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review 2019-12-29 14:58
You May Also Like: Taste in an Age of Endless Choice - Tom Vanderbilt
You May Also Like: Taste in an Age of Endless Choice - Tom Vanderbilt

Here's a conundrum: how to review a book that's all about how people judge (and review) things? It's well-researched, really interesting, and has the potential to be widely popular. It's fascinating stuff about literal and figurative taste, what we like, and how we like. It is a dense book, full of information, but entertaining nonetheless. I also really like his book Traffic.

What follows is a very specific example of how my attitude towards this book is colored by an unrelated aside, and is not intended to be part of the actual review of the book, but just the bit that sticks out at me as an illustration of some of the concepts he writes about, and that I feel compelled to write about because while I'm aware that other people might read my reviews, they are primarily a journal of reading for me to look back at. So feel free to skip the following.

 <spoiler>I generally like it when nonfiction writers let a little of their personal lives bleed into their work: the pretense of detachment and disinterest and "fair and balanced" is bogus and everyone knows it. And mostly it works well here. But early on he casually observes how his neighborhood in Brooklyn happens to be mostly thin people. Okay, this is a guy who should know that thinness correlates with wealth and that fat people are penalized to hell and gone in the US in healthcare, education, advancement at work as well as the ubiquitous fat-shaming. It's not some kind of statistical fluke that his neighborhood is thin: it's thin privilege letting him be oblivious. Like I said, this is pretty early on, like the introduction or first chapter. So he kind of accidentally mentioned a topic that I know a fair bit about, and that brief flash of annoyance became attached to the signifier Brooklyn. And then (it seemed like constantly but couldn't possibly have been), he kept mentioning Brooklyn. So now even though I really appreciate his writing I'm left feeling really hostile towards smug Brooklynites, which by exposure to only possibly one is unfair both to the innocent smugless residents of one of New York's five boroughs, and probably to the author in particular as well. But there it is: my opinion of the book might well be forever colored by a casual aside and I'm quite likely to always be put on edge when I come across Brooklyn as well. And now I've written about three times as much about my emotional reaction to this aside as I have about the book in general, because that's how people's taste and discussion of same tend to roll. And if anyone else bothers to read this little spoiler, they will probably have an emotional reaction towards what I've written which could easily go "The hell?" or "Oh, me too, I hate that" and life is really complicated isn't it?</spoiler>


Library copy

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2019-11-18 06:15
The Six Secrets of Intelligence by Craig Adams
The Six Secrets of Intelligence: What your education failed to teach you - Craig Adams

TITLE:  The Six Secrets of Intelligence:

             Why Modern Education Doesn’t Teach Us How To Think For Ourselves


AUTHOR:  Craig Adams




FORMAT:  ebook




"Some people have something to say in any conversation and can spot the hidden angles of completely unrelated problems; but how do they do it?

So many books, apps, courses, and schools compete for our attention that the problem isn’t a lack of opportunity to sharpen our minds, it’s having to choose between so many options. And yet, more than two thousand years ago, the greatest thinker of Ancient Greece, Aristotle, had already discovered the blueprint of the human mind. Despite the fact that the latest cognitive science shows his blueprint to be exactly what sharpens our reasoning, subtlety of thought, and ability to think in different ways and for ourselves, we have meanwhile replaced it with a simplistic and seductive view of intelligence, education and the mind.

Condensing that blueprint to six 'secrets', Craig Adams uncovers the underlying patterns of every discussion and debate we’ve ever had, and shows us how to be both harder to manipulate and more skilful in any conversation or debate – no matter the topic."




Craig Adams 'six secrets of intelligence' are deduction, induction, analogy, reality, evidence and meaning.  Adams provides the definitions and examples of the basic concepts and shows how this knowledge is useful in spotting and dismissing illogical statements.  The second half of the book deals with the modern education system and how it fails to teach the trivium (grammar, logic, rhetoric).  There is some interesting stuff in this book, but the organisation is a bit erratic with too much repetition and not enough examples.


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url 2019-06-10 13:18
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review 2018-01-10 19:30
So long and thanks for all the fish
Bound Together (A Sea Haven Novel) - Christine Feehan

It managed a 4, in spite of itself.


I don't understand how readers are able to read a book in a series on its own merit without factoring in things that make it not fit right, or raise questions elsewhere. I always make note on how the book fits in the series. This one, because it essentially combines 2 series while setting up a third, will get more comments.


The book:
I'd said after the last one that if Victor wasn't crawling on broken glass, I was going to be upset. He didn't and I am. I feel like the h's being an empath and his bombarding her with a whole lot of emotions, coupled with the Prakinski bond, was used to sweep everything under a rug (I actually hlf expected him to use that to get in her pants at that point, even though she was freaking out and telling him to leave NOW). The only way she had of keeping him at bay was to disappear. No idea where she disappeared to as we aren't privy to that info.


And then...they have sex and everything is all better now. Not magic pen so much as MWOP in this instance.


Of course, the elephant in this particular room - why the guy who, along with his band of merry men, slipped into a house and executed her stepdad's partner, needed to USE her (yes; I did that use that word) to get close to dear old step dad in the first place, let alone how he carried out his assignment - blow the guy away right there at the dinner table - was never covered. He felt...horrible...that the h's mother (alcoholic, mentally imbalanced Sister of the previous generation of Drakes) attacked her several months later and beat her so badly that she lost their baby. He was...upset...that crazy mother had passed the letter on to stepdad's friend (that he'd laid in the middle of the bed? Why? For a supposedly intelligent man, that was rather stupid).


Tie-up to Sisters series...ok. I mean; I could do without his threatening his brothers, etc. And I'm really tired of the whole human trafficking/pedophile theme. In this book, I think I could have gotten utterly plastered drinking every time the word "pedophile" appeared.


Tie-up with both series:
Both elephants in those particular rooms are finally addressed - how 13 psychic women could live in close proximity with each other and form 2 bands whose paths never crossed, and how 6 brothers could also live in the same area and never see each other. That said, while I might believe Blythe's reason for avoiding her cousins, I fail to understand how the other 5 have avoided the Drakes, and I really don't understand how the brothers have managed to avoid a meeting before now. But then again...


We're told that the 6 Sea Haven books took place in the 2 months following Ella's book. Seriously? Does she realize that's a new Prakinski arriving every 2 weeks? That Rikki's book alone took longer than that? That there's no way the brothers couldn't be tripping over each other while trying to solve their women's problems *and* meeting their women? Actually, that's not 2 weeks, more like a week and a half, and we know there was more time because Victor had seen Casimir in Europe several weeks ago, along with Lissa, and Lissa was still around for the previous book. Not to mention all this psychic activity within such a short time period would have clued the bad guy in that there was some serious psychic competition here (and laid waste to the town, seeing as how it came in so many bursts in such a short time period)


And now, I'm done. No interest really in reading any more. I mean; the characters from the new series sound interesting, and at least they aren't all men BUT...I've had a bellyful of overbearing, borderline psychotic men browbeating women into accepting them.

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review 2017-07-09 19:23
Hard to Handle (Gargoyles Series) - Christine Warren

More of a 3.25 I think.


I wanted to like this one, if only because the Guardian was a female. Alas, it was done in by secondary characters.


I almost felt sorry for the H but... he was so whipped it was almost embarrassing and really, if I had a family like that, I might have run screaming into the night. Why he still lived close enough for certain ones to show up on his doorstep, I dunno.


His kid sister, spoiled manipulative little brat. I was like, "oh well" when she got grabbed. I wanted to punch her in the face pretty much every time she opened her mouth.


Of course we get Kylie and Wynn (those two give me a headache - they converse with each other like 4th graders).


Thought to ponder, has any of the wardens accepted his or her new lot in life *in the context of this series?* Seems every one of them has been in some form of denial. That sort of plot device gets old after a while, as does the snarky/bitchiness every woman of power seems to possess.


And of course #5 is now free. Since this particular series has a sell-by date, and there's two more, I'm assuming the last one will feature some anti-climatic battle between the forces of good and evile that somehow gets shoehorned into half a chapter.


Remind me again why I'm reading this? Oh; right. Gargoyle romances are rare as hens' teeth. Too bad that none seem to actually be all that. :/

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