Book Reviews: August 2017

It’s a month of non-fictions! Non-fictions by female writers, no less. Last month’s books made me so angry that I decided to for all for non-fiction books this month, hoping they would annoy me a little less. Let’s see how they did.

Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers & Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void by Mary Roach:

Originally I’d only planned on reading “Packing for Mars”, but then I saw “Stiff” and thought it looks interesting, in a morbid kind of way, so I decided to check them both out. They’re both funny and quite informative (I find “Packing for Mars” more interesting, but then again because I’m more interested in space travel than dead bodies), and the humorous approach makes them quite easy to read. Some may find Roach’s writing too cutesy for such subject matters, and some of the jokes do get a little repetitive, especially in “Stiff”, but I’d say you need that kind of humor for some of the heavier topics. One thing though: I wouldn’t recommend reading “Stiff” before a meal because there are quite a lot of graphic descriptions of body decomposition.

On a side note, when I read about the amount of bone and muscle loss the astronauts suffer in space due to zero gravity in “Packing for Mars”, I’ve actually started exercising again. I figure since I’m not in zero gravity, there’s no excuse for it. 4/5

An Elegant Madness: High Society in Regency England by Venetia Murray:

This is my second attempt to read a historical book about the Regency.  This one is easier to read than A Gentleman’s Daughter (at least I finished it), and there are some amusing or interesting bits here and there, but as a whole it’s not very well written and edited. The chapters are divided by topics, but the topics seem to be assigned randomly because the author didn’t bother sticking with them at all. There are a lot of overlapping and repetition. For example, the chapter about beaux, dandies, and rakes are mostly about the dandies, with some paragraphs about the rakes thrown in near the end like an afterthought. Or, in another chapter about the gentleman’s clubs, about half of it is about the food at these clubs, which is fine, but then the very next chapter is about the pursuit of pleasure and gluttony, so of course we’re reading about food again. Also, I’m not very familiar with the Regency (other than the most basic fact – the Prince Regent, the Napoleonic Wars, Jane Austen) but a quick glance at some reviews shows that there are a lot of factual errors in the book as well. It’s too bad. I’m beginning to feel I don’t have any luck with books about this particular era. 2/5

What about you guys? What have you read?

 

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3 Comments on “Book Reviews: August 2017”

  1. Kezzie says:

    Non-fiction is usually something I avoid! I like reading about every day life though so I’d probably give the Regency one a go, mistakes or no mistakes!

    • Salazar says:

      I used to avoid non-fiction too, but then I read Bill Bryson and I was hooked! If you like reading about everyday life, I’d recommend Ian Mortimer’s The Time Traveler’s Guide books (one on Medieval and one on Elizabethan era). They’re really detailed and very entertaining!

  2. Mike says:

    Yay for non-fiction! I’m all for it. I got some pretty good ones going right now, which I hope to share in my reviews soon. Still trying to get my blogging rhythm back.

    Yes, in reference to what you said concerning astronauts losing muscle mass and weakening their bone structure, I’ve heard about that too. I’ve started a little exercise program for myself recently to try and get back in shape, though not for this particular reason.


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