Thursday, February 21, 2019

The Perfect Weapon: War, Sabotage, and Fear in the Cyber Age

Cyberwar. Any reader interested in public affairs should consider reading David Sanger’s book titled, The Perfect Weapon: War, Sabotage, and Fear in the Cyber Age. Sanger is the national security correspondent for The New York Times, and he offers not a word of fake news in this finely written book. The threat of cyberwarfare is real, and America and its citizens are vulnerable. You may not sleep well after reading this book, but you will be better informed about a serious threat to our lives. Be afraid. Rating: Five-star (I love it) Click here to purchase The Perfect Weapon from amazon.com.

The Dakota Winters

Charmed. The protagonist of Tom Barbash’s novel titled, The Dakota Winters, has returned from the peace corps in 1979 at age twenty-three to his childhood home in New York City at the famous Dakota. Anton Winter lives a charmed life as he tries to help his father, Buddy, revive his career as a late-night television host. The neighbors at the Dakota include John Lennon, of course, and Lennon behaves like a regular guy, takes Anton to sea with him and on other adventures. This is a coming of age story, a family tale, and the erratic ways in which our lives play out. Rating: Four-star (I like it) Click here to purchase The Dakota Winters from amazon.com.

A Terrible Country

Moscow. I was thoroughly entertained by Keith Gessen’s novel titled, A Terrible Country. Andrei Kaplan’s prospects for work and love in New York have diminished, so he jumps at the chance to spend a few months in the city of his birth, Moscow, caring for his grandmother. Gradually, he understands why his grandmother refers to Russia with the phrase that is the title of the novel. There’s hockey, activists, and a great novel here for your reading pleasure. Rating: Four-star (I like it) Click here to purchase A Terrible Country from amazon.com.

Nine Perfect Strangers

Spa. One recipe for a novel: conjure up some interesting people and put them in an unusual place. In her novel titled, Nine Perfect Strangers, Liane Moriarty puts a cast of very interesting characters in a wellness spa called Tranquillum House. All is not as it appears at this health resort, and the lives of the characters have levels of depth that take a while to reveal. Over the course of more than 450 pages, Moriarty reveals who these people are and what is really going on at Tranquillam House. You may never go to a spa again. Rating: Four-star (I like it) Click here to purchase Nine Perfect Strangers from amazon.com.

How to Love the Universe: A Scientist’s Odes to the Hidden Beauty Behind the Visible World

Excitement. I remember in college that there were two introductory physics classes: the one for physics majors met for three hours starting at 8am on Saturday mornings; the other was called “physics for poets” and met after lunch for about an hour every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I took neither but realized decades later that the majors spent their Saturday mornings in the late 1960s learning things that were later disproven. For them, and for any reader with eyes open to the world, there’s a great book to consider by Stefan Klein. Titled, How to Love the Universe: A Scientist’s Odes to the Hidden Beauty Behind the Visible World, this book offers great images, well-written prose and an attitude of excitement about the world. It’s never too late to learn a thing or two about particle physics, even if you think you already know it all. Rating: Four-star (I like it) Click here to purchase How to Love the Universe from amazon.com.

Tell Your Children: The Truth About Marijuana, Mental Illness, and Violence

Evidence. Chances are your mind is made up on the topic of legalization of marijuana. Whether it is made up or not, consider reading Alex Berenson’s finely written book titled, Tell Your Children: The Truth About Marijuana, Mental Illness, and Violence. Berenson makes the case that there is ample scientific evidence that marijuana can cause psychosis. There is also a link between psychosis and violence, and there is evidence that crime is increasing among marijuana users in the states that have legalized marijuana use. We are generally poor at estimating personal risks, and on a topic that seems as settled for individuals as marijuana use, how can we assess personal risks? Start by reading this book that offers proof of legitimate health concerns. Rating: Five-star (I love it) Click here to purchase Tell Your Children from amazon.com.

The Truths We Hold: An American Journey

Unity. We’re in that time cycle when anyone thinking of or actually running for President of the United States has a book to make a pitch to a small segment of the electorate who read such books. Since I’m one of those readers, and open to hearing a pitch, I read Kamala Harris’ book titled, The Truths We Hold: An American Journey. Over the course of over three hundred pages, Harris tells her of her childhood as the daughter of immigrants, her lifelong passion for justice, and the many ways in which she has served the public through various roles. Her pitch is that she is the person who can lead us toward unity through a focus on what we share in common. Even if you are cautious when faced with someone telling you what truth is, consider reading this novel to get to know one of the candidates running for President in 2020. Rating: Four-star (I like it) Click here to purchase The Truths We Hold from amazon.com.