Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Linda's 3 Memorable Reads 2015

I didn't get to read as much this year as I wanted to so this was a tough competition but I'm very satisfied with my list. I promise, y'all will find something worthwhile to glean from either of these.

1.) A Natural History of Human Emotions by Stuart Walton

I've found this book sparks some unique character twists for me. An interesting read in itself, as an author it becomes an interesting springboard for character development.


Even though a Chinese audience hearing Electra sing her poignant lamentation song would not understand her words, they would immediately recognize her emotion. And in the universal recognizability of sadness and nine other human emotions, Walton sees evidence of the validity of Darwin's groundbreaking Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals (1873), where the great naturalist argues that evolutionary development has biologically inscribed six fundamental emotions into human instincts. Walton extends Darwin's work by adding four more emotions to his taxonomy and by probing the psychological dynamics of each within a range of cultural contexts. An impressive wealth of scholarship helps readers define each emotion and understand how humans experience--and provoke--it. Though he assumes primal origins for all of the emotions examined, Walton limns some remarkable shifts in their modern manifestation. Readers consider, for instance, the dubious transformation of shame during the twentieth century into a motive for sadomasochism. And despite his advocacy of free expression, Walton acknowledges the role of the moral virtues in preventing emotional eruptions. A study that will repeatedly spark shocks of self-recognition. 

2.) Thieves' Quarry by D.B. Jackson

Thieves' Quarry is the second novel in D. B. Jackson's Thieftaker Chronicles.  I love this series.
Ethan Kaille isn't the likeliest hero. A former sailor with a troubled past, Ethan is a thieftaker, using conjuring skills to hunt down those who steal from the good citizens of Boston. And while chasing down miscreants in 1768 makes his life a perilous one, the simmering political tensions between loyalists like himself and rabble-rousing revolutionaries like Samuel Adams and others of his ilk are perhaps even more dangerous to his health. 
When one hundred sailors of King George III's Royal Navy are mysteriously killed on a ship in Boston Harbor, Ethan is thrust into dire peril. For he―and not Boston's premier thieftaker, Sephira Pryce―is asked to find the truth behind their deaths. City Sheriff Edmund Greenleaf suspects conjuring was used in the dastardly crime, and even Pryce knows that Ethan is better equipped to contend with matters of what most of Boston considers dark arts. But even Ethan is daunted by magic powerful enough to fell so many in a single stroke. When he starts to investigate, he realizes that the mass murderer will stop at nothing to evade capture. And making his task more difficult is the British fleet's occupation of the city after the colonials' violent protests after the seizure of John Hancock's ship. Kaille will need all his own magic, street smarts, and a bit of luck to keep this Boston massacre from giving the hotheads of Colonial Boston an excuse for inciting a riot―or worse. 

3.) Larousse Dictionary of World Folklore 

Containing more than 1,500 A-Z entries, an encyclopedia of world folklore covering folktales, legendary figures, superstitions, folk arts, fairies, fabulous beasts and otherworlds. Information is also given on festivals, rites of passage, texts, plant lore, and the theories of folklore scholarship.    REVIEWER:  "The first sentence of each boldfaced entry clearly and succinctly defines the term and places it in the sphere of folklore. The rest of the entry expands upon the definition, sometimes tracing it through historical or literary changes and often providing cross-references to other entries. Each entry is generally 1-3 paragraphs in length, although some are as long as nine paragraphs. The readable text is accompanied by more than 200 black-and-white line drawings. Although these illustrations are charming and well executed, they add little to the text since they are generally illustrations for well-known characters such as vampires or gremlins. However, they do serve to break up the text and add some visual interest."

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