Tag Archives: Technology

Review: Sourdough

Sourdough
By Robin Sloan
MCD, 9780374203108, September 2017, 272pp.

The Short of It:

Food and technology collide in what Amazon calls a “paranormal, urban fantasy.”

The Rest of It:

Lois is a software engineer in San Francisco. Her department focuses on robotics, specifically robotic arms and what they can do. Although the work they are doing is groundbreaking, her department is stumped by the simple task of cracking an egg. To date, they’ve not been able to crack that code. Pun intended. The arm applies too much pressure or not enough.

Each day Lois goes to work to ponder this issue. Each day she returns home to an empty apartment. Until one day she orders from a restaurant that delivers the spiciest of soups and the most delicious sourdough bread. This soup and bread affects Lois in a deeply personal way. How can food make a person feel so good?

All is great until the two brothers who run the delivery service tell her that they are closing up shop to move to another country. Seeing the desperation in her face, they share their sourdough starter with her.

What Lois produces through trial and error is also magical in its own way. Each loaf contains a face, unlike any other loaf. Even though she is not a baker, she finds herself newly motivated to share this bread with the world.

You may remember Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. Well, Sourdough is written by the same author. It’s very similar in feel so if you liked Mr. Penumbra then you will enjoy this one. As an urban fantasy, it’s quite fun but there is one part of the story that I had difficulty wrapping my brain around. Nevertheless, it was still a fun, easy read. I think it provides a little more to discuss that you would think.

I will caution you. If you read this, you will crave sourdough bread. This was torture for my Celiac self. So be sure to have some on hand with a thick slab of butter at the ready.

Source: Borrowed
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

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Review: A Truck Full of Money (DNF)

A Truck Full of Money

A Truck Full of Money
By Tracy Kidder
Random House, 9780812995244, September 2016, 288pp.

The Short of It:

If you are into the start-up culture and enjoy seeing ideas comes to fruition, you will find something of value in this read.

The Rest of It:

This is the story of Paul English, a kinetic and unconventional inventor and entrepreneur, who as a boy rebelled against authority. Growing up in working-class Boston, English discovers a medium for his talents the first time he sees a computer. As a young man, despite suffering from what would eventually be diagnosed as bipolar disorder, he begins his pilgrim’s journey through the ups and downs in the brave new world of computers. Relating to the Internet as if it’s an extension of his own mind, he discovers that he has a talent for conceiving innovative enterprises and building teams that can develop them, becoming “a Pied Piper” of geeks. ~ Indiebound

If you paid attention to the title of this post, you’ll see that this was a DNF (did not finish) for me . This is a rarity, especially when it comes to a book club pick, which is what A Truck Full of Money was to me. I try really hard to finish all book club selections but I just could not get past the 45% mark on my Kindle.

It’s well-written, so it’s definitely not the writing that caused me to eventually give up. No, I believe it was the subject matter. I work in Information Technology. I am surrounded by programmers and application developers but within the higher education sector so I expected to be somewhat enlightened to this new world of start-ups but I was bored people! Bored out of my mind.

At one point, Paul English becomes heavily involved in philanthropy and this part interested me because when someone is in possession of that much money, and we are talking quite a bit of money, it’s admirable when they choose to support charitable causes.

Kidder goes back into English’s childhood and here again, I was kind of pulled in only to be pushed away again. It just wasn’t enough for me to keep reading but he was the founder of Kayak.com and battled bipolar disorder to get to where he is today so I’m not really sure what didn’t work for me because his story is certainly compelling.

Have you read A Truck Full of Money? If so, let me know your thoughts.

Source: Borrowed
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.