Showing posts from January, 2020

Brother Cadfael's Penance (Brother Cadfael, Book Twenty)

Brother Cadfael's Penance (Brother Cadfael, Book Twenty) Ellis Peters, 1994 Premise: News comes to Shrewsbury that brings Cadfael to a crisis with his vocation. I put off reading this one for a while because it's the last one. This series has been reliably enjoyable throughout, but the personal nature of the plot elevates this one to greatness. Many of the books are about love, some about duty or society. As I expected, this one is about parents. It's about Philip FitzRobert, who publicly breaks with his father when he switches his loyalty. It's about a mysterious murder in a city at truce that turns on a secret relationship. It features more directly than any other in the series the Empress Maud, daughter of the late king. Most of all, it hinges on the most emotional recurring plot point of the series: Cadfael's son, Olivier. Cadfael is faced with a hard choice between his oaths as a Benedictine and a quest to find Olivier, taken captive after a bat

I Know How She Does It: How Successful Women Make The Most of Their Time

I Know How She Does It: How Successful Women Make The Most of Their Time Laura Vanderkam, 2015 Premise: Insights into how real women in high-profile, high-powered jobs balance their lives. I took a long break in the middle of reading this book. A two-month-long break, in fact, that covered multiple illnesses and holidays. I had gone so long that I almost didn't go back to it. I had forgotten what I was reading, and I thought I had gotten what I was going to get out of the book - a way of charting time to think about it more clearly. But I decided to jump back in and give it another chance, and I ended up devouring the rest in two days. So, yeah, I'm glad I went back to it. This book (and, apparently, much of this author's work) strikes an interesting and inspirational balance. Yes, it's about time management. But it's not about how to multitask more efficiently or get up earlier - although those topics are touched on. It's about recognizing that you

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire J. K. Rowling, 2000 Hugo Winner - 2001 Premise: ... It's Harry Potter. Throughout this project to read all the Hugo-winning novels ( moving into its ninth year !) I have tried to read and review these books with care. I try to explain when I hit a book that I don't like but I can understand its importance. I try to bear in mind the books' historical and cultural context; in fact, understanding each book's context is a lot of the pleasure in this quest to read them all. At the same time, I try to take each book as a unique work of literature and evaluate what I see as its merits and flaws for today's reader. I was stumped by this book. Harry Potter is too ubiquitous. I know too much about the characters, the world, fan commentary, meta analysis, etc. to be able to read it with anything resembling an open mind. And I don't even seek out Harry Potter content. I just hang out on the geeky parts of the internet. Alth