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BBB - Bronwyn's Book Blog

Compiled thoughts on the books I read.

Currently reading

Constellation of Genius: 1922: Modernism Year One
Kevin Jackson
The Inimitable Jeeves
P.G. Wodehouse
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
Rebecca Skloot
For Her Own Good: Two Centuries of the Experts' Advice to Women
Barbara Ehrenreich, Deirdre English
North and South
Elizabeth Gaskell, Patricia Ingham
Roots of Desire: The Myth, Meaning and Sexual Power of Red Hair - Marion Roach

I just wanted this to be more than it was. It was a light and fluffy pop history type examination of red hair. I wanted more sources and analysis. I wanted more of why there are these associations with red hair that she just didn't provide. She tried, but didn't succeed for the most part. I also didn't really need all her personal comments and stories. It was sometimes interesting though. It's a good jumping off point. I want more.

Code Name Verity - Elizabeth Wein I kind of want to reread this immediately... I'm not going to, but oh to do it... :)
American Rose: A Nation Laid Bare: The Life and Times of Gypsy Rose Lee - Karen Abbott Won through Goodreads.

Well, my phone ate my review, so let's try again.

I didn't really care for this. I really enjoyed Abbott's first book, so I had high hopes. I didn't connect with the story or any of the people. Everyone was awful and I'm not really sure why I should care about any of them; sometimes those people can still be interesting, but I did not feel that was the case here. The jumping time periods and people just added to the confusion. I want to read a straightforward biography again; so many seem to be written disjointed lately. I didn't hate this book, I just didn't enjoy it. It's probably good I know next to nothing about Gypsy and have never seen the musical, judging from other people's reviews.
Hedy's Folly: The Life and Breakthrough Inventions of Hedy Lamarr, the Most Beautiful Woman in the World - Richard Rhodes If this book had been titled anything but what it was, I wouldn't really have any complaints. As it is though, I feel the title is misleading. I'd say only about half the book is about Hedy Lamarr, the rest about George Antheil and their invention. I understand that the invention having two creators means you have to talk about them both, but then don't make the book sound like it's about Hedy Lamarr only and her inventions. It's a joint biography, and really only one invention is discussed in depth (others are mentioned in passing).

That all being said, the book was easy to read and very interesting. My only other complaints are that it got bogged down a bit in all the technical information and the way the author sometimes writes. (Really, "A historian wrote", or some such? Call the historian by name, don't make me go hunting in the notes for every reference.) I'd recommend this book, but don't go into it thinking it's just about Hedy Lamarr.
The Perfect Summer England 1911, Just Before the Storm - Juliet Nicolson I really wanted to like this. I should've liked it. But I just couldn't. I didn't care for the writing or the transitions between topics. Things that should've been interesting just weren't. I'm still glad I read it because there was good, new-to-me, information in it, but I just didn't really care for it.
Kilmeny of the Orchard - L.M. Montgomery Listened to the LibriVox recording.
Christmas Pudding and Pigeon Pie (Vintage Original) - Nancy Mitford This book is why I don't like rating books of multiple stories. I really enjoyed Christmas Pudding, but really didn't care for Pigeon Pie. I see this was roughly the case for the other reviewer too.

Christmas Pudding reminded me of Vile Bodies or Decline and Fall where everything is so ridiculous and twisty but fun. The whole premise of the tutor who's not really a tutor, and the serious book that wasn't taken seriously were just too funny and worked out about how you expected. Add in people who are in the country but hate the country, frivolous parents who don't seem too concerned with their child, and pretty young girls and you have a great bunch of characters.

Pigeon Pie on the other hand seems like it should work. Again, the premise is just so ridiculous and twisty. This time it doesn't work though. You never really are made to care for the characters. And there are just too many twists and unbelievable premises for it to work. I get that it was supposed to make fun of the Phony War, ie WWII before it really took off, and so it's supposed to be over the top, but it just didn't work for me.

Christmas Pudding alone would've gotten 4 stars. Pigeon Pie, maybe 2. So together the volume gets a 3. :/
Instructions - Charles Vess, Neil Gaiman I've sort of read this as I've read the poster of the poem that is in Brian Froud's book, illustrated by Froud. (I believe it's also in one of Gaiman's short story collections.) I would love to read the fully illustrated version sometime.
Why Are You Atheists So Angry? 99 Things That Piss Off the Godless - Greta Christina Listened to the Audible recording.
To Marry an English Lord - 'Gail MacColl',  'Carol McD. Wallace',  'Carol McD. Wallace' It's only three stars because, while I really enjoyed the majority of the book, the format and constant interruptions to the text took away some of the enjoyment. I also didn't technically read the entire thing since I just skimmed the bios and locations at the end. I want a book like this about the women but without the asides. It did make me finally purchase Five Sisters though.

How to Use, Adapt, and Design Knitting Patterns: How to knit exactly what you want, every timee

How to Use, Adapt, and Design Knitting Patterns - Sam Elliott, Sidney Bryan I wish this book was less about designing just sweaters and more about design in general, but a lot of the ideas and techniques discussed can be adapted to fit other sorts of designs. There's a lot o good information even if you don't want to only create sweaters.

Wool (Wool, #1)

Wool - Hugh Howey Read for free on the kindle app.
The Inheritor's Powder: A Tale of Arsenic, Murder, and the New Forensic Science - Sandra Hempel Won through Goodreads.

This book was fine. Some parts were better than others. I agree with the other reviewer/s who said that it seemed like the author had a lot of information that she wanted to include and just stuck it in. There was so much that only roughly all tied together. The main case Hempel focused on was interesting, but not enough for a book. Trying to tell the stories of the toxicologist and sort of one of the cops just didn't work. There are ways to tell multiple stories in one book, but this just isn't one of them.

The parts dealing directly with the Bodle case were interesting and those were the parts that read the quickest for me. All of the technical and peripheral information just dragged on and on. Having the synopsis on the back make it sound like this book was about George Bodle's murder was misleading; the book was only slightly centered on that case.

It's an interesting book, but I don't know that I'd really recommend it to many people.
Wool Omnibus (Silo, #1) (Wool, #1-5) - Hugh Howey The first four parts were great and I couldn't wait to find out what happened next. The last part dragged a bit and so my interest waned a bit. I wish I could give it 4.5 stars rather than just four.

The Magnificent Ambersons

The Magnificent Ambersons - Booth Tarkington Listened to the LibriVox recording.

This was a decent story. Not amazing, or it wouldn't've taken me forever to finish listening to, but it was good.
Faberge's Eggs: The Extraordinary Story of the Masterpieces That Outlived an Empire - Toby Faber Bought at the DIAs Faberge exhibit.