Spouse got Hamilton, by Ron Chernow. Unfortunately, Lin-Manuel Miranda will not come to the house and sing parts of the musical for us as Spouse reads, but still, it’s a good book. The bonus is that I get to read it when he’s done!
Atlas Obscura. This beautifully produced, expensive and heavy tome puts into print many of the geographical and historical oddities this website collects. The book is gorgeous and it’s a perfect book to browse on a wintery holiday evening. The book is organized by continents and contains beautiful maps of each geographical section. As you would expect if you’ve checked the website, each summary of each section contains clearly communicated facts tinged with dry wit.
The Accidental Dictionary by Paul Anthony Jones, who blogs and tweets as Haggard Hawks. Jones pulled together a number of English words whose meanings changed completely. Some are not that much of a stretch, maybe (“buxom” which now means having big breasts, used to mean “in good health,”). Others are wonders of human inventiveness and the mysteries of language. This book, printed by a British small press, was difficult to get. I felt kind of like the heroine in Beauty and the Beast; it seemed like such a simple request (“Dad, bring me back a flower, would’ja?”) and sent both of us a quest that led to Amazon UK.
Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shatterly. This was a gift card book I treated myself to. The movie comes out in January; Shatterly’s nonfiction work details the lives and achievements of the African American women mathematicians (and engineers) who computed the math needed to support John Glenn’s trip into orbit. Without these women, America would not have a man into space, yet I grew up during the space race with no knowledge of how important women were to this project. And the women themselves, while they worked at NASA, lived daily lived in a segregated south. I can’t wait to delve into this one.
The Book of Phoenix, by Nnedi Ikorafor. Again, a gift card book. I’ve only just started it. I had to do a movie-scene-like thing where I
pried the book from my hand with my other hand and had to force myself not to pick it up again, because I had too much to do and from the first chapter I was completely hooked. This is a New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day book, when then is nothing else on tap and I can devour it in one, or at most two, sittings.
Words are my Matter is a collection of the writings of Ursula K.
LeGuin. They are likely to be ones I haven’t read since this collection spans 2000 – 2016. It does have a couple of her famous speeches. Now more than even I need the insight, analysis and inspiration of one of the giants of the speculative fiction, or literature, field.
A Voice From the Field by Neal Griffin. Writing friend JC gave me this police procedural that features a woman cop main character in Milwaukee. Tia Suarez is a compelling character from the first chapter. JC met Griffin at a Book Passage mystery writers conference, where he was a consultant (he has twenty years experience in law enforcement). I am looking forward to this one.