One of my personal reading goals I set when Covid-19 first started turning things upside down was to read more of the books on my own personal shelves, things I'd bought but not read yet. I wasn't counting on my reading mojo plummeting, and truthfully, as far as timing went, I might have chosen a bit more wisely than to read a book that begins with a cataclysmic event that will likely be a human extinction event in time. So while I was fairly certain I would ultimately enjoy Mary Robinette Kowal’s The Calculating Stars, first book in her Lady Astronaut series, it took a bit for me to fully
This is the story of a complicated woman entangled in the lives of a powerful family. Sarah survived World War II in Europe and she’s working her way home to Australia as a nurse onboard an ocean liner. One of her patients is Mrs. Bligh, the commanding matriarch of a wealthy Australian family. Sarah charms her patient’s son and grandchildren, but when she stumbles on a buried family secret Mrs. Bligh is determined to get rid of her. Instead of quietly getting out of the way, Sarah just gets on with her life, accepting a position as a nurse in a small town near the Bligh family estate. Mrs
These poignant and lightly humorous episodes are based on Jennifer Worth’s memoirs about midwifery in East London in the 1950's. The nurses and nuns that run Nonnatus House are well developed, and I especially adore nurse Chummy Browne’s fish out of water storylines. Sister Monica Jean’s aging-but -still -feisty storyline is also very affecting. The plots of some of the episodes can get a little heavy since we are dealing with 1950’s obstetrics and gynecology, so be prepared for messy births, unhealthy mothers and children, and frank discussion of Catholicism vs. birth control. I
Player Piano was Kurt Vonnegut's first novel, and it's a far cry from his later work, which made lavish use of humor -- including broad humor -- and unconventional narrative, including the crude drawings Vonnegut did himself for Breakfast of Champions.
The target of Vonnegut's displeasure -- and, thankfully for us, he was always displeased about something -- in Player Piano is the corporate/technological power structure, or what Eisenhower referred to as the "military-industrial complex." For the most part, the novel is very straightforward, compared with KV's other works. The style is more