Wednesday, August 4, 2010

This Week at the Library (4/8)

This week at the library...

  • Alison Weir's Captive Queen, a novel of Henry II and Eleanor. Straining conventions, two young aristocrats marry for love -- but the problems of empire, politics, and family life may prove too much for them. Starts off like a supermarket pulp romance, but shapes up into an interesting read of historical fiction.
  • La Belle France by Alistair Horne covers French history from the Romans to Jacques Chiraq in a little over four hundred pages. An informal and swiftly-moving narrative gives readers a big picture that tends to prefer stories of strong leaders to mass action.
  • A Time to be Born is a TNG relaunch novel set shortly before Nemesis and leading up to it: Picard's career hits a sour note when he is thrown into a difficult situation and inadvertently causes the destruction of a starship and the loss of a Federation ally. The ending was interesting enough to keep my interest in this series alive.

Quotation of the Week: "There are mysteries and oddities here, and we want to shed some light on them. There are rational explanations for the gravity sink, the wild antimatter, the Ontailians' actions, and we should go and find them. We may fail, but we can no longer take 'Oh, it's haunted' as an explanation." Jean-Luc Picard tiring of "goddidit" in A Time to Be Born. p. 89, John Vornholt.

Pick of the Week: La Belle France, Alistair Horne. Although I prefer tales of popular revolt to strong leaders, reading the book was otherwise a treat.

Upcoming Reads:

  • Crucible: McCoy, Provenance of Shadows by David R. George III. Leonard McCoy is trapped in 1930s Earth after he inadvertently destroys his future. 
  • The 100 Most Influential Books Ever Written: a History of Thought from Ancient Times to Today, Martin Seymour-Smith
  • Galileo's Daughter: a Historic Memoir of Science, Faith, and Love; Dava Sobel. I picked this up when doing research for a paper on the evolution of heliocentrism and the perception of a rational universe, but I want to give a proper reading. 
  • Give Me Back my Legions!, a rare bit of historical fiction by Harry Turtledove portraying one of Rome's most staggering losses. 

Future Potentials:

  • My library doesn't have Admiral Hornblower in the West Indies; To the Indies! is not, as I thought,  its alternative American title. (Forester's books sometimes have different titles when republished for sale in the US.) I still want to read it, though.
  • I've decided to dive right into Star Trek's much-lauded Destiny trilogy despite not having read all of the books that lead up to it. Destiny is worshiped at the TrekBBS, and I want to know what all the fuss is about. 
  • I'm interested in reading more from Alison Weir, Simon Schama, and Alistair Horne. 

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