Historical, Non Fiction

The Strangest Tribe by Stephen Tow


A thoroughly researched and well documented account of the rise of “Grunge” in the Seattle music scene. There are numerous interviews with those in the bands and supporting areas such as recording studios and radio stations, with sometimes explicit language. Pictures are interspersed throughout.


Historical, Mystery

The Maisie Dobbs Series by Jacqueline Winspear

Maisie Dobbs: Historical mystery in England 1913.

Birds of a Feather: Second book of the collection about the Investigator and Pyschologist Maisie Dobbs.
I’m hooked on this collection.

Pardonable Lies: 3rd book in the Maisie Dobbs series

Among the Mad: Maisie Dobbs 4th book of investigative work that pivots a terrorist in 1931 fighting for better care of veterans of the war. Maisie is requested to aid Scotland Yard.

Messenger of Truth: Number 5 of the Maisie Dobbs novels.

An incomplete Revenge: Number six with Maisie. Churchill is introduced,into the storyline, Hitler has raised his ugly head in Europe, and could the British starting to arm themselves? Maisie is in love, in this volume.


Science Fiction

Cetaganda by Lois McMaster Bujold

Miles travels to Cetaganda as part of a diplomatic envoy to attend the funeral of the their Dowager Empress. Almost as soon as they land they get surprised by a servant leaving them with a deadly nerve disrupter and a strange mechanical object. The next day the servant turns up dead and a Haut-Lady Rhian pulls Miles into the complex and subtle intrigues of Barrayar’s greatest enemy empire.
Great character driven story! We get introduced to Cetagandan culture and Ivan gets to play a slightly bigger part from the earlier books. Miles has to barrel forward in a place that puts the highest emphasis on subtlety. I would recommend it to anyone!


Historical, Non Fiction

The Great Northwest: the search for regional identity by William G. Robbins, Editor

The ten chapters in this book are based on presentations at a conference held in 1999, The Pacific Northwest: A Region in Transition. They vary widely in subject matter and approach, and include a discussion of how two museums can tell stories of the same event from widely different viewpoints, how the 49th parallel has morphed from a line on paper to a fact on the earth, and a laugh-out-loud chapter that begins: “Rain is the mascot and symbol of the Pacific Northwest”, and continues with extensive quotes from early explorers to recent writers. Who knew history could be such fun?


Science Fiction

The Vor Game by Lois McMaster Bujold

Miles becomes an Ensign and in his first posting is left with a choice to let innocent men die or sort of mutiny. Shuffled around since his superiors can’t let him go unpunished but also think he did right, he finds himself several worlds away. When he is separated from his handler he finds an unexpected friend who should be safe at home. Miles has to get himself and his Emperor backs home safe and to do that he must first foil a convoluted plot involving two mercenary companies (one of whom he has commanded before,) policeman for hire, political maneuvering, and a very old enemy of Barrayar.
Love love love everything Bujold! And this is no exception. I love the way you get to see how the characters have changed since The Warrior’s Apprentice!



The Novel Habits of Happiness by Alexander McCall Smith

Isabel Dalhousie is a philosopher in Edinburgh, Scotland who edits the Review of Applied Ethics. She faces several moral dilemmas in this book, including when and whether to withhold the truth from people (which is not the same as telling a lie). The mystery concerns the claim made by a six year-old boy that he had another family, another life. In other words, Isabel investigates the possibility of reincarnation. But there are many other mysteries and moral issues, great and small, she considers, along with the small parts of life that make up happiness and unhappiness. This was number 10 in “The Sunday Philosophy Club” books by Alexander McCall Smith. They are not as well known as his “No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency” series, but I like them better. Unlike some series, it’s not necessary to know the backstory. This was just an enjoyable read that presents some things to think about.


Historical, Non Fiction, Young Adult

The Port Chicago 50 by Steve Sheinkin

This book is a historical account of the events at Port Chicago when the Navy was first letting black men join. They wouldn’t let the black Navy men on ships, so instead they sent them to load ammo at Port Chicago. They were given no training, no safety instructions. The white officers were racist bleeps who thought the men were lazy so they kept pushing them to work faster, making bets on which group would work the fastest. Of course there was an accident. After which the white officers tried to order the remaining black Navy men to go back to loading ammo without any new safety measures or training. They refused to go. After a long trial 50 men were charged with Mutiny, although that was shown to be false. It was a pivotal case involved in desegregating the military, and civil rights in general.
The narrator of the audiobook is really good, I enjoyed it, and I don’t usually like history. It employed quotes from many of the men involved and was something I didn’t know about yet.


Non Fiction

Constructing Staircases, Balustrades and Landings by William P. Spence

So many ways to build a stair! This book covers design and construction methods for straight, L- and U-shaped, and spiral stairs, newels, skirt boards, balusters, risers, disappearing stairs, and more. I found the tips on fastening newel posts particularly interesting. Filled with clear illustrations and beautiful photographs, and including designs for simple staircases, this book is a pleasure to read if you have the slightest interest in the subject.