Review: Ser­i­al: Sea­son Two

Serial: Season Two
Ser­i­al: Sea­son Two by Sarah Koenig
My rat­ing: 4 of 5 stars

Sto­ries like these make me appre­ci­ate inves­tiga­tive jour­nal­ism and the thor­ough fact-check­ing that is required to deliv­er an objec­tive­ly as pos­si­ble look at the sto­ry at hand. I found the lat­ter episodes a bit lack­ing, as it did­n’t dis­cuss the moral quib­bles and the impact of long-term con­fine­ment. I would have like to know more how dif­fi­cult Bowe found it to read­just after get­ting back into soci­ety. Prob­a­bly there was not much footage, but that would have been more fas­ci­nat­ing to me than the polit­i­cal out­fall that ensued. Over­all, this was worth my time and I appre­ci­at­ed get­ting such an inti­mate glimpse in the mind of a per­son that strug­gled with these moral conun­drums.

As with S‑town, the ques­tion is whether this qual­i­fies as an audio­book, but for me this audio nar­ra­tive does. Per­son­al­ly, I want to keep track on the sto­ries and ideas that I expose myself to, so this for me falls in that cat­e­go­ry.

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Review: Dig­i­tal Min­i­mal­ism: Choos­ing a Focused Life in a Noisy World

Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World
Dig­i­tal Min­i­mal­ism: Choos­ing a Focused Life in a Noisy World by Cal New­port
My rat­ing: 5 of 5 stars

I have been toy­ing with this idea for a long time and per­son­al­ly had a few set­backs that with­hold me from attempt­ing anoth­er dig­i­tal detox. I do think that this book makes the strongest case and it came to me on a time that was right and felt I could imple­ment the key prin­ci­ples direct­ly. The exam­ples were great and diverse, the rest of the ‘the­o­ry’ was well-sup­port­ed and con­cise­ly for­mu­lat­ed. Com­pared to oth­er books of the same top­ic, I found it rather action­able and moti­vat­ing to take steps!
For sure, I will buy a phys­i­cal copy of this book, so I can browse through it at a lat­er moment in time. It would act as a reminder of the direc­tion I want to move in and since it takes mul­ti­ple cycles to get clos­er to this more pre­ferred state of inten­tion­al liv­ing, the chances are high that I would want to re-read it in the future. Best self-help book that I have read this past year!

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Review: How I Became Stu­pid

How I Became Stupid
How I Became Stu­pid by Mar­tin Page
My rat­ing: 4 of 5 stars

This nov­el was rec­om­mend­ed me by some­one from the book­club after read­ing Flow­ers for Alger­non. It promised a sim­i­lar explo­ration of the effects of intel­li­gence on the social life of the pro­tag­o­nist. The first half of the book was real­ly great and was five-star mate­r­i­al. There was lots of unique, absur­dists ideas that were great to explore. The pac­ing was quick and I could relate to the main char­ac­ter in var­i­ous ways. How­ev­er, half-way into the book, when the down­fall start­ed to hap­pen, I thought the book was going a bit to quick. Even though I dis­liked the course the book took, I think with some extra pages they could be explained bet­ter and it might have made more sense. Now it did­n’t do so much, and that is a pity, because I felt like this could be one of my all-time favourite books.

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Review: Het water komt

Het water komt
Het water komt by Rut­ger Breg­man
My rat­ing: 5 of 5 stars

This was a free book­let you could order online and it tries to get peo­ple take action in com­bat­ting cli­mate change and more specif­i­cal­ly, the rise of sea lev­el that would be real­ly chal­leng­ing to fight against, once the increase is a lot more than we have need­ed to fight in the past. As a stu­dent at Delft Uni­ver­si­ty of Tech­nol­o­gy, I was sur­prised to find out that even me and my friends did­n’t know about Johan van Veen, who was the father of the Dutch Delta­works. I vis­it­ed many parts of this world­fa­mous sys­tem to pro­tect the cit­i­zens from flood­ing and hav­ing to aban­don their home­grounds. The main les­son for me would be that his­to­ri­ans can real­ly teach us as a soci­ety a lot. It helps to put cur­rent events in per­spec­tive and they remind us of mis­takes our fore­bears made in the past.

I would be curi­ous to read the rest of the biog­ra­phy of this for­got­ten engi­neer. How­ev­er, I am a bit less opti­mistic than the author and feel that peo­ple should seri­ous­ly con­sid­er mov­ing to high­er grounds. While one has the chance it is bet­ter to build up a new life in a safer envi­ron­ment for the long term.

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Review: It’s Always Sun­ny in Philadel­phia: The 7 Secrets of Awak­en­ing the High­ly Effec­tive Four-Hour Giant, Today

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia: The 7 Secrets of Awakening the Highly Effective Four-Hour Giant, Today
It’s Always Sun­ny in Philadel­phia: The 7 Secrets of Awak­en­ing the High­ly Effec­tive Four-Hour Giant, Today by The Gang
My rat­ing: 3 of 5 stars

There were def­i­nite­ly some humor­ous sec­tions in the book, but over­all it was a mediocre expe­ri­ence. I do like the tele­vi­sion series, but I must admit, I am not the biggest fan out there, so some of the ref­er­ences went over my head. There were also more pop­u­lar cul­tur­al ref­er­ences that I did­n’t get, because I am not an Amer­i­can cit­i­zen and some house­hold names just don’t ring a bell for me.

For me the book would have been a lot bet­ter, if they had removed the quizzes and just added some scripts of episodes that they would­n’t have the time or bud­get for to shoot. I find that it is real­ly easy to imag­ine the char­ac­ters act­ing out their role with their unique voic­es and man­ner­isms. Appar­ent­ly, these are called spec­u­la­tive scripts, but I would have like to read more of those.

Here’s an exam­ple I found on Red­dit: The Gang Goes Veg­an

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Review: Flow­ers for Alger­non

Flowers for Algernon
Flow­ers for Alger­non by Daniel Keyes
My rat­ing: 4 of 5 stars

Flow­ers for Alger­non is the first book that I have read for a book club, and what a great book to start this tra­di­tion with. As this is a book of fic­tion, which I usu­al­ly don’t read, I found this book to be real­ly res­onat­ing with me in mul­ti­ple lev­els and I am impressed by the author’s abil­i­ty to por­tray the tran­si­tion so vivid­ly. Hats off to the nar­ra­tor for mak­ing the changes in char­ac­ter even more pro­nounced! In the end, this books shows once more than being all-round­ed and bal­anced is the thing that will get you along the fur­thest. Ini­tial­ly, I got to know about the book through the episode ‘Flow­ers for Char­lie’, from the It’s Always Sun­ny in Philadel­phia TV-show, which is one of my favourites.

The audio­book ver­sion was bet­ter I believe, but you can’t go wrong with either of the two.

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Review: De Bul­let Jour­nal meth­ode

De Bullet Journal methode
De Bul­let Jour­nal meth­ode by Ryder Car­roll
My rat­ing: 4 of 5 stars

After know­ing of its exis­tence for a cou­ple of years, I knew I would have to read a book to get invest­ed in the way of life that is bul­letjour­nal­ing. I do think it fits my needs and I had to be in the right place to be tuned to hear its mes­sage. There are some good exer­cis­es men­tioned in the book. Per­son­al­ly, I did­n’t like part IV as much (nor the back­cov­er of the book), but over­all a great syn­the­sis on cur­rent pro­duc­tive jour­nal­ing. Def­i­nite­ly going to try it this spring and see how it evolves through­out the year! This com­ing March, I start incor­po­rat­ing this into my life and fine tune it, until I am ready to go full-time.

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Review: Gulp: Adven­tures on the Ali­men­ta­ry Canal

Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal
Gulp: Adven­tures on the Ali­men­ta­ry Canal by Mary Roach
My rat­ing: 4 of 5 stars

The book start­ed off the real­ly strong, but I found that halfway it lost some steam. Still plen­ty of good triv­ia and taboo top­ics about the human body that are wor­thy of fur­ther pur­suit. This was my first book of the author and I look for­ward to read­ing the oth­ers! I mean, the con­cept is great, it just depends on the sto­ries that have hap­pened in the past and how they unfold­ed, that deter­mine if the book is inter­est­ing. This book shines at the moment the book touch­es on top­ics peo­ple are not like­ly to dis­cuss in their day-to-day life due to shame and fear.

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Review: The Fat Switch

The Fat Switch
The Fat Switch by Richard J. John­son
My rat­ing: 5 of 5 stars

An insight­ful book about the var­i­ous ways fruc­tose wreak hav­oc on the human body. You could almost see it as an anti-nutri­ent, if sup­plied in a high con­cen­tra­tion. Like all sub­stances, the dose makes the poi­son. After hear­ing about the con­cepts in the pod­cast of Peter Attia, I want­ed to learn more about the research that Prof. Richard John­son and his col­leagues had done to sup­port his claims. Sur­pris­ing to me were the rela­tion­ship with yeast and uma­mi foods to uric acid and its fur­ther effects on blood pres­sure. I will def­i­nite­ly reread parts of this book in the future.

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Review: S‑Town and the Art of Pod­cast Music

S-Town and the Art of Podcast Music
S‑Town and the Art of Pod­cast Music by Roby
My rat­ing: 5 of 5 stars

Even though most peo­ple would­n’t clas­si­fy this as an audio­book, I think it does. I mean, it does­n’t mat­ter, I just want­ed to write a quick review about this great and grip­ping sto­ry, not all that unsim­i­lar to the stranger in the woods by Michael Finkel. The main char­ac­ter was fas­ci­nat­ing and res­onat­ed with me strong­ly. The lit­tle facts about clock­mak­ing and the ref­er­ence to oth­er lit­er­a­ture were nice details that added to the expe­ri­ence. The audio record­ings just made it super vivid and I wish more non-fic­tion books were done this way, although I under­stand it is very dif­fi­cult to pull off. One of a kind!

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