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review 2018-07-23 13:54
Blood and Ink
Blood and Ink - D.K. Marley

Christopher Marlowe and William Shakespeare were both young men who grew up under the reign of Elizabeth I.  Christopher or Kit was guided by the muse Calliope to have an ingenious wit and create wonderful works of written word.  When still very young, Kit's talent was noticed by Sir Francis Walsingham, Elizabeth's spymaster.  Kit was whisked away from his family in return for schooling.  However, Kit was really being groomed as a spy for Elizabeth herself.  Kit's dream is to be a famous playwright and have his name immortalized.  For this, Kit is willing to do Walsingham's bidding as he works his way into the Queen's favor.  Meanwhile, Will Shakespeare dreams of being an actor on stage.  Will's family still practices the old religion, placing them in danger time and time again. This also unknowingly places Will within Kit's path as a spy for Walsingham.  As the men age, their paths cross again.  When Kit needs to escape for a time, Elizabeth hatches a plan so Kit may continue living, and his words may continue to grace the stage, but at what price?

Everyone knows the writings of William Shakespeare, but how many know the name and works of Christopher Marlowe?  I myself was not very familiar with Marlowe other than recognizing his name as a contemporary of Shakespeare.  Many believe that Marlowe did not truly die at such a young age and the William Shakespeare was simply passing along his works.  DK Marley presents the mystery of the two men from their youth through their deaths in an intriguing alternate narration between the two.  Writing in the voices of two acclaimed writers is no easy task, however the dialogue and narration seemed effortless and accurate for William and Kit at the time.  I loved the device of Calliope as a muse for Kit and a guiding voice; it seems that she might have even more to say.  I also enjoyed learning about Walsingham's spy ring and Elizabeth's relationships with Marlowe and Shakespeare.  Overall, a wonderful and atmospheric historical intrigue for anyone who enjoys Shakespeare, Marlowe or Tudor history.

‚ÄčThis book was received for free in return for an honest review. 

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review 2018-07-23 09:40
Sleepyhead by Henry Nicholls
Sleepyhead: Narcolepsy, Neuroscience and the Search for a Good Night - Henry Nicholls

TITLE:  Sleepyhead:  Narcolepsy, Neuroscience and the Search for a Good Night's Rest

 

AUTHOR: Henry Nicholls

 

EXPECTED PUBLICATION DATE:       

4 September 2018

 

FORMAT: ARC ebook

 

ISBN-13: 978-1-5416-7257-4

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NOTE: I received an Advanced Readers Copy of this book from NetGalley. This review is my honest opinion of the book.

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Book Description:

"A narcoleptic's tireless journey through the neuroscience of disordered sleep
Whether it's a bout of bad jet lag or a stress-induced all-nighter, we've all suffered from nights that left us feeling less than well-rested. But for some people, getting a bad night's sleep isn't just an inconvenience: it's a nightmare. In Sleepyhead, science writer Henry Nicholls uses his own experience with chronic narcolepsy as a gateway to better understanding the cryptic, curious, and relatively uncharted world of sleep disorders. We meet insomniacs who can't get any sleep, narcoleptics who can't control when they sleep, and sleep apnea victims who nearly suffocate in their sleep. We learn the underlying difference between morning larks and night owls; why our sleeping habits shift as we grow older; and the evolutionary significance of REM sleep and dreaming. Charming, eye-opening, and deeply humanizing, Sleepyhead will help us all uncover the secrets of a good night's sleep.  "

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Sleepyhead is a well-written, interesting and informative book about sleep, focusing specifically on Narcolepsy and other sleep disorders.  The author relates his own experiences with narcolepsy, as well as interviewing a variety of sleep-disorder sufferers, neurologists and other specialists.  The book is relatively accessible without insulting the intelligence of readers.  I would recommend this book to anyone who suffers from narcolepsy or knows someone with sleep-disorders.

 

 

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text 2018-07-23 08:46
Book Towns
Book Towns: Forty Five Paradises of the Printed Word - Alex Johnson

A travel itinerary for all bibliophiles, bound in hardcover for easy reference.

 

All kidding aside (if I am kidding), this is a gorgeous book filled with 3-4 page spreads on towns that have dedicated their existence, or tried to, to the joy and importance of the written word in all its forms.  Except digital.  Because digital is evil (now I'm definitely kidding.)

 

The bittersweet part of this is the success rate of some of the towns.  At least half, by my very loose and statistically inaccurate count, have struggled, or find themselves with far fewer bookshops than they started with.  Some of this is the natural atrophy of any business category; there are always those that failed to prepare themselves adequately for the roller coaster that is small business ownership, but the ever shifting market of bookselling and the control of the market by big business, of course, bears the brunt of responsibility.  

 

There are success stories too, and those success stories are significant.  Hay-on-Wye (my personal nirvana/paradise/heaven), Wigtown, and embarrassingly enough, Clunes here n Victoria.  The one that's only 90 minutes from my doorstep and I haven't been to yet!  Boy, is my face red.  Anyway - these towns as well as others all over the world are proof that the concept is important and chock full of possibilities.

 

Johnson does a good job generally, giving a solid overview of each town, featuring the shop names you hope are solvent enough to be around by the time the reader figures out how to get there. He even occasionally mentions (especially for the French towns) the concentration of languages shops focus on.  My only complaint is that I'd have liked this thoughtful touch to be more consistent.  At least one reader of this book does see it as a bucket list (me), and, while most of the towns in this book would stand on their aesthetic merits, it would be helpful to know whether I'd be unlikely to find much in the way of reading material if I'm to visit.

 

Definitely a book to put off reading if you're trying to avoid the travel itch.

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review 2018-07-23 02:39
A Star Trek adventure by a master of the genre
Planet of Judgment - Joe Haldeman

While transporting an esteemed Starfleet scientist to his new posting, the U.S.S. Enterprise encounters a situation seemingly in defiance of the laws of science: an M-class planet orbited by a tiny black hole. As the crew proceeds to investigate the implausibilities of the new planet quickly mount: teleporting down to the planet via transporter is impossible, shuttlecraft no longer function after landing, and phasers can be used to stun the aggressive fauna but will not function when set to kill. Soon the crew of the Enterprise encounter the reason for the mystery and in the process discover a threat to the existence of the entire Federation.

 

Regarded today as one of the giants of the genre, Joe Haldeman was just beginning his career as a science fiction author when he was approached by Bantam to write for their series of Star Trek novels in the 1970s. This, the first of two he would write, demonstrates all of his skills as an author: gripping action, interesting scientific ideas, and a plot that engages the reader throughout its length. Like many an episode what starts as a puzzle becomes a problem, then a challenge that threatens like lives of the Enterprise crew. Though Haldeman incorporates a trope from the original series, his employment in it is done in a way that is both fresh and with real consequences for the story. All of this makes for a delightful novel that shows the possibilities inherent in the series in the hands of a true master of the craft.

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review 2018-07-23 00:17
Wheel of Time Reread Books 1-4 by Leigh Butler
Wheel of Time Reread: Books 1-4 - Leigh Butler

I was late in discovering the existence of the vast world of Wheel of Time fandom. Leigh Butler isn't the be-all-end-all authority, she herself would deny that, but I've found her posts and analysis of what's going on in the series invaluable for my latest reread.

Sharp analysis, critiques, quick explanations and timely reminders of which characters and subplots to keep an eye out for make this essential reading for any fan of the series. It does have a lot of spoilers so no reading before you've gotten through 'A Memory of Light'!

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