August 15, 2013

What I've Been Reading: Surprise! More Nonfiction Than Not!

I've finally had a productive reading week, yippee! I blazed through some nonfiction review stuff this week, and then a few fun, light fiction things.

Shady Characters: The Secret Life of Punctuation, Symbols and Other Typographical Marks by Keith Houston. 

I know, I know, hopelessly nerdy. But this book is really fascinating - I think anyone who likes history, etymology, or typography would love it. Houston traces the history of various punctuation marks: the asterisk, the pilcrow, quotation marks, the ampersand; all the way from their Greek and Latin roots to the modern era. The book is full of fascinating little tidbits about how the various marks changed and morphed along the way.



The Novel Cure: From Abandonment to Zestlessness: 751 Books to Cure What Ails You by Ella Berthoud and Susan Elderkin.


This book is so much fun! It's crammed full of 'cures' for common ailments like Breaking Up, Internet Addiction, Being Seventysomething, and Tonsillitis. The cure for each ailment is a novel, or novels, which speak to the problem at hand. For example, for Hiccups they recommend The Fit by Philip Hensher, for Dizziness, My Antonia by Willa Cather, for Sibling Rivalry, Cain by Jose Saramago, Peace Like a River by Leif Enger, and Little Women by Louisa May Alcott.


Mastering the Art of French Eating: Lessons in Food and Love from a Year in Paris by Ann Mah.


So the weird thing about Paris is: in real life I didn't enjoy it much. It's smelly, and Parisians are so darn judgmental, meh. (Haute-Savoie on the other hand? Completely different matter. I LOVED it.) So whenever I read a book where someone falls in love with Paris, I'm a bit mystified. This book, however, tells of Ann's home base in Paris, and then her excursions to different regions of France in search of traditional dishes: crepes in Brittany, boeuf bourguignon in Burgundy, fondue in Haute-Savoie, etc. Her own personal story is interesting, and then the history of the dishes she shares is fascinating.

The Passion of the Purple Plumeria by Lauren Willig.

I couldn't resist, I had to download this one on Audible. As expected, so far so fun. I like that in this book Miss Gwen (Jane's chaperone) finally gets a love story of her own - nice to have a heroine that isn't 22 and beautiful.

I'm not far into it, but I'm sure I'll love it - Lauren Willig is so dependably enjoyable. Perfect slightly-fluffy-but-still-historically-accurate books.

Romeo Blue by Phoebe Stone.

I liked The Romeo and Juliet Code so much that I had to follow through with this one. I didn't like it quite as well as the first; but it was still really enjoyable. Flissy (Felicity) grows up a lot from book 1 to book 2, and since America has now entered the war too, their small town in Maine is greatly affected. So it was nice to see everyone else struggling with war issues too, and to see Flissy try to come to terms with her British-Americanness, and with missing her parents (who are still in Europe). 

Another little British evacuee ends up staying with the Bathburns though, and I found her character rather annoying. I know she was supposed to be a foil to show how much Flissy has matured... but still.

What have YOU been reading?

This post contains Amazon affiliate links, thanks for supporting Quirky Bookworm! Oh, and Shelf Awareness sent me the first 3 for review -- they won't be published till September.