Monthly Archives: June 2014

Revolution 2.0: A Memoir by Wael Ghonim

Ghonim’s Revolution 2.0 tells the story of his reluctant, gradual,  but dedicated and often terrifying and painful involvement in the events that, through the medium of the internet, helped lead to the overthrow of Mubarak and the beginning of what was hopefully called “the Arab Spring.”

This was a difficult book for me to read, not because of the book itself but because of the current situation in Egypt. I knew that Ghonim would survive being interrogated and that his work via the internet to organize protests and push for the ouster of Mubarak would succeed. But I also knew they would not have the lasting effect he longed to see.

The book’s final pages, so full of hope and pride, are the most depressing. After all that effort, all the fear, all the suffering, the years of sacrifices, the deaths, the torture, after even the elation of success, Egypt is a dictatorship again. Ghonim, who is a target of the Egyptian establishment, is no longer there. The power of the people is not yet greater than the people in power, though for a brief time it seemed to be so.

Ghonim is working for Google again, with Google Ventures, and trying to make his NGO work to improve the lot of Egyptians through education. But Sisi rules Egypt and Egyptians are not free – and Ghonim still has hope.

Some days I do, too. I’m hoping Ghonim and other geeks can keep using their skills to mobilize enough people everywhere to finally make the power of the people permanently greater than the people in power.

 

NetGalley.com – Excellent Source for Librarians

NetGalley.com is now one of my favorite sites. I signed up on June 12 and spent several hours on June 13 to read through the FAQs, QAs, and other info; add my photo, contact information, links, interest categories (almost all of them), and a bio; update my version of Adobe Digital Editions and my Adobe PC registration (which needed doing anyway); set up my Kindle documents account (which also needed doing anyway); and select 5 books. Later, I set up Library Thing a bit more.

I spent so much time setting up because the site hooked me with all those yummy e-books. The process was straight-forward and the site is easy to use, with excellent help info (better about the Kindle documents than Amazon’s help). I really like the eclectic nature of the site – so many publishers, every sort of book that’s being published – which makes it a great time-saver for browsing and keeping up on what’s in the pipeline. I also really like the format choices for downloads because I read on both my Kindle and on my main computer.

On this first go-round, I picked two “immediate reads” and had them sent to my Kindle right away – (1) The Best Digital Marketing Campaigns in the World II, 3rd edition, by Dania Ryan; and (2) Crossing the Line, a Paris Homicide Mystery by Frederique Molay, so that I wouldn’t have deadline problems for the Nebraska Learns 2.0 assignment. I also picked three other books: (3) Race Unmasked, by Michael Luddell; (4) The Lazarus Curse, a Dr. Silkstone Mystery, by Tessa Harris; and (5) Creed, by Lindsay Cuneid (YA suspense). Approvals for the three arrive June 17. By the 18th, I also had sent these three and one more, (6) The Night Visitor by Dianne Emley (paranormal thriller), to my Kindle. I’ve been pre-approved by a publisher now, too.

I’ve read #1, 2, and 4, have started (and will finish) the other 3, and will review all 6 over the next couple of weeks. My review of #4, The Lazarus Curse, a Dr. Silkstone Mystery, by Tessa Harris, is available at these 4 locations:

I’ll post a review later on Amazon.com. It’s not allowing pre-publication reviews right now.

By the way, I appreciate being able to leave feedback for the publisher as well as answers to their questions and the review and rating. It’s a chance to be a bit critical without having a negative public effect, especially with things like strange formatting problems or typos or other errors.

NetGalley is VERY helpful to me as a librarian. I read constantly, but I do not have a large personal book-buying budget, and our library materials budget is small, so it’s really helpful to be able to read free advance copies and choose carefully. Because the site is so eclectic, it’s an efficient source for keeping track of and budgeting for books by our patrons’ favorite authors and for discovering authors whose work they probably will like. I’ve already ordered the books in the Paris Homicide and Dr. Silkstone series and probably will order Race Unmasked; and I’m on the lookout via NetGalley for good YA books, especially series.

Writing more reviews is good for me personally and as a librarian, too. Usually I don’t review books I don’t like – why attract attention to a book you don’t think is worth reading? – but I’ll figure out how to handle that dilemma. Thinking about a book more and longer after reading it increases my memory of it and prepares me to talk about it more clearly with patrons, too. So I’m sure to keep using NetGalley for a very long time.

Recommended: The Lazarus Curse, a Dr. Silkstone Mystery, by Tessa Harris

Harris’ 4th book in her Dr. Silkstone series is another winner, this time taking on the horrors faced by slaves and former slaves in England in the 1700s. If you like historical fiction, mysteries, forensics, and a touch of romance, this series is definitely a must. I gave the novel only 4 stars because I reserve 5 stars for only the best of the best.

As has been the case with Harris’ previous novels, The Lazarus Curse is well researched (and includes a glossary and references) and well written. Harris knows how to build and sustain suspense and makes us care about her subject and her characters – even the minor characters feel multi-dimensional and real. She also portrays the period and setting extremely well, without any heavy handed descriptions.

The previous novel left Silkstone and his intended, Lady Lydia, forcibly separated from each other by a legal ruling. Silkstone is asked to catalog samples brought back from Jamaica by a New World expedition, but the expedition’s missing artist and a headless corpse tied to the pier where the expedition ship docked draw him into another murder investigation, with plots involving corpse trafficking, slavery, Jamaican potions, political ambitions, and infidelity.

This time Silkstone must do his work without Lydia’s support, while Lydia must deal alone with the problems of finding a new estate manager and raising her son. Most of the novel centers on Silkstone and his quest for the truth (which I must admit I enjoyed; Lydia never seems quite right to me). This was not a mystery I could solve before Silkstone did; but the farther I got into the book, the more I did not want to put it down. Harris ties up all the loose ends at the end, but Lydia does not know that efforts to deprive her of her son and her estate are still underway until it is too late, and we are left with another cliffhanger, wanting to read the series’ book #5.