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salt marsh

mouse@bookwyrm.social

Joined 1 year, 1 month ago

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A Winter's Promise (Hardcover, 2018) No rating

Volume 1 of The Mirror Visitor Quartet

Winner of the Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire

Where …

like re-reading a childhood favorite

5 stars

I think on some spiritual level, even though this wasn't published until I was an adult, I feel like I read and loved this as a young teen. Reading it now felt like wrapping myself in the coziest blanket of imaginary nostaliga. I stayed up late reading this and read it instead of doing other things I needed to do. It's been a very long time since I have felt this immersed in a world.

It reminded me a little of The Goblin Emperor in its depth of humanity, and its portrayal of cruelty that doesn't make light of it, and, weirdly, I feel like there's some backstory parallels with Gideon the Ninth, although it couldn't be more differently tonally.

There were times were I did find it a little moralizing, and when the writing rang a bit off, but I loved it very much and if you don't …

The Vegetarian Flavor Bible (Hardcover, 2014) 5 stars

Throughout time, people have chosen to adopt a vegetarian or vegan diet for a variety …

Essential

5 stars

If I could only own one cookbook, it would be this, which isn't actually a cookbook, but rather an encyclopedia of what flavors go with what. I have one ingredient in mind that I'm excited to bake with, and I can look it up and get a comprehensive list of what will go well with it. A particularly good outcome was bread with preserved lemons, fennel seeds, and green olives.

The Sumerians (Paperback, 1971, University Of Chicago Press) No rating

The Sumerians, the pragmatic and gifted people who preceded the Semites in the land first …

... near the very beginning of the document, one of these worthies addresses the other as follows:

You dolt, numbskull, school pest, you illiterate, you Sumerian ignoramus, you hand is terrible; it cannot even hold the stylus properly; it is unfit for writing and cannot take dictation. (And yet you say) you are a scribe like me.

To this the other worthy answers:

What do you mean I am not a scribe like you? When you write a document it makes no sense. When you write a letter it is illegible. You go to divide up an estate, but are unable to divide up the estate. For when you go to survey the field, you can't hold the measuring line. You can't hold a nail in your hand; you have no sense. You don't know how to arbitrate between contesting parties; you aggravate the struggle between brothers. You are one of the most incompetent of tablet writers. What are you fit for, can any one say?

The Sumerians by 

"you Sumerian ignoramus" is perhaps the greatest insult I have ever read, just an incredible document of diss tracks from antiquity

The Witness for the Dead (Hardcover, 2021, Tor Books) 4 stars

A standalone novel in the fantastic world of Katherine Addison's award-winning The Goblin Emperor.

When …

a beautiful world to exist in

4 stars

This was one of those books that when it ended, I missed getting to be in the world. It has a kind of understated, slice-of-life feel, with a lot of detail and reverence paid to the minutia of daily life and community relationships, that felt more prominent to me than the murder mysteries. Addison writes with an immense amout of compassion and tenderness, and for me that is what makes this book, and The Goblin Emperor, transcend what they would be on their face, in terms of plot.

The writing style drops you into the cultural nuances of the society largely without explanation, and you can infer, for example, what different honorifics mean through context. I really really like this and I think overall its very well done, but I think it would be more daunting if I hadn't already read The Goblin Emperor, and there were some …

Eight Flavors (2016, Simon & Schuster) No rating

“Very cool…a breezy American culinary history that you didn’t know you wanted” (Bon Appetit …

In the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, recipes for making soy sauce at home appeared in English and American cookbooks. Since soybeans were not widely available, these recipes used local ingredients such as mushrooms, walnuts, and fish...

Tomato was another popular ingredient for making American "soy" sauce... The names for these varying sauces were "ketchups," or "catch-ups," or "catsups," derived from the Indonesian word for soy sauce: ketjap.

Eight Flavors by 

ketchup is soy sauce????????????????

Blockchain Chicken Farm (2020, Farrar, Straus & Giroux) 4 stars

Note about the author: The author is non-binary and uses they/them pronouns in English.

"A …

The logic is striking. A demand for pork drives industrialized farming of pigs, which increases disease transmission. The constant emergence of diseases drives the implementation of new technologies like AI pork farming. These technologies go on to make pork cheap, driving even more availability and demand, as people start to believe pork is a necessary part of their diet. AI is not the balm to any problem -- it is just one piece of the every-hungry quest for scale.

Blockchain Chicken Farm by 

Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now (2018, Holt & Company, Henry) 1 star

Jaron Lanier, the world-famous Silicon Valley scientist-pioneer who first alerted us to the dangers of …

Disappointing and poorly defended

1 star

This was such a frustrating read because I agree with so many of the problems he identifies with social media, but I found his reasoning deeply flawed.

To the extent that this is a diatribe about how unpleasant social media is in his personal experience, I was mostly onboard, but the difference, I think, between a rant and a book is rigor.

His citations were mostly news articles and wikipedia entries, and he relies heavily on a superficial understanding of popular, flawed studies like the Stanford Prison Experiment. He makes bold, sweeping, and imprecise statements about the a number of things, particularly the nature of addiction and how addicts behave, without any backup or indication that he is speaking in any way besides entirely off the cuff.

I was disappointed as well in how stuck his reasoning is within the frame of capitalism and tech solutionism.

Nearly Roadkill (Paperback, 1996, High Risk Books) 5 stars

"A novel written in cyberspace, Nearly Roadkill is an Infobahn erotic thriller without any boundaries …

like Hackers (1995) but with GENDER

5 stars

This book has the energy of Hackers (1995) but with an incredibly interesting and thoughtful exploration of gender, loads of sex, and a prescient read of corporate influence on internet culture.

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue (2020, Tor Books) 3 stars

A Life No One Will Remember. A Story You Will Never Forget.

France, 1714: in …

I didn't ship it

3 stars

This book was fine, I can see why people really liked it. It's well written and the plot is solid, but I found the picture perfect artsy Brooklyn courtship tedious, I didn't find either of the main characters all that compelling, and the tropes it relies on a little uninteresting. I was disappointed by how lacking in oddness or eccentricity it was, how credible but unremarkable the characters are.