Friday, May 19, 2017

Bookshelf Part 5

Another bundle of books I've recently finished.

Here it goes.

James Runcie - Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death (The Grantchester Mysteries #1). There was this TV series once, Father Dowling Mysteries and I think I watched every episode, because there was something enticing with the concept. There is also a TV series created based on the book series above. And I am going to check it (currently airing 3rd season), because the first book felt vapid. It might be the Author's style but I couldn't feel close to any character, not to mention Amanda was getting on my nerves and I realized at one point I was hoping for a chapter when her death would be investigated. Let's hope the TV series will be better, because after watching James Norton in Belle (even though his role was very vague, ambiguous and I couldn't figure him out) and in War and Peace, I'm sure I can count on him.
Thank you, deeply - Joanna Malita-Królowa^^

Robert M. Wegner - Opowieści z meekhańskiego pogranicza (Stories from Meekhan Borderlands). It's sadly in Polish but from what I know it has been translated into Russian, so if you read in this language - go ahead. I also read Finnish comments on Goodreads, so I don't know. There are 5 parts - first two (North - South and East - West) are compilations of short stories centering around the same character or group of characters. The last are the usual novels. 
What is beautiful about these novels is the deep cultural understanding of countless entanglements of many traditions bubbling on the borders. Peripheries are a very interesting field of research and here we have the outskirts of the great Meekhan Empire - territories where civilization meets the wilderness, where different cultures collide, merge, disappear and slay one another. Lands where imperial law is understood slightly different than in the center. Lands pulsating with Power, untapped sources of distorted, bad Power. The series illustrates perfectly what colonialism really is, what religious wars have done to the land and people, and it performs something unusual - it gives voice to those who have been living on the fringes in the fictional world. It might be fantasy, but it's deeply, wonderfully post-colonial, even if the Author is unaware of it. Main characters are also people of dual ethnicity, lost ethnicity or no ethnicity whatsoever. We have spies, politics and gossamer plans turning into steel.
Highly recommend if you can find the translation.

MD Lachlan - Wolfsangel (Wolfsangel #1). Oh gods, don't read it. Author killed his own story with an absolute lack of involvement. The characters and their actions are described as if in a newspaper, and not the good one. The style is bad, really bad. After roughly 50 pages I knew finishing it would be a hard task for me, but I waded through, skipping every few pages because I just couldn't stand the dry droning, emotionless presentation of the characters as if they were mere things on supermarket shelves. I know authors who can make a description of a roadside rock  into a thrilling adventure but this was far from it.

Jon Queijo - Breakthrough!: How the 10 Greatest Discoveries in Medicine Saved Millions and Changed Our View of the World. I expected some knowledge and I got a bunch of anecdotes without real numbers, dates and as little hard data as possible. Maybe some people like it, I don't.
But it was a fun read nonetheless.

Łukasz Lamża - Przekrój przez Wszechświat (Through the Universe). It's a scientific book that starts with the biggest numbers and sizes (100 billion light years) and ends with 1 fm - that is the world of quarks. Fascinating read, written clearly, simply and shortly with a dash of humor. And there is lot to learn.

I also read Terry Eagleton's Literary Theory, but since this is an academic book, I guess not many people would be interested in me delving more into it.

I'm currently reading 2 last parts to Meekhan stories and The Barbary Plague: The Black Death in Victorian San Francisco by Marilyn Chase. Expect something about it the next month.