November 1, 2020

October Reading Roundup

Norwegian by Night by Derek B. Miller

  • Genre: Literary fiction with notes of thriller
  • Why I read it: Book club pic
  • What I thought of it: The only thing worse than first person present tense, it turns out, is third person present tense, which most of this book was written in. There were a few flashbacks written in past tense, which, unsurprisingly, flowed better, were more engaging, and sounded more natural than the rest of the book. As for characters and plot, it was an ok thriller I guess? Not really my thing, though.
  • Would I recommend it: The people in my book club really liked it, so sure. Not for me, though. The lit fic stuff was too lit fic-y, and the thriller stuff too boiler plate for my tastes. 

18 Tiny Deaths: The Untold Story of Frances Glessner Lee and the Invention of Modern Forensics by Bruce Goldfarb

  • Genre: History - Forensics
  • Why I read it: I like true crime and true-crime-adjacent books
  • What I thought of it: I'm glad the story of Glessner Lee was told, as she was a fascinating woman. Essentially, she used her wealth to force the field of forensic medicine into existence in America (it already existed in Europe and the Middle East). I think the book could have been edited to be a little shorter, though, as it was a long and not always interesting read.
  • Would I recommend it: If you are into forensics, niche history, and women's history, then yes.

Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury

  • Genre: Supernatural spooky with notes of horror
  • Why I read it: I re-read it for a book club
  • What I thought of it: I loved it just as much as the first time I read it. The prose, the characters, the creepy carnival folk. It was all perfect.
  • Would I recommend it: Yes! Especially during October. It is the quintessential fall read!

Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff (DNF!)
  • Genre: Fantasy Horror
  • Why I read it: The concept intrigued me, plus the cover rocks
  • What I thought of it: It was... kinda boring? And predictable? And not scary. And not Lovecraftian. Like, there are so many ways one could riff on Lovecraft's racism by using his own stories and themes (none of which are under copyright), and Ruff chose none of them. Disappointing.
  • Would I recommend it: No. I gave up on it and read the Wikipedia summary of each story, and it doesn't seem to get any more interesting after the parts I read.

The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton
  • Genre: Mystery
  • Why I read it: I loved Turton's previous book, The 7 ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle
  • What I thought of it: Ohhhhh boy... Let's just say, it had massive potential, but was ruined by one and a half horribly cliche female characters whose POV takes up roughly half the novel. Plus, it was way too long, (could have been shorter without the skirt, tbh...)
  • Would I recommend it: No. It was so disappointing, and, even worse, preachy.

Ghosts of the Grand Canyon: Personal Encounters that Will Have You on the Edge by Brian-James and Judy Martinez 
  • Genre: Nonfiction - parapsychology
  • Why I read it: AZ book club pic
  • What I thought of it: The writing wasn't great, but I feel like that's kind of a plus for a hokey ghost story book; makes it feel more authentic, in my opinion. As for the stories, though many of them were very similar, there were some really creepy ones. There was also a lot of info about the Canyon that I didn't know.
  • Would I recommend it: If you're into ghosts in famous places, yes. It's a short, spooky little read.

Is ESP Real? The Science of the Sixth Sense by Robert L. Kuhn, Ph.D.
  • Genre: Nonfiction - parapsychology
  • Why I read it: Ya'll should know by now that I'm into this nonsense
  • What I thought of it: It was kinda meh, as it's just a guy interviewing various people and getting there opinion on whether ESP is real. The funny part, though, is that everyone tries so hard to couch psychic powers in scientific, rather than spiritual terms, because if we don't, "it would completely change how wee see the world" which is like... You know that you can believe both, right? That the physical world is governed by physical laws, while the spiritual, specifically nonphysical world is governed by metaphysical laws? They're basically bringing the wrong tools to bear on the question at hand, like trying to measure the amount of salt in a sample of water with a ruler; they are ill-equipped. 
  • Would I recommend it: No. As I said, it was meh. No new or cool information to be had.

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