July 2019 books

The Quantum Astrologer's Handbook: a history of the Renaissance mathematics that birthed imaginary numbers, probability, and the new physics of the universeThe Quantum Astrologer’s Handbook: a history of the Renaissance mathematics that birthed imaginary numbers, probability, and the new physics of the universe by Michael Brooks

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was a rather interesting book, The Quantum Astrologer’s Handbook looks at the life of Jerome Cardano, a sixteenth century mathematician and physician, credited with inventing probability to help him win at cards. It’s an odd book, part look at Jerome’s life, part introduction to quantum physics. The book has an interesting style, as sections of it have the author explaining quantum theory to Cardano in his cell, but it certainly made everything seem much more human.

Heartstopper: Volume Two (Heartstopper, #2)Heartstopper: Volume Two by Alice Oseman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Aww another lovely instalment of Nick and Charlie’s journey from friendship to love. I can’t wait for volume 3!

Alias GraceAlias Grace by Margaret Atwood

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It took me a long time to get into this book, the fictionalised account of the Kinnear-Montgomery murders in Canada in the 1800s. It looks at the life of Grace Marks, one of the accused murderers, who worked as a servant in the Kinnear household. We join the story with Grace in the penitentiary, with a campaign to get her released, a doctor visits, to try and help her recover her lost memory, and through that we get a lot of flashbacks. It’s beautifully written but rather slow, we get pretty much all of Grace’s life history and you don’t get anywhere near the murder until about half way through the book, but still, the level of detail about the life of a young immigrant to Canada, working in service, was rather interesting, once we got to the murder, it almost seemed sort of rushed, but still, it was definitely worth the read.

Making Evil: The Science Behind Humanity’s Dark SideMaking Evil: The Science Behind Humanity’s Dark Side by Julia Shaw

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was quite an interesting book about what makes ‘evil’. It looks at how what one person may think is evil, another might not, how we can all be ‘evil’ and various examples of evil, such as the Nazis. Quite a timely book about how evil can happen when we stand aside or start acting as part of the crowd.

Leviathan Wakes (The Expanse, #1)Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I like my sci-fi with decent characters, realistic extrapolation and not too heavy on the detail about alien biology, architecture, philosophy, technology etc, obviously I need enough to understand the plot but any more than that, pages on alien gender pronouns or what they eat, and it loses me. Luckily Leviathan Wakes is just my sort of sci-fi, set 200 years in the future, humanity has survived its current predilection of having right-wing nut jobs for leaders and has colonised the solar system. There’s Earth, Mars, various moon colonies and The Belt, a series of colonies in the asteroid belt. Leviathan Wakes follows two characters, Holden, a space captain and Miller, a cop on Ceres, one of the asteroids. Miller is tasked with finding Julie, daughter of a rich Luna family, and Julie is suspected of running off with the OPA, a rebel group based in the belt. Holden and his crew go from one disaster to another, and gets caught up in a war between the planets.

Leviathan Wakes is the first book in the lengthy series that the TV series The Expanse is based on. I had tried The Expanse when it first came out but didn’t get on with it, I find the books much better and I will definitely be reading the next.

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