The Shame Machine – Staff Review – Terry

The Shame Machine by Cathy O’Neil (Request)

Tired of all the online shaming and name calling? The Shame Machine by Cathy O’ Neil peers into the business of as well as the sociological aspects of public shaming, primarily through mass media and social media. The book takes a scientific, unapologetic, and non-partisan stance, and also includes some of the author’s own struggles with being shamed as well as not giving into feeding into the systems of shame.

5 Stars

The Quiet Zone – Staff Review – Terry

The Quiet Zone by Stephen Kurczy (Request)

What does a large radio telescope, Patch Adams, and a defunct Neo-Nazi compound have in common? They all exist within the Green Bank Quiet Zone. In Stephen Kurczy’s book The Quiet Zone, he explores the region around what is known as the National Radio Quiet Zone, which was established to allow the Green Bank Radio Observatory to detect radio waves from space without interference from electronic noise. Kurczy does a very good job at documenting life and history of the area without falling into novelty, simply reporting on the history of both the observatory as well as the life of the locals which, until the popularity of cellular technology, had little to be concerned with for the regulations that were kept around the observatory. Overall, it is an interesting book that looks into the nature of what it is to disconnect from our busy digital lives.

3 Stars

Black Nerd Problems – Staff Pick – Terry

Black nerd problems by William Evans and Omar Holmon (Request)

Want to hear a pair of poets talk about their favorite geeky pastimes in both serious and playful tones?  Black Nerd Problems by William Evans and Omar Holmon is for you!  Black Nerd Problems is a great series of essays on race and racial identity in geek culture.  The different essays run the range of serious social issues to playful rants about characters making for a well rounded body of work.

5 Stars

Women of the Dawn – Staff Review – Terry

Women of the Dawn by Bunny McBride (Request)

A historical and ethnographic account of 4 Wabanaki women, based on the research done by both Bunny McBride as well as Molly Dellis, who is one of the women that is also featured in this book. This book pays true homage to the importance of women, especially native women, and their stories at a time when colonial powers saw them and treated them as barely human. A great read on a time and place as well as a people that can sadly be often overlooked.

5 Stars

Immune – Staff Review – Terry

Immune by Philipp Dettmer (Request)(

Immune : a journey into the mysterious system that keeps you alive by Philipp Dettmer is an easy to understand but thorough tour of the human immune systems. The book is broken up into chapters that build on one another allowing for the reader to learn and comprehend the subject matter without being overwhelmed with too many terms or concepts. The language in the book is also fairly contemporary and many comparisons are given to illustrate, as well as actual and easy to view illustrations, making the subject of immunology enjoyable to learn. Overall a great read.

5 stars.

The Shadow – Staff Pick – Terry

The Shadow by James Patterson and Brian Sitts (Request)(CloudLibrary)

The Shadow by Brian Sitts and James Patterson is an interesting use of the 1930s radio serial character “The Shadow” who ends up suddenly in a dystopian future setting.  The book follows both Lamont Cranston (The Shadow), and Maddy Gomes, a teenager who works with Lamont and serves as an interesting set of perspectives on this with Lamont being from the past and Maddy being from the current future.  Anyone familiar with The Shadow drama series will see a few other familiar characters as well as some of Lamont’s skills and abilities, but prior knowledge of the character is not necessary to enjoy the book.  Overall a good read.  

4 stars

To Be Taught, If Fortunate – Staff Review – Terry

To Be Taught, If Fortunate by Becky Chambers (Request)(CloudLibrary)

Would you give up the life you know to go explore other planets?

To Be Taught, If Fortunate by Becky Chamber is a novella that centers around an exploratory crew visiting exoplanets in the near future. The main focus of the story is mostly focused on the way the crew deal with the stresses and challenges of the places they visit as well as the isolation of not only being far from Earth, but that they will not return for many years and have no contact other than pre-recorded messages that take years to arrive. A very interesting read into the ethics and purpose of space exploration.

4 Stars.

Survival of the Friendliest – Staff Review – Terry

Survival of the Friendliest: understanding our origins and rediscovering our common humanity by Brian Hare (Request)

Ever wanted a pet fox? Turns out they are fast-tracked for domestication! This and other sociology and biology studies are outlined and analyzed in Survival of the Friendliest. Authors Hare and Woods discuss the theory that instead of survival of fittest and needing to compete, that human success may be the result of the natural behavior of cooperation with both other humans and other animals that have been domesticated. The book does go into a fair amount of detail but keeps things to a popular science level that is enjoyable to read for general audiences.

4 stars.

You’ll never believe what happened to Lacey

You’ll never believe what happened to Lacey by Amber Ruffin and Lacey Lamar (Request)

You ever thought you had a really bad day at work? How about throwing in some casual racism?

You’ll Never Believe What Happened to Lacey: Crazy Stories about Racism by Amber Ruffin and Lacey Lamar chronicles anecdotes from Lacey as told to her sister about the often casual and blunt racist behavior she has been subjected to and exposed to in her professional life as well as her private life. Told in a narrative that takes the form of a conversation between the two sisters it adds a nice humorous touch to an otherwise serious and depressing subject.

4 Stars

A lab of one’s own – Staff Review – Terry

A lab of one’s own : one woman’s personal journey through sexism in science by Rita Colwell, PhD and Sharon Bertsch McGrayne

A Lab of One’s Own: One Woman’s Personal Journey Through Sexism in Science by Dr. Rita R. Colwell and Sharon McGrayne is one part personal memoir and one part history lesson on sexism and misogyny in the sciences. Dr Colwell (who was the director of the National Science Foundation from 1998 to 2004) recalls not only her own personal experiences with sexist behavior she experienced in the field but also pulls back the curtain of the “Boys Club” nature of higher academics, sharing stories of her colleagues both female and unmarried males (who by her account are seen as “undedicated to the field” by their married counterparts) in a documented tone that leaves no doubt as to her diligent work in exposing as much of this unprofessional behavior as possible. Overall a good read, and an eye-opening one that leaves room for hope that the fields of science and higher academia can make progress in becoming more egalitarian.

5 out of 5 Stars

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