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Infinite Country by Patricia Engel | Thoughts

   Published : 2021   ||    Format : print   ||    Location : Colombia ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆   What was it about the country that kept everyone hostage to its fantasy? The previous month, on its own soil, an American man went to his job at a plant and gunned down fourteen coworkers, and last spring alone there were four different school shootings. A nation at war with itself, yet people still spoke of it as some kind of paradise.. Thoughts : Infinite Country follows two characters - young Talia, who at the beginning of this book, escapes a girl’s reform school in North Colombia so that she can make her previously booked flight to the US. Before she can do that, she needs to travel many miles to reach her father and get her ticket to the rest of her family. As we follow Talia’s treacherous journey south, we learn about how she ended up in the reform school in the first place and why half her family resides in the US. Infinite Country tells the story of her family through the other protagonist, El

The Sunday Salon (A PR disaster for the nuclear industry) -- March 13, 2011

The Sunday

Friday morning, I woke up to my mom telling me about an earthquake and tsunami in Japan. For earthquake and Japan to be put together in the same sentence, in a place this far away from Japan, and in a tone that expresses anything but daily news, I knew this wasn't one of those regular hiccups felt by the place. When I thought about the tsunami, I was most worried about my cousin's family, who were on a cruise to Mexico. I still haven't been able to get in touch with them, but I believe that's more due to the lack of a signal. For the last couple of days, I've been glued to the Earthquake or Nuclear Power channel of Google News. My dad's been reading out snippets from the news every once in a while. I almost have a feeling of deja vu, living through this all. How many movies have recently been released all featured on some kind of apocalypse? Moreover, have any of us forgotten Chernobyl?

There are two parts of me that have been battling it out since the possibility of radioactive leakage first surfaced. There's the part that's looking for a cleaner energy source, since the options we have now are definitely not green, and moreover, these sources are dwindling. Then there's the part that's worrying about what happened in Japan - which unfortunately is not a possibility I envisioned, and I feel terrible about that. It's probably easy to say that we shouldn't hook up nuclear plants in earthquake-prone areas. But on the whole, is it ever safe? Just how many people are going to support it now? I'm myself of a mixed opinion.

But what's confusing me the most is why a geologically active region has nuclear power plants? Japan frequently experiences earthquakes - but most are barely felt. Tad bit of overconfidence to go and plop not one but too many of them. Tucson Citizen has the below map up at their site. Click on it to see a larger version.

(Picture Source)
Many in the nuclear energy industry do not think this is a disaster. I hope they are right. I know Japan has taken all precautions and even considered what to do in the event of earthquakes. Still, I hope that the industry can find a safer and disaster-free method to harness nuclear power. I haven't given up on it, but I won't be supporting it until I'm satisfied that there's no chance of it exploding, like it did in Japan. A strong supporter recently complained that the opponents of nuclear power disregards every other tragic possibilities like exploding oil tanks, electrical fires, etc. I'm wondering if this supporter is so naive as to forget that effects of radioactive leakage persist for a long time and through generations -- in not-so-human ways.

On other matters, it's been a good week otherwise - I got loads of pending reviews out of the way, plenty of reading. Work's been somewhat hectic but with enough breathing space. My family and I visited one of my favorite places - Luray Caverns yesterday. I can't stop being amazed at staring at the underside of the earth's belly and wondering at how the structures look so perfect and intricate. My favorite is always the mirror pool (below) and the fried eggs.

(Picture source)
So what's happening in the bookish world?


Juju at Tales of Whimsy... said…
Oh that nuclear thing is so darn frightening.
Scary stuff happening in so many places....

I was at a blog earlier where the blogger mentioned the time change....and, of course, I hadn't known, thinking it would happen in April. So I checked it out, and sure enough....

There I was, blissfully unaware, which meant I had to rush around changing the numerous clocks I have in my collections that have to be changed manually...not to mention the microwave, the alarm clock, my phones...Egads!

Didn't we just change times? Oh, yeah, but that was in November (it used to be October!).

Okay..enough grumbling. I had a great bookish week, etc., and here's MY SUNDAY SALON POST
Bibliophilebythesea said…
I can't watch the news any longer; so sad and depressing too.
PBurt said…
I am with Bibliophile - haven't been able to watch and try to keep up only with on-line papers. One problem with 24 hour news is I no longer know what is really an issue and what is hyped up for ratings and viewers.
hcmurdoch said…
I saw caves like when I was in Majorca, Spain, they are pretty amazing!

Regarding's just so devastating! We also have a nuclear power plant just up the coast 20 minutes from us, but luckily we only get small earthquakes (so far). I definitely remember Chernobyl since I was living in Austria at the time and traveled in Eastern Europe. We had to avoid fruits, vegetables, fields, and were geiger-countered upon our return to Austria!
Chrisbookarama said…
Beautiful photo!

Yes, the nuclear thing is scary. I would assume a plant in that area would be ready for that kind of thing but I'd also assume that an oil company would know how to cap a broken underwater pipe too.
book journey said…
HI Aths, my heart goes out to all who were affected.... that is scary stuff.

The picture you posted is so gorgeous.
Athira / Aths said…
Haha! I can imagine what a fright that must be. Me, I had no choice but to be reminded of it one week in advance. My computer clock is set to remind me about it one week earlier. Even my computer at work is set to that.
Athira / Aths said…
I switched off mine too, not long after. It's sad really.
Athira / Aths said…
Some of the hype is unbelievable! Someone in Japan in one of my Goodreads groups suggested that we all switch off our news because so much is being exaggerated.
Athira / Aths said…
I can't believe you were that "close" to Chernobyl.

I hope we don't get any major ones in California. It will be terrible, I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the research on various earthquake/tsunami detection systems bear fruit.
Athira / Aths said…
That's what I would assume too. It's sad their "readiness" is still tested so drastically.
Athira / Aths said…
Thanks Sheila! Luray Caverns is certainly beautiful!