snugglekitty: (bosoms)
Drinnan won the Lambda Award for this book last year in the category of sci fi, fantasy, and horror. I was delighted to be able to grab it on paperbackswap. I really enjoyed the beginning. I found the characters appealing and believable, and I liked the theme of sex and spirituality that runs through the book. However, I got bogged down in the middle. I found it slow, and the switching back and forth between the two main characters, multiple times per chapter, generally just as something interesting is about to happen, frustrated me. The end of the book got a bit more interesting, but not enough to redeem the middle. I'm not really sure why this won the Lammie. I got through it, but only just. Two stars.

This book is from the collection. I am happy that I finished it, as now I can sell it at my women's group tag sale at the flea. Hopefully someone else will enjoy it more than I did.
snugglekitty: (fairies)
I picked up Galileo's Daughter on a whim from paperbackswap. Wow. It was really, really good. The story is the story of the life of Galileo, and especially of his relationship with his older daughter, who is a nun with the convent name of Maria Celeste. The time period featured here is not one that I've ever been especially interested in. Nor did I know anything about Galileo, (beyond that Indigo Girls song and a conspiracy theory that someone told me when I was a teenager, that the Church actually knew already that the earth went around the sun, they just weren't ready for the public to know) or think that it was a lack in my life not to, but this book was riveting. Sobel did a great job of keeping you interested with the narrative and the letters from Maria Celeste to her father, without neglecting contextual information about the politics and church doctrine of the time. This book transformed my understanding of this period of Italian history. The idea of being arrested, tortured, or even executed for disagreeing with church doctrine is chilling. If you are interested in science, history, or the relationship between church and state, run, do not walk, to your nearest local bookstore to pick up Galileo's Daughter. Dava Sobel also wrote a similar book which I plan to investigate: Longitude:The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time. (If you have read her new, and apparently different book The Planets, what did you think of it?) Five stars.

ETA: Here are the read-alikes I suggested for this book in my newly edited "Best Nonfiction of 2007" post: "For a similar setting in fantasy fiction, try The Spirit Ring by Lois McMaster Bujold. For an anecdotal treatement of another oft-neglected subject, try Outwitting History by Aaron Lansky."


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August 2011

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