Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Book Buying

I went on a bit of a book buying spree today - as hinted at in my last post, the review of Lynn Flewelling's Luck in the Shadows. I'd only intended to buy the next two books in the series, but I kept seeing more and more other books I wanted. I ended up with:

Best-Ever Vegetarian: The Definitive Cook's Collection
Linda Fraiser

The amazon.com product description (with typo corrections):
Whether you want to expand your existing repertoire of vegetarian recipes or embark on a healthier lifestyle, Best-Ever Vegetarian is delicious proof that eating the vegetarian way is not only nutritious, but an exciting & enticing experience too. '
I've been looking at this one for a few days now, and there are quite a few recipes that have caught my attention. I'm not a vegetarian in any way, but I don't mind meals without meat, and having a few more options is always a good thing. Every recipe has it's photo, and another neat thing is the nutritional information given for each recipe as well.

Stalking Darkness (Nightrunner vol. 2)
Lynn Flewelling

The amazon.com product description:
With the Leran threat laid to rest, Alec and Seregil are now able to turn their attention to the ancient evil which threatens their land. The Plenimarans, at war with Skalans, have decided to defeat their ancient enemy by raising up the Dead God, Seriamaius. The early attempts at this reincarnation--masterminded by the sinister Duke Mardus and his sorcerous minion Vargul Ashnazai--once left Seregil in a sorcerous coma. Now, an ancient prophecy points to his continuing role in the quest to stop Mardus in his dread purpose.

Seregil's friend and Mentor, the wizard Nysander, has long been the guardian of a deadly secret. In a secret, silver-lined room hidden well beneath the Oreska, he has served for most of his 300 years as the keeper of a nondescript clay cup. But this cup, combined with a crystal crown and some wooden disks, forms the Helm of Seriamaius, and any mortal donning the reconstructed Helm will become the incarnation of the god on earth.
Based on how much I enjoyed reading Luck in the Shadows, the first book in this series, I'm really looking forward to reading this one and the sequel. These, by the way, were the books I went out to buy.

Traitor's Moon (Nightrunner vol.3)
Lynn Flewelling

The amazon.com product description:
Seregil and Alec have spent the last two years in self-imposed exile, far from their adopted homeland, Skala, and the bitter memories there. But their time of peace is shattered by a desperate summons from Queen Idrilain, asking them to aid her daughter on a mission to Aurenen, the very land from which Seregil was exiled in his youth.
As I said for the previous book, I'm looking forward to reading this one and seeing what  Alec and Seregil get up to next.

And now, on to the inevitable additions of history books:

The Crusader States
Malcolm Barber

The amazon.com product description:
When the armies of the First Crusade wrested Jerusalem from control of the Fatimids of Egypt in 1099, they believed their victory was an evident sign of God's favor. It was, therefore, incumbent upon them to fulfill what they understood to be God's plan: to reestablish Christian control of Syria and Palestine. This book is devoted to the resulting settlements, the crusader states, that developed around the eastern shores of the Mediterranean and survived until Richard the Lionheart's departure in 1192. Focusing on Jerusalem, Antioch, Tripoli, and Edessa, Malcolm Barber vividly reconstructs the crusaders' arduous process of establishing and protecting their settlements, and the simultaneous struggle of vanquished inhabitants to adapt to life alongside their conquerors.

Rich with colorful accounts of major military campaigns, the book goes much deeper, exploring in detail the culture of the crusader states—the complex indigenous inheritance; the architecture; the political, legal, and economic institutions; the ecclesiastical framework through which the crusaders perceived the world; the origins of the Knights Templar and the Hospitallers; and more. With the zest of a scholar pursuing a lifelong interest, Barber presents a complete narrative and cultural history of the crusader states while setting a new standard for the term "total history."
Looks interesting, and it's an aspect of medieval history that interests me. I have a dream of one day writing a novel set in and around the crusades, so I'm always on the lookout for books on the topic. I'm actually looking forward to reading this one with a binder and pen to take notes as I go.

Chronicles of the First Crusade
Ed. Christopher Tyerman

The Amazon.com product description:
The gripping story of the First Crusade, as witnessed by contemporary writers

The fall of Jerusalem in 1099 to an army of exhausted and starving western European soldiers was one of the most extraordinary events in history—with a legacy that remains controversial more than nine centuries later. This remarkable collection contains firsthand accounts from the knights, religious leaders, and peasants who experienced the First Crusade in all its cruelty and strangeness. Edited with an introduction and notes by one of the foremost experts on the Crusades, Chronicles of the First Crusade is a comprehensive look at the climax of Christian fervor and the record of an ultimately futile attempt to implant a European kingdom in an overwhelmingly Muslim world.
I've been eying this one for a while now - I'd like to know (more or less, anyway, knowing how speeches were recorded in the ancient and medieval world) what Pope Urban's speech that triggered the Crusades actually was. And that's among the other things contained in this book.

Christopher Tyerman has a good reputation as a historian as well - I had one of his books (The Crusades: A Very Short Introduction, also known as Fighting For Christendom) assigned as a textbook in one of my university courses.

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