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encinarus

encinarus

Joined June 2018

review
encinarus
Pickpick

Gender differences are often framed as nature vs nurture, boys will be boys etc, with testosterone bearing much of the nature side. Cordelia Fine debunks much of this with science, highlighting that there are few universal truths, and everything is more complicated than popsci makes it out to be. And yet, simpler. Culture >> biological differences. Well worth reading, and it was especially good to read in parallel with The Power.

review
encinarus
The Power | Naomi Alderman
Pickpick

Sometimes the best way to highlight something in society is to reframe it in a way that radically shifts the perspective. In this book, women gain electrical abilities, able to taze with a touch and a thought. Abused women stop putting up with it. Women who have to smile and nod and step to the side, no longer have to. The risks women consider going to a car in the dark? Now it's men with the risk. Well written and thought provoking.

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encinarus
Pickpick

A true crime novel about a murder of Pamela Werner in the 1930s in Peking. This is largely a narrative of the official investigation followed by a private investigation into the murder with Japan's invasion of China as backdrop. This was pretty interesting, true crime is not my typical genre. Early on as the book set the stage and gave needed background, it was quite dry, often a list of facts, but it developed and I needed to know what came next.

review
encinarus
Pickpick

Belated entry on this - I really liked this take on the fey, and fey curses. At it's core it feels like an alternate telling of beauty and the beast meets a badass little red riding hood, but with far more political plots and a more involved backstory. If you liked Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik, give this a try.

review
encinarus
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Pickpick

Food isn't usually the focus in history. More often it's the great leaders, or the actions of countries vs other countries, that get center stage. Here though, food is the focus. It looks at history through the lens of what fuels it. Initially that's simply food but innovations throughout history expand the scope of that many fold. If The Omnivores Dilemma looked at individuals relationship with food, this looks at all of humanity's.

review
encinarus
Pickpick

I struggle with distraction. It wasn't great before 2020, but doomscrolling made it so much worse. I've made some attempts: todo lists, focus blocks, inbox zero, prioritized lists, to mixed success. Deep work has clicked for me. I think the focus on shallow, vs deep work, being intentional with your time, and what you're planning for, is really what's new about this for me.

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encinarus
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Wow. Adoption of the chile across the world was fast. Just a couple decades to get incorporated into Asian cooking, when introduced through Europe. This book keeps hitting me with realizations that trade throughout history was far richer and wider reaching than I ever thought.

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encinarus
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I knew Columbus was an asshole, but reading about him cherry picking estimates saying the world was smaller so he could travel, then intentionally misnaming things and swearing his crew to secrecy about his lies, really was peak white man confidence. No wonder he was arrested and sent back in chains at the end of his third voyage. Died in disgrace and we still have a day named after him. SMH.

blurb
encinarus
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I'm about 1/4 through this book, and the current section highlights the wide network of trading that occurred in the ancient world by what spices were available in different areas. So far the illustration of that is still Europe focused, but I didn't give enough consideration before to what trade must've existed to make expeditions like Marco Polos seem worth funding. All this intercontinental trade was already happening for so long!

review
encinarus
Pickpick

This book was an amazing look at the world of senses that animals have. I couldn't possibly do it justice, but one passage jumped out at me more than others: that the platypus has electro sensors in its bill that it uses for detecting hidden food. My friends were subscribed to animal facts as I read them, leading 4 of them to go and get the book themselves. If you've wondered how your pet perceives things, you'll learn that and a whole lot more.

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encinarus
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This book has been mind blowing, finding out about the senses and hidden worlds in our own, but this one really got me this morning. The idea that cats might be getting low to sense prey? (Unlike most of what this book covers, this part is a guess, other content is strongly supported with research, but this is plausible enough that now I'll keep an eye out for research!)

review
encinarus
The Lesson | Cadwell Turnbull
Mehso-so

Aliens arrive, with a very specific purpose that we have to figure out what that is through the perspectives of a few families on the island. I liked the characters, I liked the writing, I liked the premise, it just felt like something didn't click in them coming together. It felt like there were several interesting stories in here which didn't have a chance to come to a satisfying conclusion.

blurb
encinarus

I'm currently in the section of the book covering the us news and world report impact on college admissions. I want to dig more into the industry that rose around this, anyone know of further reading on this? This feels similarly systemic as the tax prep market and the inefficiencies in health care.

review
encinarus
Pickpick

This was a delightful journey, following a tea monk (Sibling Dex) and a robot (Splendid Speckled Mosscap), their meeting and interaction. They travel together and there's joy in the travels and discussions. Where inside of someone do their needs, fears, and wishes come from? Are we just the sum of our parts, or more than that, as thought through by a monk and a robot trying to figure things out.

ozma.of.oz The second one just came out a little while ago! 💚 1mo
encinarus We've got a hold on it from our library (the Libby app is great). That said, it'll be some weeks before it's available. 1mo
6 likes2 comments
review
encinarus
Pickpick

This was great. Characters use time travel to change sentiments over time, in an alternate timeline for earth. The story revolves around edits to the timeline to improve women's rights (abortion, but not just) and the modern year is set in 2022. Reading it in August 2022 after the recent supreme court case made it hit harder than I expect it did when written, and it spurred me to learn some real history. On that note, fuck Comstock.

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encinarus
Mehso-so

I came to this after watching the Netflix series, and... I like everything about how the series did it more than the book. This is a series of short stories which are mildly connected, and the series pulled in content from later books to give them more context & continuity which I think they needed.

It's not bad, just the TV series managed to keep everything that felt important about the book, while adding more context. Can't often say that.

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encinarus
Aurora | Kim Stanley Robinson
Mehso-so

This was... Okay. Generation ship going to another star system, ship has some amount of consciousness, ponders the meaning of this while dealing with the various crises that come up.

I liked ship & their musing. The people were often dumb and frustrating. Very often I had to stop and ask why would/wouldn't they do X. Like change the codes for locks, when there's a security breach, or bring extra X when they knew they had shortages in the past.

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encinarus
Evershore (Skyward Flight: Novella 3) | Brandon Sanderson, Janci Patterson
Pickpick

I love the skyward series, this is no different. This novella gives us the view from inside Jorgen's head as we can see how hard he works to keep everything together, the pressure he holds himself to, and his growth both into an expanded role in the DDF and his cytonic powers.

The book is filled with cuteness, emotion, and character growth, making it easy to overlook that everything was a little too convenient. I don't care. It was a ton of fun.

review
encinarus
Empire of Gold | S A Chakraborty
Pickpick

The final book of the Daevabad series, this brings it all to a great conclusion. Open threads are closed satisfyingly even as the world continues to expand. While there are bits of exposition, they're done such that the characters need to know this too.

Early on I was convinced that the book will not have a happy ending. Though it ended happier than I'd feared, it was a bittersweet but satisfying close.

Audio narrator continues to be amazing.

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encinarus
Kingdom of Copper | S A Chakraborty
Pickpick

A time skip has happened as Nahri has settled into her new life, and actually finds she enjoys many aspects of it. Tensions which flared at the end of the first book have mellowed, but all the politics are still there. If you enjoyed book one, keep going. The expansion of the world beyond Daevabad, Nahri's growth, & new characters with their own plans makes this a great sequel.

Consider listening to it, the narrator is fantastic.

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encinarus
City of Brass | S A Chakraborty
Pickpick

This was a refreshingly different take on Djinn than I've seen before, combining politics, magic, religion and romance incredibly well (a common phrase my wife and I said as we listened was uh oh, he/she's hot). For magically beautiful beings made of fire, that came up a lot.

Nahri's view grounded the book, letting us see the magic city with the wonder we would have, rather than the day to day nonchalance of those living there.

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encinarus
Project Hail Mary | Weir Andy
Pickpick

For fans of the Martian, we have another adventure where the solo scientist is going to science the shit out of it. If you loved or hated the Martian, you'll feel the same about this one, though I think Andy has gotten better all around.

I loved the Martian and I loved this as well.

ctboeheim This was a great story. The protagonist had a very satisfying character arc. 7mo
5 likes1 comment
review
encinarus
Mehso-so

It finally happened, I read a Sanderson novel that I wasn't crazy about! The story itself was interesting, neat hook, and an interesting magic system, all that I love about Sanderson! And yet it fell flat. I think that was largely due to the jarring narrative style. It's written as an autobiography by a character trying to be jerky but came off as annoying. Not a good feeling to hold for the whole book. Fun dig at Harry Potter at the end though.

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encinarus
Pickpick

Listened to the audio book and really enjoyed it. It's a collection of vignettes from the empress's life and in total you get a sense of her life, and of rabbit, the storyteller.

It's a slow start, stick with it.

review
encinarus
Pickpick

This was a great follow up to book one, covers growing past some of the pain of the first book while layering a new level of isolation on top of it. There were a couple plot points that I don't think we're wrapped up well, but the world building and portrayal of Tar's emotional state we're amazing. Would recommend.

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encinarus
The Girl in Red | Christina Henry
Pickpick

listened to the audiobook. It's little red riding hood, imagined as a horror story, with a very capable Red, set against a worse pandemic than the one we're experiencing. Getting to the pandemic descriptions my wife and I both said TOO SOON only to learn it was written in 2019.

Red was relatable and prepared but not without flaws (which made her more relatable). My only complaint is too much he/she/red said. In the audiobook it was jarring.

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encinarus
Raybearer | Jordan Ifueko
Pickpick

A slow start was needed for the world building and boy is there world building! Loved it all, as Tar makes it out into the world, the character development and world building both are amazing. Listened to the audiobook and would highly recommend, the narrator puts so much into the story and voices, really bringing them to life.

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encinarus
Pickpick

Concluding the interdependency trilogy, the last emperox has all the good traits of the previous ones and feels like the closer. Characters know who they are and how they fit into the changing times and the downfall of everything. I was disappointed with the ending. It felt too much like the issues that came up before somehow wouldn't carry forward. It felt unearned, maybe a sequel will help. Would still recommend though.

review
encinarus
Consuming Fire | John Scalzi
Pickpick

Book 2 of the interdependency - characters introduced in book one who were just coming into their roles now get room to grow and settle into their positions. If book 1 introduced the major problems to be addressed, book 2 is trying to get everyone to take it seriously. As with book 1, the parallels to pandemic times are there, even though it was written pre-pandemic. If you liked the first book you'll like this one for the same reasons.

review
encinarus
Collapsing Empire | John Scalzi
Pickpick

This book highlights the reasons I like Scalzi. Great banter, quick pace, nice world building. There are definite parallels to current society, reading this series amid the supply chain woes of the pandemic knowing it was written in 2015/2016 makes it clear how predictable our current problems were back then. Alas. Anyway, great fun, would recommend.

review
encinarus
Red Rising 01 | Pierce Brown
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Pickpick

Didn't care for the first part, but picked up and part 1 was needed for the rest. Ends up being part Enders Game, part Hunger Games, part Gattaca.

Good if you like action combined with mild political intrigue and are okay with a matrix-y infodump providing most of the larger world context.

Strong dislike for just killing a female character as a way of driving the male lead. She was less character, more plot device and was disappointing to read.

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encinarus
Pickpick

Enjoyed this a lot. It's a coming of age romance with the trappings of fantasy, focusing on how Vhalla's life is completely changed as she finds herself with poorly understood abilities that make her the interest of multiple political factions & people. Throughout she's directed more by other forces than her own choices but it ends with strong hints toward more self agency and growth in the following books. Looking forward to the next one!

review
encinarus
The Dispatcher | John Scalzi
Panpan

I listened to the audio book and... nope. Much of the intro is spent with explanations to someone who should know all of this already but is told for the reader's benefit. The key info for the plot is just handed to the main characters. I normally really like Scalzi's work but this was too short and compressed to really make it stand out. I was also excited about Zachary Quinto's narration, but all the characters sounded the same.

review
encinarus
Spinning Silver | Naomi Novik
Pickpick

This was a great follow up to Naomi's Uprooted. I think my favorite bit was that everyone felt real, and many of the side characters were well fleshed out, not just the main ones. Definite read.

review
encinarus
Head on | John Scalzi
Pickpick

As usual with Scalzi the book was fun, smoothly paced, and entertaining. I always look forward to Scalzi's banter and this doesn't disappoint. It works well as a sequel to Lock In as it expands the world and gives hadens more agency. Our viewpoint character continues to illustrate that wealth is a super power of its own, particularly when combined with a disability that grants him disposable bodies.