athene (deinonychus_1) wrote,

Book bingo reviews 4 and 5

I'm back, hopefully a bit more regularly now I'm getting used to the no-longer-very-new tablet! (Still stuggling a bit with copying and pasting, which is making a lot of html very difficult, because to be honest my usual method of posting lj posts is to copy and paste the relevant html from a previous post. Actually having to manually type it out is getting a bit faffy!). Anyway, I'm having a couple of days off after a lovely weekend away with fififolle and clea2011, although I'm back to work tomorrow, so thought I should take the opportunity to update my reading list and post another couple of reviews. The sad thing is I've had these two reviews written for a couple of months I just haven't been online enough to actually post them.

Six Degrees, by Mark Lynas. Fills the 'number or colour in the title' square.

This book is, quite frankly, slightly terrifying. It's a popular science book about climate change, specifically looking at the effects of temperature rise. In 2001 the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) produced a report which considered the possibility of man-made climate change resulting in an average temperature rise of potentially up to 6 degrees. But what does 6 degrees *actually* look like? Lynas takes the approach of chapter one outlining what the science says will happen in a world with 1 degree temperature rise, chapter two 2 degrees, chapter three 3 degrees etc.

It might not sound like it, but I actually thought this book was quite a page-turner (it took me less than a week to read it from cover to cover). Lynas avoids the hard science and statistics to provide a readable narrative of several climate scenarios, such as which parts of the world are likely to become arid deserts (far, far too many!), which are going to see increased flooding, what temperatures are likely to trigger 'tipping points'. Interestingly, while reading this I found links to another popular science book that I read last year - The Ends of the Earth, by Peter Brannnen - about the 'Big Five' mass extinctions in the world's history. In Lynas' book, once you start getting to the chapters about 4, 5 and 6 degree temperature rises, you start finding parallels in the geological and palaeontological record for climate driven mass extinction events in the past. Now *that* is scary!

Admitedly this book was published in 2007, so the climate science is now over a decade old. That said, what is really worrying is that some of the things he talks about - increased wildfires in California, increased frequency of extreme heatwaves and flash flooding - all of which have *actually happened* in the decade since he wrote it.

If you're at all interested in climate science then I highly recommend this very readable book. It's really not technical, and you don't need any particular scientific knowledge to read and understand (and potentially get nightmares about how utterly screwed we quite possibly are). And if nothing else, it will probably make you turn the heating down and a few more lights off.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, by Gail Honeyman. Fills the 'Book that won an award' square, substitution for the 'comic/graphic novel square'.

Last year I struggled a bit with the comic/graphic novel square, so this time I knew I wasn't even going to try to fill it, so I used it for a substitution - I'm doing the 'book that won an award' option, as this book won the Costa First Novel Award for 2017. It also has a long list of nominations and shortlistings for various other awards as well, and it's got a section at the end with suggested discussion points for reading groups, so it's one of *those* books.

I'm not sure how I feel about this book. It clearly gripped me and wouldn't let my attention waver - I started it on the Sunday evening and read a couple of chapters, and then picked it up again on Monday morning (I happened to have a day off) intending to just read a other couple of chapters. Instead I literally couldn't put it down umtil I finished it at 2.00 in the afternoon.

It's very definitely a 'character' book. It's all about characters and relationships rather than being particularly plotty. The main character of Eleanor is very isolated, mostly by choice, and her life is driven by routine and familiarity, until circumstances push her out of her comfort zone. Like cordeliadelayne, at times I found her social ineptitude and embarassing encounters to verge on cringeworthy, which I really didn't particularly enjoy reading. I did wonder, at times, if the charatcer was actually mildly autistic - a lot of the things she does could have easily fitted the way that autism manifests in women - but to be honest I think the writer simply intended for Eleanor to be a socially awkward 'oddball', 'misfit'type character.

The second half of the book becomes a great deal darker, and I have to admit it made me cry on at least two occcasions.

Overall, it was a good read, but I don't think I'll want to read it a second time.

lj book bingo card 2019
2019 reading list. 10 books read in 2019, but still only five reviews posted. Beginning to suspect that I am not going to get anywhere near the 'target' of 40 books that I set myself in January :-(

Tags: book bingo

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