Neither thumbs up nor thumbs down for The Triumph of Seeds: How Grains, Nuts, Kernels, Pulses and Pips Conquered the Plant Kingdom and Shaped Human History by Thor Hanson. History/botany.
There are a couple of ways you could go here. You could talk about (1) the science behind the workings of seeds; (2) how they fit into ecosystems; (3) their importance to human culture and development; (4) their nutritive value; (5) the importance of, and methodology for, saving unusual seed varieties in viable form; or (6) their future in the face of changing agricultural patterns and genetic modification.… >> Read more
Neither thumbs up nor thumbs down for The Nordic Theory of Everything: In Search of a Better Life by Anu Partanen. Politics.
Firstly, this book is oriented toward Americans, so if you aren’t American it will probably just make you laugh sadly. (In fact, I am an American and it made me laugh sadly too.) The author is a Finn who married an American and promptly ran up against the fact that Americans can’t afford to get sick, lose a job, get a good education or have children.… >> Read more
Neither thumbs up nor thumbs down for The Carter Family: Don’t Forget This Song by Frank M. Young, illustrated by David Lasky. Biography/music.
I met the illustrator at a dinner party. I adore his work. In fact, I have some on my wall. However, unless you are truly interested in the Carter Family (which you might be, who knows, but I am not) you can probably skip this.… >> Read more
Neither thumbs up nor thumbs down for The Fortuitous Meeting by Christopher Kastensmidt. Fantasy.
Honestly, this was a perfectly acceptable novella in all ways. It just didn’t…stand out. Perhaps the rest of the series is better?
Oludara laughed deeply. “Sorry to laugh at you, Gerard van Oost, but how can one not laugh when presented with such madness? Yet I must also be mad, for I accept your proposal.
… >> Read more
Neither thumbs up nor thumbs down for What Makes This Book So Great by Jo Walton. Nonfiction.
I enjoyed reading this book, but, perhaps peculiarly, I hesitate to recommend it. For one thing, all of its contents are available for free online. For another, one large chunk of it pertains only to the Miles Vorkosigan books of Lois McMaster Bujold and another chunk to the Vlad Taltos series of Steven Brust—and both sections are packed with spoilers, making them something you’ll probably want to avoid unless you’ve either already read those series or have no intention of doing so.… >> Read more
Neither thumbs up nor thumbs down for A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving. Literature.
I have a friend who jokes that I don’t read any living male authors. I do, of course; I just don’t read non-genre literature by living male authors—or living anybody, really. This book on my shelf was a counterexample of one. (And that is a beautiful irony, that David unwittingly got me to read John Irving, because he’s a snob who probably hates John Irving.) Anyway, in a nutshell: the eminently slappable middle-aged professor John Wheelwright looks back on his boyhood friendship with Owen Meany, a very distinctive character who from an early age believed that God put him on Earth for a mission.… >> Read more
Neutral rating for The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain. Historical fiction.
You know the story. It did have some moments. Overall, rather tedious. I’m glad I read Connecticut Yankee first or I never would have gone on with the Twain.
Our friends threaded their way slowly through the throngs upon the bridge. This structure, which had stood for six hundred years, and had been a noisy and populous thoroughfare all that time, was a curious affair, for a closely packed rank of stores and shops, with family quarters overhead, stretched along both sides of it, from one bank of the river to the other.
… >> Read more
Neutral rating for Rat Queens Volume 1: Sass & Sorcery by Kurtis J. Wiebe, illustrated by Roc Upchurch. Fantasy/graphic novel.
Ironic comedy based on sword and sorcery tropes. Unfortunately it’s not ironic enough to be funny so it’s just a bunch of sword and sorcery tropes.… >> Read more