still on vacation in Iceland but could not resist posting the information that public support for marriage equality has now been completely inverted in the last two decades, from 2:1 opposition to 2:1 support! I have been working for and involved with the freedom to marry movement since the early 1990s so this result is quite heartwarming.
Hat/tip USA TODAY
Thursday, May 24, 2018
Monday, May 21, 2018
Thursday, May 17, 2018
Today is May 17, the day selected to celebrate sexual and gender diversities. Officially it is known as the "International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia" or #IDAHOT.
May 17 is chosen to commemrate the anniversary of the date in 1990 when the World Health Organization declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder.
Wednesday, May 16, 2018
One key take-away for me is that 1) Latino doctoral recipients now outnumber African-American and that the gap between male and female STEM doctorates is actually slightly widening, even as both numbers increase (see the graphics at the top of this page).
Hat/tip STEMPROF newsletter edited by Mark Connolly.
Monday, May 14, 2018
Posting on the blog will be light, but I invite you to follow me on Instagram (@ronbuckmire) and Twiiter (@madprofessah)
Saturday, May 12, 2018
Nadal's loss means that Roger Federer will regain the World #1 ranking, but if Nadal wins the Rome Masters, he can regain the Top ranking before the French Open begins on Sunday May 27. (NOTE: MadProfessah will be attending the tournament in person this year!)
Thursday, May 10, 2018
|I’m glad that I finally got around to reading one of Jodi Taylor’s time-traveling comedic novels known as the Chronicles of St. Mary's series. I started with he first book in the series, Just One Damned Thing After Another.|
Although it didn’t resonate for me as much as it has with other readers I definitely appreciate the craft it took to pull off a book which is both explicitly funny, action-packed and pure speculative fiction. There's a reason why every entry in the series has a Goodreads average rating score in the 4.0 range, often with 10,000+ ratings.
The main character in Just One Damned Thing After Another is Madeleine Maxwell (everyone calls her “Max”) and JUST ONE DAMNED THING AFTER ANOTHER follows her as she joins the St. Mary Historical Society, discovers time travel is real and has lots of exciting (and dangerous) adventures. Max is great and one of the primary strengths of the book. The other important characters in the book include her boss Professor Bairstow, her immediate supervisor Leon Farrell and the other historians she goes on excursions into the past with.
I do think the writing is well done (although at some points it seems a bit stenographic in nature with the inclusion of an excessive level of detail in the minutiae of the characters regular daily tasks, including their morning ablutions). It’s very hard to get snark and clever asides with exactly the right tone and I think the author successfully accomplishes that throughout. However, what didn't work for me was the general angst of the main character and her obtuseness about her relationships with other people. In addition, although it is somewhat admirable, I also became tired at the author's penchant for killing off rather important characters, people she had spent a significant time letting the reader get to know. If this what happens in Book 1, I'm mildly curious about how she is able to sustain this as the series continues.
Unfortunately, the book as a whole didn’t really resonate with me and I don’t think I’ll be reading any of the many sequels (up to Book 8 as of this writing). I do think it’s a great premise and would make a very compelling screen adaptation. In the end, though, I appreciated the book more than I actually enjoyed reading it. I suspect I may be in the minority of readers for whom that is true and that is quite alright with me.
Title: Just One Damned Thing After Another (Chronicles of St. Mary's, #1)
Author: Jodi Taylor.
Paperback: 348 pages.
Publisher: Accent Press.
Date Published: June 1, 2013.
Date Read: April 29, 2018.
GOODREADS RATING: ★★★★☆ (4.0/5.0).
OVERALL GRADE: A- (3.67/4.0).
Monday, May 07, 2018
Thursday, May 03, 2018
The Invisible Library is the first book in the long-running series by the same name written by Genevieve Cogman. I had been looking forward to reading this book because the series tends to have relatively high average ratings on Goodreads as well as a LOT of ratings. I ended up being somewhat underwhelmed by The Invisible Library as a whole. The world building is somewhat interesting and the main character is sympathetic (although definitely annoying at times). The story is based around a mission by a librarian named Irene who is given an apprentice named Kai and together the two travel to an alternate reality to retrieve a work of fiction that the interdimensional Library wants. There are all sorts of interesting aspects of the story which clearly can be developed further in subsequent volumes: there is a special "language" librarians use that allows them to do the equivalent of magic. The alternate realities have different manifestations of technology and magic. There is a dissident ex-Librarian who is now persona non grata but who clearly has special powers and disturbing information about the mysterious Library. But the plotting is uninspiring; this is one of the few books where I could clearly predict what was going to happen and had figured out key plot points dozens of pages before the characters in the books did.
However, the writing is spiffy and humorous and that’s why this is a solid 3.5 stars. But there’s something about the whole affair that just seems juvenile, in a way that made me feel that, as a middle-aged reader, I was most definitely NOT the target audience for this book. That’s fine, other books have provided me that feeling and I have still enjoyed reading them (most notably Rachel Caine’s The Great Library series which utilizes a somewhat similar premise of an all-powerful library dominating world events and also seems to be either eared towards young adult readers or at the very least is YA-adjacent).
I’m aware that this is the first book in a popular series and I’m happy that there are more books by the author that others are enjoying but I don’t feel a strong desire or need to read any more of them.
Title: The Invisible Library (Invisible Library, #1).
Author: Genevieve Cogman.
Paperback: 320 pages.
Publisher: Tor UK.
Date Published: November 15, 2015.
Date Read: March 20, 2018.
GOODREADS RATING: ★★★½☆ (3./5.0).
OVERALL GRADE: B (3.0/4.0).
IMAGERY: A- .