Review: A Short History of Nearly Everything, Bill Bryson

Rating: 4 out of 5

I found this an enlightening history which covered many a topic I had some idea of but also many a topic I had heard very little about in the past. As such, I think this is a strong book that can provide a good grounding in many disciplines. Of course, there is a problem, however, and that’s the fact that more than fifteen years have passed since the release of this book means that some of the “immutable truths” as described herein have maybe changed. But, that’s less relevant than the 18th and 19th century information that gets passed on to the reader — so, in short, read this!

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Review: The Crucible, Arthur Miller

Rating: 4 out of 5

It is a story of providence and truth. I remember going through this play about a decade ago and it was not as remarkable as it is now — for one, the added familiarity with the outside world allows me to see either a Proctor or Danworth in the people around us. Some have indeed made our hearts so cold as not to hear the voice of reason; especially when that voice speaks in different “languages” to which we are normally accustomed to. Continue reading “Review: The Crucible, Arthur Miller”

Review: The Great Swindle, Virginia Cowles

Rating: 3 out of 5

This is a very technical history of the South Sea Crash. As we are dealing with coverage of an economic event, this means that a lot of this text relates to economics though fairly basic ones. Even so, however, I did not find the author’s descriptions of the main characters in the story and the way the manipulated the marked to have been particularly helpful to understanding, and this is my main reason for the low rating.

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Review: Half a War, Joe Abercrombie

Rating: 3 out of 5

I think I became progressively less interested in the well-being of the characters as the plots became more complex. The ending was a nice one — a good, well-timed and executed move, but overall, the majority of this deals with conflicts between two kings and Yarvi shuffling between everyone doing his own thing. Admittedly, the twists and action make for a nice story but I was expecting either something more or something less.  Continue reading “Review: Half a War, Joe Abercrombie”

Review: Thrawn, Timothy Zahn

Rating: 4 out of 5

The new Thrawn series was something of which I was aware though I did not know any details. With that in mind, I hoped that it would link to any of the other Zahn books — but all of these seem to have been jettisoned, including the ‘Outbound Flight’ which could have still worked in the canon. That is a regret as though the second book in this new trilogy mentions the events that are broadly referenced herein, the universe is slightly more boring with less known events — and that’s what the new readers should take into account for the old stories are definitely out. Continue reading “Review: Thrawn, Timothy Zahn”

Review: The Day of Doom, Michael Wigglesworth

Rating: 3 out of 5

It’s not that I dislike the poem — I think too many of the other people here have fallen into the trap of evaluating this work based on the qualities it would have in the modern world. Instead, this was a classic in the 17th and 18th centuries and should be evaluated as such. There is, indeed, almost an innate hope (in the reader) that the values that Wigglesworth praises are no longer the values we hold to, for otherwise we are indeed a group of savages. Continue reading “Review: The Day of Doom, Michael Wigglesworth”

Review: Half the World, Joe Abercrombie

Rating: 4 out of 5

Now this was interesting. I was not the biggest fan of the first Shattered Sea, but I liked it enough to pick up the next one, though not immediately. This one was more varied — the characters are more varied, that is, but also what’s going on. In a lot of ways, I think the First Law series comes through more here. Perhaps Abercrombie could no longer write a very simple (though smart) child or perhaps this was a natural development.

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Ülevaade: Eesti feldmarssalid, Andres Adamson

Hinnang: 3/5

Võttes raamatu algselt kätte, oli mul tunne, et tegu võiks olla lühidalt hariva looga, mis heidab pilgu Eestimaal (ja Liivi- ja Kuramaal) sündinud, elanud või surnud väejuhtidele. Eks tegelikult raamatul ka selline eesmärk on ning ta seda mõneti saavutab — mis minu jaoks rikkus korralikult lugemiskogemust oli autori pidev sõbramehelik stiil, mis ei lasknud nautida ülevaatlikku teksti, vaid pani pigem mõtisklema sellise kirjutamisstiili üle.

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Review: The Silk Roads, Peter Frankopan

Rating: 2 out of 5

I found that I had a problem with this book. We have a British author who wants to re-centre the world, and yet the book he writes is more Anglo-American than many others. Not only this, the author does not even do courtesy to the Spanish and Portuguese, noting that in those languages the people “call” themselves by other names as if the English version was what the people would have recognised at the time. This hypocrisy surrounds this entire work, though it is not without a saving grace (which I will get to).  Continue reading “Review: The Silk Roads, Peter Frankopan”

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