Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Two weeks or so of books read

Now that I'm back in blog-land, here's what I can recall reading the last two weeks or so:

Hark! A Vagrant, by Kate Beaton. Just the best history geek and all-around geek comics going. If you don't already ready the web comic, you should, and if you do, you'll enjoy the book. (Here's one of my favorites that didn't make this collection.)

The Lady's Secret, by Joanna Chambers. I enjoyed this book (a debut historical romance from Carina Press), despite never 100% warming up to the hero, for the lovely writing and well-evoked period atmosphere. Mind you, there was nothing WRONG with the hero. He was just a bit too much the quintessential bored aristocrat for my taste, keeping in mind that my ideal of an aristocratic hero, real-life division, is Wellington, while the fictional division is a three-way tie between Peter Wimsey, Aral Vorkosigan, and Miles Vorkosigan. And obviously it's not every hero who can solve murders or help save Europe, Barrayar, or half the galaxy.

The Lady's Scandalous Night, by Jeannie Lin. A long short story/short novella set in Tang Dynasty China. The hero has been ordered to track down his best friend, now turned rebel, but the friend's sister will do whatever it takes to delay him and give her brother a chance to escape. Lin does a great job packing a lot of characterization into a story you can read in a single sitting.

To End All Wars, by Adam Hochschild. There's something uniquely appalling about World War I. Other wars have been senseless, and other wars have had appallingly high casualty rates, and I'm sure others set up the conditions for future conflicts, but I can't think of any other that combines all three factors to such a horrific degree. I find it almost too painful to read about, but Hochschild's history of those who fought the war and those who resisted it is too compelling to put down.

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