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Old 03-17-2020, 02:47 AM   #28786
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Since my last post...

The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett. We're chatting about this over in the New Leaf Book Club.
Spoiler:
I'm definitely not a fan: 2/5


Weapons of Math Destruction by Cathy O'Neil. The book highlights how some computer algorithms (neatly described as an "an opinion formalized in code") are opaque and applied so widely, and without sufficient regard for monitoring their effects, especially from unexpected feedback loops, that they can produce damaging results - the sorts of prejudicial and unfair results that some were explicitly intended to avoid but that they now magnify at a worrying scale. (Reminiscent of that old adage: humans make mistakes but it takes a computer to really stuff up.)

There is a lot in this book, it's been well researched (although very U.S. centric), but I think it could have been structured better to make the situation clearer. The writing, like the title, is a bit over-sensationalist, but the topic is real - and important - enough warrant some effort to gain attention. The book has its good aspects (shows how so many algorithms cause or exacerbate problems), and some less good aspects (never really acknowledges that good and bad are often the same thing from different perspectives and resolving them becomes a matter of prevailing social policy rather than programming tweaks). Still, it does make for an interesting read. 3/5.
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Old 03-18-2020, 08:11 AM   #28787
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My review of Death of a Gigolo:-

Spoiler:
This series has now incurred diminishing returns for its faithful readers, but one can still see the traces of greatness that the initial entries had.

The title is slightly misleading. Just read for yourself. The heroine is Jaine Austen. I'm a bit glad that there is no cat to distract her, nor is her neighbor and friend Lance, a foreground fixture.

Having read most of the books pertinent to this one, I guessed the culprit's identity. There's no need to pat myself on the back. I'll keep reading this series as long as the books are 3 starred.

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Old 03-18-2020, 08:15 AM   #28788
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Onto The Patriarch, in my quest to catch up with Martin Walker's Bruno series before the next one is released.
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Old 03-19-2020, 06:43 AM   #28789
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I'm reading the nonfiction The Golden Age of Murder on my Kobo.

I am still listening to The Lord of the Rings.

Yesterday I joined Yinyun Li's virtiaul book club for a re-read of Pevear and Volokohnsky's War and Peace. If anyone is intrested, you can join the fun here: https://apublicspace.org/news/detail/tolstoy-together
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Old 03-19-2020, 06:48 AM   #28790
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Next up: A Decline in Prophets by Sulari Gentill.
An enjoyable murder mystery set in 1930s New York and Australia. Although the villain wasn't too hard to spot, the ride was fun.

Next up: Hmmm...
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Old 03-20-2020, 08:26 AM   #28791
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Anyone else losing reading time because of having to forage for groceries?
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Old 03-20-2020, 09:10 AM   #28792
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Anyone else losing reading time because of having to forage for groceries?
Well, I am still working 40+ hours a week, just from home plus a court day. But I was able to get a week's worth of groceries in under half an hour yesterday. Seemingly, my community hasn't gone nutso even though we live in the highest concentration of the infections in our state.

Having said that, I am LOVING my re-read of War and Peace for the #TolstoyTogether project that Yinyun Li is running.
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Old 03-20-2020, 10:43 AM   #28793
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Anyone else losing reading time because of having to forage for groceries?
My reading time was cut to basically zero but not because of that. I don't care to take the mass transit any longer so I'm driving to work and riding the train was the only time I had to read. I'm listening to audiobooks now but, with traffic as reduced as it is, that means much less time than normal and audiobooks are slower to read than regular books to start with.
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Old 03-20-2020, 03:25 PM   #28794
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My review of Darkness on the Edge of Town by Brian Keene:-

Spoiler:
Full marks to Darkness on the edge of Town. I can see how people might not rate this book highly. But I'm thankful I had a go at it.

The inconsistencies may arise from the characters's behaviours themselves. The explanation for the supernatural may have offended the religious.

But this first read of a book by Brian Keene seduced both my primal and my superficial sides. I had a great time reading it. The book's still very vivid in my mind. It's sad to think it might be forgotten in time. But not by me.

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Old 03-21-2020, 05:40 PM   #28795
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ANext up: Hmmm...
I went for the latest in John Ringo's Zombie apocalypse series, River of Night. It was a quick read, but I think I'm tiring of them.

Next up: Dancing with Myself by Charles Sheffield - a collection of his short works.
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Old 03-21-2020, 07:19 PM   #28796
Apache
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I just finished a reread of Sundiver by David Brin. It is the first in his Uplift Series. An excellent book especially when you consider that it was the first book he wrote. I plan to read the others also and maybe his The Practice Effect first. The Practice Effect has been one of my favorites by Brin.
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Old 03-22-2020, 12:09 PM   #28797
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I'm reading The Patriarch: The Remarkable Life and Turbulent Times of Joseph P. Kennedy and just got to the page on his creation, in 1918, of a dedicated pandemic infirmary since "isolating the sick might stop the spread of further contagion."

Hint, hint, to any public health professional, or hospital system administrator, or ambulance network manager, who might be reading, and has responsibility for preventing cross-contagion.

No, I didn't think there were any.
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Old 03-22-2020, 12:22 PM   #28798
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I just finished a reread of Sundiver by David Brin. It is the first in his Uplift Series. An excellent book especially when you consider that it was the first book he wrote. I plan to read the others also and maybe his The Practice Effect first. The Practice Effect has been one of my favorites by Brin.
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Ah, it's been a very long time since I read anything by David Brin. Thanks for the reminder. I just downloaded Sundiver from the library.

However, any David Brin reading will have to wait until I finish The Wizard's Butler, the new book from Nathan Lowell. This is a very different book from his usual, in that it's an "urban fantasy". But having read the beta version of it, I was very impressed and I can't wait to see what's changed since that version.
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Old 03-22-2020, 07:00 PM   #28799
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Ah, it's been a very long time since I read anything by David Brin. Thanks for the reminder. I just downloaded Sundiver from the library.

However, any David Brin reading will have to wait until I finish The Wizard's Butler, the new book from Nathan Lowell. This is a very different book from his usual, in that it's an "urban fantasy". But having read the beta version of it, I was very impressed and I can't wait to see what's changed since that version.
Damn, now I want to read The Wizard's Butler.
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Old 03-23-2020, 02:43 PM   #28800
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My review of Finger Lickin' Fifteen by Janet Evanovich:-

Spoiler:
You know your book is not going to win the Booker prize, if it has multiple fart jokes in it. The rest of the jokes were simply feeble and dull twists in a relatively tepid affair.

Altogether I've read three books in this series, the first (2 stars), the 26th, (5 stars), and this one. My only plus from book 15 is that there is no sex scene to pad out the book.

But I couldn't overlook the repetitiveness of this thing. I don't inherently think it as a bad book, it's just that the formula wasn't for me. It's for women. Incidentally, whenever I'll read this series again, I'll always picture Bill Hicks circa 1992 as Ranger.

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