A Great Deliverance by Elizabeth George. The first of the Inspector Lynley novels. I’m not sure why I’ve never read George before, but this was really good. Full review
A Case of Exploding Mangoes A comic thriller set in Pakistan when Zia Al Haq was PM there, and Reagan was POTUS here. Funny stuff. Full review to come
One reason a lot of these books have been on here so long is that we are doing a bunch of work on our apartment, and some are packed away.
Year’s Best Science Fiction by Gardner Dozois. In my opinion, the best of the annual anthologies. I am going through this slowly, but I want to finish it before next summer!
Mistakes were made (but not by me) by Carol Tavris. All about cognitive dissonance and how we justify our own actions. Excellent book about how we all fool ourselves and how memory works (and doesn’t). A lot of information on cognitive dissonance and other topics, very clearly presented.
The annotated Alan Turing by Charles Petzold. This is a brilliant idea. Petzold has taken Alan Turing’s classic paper on computability and provided extensive, paragraph by paragraph commentary on it, making it comprehensible for a lot more people (like me). This sort of thing should be done more often. Still, it’s slow going.
The Pursuit of Glory: Five revolutions that made modern Europe: 1648 – 1815 by Tim Blanning. To quote the NY Times Book Review: “History writing at its glorious best”. Blanning is a highly knowledgeable guide to this period, but, more than that, he has a talent for pointing out the odd fact and making it fit into a bigger picture. He makes observations that strike you as obvious – once you’ve read them – and draws you into the narrative. Anyone with interest in this period should read this book
Ideas: A history of thought and invention from fire to Freud by Peter Watson. We’ve started this book in Let’s Read a Book Together. We have only read the intro and prologue (chapter 1 this week) so you have time to catch up.
Society without God by Phil Zuckerman. How life is lived in two of the least religious countries on Earth: Denmark and Sweden. Just started this book, but it demolishes the argument that societies without God would be hellish, crime-ridden or whatever.
Payment in Blood by Elizabeth George. The second in the Lynley/Havers series, this one takes place in a Scottish castle. A bunch of actors and a playwright and producer have gathered to rehearse a play. Now the playwright is dead, and Lynley and Havers have to figure out whodunit.
Thomas Paine and the birth of Nations by Craig Nelson. A pretty good biography of the American writer and revolutionary. Paine was born poor, and was buried in an unmarked grave. In between, he became one of the most celebrated (and best selling) writers on two continents.
The Fellowship by John Gribbin. About the founding of the Royal Society and the scientific revolution. I am fascinated by this period, but am finding this rather slow going. I’ll stick with it though.
And some technical books for work.