Book Reviews: May 2018Posted: May 30, 2018
I got an eclectic mix of books this month, but the good news is that all of them are enjoyable, each in its own way. Let’s hit it!
Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan:
I just finished the series based on this (once you get past the Blade Runner rip-off aesthetic, it’s very good, plus Joe Kinnaman is not too terrible to look at either) so naturally, I wanted to check out the book. It is set in a distant future when human consciousness can be digitized and stored, which allows people to change bodies (called “sleeves”). As you can’t rely on physical appearances to tell who is who, it is the perfect setting for a murder mystery. The mystery itself is quite standard, but the setting makes all the difference. I’m glad that I watched the series first though, because it makes the sci-fi lingo a lot easier to follow. The thing is, the series deviates quite a bit from the book, so about halfway through, I lost track of the plot a bit, but in the end, just like when I watched the series, I sort of let the story wash over me and didn’t think too hard about it, and I was able to enjoy it much more. 4/5
Carpe Jugulum by Terry Pratchett:
After Altered Carbon, I wanted an easier book, and a Discworld novel just fit the bill. This book revolves around the Witches, who have to face a family of modern vampires that threaten to take over their country. It contains some hilarious bits about the “edgy” vampires (who stay up during the day, drink wine, and give themselves names like “Tracy” and “Gerald”), some adorable bits about Igor and his dog Scraps (or Thcrapth, in Igor’s accent), and some profound bits with Granny Weatherwax (“Sin is when you treat people as things”). A great Discworld novel, all around. 5/5
The Radium Girls by Kate Moore:
I’m rounding up this month’s reviews with a non-fiction book. This, as you can guess from the title, is about the women who worked in US factories during the 1920’s and 1930’s, painting watch dials using self-luminous paint and contracting radium poisoning as a result, and their legal fights against their employers for compensation. It is horrifying to read about how radium literally eats its way through these women’s bodies (there are some very graphic descriptions and photos) and how their employers callously dismiss their suffering. At the same time, the women’s strength and determination can be very touching and inspiring. I can’t imagine how they can go through so much pain and still do everything they can to get justice for themselves and all workers like them. 5/5