Excellent Within Scope, Ignores Alternative Explanations. This one was a bit weird. About halfway into the narrative, I was thinking this was going to be a three star at best, because it was *so* hyper “woke” / “progressive”. But then I read the description – I had picked up the ARC on the strength of the title alone – and saw that most all of the problems I had with the book were *exactly what the description said the book would have*. Well, crap. Ok, *within that scope*, this book is a true 5* narrative. Maybe a touch light on the bibliography at just 17% or so of the overall length of the book (more normal range is 20-30% in my experience), but not too terrible there. But ultimately I had to ding a star because it *does* lean too much into the author’s own biases and refuses to consider – and at times even outright dismisses – alternative explanations such as risky geography and geology, among others, in many of the disasters it covers. Still, the book has a lot of solid points about the modern “green” / “sustainable” / “resilient” building movements, if solidly from the “woke” / “progressive” side. Enough that even if you are one that normally can’t stomach such tripe (I myself am largely among this camp), this text really does have enough good material that you need to wade through it to see the arguments from even that perspective. Recommended.
This week we’re looking at a poetic and in depth examination of the modern day issues of living in, on, and around the Mississippi River that would do Samuel Clemens justice. This week, we’re looking at Holding Back The River by Tyler J Kelley.
Stunning. Bybee here uses her real life situation over the last few years to craft a story that is a testament to those who helped her most – the firemen and the flood control guys and the various repairmen – while also sticking to her bread and butter of romance novels. This one has some fun elements, such as when the lead guy comes out of the shower and, seeing his brother and sister in addition to our lead gal, says that he is glad he came out covered. His brother responds along the lines of “yeah, no one wants to see that”, and our lead gal raises her hand “I do!” (Seriously, I’m still cracking up about that particular scene. 🙂 But overall, the tone here is much more serious. For our lead gal in particular, life isn’t exactly easy. But she has an AR, an AK, a shotgun, a 911, and a .40 cal Glock and she’s a good shot – as she tells another character who thinks he can just come on her property any time he needs to. Not as light as I remember the Not Quite series being, but absolutely a strong story, and with such a cast that it isn’t clear (as it usually tends to be) where this series is going next. (I have suspicions, but even that is only a somewhat educated guess.) Very much recommended.
A Warning For The Entire US Eastern And Gulf Coasts. This book is fairly comprehensive in its history of coastal development, with particular emphasis on the back bays of New Jersey but also discussing development all the way South to Florida and up along the Florida Gulf Coast all the way to Galveston Bay and Houston, with detailed discussions of Mobile and New Orleans along the way. And even discounting its heavy emphasis on global warming / global cooling / climate change / whatever the alarmists are calling it these days, the book paints a very stark picture about just how much coastal redevelopment costs people all over the country, including the landlocked midwest, due to heavy Federal subsidies in the post-WWII era. Its ultimate points are solid, yet it is also extremely realistic that the best solution to the problem is extremely politically unlikely. Very much recommended reading, and certainly a discussion that should factor into election discussions going into the 2020 Presidential race.