Saturday, 7 September 2013

Backlog of books

Over the past few months there have been loads of advance copies on the download Net Galley service.  I've been approved for lots of them but have only recently had time to read them.  I'm saving the rest for my holiday and for light relief as I work through my uni reading list.

The first book I 'opened' was Last Launch by Dan Winters this is a beautiful photographic book dedicated to the last 3 flights made by each of the Space Shuttles before they were retired a couple of years ago.  I viewed this one on my PC as it wasn't Kindle compatible and as a proof it worked completely as I fell in love with the pictures and have added the book to my wish list.
The advance copy gave a nice flavour of the book but there really is no substitute for a nice coffee table book.

Next I came to The Girls of Atomic City by Denise Kiernan and this book was in equal parts informative, interesting and totally frustrating. I knew a little of the history of the Manhattan Project but not a lot and this book did give me an overview of how the decisions were made and how 'the Gadget' was put together in various factories throughout the USA.
It was also nice having the focus on the women workers on the project rather than the scientists, like so many war time industries it was quite a female dominated industry.
But...and you just knew this was coming!
The book chopped and changed from history to science to biography so rapidly that I never felt I got to grips with any part fully and disappointingly it was the biographies of these fascinating women that lost out the most.
The book doesn't set out to discuss the rights and wrongs of nuclear weapons, it is just supposed to be a personal take but the lack of follow through on the stories left me frustrated at the end.  These were people who worked in a highly dangerous, unregulated and unexplored industry and we don't find out how they coped after the war - were there illness etc?

I wanted to really love this book - social, thought provoking personal histories are just my thing but I left feeling disappointed by this one.

Lastly I had a copy of Fortunately the Milk by Neil Gaiman. I have a love-hate relationship with Mr Gaiman's books and recently at a book group I was the only one in a group to not like the book we'd read. This one however was great fun - mum's away and the milk for cereal runs out. Dad goes out to get some more and is gone for ages, when he gets back it is with a wonderful tall tale to explain the delay.

The plot, when mixed with Chris Riddell's fabulous illustrations, was a delight from start to finish and I can't wait until my nephew is old enough to have me read this to him!

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