I thought I'd group these two together. The first is a new release this week and the second book didn't get carried over form my old page so I posted a quick synopsis here. has been out for a few months and probably needs a boost at this point. I love reading behind the scenes books.
Technically Wrong demystifies the tech industry and shows the innards of how the information that we freely give is used against us. Well, maybe not against us- but not for us It is primarily utilized for the tech companies to make money and secondly to sell to other companies for profit and our (the consumers) benefit last.
Sara paints a depressing picture of a woman's career prospects in the tech industry detailing workplace bias and discriminatory practices. Alongside social media practices that ignore people who don't fit into neat boxes, this was a thought provoking read. Pick it up and see if you don't think twice about the next form you fill out and even your social media precense in total.
This book is a peek inside a society that is right under our noses yet isn't acknowledged by anyone outside of it. An increasing number of Americans can't afford to retire and stay in their homes. Some of them who were renting can't afford that either. They have to live somewhere and are forced in their golden years to live in RVs, campers, vans, and even small cars while they work seasonal jobs moving about the country. I know that when I've seen older folks in RVs, I've thought that they chose that lifestyle in their retirement years. It didn't occur to me that they are mostly one small step away from being homeless. Many had worked corporate jobs and were downsized or had massive losses in the 2008 stock market crash. In other words, they were following the prototype of regular American life and got burned.
Many of this population work at Amazon as work campers. A sunshiny term Amazon coined to make the job more palatable. It sounds nice at first glance, work at Amazon in exchange for a minimum wage, and a free spot at a campground. The reality is that these workers are in their 60s and 70s and are expected to walk upwards of ten miles a day on hard concrete. If they are injured, they don't get paid. It made me think about my Amazon purchases. If I order replacement toothbrush heads, coffee, and a new book some old person had to walk all around the place getting it for me. It doesn't give me the warm fuzzies.
Honestly, this book has shaken me. I can only see this situation getting worse as more and more people get laid off or bought out of jobs in early retirement. We keep buying disposable everything all the while our fellow Americans are killing themselves to fulfill our wishes within the 2-day shipping window without health insurance or union representation.
Much like the new awareness of how our animal meat gets to the grocery store we need to take a look at the real human cost of purchasing from giant corporations instead of local stores.
Working yourself to death is not a great work ethic- none of us wants that for ourselves or our parents. This book is so well written that it reads like fiction but is unfortunately very real.
Nomadland By Jessica Bruder
This review isn't going quite to fit the pattern of a regular review as I took over six weeks reading this book and heading down several rabbit trails as I attempted to figure out what I thought about this topic. First off, Ron Formisano should get together with Elizabeth Warren as I believe they agree on the state of our nation and how it got to this place where the middle class is now like the poor of years past.
This book is for you if you want an in-depth, detailed look at the U.S. government and the people we have elected and how their families benefit from their connections. We all know on some level that there are benefits to being rich and holding office. It's also widely believed that you can't get elected these days unless you are wealthy due to the high cost of advertising and traveling the campaign trail.
When I got to about the halfway mark reading this book I put it down and did some research on my own. Political scientists Martin Gilens, of Princeton, and Benjamin Page, of Northwestern, studied this very topic in 2014.
They wrote: "Americans do enjoy many features central to democratic governance, such as regular elections, freedom of speech and association, and a widespread (if still contested) franchise. But we believe that if policymaking is dominated by powerful business organizations and a small number of affluent Americans, then America’s claims to being a democratic society are seriously threatened."
Huh. So I went back to this book and read the rest. As I read, I found myself nodding in agreement and feeling more and more cynical about the state of the union. Lobbying Firms, Thinktanks, Big Pharma, and the media are all staffed by nepotism of the oligarchy class. It's kind of like not asking how to make sausage because once you find out, you go through that uncomfortable period of being super aware and uncomfortable. Now, most of us eventually tuck that info away and just don't dwell on it. I don't think we have that luxury anymore.
I found this to be one of the most well researched and footnoted books on the subject that I've ever read. I'll end with this sentence from the author,
"American Oligarchy has been written, not to propose a path out of the New Gilded Age, but to discredit the political class by raking its muck between covers in black and white."
I read this book as a DRC in exchange for an honest review.
If only I could give this a million stars, I would. If you loved Practical Magic, you'd love this prequel. I read it in two days and then started over again. To say I enjoyed diving back into the world of magic was an understatement. In some ways, prequels are more satisfying to me than a series written in chronological order because the reader knows what ends up happening and like watching an accident or live theater you can't take your eyes away.
Of course, everyone has a back story and although this one contains magic it still plainly shows the honest truths about how families treat each other. Watching Jet, Franny and Vincent grow up together breaking the rules set out by their Mother was a lesson in human nature. As the reader, I knew there was no stopping magic, and yet with every page, the suspense continued to build. I read it last Spring and still think about certain passages and events in the story daily.
I read a DRC of The Rules of Magic after shamelessly begging the folks at Edelweiss Above the Treeline for a copy.
Between 1898 and 1912 the man from the train was methodically murdering families in their sleep with an ax. In the days before CSI, the internet, and even reliable phone service no one even knew that they weren't isolated incidents. An insane criminal mastermind he rode the train and targeted homes out of the way, yet near enough to the tracks to ensure a speedy getaway.
The investigation leading up to the writing of this book must have taken years to put together, and the result of that thoroughness is a page turning horrifying account that you won't want to put down. Each chapter lays out the specifics of a crime scene and how the details match or don't match the methods of the man from the train. I binge read it in one afternoon.
The authors lay out the evidence (or lack there of) and why they think they can contribute it to ONE man who took a train to get to the victims' locations.
By the end of the book, I knew that one man committed the murders. At the very end of the book, the author reveals the name of the person who he believes committed these crimes.
You'll never read the Little House on the Prairie books the same way again. That's all I could of while reading. Turns out there has always been horrific crimes even if we didn't hear about it until now.
September 19, 2017