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Books Read in February, 2021

A new month. Thus, as is my standard usage of my blog space at or near the beginning of the month, I present the listing of my February, 2021 reads.

Books Read in February, 2021

Legion of Supr-Heroes Vol 8 #12 (Comic)

Future State: Legion of Super-Heroes Vol 1 #1 (Comic)

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (r)

December, 2020 Locus

Piranesi by Susanna Clarke

The Legion of Super-Heroes Vol 2 #280-284 (Comics) (r)

The Brave and the Bold Vol 1 #179 (Comic) (r)

DC Comics Presents Vol 1 #43 (Comic) (r)

Twelve Kings in Sharakhai by Bradley P. Beaulieu (r)

January, 2021 Locus

A.D. 500: A Journey Through the Dark Isles of Britain and Ireland by Simon Young

And that was my reading for February, 2021. I have to say that this was a pretty good month of reading in terms of the quality of material read, especially given the last few months of reading, though it was not the most books I've read in a month. Part of the reason for this was because I re-read a really big book in the form of the Bradley P. Beaulieu first book in preparation for reading the second book in the Shattered Sands series this month. And I also read a good number of comics, both new reads and re-reads, so there! :) Regardless, my bookcases are stacked with a pretty large To Read Queue (TRQ) still. The books I enjoyed the most were:

Piranesi by Susanna Clarke - Piranesi's house is no ordinary building: its rooms are infinite, its corridors endless, its walls are lined with thousands upon thousands of statues, each one different from all the others. Within the labyrinth of halls, an ocean is imprisoned; waves thunder up staircases, rooms are flooded in an instant. But Piranesi is not afraid; he understands the tides as he understands the pattern of the labyrinth itself. He lives to explore the house. There is one other person in the house - a man called The Other, who visits Piranesi twice a week and asks for help with research into A Great and Secret Knowledge. But as Piranesi explores, evidence emerges of another person, and a terrible truth begins to unravel, revealing a world beyond the one Piranesi has always known. To say that I was anticipating Clarke's second novel after the remarkable Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell is an understatement. At 1/3 the page count of that first novel, Piranesi is a remarkable, good novel with very little resemblance to her first book. I am not going to provide spoilers at all for this book, as it's just that good and every page is full of revelations that really subvert the expectations one might have. The characters of Piranesi (not his real name, but that's what he's called by The Other) and The Other come across as very real in the course of the book, and though they are both mysterious figures much is revealed about them during the course of the novel. Even though the book is a relatively slim book, it's a challenging read. The reader wanders blindly for a while, in many ways like the protagonist, and the reader shouldn't expect every dark corner to be illuminated by the time one reaches the end of the story. I highly recommend this book, especially if the potential reader was a fan of Neil Gaiman's The Ocean at the End of the Lane and Madeline Miller's Circe. Piranesi introduces an astonishing new world, an infinite labyrinth, full of startling images and surreal beauty, haunted by the tides and the clouds. Like I said, highly recommended.

A.D. 500: A Journey Through the Dark Isles of Britain and Ireland by Simon Young - From Tintagel and tin-mining to saints and slave markets, from alcohol and King Arthur to boat burials and beavers, here are the realities of life in the 6th Century A.D.. Based squarely on archaeological and historical evidence, this window on the mysterious world of the Dark Ages is written as a practical survival guide for the use of civilised Greek visitors to the barbaric islands of Britain and Ireland. With the narrative of the Greeks providing a condescending and often hilarious running commentary on "the barbarians", this is a vivid and original picture of life in the Dark Ages. I'll start by saying that this is not a straightforward history book. The book takes the shape of a travelogue, written about a fictional Greek Embassy that made a tour of Britain in the Dark Ages. The fictional embassy is a device used simply to give an account of what a tour around Dark Ages Britain and Ireland would have been like. Author Young uses (and cites) several scholarly works to back up the information imparted within. This is not historical fiction. If that's what you are expecting, you will be a bit disappointed. What the book is is a highly entertaining (the fictional author of the travelogue's biting remarks concerning "the natives" are hilarious), if not somewhat informative, way to teach history. Admittedly, the book could have provided more details for my taste, but this is exactly what will make this an easier read for those who have a hard time with historical stuff. I definitely recommend it.

Overall, I managed to read 4 novels, 0 RPGs and RPG products, 2 magazines, 9 comics, and 0 graphic novels in February. This brings the year total in 2021 to a set of numbers that look like this: 10 books, 0 RPGs and RPG products, 3 magazines, 37 comics, and 0 graphic novels.

Anyway, thoughts and comments are always welcome. :)


John Kahane

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