A book about mediocrity, a mediocre book about bread, plus Cthulhu!

I picked up MEDIOCRE: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America by Ijeolma Oluo assuming it was, like Pedigree, about how our meritocracy enables mediocrities with the “right” credential to beat out more talented people (see also the glass floor). Instead it’s a big-picture look at how much of our schools, workplaces and government offices were formed with an eye to affirming and defending white male supremacy; this is relevant to the topic but not what I was looking for. Nor do I entirely buy that all the ways the system is rigged are designed with intent toward that end (this does not make them any less of a problem, of course)When I picked up SIX THOUSAND YEARS OF BREAD: Its Holy and Unholy History I had a feeling from browsing that author HE Jacob might be one of those thinkers whose efforts to build a synthesis from multiple disparate parts would exceed his grasp. Still, it was a Friends of the Library sale so it was cheap — but I was correct about the book. Jacob offers dubious speculation about Paleolithic bread-baking, historical information often barely related to the topic (there’s a lot of stuff about the Greek and Persian wars that has nothing to do with bread) and a lengthy discussion of what could have caused mass wafers to appear to bleed when broken. Cuisine and Empire covered bread in history better, and felt more reliable.

THE FALL OF CTHULHU OMNIBUS by Michael Alan Nelson collects several volumes I read years back, plus the conclusion which I was never able to find. The human protagonists discover cultists seeking to wake Cthulhu — not his worshippers, but followers of the god Nodens, who seeks to hunt the Old One down for sport. Nyarlathotep has his own agenda, as does the sinister Harlot of the Dreamlands. Does the human race stand a chance? I think this one’s excellent.


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