Reading Journal For June

A quiet month this time. A mystery, a fantasy, some European history and a small pack of Egyptian history.

Archie Meets Nero Wolfe by Richard Goldsborough

Reviewed in a previous post. A good book, but not the best place to start the series.  I’d favour The Silent Speaker instead.

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Cold Days by Jim Butcher

Jim Butcher’s books have been excellent recently. Good generally, but everything since Changes forms a fresh arc of which this is arguably the third book, bringing things back to something like the a new status quo. This book reinterprets much that has come before, and gives it all a new underlying narrative arc. It doesn’t pay off in this book, but has me keenly anticipating Skin Game, later this year.

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Famous Sea Fights by John R. Hale

This is a Librivox recording from an Gutenberg e-text of the original. This work, from the early 20th Century, discusses a series of naval battles which are pivotal in that at each battle a new technology changed the way war was waged. It ends in the first modern battle where a non-European fleet destroys a European one, which was a prescient endpoint for the author to select.

.The Popes by John Julius Norwich

A truly excellent book. I listened to it in the car for many weeks, and was surprised by how bizarre the papacy was in the early Middle Ages. Sure, I knew things went strange just before the Counter-reformation, but the depth of melodrama in the historical narrative is amazing, and amazingly entertaining.

And three books of Coptic history:

The Copts : some particulars concerning the ancient national church of Egypt, contained in a letter to R. Few, Esq., and a transcript of notes made in Cairo (via Internet Archive)

Copts and Moslems under British control; a collection of facts and a résumé of authoritative opinions on the Coptic question (also via Internet Archive)

State and Rural Society in Medieval Islam by Sato Tsugitaka. For the people who are looking for an excellent book on medieval Islamic agricultural practice: this is the book for you.