Thursday, January 20, 2011

This Week at the Library (12 - 19 January)

Most of the books I read are strictly for myself, aside from the odd request from a friend to read a book to see how it is. This week, though, I reviewed two books (Sex on Six Legs, To End All Wars)  for Houghton-Mifflin Harcourt through NetGalleys. Neither of them have been released yet, and both proved good reads. To End All Wars was particularly exceptional.  In fiction, I read Bernard Cornwell's Redcoat, which surprised me. While historical, its drama is mostly interpersonal, focusing on a young British soldier whose loyalties grow more complicated during the occupation of Philadelphia in 1777-1778.

Selected Quotations:

"You have no quarrel with Germany!" he roared. "German workmen have no quarrel with their French comrades....we are told international treaties compel us [but] who made those? The People had no voice in them!" As he spoke, the sky over London blackened with storm clouds, and before he finished, they burst in a torrential downpour.
That evening, Germany demanded from Belgium passage for its troops.  

(p. 91, To End All Wars. Greg Hochschild.)

"I knew it was my business to protest, however futile protest might be," wrote Russell decades later, "I felt that for the honour of human nature those who were not swept off their feet should show they stood firm." 
"I should like the words 'alien' and 'foreigner' to be banished from the language. We are all members of the same family."  - Charlotte Despard 

- As quoted in To End All Wars

"I think to think of the nuclei of our cells, not as perfectly tuned whirring machines, each gear essential, but as vast echoing warehouses of factories. Entire machines are outdated and useless, left rusted in a corner but never taken away and demolished. Others are jury-rigged out of pieces from older models and newer ones, rattling jerkily through their paces but ultimately manufacturing something usable." 

p. 55, Sex on Six Legs

Potentials for next week...

  • The Age of Absurdity by Michael Foley. I'd intended to read more of it this past week, but wanted to focus on the two advanced reviews.
  • The Rise and Fall of the Bible: the Unexpected History of an Accidental Book, by Timothy Beal. This is another advanced review copy, huzzah. 
  • The Black Echo, Michael Connelly. I saw its main character on TvTropes last night as being characterized by saying "Either everyone matters, or no one does", which I approve of. The character in question is a grizzled LAPD detective, so I'm expecting an urban mystery.
  • A Far Better Rest, Susanne Alleyn. A Tale of Two Cities from Sidney Carton's perspective. Again, a TvTropes discovery.
  • Beyond Band of Brothers: the War Memoirs of Major Dick Winters, Richard Winters.  Winters died recently, so I thought it might be appropriate to read his memoirs of parachuting into D-Day.  (Technically before  D-Day, but the two are inexorably bound together.)

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