January's Bookshelf

2018 is off to a great start in terms of books to enjoy!  I hit some 24 books this month and enjoyed a great deal of them.  Let's take a look at the stacks!


The Best of Stanley G. Weinbaum by Stanley G. Weinbaum

Book cover to The Best of Stanley G. Weinbaum
Weinbaum has come up on my radar a couple times over the years, often described as an early light in sci-fi, extinguished all too soon.  This collection has most of his popular works (maybe all of them?) since he was only active a few years before passing away.  The anthology is a nifty collection of stories from the 1930s that seem more forward-looking than others of the time.  The writing is solid--not amazing, but Weinbaum can tell a tale and create a realistic future science-fiction world at that.  The tales are largely about exploration and establishing life on Venus, Mars, and moons of Jupiter, including tales of first encounters, hazardous environments, and space bandits.  Other stories raise questions about time travel and the like.  It's a broad range of what we think of when we think of science-fiction.  The order of the stories collected is unclear because some stories are clearly connected, featuring the same characters later on, but they are spread throughout the book rather than following one another.  Definitely a good read for science-fiction fans looking to get a look at early sci-fi from a contemporary of Asimov, Bradbury, and Clarke.  For those looking to explore science-fiction in general, Weinbaum's collection is a good first volley into it.


Pulp by Charles Bukowski

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. 


Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools by Monique Morris

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.  


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 Mitnick

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 digital 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 rule-sets.  But at least he can say he told us all when all our information has been inevitably compromised and we've been locked out of our own resources. 

BOOKS

  • The Best of Stanley G. Weinbaum by Stanley G. Weinbaum

AUDIOBOOKS

  • Metadata by Jeffrey Pomerantz
  • Quicksand by Nella Larsen
  • The Butterfly Effect by Jon Ronson
  • Transparency: How Leaders Create a Culture of Candor Warren Bennis
  • What Is Populism? by Jan-Werner Müller
  • Pulp by Charles Bukowski
  • The Boy in the Earth by Fuminori Nakamura
  • Dear Martin by Nic Stone
  • Becoming Kareem: Growing Up On and Off the Court by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
  • Justice For None: How the Drug War Broke the Legal System by The Washington Post
  • All the Rebel Women: The Rise of the Fourth Wave of Feminism by Kira Cochrane
  • Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools by Monique Morris
  • When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir by Patrisse Khan-Cullors
  • White American Youth: My Descent into America's Most Violent Hate Movement—and How I Got Out by Christian Picciolini
  • Big Work: Real Stories of How Our Jobs Do (and Don't) Define Us by Melissa Bergstrom
  • Spin: The Rumpelstiltskin Musical by Neil Fishman
  • Overcomplicated: Technology at the Limits of Comprehension by Samuel Arbesman
  • Arbesman, Samuel *
  • 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 Mitnick

GRAPHIC NOVELS

  • Captain Phasma by Kelly Thompson
  • Black Hammer, Vol. 2: The Event by Jeff Lemire
  • Star Wars: Poe Dameron Vol. 3, Legend lost by Charles Soule
  • Imperial Machine (Star Wars: Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith, #1) by Charles Soule

Wanna catch up on my latest blog posts about books?

Curious about what I've read?  Check out annual good reads list:

I also have more specialized lists such as ones on

What have been some of your most recent reads of late?  What book do you find yourself recommending to everyone?  What author(s) can't you get enough of?






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