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Month in review

Reviews
Azalea, Unschooled by Liza Kleinman
Because of the Sun by Jenny Torres Sanchez
Birds Art Life: A Year of Observation by Kyo Maclear
Bisbee, Arizona, Then And Now by Boyd Nicholl
Blood and Circuses by Kerry Greenwood
Born with Teeth by Kate Mulgrew
The Bubble Wrap Boy by Phil Earle
CatStronauts: Mission Moon by Drew Brockington
CatStronauts: Race to Mars by Drew Brockington
Drunk Tank Pink by Adam Alter
The End of Mr. Y by Scarlett Thomas
Finding Fortune by Delia Ray
Glimmerglass by Jenna Black
The Great Shelby Holmes by Elizabeth Eulberg
The Green Mill Murder by Kerry Greenwood
Head, Body, Legs: A Story from Liberia by Won-Ldy Paye
Hello, My Name is Octicorn by Kevin Diller
Hold Me Closer, Necromancer by Lish McBride
The Honest Truth by Dan Gemeinhart
How the States Got Their Shapes by Mark Stein
In the Footsteps of Crazy Horse by Joseph M. Marshall III
"It's a Good Life" by Jerome Bixby
Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile by Bernard Waber
Pantomime by Laura Lam
Pippi Moves In by Astrid Lindgren
Road Trip by Gary Paulsen and Jim Paulsen
Stef Soto, Taco Queen by Jennifer Torres
The 39-Story Treehouse by Andy Griffiths
The Unforgotten Coat by Frank Cottrell Boyce
The Upper Mississippi: A Wilderness Saga by Walter Havighurst
Weetzie Bat by Francesca Lia Block

Miscellaneous
Crossing the Cornfield
January inclusivity reading and shortening the gap in reviewing
On reading your own books and moving

Previous month

Rating System

5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

Reading Challenges

My Kind of Mystery Reading Challenge 2017 February - January 2017-8



How the States Got Their Shapes: 01/09/17

How the States Got Their Shapes by Mark Stein How the States Got Their Shapes by Mark Stein is a history of the political decisions that influenced the shape the individual states in the United States took.

Besides the obvious rivers, lakes, and mountain ranges, there are lots of straight lines in our states. On closer examination, some straight lines have little bites taken out of them. Or they don't align. This book strives to answer those hiccups, along with other ones like, why is California no much larger than its neighbors?

The California one is a rather easy one to answer, and therefore makes for a sadly short chapter. I say, this of course, as a native Californian. The short answer is that California already had it's shape when it became a state. And since California's statehood was people driven, rather than government driven, the process wen so fast that there wasn't time to squabble over shape or size or to propose breaking it up into smaller chunks.

California's story, though, should come at the start of the last third of the book, followed by states like Arizona, New Mexico, with Hawaii and Alaska rounding out the book. But no. Just like the oddly planned Nature's Building Blocks by John Emsley, this one is organized alphabetically.

Our states weren't created alphabetically. There was a westward flow based on lots of other factors.

The book should have been organized geographically or by timeline or something similar. Putting them alphabetically makes for very disjointed reading. There's no story here. There's no natural building of understanding how one state's shape influence's another — like how Maryland lost every single land argument it had with its neighbors.

Please writers of nonfiction, RESIST the urge to organize your subject alphabetically — unless you're writing a dictionary, an encyclopedia, or an index.

Three stars

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