The Book of Judith It’s a week to Channukah, and despite the book placing the action 300-400 years before the Maccabean Revolts, Jewish tradition says that it is a record of a part of that revolt, but names were changed for political reasons.
Barnes & Noble had a Cyber-Monday sale on e-books yesterday, so I downloaded 7 books for $21, including 1984 (which I’ve already read) and Hitchhiker’s Guide (which I haven’t).
Ooo. You’re in for a treat. I really enjoyed the first three books in the series. It’s a bit diminishing returns after that.
Hitchhiker is weird series for me. The first book the writing is very rough but very funny. As the series progresses the writing gets better but the humor feels more forced.
Sourcery: Better than I remembered, but that’s not saying much. None of the Rincewind adventuring stuff feels important to the plot; it’s mostly just a rethread of the first books, and to get him out of the way for all the Sourceror stuff to happen.
Mort: Still great. Some of the climactic plot bits with the wizards and the reality bubble get a bit too convoluted, but most of it works. Easily the first great book in the series.
Good Omens: I love Nanny Ogg. All the stuff with the witches is good, but there’s too much time spent with the theatre troupe, and all the Shakespeare jokes get old fairly quickly.
It’s good to finally have a climax that isn’t just “everyone’s going to die, but the wizards do something and it’s fine,” but it goes on a bit too long.
The whole fifteen-year time jump thing is glossed over a bit too quickly too, with pretty much no side effects or repercussions. I guess it explains why Susan is fully-grown when she shows up in a few years.
Pyramids: One of the few books that I remembered almost nothing about, but it’s a good one. The Sphinx riddle scene is a classic.
There are some problems. The whole thing about pyramids using up time doesn’t make much sense, even by Discworld standards. More noticeably, it’s the third time in four books that the plot has revolved around the death of a king, and a vizier trying to seize/retain power. It’s a fine plot structure, but using it so often is a bit weird.
The entire first part of the book, with the main character training to be an assassin, feels like it’s from a completely different, also good, book. As soon as he finds out his dad is dead and he has to go home, it’s all mostly forgotten. Pratchett tries to occasionally have him use his assassin skills during the plot, but it doesn’t really work.
There’s also the one female character in the book, who’s only there because someone needs to be on the throne at the end. She has no character, no real part in the plot, and disappears for long stretches of time.
I’m about to start the first of two additional lost Douglas Adams stories from Doctor Who. I was less impressed with James Goss (who previously adapted City of Death) than I was Gareth Roberts (Shada), but he’s the writer of both, so I’m really hoping he got into the swing of things.
The Dravidian Languages
Just finished The Riddle of the Labyrinth, which is about the deciphering of the Linear B inscriptions discovered on Crete at the beginning of the last century. It’s partly an explanation of the deciphering process, partly a biography of the three key figures who worked on it. The mix works, and it makes an really interesting read.
The main thing I’ve taken away from the book is that I wish I’d picked Linear B when I wanted an Atlantean alphabet for my RPG, instead of completely inventing a set of symbols
Trying to decide what to read over the weekend. It’s down to
Or some Noam Chomsky that I haven’t read.
Romani: A Linguistic Introduction
Also, I Maccabees and II Maccabees (Hebrew Translations) as Sunday night is Chanukah,
Happy Chanukah to you, your family and your congregation!
Oh, also IV Maccabees (III Maccabees does not deal with the Maccabean Revolt, and is rather a prologue, one who unlike the other Maccabee books, is considered to be completely non-historical in Jewish tradition)
The Celtic Languages
Tatar Manual: Reference Grammar
Josephus’ Antiquities of the Jews
Whoever designed the cover for that Vermes book deserves an award.
Marvel Comics: The Untold Story is pretty great.
@njerry Yeah it’s very striking. Made me pick it up.
@RonnieM It’s been good so far. Bit of a page turner.
Is there some dirt dished out in it?