Tuesday, June 20, 2017

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Series I've Been Meaning to Start

Cool! This is a topic that was originally posted in March 2013, and I wrote a post then. Time to check in and have a little reckoning on my list-making skills (and follow-through).  Check out The Broke and the Bookish for future lists, and the find all the other participants.

1. Mo Hayder's Jack Caffery series (5 books) 
Excellent! There ended up being 7 books and I read them all. Loved Jack Caffery! This one is at the edge of my violent description levels, but I really enjoyed the series.

2. Laurie R King's Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes series (12 books)
Oops! Haven't started this yet, and now there are 15 books in the series.

3. George RR Martin's Game of Thrones series
This doesn't surprise me that I haven't started this series, and some day I will because I know they are really good. 

4. Karin Slaughter's series with Georgia (3 books), Will Trent, and Sara Linton
The labeling of these series can be confusing. I've read the 8 books in the Will Trent series, and Sara Linton shows up in the later books. This was a good police series; I probably listened to half the books. 

I'm at 50 %  series read so far!

5. Kate Ellis' Wesley Peterson mysteries (17 books)
Nope, haven't read any, but I've picked up 3 of them at book sales.  And now there are 21 books. Yikes!

6. Amitov Ghosh's Ibis Trilogy
I still want to read this trilogy.

7. Michael Stanley's Assistant Superintendent David 'Kubu' Bengu (3 books)
Starts with A Carrion Death, and now there are 7 books. I feel like there is a chance I'll start this series.

8. Ariana Franklin's Mistress of the Art of Death (5 books)
There were only 4 books, and Ms Franklin died, but I loved this series set in the 12th century. Read them all!

9. Declan Hughes' Ed Loy mysteries (5 books)
Well, I forgot all about this series, and I'm pretty sure I have the first book, The Wrong Kind of Blood. Still only 5 books - seems readable.

10. Anchee Min's Empress Orchid series (2 books)
You'd think I could read a 2 book series, but apparently not yet.

So, final tally - 3 series read, but I read them completely, so that counts for something! I thought I was going to list the books I had already added to my FictFact lists, because I had 9 new series already listed there. None of them are the ones I never read from my list 4 years ago. 

Here's the 9 from FictFact. I add new series as I read good reviews, so I won't forget. 

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

BOOK: I Contain Multitudes by Ed Yong

I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes within Us and a Grander View of Life by Ed Yong (9 h 52 min)

This was fun! And I'm not really a biology person, but I do like science. The information in this book felt very up to date, like listening to cutting-edge science. What do we know about microbes? Not very much overall, but it seems to be a developing field.

I've never been an anti-bacterial soap person, and, anecdotally, I'm fairly bacteria-free, having only had several doses of antibiotics in my life. I do pick up viruses, but I seldom get bacterial infections. I must host a well-rounded multitude of microbes! 

Have you seen the microbe stuffed animals? They make microbes almost look adorable.
I'm not even completely sure about all I listened to, but Yong had a great writing voice and narrator Charlie Anson was engaging and enthusiastic with the material. I would read more, or at the very least, re-read this and feel like I am still learning new ideas. There is just so much to learn about the interactions between good and bad microbes, the evolutionary skills of bacteria and virusus and phages, symbiosis, and probiotics (the opposite of antibiotics).

My favourite microbe that appears throughout the book was Wolbachia, present in insects and sometimes is good and sometimes is bad. I'm not even sure what it does, but it seems necessary, and there was something funny to me about how often Wolbachia kept showing up in a new chapter. 

Think of all the television shows which showed - 'how many germs/bugs are present on your (fill in the blank)'. The problem was these were presented as bad things, as dangerous microbes, when in reality, the balance of microbes is necessary. So there are billions of microbes - they are supposed to be there! And many of them are the good ones, necessary to deal with the bad ones. This wasn't presented in the book, it is my analysis and opinion of things, which is why I've never been an anti-bacterial soap, or Purex person. 

Microbial scientists are doing great work, and fighting a battle against society's inherent disgust over these bugs. More people should read this book to get on board with these invisible creepy crawlies.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Nonfiction books I've added to by TBR recently

The topic for this week's Top Ten Tuesday is books from 'x' genre that have been recently added to my TBR pile. I chose nonfiction, and I looked at my lists at librarything and my library to see what I've recently added. Thanks to all you reviewers out there who give me all these great ideas!
Check out The Broke and the Bookish for future lists, and the find all the other participants.

by Candace Savage
I find crows fascinating! Each summer, there is a March of Crows in Charlottetown, where people dress up as crows and march to the park where all the real crows return each evening. Caw, caw!

by Robin Wall Kimmerer
Moss doesn't sound like it would be interesting, but when a person who has a passion for something writes about a seemingly mundane idea, it doesn't matter the topic: it will be good.

by Steven Johnson
Victorian era London is always interesting, and add an infectious disease? Sounds like gold! 

Bad science : Quacks, Hacks, and Big Pharma Flacks 
I like good science, I like bad science, I like all science

Krakauer is always on his game (Into Thin Air, and Into the Wild) so I expect no less on this one.

by Norm MacDonald
This one so interested me that I have it out from the library right now. Uncle Rusty from The Middle tells a good story. (Plus, Canadian!)

by Luke Dittrich
Something I read last year (maybe Moonlighting with Einstein, about memory) mentioned this book. Brain research is cool.

H is for Hawk 
by Helen MacDonald
I've heard this one is good on audio, so I am waiting for my library to get the audio version.

This is Not My Life: a memoir of love, prison, and other complications 
by Diane Schoemperlen
Another Canadian book, I found this one on the Taylor Prize for Nonfiction writing as a finalist.

The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the  History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements 

by Sam Kean

Nonfiction titles have the best subtitles! I still remember that grade eleven chemistry class, learning about the periodic table and how it all fit together, and how Mendeleev knew where to leave blanks and being blown away. 

Thursday, June 1, 2017

AUTHOR: Alistair MacLeod

Alistair MacLeod (1934-2014)  is a Canadian treasure. He didn't written a ton of books (one novel, a few short story collections) but he packed a huge punch in what he wrote. While in university, I took a course called Maritime Studies and the professor, David Weale, took us on a tour of Maritime culture. Music, language, history, culture, and literature. The main thing I remember though is reading a story called  Lost Salt Gift of Blood. I later went back and read the whole book, and all the rest of MacLeod's writings. Another thing that Alistair produced was his son, Alexander, who also writes wonderful short stories, see Light Lifting.

I went through a little Alistair MacLeod spell this spring...

To Everything There is a Season by Alistair MacLeod (short story)

Dear little Christmas story set in 1940s, waiting for the older brother to come home on Christmas eve. It's a story about family, and remembering, and nostalgia, tinged with sorrow. 

I think it is a book I'd like to have to my Christmas book collection, so read once a year, like A Child's Christmas in Wales or Dave Cooks the Turkey. You know, classics.

Reading Alistair MacLeod

NFB of Canada DVD

I was able to borrow this DVD from my local library and enjoy the legend of Canadian literature. Typical delightful NFB film with no narrator, just conversations and people answering questions that have clearly been asked, but the viewer doesn't get to hear.

Featuring Alistair MacLeod ; with appearances by Margaret Atwood, David Adams Richards, Russell Banks, Colm Tóibín, Lisa Moore and Wayne Johnston.

A documentary that explores the mysteries of MacLeod's creative process, his deep and abiding connection to Cape Breton, his explosion onto the international literary scene with his first novel, No Great Mischief, and his love of family. Woven into the documentary are commentaries by other authors such as Margaret Atwood who read their favorite passages from his work and sharing their personal stories.