Tag: Books: Review


Review: The Consuming Fire

Posted 11 October, 2019 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

The Consuming Fire (The Interdependency #2)
By: John Scalzi
Format/Source: eBook; my purchase

The Interdependency, humanity’s interstellar empire, is on the verge of collapse. The Flow, the extra-dimensional conduit that makes travel between the stars possible, is disappearing, leaving entire star systems stranded. When it goes, human civilization may go with it—unless desperate measures can be taken.

Emperox Grayland II, the leader of the Interdependency, is ready to take those measures to help ensure the survival of billions. But nothing is ever that easy. Arrayed before her are those who believe the collapse of the Flow is a myth—or at the very least, an opportunity that can allow them to ascend to power.

While Grayland prepares for disaster, others are preparing for a civil war, a war that will take place in the halls of power, the markets of business and the altars of worship as much as it will take place between spaceships and battlefields. The Emperox and her allies are smart and resourceful, but then so are her enemies. Nothing about this power struggle will be simple or easy… and all of humanity will be caught in its widening gyre.

Yaaaaah, book two! I enjoyed the first book in the trilogy, The Collapsing Empire (review), so I was curious to see how things panned out for the characters after the end of the book. Contains some spoilers ahead!

Read More

Review: Normal People

Posted 9 October, 2019 by Lianne in Books / 2 Comments

Normal People
By: Sally Rooney
Format/Source: eBook; my purchase

Connell Waldron is one of the most popular boys in his small-town high school–he is a star of the football team and an excellent student, and he is never wanting for attention from girls. The one thing he doesn’t have is money. Marianne Sheridan, a classmate of Connell’s, has the opposite problem. Marianne is plain-looking, odd, and stubborn, and while her family is quite well off, she has no friends to speak of. There is, however, a deep and undeniable connection between the two teenagers, one that develops into a secret relationship.

Everything changes when both Connell and Marianne are accepted to Trinity College. Suddenly Marianne is well liked and elegant, holding court with her intellectual friends, while Connell hangs at the sidelines, not quite as fluent in the language of the elite. Throughout their years at university, Marianne and Connell circle each other, falling in and out of romance but never straying far from where they started. And as Marianne experiments with an increasingly dangerous string of boyfriends, Connell must decide how far he is willing to go to save his oldest friend.

Sally Rooney brings her brilliant psychological acuity and perfectly spare prose to a novel that explores the subtleties of class, the electricity of first love, and the inescapable challenges of family and friendships. Normal People is a book that you will read in one sitting, and then immediately jump up to share with your friends.

I’ve been eyeing this book for a while now, ever since it hit the circuit and everyone was raving about it. Almost picked it up on a few occasions but for whatever reason never went through with it until it went on sale over the summer on Kobo. Seemed to be on the short end so I decided to read it for a change of pace (I was reading a lot of economics towards the end of summer). Contains some minor spoilers ahead!

Read More

Review: The Economists’ Hour: False Prophets, Free Markets, and the Fracture of Societ

Posted 4 October, 2019 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

The Economists’ Hour: False Prophets, Free Markets, and the Fracture of Society
By: Binyamin Appelbaum
Format/Source: eARC courtesy of the publishers via NetGalley

In this fascinating character-driven history, a New York Times editorial writer and Pulitzer Prize finalist spotlights the American economists who championed the rise of markets and fundamentally reshaped the modern world.

Before the 1960s, American politicians had never paid much attention to economists. But as the post-World War II boom began to sputter, economists gained influence and power — first in the United States and then around the world as their ideas inspired nations to curb government, unleash corporations, and hasten globalization.

Milton Friedman’s libertarian ideals, Arthur Laffer’s supply-side economics and Paul Volcker’s austere campaign against inflation all left a profound mark on American life. So did lesser-known figures like Walter Oi, a blind economist whose calculations influenced President Nixon’s decision to end military conscription; Alfred Kahn, who deregulated air travel; and Thomas Schelling, who put a dollar value on human life.

The economists promised steady growth and broadly-shared prosperity, but they failed to deliver. Instead, the single-minded embrace of markets has come at the expense of soaring economic inequality, the faltering health of liberal democracy, and the prospects of future generations.

Timely, engaging, and expertly researched, The Economists’ Hour is a “powerful must-read” (Mohamed A. El-Erian, New York Times bestselling author) about the rise and fall of a revolution-and a compelling call for people to retake control of markets.

I mentioned it in another review earlier this week that I was in an economics sort of mood at the moment. So here I am reviewing this book. Which is also pretty cool in that this is the first ARC that I requested for in aaaaaaages. This book was released on 03 September 2019.

Read More

Review: The Levelling: What’s Next After Globalization

Posted 2 October, 2019 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

The Levelling: What’s Next After Globalization
By: Michael O’Sullivan
Format/Source: Hardback; my purchase

The world is at a turning point similar to the fall of communism. Then, many focused on the collapse itself, and failed to see that a bigger trend, globalization, was about to take hold. The benefits of globalization–through the freer flow of money, people, ideas, and trade–have been many. But rather than a world that is flat, what has emerged is one of jagged peaks and rough, deep valleys characterized by wealth inequality, indebtedness, political recession, and imbalances across the world’s economies.

These peaks and valleys are undergoing what Michael O’Sullivan calls “the levelling”–a major transition in world economics, finance, and power. What’s next is a levelling-out of wealth between poor and rich countries, of power between nations and regions, of political accountability from elites to the people, and of institutional power away from central banks and defunct twentieth-century institutions such as the WTO and the IMF.

O’Sullivan then moves to ways we can develop new, pragmatic solutions to such critical problems as political discontent, stunted economic growth, the productive functioning of finance, and political-economic structures that serve broader needs.

The Levelling comes at a crucial time in the rise and fall of nations. It has special importance for the US as its place in the world undergoes radical change–the ebbing of influence, profound questions over its economic model, societal decay, and the turmoil of public life.

I heard about this book from an article that was featured in The Economist sometime during the summer. It’s a topic that’s become increasingly highlighted given events around the world. So I picked it up as it was just published sometime over the summer (I was going through a sociopolitical economics phase in my reading over the summer. Summer reading fun, eh?)

Read More

Review: Everything I Never Told You

Posted 26 September, 2019 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Everything I Never Told You
By: Celeste Ng
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet.

So begins this exquisite novel about a Chinese American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee, and her parents are determined that she will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue. But when Lydia’s body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together is destroyed, tumbling them into chaos.

A profoundly moving story of family, secrets, and longing, Everything I Never Told You is both a gripping page-turner and a sensitive family portrait, uncovering the ways in which mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, and husbands and wives struggle, all their lives, to understand one another.

I’ve long had this book on my wishlist but just never got around to picking it up sooner. It was only when I not only heard continuous rave reviews about her second book, Little Fires Everywhere, and that it was going to be made into a television series that I decided to finally get around to her books. Oh, that and I see her tweets a lot on Twitter 🙂

Read More