Showing posts from May, 2020

Six of Crows

Six of Crows Leigh Bardugo, 2015 Premise: A mysterious drug that affects people with special abilities could change the world. Young thief and gangster Kaz Brekker takes on an impossible task to change his life and the lives of his crew. I don't remember why this book was on my library hold list, but it had been there for a while. It's ... good, maybe? Although I was unsatisfied by the end. Overall, the book has a brisk pace; the world is interesting. The individual characters are mostly neat. The fantasy element of people born with control over matter or weather or the human form is intriguing, if not that special. Their status as a persecuted and enslaved minority made for some uncomfortable passages, particularly around one of the core character relationships. The book tried to explain the obvious romance growing between Nina (one of the powered people) and Matthias (a soldier trained to believe it was right to commit atrocities and genocide against said powered p

The Lady's Guide to Celestial Mechanics

The Lady's Guide to Celestial Mechanics Olivia Waite, 2019 Premise: Lucy Muchelney goes to London out of the desire to work in the science she loves, but also to forget her lover's decision to leave her to get married. She doesn't expect to find the solution to both problems in the person of Catherine St. Day, Countess of Moth. About halfway through reading this book, I thought, I feel pandered to... and it feels really good. This book was a frothy delight with a powerful heart. I adored both Lucy and Catherine. Their concerns and attitudes felt both right for their time and inescapably modern. Lucy had been assisting her astronomer father for years, but when he dies, at first she doesn't realize she's lost the only person who believes she can be a scientist. Catherine accompanied her late husband on several research trips, which gives her a somewhat jaded view of scientific pursuits, especially as conducted by "great" men. She has serious skills

A Bittersweet Garden

A Bittersweet Garden Caren J. Werlinger, 2019 Premise: Spending the summer connecting with her roots in Ireland is already an adventure for librarian Nora before falling in love... and discovering her rental cottage is haunted. I've been on a bit of a romance kick. Relatively fluffy and light happy-ever-afters are just what my brain needs right now. This one combines just enough paranormal and historical touches with a lovely sweet story of a young woman who comes seeking to know more about her family history and ends up falling in love with both the place and one particular Irish girl. Said paranormal element involves an unsolved mystery from the past and a ghost with unfinished business. It isn't the distant past, just a few generations back. There are a few chapters about those characters that give a fuller picture of what life was like during the potato famine. This is a very women-centric book, which shouldn't be surprising. Nora and her sweetheart Briana ar

You Look Like a Thing and I Love You

You Look Like a Thing and I Love You: How Artificial Intelligence Works and Why It's Making the World a Weirder Place Janelle Shane, 2019 Premise: A romp through the foibles of modern AI. I heard about this book on a podcast and was extremely intrigued. However, I didn't end up getting much more out of reading the whole thing than I did from hearing the initial interview. I am probably an outlier, however, as I read about AI constantly for my job. This is an extremely accessible explanation of how modern machine learning algorithms work and why we are very far away from anything resembling an actual "intelligent" system in the science-fictional sense. I would have personally preferred something a bit more either in-depth or wide-ranging, but I definitely understand why this book is structured as it is. It is a lot of fun to read. The examples are funny, there are little humorous cartoons that emphasize some concepts, and the writing is friendly and clear.