Sunday, February 20, 2022

REVIEW: Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything (nonfiction audiobook) by Joshua Foer, narrated by Mike Chamberlain

Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything is nonfiction. I listened to the audiobook via OverDrive.


Because the title of this book has apparently confused some people: this is not about Einstein. The title is referring to the memorization technique Foer learned, which involves populating a "memory palace" with bizarre and therefore memorable imagery that one has in some way linked to the less memorable information one wants to memorize.

I listened to the audiobook, so apologies if I have some of the details wrong. If I remember right, this book begins with Foer sitting in on a memory competition for an article he was writing. After the event, he spoke to one of the participants, who told him that, with enough training in the right techniques, anyone could become a memory champion. Foer was initially unconvinced but willing to give it a shot.

This book's overall framework is Foer's own memory journey from "regular guy" to competitor in the finals of the U.S. Memory Championship, but along the way he writes about the history of memorization techniques, the science of memory and learning, the world of memory championship competitors, why supposedly photographic memories don't exist, and more.

REVIEW: A Pocket Guide to Pigeon Watching: Getting to Know the World's Most Misunderstood Bird (nonfiction book) written and illustrated by Rosemary Mosco

A Pocket Guide to Pigeon Watching: Getting to Know the World's Most Misunderstood Bird is nonfiction with a nice dose of humor. I bought it brand new.


In this short and entertaining read, Mosco writes about pigeons: their relationship to humans, their history, their anatomy and behavior, the various breeds of domesticated pigeons, the sorts of patterns and colors you might spot among feral pigeons, and how to help pigeons (stringfoot, spotting lost pets among feral pigeons, catching an injured pigeon, etc.). The book wraps up with a chapter on the sorts of animals you might begin to spot once you've become comfortable watching pigeons/doves.

REVIEW: Two Can Keep a Secret (e-book) by Karen M. McManus

Two Can Keep a Secret is a YA mystery/thriller. I checked it out via OverDrive.


When their mother ends up in rehab, Ellery and her twin brother, Ezra, head off to the small town of Echo Ridge to live with their grandmother, who they barely know anything about. On their way to her house, they discover the body of a beloved local teacher, apparently killed in a hit-and-run accident.

This isn't Echo Ridge's first time dealing with tragedy. When Ellery and Ezra's mother was 17, her twin sister disappeared. A few years ago, a homecoming queen was murdered. Now this teacher is dead, and there are signs that someone's out to kill another homecoming queen.

This alternates between two POVs, Ellery's and Malcolm's. Malcolm's older brother was the boyfriend of the homecoming queen who was murdered, and the prime suspect at the time. The killer's possible reappearance puts the spotlight back on Malcolm and his older brother. Ellery, meanwhile, is a true crime fanatic whose obsession with murder is rooted in her curiosity about her mother's missing twin, who her mother refuses to talk about. 

I don't really have a lot to say about this book. Overall, I do think that McManus' One of Us Is Lying was better - the premise was more solid and intriguing, whereas this book was messier. However, Two Can Keep a Secret's characters worked better for me. True, there was no one as great as One of Us Is Lying's Addy, but there was also no one who really irked me. Malcolm and Ellery were attracted to each other, because of course they were, but I don't recall them being too annoying about it.

The ending was a bit unsatisfying, but the last line was chilling enough to almost make up for it.

REVIEW: Countdown (live action movie)

Countdown is a horror movie. I watched it on Netflix.


Warning: although the movie is light on sexual violence, there's a moment when one of the doctors tries to kiss Quinn against her will.

Quinn, a young nurse, downloads an app called Countdown that a patient told her about. It supposedly tells you when you're going to die, and her patient swears it killed his girlfriend and will soon kill him as well. After her patient skips his upcoming surgery only to die in a hospital stairwell, Quinn begins to worry that what he told her about the app is real. As her countdown approaches zero, she sees and experiences terrifying things. Can she figure out how to break free from the app's grip before it manages to kill her too?