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review 2018-03-02 07:06
Undercover: The Men and Women of the Special Operations Executive - Patrick Howarth

SOE. The Special Operations Executive. Its remit upon its establishment in Britain during the dark days of the summer of 1940 when the Third Reich bestrode the continent of Western Europe from Norway to the Bay of Biscay: to establish an effective resistance against the Nazis in German-occupied Europe. The author of "UNDERCOVER", Patrick Howarth, was himself a member of this unique organization. With considerable skill, he shares with the reader the stories of many of the courageous men and women of SOE who risked their lives across Europe from Norway to France, the Netherlands, Poland (there the Polish resistance had an autonomy and control over operations against the Germans unlike any resistance network elsewhere), the Balkans, and Italy. Later, SOE would establish itself in the Far East and the Southwest Pacific in the war against Japan. 

Anyone who enjoys reading human interest stories and tales of espionage will gain a deep understanding and appreciation for the people who made SOE such a uniquely effective organization, despite the antagonisms it faced from older, more established intelligence agencies in Britain (e.g. the Secret Intelligence Service [SIS] or MI-6), as well as from elements of the British military. 

In essence, "[t]he history of SOE's active service in the Second World War may be deemed to have begun when members of a British military mission were retreating hastily from Poland to Romania in September 1939. It may be thought to have ended when the first white man to be parachuted into Sarawak, and future curator of Sarawak's ethnological museum, accepted the surrender of Japanese forces on 31 October 1945."

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review 2018-02-04 00:00
Beneath Ceaseless Skies Issue #244, Special Double-Issue for BCS Science-Fantasy Month 4
Beneath Ceaseless Skies Issue #244, Spec... Beneath Ceaseless Skies Issue #244, Special Double-Issue for BCS Science-Fantasy Month 4 - Scott H. Andrews,Yoon Ha Lee,Maurice Broaddus,Benjamin C. Kinney The Starship and the Temple Cat by Yoon Ha Lee - 5 Stars

This magical and touching short story was a wonderful read and also and interesting take on just what it might mean to be dead and a cat!

El is a Spaceship Melody by Maurice Broaddus - 5 Stars

This story is thought-provoking, interesting and manage to get me teared up over something I would not have thought possible prior to reading it. The development of the characters was much more complex than I would have thought possible for such a short piece. I really loved it and the possibilities it suggests!

Where the Anchor Lies by Benjamin C. Kinney - 5 Stars

Wow... the concept of this story was unique, yet felt somehow familiar at the same time. Parts of it had a resonance that felt similar to some things that have been happening in our own country this last year. It really made me think.
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review 2018-01-18 01:44
Special Libraries: A Survival Guide - Toby Pearlstein,James M Matarazzo


I have like 90% of my reading for one class done.   Not gonna worry about the rest for now.   Onto my seven hundred page monster for my next class - and by that I mean the class that comes next chronologically in the week. 


Monday/online only with a face-to-face next Monday?   Done.


Programming is Tuesday in the morning and then archives Tuesday afternoon.   I'm going to sleep in a half hour but should have more of starting out with Python done by then.   I'm also going to turn some skeins into balls while I do this. 


Onto the actual book.   


Boring.   So dry.   


And yet, the actual ways that special libraries work is fascinating.   Sometimes there's no way to go 'hey, statistics, and holy cheeseballs we need more statistics stat' without being dry - or 'hey, lol, so many less special libraries now so good luck getting those jobs!!!!1!!!' without being a bit alarmist.   


Necessary work, but comparing it to the archives reading on how James Joyce estate liked suing the shit out of everyone, or how Pinochet was a complete bastard and archives helped, or how the US government was a complete bastard about surveillance and Puerto Rico and how archives helped, or how Iraq's archival material was stolen, and hey, can they have that shit back so it can help them?   It was just a matter of taking a deep breath, going, 'hey, guess what, you need to know this,' and forcing myself to finish.   Yes, forcing myself, and this is a four star.   Because as boring as this might have been, it was eye opening, necessary, and incredibly well written.   Could this have been, say, funnier?   Sure.   It could have, but it would have undercut a lot of the importance.   And the authors did go for humor, when it proved their point, when it was necessary, and when it didn't undercut their point.  


I honestly can't see anyone writing this and balancing the needs and doing it better.   So knocking off one star, because I didn't connect with the material as much as I'd hoped, and giving it four stars for being the necessary book it had to be. 


And hey, I'm almost 100% sure that I'm not supposed to be on a special libraries track based on this book - but that's not a dig at special libraries or librarians.   They do essential work.  I'm just not suited to a corporate library, which says more about the fact that they have needs, I have a certain personality and, hey, their needs and my personality have conflicts.   Other people have different personalities - not better, or worse, just different - that would make them go 'oh, hells yes, this is for me'.  


But I'm also almost 100% sure that I will get vital knowledge from this class, based on this book, and I'm going to put that to good use when I end up where I need to be!

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text 2018-01-17 23:38
Reading progress update: I've read 150 out of 167 pages.
Special Libraries: A Survival Guide - Toby Pearlstein,James M Matarazzo

I want to read and knit, and it's haaaaard to do that on the super comfortable chair I'm on. I'm also watching the news, and I can't do this dry and that depressing combined :/


So I'm going to start some online reading for this class: so much easier knitting and reading on the computer.  I also have very little left to do and I have to drive someone to work tomorrow and wait for them at a DD for an hour or so.   Sooooo... I'll finish up there with a donut, because I got a couple DD GCs in a gift swap.   I'll finish this book and continue with the Python book...

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text 2018-01-17 21:48
Reading progress update: I've read 137 out of 167 pages.
Special Libraries: A Survival Guide - Toby Pearlstein,James M Matarazzo

This tracks.   About 25 pages, and then I cry uncle and need to read something else...

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