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Monthly "Reads" > Shomeret's June Reads 3/3

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message 1: by Shomeret (last edited Jun 30, 2010 07:31PM) (new)

Shomeret | 1383 comments 11)Lady of the Lightby Donna Gillespie (historical fiction)440 pages. Source: Library Started: 6/21 Finished: 6/23

Why Read: This is the sequel to The Light Bearerwhich I read many years ago. It was over-hyped at the time, but I liked it. I didn't know that the sequel had been published until now. The MC is Auriane, a Germanic warrior woman who was captured and brought to Rome.

Comments: All the characters are well drawn and there were some wonderful scenes with good dialogue. There is supposedly going to be a third book in the series. Gillespie started writing it in 2007 according to her website. I suspect she might have had problems finding a publisher because this book probably didn't sell anywhere near as well as The Light Bearer. Rating for this one B.

12)The Grace of Great Things: Creativity and Innovation(philosophy/self-help) 243 pages. Source: Library Sale Section Started: 6/23 Finished: 6/25

Why Read: I saw it on a library sale shelf and opened it at random. It looked intriguing.

Comments: This is a very wise book with many insights. The idea that innovators are experts who make connections outside their field means that they must be specialists and generalists. I am a generalist who is attempting to acquire a specialization in library school, but I must not lose my generalism. His analysis of academic scholarship confirmed what I had been seeing. Elaboration is viewed as the same as innovation. Of course it isn't, but one of the strategies Grudin suggests for getting innovation accepted is disguising it as an elaboration. His strategy suggestions seem very practical. I was delighted to find out about Cornelius Drebbel, the Dutch inventor who Grudin claims was the father of solar power. I did an online search on Drebbel and found nothing about that. So I've located the book that was Grudin's main source on Drebbel and it's now waiting for me at my neighboring city's main library. Grudin uses Drebbel as an object lesson on how not to present new ideas, but he still sounds fascinating. The Grace of Great Things is rated A.

13)A Journeyman to Griefby Maureen Jennings (historical mystery) 343 pages. Source: Library Started: 6/25 Finished: 6/26

Why Read: I read a contemporary mystery by this author which was mildly interesting because of the deaf culture aspect, but there wasn't enough of the deaf culture content so I found it disappointing. This book is historical and it deals with murder in the Black community of 19th century Toronto. This is a community that was started by escaped slaves from the U.S. They were free as a result of reaching Canada where slavery had been abolished somewhat earlier than it was in the U.S. This mystery is the sixth in the series. The detective is in the Toronto police. I'm hoping that it's not too much of a formula procedural.

Comments: This is not a whodunit. It's not even a whydunit because the motivation was easy to extrapolate early on. There were a few surprises in the resolution, but the main facts of the case were always fairly obvious. There were a few interesting characters, but the detective doesn't interest me very much. But I think that this author focuses on finding interesting milieus and special themes. Perhaps another theme or backdrop will appeal to me and I'll read another in this series. My rating for this one is B-.

14)By Fire, By Water by Mitchell James Kaplan (historical fiction) 284 pages. Source: Library Started: 6/27 Finished: 6/27

Why Read: My cousin and one of my GR friends recommended this book highly.

Comments: I really liked the characterizations which I found very true, but there is nothing new for me here. I've read a number of books dealing with the Spanish Inquisition and I know the history involved very well. This book suffers by comparison with The Last Jew which I also read this month. It takes place during the same period and I found it more original. My rating for this one is B.

15)Fragments of Bone: Neo-African Religions in a New World edited by Patrick Bellegarde-Smith (African Diasporic Religion essays)242 pages. Source: Library Started: 6/27 Finished: 6/28

Why Read: I saw this book advertised in an old anthropology journal that I picked up for free at the library.

Comments: I did 8 pages of notes on this book in my book journal. Since this isn't a subject that is of particular interest in this group, I'll be even briefer than my review. There were a couple of African Diasporic religions that I knew nothing about before I read this book. There were also some beliefs in Santeria that were clarified for me. This book gave me some new directions for further study. Rating A.

16)Murder on Waverly Placeby Victoria Thompson (historical mystery) 296 pages. Source: Library Started: 6/28 Finished: 6/29

Why Read: This is an August selection for the F2F mystery book that I attend. I've read a couple of books in this series. I really liked the first one I read, but the second one I tried had the same plot dynamics as the first one. So I wasn't in a hurry to read another one. I wouldn't have selected this particular one to read at all because it deals with a murder at a seance. The portrayal of spirit mediums and seances in Victorian mysteries is very annoying to me and murders at seances are becoming a cliche. But I do like the midwife MC, Sarah Brandt.

Comments: Yep, it ran to formula. There was a bit of a surprise though. What I liked most was some of the character relationships and the character backgrounds that led these people to attend seances. Still, I can only rate this C+. Let's hope I like the most recent book in this series better. I picked it up from the library yesterday.

This is definitely a better reading month than May because I did have more reading time even though I didn't have as much as I expected. There were also several A rated books. Unfortunately, none of them were M/Ts. I'm hoping to find some really special M/Ts in the last half of 2010.


message 2: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 14726 comments Shomeret:
I feel lucky today, this book The Grace of Great Things: Creativity and Innovation is available at the library here too; it does sound intriguing!
A good month for you even though you didn't run into a great MT book. ;)

Shomeret wrote: "12)The Grace of Great Things: Creativity and Innovation(philosophy/self-help) 243 pages. Source: Library Sale Section Started: 6/23 Finished: 6/25

Why Read: I saw it on a library sale shelf and opened it at random. It looked intriguing.

Comments: This is a very wise book with many insights. The idea that innovators are experts who make connections outside their field means that they must be specialists and generalists. "



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