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torin

torin@bookwyrm.social

Joined 3 months, 1 week ago

Mostly scifi and fantasy, but also a fair amount of natural history with a smattering of political economy and other non-fiction.

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Jocelyn Parr: Uncertain Weights and Measures (2017, Goose Lane Editions) 3 stars

378 pages : 21 cm

Study of a relationship from Lenin to Stalin

3 stars

I read the first half of this book in fits and starts over 3 years and the last half in a week. I don't think the book changed - I think I did and was able to appreciate it more. The main character is a young woman who truly believes in the potential and promise of the Russian Revolution and becomes a scientist. The book chronicles her relationship to and understanding of science and her artist partner through the political changes between the revolution and the lead up to WWII.

You can tell Parr is a historian - and it's to the story's benefit. It can be difficult with hindsight to understand how people thought and why they acted as they did. But Parr understands the time and its ideas. Her characters aren't railing against the Soviet state from the vantage point of 100 years on, but are young adults …

Benedict Macdonald, Nicholas Gates: Orchard (2020, HarperCollins Publishers Limited) 4 stars

Beautiful and inspiring natural history of an ancient orchard

4 stars

Orchard takes you through the life of an ancient orchard in England with a chapter for every month of the year. The book beautifully describes the natural history and ecology of the orchard - including the relationship of humans to the orchard and its denizens. This is a system with extraordinary biodiversity where humans steward the environment, and while people harvest from it, the agricultural practices don't just make for bountiful harvests of apples and pears - they support a resilient, highly functional ecosystem.

It reminded me a bit of 1491 where you see people shaping an ecosystem to produce more things useful to humans but maintaining extraordinary resilience and biodiversity - and not requiring lots of external inputs (like fertilizers from fossil fuel).

Sometimes the noble savage tropes creep into modern environmental thinking, but this book made me think about how the ancestors of folks practicing and relying on …

commented on Passage by Connie Willis

Connie Willis: Passage (Hardcover, 2003, Tandem Library) 4 stars

Passage is a science fiction novel by Connie Willis, published in 2001. The novel won …

Content warning Big time spoilers. Seriously do not click through if you haven’t finished.

commented on Passage by Connie Willis

Connie Willis: Passage (Hardcover, 2003, Tandem Library) 4 stars

Passage is a science fiction novel by Connie Willis, published in 2001. The novel won …

Content warning MAJOR SPOILERS

reviewed Book of Difficult Fruit by Kate Lebo

Kate Lebo: Book of Difficult Fruit (2021, Pan Macmillan) 4 stars

Surprising and delightful

4 stars

This book is a joy to read. It has an interesting structure that lends itself to slow savouring, a chapter at a time, as each chapter begins with an essay that meanders around and is inspired by a particular fruit and ends with a recipe or two for that fruit.

The nature of the essays is as varied as the fruits - surprising, funny, bittersweet, angry, nostalgic, musing, hopeful, tart.

I will probably never make a single one of the recipes in this book but i read them all anyway. I didn’t expect to - i thought I’d just read the essays and skip the recipes. But they’re somehow a continuation of the story of the chapter and it feels soothing and right to end with them and follow in the mind at least the physical and sensual processing of difficult fruit.

This is technically a recipe book, but it’s …

Katherine May: Wintering (2020, Penguin Publishing Group) 4 stars

Sometimes you slip through the cracks: unforeseen circumstances like an abrupt illness, the death of …

A book for reading when you’re sad

4 stars

I’m glad i read this book. It was quiet and beautiful and helped me see some failures in my life with a bit less despair and a bit more hope.

It isn’t quite as cohesive or linear as i expected and whether I found that annoying or an illustration of the topic depended on my mood.

Sometimes i was annoyed by the author - how seriously she took herself and her own pain, how not seriously she took that of others until it was A Crisis. But mostly i was grateful she was willing to show less flattering parts of herself and of course i judged her most harshly where our failings align.

started reading Passage by Connie Willis

Connie Willis: Passage (Hardcover, 2003, Tandem Library) 4 stars

Passage is a science fiction novel by Connie Willis, published in 2001. The novel won …

Content warning Mild spoilers to about 40%