#BookReview: The New Nomads by Felix Marquardt

Strong Claims Need Strong Evidence, But I Read The Audible. This is another book that has a lot of strong claims that thus requires an extensive bibliography to back up to make truly solid – but I read the Audible version of this book, where such bibliographies are not available due to the nature of the format. Beyond that issue though, the book is an interesting use of mostly case studies, and yes, largely cherry picked, successful, ones showing how nomadism (pre-COVID forced so-called “digital nomadism”, which the author decries in later chapters) can be good for individuals and cultures – while acknowledging that, at least for those who believe in human-caused climate change, the harm done to the environment may well outweigh the benefit to individuals and cultures. Indeed, cries of “elitism” in some reviews ring hollow here, as while Marquardt does in fact come from an elitist position, he openly acknowledges that he could in fact be completely wrong about all of this, that the entire idea presented here is largely based on his own observations through his own rather unique upbringing and adult life that he has then pieced together an effort at a modicum of journalism to explain. Overall, an interesting tale that can add to the overall conversation. Recommended.

This review of The New Nomads by Felix Marquardt was originally written on July 18, 2023.

#BookReview: The Hook by Victoria Helen Stone

Feminist Horrible Bosses. If you’re familiar with the 2011 movie Horrible Bosses starring Jason Sudeikis, Jason Bateman, and Charlie Day… you’ve got a good idea of what you’re getting into here. Though that movie was played for comedy, and this is much closer to suspense/ thriller here, and from a much more feminist perspective. These three ladies have been *wronged*, and the bastard that did it must *pay*. Except that there are those things that are illegal, and then there are those things that are wrong… and then there are those things that are prosecutable. And rarely do those three things intersect – and nothing any of these guys has done is technically all three. Indeed, one could argue that one of the guys was actually a moral, outstanding citizen who simply sought to have the laws enforced. Yeah, right. 😉 Still, the tale ultimately becomes a cautionary one, as things begin to spiral out of control… as these things tend to do. In the end, this was a solid bit of escapism for a few hours, and really that is all that I really expect in any entertainment medium. As others have noted, Stone’s Jane Doe series is genuinely superior to this particular tale, but where I disagree with some of them is that this one wasn’t *bad* – it just wasn’t as good as the Jane Doe series. Still, if you need some escapism and perhaps some catharsis… this book may just provide a touch of both. Recommended.

This review of The Hook by Victoria Helen Stone was originally written on May 10, 2023.

#BookReview: The Taste Of Ginger by Mansi Shah

Blatant Racism Deeply Mars Otherwise Universal Story. This is, without a shred of a doubt, the most racist book I’ve seen published this Millenium, at minimum – and to think that the normally *very* solid Lake Union Publishing allowed it under their banner is very discouraging, indeed. While I would never say a book should not be published at all, this is one that no major company – particularly one so large as Amazon – that claims to stand for diversity, inclusion, and equity should ever stand behind. White / America is EVIL according to Shah, and everything wrong in Preeti’s life is because she had to try to fit in with “White America”. Bullcrap. You take the commentary about everything White and/ or American being so evil out of this tale and look at just the remaining elements of struggling to fit in, to find oneself despite parental desires, to have your parents accept you as an adult… and you’ve got a universal tale that applies no matter the race. *Everyone* goes through these struggles, even in cultures where it appears different. But no, Shah here had to go the racist route and destroy what would have otherwise been a solid, maybe even transcendental, work. While some might think I’m being a bit generous here with 3* based on this write-up, the univeral elements here were done quite well while examining their particulars within Indian culture, particularly looking at both the Indian Diaspora and Indians who never leave the subcontinent – nor want to. And that is where I am confident in still allowing it the three, despite such blatant and rampant racism. Recommended, begrudgingly.

This review of The Taste Of Ginger by Mansi Shah was originally written on December 29, 2021.

#BlogTour: The Moon Over Kilmore Quay by Carmel Harrington

For this blog tour we’re looking at an intriguing emotional rollercoaster of utterly devastating secrets within a family. For this blog tour we’re looking at The Moon Over Kilmore Quay by Carmel Harrington.

Devastating Secrets. This is one book where two timelines intertwine to devastating effect. In one timeline, we get an epic romance between an Irish immigrant and a 2nd generation Irish American. In the other timeline, we get a woman who is both the daughter of a 2nd generation Irish American and an Irish immigrant who seems to have a mystical “13 Going On 30” / “Frequency” scenario going on where a childhood project is speaking to her and directing her to make amends for mistakes she has made in the intervening years. Both timelines work well independently, but when they come together… well, refer back to the title of this review. And then it gets even more devastating. Indeed, the ending and epilogue will likely have you in tears, even moreso than when the timelines converged. Overall a truly solid book and very much recommended.

After the jump, the publisher information – including book description, a bit about the author, how you can connect with the author, and where to buy the book.:)

Continue reading “#BlogTour: The Moon Over Kilmore Quay by Carmel Harrington”

#BlogTour: The Choice I Made by Cynthia Ellingsen

For this blog tour, we’re looking at a remarkable book about the murky real world choices so many of us face. For this blog tour, we’re looking at The Choice I Made by Cynthia Ellingsen.

Here’s what I had to say about the book on Goodreads:

Choices Are Rarely Clear Cut. Ellingsen does a remarkable job here of showing the tensions between competing choices so many of us face. Spouse vs genetic family. City vs rural. What I wanted to be vs what society made me into. Finding myself vs keeping what I have. And so many more. All within a solid tale ostensibly about a childless married woman trying to help save her family’s Dirty Dancing-style wilderness resort… and stumbling across a secret that could bring it all tumbling down. Excellent work layering so many issues into a readable and average ish length (circa 300 page) story. Very much recommended.

Below the jump, all of the publisher information, including a description of the book, contact links, and buy links.
Continue reading “#BlogTour: The Choice I Made by Cynthia Ellingsen”

#BookReview: War On The Border by Jeff Guinn

Fascinating Read About Seemingly Forgotten History. Let’s face it, these days (and even when this elder Millenial was in school in the late 80s – early 2000s), American schools (at least, perhaps, outside the Southwest) barely even teach World War 1 itself – much less the other actions that were going on as America was trying to stay away from that war. I knew of exactly one story from the Punitive Expeditions before reading this book, and that was the story of George S Patton’s first ever motorized attack – one of the events early in his career that made him truly legendary. Here, Guinn does a truly remarkable job of setting the stage and scope of the entire situation, from its earliest beginnings (even repeatedly referencing when the Spanish first came to central America) through the fates of the key players he has spent the text explaining. If you’ve never heard of this last war on Continental US soil before, do yourself a favor and read this book. If you want to understand more context for a lot of the current simmering tensions along the US/ Mexico border… do yourself a favor and read this book. Yes, the actions themselves were now slightly over a century ago – but if you’re able to read at all, it means that it was in the time of no further from you than your great-great grandparents, and these actions still reverberate to this day in the lands and minds of those whose own great-great grandparents (or more recent) were actively involved here. Very “readable” narrative, never sounds overly “academic”, and well documented to boot. Very much recommended.

This review of War On The Border by Jeff Guinn was originally written on February 18, 2021.

Featured New Release Of The Week: Republic of Wrath by James Morone

This week we’re looking at a a truly fascinating history of just how fragmented America has been seemingly from its very founding – including incidents just prior to the Civil War that would make even the most heated activists of today blanche in terror. This week we’re looking at Republic Of Wrath by James Morone.

Unfortunately I’m facing a form of “writer’s block” these days that is barely allowing me to write a Goodreads level review, so that is all I have to offer this week.

Excellent History Lesson. I’m a guy that prides myself in knowing more about American history than most. (Well, let’s be honest, my normal line is that I know more about most than most, and that generally holds true – even when people know far more than I do about a given topic.) Anyways… 😀 This book did a phenomenal job of bringing forth quite a bit of American history that even I wasn’t aware of, particularly in my acknowledged weak area between the War of 1812 and the Civil War. For example, despite how heated American political discourse feels at times over the last couple of years in particular, apparently there was a point in the lead-up to the Civil War where *Congressmen* routinely brought knives and guns *onto Capitol Hill*. Indeed, one line Morone quotes from a Congressman of the time is that those that didn’t bring a knife and a gun brought two guns! While the ending of the narrative, with Morone’s recommendations of how to fix where we find ourselves, is more “your mileage may vary” level, the lead up to that point is a solid look at American history, if hyper focused on the general premise that all conflict came from either race or immigration – which is a bit disingenuous at times, but the analysis here isn’t so flawed as to claim absolute exclusivity to the premise. Absolutely a must-read for Americans and really anyone wishing to understand how America has arrived at its current place in time. Very much recommended.

#BookReview: The Next Great Migration by Sonia Shah

Interesting and Applicable. This is a truly remarkable work that traces the sociological and biological impetuses for and restrictions on migration at levels from the individual through the species. Shah does a superb job of combining history and science to make her case, and even impeaches at least a few organizations currently in the headlines along the way – even while clearly having no way of knowing that she was doing so, as the book was written before they became so prominent more recently. Spanning from the guy that developed the modern taxonomic system through late breaking issues with the Trump Presidency, Shah shows a true depth to her research and builds a largely compelling case. Very much recommended.

This review of The Next Great Migration by Sonia Shah was originally written on April 10, 2020.

#BookReview: No Justice In The Shadows by Alina Das

Very Similar to Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow But Focusing On Immigration. This book directly references Alexander’s work at a couple of points and is told in a similar style and with similar strengths and weaknesses. Namely, it builds a well documented case, but uses more anecdotal “evidence” as its primary narrative structure. I rate it slightly above Alexander’s work because it doesn’t have quite as glaring a blindspot as that other work. Specifically, while Alexander’s work regarded race above all other factors, Das’ work here shows the truly wide scope of immigration control in the US, from its earliest days working as much against Europeans as anyone to its more modern incarnations targeting first Chinese and other Asians to the fairly ubiquitous in current regimes of pretty well everyone. By and large, how you feel about Alexander’s work will mirror how you feel about Das’, and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing for Das’ pocketbook since Alexander’s work is so often discussed and cited even so many years after publication. Recommended.

This review of No Justice In The Shadows by Alina Das was originally written on February 13, 2020.