New Book Reviews With Chloe Blades
Boeing were once world leaders in engineering excellence. Before the pandemic, a Boeing 737 was landing or taking off somewhere around the world every 1.5 seconds. Then in 2019 their second 737 MAX 8 airplane crashed killing all on board sparking an investigation that would unveil a culture of immoral capitalist greed. Peter Robison charts the deadly erosion of Boeing’s safety culture with baffling detail. Unlike the government’s response to the tragedy, he vehemently exposes how Boeing skimped on testing, pressured employees to meet unrealistic deadlines, and convinced regulators to put planes into service without properly equipping them or their pilots for flight. It’s a jaw dropper.
Lea Ypi, professor at the London School of Economics, was born and raised communist in Albania, Stalin’s last European outpost. Under the guise of education, she was taught that her country was the last to preserve the pure ideals of socialism and she fell passionately for the regime’s propaganda. Then the Soviet Union collapsed and her identity was upturned overnight as she found out who her family really were. It wasn’t, as she’d been told, a coincidence her surname was the same as former prime-minister Xhafer Ypi, a man who she despised. Yet this memoir is more than a family history, it reflects on the different ways people interpret freedom under different systems. Albania was a country restricted by travel with political order controlled by prying ears, executions and secret police, but the post-Stalin ‘freedom’ saw corrupt pyramid schemes, further economic collapse, looting, and a mass-exodus of its people to neighbouring countries in desperate search of work.
Take a Mediterranean approach to life this summer. I do it for the nostalgia of good times living in Skiathos eating lamb kleftiko, saganaki, and baskets of French stick drizzled in olive oil, salt, and pepper by the sea. And because, so I’ve heard, the Greeks, Spaniards and Italians live longer. Claudia Roden, born in Cairo and raised in Paris and London, has curated a timeless cookbook that guarantees sumptuous dishes perfect for summer soirees, day or night. They will transport you from Provence to the Levant, Andalusia to Morocco, to the tavernas of the Mediterranean, with little effort. Her recipes are accompanied by a life’s worth of travel stories and stunning photography, so jump aboard and enjoy the culinary and literary experiences within this gorgeous cookbook.
I’ve had an obsession with big-tech since reading Cal Newport’s Digital Minimalism on the attention economy, and Julia Ebner’s undercover journalism in Going Dark where she infiltrates right-wing extremists puppeteering from the depths of the dark web. Now, Dave Eggers, acclaimed author and writer for The New Yorker on all things human rights, has fictionalised the dangers of big-tech in The Every; a sequel to his 2013 novel The Circle which satirises a dystopian Silicon Valley. Our heroine Delayne gets an entry-level position at a big-tech firm and seeks to destroy it from the inside up. It’s part terrifying part hilarious, as it’s filled with absurd but not wholly unrealistic ideas like that of an app, Friendy, which measures the trustworthiness of friends by analysing facial expressions, eye contact and vocal intonations, assigning a numerical value to the quality of the friendship. Then there’s the eye-tracking technology that prevents you skimming War and Peace. If you don't laugh, you’ll cry.