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review 2018-02-21 07:16
To no one's surprise, corporations are destroying the world
UnSouled - Neal Shusterman

Third out of four book series digs deeper into the capitalism, convenience, and corrupt corporations angles of this incredibly well-developed dystopia. Deeply disturbing, largely because of just how plausible it is. Still some hope for the main cast to chase, but there's no backing down on exposing the selfishness and willful blindness of humanity either. Doesn't overdo it with caricature-like saints of heroes either. Shusterman has a genius for weaving together several viewpoints and plot threads into an explosive crescendo of a conclusion, so I'm definitely looking forward to the big wrap up.

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text 2018-02-20 18:24
Back in the news
Shattered Dreams: The Story of Charlotte Fedders - Charlotte Fedders,Laura Malone Elliott

 

 

Charlotte Fedders is back in the news.

 

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2018/02/19/trump-administrations-domestic-violence-scandal-resonates-abused-ex-reagan-official/326179002/

 

Last night -- Monday, 19 February 2018 -- Rachel Maddow featured a follow-up story on Rob Porter, the White House Staff Secretary who was forced to resign when it was revealed that he had abused his ex-wives.

 

Porter was not the first in the current administration to run afoul of his own shameful (?) past.  Andy Puzder had been nominated for Labor Secretary, but was forced to withdraw when similar allegations against him were made.  Puzder's ex-wife had claimed she was a guest (in disguise) on the Oprah Winfrey show years ago and detailed the abuse she had suffered. 

 

A search for the tape turned up pretty much nothing, until  . . .

 

https://www.politico.com/story/2017/02/puzder-oprah-tape-235077

 

A link to my review of Shattered Dreams from a couple weeks ago.

 

http://lindahilton.booklikes.com/post/1639764/nightmares-revisited

 

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review 2018-02-18 23:39
Capitalism wants to destroy teens
UnWholly - Neal Shusterman

UnWholly, incredibly, manages to dig deeper and raise new questions around its alarming premise. While profiling a couple more heroes, its assessment of humanity and society remains fairly bleak. The events at the end of Unwind prompted a condensing of the period of legal "abortion" of unwanted teens from 13-18 down to 17 as the cap. Unfortunately, this seemingly positive development assuages public guilt or concern and prompts a wave of intensive marketing and PR to promote unwinding troublemaking teens. A decidedly dystopian conspiracy (several, really, but one 'originating' one) put a new spin on this dark future, and heroes from book 1 get a chance to develop and grow further, while new characters are introduced. It's a marvel that Shusterman can juggle so many characters, viewpoints, and plot threads so masterfully to craft a tense, intelligent, troubling, yet entertaining thriller-paced novel. 

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review 2018-02-18 02:35
A Thousand Miles to Freedom: My Escape from North Korea
A Thousand Miles to Freedom: My Escape from North Korea - David Tian,Sébastien Falletti,Eunsun Kim

I learned a lot from this book. My cartoonish visions of North Korea become less of a caricature with every good new information source, but I'm seeking these things out. It's way too easy in the US to see the DPRK in a two-dimensional way -- much like we saw the USSR during the Cold War, but with even less information. So I'm glad for anything that can give me more information about the North Korean people and the country. For instance, the fish is apparently excellent!

 

This is an incredibly interesting memoir told in the most bland way possible. I really wanted to love it, and I'm quite impressed with this woman and her family. I don't know whether it was the translation or the writing itself, but the writing could not have been more dull. It's a real shame, since the story could have been thrilling. Perhaps with a helpful co-writer, this would have made a bigger impression.

 

It feels a bit like the author wanted to please everyone. She works hard not to offend, so every negative comment is offset by a positive partner. "America seems X, but I love Y about America." The only thing that doesn't get this overly level-headed treatment is Kim Jong-un and family. I wondered from time to time if even that was done to please her readers. (I doubt they're handing out copies in the DPRK.) It was clear she tried not to make this book political, but how can you write about an "escape" from your home country without it being somewhat political. 

 

One thing that caught my interest is how many successful escapes there are from North Korea. This isn't expanded on in any way, and it's hard to get an actual "count" since many people stay in China illegally (and dangerously, as Eunsun Kim's story portrays.) I did some interweb searching afterward and apparently the defectors who make it to South Korea (the most common place to head) are usually young women much like Eunsun Kim, so reading her story is a good example of the dangers and perils involved in getting out of the DPRK and eventually safety in another country.

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text 2018-02-16 21:04
A sleepless night ahead????
The Plot to Hack America: How Putin’s Cyberspies and WikiLeaks Tried to Steal the 2016 Election - Malcolm Nance

My library's electronic collections yielded some gems today.

 

 

and

 

 

I've also downloaded the Mueller indictment in PDF to read in full for myself.

 

I'd rather be knitting or making jewelry or writing a contemporary gothic romance, but these political issues have disrupted my very existence far too long. 

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