Just a quick tidy up before the readathon of books I’ve read lately but don’t think I’ll get round to writing full reviews for. First up, the good:
The Winter Long by Seanan McGuire
The 8th book in the October Daye series and as always I devoured it. A slow start but once the pace picked up, I enjoyed the additional back stories for some of the supporting characters. Simon Torvill had always been painted in black and white terms as a villain, the evil man who turned October into a fish and ruined her life. We learn a bit more about that story though and also how October realises that her life is no longer ruined. She has Tybalt. I am so happy that they have this wonderful functioning relationship now; no more throwing obstacles in their way. I love Tybalt so much even without the sexual tension lining some of the earlier books.
Saga Volume 3 by Brian K. Vaughan + Fiona Staples
The third collection of Saga comics and just as good as the first two. I bought a paper copy this time round and I’m so tempted to go get the others in physical form too. Lying Cat is still amazing; there’s a scene where Sophie is sat with him and is saying she’s dirty because of the past and he says it’s a lie (if you’re not familiar with the comics, the cat pretty much only speaks when a lie is being told). And then they snuggle up and it is so perfect. Alano and Marko are hanging out with their literary hero and it’s gripping and beautifully illustrated and I can’t wait for volume 4 in December.
So there were a couple of books I didn’t quite read all of lately, but this does not mean that they won’t be right for you.
Gutenberg’s Apprentice by Alix Christie
The story of the invention of the printing press and the work behind the Gutenberg Bible told from the perspective of his apprentice. I found the subject matter genuinely fascinating and there’s some wonderful passages. Perhaps I was reading it at the wrong time (new job, trying to read on lunch breaks) and just didn’t get fully immersed. However the politics of the church and the situation in Mainz at the time is fairly relevant to the motivations and resulting history. Yet I couldn’t bring myself to be that interested in it. Coupled with the fact the characters are pretty unsympathetic (you can’t make real people nice or witty just to suit modern whims, I know) and a slow pace (this was the church’s fault for holding up progress!) I just kept putting the book down. Still I liked A LOT of what I read and there was plenty of little snippets that I took note of.
The world is flooded now with crude words crudely wrought, an overwhelming glut of pages pouring from the scores of presses springing up like mushrooms after rain. Churning out their smut and prophecy, the rantings of the anarchists and antichrists – the scholars of the classics are in uproar at how printing has defiled the book.
Struck by Genius by Jason Padgett + Maureen Seaberg
This is a non-fiction account of a man who became a genius after a head injury. The main problem with this was the writing style; one of the things Jason says he lost after the injury was the ability to concentrate on reading and writing. So this book is a joint venture between him and Maureen Seaberg but is told from first person all the way through. The inner workings of the brain are a complete mystery and the science bits trying to explain what happened are interesting. However the chapters around the rest of his life, though somewhat saddening, left me struggling through the pages. Then about half way through it started to hit the hard mathematics and I was lost. I wanted to know about the miracle that happened in his brain, not the work he did afterwards. I skipped ahead and did read some of the later chapters, including where he finally gets a diagnosis. So possibly more interesting to those with an interest in maths AND brains.
Disclosure: I received Gutenberg’s Apprentice and Struck by Genius free of charge for review purposes only. Receipt of a book does not guarantee a review or endorsement. My reviews are my honest opinion and are not biased for the purpose of personal gain.
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