Martencat clears some more roots in 2020

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Martencat clears some more roots in 2020

Jan 5, 2020, 11:36 am


Back for my fourth year of ROOTing, and whilst I may have unearthed all the ROOTS from my bookshelves (I think), I’m still buying books faster than I’m reading them. The plan is to read 30 books.

If the book is on my bookshelves or Kindle at midnight on 31st December then it counts as a ROOT, even if I only got it for Christmas.

Happy reading!

Editado: Dez 28, 2020, 11:00 am

ROOTs read


#1 Lamentation by C.S Sansom
#2 Tombland by C.S Sansom
#3 The Secret Chapter by Genevieve Cogman
#4 Black Sun Rising by Celia Friedman
#5 The Fire Court by Andrew Taylor
#6 Shadows of Athens by JM Alvey
#7 Scorpions in Corinth by Jm Alvey
#8 Circe by Madeline Miller
#9 Persons Unknown by Susie Steiner
#10 Deadhouse Gates by Steven Erikson
#11 The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

#1 In Europe by Geert Mak
#2 Step by Step by Simon Reeve
#3 The Golden Thread: How fabric changed history by Kassia St Clair
#4 Reformation: Europe's House Divided 1490 - 1700 by Diarmaid MacCulloch
#5 The Norman Conquest by Marc Morris
#6 A Prickly Affair ; my life with hedgehogs by Hugh Warwick
#7 Thomas Cromwell by Diarmaid MacCulloch
#8 Woodlands by Oliver Rackham
#9 The Writer's Map; an atlas of imaginary lands edited by Huw Lewis-Jones
#10 Waymaking
#11 Women & Power by Mary Beard
#12 The Outrun by Amy Liptrot
#13 The Hollow Crown; the wars of the Roses by Dan Jones
#14 The Cabaret of Plants by Richard Mabey
#15 SPQR by Mary Beard
#16 Invisible Women; Expposing Data bias in a world designed for men by Caroline Criado Perez

Editado: Set 19, 2020, 4:14 pm

ROOT prevention reading

#1 Mrs Moreau's Warbler; How Birds Got their Names by Stephen Moss
#2 Missing, Presumed by Susie Steiner
#3 Climate Change and British Wildlife by Trevor Beebee
#4 The Fens by Francis Prior
#5 To be taught if fortunate by Becky Chambers
#6 Factfulness: ten reasons we're wrong about the world and why things are better than you think by Hans Rosling
#7 False Value by Ben Aaronovitch
#8 The World aflame by Marina Amaral & Dan Jones
#9 Rising Ground by Philip Marsden
#10 Mythos by Stephen Fry
#11 The Green Man's Silence by Juilet E McKenna

Jan 5, 2020, 11:42 am

Welcome back, Martencat. Happy ROOTing.

Jan 5, 2020, 12:55 pm

Good to see you again! Enjoy this year's reading!

Jan 5, 2020, 3:12 pm

Welcome back and have a great reading year!

Jan 6, 2020, 11:38 am

Welcome back and happy ROOTing!

Jan 9, 2020, 12:31 pm

Hope your reading is all good!

Jan 12, 2020, 4:27 pm

>4 connie53:,>5 Jackie_K:,>6 rabbitprincess:,>7 MissWatson:,>8 cyderry: Thank you and happy rooting to you all this year

Jan 12, 2020, 4:46 pm

ROOT 1 Lamentation by C.J. Sansom
ROOT 2 Tombland by C.J. Sansom

A great return to the difficulties and dangers of being a curious and investigative lawyer in the dying days of Henry VIII's reign. The reformist Protestants and Catholic factions are vying for power at court and Matthew Shardlake, a lawyer, is drawn back to court to look for a missing, controversial manuscript written by Catherine Parr. The search for the manuscript will lead Matthew to a radical murdered printer and his associates.
Tombland is set a few years later and with the rise to power of the Seymour family as guardians of the young king Edward VI, Matthew Shardlake is no longer in favour. He is sent to Norwich, by the Princess Elizabeth, to investigate the whereabouts of a distant Boleyn relative who sought help. On his arrival in the city , he is drawn into a murder investigation amongst feuding landowners. Feelings are running high about the recent enclosures and economic depression and Matthew becomes drawn into Kett's rebellion, whilst trying to resolve a murder.

Two great plot driven stories with lots of historical details

Jan 17, 2020, 1:49 pm

ROOT 3 The Secret Chapter by Genevieve Cogman

This ROOT had barely germinated.... Nevertheless it meets the criteria. Volume 6 of Genevieve Cogman's series was an enjoyable heist story set in an alternative Vienna with dragons and Fae. Very enjoyable.

Jan 17, 2020, 2:23 pm

I've read only the first volume and liked that a lot too.

Jan 31, 2020, 1:32 pm

>12 connie53: It's a really fun series to read. I hope that they continue to translate the rest of the series for you.

Jan 31, 2020, 1:34 pm

ROOT 4 Black Sun Rising by Celia Friedman

Part one of a fantasy trilogy, interesting world building but I didn't warm to the characters and won't be getting or reading the rest of the series

Jan 31, 2020, 1:44 pm

ROOT 5 In Europe; Travels through the twentieth century by Geert Mak

Twenty years ago, Geert Mak traveled across Europe to the places touched by the history of the twentieth century. A mixture of history and travelogue as he seeks to understand the people and the place then and now.

An interesting read and still very relevant today.

Fev 2, 2020, 3:30 am

>15 martencat: Geert Mak is one of the great Dutch writers. Never read anything of his books, maybe it's time to change that.
I have one of his novella's on my shelves since 2010 De brug

Fev 21, 2020, 4:03 pm

>17 martencat: Hi Connie. Glad to prompt you to read something off the TBR pile, hope you enjoy the book. I shall certainly be keeping an eye out for his book on Amsterdam, which I know has a fascinating history.

Fev 21, 2020, 4:42 pm

ROOT 6 Step by Step by Simon Reeve

A familiar face on British TV with his travelogues that blend an eye for the quirky with the photogenic and a investigative journalist's eye for an under-reported and hard-hitting subject, be it poverty, crime or the environment.

He credits his grandmother for creating a love of travel and journeys, even if it was just finding the McVitie's factory in the next London suburb. He is open about his troubled teenage years and mental health issues. Leaving school with no qualifications, he started in the post-room of the Sunday Times, where his curiosity and willingness to learn saw him become involved in first supporting the investigations team, before writing for the paper. He didn't stay long at the paper, as he wanted to write a book about al-Qaeda before the attacks on September 11. It lead him to travel widely in unusual and dangerous places to meet unpredictable people, a feature of his later programs but also gave him vital television exposure. Bizarrely the book ends after his early programs and before the series around the Tropics of Capricorn, Cancer and the Equator.

Fev 21, 2020, 4:53 pm

ROOT 7 The Golden Thread; how fabric changed history by Kassia St Clair

From the earliest societies and to the modern day fabric has had a huge impact on language, beliefs and the shape of society. The early chapters on Eygptian mummies and Viking sails were especially interesting, as were the last chapters on the economics of fabric and clothing.

Fev 21, 2020, 5:03 pm

ROOT 8 The Fire Court by Andrew Taylor

In the aftermath of the Fire of London a special court was set up to deal ensure that the city was swiftly rebuilt and to deal with all the property disputes that arose. With the opportunities to make a fortune and given the murky politics and opportunism of the Restoration court, plus the independence of the City of London, passions ran high and a wealthy widow is murdered, but who by? There are several motives and false trails in this fast paced novel.

Mar 22, 2020, 3:36 pm

ROOT 9 Shadows of Athens by JM Alvey
ROOT 10 Scorpions in Corinth by JM Alvey

A pair of very enjoyable historic crime novels set in ancient Greece. Lots of very interesting historic and cultural details bring daily life and the thought processes of an Athenian citizen to life as he solves a classic murder puzzle. In the first novel Philocles comes home one evening to find a dead man with his throat cut on his doorstep. He needs to find out who the man is, why he was there whilst also trying to take part in an important religious festival (the performance of his comedy play). A good supporting cast of characters help him solve the mystery. In the second book, he has been commissioned to take his successful play to Corinth, but will he be able to stage the performance as his local fixer is poisoned the day that Philocles arrives in the rival city?

Abr 8, 2020, 4:32 pm

ROOT 11 Reformation Europe's House Divided 1490 - 1700 by Diarmaid MacCulloch

Finally inspired to read what is probably one of the oldest ROOT in my pile by reading the Shardlake novels earlier in the year. The book starts with an overview of the theological basis for the reformation, before moving onto a roughly chronological and geographical coverage of the events and principal actors before surveying the impacts of the reformation. This is a huge and very dense book, because the scope is very wide.

Abr 11, 2020, 12:11 pm

ROOT 12 Circe by Madeline Miller

I half knew the story of Circe, as she appears as a minor character in several Greek myths. This is a wonderful story taking re-telling those stories from the perspective of Circe and adding new levels of complexity to the stories that I first read as a child. Gods, goddesses, heroes and monsters this story has them all. Circe is a complicated woman, with many flaws in her character and yet you fully sympathise with her.

The book is full of beautifully observed images and little details that bring life in bronze age Greece, the time of the original tales, when Knossos, Troy and Mycenae were at their peak alive.

Why did I wait so long to read this?

Abr 20, 2020, 3:20 am

>23 martencat: We had Circe as a monthly book for my RL live bookclub, but I did not participate in the reading because it did not appeal to me at all and I did not own the book and had no plans of buying it. Maybe I should change my view.

Abr 26, 2020, 4:30 pm

>24 connie53: Sometimes you just have to go with your instinct and ignore books that everybody else is talking about because it doesn't appeal at the time and you can't unfortunately read every good book, although members of this group try very hard. I have a number of books in my TBR pile because everybody was raving about them. Maybe there will come a time when you are in the mood for this book, which I enjoyed.

Abr 26, 2020, 4:57 pm

ROOT prevention reading

Mrs Moreau's Warbler; How Birds Got their Names by Stephen Moss

I was defiantly in the mood for something lighter than many books in the TBR pile. I have enjoyed other books by Stephen Moss, a Wainwright prize nominee, and this was no exception. Focused mainly on British birds, this was an interesting subject I had given little thought to. Some bird names are very old (goose, swan, raven) and have common linguistic roots across several European languages, others have only been given in the last few years as advances in science mean more species are recognised. There were many fascinating linguistic, historical details, snippets of folklore and culture and the cast of characters naming birds was as fascinating.

Maio 10, 2020, 9:25 am

>25 martencat: I'm learning to do that, Mc. A bit late in time but finally doing it. How are you holding on?

Maio 10, 2020, 4:09 pm

>27 connie53: Alternating between happy to hunker down at home and being very keen to be out and about. On the positive side it's spring and we can go out for exercise although not far and not with friends. I'm lucky to be able to walk into the fields and by a stream from my home, so I can hear the birds sing and see and smell the flowers.

I've been sat at home working on a laptop for a couple of month's now, chatting with colleagues nobody is missing their commute and everybody is missing the really big desktop screens in the office. All this means I should have more time for reading my ROOT's but I've spent more time reading Terry Pratchett. Back to hunkering down.

How are you?

Maio 10, 2020, 4:25 pm

ROOT 13 The Norman Conquest by Marc Morris

From the very few historical sources, including the Bayeux tapestry Marc Morris brings the world of the Anglo-Saxons and the Normans to life and explains why it was such a pivotal event in the history of the British Isles. Covering the political events before, during and after the Norman invasion, it spends relatively little time on the battle and focuses on the impact. Very interesting.

Maio 10, 2020, 7:07 pm

>28 martencat: Chiming in to say hello! Feeling about the same as you, right down to missing the big screens at the office. I have two screens on my home computer; one can be plugged in to the work laptop, but the other one can't (the laptop doesn't have the right port). Better than being on a laptop screen only, but still not the same as the office.

Glad you have a nice place to walk and take a break :)

Also glad you liked The Norman Conquest. A good book!

Maio 13, 2020, 4:10 am

Hi, back again to answer your question. We are doing fine. I was already retired so not much is changing for me. I'm really not a person that likes to go down town. I like to stay at home and read. We live in a house with a nice big garden to read in and we have had a nice week with summer-like temperatures. The garden is full with all kinds of birds and now we have baby birds too. Since everybody has to work from home if possible, traffic has slowed down a lot and I feel the air is more fresh than before. Even the sky seems more blue (with no planes).

I only miss my babysit day and my weekly visit to my brother. My kids decided they and the grandchildren have to keep away from granddad and grandma. We are 'elderly' people ;-)

Maio 18, 2020, 4:43 pm

>31 connie53: Glad to hear that you are keeping well, even if everything has to be done at a distance.

Maio 18, 2020, 4:50 pm

ROOT prevention reading

Missing, Presumed by Susie Steiner

DS Manon Bradshaw works in one of the Major Investigation Teams for Cambridgeshire police. A post-graduate student goes missing sparking a major police hunt. Told from multiple points of view, nothing is quite as it seems in this crime novel.

Maio 18, 2020, 5:08 pm

ROOT prevention reading

Climate Change and British Wildlife by Trevor Beebee

A broad overview for the generalist of the science and the impacts in a specifically British context. As individuals I am sure that we all look out eagerly for the first signs of spring and ignore the impending signs of autumn. The British have a very long record of noting and writing about this and there are a huge number of citizen scientist projects now that give a depth of records that can help the scientist. Although he is also interesting on the limitations of such records.

He considers both individual species, for whom the records may be good or not, and the far more complex interactions in whole ecosystems. A wide ranging book that seeks to cover plants, birds, animals, butterflies and other insects.

Editado: Maio 28, 2020, 4:15 pm

ROOT 14 Persons Unknown by Susie Steiner

Not quite sure how I ended up with book 2 in the DS Manon Bradshaw series as a ROOT but book 1 as not. Never mind. It was a gripping read, again told from multiple points of view. It definitely helped to have read book 1

Maio 28, 2020, 4:32 pm

ROOT prevention reading

The Fens by Francis Prior

Part memoir (about his archaeology career) and part history of a very distinctive area of Britain. He devotes most time and space to the period before the Romans, as this is his specialism, but also covered some of the later history often from an economic and technical perspective, think the drainage of the fens and the impact of this on the shape of the landscape.

Maio 31, 2020, 4:40 pm

ROOT 15 A prickly affair: my life with hedgehogs by Hugh Warwick

Not really what I was expecting. I knew that Hugh Warwick has spent his life studying hedgehogs, and campaigns for their conservation given the drastic decline in their numbers recently. I was hoping for more about the hedgehogs instead this was more about the human reaction to hedgehogs.

Maio 31, 2020, 4:49 pm

>36 martencat: I might look into getting this for my husband. We took part in a dig at Flag Fen a few years ago, and it was fascinating.

Jun 28, 2020, 1:38 pm

> 38 I suspect that if you know the area that you and your husband will get a lot out of the book. It's not an area of the country I know well - too flat to be interesting but I am now tempted to visit

Jun 28, 2020, 1:57 pm

ROOT 16 Deadhouse Gates by Steven Erikson

Hard work. I have parts 3 and 4 of the series on my TBR list, which may be going off the list as a DNS never mind DNF. At least these were all on special offer

ROOT 17 Thomas Cromwell: a life by Diarmaid MacCulloch
Thomas Cromwell remains a shadowy figure in his own biography. A very comprehensive study of his life and the impact that he had on the English reformation.

Jun 30, 2020, 5:11 pm

ROOT prevention reading

To be taught, if fortunate by Becky Chambers

A great, thoughtful novella. A small crew of astronauts are making preliminary explorations of 4 planets that are believed to have the potential for life and reporting back to Earth, it's been 50 years since they set out on the mission and contact with Earth is slow. The mission is exploration for science and the astronauts know that they will return to Earth but one that will have changed, as the messages from home change. An exploration of the imaginatively crafted planets but also the characters and their relationships, reactions, motivations and their evolution over time.

Jul 15, 2020, 3:02 am

I love your ROOT prevention reading.

Ago 12, 2020, 4:16 pm

>42 connie53: Yes I've really enjoyed all of Becky Chambers books, as being great stories about people. I hope that they are available in translation for you

Editado: Ago 12, 2020, 4:40 pm

ROOT prevention reading

#6 Factfulness: ten reasons we're wrong about the world and why things are better than you think by Hans Rosling

A very interesting and thought provoking read about how we see the world around us and how the world around us is reported. Every chapter ended in a couple of key points that we should all think about as we read, listen and watch both the news and any current affairs item. Remembering that what gets reported in the news is the dramatic, not slow and steady or even rapid and astonishing progress.

#7 False Value by Ben Aaronovitch
Another fun outing for PC Peter Grant uncover in a high tech IT firm, AI and the origins of computing with a magical twist

*Typos corrected

Ago 17, 2020, 4:27 pm

ROOT 18 Woodlands by Oliver Rackham

A comprehensive book, mostly focused on the British Isles, about what makes a wood, the life of the wood and their ecology. Starting from the beginning after the last ice age and the concept of the "wildwood", and what is a native tree to the question of when does a plantation become a wood. Historic wood management has shaped the trees, with ancient coppice stools, pollards and veteran trees and forests and left their mark on the landscape in more subtle ways, with patterns of ownership and usage. Historically a forest had a very different legal meaning to a woods with consequences for the trees.
The book considers the different habits and growing patterns of various trees and how this has shaped forestry which has become a long term land management issue, when the desired outcome was coppiced wood the cycle is much shorter. The book was written before ash die-back became so widespread, but he considers a number of other pests and diseases.

Fascinating, it covered everything you could ever want or need to know about woods. Lots of photographic plates.

Ago 17, 2020, 4:44 pm

ROOT 19 The Writer's Map: an atlas of imaginary lands edited by Huw Lewis-Jones

Pure escapism. A beautifully and heavily illustrated book. It's series of essays by various writers (including Phillip Pullman, Chris Riddell, Cressida Cowell, Joanne Harris and designers about how maps in books or the real landscapes that surrounded them influenced them, shaped their writing or how they design maps for books, films. Some of the influences were predictable (Treasure Island and Narnia featured in several essays) but other were more obscure but equally captivating. There were a number of historic maps as well as the purely fantastical.

Nov 17, 2020, 4:42 pm

ROOT 20 Waymaking - Anthology
ROOT 21 Women & Power by Mary Beard
ROOT 22 The Outrun by Amy Liptrot
ROOT 23 The Hollow Crown; the wars of the Roses by Dan Jones
ROOT 24 The Cabaret of Plants by Richard Mabey
ROOT 25 The Song of Achilles by Madeleine Miller

A catch up list of books read over the last couple of months. It's proving to be a very stop-start reading year, especially where ROOTs are concerned. Lots of re-reading going on.

The pick of the bunch was the Cabaret of Plants, beautiful colour illustrations in the paperback edition. I have previously enjoyed otehr books by Richard Mabey and this was equally well-written. Lots of fascinating people and plants

Nov 18, 2020, 5:33 am

>47 martencat: I loved The Outrun when I read it a couple of years ago. I'm also keen to read some Richard Mabey, as he's one of those authors on my radar but whom I've not managed to read yet.

Nov 18, 2020, 12:06 pm

>47 martencat: The Song of Achilles was one of those books that surprised me as I didn't expect to like the story. Looks like you are on track to complete your reading goals here. Only five more to go!

Dez 25, 2020, 6:57 am

Happy Holidays from the Netherlands!

Dez 28, 2020, 11:06 am

ROOT 26 SPQR by Mary Beard
ROOT 27 Invisible Women; Exposing Data bias in a world designed for men by Caroline Criado Perez

SPQR an interesting summary of the first thousand years of the Romans

Invisible Women presented a barrage of facts and figures about women's representation in statistics and how that impacts women's every day life, health and well being. It's long on facts to make you depressed or angry but short on ideas to change things.