I’ve always enjoyed looking at other people’s booklists, and have actually kept my own for about a year and a half now, but only within the past couple of months have I jotted down, in addition to the book’s title, author, and number of pages, my thoughts on it. Anyway, I thought since the first month of the new year’s been concluded, I may as well jump in with my two cents as well, if anyone’s interested in reading.
Books read, January 2012
The Archaeology of Knowledge and The Discourse on Language – Michel Foucault, trans. A.M. Sheridan Smith – 245 pages – finished reading 1/11
I have three of Foucault’s books, and for some reason I thought that the most abstract of them would be a good break into his writing. Whether that thought was ill-conceived or not, I guess I can’t begin to know before reading the other two. In the meantime, this was definitely not light reading, and after passing two-thirds of it, only then did I look at the back and laugh at the description, “Challanging, at times infuriating”. But if I did not fully understand, I at least attained a comprehensible grasp of what he was writing about, and intend to do some cross-referencing.
George, Nicholas, and Wilhelm: Three Royal Cousins and the Road to World War I – Miranda Carter – 498 pages – finished reading 1/22
This book I took interest in after reading about it on this community, actually. Corresponding the family trees at the beginning of the book exasperated me in a way that reading Foucault did not, but I found the book to be a fair and interesting look at the convoluted interrelations of Europe’s monarchs. I found it interesting that two of the three titular rulers really didn’t want to rule, and even the Kaiser wound up liking woodcutting better than the German people. Indicative perhaps of the various monarchies’ needs, almost, to dissipate, if not recast themselves for public consideration, as George V did (in marked contrast to Queen Victoria)? Also, I was surprised to learn that England might have saved the Romanovs before they were sent east; and that Kaiser Wilhelm actually didn’t want, and actually tried to prevent, the outbreak of the war (I knew that Austria was sort of an upstart bitch, I just hadn’t realized how much so).
I also liked the photographs included in the book, especially the one depicting Tsar Nicholas II fiddling with the camera on an outing in the woods. His stooped positioning and facial gestures bring to my mind some sort of deer happening upon a NatGeo spycam or something, haha.
Son of the Morning – Linda Howard – 372 pages – finished reading 1/28
This isn’t typically the sort of book that I read—romance novel beckoning on medieval times, with bestseller fodder Templars thrown in—but my youngest sister got it for me for Christmas, so I had to at least check it out. There is a distinction, I think, between good writing and good storytelling, and while I prefer to have both, this was an entertaining read. There were some formal things that could have been revised (word choice redundancy, for instance), and there were some expectedly cheesy scenes, but she did also have some interesting side characters mixed in along with the prototypical bookish coming-into-her-own damsel and the brutish-yet-intellectual he-man, and let everyone, save perhaps the villain, but multi-faceted, so those were props, I thought.