Thursday, August 24, 2017

Reading - albeit not reviewing

I know I've been quiet when it comes to reviewing books for the last few months. I've been doing a bit of reading nonetheless. Just not reviewing. In part that's because I've been getting more work of late - and it's hard enough to find time to read, much less put together some thoughts on the books I've been reading. Also, I've been doing a bit of camping and traveling over the summer too.

Anyway, to try and play catch-up with my books, here are some of the books I've been reading over the summer. I will admit to having a bit of a problem with starting books and not finishing them. I can tell you that doesn't help when it comes to reviewing too.

Terry Fox - Leslie ScrivenerTerry Fox: His Story
Leslie Scrivener
McLelland and Stewart
Copyright: 2000

The product description:
Terry Fox, the one-legged runner from Port Coquitlam, British Columbia, made an indelible impression upon people across Canada and around the world. An outstanding athlete with a stubborn and competitive spirit, he lost his leg to cancer at 19, but said “nobody is ever going to call me a quitter.”

On April 12, 1980, Terry Fox set out from St. John’s, Newfoundland to begin the run across Canada that he named the Marathon of Hope. His ambition was to raise a million dollars for cancer research. It wasn’t easy. Initial support from communities varied from terrific to nothing at all. His prosthetic leg was painful to run on, and there were always traffic and extreme weather conditions to deal with. But, by the time he reached Ontario – a journey of more than 3,000 kilometres – word of his achievement had spread, and thousands cheered him and followed his progress. Terry’s spirits soared, and now he hoped to raise $22 million dollars – one dollar for every Canadian. He succeeded in this ambition, but the Marathon of Hope ended near Thunder Bay, Ontario on September 1, 1980. The cancer had spread to his lungs, and, after running 24 miles in one day, on the next he could run no further.

When cancer finally claimed his life in 1981, Canada mourned the loss of a hero, but the Terry Fox Marathon of Hope lives on. The Terry Fox Foundation raised more than $17 million in 1999, and support for the event nationally and around the world is growing.
I read this book after my husband recommended it to me and I really have to pass this recommendation along. It's a very well-written book that captures the attention right off and doesn't let go. It is something of a quick read however. At least I found that to be the case.

The Mists of Avalon - Marion Zimmer BradleyThe Mists of Avalon
Marion Zimmer Bradley
Ballantine Books
Copyright: 1984

The product description:
In Marion Zimmer Bradley's masterpiece, we see the tumult and adventures of Camelot's court through the eyes of the women who bolstered the king's rise and schemed for his fall. From their childhoods through the ultimate fulfillment of their destinies, we follow these women and the diverse cast of characters that surrounds them as the great Arthurian epic unfolds stunningly before us. As Morgaine and Gwenhwyfar struggle for control over the fate of Arthur's kingdom, as the Knights of the Round Table take on their infamous quest, as Merlin and Viviane wield their magics for the future of Old Britain, the Isle of Avalon slips further into the impenetrable mists of memory, until the fissure between old and new worlds' and old and new religions' claims its most famous victim.
I think this book was my first major exposure to the variations of the Arthurian stories. It's certainly shaped my impressions of how the story should go ever since. All I know at the moment is that it had been at least ten years or so since I'd last read it (or any of the other books in the Avalon saga). High time really. Now I kind of want to re-read Mercedes Lackey's take on the story - also from a woman's point of view.

The Ship Who Searched - Anne McCaffrey and Mercedes LackeyThe Ship Who Searched
Anne McCaffrey and Mercedes Lackey
Baen Books

The product description:
Special 20th Anniversary Edition, with a new introduction by Mercedes Lackey.  A beloved classic of romantic space adventure returns.  A novel of Anne McCaffrey’s Brainship series.  A young woman becomes paralyzed and must become a brainship—and find her Brawn, her human soul mate, so that she can discover a cure for her illness.

Tia Cade is a headstrong, smart, and very normal girl—until she contracts a terrible illness that leaves her with the bare semblance of life. Tia’s only hope: to become the oldest person ever to train to be one of the legendary star travelers, the brainships  But now that Tia is free of her ravaged body, there still remains the task of finding the right partner to be her Brawn, the human element every brainship requires. And when the disease that debilitated Tia threatens thousands more, selecting a Brawn who is her true soul mate may allow Tia to find the origin of the terrible plague—and perhaps even a cure.

20th Anniversary edition featuring a new introduction by Mercedes Lackey. 
The Ship Who Searched is my favorite of the whole Brainship series. Perhaps it's the way archaeology is woven through the story in this one that helps catch my attention. Not to mention the main character herself. Either way, this is the one that I end up re-reading the most often.

1633 - David Weber and Eric Flint1633
Eric Flint and David Weber
Baen Books
Copyright: 2003

The product description:

The new government in central Europe, called the Confederated Principalities of Europe, was formed by an alliance between Gustavus Adolphus, King of Sweden, and the West Virginians led by Mike Stearns who were transplanted into 17th-century Germany by a mysterious cosmic accident. The new regime is shaky. Outside its borders, the Thirty Years War continues to rage. Within, it is beset by financial crisis as well as the political and social tensions between the democratic ideals of the 20th-century Americans and the aristocracy which continues to rule the roost in the CPE as everywhere in Europe.

Worst of all, the CPE has aroused the implacable hostility of Cardinal Richelieu, the effective ruler of France. Richelieu has created the League of Ostend in order to strike at the weakest link in the CPE's armor—its dependence on the Baltic as the lifeline between Gustav Adolf's Sweden and the rest of his realm.

The greatest naval war in European history is about to erupt. Like it or not, Gustavus Adolphus will have to rely on Mike Stearns and the technical wizardry of his obstreperous Americans to save the King of Sweden from ruin.

Caught in the conflagration are two American diplomatic missions abroad: Rebecca Stearns' mission to France and Holland, and the embassy which Mike Stearns sent to King Charles of England headed by his sister Rita and Melissa Mailey. Rebecca finds herself trapped in war-torn Amsterdam; Rita and Melissa, imprisoned in the Tower of London.

And much as Mike wants to transport 20th-century values into war-torn 17th-century Europe by Sweet Reason, still he finds comfort in the fact that Julie, who once trained to be an Olympic marksman, still has her rifle . . .
One for the alternate history fans out there... This is the second book in the series, following on 1632. Which is followed by many more books in the series as well as anthologies of short stories, all by different authors. The two books I've read feel pretty well researched and thought through. I'm going to suggest giving them a try some time.

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