Books read, July 2013

I forgot to record books this month until nearly the end of the month, which has left me with the nagging feeling that I missed one (or maybe more than one). But I can’t remember what it would have been, so if there is indeed something missing, then clearly it wasn’t very memorable to begin with.

(Except that possibly the thing I was forgetting was The Tropic of Serpents, which I just remembered to add. Um. Please disregard above statement about my own book not being very memorable. Please.)

The Tropic of Serpents, Marie Brennan. My own books don’t count, of course, but they get listed anyway. This was copy-editing, aka What I Did With My Early July.

The Riddle of the Labyrinth: The Quest to Crack an Ancient Code, Margalit Fox. Very readable nonfiction about the decipherment of Linear B in the early-mid twentieth century. Its specific argument has to do with the significance of Alice Kober to that process, and more to the point, how Alice Kober’s contribution has not been sufficiently recognized (in large part because apparently her papers weren’t available until quite recently). It gets a bit depressing toward the end, because a) you know from the beginning of the book that Kober died before she could finish the job, so you’re sitting there watching the clock tick down and b) it’s the 1940s, so you get to watch her being jerked around by Penn professors pretending that no, no, the fact that she’s a woman has nothing to do with them questioning whether they want to hire her for a cool job, and for bonus frustration the guy who’s trying to finally publish all of Evans’ Linear B inscriptions is basically using Kober as his transatlantic secretary and wasting vast quantities of her time — time that could have been spent cracking the code. But anyway. If you like reading about extremely nerdy people (and oh, the nerds in this book), and the mechanics of deciphering a script when you don’t recognize either it or the language it’s being used to write, this is a fun read.

The Book of Fire. The most recent L5R release, and the first one for which I was an official freelancer (though my part in here is very minor). Not the sort of thing anybody will pick up who isn’t looking to play L5R, but I will say that the sections on sword-smithing and glass-blowing and poetry were quite nifty. (No, those aren’t the parts I wrote.)

The Magic Circle, Jenny Davidson. A novel I picked up at Writers with Drinks, because Davidson was one of the other people reading, and she billed this as a book about LARPs and the Bacchae and how could I say no to that? Alas, the book itself isn’t what I’d been hoping. The early part is more about ARGs than LARPs, and even the latter isn’t the kind of LARPing I’m used to. Furthermore, the characters and the story never really cohered for me.

Daily Life in Ottoman Turkey, Raphaela Lewis. One of the installments in that Dorset Books series — you know the ones I mean, with the solid-color covers and the little box with an image on the front. (Er, some of you know the ones I mean.) This was published in 1971, so take it with appropriate grains of salt, but on the whole it did what I needed it to, which was to give me a starting image of the society. And that’s pretty much what books like this exist for.

Secrets of the Empire. I bookended my month with proofreading. This book (another one for L5R) hasn’t been released yet, but as a freelancer I can and have signed up to proofread things before they go to press. It looks like it will be very shiny, but my NDA says I can’t say anything more about it. 😛

0 Responses to “Books read, July 2013”

  1. martianmooncrab

    The Riddle of the Labyrinth: The Quest to Crack an Ancient Code, Margalit Fox.

    I just bought that last week….

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