Review: LaValle’s The Changeling

A book that starts out as a heartwarming tale of parenthood, turns real dark, real fast, and ends up a surreal exploration of a world of monsters, cults, and heartbroken parents in New York City.

Kinda about parenthood, kinda about race and difference, kinda about the role of social media, and kinda about the immigrant experience. All and all pretty spectacular. Some of the best writing about what it feels like to be a new dad that I have ever read, some of the most disturbing scenes of grief. Written with a love of New York City and subtle type of immigrant and racial justice politics.

A great book, if you can buy in on some supernatural elements, but fair warning, some of this can be tough going for parents of young children.


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Review: Ferris’s Tools for Titans

Tools for Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers
Tim Ferris

I’ll confess to being a fairly regular listener to the Tim Ferris podcast. While Ferris can be annoying at times and the whole can smell like techbro city, he is a good interviewer and his guests are often interesting people I would have never run across otherwise. This book is a collection of excepts from those interviews but distilled down to lists and bites and devoid of the kind of personal energy that comes through in the podcast.

While there’s some good bits in here, you’re much better off just picking the episodes of the podcasts that interest you.

Not recommended.

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Review: Soundtracks to the White Revolution: White Supremacist Assaults on Youth Music Subcultures

Soundtracks to the White Revolution: White Supremacist Assaults on Youth Music Subcultures
Devin Burghart, editor

Almost more of a pamphlet than a book, this is an overview of the various genres of neo-fascists / white power music. I grew up in punk rock / underground music scene, and am, unfortunately, deeply familiar with many of the bands and scenes discussed here. Definitely dated now (this one came out in 1999), but still full of valuable information for people who know nothing about this phenomenon. If you come to this one already knowing about Skrewdriver, Boyd Rice, Burzum and Death in June, you’ll probably find this pretty basic. If those names don’t ring a bell, then there’s a lot to learn in this little book.

Recommended for the enthusiast

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Review: Militias in America 1995: A Book of Reading and Resources

Militias in America 1995: A Book of Reading and Resources

Institute of Alternative Journalism

I spent much of my twenties working, and volunteering in various bookstores. There’s much I don’t miss about those days the low pay, the drudgery, the customer service; but there are other parts of that life I remember fondly.

One of those parts was being so close to the book world that I could pick up things like this, a self published collection of investigations into the militia movement by a group of journalists who took a long, hard look at what was then burgeoning and important part of the ultra-right.

This came out in 1995 in the wake of the Oklahoma City Bombings and dives deep into the world that produced Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols. Many of the important journalists investigating the ultra-left are featured here including James Ridgeway (who wrote Blood in the Face). Incredibly timely at the point of publication, but now largely a historical piece in the puzzle that brought us to where we are today.

Recommended for the anti-racist researcher.

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Review: Palmer’s Seven Surrenders

Seven Surrenders
Ada Palmer
The second book in Ada Palmers incredible Terra Ignota series. This one picks off exactly where Too Like the Lightning ended, and moves along at a blistering clip through scores of plot revelations, and extended explorations into the nature of gender, the place of violence in society, the complexities of competing duties, the nature of divinity and more.

I can’t get enough of these books. The world Palmer has built is incredibly complex and nuanced and I fear I’ll never get to see as much of it as I’d like to. The books are overflowing with ideas sometimes, almost too many to keep up with, and the writing is clean, clear, and often funny. If I have a quibble, its that at times it feels rushed. Palmer has so many plot points to tie up that reveals happen at a breakneck speed and not always with the level of pre-work I’d like to see.

Still and all, there is so much here. Including real insights into what the future might look like, and fascinating explorations about how we might view our own history in coming eras.

Recommended (for a certain type of big idea SF loving) enthusiast.

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The Boston Qualifier Questionnaire — Ashley N


Ashley N



Age (at the time of first BQ):




Weight (at the time of first BQ):


At which marathon did you get your first BQ?


Tell us a little about the race.

It was my first marathon, highly recommended by many running pals – great choice for my first!

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ?

21 years

Did you run in college or high school?


What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ?

No idea

How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ?


Approximately how many races did you run in that year?


Did you follow a canned program? If so, which one? If not, can you give us an idea of what your training philosophy was?

No, Loosely followed Pete Pfitzinger plan with some elements from Greg McMillan and Hanson

Did you run with a running club or utilize a coach?


Did cross training play a role in your training? If so, how?

Not much. Some pilates and yoga for strength and flexibility.

Did speed work play a role or specific workouts play a role in your training? If so, how?

Yes. Speed workouts and/or tempo runs every week in the few months leading up to my BQ marathon.

Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ?

Put in the effort, week after week. Read all you can about different training plans and approaches to see what fits with your lifestyle and preferences. Find a running group/friends to hold you accountable for speed work, tempo and long runs. Enjoy the process!

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Book Review: Grann’s Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI

Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI

David Grann

This is a story of a mass murder.

The murdered were members of the Osage tribe of Native Americans, who, for a host of complex reasons tied to U.S.’s horrific treatment of Native Americans, ended up inexplicably wealthy owners of extremely valuable land rights. Their murderers were members of the white community around them, people who befriend them, even married them, and then systematically went about killing them to gain their wealth and land titles.

This book is also about the early days of the FBI, when Hoover was trying to turn a little known group of law men into a feared national surveillance and enforcement unit. They solved at least some of the Osage murders, but for their own reasons.

It all makes for some dark, sociopathic, racist, stuff. Its also deeply compelling, extremely well researched, and written in a style that keeps the pace of the story high, without descending into sensationalism.

This one will be on a lot of best of the year lists and for good reason. It’s a compelling, heartbreaking story, long overlooked and its excellently told.


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