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Happy Valentine’s Day, if you mark that sort of thing. I’d love to be able to say that I got chocolates and flowers, but the reason we haven’t done much to celebrate the festival here chez Bride is because I am shortly about to start fasting – nothing but water for 12 hours in advance of a blood test tomorrow morning, and bringing chocolate into the house would just have been adding insult to injury 🙂
I’m possibly in the early stages of another reading slump which will be very disappointing if it comes to pass. I’m going to try to set myself a minimum number of pages a day to read as this technique seems to be working with the book on Anne Boleyn I’m studying, where I have set myself two chapters every Sunday and so far (except for one weekend when I was unwell) I have stuck to it. My intention to read a lot in the hospital waiting area early this week came to nothing because they actually dealt with me pretty quickly so I didn’t really settle down with a book. This week I have a couple of days in London and a trip to Manchester so commuter reading is a distinct possibility and usually works.
I may not have finished reading anything this week but I’m still buying, though all of these are eBooks so no need to find space for them.
- Olivia Manning biography by Deirdre David – I love the Balkan and Levant trilogies and was interested in this recommendation from another blog (I think it was Dovegreyreader but as usual I failed to take a note of where I saw it and am too lazy to go and look)
- Data: A Love Story by Amy Webb, purchased because I heard her very enjoyable interview on The Allusionist podcast and had to find out more (you should check out the podcast if you are at all interested in language, it’s never less than fascinating)
- Fashion Victims by Alison Matthews David – recommended to me by my husband who read a review in a history magazine. Looks likely to be full of fascinating facts including the hazards of storing felt hats in museums because of potential toxicity.
But can’t touch any of them until April! Which shockingly isn’t actually all that far away….
I did buy a couple of new books(both for my Kindle app):
- Imprudent King by Geoffrey Parker – a new biography of Philip II of Spain, really looking forward to this, may make it the next 16th century study subject (as that doesn’t count for the Triple Dog Dare because, studying)
- The Beauty of Murder by AK Benedict – absolutely no idea where I saw the information for this but it looked interesting – “a serial killer wit all the time in the world” – who could possibly resist.
I will be spending most of Tuesday this coming week sitting in various hospital waiting areas as I go through the various stages of my regular retinopathy scan (or having my head examined as I prefer to call it). I will therefore have heaps of time to read, so not all bad (plus making sure your eyes work properly is generally A Good Thing). Hopefully more to report on the book front next week, hope you all have good one 🙂
Kicking off during the Cultural Revolution in 1960’s China and moving rapidly into the present day, The Three-Body Problem is a sci-fi novel which explores the impact of a major event on one individual and the repercussions that can have for the whole of mankind. A spate of suicides amongst scientists. A strange immersive online game. Conspiracies. And lots and lots of science.
Why did I want to read it?
It just sounded so intriguing. I love science fiction, especially when there’s lots of hard science in it, and (as this is translated from the Chinese) I was interested particulary in reading from a different cultural background. Plus it was of course the winner of the Hugo award for best sci-fi novel in 2015 (and rightly so IMHO)
What did I think of it?
Oh, this definitely delivered on its promise! I knew a little bit about the actual three-body problem because my first husband’s degree was in theoretical physics, so I understand enough to know that it’s about the mechanics of celestial bodies and how they move in relation to each other, especially under the influence of gravity (eg Sun + Earth + Moon) and how it can be unpredictable. That’s the extent of my knowledge though!
I liked the mystery element of the novel – what is the countdown that Wang Miao sees that no-one else can; is the Trisolaran system in the game based on reality; what really went on at the Red Coast Base over all those years and what was Ye Wenjie’s part in it?
Of course I’m a sucker for a good conspiracy (as long as it’s fiction; I get mildly cross with claims of huge conspiracies claimed for real life – see my last review for thoughts on that) and this one reveals itself gradually throughout the course of the novel. I was also interested in the idea (which I’ve come across elsewhere) that humanity is a disease or infection and some feel that removing us from the Earth is a Good Thing (I do not of course agree with that nihilistic view).
This is a really excellent novel, beautifully translated and giving me at least something fresh and different while still firmly within traditional sci-fi. If I tell you that I was so absorbed in the story that I didn’t realise I had reached the end of the line on my morning commute that should give you some idea of how good I thought this was. I’ve already downloaded book 2 in the trilogy. Highly recommended.