Sunday, September 24, 2017

Sapiens, A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari, 274 pages

From a renowned historian comes a groundbreaking narrative of humanity’s creation and evolution—a #1 international bestseller—that explores the ways in which biology and history have defined us and enhanced our understanding of what it means to be “human.”
One hundred thousand years ago, at least six different species of humans inhabited Earth. Yet today there is only one—homo sapiens. What happened to the others? And what may happen to us?
Most books about the history of humanity pursue either a historical or a biological approach, but Dr. Yuval Noah Harari breaks the mold with this highly original book that begins about 70,000 years ago with the appearance of modern cognition. From examining the role evolving humans have played in the global ecosystem to charting the rise of empires, Sapiens integrates history and science to reconsider accepted narratives, connect past developments with contemporary concerns, and examine specific events within the context of larger ideas.
Dr. Harari also compels us to look ahead, because over the last few decades humans have begun to bend laws of natural selection that have governed life for the past four billion years. We are acquiring the ability to design not only the world around us, but also ourselves. Where is this leading us, and what do we want to become?
Featuring 27 photographs, 6 maps, and 25 illustrations/diagrams, this provocative and insightful work is sure to spark debate and is essential reading for aficionados of Jared Diamond, James Gleick, Matt Ridley, Robert Wright, and Sharon Moalem.
The first half of this book was really interesting but it started lagging and I just couldn't bring myself to finish it.

King Solomon's Mines by Henry Rider Haggard, 262 pages

An amazing adventure set in Africa, against the backdrop of endless deserts and snowy mountains, King Solomon's Mines follows Allan Quartermain, in his quest to find his missing brother and unearth the fabled treasure of the biblical King's mines. Along the way, Allan and his companions are caught up in a tribal war and face fearful hardships, culminating in a final confrontation with the evil witch Gagool.
This is the September book for one of my book club. A fascinating read that I'd somehow never gotten around to reading before.

Archie, Volume One, 176 pages

They've revamped Archie for the today's world.
ARCHIE, one of the longest-running titles in comic book history, is rebooted here in this full-color collection that brings together two of the most talented creators in comics, Mark Waid and Fiona Staples. Together they create a surprising and definitive take on Archie's origin--a story that has never been told. The book will captures the bite and hilarious edge of Archie's original tales in a modern, forward-looking manner, while still retaining the character's all-ages appeal. If classic Archie is a Saturday morning cartoon, this new series is prime time!

Bucky Katt's Big Book of Fun by Darby Conley, 256 pages

A collection of Get Fuzzy strips.

Groovitude by Darby Conley, 256 pages

A collection of Get Fuzzy comics. Always snarky and funny.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

On Her Majesty's Frightfully Secret Service by Rhys Bowen, 290 pages

In the new Royal Spyness Mystery from the New York Times bestselling author of Crowned and Dangerous, Lady Georgiana Rannoch juggles secret missions from the Queen, Darcy, and her mother. But it’s all in a day’s work when you’re thirty-fifth in line to the British Crown. 

When Darcy runs off on another secret assignment, I am left to figure out how to travel to Italy sans maid and chaperone to help my dear friend Belinda, as she awaits the birth of her baby alone. An opportunity presents itself in a most unexpected way—my cousin the queen is in need of a spy to attend a house party in the Italian lake country. The Prince of Wales and the dreadful Mrs. Simpson have been invited, and Her Majesty is anxious to thwart a possible secret wedding.

What luck! A chance to see Belinda and please the queen as I seek her permission to relinquish my claim to the throne so I can marry Darcy. Only that’s as far as my good fortune takes me. I soon discover that Mummy is attending the villa party and she has her own secret task for me. Then, Darcy shows up and tells me that the fate of a world on the brink of war could very well depend on what I overhear at dinner! I shouldn’t be all that surprised when one of my fellow guests is murdered and my Italian holiday becomes a nightmare...

Monday, September 18, 2017

Village of Secrets by Caroline Moorehead, 374 pages

From the author of the New York Times bestseller A Train in Winter comes the absorbing story of a French village that helped save thousands hunted by the Gestapo during World War II—told in full for the first time.
Le Chambon-sur-Lignon is a small village of scattered houses high in the mountains of the Ard├Ęche, one of the most remote and inaccessible parts of Eastern France. During the Second World War, the inhabitants of this tiny mountain village and its parishes saved thousands wanted by the Gestapo: resisters, freemasons, communists, OSS and SOE agents, and Jews. Many of those they protected were orphaned children and babies whose parents had been deported to concentration camps.
With unprecedented access to newly opened archives in France, Britain, and Germany, and interviews with some of the villagers from the period who are still alive, Caroline Moorehead paints an inspiring portrait of courage and determination: of what was accomplished when a small group of people banded together to oppose their Nazi occupiers. A thrilling and atmospheric tale of silence and complicity, Village of Secrets reveals how every one of the inhabitants of Chambon remained silent in a country infamous for collaboration. Yet it is also a story about mythmaking, and the fallibility of memory.
A major contribution to WWII history, illustrated with black-and-white photos, Village of Secrets sets the record straight about the events in Chambon, and pays tribute to a group of heroic individuals, most of them women, for whom saving others became more important than their own lives.