Dead in the Water

Dead In The Water (Kate Shugak, #3)Dead In The Water by Dana Stabenow

I love this series, but unfortunately, I’ve read many of them out of order, so this is going backwards for me and it’s nice to meet characters I’ve only heard about in future stories. My only complaint about this book is that Mutt is not in it, because Kate takes a job aboard a crab boat to help the DA’s office figure out what happened to two crewmen who were lost at sea. With the exception of no Mutt, this book has everything I love about this series: amazing descriptions of Alaska, fully written characters with appealing connections to each other, an interesting plot, and plenty of action. My kind of story. I listened to this on audio and Margueritte Gavin does a wonderful job of voicing Kate. Her performance really brings the book alive.

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Unbound: How Eight Technologies Made Us Human, Transformed Society, and Brought Our World to the Brink

Unbound: How Eight Technologies Made Us Human, Transformed Society, and Brought Our World to the BrinkUnbound: How Eight Technologies Made Us Human, Transformed Society, and Brought Our World to the Brink by Richard L. Currier

I enjoyed this book despite the fact that it could be a little dry in sections. For the most part, I agree with the author’s take on what transformed us into what we are and where we are likely headed. The fact is that as a species we’ve developed rapidly and that change is now accelerating even faster because of technology. I think Currier gives a good overview of human development and then raises some interesting questions about our future. I enjoy this kind of broad thinking in a book. If you do too, you should check it out.

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Luwak Coffee

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The picture on the bag is truly awesome. My niece tells me this picture is used to sell a lot of products in Bali. And why not? It’s fantastic.

My niece, Hannah, recently went to Bali, and because she loves me and knows I love coffee, she brought me back a bag of Kopi Luwak. Luwak is what the Indonesians call the wild cat that we refer to as a civet. As it turns out, civets like to eat coffee berries, and after they eat them, they poop them out. The civets only digest the fruit part of the coffee and the bean passes through intact. Indonesian coffee farmers collect the civet coffee-laden turds, put them through six different washings, roast, and package them to sell as some of the most expensive coffee you can buy. The most expensive, fyi, is the coffee pooped out by elephants.

So what does it taste like? It’s fruity, a little sweet, there is nothing that brings to mind it’s origins, but it is odd. The flavor is remarkably consistent. It’s not at all bitter and the initial flavor is exactly the same through to the end, no aftertaste, but also no other notes. It’s one consistent fruity flavor all the way through to the finish. What kind of fruit? I don’t know. Citrusy maybe, but not any kind of citrus I can identify. I thought it was good if a little dull. The wasn’t a lot of complexity to the flavor. It wasn’t good enough for me to pay $12 or more an ounce for it, but if your niece goes to Indonesia, maybe you’ll luck out and she’ll bring you some.

Potato: A History Of The Propitious Esculent

Potato: A History Of The Propitious EsculentPotato: A History Of The Propitious Esculent by John Reader

You might not think a book about the potato would be that interesting, but this was a really good read. The potato has had a tremendous impact on every country it’s been introduced to. John Reader goes through the entire history of the potato and it’s journey across the planet. He spends a significant amount of time on the Irish Potato famine, and the late blight, which was its cause. Late blight is still the most significant problem with raising potatoes and Reader addresses the various methods for dealing with blight, including genetic manipulation and spraying copper based fungicides. Because the potato is relatively easy to grow in a variety of soils and climates and is a complete food when you pair it with a little fat, it has tremendous value as a food source. It also has a fascinating history, well worth the read.

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Whisper To The Blood

Whisper To The Blood (Kate Shugak, #16)Whisper To The Blood by Dana Stabenow

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Whisper to The Blood is a direct sequel to A Deeper Sleep, which I reviewed here. This is a very interesting book in that it explores all the complexities of living in such a rural community so far from any direct outside influence. One of the things I like about Dana Stabenow’s books is that all of them can be read individually and understood, but they are very much enriched by reading them in order. In this novel, Kate becomes temporary head of the Native Association that runs The Park. While Jim struggles with the fallout from Louis Deems death, a new mining company is wooing the park rats in order to start a massive new open pit mine in the far reaches of The Park. When a man from Johnny’s past appears in The Park, the bodies start to pile up and it’s up to Jim and Kate to figure out what’s going on.

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Coming Clean

Coming CleanComing Clean by Kimberly Rae Miller

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The first and only time I ever saw Hoarders on TV, I was at the beach with my husband and some friends. After the show, I went downstairs to our room and began cleaning. My husband, who was reading in bed, asked what I was doing. I told him what I’d seen and that I needed to clean the room. My husband is a firefighter so he is very familiar with hoarder houses. “But we’re at the beach,” he said. “We hardly have any stuff here.” That didn’t matter to me. I cleaned the room anyway, hanging all the clothes, emptying the bathroom trash. I even did a load of laundry. When Kimberly Rae Miller’s book popped up on BookBub yesterday I almost didn’t get it, but then I opted for the look inside option and I’m glad I did. I bought the book and read the whole thing yesterday. It’s different from what I expected. Despite all the difficulties of living with her parents’ hoarding and growing up in that kind of atmosphere, Miller loves her parents. In many ways, they were great parents and in many ways they were horrifying. This book does a good job of opening a window on that dichotomy. It’s an incredibly quick read and I’m glad I finished it, because frankly parts of it are difficult to get through. It’s enlightening though and worth the read, especially if you know of anyone in that situation and have not been able to fathom how they got there and why they haven’t fixed it.

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