliant, iconoclastic scientist capable of literally changing the world. The ending of this book made perfect sense but I still didn't see it coming.

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Decalino
Rovers | Richard Lange
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Set in 1976, this dark thriller follows Jesse & his brother Edgar as they roam the American west, trying to survive and stay under the radar, until they cross paths with a ruthless biker gang. Jesse, Edgar & the bikers are rovers who fear the sun & need human blood to survive. A riveting read that will almost certainly make a very bloody movie someday; the pitch: Of Mice and Men and Vampires, No Country for Old Vampires, Easy Rider (but vampires.)

13 likes1 stack add
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Decalino
Rovers | Richard Lange
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"Jesse dreams the old dream for the first time in months."

#FirstLineFridays
@ShyBookOwl

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Decalino
Forget the Alamo: The True Story of the Myth That Made Texas | Bryan Burrough, Chris Tomlinson, Jason Stanford
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Pickpick

This was an eye-opening, irreverent and highly readable account of the events that led to the Alamo and the extraordinary mythology that evolved around the battle in the century and a half that followed. Texas schools are required to teach the "heroic" version of the story, but nobody comes out of this looking great, not even Phil Collins (?!?) who is apparently an avid collector of Alamo memorabilia, some of it of dubious provenance. Who knew?

Leftcoastzen Nice review! I need to get to this one. 4mo
20 likes1 comment
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Decalino
Dream Girl | Laura Lippman
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This twisty thriller from one of my favorite authors tells the story of Gerry Andersen, a prize-winning novelist in his 60s, known most widely for his critically & commercially successful novel Dream Girl. Now Gerry is back in Baltimore, his hometown, coping with the death of his mother and his seeming inability to write, when things take an unexpected turn for the worse, and then some. A genuinely surprising ending left me rethinking everything.

13 likes1 stack add
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Decalino
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Pickpick

I didn't particularly like Chloe, the driven, successful writer and magazine editor who narrates this story. After she finds the body of her murdered husband on the floor of their vacation home, Chloe must deal with the revelation of secrets at odds with the image of perfect family life she's tried so hard to present to the world. The ending brought everything into perfect focus, a masterful conclusion to a tense and gripping read.

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Decalino
Daisy Jones & The Six | Taylor Jenkins Reid
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This compulsively readable novel tells the story of 70s band The Six and how they came to record an album with Daisy Jones. The interview format and shifting perspectives made for a fast-paced and gripping read, as tension within the group builds and threatens to blow. Ego, addiction, attraction and fame come into play, but the music and everything that goes into its creation remains the heart of the band and the book. My daughter loved it too!

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Decalino
The Dream Book | Meg Wolitzer
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When I saw this book at Goodwill and realized it was by Meg Wolitzer, I couldn't resist. It was a quick, quirky read and kid me would have loved it. Honestly, the idea of an 11-year-old riding the subway unsupervised would have been just as fantastical to my childhood self as meeting a new friend named Danger and realizing you're meeting up in your dreams.

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Decalino
Appleseed: A Novel | Matt Bell
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This novel was good, if grim, but I didn't like it as much as I expected to. The high concept post climate change apocalypse worked better than the mythology in the pre-industrial timeline--why a faun? Why Orpheus? It was haunting, but part of me was just asking why in the background the whole time. Still a pick, since it was definitely worth reading. Maybe skip it if your climate change anxiety is already sky high.

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Decalino
Hamnet | Maggie O'Farrell
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I knew this would be a heartbreaker, and in fact it was devastatingly sad. O'Farrell is such a gifted and exceptional writer that the beauty outweighs the sorrow. She takes the barest facts--that Shakespeare had a son named Hamnet who died at age 11--and crafts them into an entrancing, vivid world of love and loss. Shakespeare is never mentioned by name; it is his wife Agnes who comes most powerfully and painfully alive in this extraordinary book.

rachelm Loved this one 5mo
26 likes1 comment
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Decalino
Unity | Elly Bangs
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Mehso-so

For some reason, I just didn't care about the characters in this book or what would ultimately happen to them. The premise was interesting--a person cut off from the nanotech-enabled unified consciousness of which they'd been a part seeks to find and reunify with their whole--but there were a couple of clonky reveals and a deus ex machina moment that just didn't fly. I finished it, but my overall feeling was meh.

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Decalino
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Pickpick

My expectations were sky high after Blacktop Wasteland; this book exceeded them. When Ike's son Isiah and his husband Derek are murdered, Ike must face the reality that he will never have a chance to make things right with his son. Buddy Lee, Derek's father, wants Ike to help him find and punish those responsible, no matter the cost. Vivid dialogue, brutal action and heartbreaking regret combine in this powerful, cinematic novel. Unforgettable.

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Decalino
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I loved this book from the start: Galadriel, an angry outcast at a very dangerous school for wizards, must keep the true extent of her power under wraps, since it tends toward the wrathful smiting end of the magical spectrum. El may be cranky, but her mother, a renowned (but poor) healer, raised her to control her anger and be a good person at heart. Brilliant world-building, a riveting plot and irresistible characters made this a delightful read.

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Decalino
Dead Astronauts | Jeff VanderMeer
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This is a haunting fever dream of a book, with elements familiar to anyone who has read Borne, but told without a typical linear narrative structure. This makes for a challenging, trippy but ultimately rewarding read. I can't do it justice, but Arkady Martine wrote a great review for NPR: https://www.npr.org/2019/12/07/785536098/clarity-isnt-the-point-in-confusing-abs... Not sure it is 100% pick, but it's definitely not so-so.

19 likes1 stack add
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Decalino
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Pickpick

I really enjoyed The Rise and Fall of DODO, coauthored by Nicole Galland and Neal Stephenson, and this sequel, written by Galland, stays true to the first book's DARPA + time travel + witches + quantum physics vibe, but throws in Shakespeare and ancient Romans for good measure. Grainne raises the stakes in her bid to eliminate technology and thereby save magic, while the rogue DODO agents need outside help to thwart her plans.

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Decalino
Girl One | Sara Flannery Murphy
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It took me a while to get into this one, an account of life as the world's first baby created by parthenogenesis (a.k.a. without a biological father.) The author's attempts to explain how this happened (science! No, wait, magic!) were distracting in their vague implausibility, but to be honest I enjoyed the book more when I threw critical thinking out the window and rolled with the plot: a missing mother, a wild road trip, secrets galore.

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Decalino
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Journalist Tony Horwitz follows in the footsteps of Frederick Law Olmsted. Best known for designing New York's Central Park, Olmsted first traveled throughout the south prior to the Civil War, seeking to better understand the residents and share his findings with readers back home. Horwitz was traveling prior to the 2016 election, and the divisions he finds are stark if no longer startling. An absorbing work of history and immersive journalism.

13 likes1 stack add
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Decalino
Angelmaker | Nick Harkaway
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Pickpick

This book has a manic energy that got a little exhausting toward the end, but all in all it was a wild and fantastical ride full of gangsters, spies, scientists, monks and, at the center of it all, a clockmaker just trying to live his (quiet, lonely) life. Occasionally harrowing and frequently philosophical, Angelmaker packs a lot into its pages. Including intricate clockwork bees.

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Decalino
Taran Wanderer | Lloyd Alexander
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1. Definitely the Challenger explosion. I was home sick that day and heard it first on the radio. Also, when the movie The Day After, about nuclear war, debuted on TV.

2. Trying to stick with the library! But I have a rule that pre-orders for my favorite authors don't count...

3. The Prydain Cycle and anything else by Lloyd Alexander. I always loved to read but those books were magic.

@Eggs

Eggs #2 - that‘s me too! Thanks for the great responses 📚👏🏻❣️ 6mo
10 likes1 comment
review
Decalino
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I needed this book, filled with accounts of people taking concrete action to save some piece of the wild world. It is hopeful in a practical way and reminds us that we are not powerless. Whether preserving 50% of the Earth for wildlife is really feasible is almost beside the point--there are people dedicating their lives to making it happen, and others trying to save one species, one park, one trail, one coastline--ultimately it's all connected.

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Decalino
Version Zero | David Yoon
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This darkly satirical take on social media and its impact on society is sometimes funny and sometimes down right depressing. Max, too idealistic for his job, takes action to wake the world from social media's spell. Yet I didn't delete any accounts after reading this book, no matter how entertaining it was. That fact makes me think even more about Max's ultimate choice, and whether it was the right one.

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Decalino
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In a pivotal 1973 study, Dr David Rosenhan stated that healthy people posing as patients were falsely diagnosed as schizophrenic by a system that couldn't tell the difference. His work rocked the world of psychiatry, but as Susannah Cahalan's investigation shows, the truth is complicated. The author's own brush with psychosis informs this thoughtful, compassionate look at Rosenhan's work and its role in society's relationship with mental illness.

17 likes1 stack add