Neither thumbs up nor thumbs down for Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke. Science fiction.

I think I’ve passed the point where I can read classic science fiction without noticing how much it creaks. I didn’t hate reading this, but I didn’t particularly enjoy it, either.

The person most immediately affected had been George Greggson. He could never forget his feeling of terror as Jean pitched into his arms.

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Thumbs up for The Regency Years: During Which Jane Austen Writes, Napoleon Fights, Byron Makes Love, and Britain Becomes Modern by Robert Morrison. History.

I was puzzled, at first, by this book: why in heaven’s name does it start with crime, punishment, and riots? The violent political backdrop of the Regency is certainly important, but starting there—in a somewhat academic style no less—immediately excluded this book from being what I thought it perhaps was: a narrative primer of the period.… >> Read more

Thumbs up for Disobedience by Naomi Alderman. Literature.

Lesbian love amongst an Orthodox Jewish community in London. I stayed up late to finish this book. That said, it is a peculiar work. Told in sometimes-awkward but strangely-relaxing third person from the perspective of Esti (who has stayed in the community), alternating with the just-borderline-irritating first person narrative of Ronit (who has moved to New York and become relentlessly cosmopolitan), along with sections of…Torah mysticism?… >> Read more

I don’t habitually read romances, but last year I read a lot of them. Instead of posting my reviews as I read each book, I saved them all up for a massive Romance Review post. Even if you don’t want to read any romances you might, I hope, enjoy the reviews: I had a lot of fun writing them.

Contained within are lady scientists; death by carnivorous crab; questions about buttons; and every denomination of raciness from completely chaste to very very explicit. … >> Read more

Thumbs up for Daemon Voices: On Stories and Storytelling by Philip Pullman.

Pullman writes with such clarity of both thought and prose, he is simply a pleasure to read. As with any book of essays, inevitably, certain sections will strike each reader with greater importance. If you are a storyteller of any bent, or perhaps an armchair philosopher, you will find a gem or two of wisdom that speaks to you.… >> Read more

Neither thumbs up nor thumbs down for Bellwether by Connie Willis. Science fiction.

A comedy about a statistician trying to figure out the genesis of fads (specifically, 1920’s hair-bobbing). Plus a little bit of romance. This book seemed like it was made for me! And it was enjoyable, but…I wanted to be charmed more than I was. Academic/office politics satire is…well, it’s been done quite a bit, hasn’t it?… >> Read more