arkadi cloud

tech, teaching, and books

BACKSTORY: I used to use Facebook and Twitter a lot. Then I encountered a crazy, stalker troll and stopped using social media. I then found Mastodon and that was cool, but I realized I don't need social media in my daily life. I pop onto Mastodon once a month to browse a bit. This monthly update is sort of a journal entry for me, and a way to remember the good and bad of every month.


The Robber Bride by Margaret Atwood

A deep look at chaos a vengeful, deceitful, 'special' person can wreak upon your life. This book is about one such woman, Zenia, that brings down destruction into three women's lives who sorta knew each other from their university days.


March Was Made of Yarn: Reflections on the Japanese Earthquake, Tsunami, and Nuclear Meltdown by Elmer Luke (editor), David Karashima (editor)

A painful exploration of how an earthquake, a tsunami, and then a nuclear power meltdown changed people's lives. This is a collection of short stories translated from Japanese.

Why am I drawn to these stories of pain? I guess where there is pain and suffering, there is injustice. Was it fair that a gigantic earthquake hit Japan? No. Life isn't fair, and mostly us poor humans are just muddling about trying to get through it all. How does this massive loss of life fit in with God's plan?

It always makes me sad and angry that I can't help out in these situations. I can at least help carry the burden of remembering their suffering, and hearing their stories.

Some of the stories were duds, but many were very good. The stories were mostly about the aftermath of the event. How did people cope? The feelings of guilt for surviving? Others were surreal stories. There was even a short manga in there.

A fitting book to remember a terrible event.

Rating: ★★★★ Book #72 in my My 2020 Reading Challenge

#Books #BookReview #Japan #fukushima #earthquake #OralHistory #ShortStory

Home: Habitat, Range, Niche, Territory by Martha Wells

(The Murderbot Diaries #4.5)

A very, very short story (17 pages) used a bridge between The Murderbot Diaries 4: Exit Strategy and her new book that just came out The Murderbot Diaries 5: Network Effect.

I'm not sure why I keep coming back to this series. Well, I guess I do know. I like the smart-ass robot who has to keep saving those pitiful humans who are living in their fragile meat sacs. They are short, and action packed too. I like to read Murderbot in between other hard, and difficult books. The series is familiar, and easy to read.

Now that this is finished, I can move onto the new full-length novel, Network Effect! I hope it is still as good as the other 4.5 books in the series. Onward!

Rating: ★★★ Book #71 in my My 2020 Reading Challenge

#Books #BookReview #MurderbotDiaries #MarthaWells #SciFi #robots #Murderbot

Chinese Calligraphy: An Introduction to Its Aesthetic and Technique by Chiang Yee, 蒋彝

I've always found calligraphy fascinating. I love studying the ancient scrolls in the National Palace Museum in Taiwan all the while wishing I understood more Chinese to appreciate them more. This book lays out different aspects of calligraphy in 11 chapters from the origins of calligraphy, techniques, and the cultural significance of calligraphy in Chinese culture.


Diana: Princess of the Amazons by Shannon Hale

(DC Zoom series)

Fun graphic novel about a girl finding her identity, and learning what it means to be an Amazon. She makes a 'bad' friend along the way, makes some bad decisions, but it works out in the end. My daughter enjoyed it, as did I.

This DC Zoom series seems to be 'superhero' books targeted to teens and pre-teens.

Rating: ★★★★ Book #67 in my My 2020 Reading Challenge

#Books #BookReview #GraphicNovel #DCZoom #Amazon

Good Will Come From the Sea by Christos Ikonomou,

Want to know what 'austerity' feels like? This book tells the tales of city folk forced back to the 'home' islands to scrape by.


Unfree Speech: The Threat to Global Democracy and Why We Must Act, Now by Joshua Wong

Books like this are difficult to review: do I review the book? or review of the topic presented? How about I do both?


The Light Brigade by Kameron Hurley

What a thrilling book! It had a diabolical premise of corporations being the rulers of the world, who have their own armies. They have a technology that can turn soldiers into a light beam and send them anywhere they desire to fight their wars for them. I really liked to political backdrop of the story with: ghouls (those without residency or citizenship rights), residents, and citizens. The scary part of this story is how some parts of it are quite plausible, and not that far fetched.


The Soccer War by Ryszard Kapuściński

Before reading this review, you have to read this excerpt from this book to get a feel for Kapuściński.

SILENCE. People who write history devote too much attention to so-called events heard around the world, while neglecting the periods of silence. This neglect reveals the absence of that infallible intuition that every mother has when her child falls suddenly silent in its room. A mother knows that this silence signifies something bad. That the silence is hiding something. She runs to intervene because she can feel evil hanging in the air. Silence fulfills the same role in history and in politics. Silence is a signal of unhappiness and, often, of crime. It is the same sort of political instrument as the clatter of weapons or a speech at a rally. Silence is necessary to tyrants and occupiers, who take pains to have their actions accompanied by quiet. Look at how colonialism has always fostered silence; at how discreetly the Holy Inquisition functioned; at the way Leonidas Trujillo avoided publicity.