Hard Choices review

Hard ChoicesHard Choices by Hillary Rodham Clinton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Man, Hillary was busy as Secretary of State! The book is long and certainly interesting in parts, but it wasn’t really a page turner for me.

It is interesting reading about Hillary’s philosophy about American power – basically, that it can be a force of good in the world, and the various sections of the book do offer evidence for this.

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Soonish: Ten Emerging Technologies That’ll Improve and/or Ruin Everything review

Soonish: Ten Emerging Technologies That'll Improve and/or Ruin EverythingSoonish: Ten Emerging Technologies That’ll Improve and/or Ruin Everything by Kelly Weinersmith
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Very good book! Each chapter takes a look at the current state of an emerging technology, what might come in the future, concerns with the development of that technology, and how it would change the world. The technologies run the gamut from things I expected (cheap access to space, fusion power) to…well, things I didn’t (programmable matter, robotic construction). The chapters are long enough to really get into a lot of details, which is great since I’m familiar with the basics of some of this stuff.

Oh, and one of the authors is the guy who writes Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal, which is like the second-geekiest comic I read (xkcd is #1), so there are comics intermixed and the whole thing is pretty funny.

Highly recommended! (honestly, it’s really closer to 4.5 stars, but the other author is a professor at Rice and she talks to a number of other Rice professors so I’m rounding up 🙂 )

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This Fight Is Our Fight: The Battle to Save America’s Middle Class review

This Fight Is Our Fight: The Battle to Save America's Middle ClassThis Fight Is Our Fight: The Battle to Save America’s Middle Class by Elizabeth Warren
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a good book, although it’s a bit hard to read in places because it’s depressing. (reading it right after the Trump giant tax cut for businesses and the rich did not help!) But Senator Warren does offer up some hope for the future as well as some concrete steps that would help the middle class, like strengthening unions, more aggressive anti-monopoly actions, etc. Recommended!

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The Complete Stories of Flannery O’Connor review

The Complete StoriesThe Complete Stories by Flannery O’Connor
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am somewhat ashamed to admit that I only stumbled upon Flannery O’Connor through the TV show “Lost” – at one point, Locke is seen reading “Everything That Rises Must Converge”. That title sounded kinda neat, so I eventually decided to check it out – first I read the collection of short stories “A Good Man Is Hard to Find”, and then her complete short stories when they became available on the Kindle.

Anyway, I find her writing almost entrancing. Apparently some people read her stories in high school, so I’m sure I’m not appreciating them on as many levels as I could be, but on their face they are still very, very good. Her characters really come to life. I think my favorite stories are “A Good Man Is Hard to Find” and “The Displaced Person”, but I enjoyed all of them.

(as a warning, the n-word is used a lot, presumably an accurate depiction of the South in the 1950s…)

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What Happened review

What HappenedWhat Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oof.

I wasn’t planning on reading this book because I thought it would be too painful, and also I wasn’t particularly interested in seeing a typical politician’s spin on things.

But the reviews for the book were surprisingly good – Hillary has clearly decided not to run for office again, and the book is remarkably frank. She confirms what people have suspected for a while – she’s a very guarded person, especially after all the drummed-up Clinton “scandals” of the 90s. And that makes people think she’s hiding something.

The book has a good balance of her admitting the things she did wrong during the campaign, but also the external forces that helped doom it. (Russia/Wikileaks, the Comey letter, etc.)

Good book, but a pretty depressing read all in all. She somehow manages to be hopeful about the future, which is impressive for someone who went through all of that!

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