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review 2018-03-17 06:36
I feel like a book about mass poisonings, satanism and an inquisition should have been more exciting.
City of Light, City of Poison: Murder, Magic, and the First Police Chief of Paris - Holly Tucker

Maybe it just lacked focus? Maybe it was taking on a topic that in the end was too broad and too murky?


The basic storyline follows the investigations of a police chief into an escalating and expanding series of poisonings, plots, satanism, and possible human sacrifice (the last never completely confirmed). I think the problem comes from how unconnected a lot of the suspects were, and how the implications to high politics were always vague at best.


Thus we end up spending chapters on one noble woman methodically assassinating the majority of her family, whose plot is only to prime the later panic, but doesn't really have much else to do with the book. We also spend chapters and chapters on everyone Louis XIV was sleeping with, which was a lot of people, man, only two of whom were actually relevant to the whole poisoning/satanism issue.


I'm all for setting up background, but it seemed to be a lot of background to actual investigation ratio going on in this book. Which might of been a good thing, because the investigation involved very little gumshoe shenanigans and a heck of a lot of torturing the fuck out of people. Which was graphically described. So.


The writing itself was fairly good; a lot of the slice of life period detail was interesting, and I always like Kate Reading's narration. I dunno, Vive la révolution, I guess.

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text 2018-03-16 16:54
Friday Reads - March 16, 2018
The Irish Americans: A History - Jay P. Dolan


I am of Irish descent on my mother's side and as usual I am making corned beef and cabbage with carrots for dinner tomorrow (crock pot) and something sweet for dessert. I go with corned beef rather than ham because the husband and daughter don't eat pork.


So this weekend I am focusing my attention on one book, The Irish Americans: A History because if I don't I will just leave it on my TBR forever with less than a chapter read. I just need to get over this hump (the Irish Americans who were living in the US pre-1840s Great Famine mass exodus) but colonial history/Early Republic history is a slow slog for me. I just don't get interested until we get mass immigration and railroads and the Gilded Age.  


Happy Reading!

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review 2018-03-16 15:54
Ever wondered about the anatomy of a leech?
Quackery: A Brief History of the Worst Ways to Cure Everything - Lydia Kang,Nate Pedersen

As soon as I saw Quackery: A Brief History of the Worst Ways to Cure Everything by Lydia Kang I knew that I had to get it in my hands. If the name alone doesn't intrigue you then I don't know what will. This book is full to bursting with historical facts about crazy medical practices through the ages. It is an excellent resource about the history of the medical profession as well as education and social change. Much like when I read Soonish, I felt that it was a little heavy with the 'relatable' humor but this was easily overlooked. (I think Kang pulled it off better anyway.) As someone who has read quite a bit about the history of medicine, I was surprised by just how much I didn't know. For example, did you know that leeches have 3 stomachs, 3 jaws, and 100 teeth in each of those jaws?! Kang sets up the different medical practices and procedures by first giving a history of the person that started it off (generally a 'medical practitioner' or someone at least purporting to be one). She then shares accounts from the patients who endured such crazy routines (like bloodletting or ingesting arsenic) paired with diagrams of the medical equipment used to accomplish such feats. (I hope you have a strong stomach for the bloodletting chapter.) I especially enjoyed the little asides about what we now know about the concoctions put together long ago to 'cure' and how the vast majority of them were either complete hokum or actually increased the chances of the patient suffering an agonizing death. It makes you wonder how the future generations will view our supposedly 'innovative' medicines and treatments of the sick. Will we be seen as medical charlatans and blind fools or will they take into account the socioeconomic and political climate that we live in and how that shapes our view on medicine as a whole? As you read this book (and I hope you will) ponder that very question because then perhaps you won't judge past generations quite so harshly...unless it's the guys who took Strychnine in order to increase their sex drive. Always judge those guys. 9/10


I wasn't lying about the leeches. [Source: Amazon]



What's Up Next: HiLo Book 4: Waking the Monsters by Jeff Winick


What I'm Currently Reading: The Murderer's Ape by Jakob Wegelius


Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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text 2018-03-15 15:20
TBR Thursday
Birding Without Borders: An Obsession, a Quest, and the Biggest Year in the World - Noah Strycker
Now I Rise (The Conqueror's Trilogy) - Kiersten White
Dear Fahrenheit 451: Love and Heartbreak in the Stacks - Annie Spence
The Shoe on the Roof - Will Ferguson
The Gap Into Vision: Forbidden Knowledge - Stephen R. Donaldson
My Brief History - Stephen Hawking

Actually, this is just a fraction of my library book pile, but they are the ones that I'm going to concentrate on for the next week or so.


Three of them have holds on them, so they can't be renewed--Birding Without Borders, Dear Fahrenheit 451, and The Shoe on the Roof.  The subject matter of the three couldn't be more different, so it should be an interesting week.


Now I Rise is the second book in The Conqueror's Saga.  The first book, And I Darken, is the book for April in my real-life book club.  I read that one last year, so I'm going to forge ahead into the second book before our meet up on April 6.


It seems appropriate to read Stephen Hawking's autobiography, My Brief History, to celebrate the great man's life. 


And Gap Into Vision : Forbidden Knowledge is the next up in my Science Fiction & Fantasy Reading Project.  I'm glad to have finally found a series by Stephen R. Donaldson that I actually kind of like.

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text 2018-03-15 12:17
Thomas Wyatt: Poet & Assassin



Source: samanthawilcoxson.blogspot.com/2018/03/thomas-wyatt-poet-assassin.html
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