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review 2018-06-25 11:45
Rain: A Natural and Cultural History
Rain: A Natural and Cultural History - Cynthia Barnett

Pretty much exactly what it says on the tin.  This is a history, not a science, text.  But as a history of rain, it's 100% more interesting than a book on rain would generally sound.  Filled with anecdotes that bring the history to life, and raise it a notch above a dry (ha!) academic narrative, once I got past the parts of history I always find slow (ie, any part we have to speculate about) I found it hard to put the book down.

 

The author tries tackle the subject globally, but generally, it's US-centric (which, if I remember right, she disclaims at the start).  There's a certain amount of doom and gloom when she gets to present day human vs. rain (spoiler: rain always wins), but I was incredibly please and very inspired by the stories she told about how certain cities are learning from their mistakes.  In a global culture that is so, I'm sorry, collectively stupid about climate change, it often feels like we're being beat about the head with it; we haven't yet figured out that, just as this tactic doesn't work on children, it doesn't work on humanity in general.  But a story about people learning from the past and taking steps to remediate the problems - that's what, in my opinion - is going to inspire the long-term change we so desperately need.

 

She ends the book with the most telling irony - her trip the the rainiest place on the planet, Mawsynram, where she experiences 5 cloud free, sunny days, while back home in Florida her family lives through the rainiest weather in the state's recorded history.

 

A pleasant, informative and well-written read.

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review 2018-06-24 06:05
Lowcountry Bookshop (Liz Talbot Mystery, #7)
Lowcountry Bookshop - Susan M. Boyer

There aren't many series left I look forward to, but this one is always satisfying.  Lowcountry Bookshop wasn't the strongest of the bunch, but still an enjoyable way to escape.

 

Liz and Nate are hired by an anonymous client, through their attorney, to prove a local mail carrier (Poppy) innocent of a hit and run perpetrated during a massive rainstorm.  This construct felt, for much of the book, forced, as though Boyer couldn't make it work any other way, but by the end, the anonymity makes complete sense and adds an additional layer of complexity to the plot.  By the end, it's only the revealed guilty party that doesn't really mesh with the story; as a lover of mysteries I have come to expect all aspects of the mystery to share context, but as Boyer writes it, it's likely a lot more realistic.  There's a plot twist but too many aspects of it are telegraphed early to be shocking.

 

Where the book shines is with any scene involving Liz's family.  Hand to god, I wish the Talbots were both real and part of my life.  I rarely laugh so hard as I do when I'm reading about what Liz's daddy is currently up to. 

 

The only really true let down in the book was sloppy editing; in the past Henery Press could be counted on for solid editing and proofing but lately standards have slipped.  Hopefully it's just a temporary indication of a growing business, and I still look forward to the the next Liz Talbot book.

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text 2018-06-22 17:59
Reading progress update: I've read 33 out of 368 pages.
The Hazel Wood - Melissa Albert

 

I'm already entranced with this book, only a few pages in.

 

But I have miles to go before I sleep (or read) this evening.  Groceries to buy, supper to cook (Tandoori Chicken), a rhubarb apple crisp to make, charging my camera battery and getting all packed & organized for my mountain adventure tomorrow.

 

At least the desire to get back to The Hazel Wood will keep me motivated to get all the tasks done.

 

 

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review 2018-06-22 09:46
Bodies in a Bookshop (Professor John Stubbs Mystery)
Bodies in a Bookshop - Cassandra Campbell,Peter Main

A re-issue of a 1940's mystery written by Ruthven Todd; I have to say that in general, I did not like this book.  It probably deserves 2.5 stars but the bookshop setting and plot surrounding books keeps me from doing it.  This is an instance when I know I'm being too kind though, because the writing had me skimming from just about the mid-way point.

 

The book (and series) is hyped to be witty and humorous and in the forward Peter Main mentions that Ruthven Todd wrote these only in order to make money; he felt that they were vastly inferior to his poetry.  I put these two disparate ideas together because I can only think that what is considered funny to others is what I felt was a complete lack of respect for the genre.  Of the three main characters, one is a constantly fatigued Scotland Yard detective, another is a corpulent Scotsman, and the third, our narrator, a botanist and assistant to said corpulent Scotsman, who does not hide his complete disdain for both from the reader.  It's a disdain attached to grudging affection and respect, and I suspect it is supposed to be read as acerbic wit, but it just sounded petulant to me.

 

Never thought I'd say this but: there's such a thing as too much Scottish vernacular.

 

The plot was ok, but too strung out and would have benefited from an editor with fascist work habits.  Dover says upfront that the text is from the original published manuscript as it was printed, so fair enough to them, but that just means the original had many flaws, including a niece that becomes a sister and is then demoted back to niece in the span of 2 pages.

 

Dover have reissued a few others of his work, but I won't be searching them out.

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url 2018-06-21 05:00
Author Of The Month - Isobel Starling - Week Three

Join us once more as we continue our celebrations for this fabulous author! 

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