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review 2017-08-10 14:36
Not so seriously.
Socialism . . . Seriously: A Brief Guide... Socialism . . . Seriously: A Brief Guide to Human Liberation - Danny Katch

With recent events I wanted to learn more about socialism and why it appeals to so many. It's been years since I had to read 'The Communist Manifesto' and other similar works for school so I knew I was going to need something that was going to be a foundational, basic primer (or close to it). This sounded like a good fit: relatively short, supposedly funny and an approachable read for background.

 

The author takes the reader though what socialism is, what are the failure of capitalism, why capitalism has reached its limits and why we need a revolution for socialism, etc. Or something like that.

 

Honestly, I think this is a book that is for someone who is already very sympathetic or has socialist leanings. I really wanted to know the WHY and HOW. In retrospect, the how is much more difficult and probably not appropriate for this type of book. But the author seemed to spend a little too much time being against capitalism and not enough on being for socialism. There's nothing wrong in pointing out the problems and failures of capitalism for the sake of contrast but I just kept wanting to skip over those parts because I really wanted to know more about the positives of socialism. 

 

I also didn't find the book very funny. As previously mentioned, I really didn't want to read a tedious textbook and knew that something basic was going to be better suited for my current needs. But the snark just didn't work for me.

 

And as an off-shoot regarding tone, the author admits that he may sound like he's romanticizing socialism. He was right. In a chapter called "Revolution!" (which really is titled quite aptly), he talks about events like the Arab Spring and the Russian Revolution but it's not clear if he understands the genuine costs: to human life, to mental health, to emotional well-being, to finances, etc. Revolutions aren't at all pretty and I couldn't help but sigh in exasperation at his sentence of on how "Socialists are hopeless romantics--or at least they should be." (pg 106)

 

Overall, the book didn't seem like all that much more informative than social media posts. Again, I suppose there was only so much in depth he could go for an introductory work but it just ended up frustrating me. I'm not saying there isn't room for hopeless romantics, but I needed something that had more in substance and the practicalities of the processes and hows than not.

 

For the right person, though, this is probably a work that will really speak to them. Just don't think it should be the only work to read, though.

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review 2017-08-05 06:29
A Fun Ethnography of British People at the Turn of the First Century
The Year 1000: What Life Was Like at the Turn of the First Millennium, An Englishman's World - Robert Lacey,Danny Danziger

As I said above, this book was quite fun to read. It was an interesting angle to use archaeological evidence and historic documentation to extrapolate an ethnography of the early English people. The division of the chapters to reflect aspect of culture based on what the common man of the day would have relied on, the Julian work calendar, was quite excellent, and aided in driving the point home. Due to the main focus of archaeology on elites, this work's focus on the common man was that much more impressive. The dearth of information that is sadly given to the common person invariably made the research that much more arduous, yet the sheer wealth of information covered betrays this dearth, and makes the information displayed that much more impressive.

 

My only complaint is that, in a couple of chapters, it dragged a little bit, disrupting the overall flow of the book. Had that not occurred, it would easily have been a five star work.

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review 2017-07-29 22:15
I'm so behind on my comics!
Batman (2016-) #27 - Tom King,Mikel Janin,Davide Gianfelice,Danny Miki,Clay Mann

But I managed to sneak one in yesterday.   Easier to do that at the concert than Uprooted, so Batman 27 got read.   

 

This one was about Kite-Man.   Yeah, he's a villain who specializes in kites.   And I mean, like huge kites that can carry humans, but still.   Kites.   Kites.   

 

King chooses to do a story about the man behind the kite.   Well, underneath the kite, I guess.   It's about his child.   It's about how before he had his kites - kites, I repeat - he specialized in aerodynamics, building things for villains like The Joker.   It's about how The Joker used kites - yeah, kites - against him and about how he turned that on its head.  

 

By becoming Kite-Man.   That's right.   Kite-Man.   And as ridiculous as a touching story about the man behind Kite-Man sounds, that's what Tom King delivered.  

 

And yet, I'm finding myself slightly disillusioned with this series.   This might be one of the best stories King has delivered in this series, and yet I keep being reminded that Vision exists.  Sales, comments, seeing Vision somewhere and this isn't Vision.   And that's not the best thing.   It didn't have to be exactly Vision or say the things that Vision did; in fact, I don't think it should have done those things.   Batman isn't Vision and his series should be used to a different point.  

 

But Vision was meticulously layered, with depths of meaning - depths that I don't see in this series.   And I sorely miss that.  I wanted this to be as whip smart as that series was, and I don't feel it.   

 

So I'm foreseeing four stars, tops, unless this steps up to Vision level intelligence.   I still love this series sand will continue to buy and read it, but I will still hope that this series gets to that level where I want to reread it multiple times, to glean something new from this series. 

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review 2017-07-29 20:39
Depends on what you're looking for.
Shake Shack: Recipes & Stories - Mark Rosati,Randy Garutti,Dorothy Kalins,Danny Meyer

The origin stories behind brand names are fun reads for me so I was intrigued by this book. It's basically what it says on the tin: recipes and stories regarding the Shake Shack brand. Their burgers, hot dogs, shakes, etc. How they came to be, a bit about the vendors they work with, plus recipes of various foods. Of course they don't give away company secrets (why would they undercut their profits?) but it's a fun cookbook/brand microhistory that might appeal to its fans.

 

There's not much to say about it. I picked this up on a whim after seeing it was available at my local library. Since I have actually only been in an SS location maybe twice that I can think of, I had no idea this book was being published. But it's a very nice-looking book with plenty of glossy pictures of their food, of the recipe steps, pictures of their food items, etc. 

 

That said, I didn't think it was the most amazing work. I have no objection to this type of book in itself and thankfully I felt it matched the title. But the writing is not that interesting (being from the company itself it's really just PR) and as I thumbed through it I felt like the book was trying to be everything to everyone: a cookbook, a history of SS, an acknowledgement/thank you to the vendors/customers/people behind the brand, etc. I'd guess for general SS fan who is a bit more interested in them it might be a great book.

 

Overall it was a good library borrow but for the right person who loves Shake Shack, is into burgers/hot dogs/the foods SS sells or enjoys general food/brand microhistories, this could be a good gift or borrow. I'd recommend getting this from the library or at least thumbing through at your local bookstore to see if this is something you really want to add. 

 

For a good microhistory behind a burger chain that has more warts (and no recipes if I remember correctly), the book 'In-N-Out Burger: A Behind-the-Counter Look at the Fast-Food Chain That Breaks All the Rules' was quite enjoyable. I don't care for the hype around that chain, but as a look behind the curtain I thought that was an interesting book.

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text 2017-07-05 18:20
REVIEW BY AMY - Empty Threat (The Black Pages, #1) by Danny Bell
Empty Threat - Danny Bell

Elana Black has the power to make herself fictional. But when she decides to start saving all the people in books and TV shows who die just for the sake of advancing the plot, she quickly learns that she's not the only one with her powers.

All Elana wants to do is save people. But these others don't want the stories to change, and they'll do everything they can to stop her. 

If you had the power to change fate... to create a happy ending where there wasn't one before... would you do it if it meant risking your own?

 

@Mommy_Amers, @XpressoReads, #Coming_of_Age, #Fantasy, 4 out of 5 (very good)

 

Source: sites.google.com/site/archaeolibrarian/amy/emptythreattheblackpages1bydannybell
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