Books, Professional Development

Book 507: If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face? – Alan Alda

Only two ARC/Galleys left and I am all caught up! The same publicist who sent me Finally Out reached out about this book and the title had enough humor in it I figured it was worth a shot.* I enjoyed this so much more than I thought I would!

What Alan Alda—I didn’t even recognize him from M*A*S*H (IMDb link), I just recognized his caricature—is doing is what the Plain English Campaign (website) has been trying to do since the late 70s, just through a different venue: improv. Both are trying to get things translated from the indecipherable jargon of science or government into easily relatable language. Alda, has basically made a side career out of this with the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University, where the observations he made from his many years on Scientific American Frontiers are put into practice to teach scientists how to talk to non-scientists.

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Books

Book 496: The End (A Series of Unfortunate Events #13) – Lemony Snicket

The End.

I think that’s about all you can say about this book. It wasn’t as disappointing as I though it would be, but it also wasn’t the ending I wanted/needed for a 13 book series investment. Perhaps, Snicket hit it on the head with the final line of the book, which doesn’t spoil anything because there was a 14th chapter.

“Under the circumstances, it is the best for which you can hope.”

I’m not convinced it was the best for which I could’ve hoped for, but I think it’s the most I was going to get. If these books would’ve been difficult to read or any more of a time commitment, I would probably be angry about the ending or even disappointed, but because they were quick reads and mostly easy to understand it didn’t feel like too much of an investment. THERE WILL BE SPOILERS, skip to the Recommendation if you don’t want spoilers.

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Book 495: The Penultimate Peril (A Series of Unfortunate Events #12) – Lemony Snicket

And now I’m starting to wonder if ANYTHING is going to be wrapped up. I mean I was already wondering this, but I honestly felt like this book didn’t really take us anywhere. It brought together a lot of people from the series, but for what reason!? But can I be mad at Snicket, it’s like he is warning us:

“Each mystery the Baudelaires discovered only revealed another mystery, and another, and another, and several more, and another, as if the three siblings were diving deeper and deeper into a pond, and all the while the city lay calm on the surface, unaware of all the unfortunate events in the orphans’ lives.” (Loc. 213)

But still, I’m not 100% sure I’m okay with a series that doesn’t wrap up everything. I can sort of get on board with a sad mopey series, but an incomplete/unfinished one, no thank you.

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Book 494: Sovereign (Nemesis #2) – April Daniels

When I read April Daniels’ debut novel, Dreadnought I lamented the length of time I had to wait until the second in the series came out. What I didn’t realize then or now was that it was only in January of this year that I read Dreadnaught and less than five months later I was able to request Sovereign, the sequel.*

Sovereign picks up not long after the events of Dreadnought and Danny is coming more to terms with her powers as Dreadnought and coming more to terms with her transition. As much as I enjoyed this book, it’s not as strong as the first. It really felt that Daniels got too heavy-handed with the queer politics, as fascinating as they were, and it distracted too much from the story for my taste. I get that it’s an integral part of the story, but it honestly just felt too much like a crutch.

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Book 493: The Grim Grotto (A Series of Unfortunate Events #11) – Lemony Snicket

Okay, so maybe it’s because I’m binge reading these, but I can’t stop saying OMG OMG OMG. So many cliff hangers and “say what’s,” I should’ve put all of the books on hold at the same time. I’m still waiting for the last two as I write this but I should get them any day and hopefully will have read them by time this post publishes. Fingers crossed at least.

We’re in the thick of the mystery aspect of this series and the plot continues to become more convoluted. It’s hard to say who is or isn’t alive and how long they’ve been so. There was a reveal at the end of this book that I think is leading to something that I’ve been waiting for since my friend let something drop that wasn’t really a spoiler but a is this going to happen or not type question.

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Book 492: The Slippery Slope (A Series of Unfortunate Events #10) – Lemony Snicket

Again with the cliff hangers and the sudden reveals?! It’s like Snicket figured out people were getting bored or he was playing the long game and waiting to reveal everything in the last half of the series making it worth the trudge through!

Similar to The Carnivorous Carnival, I was excited to see the Baudelaire’s being separated and having to work on their own to solve problems. Since we’re seeing this through Sunny in the last book and this book, it’s definitely felt more like character progression than Klaus’ and Violet’s interests in reading/researching and inventing that were built in from The Bad Beginning. Don’t get me wrong it sucks they are separated and Count Olaf seems to be getting closer and closer to achieving his goals, but they’re verging on real peopleness now!

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Book 491: The Carnivorous Carnival (A Series of Unfortunate Events #9) – Lemony Snicket

Not to set the standards to high, but this may be the darkest of the books, which is saying something after The Wide Window and the kids being offered up by their guardian for death instead of the guardian. I’m not sure if it has to do with this book hitting the closest home to our current state of affairs in the US, or if it just hit home to me.

As I keep saying, and as is to be expected, the story and the characters are continuing to evolve and become more complex. The Baudelaire’s took charge at the end of the last novel and took their own fate into their hands and ended up following Count Olaf and his troop of evil-doers this time rather than the other way around. But what I took from this story wasn’t even the moving forward of the series, it finally clicked why we are reading this series this year after Trump’s election.

This book takes place in a carnival, shocking detail right, and the big focus is on the freak show of the carnival, but when it comes down to it it’s not really a freak show, it’s a prejudice show. And with the way we talk about anyone and everyone in today’s media and everyday conversation it sort of hit me that Snicket was just amplifying what was actually happening in the U.S. to idiotic proportions and yet that’s where we are now. When I read,  Continue reading “Book 491: The Carnivorous Carnival (A Series of Unfortunate Events #9) – Lemony Snicket”