Wednesday, October 15, 2008

This Week at the Library (15/10)

Books this Update:

I made a decision earlier in the week to change the format of this blog. For over a year now, I have been commenting on my weekly reading once a week or once every three books, depending on the circumstances. Since I take such pleasure in writing, this means that during busy weeks, my bilbiofriends who visit this blog (and with whom I exchange book recommendations) are often presented with a large block of text.

This would have been especially true this week with The Story of the Titanic, as it is really four accounts in one and I had to comment on each individually. I thought, then, that it might be better for me to write about each book as I read it, and then every week if I’ve had a busy week to do a “Week in Review” post, which will be like every single post I’ve done before, only shorter. This will be better, I think, as it will allow my friends to ignore book comments they’re not interested in and skip to the book that they are -- which may be the case when I’m reading a book someone else has recommended to me. On the other hand, if I am visited by someone who only wants to read short summaries of what I’m reading (out of boredom, perhaps) and not anything long, the newly-styled review posts will be more attractive to them.

The first book I read was The Story of the Titanic. I’ve been a Titanic enthusiast since childhood and have read a lot about it. This week was the first time I’ve read direct survivors’ accounts, however, and I must say I thoroughly enjoyed the readings. There were four accounts: one from Lawrence Beesley, a science teacher from England; one from Col. Gracie, an American historian; one from Second Officer Charles Lightoller, and the last from Junior Marconi Operator Harold Bride. Of the four, the one I enjoyed the most was Beesly’s, and you can read it here for free at Project Gutenberg.

Next I read Trial by Error, a Star Trek book set in the DS9 season and authored by Mark Garland The story involves a trade deal of Quark’s gone wrong, leading to a number of aliens vessels arriving at Deep Space Nine and threatening to blow one another up and the station, too. Opening events cause a runabout to drift off into space and into the wormhole -- and the runabout has Jake Sisko in it. The story was pretty interesting as far as I was concerned.

Forward the Foundation by Isaac Asimov was my next read. It concludes the core Foundation series, and was concluded shortly before Asimov’s death. The book ends with the death of his main character and alter-ego, who died while writing. Appropriate for Asimov, a man who said “If I had only five more minutes to live, I wouldn’t worry. I’d type a little faster.” Forward the Foundation is the finishing touch to a literacy masterpiece. If you enjoy science fiction or even just good fiction, you owe it to yourself to try it.

Pick of the Week: Forward the Foundation, Isaac Asimov

Next Week:
  • Robot Dreams, Isaac Asimov
  • Upsetting the Balance, Harry Turtledove
  • The Greatest Benefit to Mankind: a Medical History of Humanity, Roy Porter

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