Three New-in-2022 books I read last week…
The Night Shift by Alex Finlay (Release date: March 1, 2022)
It’s New Year’s Eve 1999. Y2K is expected to end in chaos: planes falling from the sky, elevators plunging to earth, world markets collapsing. A digital apocalypse. None of that happens. But at a Blockbuster Video in Linden, New Jersey, four teenage girls working the night shift are attacked. Only one survives. Police quickly identify a suspect who flees and is never seen again.
Fifteen years later, in the same town, four teenage employees working late at an ice cream store are attacked, and again only one makes it out alive.
Both surviving victims recall the killer speaking only a few final words… “Goodnight, pretty girl.”
In the aftermath, three lives intersect: the survivor of the Blockbuster massacre who’s forced to relive her tragedy; the brother of the original suspect, who’s convinced the police have it wrong; and the FBI agent, who’s determined to solve both cases. On a collision course toward the truth, all three lives will forever be changed, and not everyone will make it out alive.
My thoughts: Not a bad little thriller. Some interesting twists and turns keep the reader engaged despite a narrative that, at times, plod along. The characters are a little flat with the exception of our almost 9 month pregnant (with twins!) FBI investigator whose mere existence stretches credulity. In the end, it all comes together in fairly satisfying fashion, but so far as entries in this genre go, it doesn’t really stand apart. A solid B.
Haven by Emma Donoghue (Release date: August 23, 2022)
In seventh-century Ireland, a scholar and priest called Artt has a dream telling him to leave the sinful world behind. Taking two monks—young Trian and old Cormac—he rows down the river Shannon in search of an isolated spot on which to found a monastery. Drifting out into the Atlantic, the three men find an impossibly steep, bare island inhabited by tens of thousands of birds, and claim it for God. In such a place, what will survival mean?
My thoughts: There’s an eloquence to Donoghue’s prose, a remarkable deftness in its ability to immerse readers in her beautifully realized worlds and draw them into the lives of her unique and complex characters. I just wish it was in service to a story that offered more than this curtailed journey. The setting is wonderfully atmospheric and one can’t help but feel for this trio, sympathizing with their respective struggles, but the ending simply peters out rather than landing with an emotional resonance that pays off the hitherto fascinating build-up. There’s a late twist that, while subtly set-up in hindsight, feels a little “out there” and disconnected to the standing narrative. Overall, an engaging ride that comes up short.
Fossil Future by Alex Epstein (Release date: May 24, 2022)
What does the future hold? In Fossil Future, Epstein, applying his distinctive “human flourishing framework” to the latest evidence, comes to the shocking conclusion that the benefits of fossil fuels will continue to far outweigh their side effects–including climate impacts–for generations to come. The path to global human flourishing, Epstein argues, is a combination of using more fossil fuels, getting better at “climate mastery,” and establishing “energy freedom” policies that allow nuclear and other truly promising alternatives to reach their full long-term potential.
My thoughts: This interesting book makes a case for fossil fuels against the prevailing public sentiment and the growing ESG movement. Epstein’s argument is fairly straight-forward and admittedly compelling, focusing first on the historical benefits of fossil fuels as a relatively cheap and reliable energy source and its potential to lift billions out of poverty. He then proceeds to break down the counter-arguments, covering everything from “climate catastrophizing” to unreliable alternative energy sources like solar and wind to the green movement’s bewildering dismissal of nuclear and hydro-electric power. In the end, we’ll all pay (both literally and figuratively) in the mad rush to Net Zero, but the world’s poorest will pay the heaviest price of all. A recommended read that presents a reasoned counter to the current narrative.
So, how goes your 2022 reading?
5 thoughts on “May 9, 2022: Baron’s Book Club Blab Blog!”
Hey, Joe. Noticed your tweet. Glad to see you found your one simple/low key, easier to like, cheese item for your gathering. The Cancoillotte sounds easily yummy. Don’t forget to add some casual side food items to pair your cheeses with. i.e: olives, apple/pears slices, grapes, etc. etc. Enjoy! You got this. I’m sure it will be a wonderful evening for all. Hope you’ll post pics!
As far as your comments on Alex Epstein’s book goes, While I am sure there are many in the extremist green movement who oppose hydro electric and nuclear, most major governments including U.S have not ruled them out. Albeit with nuclear there are simply cheaper, less risky, alternatives so very few on either side of the political aisle are pushing harder for it. Though it’s not making news headlines, hydro electric is actually being pursued in U.S, UK, EU, and U.A.E via wave power which is cheaper and more environmentally friendly than traditional hydro. Some countries such as India are investing more in geo thermal energies. Some companies are pursuing large scale green hydrogen. https://news.cornell.edu/stories/2022/05/startups-flourish-cornells-clean-energy-ecosystem.
One city in E.U recently successfully tested out a large scale clean gravitational powered energy storage/battery system for when sun and wind is not generating at full capacity.
Again, it’s not something making it into news headlines but there are large scale alternatives gradually happening worldwide beyond solar, wind, and traditional lithium-ion battery back ups.
That said, there is a reality everyone must face on both sides of the argument.
There is simply no practical way to reach net zero energy by 2050 no matter how many larger scale alternatives can be mustered. For one thing, petroleum made plastics are in so much of what we rely on daily and need worldwide to function properly as modern societies. No alternative affordable material has been invented or discovered to date that can match its significant wider scale usage. We are going to need traditional fossil fuels to remain in play at some level for at least four more decades so we need to be investing more in adaption strategies such as carbon capture. It seriously bothers me that governments, oil corps, investigative journalists, and university labs, worldwide are well aware of this but not placing greater funding and emphasis on adaption innovations.
By The Way, Interesting development here. My new hepatology and breast oncology teams did a joint consult and neither have a clue why the doctors in Fl would suggest oral chemo was my best bet for sustained remission. Both teams strongly concur it not only is not my best bet but could possibly have caused more harm than good in my case. They tell me they have since been in contact with my previous medical team and did not receive a clear explanation. Fortunately, we found me a targeted therapy plan, as well as a back up plan, I have confidence in. Next surgery to remove new growth is coming up Thursday. I’m now stage 3. I knew this was a risk. Albeit delaying surgery until i could reach a location with more options for effective targeted therapies and the financial resources i desperately need was a decision i felt forced to make for my longer term survival. Picking up my new lower denture tomorrow. Will likely be offline for a couple weeks there after to focus on surgical recovery with fewer stress inducing distractions.
Much love to all always and a million plus one thanks again to everyone who had my back and helped keep me safe over the last year. XO
Sending you positive thoughts heading into your surgery, Drea.
All best wishes.
The Night Shift looks really good. Thanks for the recommendation!
I’m just finishing up The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Next, is a Sigma Force novel by James Rollins. It’s a little adventure, mystery, and sci-fi.