Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

The cover of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is a book/play about Harry's son.  In case you're confused, it says "parts one and two" because it's two plays.

The characters are angsty and melodramatic.  The book/play adaptation is a bit awkward.  The plot doesn't make any sense.  The writing leaves something to be desired.  So, it's not a masterpiece.

Brandon Sanderson: The Rithmatist

The cover of The Rithmatist

In an interview, Brandon Sanderson mentioned that the inspiration behind The Rithmatist was, "What would it be like to be a muggle in Hogwarts?"

Michelle Alexander: The New Jim Crow

The cover of The New Jim Crow

Under slavery, millions of people were uprooted from their families, discriminated against, denied basic rights, and killed.  Then slavery was outlawed, and under Jim Crow, millions of people were uprooted from their families, discriminated against, denied basic rights, and killed.  Then overt race-based discrimination was outlawed, and now with the US criminal justice system, millions of people are uprooted from their families, discriminated against, denied basic rights, and killed.  Absent cultural change, laws against discrimination don't end discrimination.  They just change its form.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: Americanah

The Americanah cover

At one point in Americanah, the protagonist criticizes someone for asking what a book was about because that question oversimplifies complicated narratives and people's interactions with those narratives.  In the protagonist's mind, books are about a lot of things.

Octavia Butler: Parable of the Sower

The Parable of the Sower cover

The Parable of the Sower is set in a dystopian future where climate change has made food, water, and energy prohibitively expensive and has worsened poverty and wealth imbalances.  The protagonist grew up in a tenuously middle class gated community and the book features her struggle to survive.

N K Jemisin: The Fifth Season

The Fifth Season cover

The Fifth Season is a smart, well-written fantasy novel with interesting characters and world building.

In the series, the world ends a lot.  The planet regularly has extreme weather events, called fifth seasons, where there might not be sunlight for years, and even in good times, there are frequent earthquakes and minor events.  The magic users in the book, orogenes, can control seismic activity to stop all that from happening -- or to make it worse.

Postal Spam

I get a lot of postal spam.  Some of it is grocery ads.  Some of it is Comcast or Verizon ads.  In general, though, I don't want it, and it makes me feel bad about the environment, so I try to unsubscribe when I get something.

JD Vance: Hillbilly Elegy

Hillbilly Elegy cover

Hillbilly Elegy is a memoir about someone growing up in an Appalachian town.  It is well written, touching, and will probably teach you something, especially if you don't grow up in Appalachia.

Careers with Code

Careers with Code is a publication aiming to get more high school students interested in computer science by showing them some of the cool things you can do with a career in CS.  They interviewed me for an article on computer science and social change.  If you want to see it, you can check it out on their website or download a copy of the PDF.

Buying Glasses Online

Glasses are a racket.  Luxottica owns a lot of the market and does anticompetitive things (CBS, Snopes).  Most glasses seem to be priced with the assumption that people have vision insurance, so prices are artificially inflated like a fashion accessory rather than being tread more or less like the commodity that they should be.


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