Escape from Earth: A secret history of the space rocket

1781259704.01._sx142_sy224_sclzzzzzzz_

Read 09/11/2019-24/11/2019

Rating 4 stars

Fraser MacDonald’s debut is a fascinating account of the birth of rocket science and space exploration. It’s a hidden history brought to light thanks to MacDonald’s interest in unlocking public records that governments have deemed secret.

This is a history of a group of people who came together in 1930s California, as Fascism was taking hold in Europe. Some were the children of immigrants, others were immigrants themselves, fleeing the persecution building across the Atlantic ocean. At the heart of the group is a scientist called Frank Malina. He was researching at the same time as Robert Oppenheimer, but he isn’t as well known as Oppenheimer, because he has been largely written out of the history of rocket science. Continue reading

This Way to Departures

1910312436.01._sx142_sy224_sclzzzzzzz_

Read 04/10/2019-06/10/2019

Rating 5 stars

This Way to Departures is Linda Mannheim’s second collection of short stories for Influx Press. It’s the follow up to Above Sugar Hill, which I loved.

This Way to Departures spreads its net wider than NYC, both geographically and emotionally. If Above Sugar Hill is about the identity of a particular place and its influence on those who are entwined in its arms, then Departures is about the nomads who have no place of their own and find it impossible to become entwined, no matter where they go.

Continue reading

Plastic Emotions

1910312312.01._sx142_sy224_sclzzzzzzz_

Read 16/06/2019-24/06/2019

Rating 4 stars

Plastic Emotions is my second book towards the 20 Books of Summer readathon, and it’s perfect summer reading, full of sultry tropical heat and drowsy meanders through the glare of the afternoon sun.

With this, her second novel, Shiromi Pinto has woven a narrative that mingles fact with fiction to shine a light on an almost forgotten woman. It’s a book that made me want to bunk off work so that I could immerse myself in its world. Continue reading

Twenty Books of Summer readathon

image

I have 149 books that I own on my to read list. 78 of those are physical books that teeter in a pair of piles in front of one of my bookcases. When I read that Sandra (A Corner of Cornwall) and Paula (Book Jotter) are doing the 20 Books of Summer readathon hosted at Cathy’s blog 746 Books (I thought my to read pile was bad!), I decided this was the thing that I needed to focus my mind and get 20 of those books read. Continue reading

Built on Sand

1910312339.01._sx142_sy224_sclzzzzzzz_

Read 01/05/2019-05/05/2019

Rating 4 stars

Paul Scraton’s Built on Sand is a fictional biography of the city he has made his home. Berlin is a city that I’ve only visited once but I was fascinated by the way it wears its past on its streets and buildings. I’ve read other books set in Berlin, in the lead up to and during the Second World War, books which make the place as much a character in their storytelling as the people. Christopher Isherwood’s Goodbye to Berlin and Mr Norris Changes Trains, the anonymous diary A Woman in Berlin and Hans Fallada’s Alone in Berlin all gave me a sense of knowing Berlin, some before I’d even travelled there. Continue reading

The Accidental

b711e02210de3c45931384d5277434f414f4141

Read 17/03/2019-20/03/2019

Rating 3 stars

Prior to The Accidental, I’d read four novels by Ali Smith, all of them belters. The Accidental is her third novel but her sixth published work. It appears on Boxall’s list of the 1001 books you should read before you die (I know, Boxall says you MUST read them, but I don’t think you should put that kind of pressure on people in case they end up resenting you and the books you love). I’m having a small moment of trying to read the female authors on the list, so I borrowed The Accidental from my local library. Continue reading

The Immortalists

1472244982-01-_sx142_sy224_sclzzzzzzz_

Read 17/11/2018-25/11/2018

Rating: 4 stars

The Immortalists is Chloe Benjamin’s second novel. I read a review of it that made me want to read it immediately. Unfortunately, most of the other members of my local library service did too, so I had a bit of a wait. It was worth it, though.

From the off, Chloe Benjamin’s choice of words evokes sights and sounds poetically. Continue reading