Book Reviews

John's bookshelf: read

Still Writing: The Pleasures and Perils of a Creative Life
it was amazing
There are already over five hundred reviews of Still Writing: The Perils and Pleasures of a Creative Life on Goodreads, and I’m not sure the world needs another one. I’ll just say that I loved it. As a wannabe writer it gave me hope as m…
When I Was the Wind
it was amazing
Hannah Lee Jones is a friend and I’m reviewing an advance review copy of When I Was the Wind. I am not typically a reader of poetry, and was not familiar with the author’s poems before reading this book. I found the work evocative and mo…
tagged: advance-review-copy
The Immortal King Rao: A Novel
it was amazing
I loved this book. Although it’s fiction, it reads like creative nonfiction. Vauhini Vara draws on her experience as a technology writer at the Wall Street Journal and the New Yorker to create an alternative reality that so close to ou…
tagged: library-books
Ishmael
it was amazing
I read this book out of curiosity as Lisa Wells mentions it in Believers: Making a Life at the End of the World. That the planet is in trouble was clear when this book was written some 30 years ago. Since the book was written the world’s…
tagged: library-books
Thin Places: A Natural History of Healing and Home
it was amazing
I read this book and am writing this review over Easter weekend 2022, a weekend that this year also hosts Ramadan, Passover, and the Theravada new year amid the transition from winter to spring. Thin Places, Kerri Ní Dochartaigh’s person…
Believers: Making a Life at the End of the World
it was amazing
"The world is burning; how, then, shall we live?" This collection of essays poses and tries to answer that question. In the second essay – On the Rise and Fall of a Teenage Idealist – Lisa Wells covers her attendance at Tom Brown’s Tr…
Tides: The Science and Spirit of the Ocean
it was amazing
The science in the subtitle is the history of the development of the scientific understanding of tides. This history turns out to be dependent on the understanding of gravity, of the heliocentric nature of the solar system, and of wave t…
On Corruption in America: And What Is at Stake
it was amazing
Sarah Chayes turns the skills learned in working alongside corrupt regimes in Afghanistan and elsewhere to an analysis American government, politics and business. After a discussion of corruption through the ages, she does a deep dive in…
Mill Town: Reckoning with What Remains
it was amazing
Not every environmental story has an Erin Brokovich ending. This is the story of a town and the mill that built it, defined it, and almost destroyed it. Through careful research and interviews, the author uncovers the intertwining his…
Ancestor Trouble: A Reckoning and a Reconciliation
it was amazing
This book arrives at a time when it seems many of us, perhaps driven by COVID spare time and introspection, are researching our ancestry. The author covers the history of genealogy, relationships to ancestors in different cultures, relig…
NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity
really liked it
Fascinating history of how autism has been diagnosed, described, classified, and treated through the years from euthanasia to institutionalization to focus on a cure to focus on adaptation to the beginnings of acceptance. The voices maki…
The Electricity of Every Living Thing: A Woman’s Walk In The Wild To Find Her Way Home 
it was amazing
I have to start by declaring that I have a lot in common with the author. I grew up on the south coast of England, though I now live on the left coast of the US. I am drawn to the ocean, and to long distance coastal footpaths. I self-dia…
Rising: Dispatches from the New American Shore
it was amazing
Plenty of books about the impacts of climate change on shoreline communities focus on the risks to come. Some of those changes are already happening in the form of increased damage from coastal storms such as Sandy. Rising: Dispatches fr…
Floating Coast: An Environmental History of the Bering Strait
it was amazing
This meticulously researched and beautifully written book is about time and energy in an arctic corner of the planet we think of as remote. Bathsheba Demuth lays out how, within the life cycle of one bowhead whale, our different economi…

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