Sunday, 14 May 2017

52 Books in 52 Weeks: #1 - #5

Not only have I got back into the habit of reading regularly, I have been keeping track of my reading on Goodreads. Most of the books are "real" paper, print on page not screen books, but there have also been a few e-books and audio books - I have an Audible subscription and listen in the car, mainly during my 45 to 50 minute commute. I also wanted record them here with some comments, but eighteen books in I am a bit behind! Here are the first five:

#1 Longitude: the True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time (Dava Sobel). This had been on my bookshelf for years waiting to be read. It tells the story of John Harrison, who designing timepieces sufficiently accurate to allow sailors to calculate their longitude, solving the great problem of navigation which had led to numerous marine catastrophes. He spent forty years building his chronometers and succeeded despite the best efforts of leading lights of the scientific establishment to hinder him. Well researched, well written and an interesting read. (4 stars)

#2 The Magician's Nephew (C.S.Lewis, Audiobook). I downloaded this originally for small daughter to listen to in the car, but as a lover of all things Narnia ended up listening to it myself on the way to work. Often my audiobooks are heavier stuff, so a lighter book to start the new year was good. Narrated by Kenneth Branagh. What's not to like! (5 stars)

#3 The Year of Living Danishly: My Twelve Months Unearthing the Secrets of the World's Happiest Country (Helen Russell. eBook). We visited Denmark very briefly last year, my first time in Scandinavia, and this had been on my to-read list since then. Denmark is cold and dark for a large part of the year. It also has a high standard of living, the security of a comprehensive welfare state, a love of all things hygge (roughly translates as cosy / cosiness), and a generally common sense approach to life. The book certainly made living in Denmark sound tempting. (4 stars)

#4 A History of Britain in 21 Women (Jenni Murray. Audiobook). Jenni Murray is a well known presenter on BBC radio, who chose her selection of women based on their contribution to different aspects of British society, ranging from Queens and politicians to authors, scientists, classical composer Ethel Smyth, and even the fashion icon of the Sixties, Mary Quant. I'm sure no two people would pick the same women and I found some more interesting than others, but overall a good listen. (4 stars)

#5 The Invisible Library (Genevieve Cogman). I had seen this recommended somewhere - maybe on Facebook? - and loved the premise of a fantasy series based on a Library which searches across the spectrum of known worlds for books. In fact, not just any Library, but the Library. In this first book librarian Irene and her assistant Kai are sent on a mission to an alternate London. The book features dragons, chaos driven "fae", a magical Language, a rogue librarian, and a Sherlock Holmes character. I loved it and have since read the next two books in the series. The fourth is due for publication later this year. (5 stars)

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