Jul. 19th, 2011

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I am packing semi-earnestly now, so here are about 6 months of books that have landed on my bedside table that are going to be packed shortly. This in no way represents the sum of books I've read in total at that time - just what I finished while I was sitting in bed.

Rough chronological order, lots of re-reads. I've marked those with asterixes.

Kinsey - Jonathan Gathorne-Hardy.* This is the Kinsey biography, that they based the movie on. Very humanising and well-researched.
A History of Britain, pt 2 - Simon Schama. One of the books accompanying the TV series, which I didn't watch till recently. From Cromwell to the War of Independence in America
Starbucked - Taylor Clark. History of the rise of Starbucks, which is thankfully not a hagiography.
The Complete Book of Knots - Mario Bigon and Guido Regazzoni. What it says, as shown by a pair of Italian sailors. Not the best knot book, but is decent and has some interesting variations.
The Herrano Legacy - Elizabeth Moon. Elizabeth Moon can be a bit hit-or-miss for me - ex-military people with writing that implies only military types are effective and get things done has this effect on me. But these books are entertaining space opera.
Time of Death - Jessica Snyder Sachs.* Popular science book on the historical difficulties of defining death and when it's actually happened.
Erotic Bondage Handbook - Jay Wiseman. I don't know why I got this. I don't like Wiseman's writing, and it's actually pretty useless for explaining good bondage. There are lots of options/positions described, but diagrams are very limited, nor are the instructions step-by-step. So, meh. Also, for someone who is supposedly safety-minded, he recommends a clove hitch a lot, which is a knot that tightens (not that great for limbs, frankly)
Phryne Fisher Omnibus - Kerry Greenwood. First three Phyrne Fisher books, which I'd not yet read in sequence.
Kindred in Death - JD Robb. Totally escapist entertainingly-written not-exactly-trash.
Screw Inner Beauty - Kate Harding and Marianne Kirby.* Good book on weight issues and the "Health at Every Size" (HAES) philosophy.
A History of God - Karen Armstrong. How "god" has been constructed through the ages, particularly in relation to Judaism, Christianity and Islam, but with reference to many other religions.
Betrayal in Death - JD Robb. More fun reads. Like potato chips in terms of their satisfaction in consuming.
Smile or Die - Barbara Ehrenreich.* Great book debunking the whole "positive thinking" movement that is so popular. Starts from the context of her encountering it in overdrive mode as a cancer patient, but she reaches right back to sources like Christian Scientist teachings for the origins over the whole "mind over matter" school of thought regarding health.
A Short History of Nearly Everything - Bill Bryson.* What it says on the tin! It's really a short scientific history.
The Complete Mary Poppins - PL Travers. Such classics. If anyone wants a Potter replacement for 5-10 year olds, this would not go amiss. And the movie isn't in the same league. This omnibus has 4 stories in it.
The Rowan - Anne McCaffrey.* Yes, I still read some of her tripe, but at least it's completely mindless and only mildly irritating in parts.
Bath Triangle - Georgette Heyer. Eh, not as elegant as some of her others. I mean, you could see how everyone was going to end up as soon as the primary characters were introduced, and how they got there in the end wasn't particularly entertaining. No shootings of love-interests, alas.
Santa Olivia - Jacqueline Carey. Really cool post-apocalyptic story which is not part of her two main series. Hope this one continues!
The Nearly Men - Mike Green. History of scientists and inventors who didn't profit much from their inventions/discoveries. Eh, I wasn't taken by the overly-laboured writing style and the examples weren't that interesting. Also, all MEN, as it says - not even sure why I picked it up. I'm not packing this one.
At Home - Bill Bryson. A social history of the (English) home, and how it got populated with the items that are typically it them now.
City of Sin - Catherine Arnold. A social history of London, focussing on sexuality. Stories of prostitution, homosexuals (yeah yeah, I don't care if the term is "anachronistic" - queers have always existed), kinky sex. I dunno, kind of interesting but lacking something.


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