I Hate Buzzwords: A Rant

I make no bones of the fact that I harbor an intense dislike of buzzwords. The thing is, I have a hard time explaining why I dislike buzzwords so much.

There’s one in particular I’ve been hearing more often over the past few years which may be the worst one yet:


It’s such an egregiously nonsense word! However, it offers a perfect opportunity to clarify my position.

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Book Review: Terminal Uprising by Jim C. Hines

Cover of the book Terminal Uprising by Jim C. Hines
Terminal Uprising
by Jim C. Hines
DAW, 2019

This review was first published by Booklist on January 18, 2019.

Terminal Uprising cements the reputation of the Janitors of the Post-Apocalypse as an exciting and rewarding series. The second entry (after Terminal Alliance, 2017) picks up four months after the end of the first. This time, Mops and crew are headed to Earth, the world of feral humans, and they’re accompanied by an unexpected ally. What they discover upends much of what they thought they knew about humanity’s downfall and could tip the balance in the war between Krakau and Prodryans. As always, their expertise in the custodial arts serves them well in unexpected ways. (Even better: librarians help save the day.) This book is plenty funny but less overtly jokey than the first one. The story is more interesting, and the character development is more multifaceted. Hines has grown confident in this world, and he continues to expand it in fascinating directions. The narrative takes a bit to establish momentum, but the latter half is quick and exciting. Overall, a strong edition to an excellent series that will appeal to fans of Becky Chambers.

This title has been recommended for young adult readers:

YA/General Interest: Humor and Hitchhiker’s Guide sensibilities make this series a good fit for sf-loving teens who aren’t put off by salty language.

2018: My Year in Reading

All of the data that follows was collected by me throughout the year using a combination of Google Sheets and Google Calendar. All seasonal and monthly calculations are based on the date each title was begun. Average days to read titles are based on the number of days actually spent reading each title, and not necessarily the full span from begun date to completed date.

A complete list of all the books I read in 2018 is at the bottom of this post.

For a list of my favorite books I read this year, go here >

For a list of my least favorite books of the year, go here >

I participated in #LibFaves18 on Twitter. See my selections here >

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A Moment of Clarity

The American Library Association recently tweeted an article about an outreach program the Chicago Public Library is doing.

Literacy at the Laundromat” by Joseph P. Williams. Published by U.S. News & World Report, December 25, 2018.

CPL is offering story times in laundromats. I had two thoughts immediately upon reading this:

  1. What a wonderful idea!
  2. I would never come up with an idea like this.

I’m not a creative person. I love ideas but I’m not someone who dreams them up very well. I’m not much of a visionary in that sense.

This offered a moment of clarity for me. It helps me articulate what I really want to accomplish in my career.

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Book Review: Midnight in Chernobyl: The Untold Story of the World’s Greatest Nuclear Disaster by Adam Higginbotham

Cover of the book Midnight in Chernobyl: The Untold Story of the World's Greatest Nuclear Disaster by Adam Higginbotham
Midnight in Chernobyl: The Untold Story of the World’s Greatest Nuclear Disaster
by Adam Higginbotham
Simon & Schuster, 2019

This review was first published by Booklist on January 1, 2019.

**STARRED REVIEW** Midnight in Chernobyl is a top-notch historical narrative: a tense, fast-paced, engrossing, and revelatory product of more than a decade of research. Higginbotham interviewed most of the surviving central participants in the disaster, examined volumes of newly declassified Soviet documents, and surveyed previous research and reportage. The result is a stunningly detailed account of the explosion of Reactor Four at the Chernobyl nuclear-power plant on April 26, 1986. It offers a brief history of the development of the Soviet nuclear-power program leading up to the construction of the plant at Chernobyl, a second-by-second account of the night of the accident, the confluence of causes, the evacuation of the surrounding countryside, the containment and cleanup efforts, and a deep dive into the aftermath: the medical and environmental consequences, the political machinations and missteps, the role Chernobyl played in the downfall of the USSR, and the effect it had on the pursuit of nuclear power worldwide. For all its wealth of information, the work never becomes overwhelming or difficult to follow. Higginbotham humanizes the tale, maintaining a focus on the people involved and the choices, both heroic and not, they made in unimaginable circumstances. This is an essential human tale with global consequences.