Thrilled to be joining the Northshire team. My genre preferences oscillate wildly from Historical Fiction and Fantasy to Nonfiction and a variety of classics. Let me know if you need a four-leafed clover--- I have more than I know what to do with.
An absolutely fascinating examination of the chronically understated role of wood in shaping human society. The Age of Wood takes us from the first primitive tools of our distant ancestors, to the great wooden ships and edifices of empires around the world, to the modern ramifications of deforestation and climate change. Ennos demonstrates a broad understanding not only of plant biology and woodworking, but of politics, physiology, chemistry, and anthropology. This is a sweeping history in the style of Jared Diamond or Yuval Noah Harari, and should not be missed. ~ Reviewed by Digby Baker-Porazinski
When I first spotted this book on the shelf, I did a double-take. I had absolutely adored Sapiens, Yuval Noah Harari’s all-encompassing history of human development and behavior, but I could not for a second imagine how such a complex and cerebral work of literature would translate to, of all things, a graphic novel. It was almost begrudgingly that I flipped the cover open and began to read. This adaptation is by no means a carbon copy of its ancestor, but it is just as effective as (and in some cases, more than) the original book. Harari himself is the star of the show, drawn as a cheerful and patient guide through history, and in this version he’s accompanied by half a dozen fellow scientists who aid him in his explanation of some of the more specialized subjects. This format lets us travel from the prehistoric savannah to the French Revolution in the span of a page without missing a beat, and makes it easier to digest complicated topics like legal fiction, genetic and cultural adaptation, or social stratification. Sapiens: The Birth of Humankind will be a hit with fans of the original book, history buffs new and old, and anyone else who might, like me, stumble across it by surprise. ~ Reviewed by Digby Baker-Porazinski
On the heels of his Kingsbridge novels The Pillars of the Earth, World Without End, and Column of Fire, Ken Follett has once again proven his prowess with The Evening and the Morning. Set during the Viking invasion of England, Follett follows the stories of Edgar, an intelligent young shipwright struggling in poverty; Ragna, a fierce and ambitious French noblewoman; and a host of allies and enemies lurking around every corner. As always, Follett’s greatest strength is in the depth of his research, from medieval construction techniques to nuanced social rituals, lending a sense of total immersion that is impossible to evade. Fans of solid historical fiction, as well as the author himself, will not be disappointed. ~ Reviewed by Digby Baker-Porazinski
A staple of my childhood that has only grown in value through my adulthood. The world of Bone is rich and atmospheric, brimming with fantastic creatures, charming characters, and plenty of laughs. It is impossible not to fall in love with Fone Bone, Phoney Bone, Smiley Bone, and the curious denizens they encounter over the mountains. ~ Reviewed by Digby Baker-Porazinski
War? Peace? Leo Tolstoy? Unreasonably complicated Russian nicknames? Do not despair. Pevear and Volokhonsky make Tolstoy's epic of love, conflict, and the paradoxes of human nature not only accessible to a 21st-century audience, but riveting as well. Reads like it was written just yesterday. ~ Reviewed by Digby Baker-Porazinski