Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Recently Bought Books

I was going to title this post "These Are The Books I've Bought Recently", but Jeff started quoting Star Trek ("These are the voyages....") to me when I said that. I think he was able to quote the entire introductory speech from memory. Rather amazing.

Anyway, I've been doing some book buying in the past few months, even though I haven't been doing any posting. As a result, I think this post is going to be somewhat long, although I'm cutting out a lot of information like the publisher, release date and ISBN in an effort to make things a little bit shorter. Not in chronological order, however. My memory's not that good.

Earth To Hell
Kylie Chan

Amazon.com Product Description:
A fabulous story of gods and demons, shapeshifters and martial arts . . .
It is eight years since Xuan Wu, God of the Northern Heavens, living in Hong Kong as wealthy businessman John Chen, was exiled from the mortal realm. Emma Donahoe and Simone, John's daughter, are facing a new series of threats, while their best fighter, Leo, sits in Hell. They must persuade him to come home . . . but, in Hell, nothing is as it appears.
On Earth, Simon Wong, the Demon King's son, is no longer around to trouble them, but his associates have taken over Simon's underworld activities. The otherworldly stones are being targeted and are in danger of their kind being completely destroyed.
It seems that the Demon King is the only one Emma can turn to for help . . . 
Earth To Hell is the first book in the new trilogy that follows on White Tiger, Red Phoenix and Blue Dragon that came out last year.

Hell To Heaven
Kylie Chan

The Chapters/Indigo product description:
The gods and demons of ancient China are alive and kicking . . . Emma Donahoe teeters on the edge of becoming fully demon, and must make a journey to the Kunlun Mountains in the West, home of the reclusive ancient goddess Nu Wa, in an attempt to regain her humanity. Traveling with Emma is Xuan Wu''s daughter, Simone, who is struggling with her growing power and trying to defend herself from the demons who want to destroy her.
And Michael is trying to come to terms with the shock of finding out he might be half demon . . . and a danger to them all.
The sequel to Earth To Hell.

Heaven To Wudang: Journey To Wudang: Book Three
Kylie Chan

The amazon.com product description:
The third book in an addictive new urban fantasy series of gods and demons, martial arts and mythology, from the author of White Tiger. Ancient Chinese mythology comes to life in this bestselling series of martial arts and demons, dragons and gods, legends and lies ...and a journey to the depths of Hell. The demons that could control stones and elementals have been defeated, but the most powerful of Simon Wong's associates still remains - the one who can create almost undetectable copies of humans and Shen. This demon has allied with Kitty Kwok and together they plot to trap Emma and Simone in a web of copies. Wudang Mountain is enveloped by dark foreboding as Xuan Wu begins to reappear - sometimes human, sometimes turtle, but always without memory. Emma and Simone must race from Hong Kong to Hanoi as they try to rescue Xuan Wu before the demons capture him.
The first trilogy, Dark Heavens, by Kylie Chan was one of my favourites last year. All I know at this point for the Journey To Wudang books is that I've been looking forward to reading these since I finished Blue Dragon when it first came out.

The Photoshop Elements 11 Book For Digital Photographers 
Scott Kelby and Matt Kloskowski

The amazon.com product description:
This book (for Windows and Mac) breaks new ground by doing something for digital photographers that's never been done before–it cuts through the bull and shows exactly "how to do it." It's not a bunch of theory; it doesn't challenge readers to come up with their own settings or figure things out on their own. Instead, it tells readers flat-out which settings to use, when to use them, and why. This book gives the inside tips and tricks of the trade for organizing, correcting, editing, sharpening, retouching, and presenting photos like a pro. Readers will be absolutely amazed at how easy and effective these techniques are–once they know the secrets.

This book covers:

-The real secrets of how the pros retouch portraits
-How to color correct any photo without breaking a sweat
-How to use Camera Raw for processing not only RAW photos, but JPEGs and TIFFs, too!
-The sharpening techniques the pros really use
-How to deal with common digital camera image problems, including removing noise and avoiding halos
-The most requested photographic special effects
-All the brand new features of Elements 11, which offers better ways to manage photos, map images, share memories, use templates, and easily create pro-quality photographic effects

And the book's secret weapon: It also covers slick workarounds, cheats, and some fairly ingenious ways to replicate many Photoshop CS6 features from right within Elements 11.
-And much more!
I got tired of working with (or attempting to work with) Gimp, and broke down to buy Photoshop Elements 11, but found that I needed a reference for it. We`ll see how well this one works out. In it's favour, I've had a lot of people ask me for Scott Kelby's books at work before.

On a quick flip through the book I've had a whole lot of "Hey, cool" moments regarding the software - for example, the discovery that Elements is supposed to be able to process files in RAW format.

Holy Warriors: A Modern History of the Crusades 
Jonathan Phillips

The amazon.com product description:
From an internationally renowned expert, here is an accessible and utterly fascinating one-volume history of the Crusades, thrillingly told through the experiences of its many players—knights and sultans, kings and poets, Christians and Muslims. Jonathan Phillips traces the origins, expansion, decline, and conclusion of the Crusades and comments on their contemporary echoes—from the mysteries of the Templars to the grim reality of al-Qaeda. Holy Warriors puts the past in a new perspective and brilliantly sheds light on the origins of today’s wars.

Starting with Pope Urban II’s emotive, groundbreaking speech in November 1095, in which he called for the recovery of Jerusalem from Islam by the First Crusade, Phillips traces the centuries-long conflict between two of the world’s great faiths. Using songs, sermons, narratives, and letters of the period, he reveals how the success of the First Crusade inspired generations of kings to campaign for their own vainglory and set down a marker for the knights of Europe, men who increasingly blurred the boundaries between chivalry and crusading. In the Muslim world, early attempts to call a jihad fell upon deaf ears until the charisma of the Sultan Saladin brought the struggle to a climax. Yet the story that emerges has other dimensions—as never before, Phillips incorporates the holy wars within the story of medieval Christendom and Islam and shines new light on many truces, alliances, and diplomatic efforts that have been forgotten over the centuries.

Holy Warriors also discusses how the term “crusade” survived into the modern era and how its redefinition through romantic literature and the drive for colonial empires during the nineteenth century gave it an energy and a resonance that persisted down to the alliance between Franco and the Church during the Spanish Civil War and right up to George W. Bush’s pious “war on terror.”

Elegantly written, compulsively readable, and full of stunning new portraits of unforgettable real-life figures—from Richard the Lionhearted to Melisende, the formidable crusader queen of Jerusalem—Holy Warriors is a must-read for anyone interested in medieval Europe, as well as for those seeking to understand the history of religious conflict.
I first saw this book when it came out a couple of years ago and was intrigued then. Now, it's listed as being a bargain book, so I snapped up a copy at a very good price. Haven't had a chance to go through it at all though yet.

Alexander The Great 
Philip Freeman

The amazon.com product description:
In the first authoritative biography of Alexander the Great written for a general audience in a generation, classicist and historian Philip Freeman tells the remarkable life of the great conqueror. The celebrated Macedonian king has been one of the most enduring figures in history. He was a general of such skill and renown that for two thousand years other great leaders studied his strategy and tactics, from Hannibal to Napoleon, with countless more in between. He flashed across the sky of history like a comet, glowing brightly and burning out quickly: crowned at age nineteen, dead by thirty-two. He established the greatest empire of the ancient world; Greek coins and statues are found as far east as Afghanistan. Our interest in him has never faded.

Alexander was born into the royal family of Macedonia, the kingdom that would soon rule over Greece. Tutored as a boy by Aristotle, Alexander had an inquisitive mind that would serve him well when he faced formidable obstacles during his military campaigns. Shortly after taking command of the army, he launched an invasion of the Persian empire, and continued his conquests as far south as the deserts of Egypt and as far east as the mountains of present-day Pakistan and the plains of India. Alexander spent nearly all his adult life away from his homeland, and he and his men helped spread the Greek language throughout western Asia, where it would become the lingua franca of the ancient world. Within a short time after Alexander’s death in Baghdad, his empire began to fracture. Best known among his successors are the Ptolemies of Egypt, whose empire lasted until Cleopatra.

In his lively and authoritative biography of Alexander, classical scholar and historian Philip Freeman describes Alexander’s astonishing achievements and provides insight into the mercurial character of the great conqueror. Alexander could be petty and magnanimous, cruel and merciful, impulsive and farsighted. Above all, he was ferociously, intensely competitive and could not tolerate losing—which he rarely did. As Freeman explains, without Alexander, the influence of Greece on the ancient world would surely not have been as great as it was, even if his motivation was not to spread Greek culture for beneficial purposes but instead to unify his empire. Only a handful of people have influenced history as Alexander did, which is why he continues to fascinate us.
I've been interested in Alexander The Great this past year.

A History Of The World In 100 Objects
Neil MacGregor

The amazon.com product description:
From the renowned director of the British Museum, a kaleidoscopic history of humanity told through things we have made.

When did people first start to wear jewelry or play music? When were cows domesticated and why do we feed their milk to our children? Where were the first cities and what made them succeed? Who invented math-or came up with money?

The history of humanity is a history of invention and innovation, as we have continually created new items to use, to admire, or to leave our mark on the world. In this original and thought-provoking book, Neil MacGregor, director of the British Museum, has selected one hundred man-made artifacts, each of which gives us an intimate glimpse of an unexpected turning point in human civilization. A History of the World in 100 Objects stretches back two million years and covers the globe. From the very first hand axe to the ubiquitous credit card, each item has a story to tell; together they relate the larger history of mankind-revealing who we are by looking at what we have made.

Handsomely designed, with more than 150 color photographs throughout the text, A History of the World in 100 Objects is a gorgeous reading book and makes a great gift for anyone interested in history.
I'm only half way through this book, and I'm loving it. I'm going to go into the routine I use for selling the History of the World In 100 Objects at work, if you don't mind. I honestly don't know when it's going to be reviewed, so I just want to say it now.
A History Of The World In 100 Objects is based on the BBC Radio program, and is the most unique take on history I've seen yet. There's something in this book for anyone who likes history, and if you've specialized in one period or region, you're going to find this fascinating for two reasons. The first is the object or objects from that region or time period, the other is the rest of the book. I'm finding the various items from the rest of the world as neat as the ones from the areas of my primary interest.

The Rise And Fall of Ancient Egypt
Toby Wilkinson

The amazon.com product description:
In this landmark work, one of the world’s most renowned Egyptologists tells the epic story of this great civilization, from its birth as the first nation-state to its final absorption into the Roman Empire—three thousand years of wild drama, bold spectacle, and unforgettable characters.

Award-winning scholar Toby Wilkinson captures not only the lavish pomp and artistic grandeur of this land of pyramids and pharaohs but for the first time reveals the constant propaganda and repression that were its foundations. Drawing upon forty years of archaeological research, Wilkinson takes us inside an exotic tribal society with a pre-monetary economy and decadent, divine kings who ruled with all-too-recognizable human emotions.

Here are the years of the Old Kingdom, where Pepi II, made king as an infant, was later undermined by rumors of his affair with an army general, and the Middle Kingdom, a golden age of literature and jewelry in which the benefits of the afterlife became available for all, not just royalty—a concept later underlying Christianity. Wilkinson then explores the legendary era of the New Kingdom, a lost world of breathtaking opulence founded by Ahmose, whose parents were siblings, and who married his sister and transformed worship of his family into a national cult. Other leaders include Akhenaten, the “heretic king,” who with his wife Nefertiti brought about a revolution with a bold new religion; his son Tutankhamun, whose dazzling tomb would remain hidden for three millennia; and eleven pharaohs called Ramesses, the last of whom presided over the militarism, lawlessness, and corruption that caused a crucial political and societal decline.

Riveting and revelatory, filled with new information and unique interpretations, The Rise and Fall of Ancient Egypt will become the standard source about this great civilization, one that lasted—so far—longer than any other.
Bought after visiting the exhibit currently at the Pacific Science Center, when I wanted to find out more about ancient Egypt.

And now, I'm sure you're getting tired of the history books I love (and buy but never seem to get around to reading), so back to the fiction and fantasy purchases - not to mention the cookbooks. I did say this was going to be a long post.

Redoubt
Mercedes Lackey

The amazon.com product description:
 Mags, a young Herald trainee in Haven, the capital city of the kingdom of Valdemar, has talents not commonly found in Herald trainees. Recognizing this, the King's Own Herald decides to train Mags as a spy in order to uncover the secrets of a mysterious new enemy who has taken an interest in Mags himself. Why is the even deeper mystery. The answers can only be found in the most unexpected corners of Mags' past...assuming he can live long enough to find them.
Definitely a book I was looking forward to reading.

Elemental Magic
Mercedes Lackey

The amazon.com product description:
Among Mercedes Lackey’s many novels, few are as critically acclaimed and beloved as those about the Elemental Masters. The novels in this series are loosely based on classic fairy tales, and take place in a fantasy version of turn-of-the-century London, where magic is real and Elemental Masters control the powers of Fire, Water, Air, and Earth. Now other authors join Mercedes Lackey to add their own special touches to this delightful alternate history, in a world where magic is always just around the corner...
I have to admit, I was looking forward to the annual Valdemar anthology, but so far, the stories in here have been good. And, yes, a number of familiar names do turn up (I mean the authors, not the characters), as I was hoping.

The General's Mistress
Jo Graham

The amazon.com product description:
Liberté, Egalité, Sensualité. . . .

As a spirit of change overturns Europe’s old order, strong-willed Elzelina Versfelt enters her own age of revolution. Married as a romantic young girl to a man who wanted only her money, but neither loves nor desires her, Elza refuses to be chained any longer. Leaving Amsterdam, her marriage, and her home, she flees to France—where the old rules no longer apply, debauchery is not a sin . . . and nothing is forbidden.

Yet Elza finds herself bound in a new way, to the ambitious General Moreau. And while they share pleasure, pain, and carnal adventures, she dreams of another man, an unruly red-haired soldier she first saw in the promise of a Tarot card. Drawn by this half-real, half-imagined hero, Elza defies her relationship with Moreau, and begins a perilous search across war-torn Europe. . . . But will this woman with the instincts of a survivor, the passion of a courtesan, and the gift of second sight ever find the destiny for which she has risked it all?

This stunning novel blends history with the language of the heart to tell a sensual story of an era of upheaval . . . and of the clamoring, dangerous desires of a woman’s soul.
All I can say is that this book really surprised me. I loved the hints of Charmian from Hand of Isis and even of Gull from Black Ships though. And, you can't forget Lydias from Stealing Fire either. I'm really hoping to be able to get my hands on the next book in the series however.

Lost Things
Melissa Scott and Jo Graham

The amazon.com product description:
In 1929 archeologists began draining Lake Nemi in search of the mysterious ships that have been glimpsed beneath its waters since the reign of Claudius. What they awakened had been drowned for two thousand years. For a very good reason. Veteran aviator Lewis Segura has been drifting since the Great War ended, fetched up at last at the small company run by fellow veterans and pilots Alma Gilchrist and Mitchell Sorley, assisted by their old friend Dr. Jerry Ballard, an archeologist who lost his career when he lost part of his leg. It’s a living, and if it’s not quite what any of them had dreamed of, it’s better than much that they’ve already survived. But Lewis has always dreamed true, and what he sees in his dreams will take them on a dangerous chase from Hollywood to New York to an airship over the Atlantic, and finally to the Groves of Diana Herself…. The world is full of lost treasures. Some of them are better off not found.
I really liked this one, though I've heard from some people that it's rather slow starting of.

Hobbitus Ille: The Hobbit (Latin and English Edition)
J.R.R. Tolkien and Mark Walker

The amazon.com product description:
Fascinating for Latin learners and for Tolkien fans of all ages, The Hobbit has been translated into Latin for the first time since its publication 75 years ago.

In foramine terrae habitabat hobbitus. (‘In a hole in the ground, there lived a hobbit.’)

The Hobbit, is one of the world’s most popular classic stories, appealing to adults as much as to the children for whom J.R.R. Tolkien first wrote the book. Translated worldwide into more than 60 modern languages, now Hobbitus Ille is finally published in Latin, and will be of interest to all those who are studying the language, whether at school or at a higher level.

In the great tradition of publishing famous children’s books in Latin, professional classicist and lifelong Tolkien fan Mark Walker provides a deft translation of the entire book. His attention to detail, including the transformation of Tolkien’s songs and verses into classical Latin metres, will fascinate and entertain readers of all ability, even those with only a minimal acquaintance with the language.
As weird as it sounds, I've added this to my collection, even though I know I'm probably never going to be able to read it.
Post a Comment

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...