Review: Edenborn

Edenborn by Nick Sagan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Note: This review was originally written in the early 2000s and published for a no longer running website: AudiobookCafe. This review is focused on both the book and audiobook. Sequels can be downright tricky, but Nick Sagan rises to the occasion with his sequel “Edenborn.” Transpiring some eighteen years after the events of “idlewild,” this audiobook manages to enhance the plot and give on a better appreciation of its predecessor.

Prior to the destruction of humankind from the plague, “Black Ep,” geneticists managed to create a human species that were not susceptible to the disease but would grow up in a desolate world. As they came of age, these children clones were released from a virtual world into reality to rebuild Earth.

Each child dealt with it differently. Halloween, the hero of “idlewild” chose a life of solitary and banned anyone from bothering him. Champagne and Vashti live in Germany creating “waterbabies”—genetically altered and…

Review: The Art of Invisibility: The World's Most Famous Hacker Teaches You How to Be Safe in the Age of Big Brother and Big Data

The Art of Invisibility: The World's Most Famous Hacker Teaches You How to Be Safe in the Age of Big Brother and Big Data by Kevin D. Mitnick
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Want to find out just how easily your life can go down the drain as a result of digital espionage? Well, just open this book and get punched in the face a few hundred times. Ok, that might be a bit much, but Mitnick is relentless in showing all the ways in which your personal information can be compromised. He delves into the technical matters that may be well above the common reader. But he does take efforts to explain the technical issues with useful analogies and simple explanations. So the book is useful and informative for giving readers a sense of how easily compromised they can be, every time they use digitial devices of all sorts. However, in his attempt to show ways of addressing the problems he identifies, it becomes quickly overwhelming as he talks about owning numerous devices and computers with different ru…

The Qualifying Paper: Learning By Doing

Since hindsight is 20/20, I figured I'd lay out some advice on things to think about as you're rounding you're going into your third year and starting the qualifying paper process.  Things that I wish I realized and leanedmore on or used to better effect when I was going through the qualifying paper process.

Figure out your approachThe first is just recognizing and learning about myself that I am definitely Camp Accordion.  What is  Camp Accordion, you ask?  Why, yes I'm happy to explain!  A cohort member invoked a quote (she didn't recall it exactly but I was familiar with it) to which the basic premise is that the shorter something needs to be, the longer amount of time I need.  The full concept of the quote is explained here.  This is especially true for my writing.  I can write, sure, but it takes time to write concisely and the Qualifying Paper needs to be concise.  With this in mind, I realized that I need to say ALL THE THINGS before I can really figure out w…

2019 Reading Challenge - Who's With Me?

Obviously, I like to read and I tend to read a lot and I write a lot about what I read.  In fact, if you're reading this blog, I'm going to guess you already know this and appreciate that (some have commented that they look to this blog for reading recommendations), you are a fellow reader who enjoys seeing what I come up with here, or you're someone I know who is mildly entertained by how much I talk about books.  And I've discussed how I come across books in a previous post but I haven't really talked about deciding upon what books to read.  Mostly because it hasn't been a conscious strategy in so much as a grab-what's-in-front-of-me kind of strategy.

But since it's the new year and I've been thinking about my new reading goal, I realized I had an opportunity to do something different this year with my reading.  I've been thinking about what I read and why and the different gaps it fills or inspiration I encounter.  It's all great but I won…

December's Bookshelf

And we close out the year with another great selection of readings that I'm hoping some of you will get the opportunity to read.  I'll be doing a 2018 year in books post shortly so I won't go much into the "year-end" retrospective, but I certainly did end with a mad flurry of reading, once my semester ended (Between December 19th and December 31, I read/listened to 12 books).  So let's take a look at the ones that grabbed my fancy enough to talk about.  
Faces at the Bottom of the Well: The Permanence of Racism by Derrick A. Bell
Bell uses allegoric storytelling to explore the legal, cultural, and philosophical racial underpinnings of American white culture and its impact on black identity and methods of surviving in this hostile racialize structure. His approach in many ways reminds me of the philosophical dialogues that we see in the works of Plato and the like. They are sometimes clear and simple settings and other times fantastical, but with each, the story…

Review: Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools

Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools by Monique Morris
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Like so many other powerful books that fight to open up wider the discourse on black identity in the white-supremacist culture, Morris' prose articulates truths and presents research to show the ways in which the K-12 system creates situations and standards that disproportionately drive out black girls. Her work weaves together interviews, statistics, and policies, which provides a keen sense of how both schools and communities are often complicit in targetting and/or neglecting the needs or challenges that black girls face. For those who work with youth or even college-age people, Morris' work is essential for thinking about what assumptions or actions that you take daily may be de facto alienating or ostracizing black girls.

View all my reviews

Did you enjoy this read? Let me know your thoughts down below or feel free to browse around and check out some of my other posts!. Yo…

Dissertation Journey: Am I Feeling It or Failing It

So while the last approach was a bit more about understanding the conundrum of contemplating failure, this post is more a grab bag of thoughts and considerations about where I am.  Consider this all the things great and small that came across my mind in December and early January as I grappled with completing the qualifying paper.  Just to forewarn you--this is a bit of a rambling mix--but one I think worthy of sharing in the sense that it might help others normalize their experience while going through the qualifying paper process.

I can still feel my heart beat a wee bit faster as I think about the weeks of trying to get it all done.  It felt like a constant pressure to get through the research and turn it into something coherent.  Even at my calmest moment, there was always something in my head ticking like a clock about the quickly approaching deadline.

Many times, I found myself doubtful about my ability to do this.  There was too much research, too little time, and …

Review: Pulp

Pulp by Charles Bukowski
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the first Bukowski book that I've read and it is fabulous. I've been on a bit of neo-noir of late and this little bundle of pages was fantastic. If you are a fan of noir and hard-boil detectives, but can appreciate a full-on parody, then you need to check this book out. The story follows Nicky Belane, a hard-boiled, cheap-charging, smart-alec detective as he tries to solve several different cases, each of which is more ridiculous than the next. Bukowski is great both at channeling the hard and tight language of the hard-boiled detective novel while simultaneously mocking it for pages on end. It was as funny as it was in holding my attention to keep wondering where the story was headed.

View all my reviews

Did you enjoy this read? Let me know your thoughts down below or feel free to browse around and check out some of my other posts!. You might also want to keep up to date with my blog by signing up for them via email.

This wo…

PhD Chronicles: Doing the Work, But Anticipating Failure

What should I be doing right now?  Plowing through the (digital) mountainous pile of articles and books that I have that I need to transform into my literature review or what the program labels a Qualifying Paper.  But what am I doing instead?  Writing this blog post.  That's not entirely true.  I'm throwing down my initial thoughts and ideas so that I have them in the moment.  I need to exorcise them so that I can get back to that mountain of research and then I'll come back to this later.  A lot of my posts during the last month or so of the writing the Qualifying Paper(QP) are going to be like this. Idea dump, return to work, come back later. It's the only way to function.  

As said, I'm in the midst of trying to do the work.  "Do your job" as they say.  It's a tough place to be in right now.  As I look back, I realize I didn't do the work that I needed to get done early in say, September, October, and even part of November, and so I've felt…