Monthly book roundup – 2014 February

Books finished in February:
(Warning: reviews are unpolished and quickly written.)

Stoner by John Willams. There are many disappointments and setbacks in William Stoner’s life. Although he is successful in a few cases, like caring for his infant daughter and at times in his job. Not an inspirational book, but it makes one think and gives perspective.

We Are Anonymous: Inside the Hacker World of LulzSec, Anonymous, and the Global Cyber Insurgency by Parmy Olson. Get to know some of the Anonymous. The story of Anonymous and related “groups” told through the stories of the six core members of LulzSec – hackers with different motivations and skills that happened to come together and get the opportunity to create trouble for PayPal, the Scientology church, authoritarian governments, Sony, private citizens and many others. Often just because they could. Decentralization and coordination both play roles. Numbers sometimes important and sometimes not. Recommended.

Ubik by Philip K. Dick. Glen Runciter’s firm is in the “prudence business” – protecting people’s minds against others’ psychic powers, such as mind reading. One mission goes awry, and the team must communicate between living and dead, though it is not easy to tell who is what. Things start to revert to earlier forms, in an entropy fashion.

The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick. Alternate history, Germany won WWII, slavery is still legal in the US. Not finished.

All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood by Jennifer Senior. How are parents affected by their children? Research and anecdotes on parents’ time use, devotion to their children, happiness, marriages, social life, work, parenting styles, and other things. At times heavily geared towards American, not-Scandinavian-style-gender-equal conditions, but in general much to recognize and think about for parents. Tells of a survey where kids wanted less stressed mums more than more time with her. Interesting purported link between child care and happiness.

The Crying of Lot 49 (Perennial Fiction Library)
by Thomas Pynchon. Did not catch me, put down quickly, not finished.
Ratings and old books are in the library.

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