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The Man Who Knew Too Much: The Inventive Life of Robert Hooke, 1635 – 1703 / The Forgotten Genius by Stephen Inwood

Reviews Posted on Wed, January 01, 2020 23:42:47

This is an excellent biography of the genius Robert Hooke detailing his many many inventions and theories as well as his disputes with many of his contemporaries, Isaac Newton included of course. You will be astonished at just what he was involved with inventing and/or improving as well as be surprised at the architectural impact he had on London after the great fire. Some good insights into the early days of the Royal Society and coffee house life in London. A great number of famous people from the time appear as “bit parts”.

Murder in the Crooked House by Soji Shimada

Reviews Posted on Wed, January 01, 2020 23:27:01

A very entertaining “locked room” murder mystery, quite different from anything else I’ve read before. Good job there was a sketch of the crooked house to refer back to in order to be able to orientate oneself with all the comings and goings. Well worth a read and will look out for other books by this author.

Western Approaches by Graham Hurley

Reviews Posted on Sun, February 03, 2019 23:19:00

Continuing the Faraday series (Farady now long gone) with Jimmy Suttle as protagonist and having moved to Devon, this book does not disappoint. A great police procedural and some ‘human drama’ behind the story. The only negative thing to say is that there were a disappointing number of typos – it really could have done with better proof-reading.

Rogue Male by Geoffrey Household

Reviews Posted on Sun, February 03, 2019 23:11:52

This classic book, written in 1939, didn’t do much for me I’m sorry to say. Having read the book I turned to the Introduction in my 2014 edition (that would have served better as a postscript or similar) and learned a lot more about it. I still wasn’t overly impressed. I found various parts to be implausible and found the main character’s actions disappointing.

The Devil’s Garden by Edward Docx

Reviews Posted on Fri, December 07, 2018 22:36:21

A beautifully written story – very atmospheric – that was a joy to read in terms of the use of language. I felt the plot didn’t develop as fully as one would hope, especially towards the end. Some interesting ‘science’ about ants that also had unrealised potential.

Critique of Criminal Reason by Michael Gregorio

Reviews Posted on Thu, August 04, 2016 23:47:20

It was nice to read a historical fiction set in Prussia at the start of the 1800s with the possibility of Napoleonic invasion ever present. This debut novel by a husband and wife team (Michael Jacob and Daniela de Gregorio) is well-written, and has some evocative phrasing. However I didn’t feel this quite set the atmosphere, being perhaps a little too obvious at times. Also, the reason for the hero’s presence suffered from having a fairly weak foundation. The plot itself was satisfying enough but the book would have benefited from being 100 pages shorter, being somewhat laboured at times. The presence of Immanuel Kant was interesting – and helps explain the title – but the resulting central plot line was not strong enough.

Nonplussed! By Julian Havil

Reviews Posted on Tue, May 24, 2016 23:30:31

There are some really interesting problems which are worked through at a level most good A level students could follow. Some of them are well-known and have been looked at in the popular mathematics literature before. The derivations here are on the whole pretty good, but occasionally could have been written better.
The major failing of this book is in not providing intuition for why the results are what they are. The results are left to speak for themselves, but unfortunately they are often silent.

Lustrum by Robert Harris

Reviews Posted on Wed, May 04, 2016 23:11:38

This is the second in the Cicero trilogy. I didn’t find it quite as compelling as the first, Imperium, but Harris is a great story teller, and the book is still top drawer. I can’t wait to get hold of Dictator to finish this saga.

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