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Friday, November 26, 2021
Where Now Begins by Kerry Hardie and Four Thousand Days by M. J. Trow
Tuesday, November 23, 2021
At First Light by Barbara Nickless
In 2020, I reviewed the first book in Barbara Nickless's Sydney Rose Parnell series Blood on the Tracks). I'd actually started with the 4th book and fallen in love with Clyde, Sydney's Belgian Malinois--which meant I had to go back and pick up earlier books. Sydney and Clyde are both veteran's of the Iraq war, and Sydney is currently an agent with the railway police.
OK, I loved these books (Clyde is as important to the series as Robo is to Deputy Mattie Cobb in Margaret Mizushima's Timber Creek series) and have been waiting for an addition to the series...
which hasn't happened yet. However, Nickless has begun a new series featuring Dr. Evan Wilding, a forensic semiotician.
When Detective Addie Bissett is called to a murder scene with strange symbols and glyphs, she calls her best friend Dr. Evan Wilding in. Evan recognizes the glyphs as runes and begins his attempts to transliterate the message left by the killer.
I admit that much of the attraction for me was the connection to Beowulf, and I'm unusually attracted to the Beowulf epic and have read several different translations. The kennings and rhythms of the ancient poem have always appealed to me--no doubt partly because of Tolkien's essay Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics. And yes, because of John Gardner's Grendel, the delightful little book that gives Grendel's point of view.
(In one of those examples of synchronicity, in a recent purge of books, I relocated my ancient copy of the Anglo-Saxon Primer, my college copy that has the teeth marks of Emily Milk Paws, the puppy that chewed on anything of mine she could if I was not there.)
Anyway, I enjoyed the book as much for the connections to the Viking and Anglo-Saxon literature as anything else. I liked Addie and Evan, who btw is a little person, and hope the next book is as interesting.
I don't think At First Light is as good as Nickless's Sydney Rose Parnell and Clyde books, but it is still a promising new series. I pre-ordered it and it was delivered right away before publication date.
Thomas & Mercer. Mystery/Thriller. Dec. 1, 2021. Print length: 395 pages.
This shouldn't come as a surprise for readers, but Morality Illustrated in Stories Can Alter Judgment for Early Adolescents. via Neuroscience News
The pilot study demonstrated that exposure to verbal prompts emphasizing care, fairness, and loyalty increased the salience of their respective intuitions. The main study showed that exposure to comic books emphasizing all four separate intuitions increased salience of their respective intuitions in early adolescents. (Media Psychology Abstract)
Isn't it a shame that our politicians can't set a better example? In such a short time, politicians have made their marks by saying gratuitously nasty remarks about each other and anyone with whom they disagree. Does that influence the general public? Yes.
It is one thing to disagree or to have another opinion about how to do something, but quite another to depend on disrespectful and malicious remarks in ad hominem attacks.
If emphasizing care and fairness can influence young children, so can the opposite (which they hear way too often from the news and from adults).
Wednesday, November 17, 2021
Recorder by Cathy McCrumb, Last Seen Alive by Joanna Schaffhausen, and Belfast
Friday, November 12, 2021
The House on Vesper Sands and A Death at Candlewick Castle and Other Stuff
The House on Vesper Sands has a sinister atmosphere from the beginning (in which a seamstress stitches a message into her own flesh before jumping to her death) until the end.
Wednesday, November 10, 2021
A Hot Mess: How the Climate Crisis Is Changing Our World by Jeff Fleischer
from description: We already know what climate change is and many of us understand the human causes. But what will climate change do to our world? Who will be affected (spoiler: all of us!) and how will our lives change in the future? Topics include sea levels, extreme weather, drought, animal and plant extinction, and human and animal migration. Drawing on real-life situations and stories, journalist Jeff Fleischer takes an informed, approachable look at how our world will likely change as a result of our actions, including suggestions on what we can still do to slow down these unprecedented effects.
Extremely easy to read and understand, A Hot Mess discusses the difference between weather and climate, the changes the earth is already experiencing and how the changes affect everything in a domino effect.
This is one of the best books I've read concerning climate change because it is so clearly written and documented about the very things we have witnessed over the years, though some of it may have escaped our notice at the time. The extreme weather events--hurricanes, droughts, floods, and wildfires--are unavoidable results of a changing climate that we can't ignore. Everything is connected. The loss of insect species and amphibians eventually disturb the food chain and those changes in the food chain reach, gradually, but inevitably, all the way up to humans.
Fleischer details how all of these events are connected and how the droughts, floods, and rising sea waters impact first one species and/or landscape, then another, and continue to move up the chain. Much of it is common sense, but for some reason, many would rather avoid looking to the future and the way these changes are going to alter the way we live and the effects it will have on our children and grandchildren. The scientists have known for years, have warned of the consequences, have been ignored.
A Hot Mess should be required reading for all politicians, from mayors to senators, and for all of the young people who will be most at risk. While the book also gives ways that anyone can make choices that are helpful, it is the responsibility of governments and big business to make the adjustments and adaptations that will make the biggest differences.
COP26 makes it clear that even the governments that realize the danger are still unable or unwilling to make the hard decisions that will be necessary.
If more people come to believe what science has been saying for decades, they can influence the outcome by making their opinions known. How many devastating hurricanes and fires and coasts lost to rising sea levels will we need to endure before that happens?
A Hot Mess is fascinating reading and written for for teens and young adults, but one of the most concise and readable books I've read on the topic.
Highly Recommended. If you are participating in Nonfiction November, give this one a try.
NetGalley/Lerner Pub. Group/Zest Books
Nonfiction/Climate. Aug. 1, 2021. Print length: 192 pages.
Sunday, November 07, 2021
Between Family, Sherlock Holmes and the Three Winter Terrors, and The Beast in View
Last year, Ashley reminded me of the Between series that I'd started a couple of years ago but missed the next books as they were published. I didn't even realize I'd read the first book until I started reading it! (Do you ever do that? Forget the title and then read the first paragraph and realize you've read the book?)
Read in Oct. Kindle Unlimited. Paranormal/Urban Fantasy. Print length: 213 pages.
The Three Winter Terrors are three entertaining linked stories.
At a boys’ prep school in the Kent marshes, a pupil is found drowned in a pond. Could this be the fulfillment of a witch’s curse from four hundred years earlier?
1890. The Second Terror.
A wealthy man dies of a heart attack at his London townhouse. Was he really frightened to death by ghosts?
1894. The Third Terror.
A body is discovered at a Surrey country manor, hideously ravaged. Is the culprit a cannibal, as the evidence suggests?
Read in Oct.
NetGalley/Titan Books. Sherlock Holmes. Oct. 12, 2021. Print length: 320 pages
Helen Clarvoe, a thirty-year-old woman, lives in a second-rate hotel despite having inherited her father's money and investments. Estranged from her mother and brother, Helen has few acquaintances and lives a quiet reclusive life. When she receives a phone call that claims to predict her unpleasant future, she is unnerved and frightened.