01 October 2005

September's Reading

Another month, another bunch of reading. This month: 8 books, This year: 120. Make Tea Not War read this other stuff.

The Ancestor's Tale by Richard Dawkins. A nice idea for a book, executed very well indeed. Dawkins traces the entire history of life framed as a pilgrimmage back to the beginning. Each chapter relates the story of a common ancestor of ours and whichever group is next. A lot of interesting biology essays and the most current analysis of which bits of life are most closely related to which other bits made this an extremely enjoyable read for me. Lots and lots of information in this book - probably requires a second reading.

How To Be Idle by Tom Hodgkinson. A fun little book. Mainly made me jealous of the guy for managing to have already arranged his life to be really quite enjoyable while I'm still on the early stages of my own plans that way. Bah, humbug.

The Big Over Easy by Jasper Fforde. Not as good as the Thursday Next books, but still good. Jokes are mainly about nursery rhymes and detective stories.

Under The Eagle by Simon Scarrow. I finish one series of historical novels just in time to be introduced to another. This one follows two soldiers in the Second Legion at the time of Claudius' invasion of Britain. Reminiscent of Bernard Cornwell (in fact the book has "I don't need this kind of competition" as a publicity quote from him), but I found them an easier read. Scarrow doesn't seem to dwell quite so much on all the horrors of war and there's a few more characters with warmth and humour to them. The characters are a lot of fun, too. The centurion Macro is a hard-bitten soldiers' soldier. His optio (second) is Cato, previously a scholarly slave in Claudius palace. He is posted to the second legion as an officer by imperial decree in honour of his father's work for Claudius, something that pleases neither Cato nor the soldiers he is in command of. The interactions between these two are a lot of fun.

The Cross of St. George, Sword of Honour, Second To None and Relentless Pursuit by Alexander Kent. Well, that's finished off that series (kind of). Stayed good until the end, although it did become a bit more formulaic again in the later parts. Overall, very good.

Spoilery bit follows:
Note that Richard Bolitho actually dies in the novel Sword of Honour and the following books are centered on his nephew Adam (a long time character in the books in his own right). There is actually another two novels I have yet to read - one following on there and another set early in Richard's career. However, I am deeming the series finished and not seeking those two out in particular.

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