Books Under Review (January 2021)

Reviewing books is a mainstay of engaged writing, and has, I think, a number of uses to the world. These reviews reflect current cultural memes in some way by guiding how a book is approached, the books themselves, of course, are shedding illumination on some of their historical contexts, and definitely reflect language itself over time. Book reviews, I would say, can really be examples of meaningful societal consideration and can truly have some literary merit (not that I am saying mine have much merit). 🙂

I have been reviewing books for Library Journal for, I think, almost 8 years now, and plan to continue for a time. I get to read new books and I learn a lot. I mean, I get to read books that might not ever ‘come across my desk’ normally but that from which I get to learn a lot of new things about society, technology, history, literature, and sociology. Back in 2015, I even wrote reviews of books as part of a single long article about new books on privacy and surveillance. It was fun and, like I said, I learned a lot and contributed to the discussion of an important (its still important) subject. But, to look at the books being examined in this post, one of the books currently in-progress in the review procedure is for Library Journal and one is for another periodical.

Currently, I am reviewing the two titles below:

1. For Beautiful Black Boys Who Believe In A Better World by Michael W Waters and Keisha Morris (illustrator). This picture book is about gun violence and hope for peace to stop said violence.

2. Genius Makers: The Mavericks Who Brought AI To Google, Facebook, And The World by Cade Metz. This book is about the major personalities behind the building and development of, neural networks, machine learning, and, what we would call now, artificial intelligence.

The two reviews I have underway are due to two different editors for two different publishers – one of which is Library Journal. The subjects of each book are not directly related – but this is part of the fun. Like I mentioned above, I get to read widely and learn from a variety of perspectives and situations. This post is just a snapshot of those perspectives being looked at this month.

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