Welcome to the first BotW post of the New Year, which is also the last Book of the Week from 2016. You know what I mean – I read it last week before the end of the old year, but the post gets to you in the New Year. Talking about last week and the old year, I hope you enjoyed my festive frenzy of posts. December stats is coming tomorrow (I thought better one post 3 days late, than three posts one day late each) now you’ve all had time to appreciate my New Years Reading Resolutions, and see my early failures in yesterday’s Week in Reading where I confess to a bit of a free book spree. Any how, back to the point.
This weeks BotW is Mary Roach’s Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War, which is not about guns and weapons, but about the scientific and technological developments which have come about because of war and conflict. Topics include clothing regulations and design, shark repellent, submarine escapes and genital reconstruction. It’s absolutely fascinating. This is non-fiction writing at its best – informative and well researched, it wears it lightly and is incredibly readable. You learn a lot without realising it as Mary wends her way through military installations and research centres asking the questions that you wouldn’t dare to.
I’m not a science reader – if you’ve been here a while now, you’ll know that my non-fiction reading tends to be history, biography or a bit feministy. But I’ve been hearing about Mary Roach’s books for a while now – as they’ve been recommended on Book Riot’s Get Booked podcast as well as this getting a review on their All the Books podcast too – and I thought it might be a good way to widen my reading horizons slightly. Popular opinion seems to have Stiff as her best book – but I’m not big on death and so was wary of a book about dead bodies – so Grunt seemed like a better place for me to start. And if this is not Mary Roach’s best book, I can hardly imagine how good the others must be. I might even have to get over my squeamishness about cadavers and read Stiff.
Him Indoors got really fed up of me pausing the TV to read bits out loud to him and I’ve already got a queue forming for my copy. I bought my copy on my post-Christmas jolly to Foyles, but it’s also available on Kindle or from Amazon and Waterstones. You’re probably going to need a bookshop with a relatively large non-fiction selection (ie probably not a train station bookshop or a small WH Smiths) but it seems to be fairly orderable. It’s not terribly cheap anywhere I’m afraid, but it’s worth it.