Showing posts from February, 2023

February Reading, Part the Second

 I've been split between really quite heavy-duty books and incredibly light cotton-candy books.  I've read four Three Investigators novels in the last couple of weeks -- ones near the end of the series, so not as good as the earlier titles, but still fun.   I could tell the last one was different from the cover, and it turned out to be one of some stories originally written in German -- the Three Investigators were evidently hugely popular in Germany, and somebody wrote some sequels that come off more as fanfiction than anything else, I thought.  Anyway, on with the February reads: The Road to Unfreedom: Russia, Europe, America, by Timothy Snyder -- it took me a long time to work my way through this one.  Snyder took on the job of explaining the underpinnings of Russian (Putin's) political ideology and policy to Americans.  It's a very tough job, because to a Westerner it's fairly incomprehensible.  Snyder then moves on to explaining Russia's actions for the pas

February Reading, Part the First

 Hi ho!  I've been doing a lot of reading, but much of it is pretty heavy-duty long stuff and I won't be done right away.  (And I also indulged in two Barbara Michaels gothics -- fun!)  Here are the books I read in the first half of February:   Dark Archives: A Librarian's Investigation Into the Science and History of Books Bound in Human Skin , by Megan Rosenbloom --  a bit macabre, and an interesting read.  Not all books claiming to be bound in human skin actually are, and Rosenbloom's research group is able to do a test that confirms what kind of leather a binding is made from.  (You can't do a DNA test; the tanning process destroys all DNA.)  Most of the books in the English-speaking world were made by 19th-century doctors who were doing autopsies or dissections anyway, and lifted some skin while they were at it.  So Rosenbloom kind of goes all over the place, talking about the development of medical ethics and all sorts of things.  There are also rumors that ar

On Tyranny, Expanded

 On Tyranny: Expanded Audio Edition, by Timothy Snyder We all know I'm a Snyder fan and am trying to read/listen to as much of his output as I can.  I read the original of this book a few years ago; it's very short and an excellent book which I recommend.  After Russia's further invasion of Ukraine -- now almost a year ago -- Snyder decided to add to this small book.  This extra material is only available on the audiobook; I think he wanted to get it into the world right away.   So after the original content, narrated several years ago in the standard professional manner, Snyder just comes in and starts talking in a slightly more personal tone.  He evidently just sat down, pounded out all his thoughts, and is now going to pour them into your ear practically without a break because this is all super-important to him.  He loves Ukraine, his dear friends are being bombed, and a bunch of them are on the front lines or suddenly displaced from their homes and lives -- or they

Samson's Hoard

 Samson's Hoard, by John Verney Here we have the apparently almost unknown fifth volume in John Verney's Callendar Family series!  It was published in 1973, 14 years after the first volume.  They go: Friday's Tunnel February's Road Seven Sunflower Seeds ismo Samson's Hoard and they're narrated by various Callendar children -- whoever is about 14-15 at the time of the story.  This one is told by Berry, who is also the narrator of ismo . Dad is retiring from his journalism job -- no really this time -- and it's time for the family to downsize and move into Querbury proper.  They purchase a nice older home with a constantly overflowing water cistern, everybody settles in, and Dad decides to run for a seat on the town council.  One issue at stake is what to do with the gigantic old maltings on the edge of town; tear it down for a new road, or preserve it and turn it into a community center?  This is the sane plot, all sane and normal. But there's a car bomb