This year, I'm going to start a thread and share the NON-academic books I read. Why tweet about this? A work-life balance thing, and a scientists-are-real-people thing; more about my motivations here: https://scientistseessquirrel.wordpress.com/2020/01/06/a-year-of-books-and-why/ #AYearOfBooks
(If this is something you just don't care about, I understand. Ignore me, or mute #AYearOfBooks
). For the rest, the thread starts now and my intent is to keep it going all year.
I'm sure you're going to see some gems AND some junk during #AYearOfBooks
. I'll comment on what I've read, but *you* can decide what's a gem and what's junk - and perhaps what's well-executed junk. (I think that's definitely a thing.)
First book of 2020: Rosewater, by @tadethompson
. First in a trilogy blending conventional science-fiction themes (first-contact) with unconventional setting (Nigeria) and distinctive voice. https://amzn.to/2N1nYKv
I enjoyed what made this book distinctive, while also wishing it had gotten faster to the core SF part (who are the aliens? What do they want here?). Will I read the next two? Probably.
By the way, a word about using Amazon links, which I'll do for each book in the thread. First, if you follow the link and buy something, it tracks your visit in order to pay me a pittance. But I won't know who you are. See blog post for longer disclaimer).
And second, I'm not endorsing Amazon, it's just a good way to share book info including previews (for most). I'd actually prefer you supported your local public library by getting the book there! Libraries are awesome and they want you there.
OK, that's enough introductory tweets. Back in a few days (I think) with book #2 in #AYearOfBooks
Book #2: "Dark Sacred Night", by Michael Connelly ( @Connellybooks
). 21st in mystery/thriller series ft. LA detective (now semiretired) Harry Bosch. To Bosch, "everybody counts or nobody counts", so he works forgotten cases and unpopular ones.
This time Bosch is working with new-ish character Renée Ballard to solve an old murder of a young runaway sex worker. As always tightly plotted, easy quick read. One of my half-dozen favourite crime-fiction writers.
Just finished "The Little Old Lady Behaving Badly", by Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg ( https://amzn.to/2QRQUqS
). Third in a series of comic crime-caper novels starring the League of Pensioners, a gang of octogenarian bank robbers, art thieves, and con artists.
They steal from the rich and give to the poor – mostly, to the elderly poor, in various rather creative ways. This is a frothy book than runs more to events than to a sustained plot, but the characters are fun and their exploits are amusing.
One of the genres I really enjoy is children's literature. Just finished "The House of Months and Years" ( https://amzn.to/2v0n9vv
), by Emma Trevayne ( @EMentior
). Wow, this book is fantastic.
Starts with a familiar trope, young heroine Amelia's family moves, she doesn't like the new strange house. Where it goes from there is SO imaginative, beguiling, and gradually sinister...
As a bonus, Amelia's favourite book is the dictionary. She revels in learning new words that fit things precisely: "brocade", and "verdant", and "petrichor". As a word nerd I know the feeling and it made me love the book even more.
Next in #AYearOfBooks
: "How Long 'Til Black Future Month" ( https://amzn.to/2U5DjOP
) - short stories by @nkjemisin
. Wow. High expectations, after her astonishingly good novels. Expectations met.
These stories are a mix of science fiction and urban fantasy, with Jemisin's typical attention to people who have powers and ability but also sociocultural constraints. Some of them are flat-out beautiful. Read this!
And now you should expect a bit of a pause in #AYearOfBooks
, as I've just started the next one and it's >1,000 pages. Ah, @Writer_DG
, you have me hooked...
OK, took a quick break from the 1,000 page opus to revisit a favourite. It was bound to come up some time in #AYearOfBooks
- the most obscure of Ursula LeGuin's novels, "Very Far Away From Anywhere Else" ( https://amzn.to/2UlQnzl
It's a high-school-coming-of-age book. Protagonist is an introvert, a science nerd, and belongs to none of the groups his classmates find identities with. (A little on the nose, I admit). There's a girl, and an awkward story, but as LeGuin always does, it's infused with truth.
(And now back to the 1,000-pager) #AYearOfBooks
continues: "Drums of Autumn" ( https://amzn.to/2vTLof9
) , 4th in the "Outlander" series from Diana Gabaldon @Writer_DG
. Haven't read these? Time-travel-historical-romance-adventure page-turners and I may not be the target demographic but I am utterly hooked.
This one has protagonists Claire Randall & Jamie Fraser homesteading in 1770s North Carolina. (OK, 1000 pages in one sentence may leave a few things out.) Writing is lively, settings thoroughly researched, characters engaging (and occasionally naughty). Hooked, I tell you.
continuing today and oh boy, is the next one DIFFERENT. Still not quite sure what I'll say when it's time for the reveal...
For anyone who'd like slightly longer versions of my minireviews that come with my #AYearOfBooks
, I've got the first set up on my blog: https://scientistseessquirrel.wordpress.com/2020/02/13/a-year-of-books-a-beginning/
continues - "Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk" by David Sedaris ( https://amzn.to/2Ho13Wy
). This book is SO weird! It took me a while to decide that it's delightfully weird.
15 or so very short stories, parables really, each about a foible, quirk, or (mostly) horrible character flaw of people - projected onto an anthropomorphized animal that usually gets its comeuppance. (Told you it was weird).
If you want to read about a gerbil greasing up to evict singing leeches from the rectum of a hippopotamus (and who wouldn't?) this book is for you. And yes, #AYearOfBooks
is covering a lot of ground...
"Dry Store Room No. 1", by Richard Fortey ( https://amzn.to/2SYAEEr
). Behind-the-scenes book about London’s Natural History Museum. I'm a museum junkie - how had I not read this book?
Fortey’s two theses: 1) museum collections are very important; 2) the scientists who build and curate them are often somewhere between endearingly quirky and completely depraved. Both theses supported by extensive anecdote.
Prose lumbers a bit in spots, but plenty of amusing (and some salacious) tidbits to keep me turning pages. A fine installment in #AYearOfBooks
continues with its first real lemon. Pnin (Vladimir Nabokov, 1957; https://amzn.to/38DKWA8
) - a campus novel about a Russian emigre teaching at a small US college. I expected to like this - Nabokov, academic foibles - but found it plotless and dull.
I only finshed it because it was short, and therefore, I wished it had been longer! Important message: no book works for everyone.
Was fun, though, to see Nabokov make a cameo in his own book, when character sees a bunch of Lycaenid (blue) butterflies and remarks "pity Vladimir isn't here, he'd tell us all about these enchanting insects". (Nabokov was a Lycaenid systematist.)
Hoping for better in #AYearOfBooks
' next installment!
What a treat for #AYearOfBooks
! Becky Chambers, "A Closed and Common Orbit" ( https://amzn.to/39RnqzU
) - second book of her Wayfarers trilogy. Easy-reading space opera, which makes it sound lightweight, but beautifully crafted and hard to put down.
The Wayfarers trilogy isn't really about spaceships & aliens (although the latter are especially creatively drawn). It's about the importance of friendship. This volume follows a ship's AI & a young escapee from a dystopian factory. Poignant, surprising, funny (not all at once).
And I followed it up with the third of the "trilogy" (quotes because they're really three books loosely tied by a few shared characters and events). "Record of a Spaceborn Few" (Becky Chamber, 2018, https://amzn.to/3cfSGuu
The "exodus fleet" is a hoary old motif in science fiction - people abandoning Earth for huge spaceships that take them in search of new places. But what if the purpose of the exodus is achieved, but the exodus fleet now seems like home?
The "Wayfarers" books sound cheesy when described, but there's a straightforward warmth that balances the cheese. Great fun.
Next up in #AYearOfBooks
, another dud. "The Reckoning" (John Grisham, 2018, https://amzn.to/32W8VbX
). An attempt at Ruth Rendell-style crime-first-then-backstory fused with Herman Wouk-style war-and-family-saga. Both end up tedious.
I've really enjoyed many of Grisham's books; but this time I wish I'd just re-read "The Pelican Brief" instead. Oh well - already a couple of chapters into my next selection and it's great. Stay tuned.
Next up in #AYearOfBooks
: "Blackout" (Connie Willis, 2010; https://amzn.to/2wPkHZM
). One of her marvelous time-travel books, this time with three historians from 2060 dropped into England during the Second World War - and unsure if they can get home.
Fair warning: this really isn't a complete novel; when you start this, realize the action continues in "All Clear", which I'm into now.
And having finished "All Clear" (Connie Willis, 2011, https://amzn.to/2IPf5Bq
), I can definitively report: marvelous. The magic is the way the time-traveler characters interact with historical detail: Dunkirk, the Blitz, Alan Turing on his bicycle...
And marvellous characters from the time, like the Shakespearean actor Sir Godfrey Kingsman, and Alf and Binnie Hodbin, two evacuee children who are holy terrors but who steal the show (and a lot of other things). I loved these books (and Willis's other time-travel ones).
continues: "The Word is Murder" (Anthony Horowitz, 2017; https://amzn.to/2IYH8y9
). A light read (as you can tell from interval between tweets). British murder mystery with a bit of a gimmick: the author appears as a character.
This was entertaining, if a bit constructed. I read a lot of crime fiction (not sure why, exactly) and this isn't Peter Robinson or PD James, but it kept me engaged. And, for that matter, socially distanced...
Gosh, social distancing is increasing my reading rate. Next in #AYearOfBooks
, "This Poison Will Remain" (Fred Vargas, 2017; https://amzn.to/2x5LeSJ
). A mystery novel that turns in part on the improbability of murdering someone with the bite of a European recluse spider...
The mystery is engaging and unusual and its resolution nicely complex. I didn't warm to the protagonist, Inspector Jean-Baptiste Adamsberg, though. So I enjoyed this as a one-off but won't rush to collect the whole series.
continues with "Master and Commander" (Patrick O'Brian, 1969; https://amzn.to/2Upmb6a
). If you need evidence that no book can please everyone, look no further. People love this book (and the series). I, apparently, am not "people".
It would be unfair to characterize "Master and Commander" as 328 pages of “Unship the stuns’l-boom iron and touch up the ends of the stop-cleats, Mr. Lamb, if you please”. But it wouldn’t be very unfair. Stephen Maturin, the naturalist, didn't rescue this book for me.
needs a guaranteed Steve-pleaser next. I think I'll comb my shelves for a comfortable old favourite to re-read...
And this was it: "Elidor" (Alan Garner, 1965, https://amzn.to/2vVKCi8
). (Although my copy, being a little further aged, has an older cover). I return to this wonderful book every year or two and it makes me shiver in the same places each time.
Children's fantasy; four kids in 1960s Manchester stumble on a door between worlds and end up guardians of the last hope for the dying world of Elidor. I consider this the best of Garner's fantasies, but "The Owl Service" is pretty great too ( https://amzn.to/3dCojiq
Next in #AYearOfBooks
: Sleeping in the Ground (Peter Robinson @Inspector_Banks
, 2017; https://amzn.to/2RdfgLv
). The 24th in Robinson's detective series with Inspector Alan Banks, set as usual in Yorkshire. I never tire of Banks.
This one hews to the formula: Yorkshire dales and villages, the crime more complicated than it seems, Banks listens to lots of music and has complicated relationships with colleagues and friends. But: such an appealing formula and pulled off to perfection! Strong recommend.
continues with "I Capture the Castle" (Dodie Smith, 1948; https://amzn.to/3b3vs9T
). 17-year-old narrator Cassandra living in a decaying English castle between the wars... a bit like "Gormenghast" if it was charming rather than creepy.
Quite enjoyed this one. Writing and writer's block are significant plot elements...that part not exactly escapist, but he castle was!
Next in #AYearOfBooks
: "The Curse of Chalion" (Lois McMaster Bujold, 2001; https://amzn.to/34XwodK
). Gosh, this was good. Castles-swords-and-court-intrigue fantasy, and nothing very original, but SO well executed I couldn't put it down.
One passage struck me, pandemic-wise. Bergon: "Any man can be kind when he is comfortable. But when we were hungry, thirsty, sick, frightened, you were still unfailingly courteous." Cazaril: "Events may be horrible. Men have always a choice". #Endorse
continues with something I wouldn't have predicted I'd like so much: Kate Pullinger's (2009, https://amzn.to/2yKxhui
) "The Mistress of Nothing". Victorian English lady's maid travels to Egypt and falls in love... but it's atmospheric and compelling.
Contrast this with, say, "Master and Commander" (up the thread): in "Mistress of Nothing", the characters may wear corsets and stays, but the prose doesn't.
A longer-than-usual gap in #AYearOfBooks
, but I figured I'd tweet this trilogy all at once: Guy Gavriel Kay's "Fionavar Tapestry": "The Summer Tree", "The Wandering Fire", and "The Darkest Road" ( https://amzn.to/2LhBl8b
This as a fantasy series that's just breathtakingly good. There are a lot of standard tropes: dwarves, magic, battles turning on young people thrust into an unfamiliar world. But the writing is luminous, the storytelling incredibly inventive.
Imagine Tolkien, but he actually understood people (OK, a little harsh, I love Tolkien too). I've read and re-read these books many times - more often than I have Tolkien - and I just love them. But #AYearOfBooks
should turn next to something new (to me). To the bookshelves!
Well, a compromise: a new (to me) book in a familiar series. Tony Hillerman's "The Shape Shifter" (2006, https://amzn.to/2z3EO7J
). One of about 20 crime novels featuring Navajo Tribal Police detectives Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee. #AYearOfBooks
I love this series and I'm not sure how I'd missed this one. A Navajo rug, presumed burned, resurfaces; and Leaphorn is on the trail of someone who isn't what he seems to be. Love the settings in the beautiful Four Corners area (AZ/CO/NM/UT).
Something new and very fresh next in #AYearOfBooks
. "Binti" (Nnedi Okorafor, @nnedi
) - trilogy following a young girl of the Namibian Himba people, growing up in a far-future and very diversely peopled galaxy.
Loved the character, settings, details, and that Binti studies/does mathematics; my own personal taste wanted a more unified trilogy-long plot. But more than enjoyable enough to make me want to read more of Okorafor's books.
Now one I've been reading a bit at at ime through #AYearOfBooks
: Connie Willis's "The Winds of Marble Arch" (2007; https://amzn.to/2X4Udgh
). Collected stories and generally true to Willis's focus on extremely ordinary people caught in extremely extraordinary circumstances.
A couple of the best stories return to one of Willis's favourite settings: London during the Blitz. The title story (indirectly), and my favourite, "Jack", about a man who's better than he should be at locating victims under the rubble.
Thoroughly enjoyable, if a bit "much of a muchness" (as my Gran would have said) to read all at once.
(Note, if you're considering picking this up, many of the stories are also collected elsewhere). #AYearOfBooks
with PD James, The Lighthouse (2008, https://amzn.to/2WZXvCB
). A later entry in her Adam Dalgliesh mystery series; great fun, with an Agatha Christie-esque crime on an isolated island. Plus, a lighthouse. Who doesn't like lighthouses?
In turbulent times #AYearOfBooks
has been essential for me. Books can expand your horizons, but they can also be a refuge. (The best ones do both at once).
may need a new hashtag: #AMonthOfDoorstops
Hugely enjoyable 1400 pages, though - @Writer_DG
's 5th in the Outlander series: The Fiery Cross (2001; https://amzn.to/2C0HeoN
). I love this series. I'm not its usual demographic, but I'm too old to care.
Set in 1770s North Carolina, and one line grabbed me: "a horde of vivid little parakeets came chattering through the trees”. Those would be Carolina Parakeets, extinct in 1918.
The books are incredibly rich in period detail but THAT detail stopped me short.
The next instalment, "A Breath of Snow and Ashes" is even longer. Simple physics will dictate that it's an e-reader book... but read it I shall. #AYearOfBooks
Next in #AYearOfBooks
, a disappointing (to me) book of poems: Christian Wiman, "Once in the West" (2014, https://amzn.to/3d2lOo4
). A few sparkling phrases caught my eye ("the self-delighting skywriting of swallows") and I really wanted to like it. But I failed.
No book works for everyone - maybe that's especially true of poetry? Too many jangly portmanteau words and rough jumps for my taste.
But: if you aren't reading (starting?) the occasional book you don't like, you probably aren't being adventuresome enough.
continues with Alberto Manguel's "Packing My Library" (2018, https://amzn.to/2UNc9vz
). A charming little book, Manguel's musing on books, writing, reading, and libraries on the occasion of packing up his 35,000 volume (!) personal library.
Really enjoyed this, and it's a testament to serendipity. I'd reviewed a book for the @yalepress
, and they offer you books in recompense. I needed one more from their catalog to fill our my order and just liked the looks of this one. Good call!
continues with Rotherweird (Andrew Caldecott, 2017, https://amzn.to/3dr7Hc8
). Marvelously indescribable urban fantasy - I wish I could remember who recommended it. What if Gormenghast had been a little like Ankh-Mopork - but weirder? What fun!
Must be "English writers" month: next is "Asta's Book" (Barbara Vine, 1993, https://amzn.to/2YLPodH
). "Barbara Vine" is a pseudonym for Ruth Rendell; a Rendell book is generally a crime story, while a Vine book is a psychological study of people with a crime in the background.
In "Asta's Book", the diaries of a Danish immigrant to England shed light on a murder and a child of uncertain parentage. The curtain is pulled back very, very, very slowly but I stayed engaged the whole time. My favourite of the Vine books, I think. #AYearOfBooks
runs into an occasional lemon. "Broken" (Karin Slaughter, 2010, https://amzn.to/2Au71W6
.) Gosh, this book is awful. Unlikeable characters poorly developed, with a trite plot and clunky writing. The mystery: why did I read this to the end?
Phew, moving on from that last tweet's disaster to another winner in #AYearOfBooks
: Wayne Johnston's "The Navigator of New York" (2003, https://amzn.to/3fwPITx
). Follows a young Newfoundlander caught up in the polar exploration rivalry of Peary and Cook.
I expected more about the rigours of polar voyaging, but that's mostly elided. Instead, this is about the characters and the time, and I enjoyed it a lot.
travels to London just after the First World War. "A Fearsome Doubt" (Charles Todd, 2002, https://amzn.to/39kCc3m
), one of a series of mysteries with a protagonist helped in detection by the ghost of a man he had executed during the war.
It's an interesting plot device but I expected to find it more interesting than I did. I'm lukewarm about this series: didn't resent finishing this one, but no plans to pick up the next.
Next up in #AYearOfBooks
: Moby Dick (Herman Melville, 1851; https://amzn.to/3k7ZxKw
). A rare dip into "the classics" for me, but a friend gave it a strong selling job. Verdict? Surprised how much I enjoyed it, once I got used to Melville's writing style.
I learned a lot about 19th century whaling, and 19th century knowledge (or lack of it) about whales. Startling to have Ishmael assure the reader that whaling could never endanger whale populations...
By the way, a blog post inspired by this one: what Moby Dick can teach us about scientific writing. https://lms.unb.ca/d2l/lms/dropbox/user/folders_list.d2l?ou=177245&isprv=0 #AYearOfBooks
has its tendrils...
Next up: Assassin's Apprentice (Robin Hobb, 1995, https://amzn.to/33X4wIo
). Based on recommendations by friends, I expected something special. Not sure I got that, but it's a perfectly enjoyable, if occasionally trite, royal-court fantasy.
The coming-of-age protagonist is a bastard child of a prince, and so both an insider and and outsider. It's enough fun that #AYearOfBooks
is currently into the next book in the trilogy.
OK, excepting the atrociously hackneyed cover art, the second book in the trilogy - Royal Assassin (Robin Hobb, 1996, https://amzn.to/3gf8zSI
) was very enjoyable. Goes to show, you can make a very readable book out of tropes that are way overused in the genre... #AYearOfBooks
And finished the trilogy, with Assassin's Quest (Robin Hobb, 1997, https://amzn.to/3bwi0wv
). More enjoyable but not particularly innovative medieval-court castles-and-keeps fantasy. The characters are the strength!
There are two more trilogies in the series. I may read them someday, but at the moent, time for #AYearOfBooks
to dip a toe somewhere different.
Well, "different" I got: the breathtakingly good "Who Fears Death" (Nnedi Okorafor, 2010; https://amzn.to/3bKBDRh
). Magical realism meets urban fantasy in the story of a young sorceress in a near-future Sudan.
I'd read Okorafor's "Binti", which was good, but "Who Fears Death" was far past that. Hard to explain (also sometimes hard to read; content warning, genocide/rape). One of those books that takes you somewhere absolutely new, and shakes you along the way. #AYearOfBooks
Next: "Paladin of Souls" (Lois McMaster Bujold, 2003; https://amzn.to/3iDOPtX
). A sequel-of-sorts to her superb Curse of Chalion", arguably more of a spin-off following a character who wasn't central in the first book.
Despite my flirting with saturation point for medieval castles-and-keeps fantasy (why are we so obsessed with that setting?), I enjoyed this a lot. A compelling character and deftly written. But once again #AYearOfBooks
needs a bit of shaking up...
Shook it up all right. "Bloody Genius" (John Sandford, 2019, https://amzn.to/32KtLfS
). The latest instalment in the Virgil Flowers series of thriller/mysteries. I have a weak spot for Sandford's books. They're coarse and often violent thrillers but gripping storytelling.
This one, oddly, turned out to be a campus novel (of sorts). I'd like there to be more novels about scientists ( https://scientistseessquirrel.wordpress.com/2016/05/24/why-so-few-novels-about-scientists/
) but I have to admit, I don't really like reading them - I want diversion from my day job, not reading about it!
But the easy read and slick storytelling outweighed that. I raced through this one. #AYearOfBooks
continues with "Ghost Rider: Travels on the Healing Road" (Neal Peart, 2002; https://amzn.to/2RO1y1q
). A travelogue, as Peart rides his motorcycle around much of North America, from Inuvik to Belize, while grieving the deaths of his daughter and wife.
I have a fondness for travelogues going back to John Steinbeck's "Travels with Charley". Peart isn't Steinbeck, and in the end this was more of an interesting traveling man's diary than a book that will stick with me.
You may recognized Peart, by the way, as the drummer for the band Rush. I'm probably the only human alive to drawn a connection between Rush's music and the Latin names of species. Yes, I am niche... https://scientistseessquirrel.wordpress.com/2015/02/02/wonderful-latin-names-part-ii-abudefduf-saxatilis/
Next in #AYearOfBooks
: Andy Weir's (2017) "Artemis" https://amzn.to/340nVqg
. His earlier "The Martian" mostly deserved its inescapable popularity - fun and thrilling, if not particularly deep. "Artemis" is in the same frothy vein.
This is basically a Robert Heinlein juvenile, except with a female protagonist who swears and talks about sex. (Which sounds snide, but actually those are good ways to improve a Heinlein juvenile). And it's well executed.
So if you like "plucky young hero breaks the rules to save the moonbase", this is a fun quick read. #AYearOfBooks
Forgot to tweet this one when I finished it: "Neon Prey" (John Sandford, 2019, https://amzn.to/2G1j7Jj
). 29th in a series of detective thrillers, and maybe it's me, or maybe 29 is a lot. The violence:cleverness ratio is moving out of my preferred range...
Sandford's plots race along and there's some humour, but this installment just seemed more superficial, somehow. Like I said, 29 is a lot of times to return to a formula - even a good one. So, something very different is coming up next in #AYearOfBooks
Something of a cleanser for me: "My Side of the Mountain", "On the Far Side of the Mountain", and "Frightful’s Mountain" (Jean Craighead George, 1959/1990/1999, https://amzn.to/3jvRtCq
. Kids books: first one is a boyhood favourite of mine
In "My Side of the Mountain", 12-year-old Sam Gribley runs away from home to live in the woods, builds shelters, forages for wild foods, and tames a peregrine. It's one of those magical books I return to over and over. The 2nd book is OK; the 3rd gets preachy and tedious in spots
As a parent now, can't help one reaction: remarkable number of adults find out that Sam is a runaway living in the woods. Number who let his parents know: zero. Number who react "cool cool, imma show you how to make tinder": all of them. Hmmm...
Still, "My Side of the Mountain" is a special book. It was an absolute thrill to see my own F1 love it too. #AYearOfBooks
"Mr. Parker Pyne, Detective" (Agatha Christie, 1932; https://amzn.to/3k2I2uN
). Peculiar (Mr. Pyne isn't a detective, for one), and with Christie's usual cleverness, but unfortunately also with her usual class snobbery and racism.
I really don't quite know how to deal with Christie. When she's good, she's really good; but she leaves little racist/classist dog turds sprinkled on the grass. Tempted to want an expurgated edition... but that's weird. #AYearOfBooks
A rare non-fiction entry in #AYearOfBooks
: "Periodic Tales: The Curious Lives of the Elements" (Hugh Aldersey-Williams, 2011; https://amzn.to/31gh0Zq
). A smorgasbord of stories about the elements from actinium to zirconium - I enjoyed this very much.
It has some kinship with my own "Charles Darwin's Barnacle and David Bowie's Spider" - stories as much about people, culture, history as about the elements themselves. Or at least, about how the elements fit into all those things. An easy book to dip into.
Whenever there's a long-ish interregnum in this thread, you know I've been dipping back into @Writer_DG
's marvelous "Outlander" series. This time in #AYearOfBooks
, "A Breath of Snow and Ashes" (Diana Gabaldon, 2005; https://amzn.to/3kHCIgn
More adventure/history/romance as Claire Randall, Jamie Fraser, and the rest see the tide of the American Revolution rising around them. Could these books be shorter? Yes. Would I want them to be? No.
This tweet is more of a footnote. I keep forgetting, I should occasionally remind you that the links in this thread are Amazon "affiliate" links. That means if you follow one and buy something, they send me a pittance (with no impact on cost to you).
But I'm not suggesting you do that. Use your public library; patronize your local independent; borrow a copy from a friend! The Amazon links are just the easiest way to connect you with more info (I love "Look Inside").
Gosh, even my Twitter threads have footnotes... Back to the actual content of #AYearOfBooks
Tip: mention @twtextapp on a Twitter thread with the keyword “unroll” to get a link to it.