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[personal profile] trystinn
Working on:

Plagues and Peoples by William H. McNeil
This is what I call an "airplane book" as no one will bother you when you read it because its so alarming. Other great books on this genre (different authors) are Stiff and the Red Market. McNeil is needlessly dry and academically formal to the point where you can barely pin down what he's saying. He's one of those authors who can't past his own writing style to make direct statements. *eye roll* Once you get past that, its an interesting take on how disease, especially parasites, have altered the course of human evolution and civilization. Readers will learn interesting points, such as Sickle Cell Anemia may have developed to combat malaria in Africa and other environs, hence its predominance in specific ethnic groups from those geographic areas.

"How Firm a Foundation by David Weber (Book #5 of 6 of Safehold)
Weber is the author of the Honor Harrington series, which in turn is the Horatio Hornblower series set in space. Excellent and very LONG series. Weber is a master storyteller and if you haven't read him, do! He hasn't the turn of dialogue that David Eddings had, but he is very good at what he does. This series combines space Navy technology with wood boat technology. How do you bring a wood boat Navy up through the evolution of science and technologies, slowly, to their former level (which they have no idea of and can't be told about) to space without getting labeled a demon during the process? Especially when you yourself is an android programmed with the consciousness of a 300 year old dead woman? Fascinating.

Masques by Patricia Briggs
Obviously, her earlier work now re-published after a bit of a re-write. Struggling to get through this. Have put to the side for now. Former rich girl of the mansion turned spy, bastard child of a nobleman and wild witch. Now fighting on behalf of something not very well explained for a man also not well explained to stop a Very Bad Guy whose belongs to a sorcery guild trying to take over the kingdom. Aided by a sorcerer who prefers the form of a black wolf. Reads like bad Myspace fiction. I'm glad she got past this series to her far better works - Alpha and Omega and Mercy Thompson series. *yawn*

Palimpsest by Catherynne M. Valente
Mysterious group of people follow maps on their skin to a mysterious realm of fantasy. Also struggling through this because of the strange writing style of the author. Seems to write mostly in "blurb" style. Chose the book due to friends having enjoyed it. If you've read this, does the author give up on the cheesy mysterioso writing style? Ever? Its exhausting.

For Heaven's Eyes Only by Simon R. Green
Book #5 of the Secret Histories series, one of several he writes. I adore Green and read all but his young adult works. This series centers on Eddie Drood, aka Shaman Bond, an occult James Bond (you'd have noticed the play on the title name?) and his family, the infamous Droods who stand between humanity and the dark forces, including alien, that seek to destroy us. Beautifully British, snarky and delightfully, mischeviously violent. His girlfriend, Molly Metcalf, one of the infamous Metcalf sisters, is feared through multiple realms as a Wild Witch. She is more than worth the price of the book - she brings popcorn to the family council meetings and threatens to turn them all into something squishy if they are rude to her lover. The Metcalf Sisters are chaos incarnate, magically and mundanely, and should go down in the annals of fabulous fictional witches. :D

Finished:

Conquistadora by Esmeralda Santiago
This was on my Paperbackswap Wish List, though I'm frankly confused as to why. I must have decided I wanted to read it at some point and forgotten it. The novel covers the story of a woman who leaves Spain for Puerto Rico, secretly married to a set of twin brothers to run a sugar cane plantation. Her dream ends up destroying nearly everyone and she willingly sacrifices everyone, including several generations of slaves, for that dream. I'm sure the author considers this the story of a driven, strong woman. The story is well told, absorbing and disturbing. There are no heroes in this tale.

Cleopatra's Daughter: A Novel by Michelle Moran
Very well told historical novelization by an author dedicated to accuracy, who works closely with anthropologists to do so. Moran traces the story from Cleopatra's suicide, the children being taken into custody by Octavian. Selene and Alexander are raised by Octavian's sister, treated very well and educated but of course, politics are always present and lurking. I've gone ahead and ordered more books by Moran, as they are excellent, next up Nefertiti."

Date: 2012-10-04 07:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] saffronhare.livejournal.com
Have you read Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond? Very similar to the McNeil book you mentioned.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guns,_Germs,_and_Steel

Dr. Tatiana's Sex Advice to all Creation is also a really awesome and amusing book about evolutionary biology.

http://www.amazon.com/Dr-Tatianas-Sex-Advice-Creation/dp/0805063323

I think I'm going to look up some of your books for near-future reading -- thanks for posting them!

Date: 2012-10-04 08:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tryst-inn.livejournal.com
I haven't read the first one, but I have read the second! I'll add the first one to my list, thank you!

Date: 2012-10-04 08:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wendyzski.livejournal.com
I like Simon Green's stuff - a bit cliched at times but a fun read.

Soo many of my friends love Cat Valente's stuff, and she is soooo nice in person, but I just can't get into her work. Got 2/3 of the way through Palimpset and wandered off. I think it's a style you either love or can't stand. She is really fun on the SF Squeecast with Seanan, Bear, Paul Cornel and company.

Another plane book that gets you odd looks is The Darwin Awards.....

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