Category: General

WWW Wednesday

Posted September 30, 2020 by Nicky in General / 0 Comments

It’s Wednesday again! So here’s the usual check-in. You can go to Taking On A World Of Words to chat with everyone else who has posted what they’re reading right now!

Cover of X+Y by Eugenia ChengWhat are you currently reading?

Non-fiction: X+Y, by Eugenia Cheng, which is — well, the subtitle is “A Mathematician’s Manifesto for Rethinking Gender”, which is a pretty good summary. Cheng works with a field of mathematics called “category theory”, and is applying that technique to unpick a lot of gender inequality and offer solutions. My thoughts are so far are mostly that I’d love to see if she could teach me maths, based on her discussions of how she tries to apply her understanding when it comes to teaching! Seems like an environment that might suit me better.

Fiction: I’m struggling through Susanna Kearsley’s The Firebird, and I couldn’t honestly put my finger on why. I’ve enjoyed her other books and on the surface, I can’t see why this one isn’t working for me. I guess I’m just not connecting so well with the characters?

I’m also reading Kushiel’s Dart, still, and it’s coming up to time for another big heartbreak. Gah!

Cover of The Story of Wales by Jon GowerWhat have you recently finished reading?

I think the last thing I finished must’ve been Jon Gower’s The Story of Wales. I was surprised by how much I knew already, through having studied Welsh fiction (in English) and cultivated an interest since. I still had some serious gaps and surprises, though. Overall, it made me really annoyed with how little I was taught about that part of British history, attending a school in England. You’d think they could at least mentioned that David Lloyd George was Welsh, for instance, while teaching me about the part he played in WWI.

Cover of Cemetery Boys by Aiden ThomasWhat will you be reading next?

As ever, I don’t really know. I’d like to pick up Aiden Thomas’ Cemetery Boys, and I’m still working my way through the Shelf of Abandoned Books. Then there’s a bunch of other new books I got recently…

I have found that I have a sort of “out of sight, out of mind” problem with books sometimes. I want them and want them and want them and then when they get here and I shelve them, I forget to go grab them off the shelves! So I’m keeping my options open to wander along my shelves and choose at random, as ever.

How about you folks?

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Weekly Blogging Challenge: Non-fiction

Posted September 30, 2020 by Nicky in General / 1 Comment

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge

I’ve decided to take part in a new blog hop, hosted by Long and Short Reviews. This week’s topic is “the non-fiction book you think everyone should read, and why”.

So the answer is David Quammen’s SpilloverIt’s a little old now, I guess, since it’s what kinda set me on my current trajectory (just about to start my MSc in Infectious Diseases!) — but the points he makes about how “spillover” events occur and why are still as valid as ever, and it’s a good survey of some emerging infectious diseases which could cause huge problems. It basically predicts the current situation with COVID-19, which has burst out of its bat reservoir and become pandemic shockingly swiftly.

The gist is that, due to destroying habitat, increasing usage of land, and climate conditions… we’re increasing the contacts between humans and animals we previously didn’t come into contact with so much. Every species has their own share of diseases, and some of them can be transmitted to humans too. When that happens, that’s “spillover”, and we should expect to see that happen more and more.

So I think everyone should read that, to really understand what’s currently happening and why, and what should be done about it.

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Top Ten Tuesday: Favourite Book Quotes

Posted September 29, 2020 by Nicky in General / 8 Comments

This week’s theme via That Artsy Reader Girl is “favourite book quotes” — which I’m pretty sure I’ve done before. So instead, I’ll put a tiny spin on it and pick out my favourite quotes from the last ten books I’ve read. I just skipped ones which aren’t very quotable… or which didn’t have Goodreads quotes yet, if I couldn’t immediately think of something.

Cover of Piranesi by Susanna Clarke Cover of Invisible Women by Caroline Criado-Perez Cover of The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club by Dorothy L. Sayers Cover of Utopia for Realists by Rutger Bregman Cover of Nine Coaches Waiting by Mary Stewart

  1. Piranesi, by Susanna Clarke. “Perhaps that is what it is like being with other people. Perhaps even people you like and admire immensely can make you see the world in ways you would rather not.”
  2. Invisible Women, by Caroline Criado-Perez. “It’s not always easy to convince someone a need exists, if they don’t have that need themselves.”
  3. The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club, by Dorothy L. Sayers. “Books… are like lobster shells, we surround ourselves with ’em, then we grow out of ’em and leave ’em behind, as evidence of our earlier stages of development.”
  4. Utopia for Realists, by Rutger Brenman. “You can’t pull yourself up by your bootstraps if you have no boots.”
  5. Nine Coaches Waiting, by Mary Stewart. “There was one thing that stood like stone among the music and moonfroth of the evening’s gaieties. It was stupid, it was terrifying, it was wonderful, but it had happened and I could do nothing about it. For better or worse, I was head over ears in love.”
  6. Driftwood, by Marie Brennan. “Paggarat was less doomed than they wagered, not because of how long it lasted but because of how it went out. Because of Aun and Esr, smiling at each other until the end of the world.”
  7. The Grace of Kings, by Ken Liu. “Do you see how much power you have when you act without fear?”
  8. The Priory of the Orange Tree, by Samantha Shannon. “I do not sleep because I am not only afraid of the monsters at my door, but also of the monsters my own mind can conjure. The ones that live within.”
  9. The Last Smile in Sunder City, by Luke Arnold. “I like books. They’re quiet, dignified and absolute. A man might falter but his words, once written, will hold.”
  10. The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet, by Becky Chamber. “We cannot blame ourselves for the wars our parents start. Sometimes the very best thing we can do is walk away.”

Cover of Drift Wood by Marie Brennan Cover of The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu Cover of The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon Cover of The Last Smile in Sunder City by Luke Arnold Cover of The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

I didn’t love all those books, but those quotes capture something that did work for me from each!

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Weekly Roundup

Posted September 27, 2020 by Nicky in General / 12 Comments

Greetings, folks! This weekend’s roundup has been delayed by extreme laziness during my holiday (although laziness is perhaps the wrong word when I spent ~2.5 hours climbing up onto the moors today). How’s everyone?

Books acquired this week:

Cover of In the Black by Patrick S. Tomlinson Cover of The Animals at Lockwood Manor by Jane Healey Cover of Stealing Thunder by Alina Boyden Cover of Piranesi by Susanna Clarke

Cover of Race the Sands by Sarah Beth Durst Cover of The Vanished Birds by Simon Jimenez Cover of The Widow of Rose House by Diana Biller Cover of The Progress of a Crime by Julian Symons

Finished this week:

Cover of The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club by Dorothy L. Sayers Cover of Invisible Women by Caroline Criado-Perez Cover of Piranesi by Susanna Clarke

Reviews posted:

Other posts:

So how’re you all doing? Get any great books lately?

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WWW Wednesday

Posted September 23, 2020 by Nicky in General / 10 Comments

It’s Wednesday again! So here’s the usual check-in. You can go to Taking On A World Of Words to chat with everyone else who has posted what they’re reading right now!

Cover of The Firebird by Susanna KearsleyWhat are you currently reading?

Fiction: I’ve gone back to Susanna Kearsley’s The Firebird after a long time away. It’s not capturing me (or in this case recapturing me) as her other books usually do. I’d hoped it was just my mood, and coming back to it now would let me slip back into it… but apparently not. It might still be my mood, but it’s a bit disappointing.

Non-fiction: I’m back to The Story of Wales, by Jon Gower. I think that was a mood problem, because I’m digging into it more now… and getting angry about the historical treatment of the Welsh, of course. People forget, or never knew, that before English rule suppressed native languages on other contents, they started in Wales.

I’m also a good chunk of the way into How to Change Your Mind: The New Science of Psychedelics. So far it’s talked a lot about the promise of psychedelics for treating depression, anxiety, stress in people with terminal illnesses, etc… but it hasn’t gone into the science much. It’s been more of a history, so far, along with an exploration of the user’s personal feelings and experience,

Cover of The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club by Dorothy L. SayersWhat have you recently finished reading?

I finally finished my reread of The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club. It’s not one of my favourite Wimsey novels, though there are definitely fun bits, so I bogged down in it a while ago. Which means Strong Poison is next! Yay!

Cover of X+Y by Eugenia ChengWhat will you be reading next?

I’m slowly working through my “shelf of abandoned books”, so the next up on that shelf look to Prehistory: The Making of the Human Mind, by Colin Renfrew, Feed by Mira Grant, and The Lost Plot by Genevieve Cogman. I’ll probably read a new-to-me book in tandem with trying to finish those; maybe Eugenia Cheng’s X+Y: A Mathematician’s Manifesto for Rethinking Gender.

What are you reading? What’s got you enthusiastic at the moment? Let me know!

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Top Ten Tuesday: My Fall TBR

Posted September 22, 2020 by Nicky in General / 22 Comments

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is a nice broad one: what’s on your fall TBR? Well, I don’t strictly have a TBR for fall, and honestly these days I try not to be too strict and just follow my whims. However, here are some books I’m planning to pick up really soon, for one reason or another…

Cover of Black Leopard Red Wolf by Marlon James Cover of This is Kind of an Epic Love Story by Kacen Callender Cover of Catherine House by Elisabeth Thomas Cover of Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko Cover of Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas

  1. Black Leopard, Red Wolf, by Marlon James. I’m a little worried from the reviews that this isn’t going to be my thing, but it’s my bookclub choice for October, and I plan to give it a good solid try. Other parts of it sound really great — like the influence from African mythology — so we’ll just have to see!
  2. This is Kind of an Epic Love Story, by Kacen Callender. This is the November book club choice, if I remember rightly, and I’ve been meaning to read it for a while now. I’m particularly interested in how the sign language is handled (because one of the characters is deaf).
  3. Catherine House, by Elisabeth Thomas. Aaand this is December’s book club choice, which sounds weird and kinda creepy. Looking forward to it.
  4. Raybearer, by Jordan Ifueko. I swear my sense of object permanence is lacking, because I was dying to read this but now I’ve put my copy away on the shelves in the other room, I keep forgetting! I heard a lot about this right when it came out, but haven’t actually seen many reviews…
  5. Cemetery Boys, by Aiden Thomas. I’m super excited for this, and I should be getting my copy soon. (Thank you to the person who bought me a preorder! <3)
  6. Phoenix Extravagant, by Yoon Ha Lee. I loved the Machineries of Empire books so much, and I’m excited for this new book by Yoon Ha Lee! I have an eARC, but I should also hurry up and make my preorder… there, done! I was sold at “mighty dragon automaton”.
  7. The House in the Cerulean Sea, by T.J. Klune. This sounds so warm-hearted as a read, from everyone’s reviews? I am a sucker for the families you make yourself in stories, so I’m excited for it.
  8. The Wolf of Oren-Yaro, by K.S. Villoso. I’ve peeked at the first few pages and my eyebrows rose and I’m eager to give this a try.
  9. Black Sun, by Rebecca Roanhorse. I’m hearing so much excitement about this one, and I know I’ve enjoyed Roanhorse’s writing, so I’m quite eager to see whether this works plot/character-wise a bit better for me than her other books.
  10. The City We Became, by N.K. Jemisin. Not sure if I’ll get to this, actually, because I’m finally catching up with The Fifth Season and sequels. But it’s N.K. Jemisin, so I don’t want to leave it lying too long!

Cover of Phoenix Extravagant by Yoon Ha Lee Cover of The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune Cover of The Wolf of Oren-Yaro by K.S. Villoso Cover of Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse Cover of The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin

So what’s on your autumn TBR, folks? Do you even have a TBR? Let’s be real, we know I probably won’t finish all of these… chances are, I won’t even read half. That’s okay by me. Something about the anticipation is sweet too!

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Weekly Roundup

Posted September 20, 2020 by Nicky in General / 4 Comments

Good evening, folks! It’s been a better week for me, with my anxiety medication kicking in and lots of reading getting done. No new books this week, but I’m expecting some from Portal Bookshop any day now…

Books read this week:

Cover of Orfeia by Joanne M. Harris Cover of Digging Up Armageddon by Eric H. Cline

Cover of Nine Coaches Waiting by Mary Stewart Cover of Utopia for Realists by Rutger Bregman

A good week!

Reviews posted this week:

Other posts:

How’re you folks doing? Reading anything great?

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WWW Wednesday

Posted September 16, 2020 by Nicky in General / 1 Comment

It’s Wednesday again! So here’s the usual check-in. You can go to Taking On A World Of Words to chat with everyone else who has posted what they’re reading right now!

What are you currently reading?

Cover of Digging Up Armageddon by Eric H. ClineFiction: I’m neck-deep in Kushiel’s Dart, and just finally getting to the bits which I always struggle to read because aaaaaahhhh nooooo. I forget how long it takes Joscelin to really start being amazing! I haven’t really been taking part in the readalong discussions, because my brain is just tired and I’m probably reading too much at once.

Speaking of which, I’m also reading The Fifth Season, and working on my shelf of abandoned books. I’m closing on finished with my reread of Nine Coaches Waiting, which is still fun but… I don’t know, the melodrama of this one doesn’t work for me as well as (say) Madam, Will You Talk? Perhaps it’s also because it’s longer.

Non-fiction: I’m finally back to reading Eric H. Cline’s Digging Up Armageddon, which I stalled on because I wasn’t in the right mood before. I’m enjoying the details of the digs and the team a bit more this time, and closing on the end… despite feeling that the team had so many questions left to answer. Gah.

What have you recently finished reading?

The last thing I finished was Beneath the World, A Sea, by Chris Beckett. It was… okay. I actually originally said it’d be something my wife was likely to love, but I think it floundered around a bit and then petered out, despite the original promise. It lacks any kind of resolution — I didn’t necessarily need an explanation, but something better than the sense the characters are running away.

Cover of The Lost Plot by Genevieve CogmanWhat will you be reading next?

I’m planning to work more on the shelf of abandoned books, but there’s still quite a bit of scope there. I could get back to my reread of The Lost Plot, by Genevieve Cogman, or of Feed by Mira Grant. Or I could finish a book that’s new to me, like Susanna Kearsley’s The Firebird.

Probably I’ll pick two and chip away at them by setting myself a goal of reading a minimum of five pages a day. It seems to be the key to unlocking a book I’m struggling with — with all of them I’ve suddenly had a moment of getting back into it and finishing it all in one go.

So what’re you reading? 

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Weekly Roundup

Posted September 13, 2020 by Nicky in General / 14 Comments

Greetings, folks! I think my mood this week is better passed over without comment, and we’ll get straight to the books!

Linking up with The Sunday Post @ The Caffeinated Reviewer and Stacking the Shelves @ Reading Reality & Tynga’s Reviews.

Acquired this week:

Cover of Lost Gods by Micah Yongo Cover of The Four Profound Weaves by R. B. Lemberg Cover of Orfeia by Joanne M. Harris Cover of The Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart

Cover of X+Y by Eugenia Cheng Cover of In Black and White by Alexandra Wilson

With thanks to Portal Bookshop for Lost Gods, which I’ve been meaning to read for ages. <3

Books read this week:

Cover of Brit(ish) by Afua Hirsch Cover of The Belting Inheritance by Julian Symons Cover of The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu Cover of Drift Wood by Marie Brennan Cover of The Four Profound Weaves by R. B. Lemberg

Reviews posted:

Other posts:

So how’s everyone doing? Reading anything good? I’d love to hear from you!

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WWW Wednesday

Posted September 9, 2020 by Nicky in General / 0 Comments

It’s Wednesday again! So here’s the usual check-in. You can go to Taking On A World Of Words to chat with everyone else who has posted what they’re reading right now!

Cover of Kushiel's Dart by Jacqueline CareyWhat are you currently reading?

I’ve started rereading Kushiel’s Dart, to join in with the Wyrd & Wonder readalong. I’ve just realised my careful planning out actually has me a week behind, so I need to rejig that. Argh. Anyway, I’m enjoying revisiting this world — the writing always takes me just a little bit to sink back into, given how flowery it is… but it always sucks me in eventually. Damn, Phèdre is a brat at first.

Other than that, I’m reading The Fifth Season (finally), also as a readalong with one of my fellow Beeminder workerbees. I’m ahead on this one, though. From everything I’ve heard about it, I wonder if I’m putting two and two together correctly… but I hate being wrong, so I’m not going to admit to what I guess!

Cover of The Grace of Kings by Ken LiuWhat have you recently finished reading?

I just finished reading Marie Brennan’s Driftwood last night, and still need to ponder how to review it. It’s still settling in my brain at the moment.

I also finally finished Ken Liu’s The Grace of Kings, and I’m just done settling my thoughts about that down. I don’t think I’m going to read the next book… unless it weighs on my mind, which it might. I just didn’t care enough, despite finding it compelling enough in and of itself.

What will you be reading next?

Probably I’ll return to Beneath the World, A Sea, by Chris Beckett, and try to finish it; I only got about 60 pages in, if I recall correctly, and I’m doing my best to go back to my half-read books and dig in.

I’m also curious about Utopia for Realists, by Rutger Brenman, and In Black and White, by Alexandra Wilson. So I’m not sure what will be next… and besides, I’m spending half my time beating my head against the basics of statistics and probability, because I let myself get complacent and I’ve forgotten half of what I ever drummed into my brain (with great difficulty). If anyone has good suggestions for books on the basics of biostatistics, let me know…

Anyway, being busy with that makes me inclined to read some fluffy fiction instead, but what I don’t know.

What’re you folks reading?

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