On Christmas Day I finished what I *thought* was my last book for 2017. I saw the Goodreads’ message and balloons and confetti and everything. Then, when looking through my Year in Books, I noticed a mistake: somehow, two different editions of the same book made it onto my read list, meaning it counted twice and I was still one book short. I suppose its a good thing I received several cookbooks as early Christmas presents, right?
So, here are my real and official final reviews for 2017:
The Letters of Abelard and Heloise by Pierre Abélard & Héloïse d’Argenteuil, Betty Radice (translator)
I’m not sure what to make of these letters. At times they are endearing, at times oppressive, and times . . . outdated?
Nonetheless, it provides a fascinating glimpse into two private lives lived hundred of years ago.
Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
This was the first movie I was ever allowed to stay up and it have been my first-ever science fiction book. Though you can’t exactly tell from the cover art, the cover is a faux-leather dinosaur print, and I just couldn’t pass it up.
I bought this edition specifically to read while wearing a dinosaur head I bought at Wal-Mart during the Halloween sales.
As far as the book goes, it is Frankenstein retold in the modern era. It forces us to ask hard questions about our ultimate goals concerning science and technology – and what we will do when humanity inevitably makes the wrong choice.
The Templars by Dan Jones
Dan Jones removes the Templars from the myths, legends, and Dan Brown novels that have sprung up around them and places them back into their historical context.
From their humble beginnings as an even-poorer Order similar to the Hospitallers, the Knights Templar rose to become the leading military, financial, and political leaders of the Crusades.
From these heights, the Templars fell: afoul of the King of France, afoul of Lady Fortune, afoul of the swords raised against them on order by those who would have protected them.
Set against the backdrop of the Crusades, Dan Jones weaves a tale worthy of a tapestry: the Rise and Fall of the Templar Order.
Beowulf by Anonymous, Seamus Heaney (translator)
The best translation of the greatest English epic, featuring warriors, monsters, and dragons.
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
Family doesn’t end in blood. Family doesn’t even end in death. Nobody Owens can tell you that: he was raised by ghosts in graveyard. But as he grows, he must face the mysterious, tragic circumstances that brought him to this position in the first place.
A wonderful, though slightly chilling and creepy, tale of suspense from a living master of the genre.
Taverns of the American Revolution by Adrian Covert
I received this book in a Goodread’s giveaway some time ago. I only recently rediscovered it in my wife’s car, and read it in a short afternoon.
Despite the title, this is really a retelling of the American revolution, with tavern information in sidebars and feature boxes rather than as the main event.
In the first chapter alone, the author misuses the term “puritan” several times and speaks glowingly of so-called “historian” Howard Zinn.
With this bias made clear, it should be readily apparent that this book is suitable for establishing a drinking trip featuring historic sites, and nothing more.
The Snacking Dead: A Parody in a Cookbook by D.B. Walker
This is a cookbook centered around a parody of the Walking Dead. Suffice to say the plot is relatively unsatisfying, but as I’ve yet to make a single recipe, I cannot speak for the food itself.
I found the “tips” on each recipe to be the real humor; tips like “A long handled metal pizza peel is an ideal weapon for fighting the undead”.