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Search tags: 2018-non-fiction
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text 2018-09-08 23:35
Halloween Bingo - Fear the Drowning Deep
Fatal Passage - Ken McGoogan

From the book's description:

 

The true story of the remarkable John Rae - Arctic traveller and Hudson's Bay Company doctor - FATAL PASSAGE is a tale of imperial ambition and high adventure. In 1854 Rae solved the two great Arctic mysteries: the fate of the doomed Franklin expedition and the location of the last navigable link in the Northwest Passage.

But Rae was to be denied the recognition he so richly deserved. On returning to London, he faced a campaign of denial and vilification led by two of the most powerful people in Victorian England: Lady Jane Franklin, the widow of the lost Sir John, and Charles Dickens, the most influential writer of the age. 

 

Fatal Passage will be my nomination for the Fear the Drowning Deep square.

I have some travel coming up next week and needed a non-fiction book to read on the trip. For some reason, I prefer non-fiction when travelling.

 

 

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text 2018-09-07 01:54
Halloween Bingo - Free Square
Get Well Soon: History's Worst Plagues and the Heroes Who Fought Them - Jennifer Wright

Just before I forget, I'm using Get Well Soon, our current Flat Book Society read, for the Free Square (as I don't have the Doomsday square on my card).

 

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video 2018-09-07 01:11
Get Well Soon: History's Worst Plagues and the Heroes Who Fought Them - Jennifer Wright

I'm just about to start the last Chapter on Polio.

 

So, these are some of the things I have noticed so far: 

 

1. I liked the second half of the book better than the first, even tho the discussions are not even trying to explore the causes of different diseases. Not in a depth or scientific way, anyway. I want to say that that ship has sailed, but hoestly I don't think that particular ship was ever launched.

 

2. There are some scary stories about medical conditions in this book - not epidemics(!), this book is really not about epidemics at all - but I appreciate Wright's style in that I needed that uplifting reference to Fraggle Rock at the end of the chapter on lobotomies. That was one scary chapter. 

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text 2018-08-12 01:58
Reading progress update: I've read 135 out of 297 pages.
Putting Away Childish Things - Uta Ranke-Heinemann
Nein und Amen. Mein Abschied vom traditionellen Christentum - Uta Ranke-Heinemann

Ok, this one has turned out unexpected in several ways:

 

1. On page 2, I realised that I had bought this book twice...in two different editions. The other edition I have is the original German version. I'm reading both in parallel, which is rather fun.

 

2. This is a much faster read than I had expected from a book about theology. But then Uta Ranke-Heinemann is a good communicator and her writing is clear and structured.

 

3. This book has made me laugh out loud quite a lot. I'm not sure why I was surprised at that because I've followed her interviews for ... a long time.

 

4. I thought there may be sections which I am not going to be interested in, but so far I have not been tempted to skim or skip anything.

 

5. I think I will be a little bit sad when I finish this book. Luckily, I have another one of hers on a shelf somewhere... ;D

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review 2018-08-11 12:41
Noel & Cole: The Sophisticates
Noel and Cole: The Sophisticates - Stephen Citron

DNF @ 24%

 

Enough.

 

This is not a great biography of either of its subjects. It's not even a good or tolerable biography... I weep for the trees that had to die for this waste of paper.

 

I should have stopped after the introduction which included the following clanger:

"Kate Porter and Violet Coward steered their young sons early into creative and performing lives. Kate did so because she was a frustrated singer and Violet because she hoped to rise above the penny-pinching boarding-house-keeper life she had been born into. Because of this interdependence, each youth was to revere his mother, have night terrors about losing her while writing off his milquetoast father who left breadwinning and discipline to the distaff side. Coming from such a classically twisted psychological situation it is not surprising that both Noel and Cole were homosexual. With their raising of women, especially strong, determined and opinionated women, to such an exalted pedestal, perhaps bisexual would be a more apt description of their libidinous behaviour."

The author clearly has issues. He also, clearly, is full of crap.

 

And yet, I hoped he may have something insightful to say about the work of either of his subjects. Unfortunately, of the part of the book I managed to read, I believe I have learned more about the author's personality (and his many, many issues) from his gossipy, presumptive, speculative, condescending statements than I learned anything of impact about about Coward or Porter.

 

I finally drew the line when reading this about Coward's The Vortex:

"The idea for the play, whose controversial theme was one of the main reasons for the queues at the box office, came to Noel when he was invited to a party by his friend Stewart Foster. Across the room he glimpsed Stewart's beautiful and seductive mother, Grace, sharing a banquette with a young admirer. As soon as the party was seated one of the young girls blurted out, "Look at that old hag over there with the young man in tow; she's old enough to be his mother."

The Freudian Oedipus complex, the Hamlet-Gertrude relationship and perhaps Stewart Forster's own attentions to his seductive mother at the soiree immediately propelled Coward's dramaturgical mind into the concept of weaving the plot of a play wherein both a son and her young lover would vie for the love of the mother."

It's a good thing for the author that you can't libel the dead. Did I mention that there are little to no references to sources in this book?

 

I should have DNF'd this at the introduction.

 

On the plus side, it's another one off Mt. TBR.

 

I'm going to put on some Cole and make another cup of coffee.

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