Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Nevermore: Mathematics, War, Amazons and more!

Nevermore kicked off with a flurry of non-fiction—beginning with How Not to Be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking by Jordan Ellenberg.  The author writes about how the threads of mathematics are woven through everything we do, and how learning to think differently can help us understand the world around us.  From wartime airplane design to the 2000 United States Presidential election, mathematical thinking can help us navigate through our everyday lives.

Next up was Stephen Crane: A Life of Fire by Paul Sorrentino.  Crane died from tuberculosis at the young age of 28 having already written five novels.  He was a very controversial individual.  When he intervened in the arrest of a prostitute, the subsequent investigation exposed information about his own life and ruined his personal reputation.

The Trigger: Hunting the Assassin Who Brought the World to War by Tim Butcher was touted as an excellent book that helps make complex Balkan history much more understandable.  The author sets out to follow the life path of 19-year-old Gavrilo Princip, who killed Archduke Franz Ferdinand and thus set in motion World War I.  Our readers shared their observations of how national identities and religious affiliations have long been mixed up in this area of the world.

Back on the home front, Gettysburg: The Last Invasion by Allen C. Guelzo was promoted as an interesting point of view on a familiar subject.  Illuminating what was happening in the surrounding area of Pennsylvania at the time of the famous Civil War battle, this volume debates various aspects of well-known military history.

Another reader mentioned Cockroaches by Jo Nesbo.  She says this is the most complicated murder mystery she has read in years.  The second in the Inspector Harry Hole series, when the Norwegian ambassador to Thailand is murdered, our hero has his hands full investigating the many hidden layers of the case.  This Nordic noir novel takes Harry through the red-light district of Bangkok.

The Lost Sisterhood by Anne Fortier was promoted as an Elizabeth Peters-like tale of archeological discovery.  Diana Morgan is an Oxford lecturer who believes the Amazons really did exist, although she doesn’t dare share that with her colleagues.  When a strange man offers her a chance to find the truth about the Amazons’ role in Greek mythology, (not to mention what happened to her grandmother,) Diana knows that she must accept.

Finally in fiction, First Meetings by Orson Scott Card was very briefly enjoyed by a reader, as the collection of short stories is, well, rather brief.  Set in the Enderverse, first encounters with various characters are recounted in this collection.

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