At first glance, a book that casts the monster from Beowulf, Grendel, as the central character may look like just another “revisionist” tale, or even one of the current crop of modern day / classic mash-ups.
But this book is far more than that.
Here Grendel is cast as a thinking monster, reacting to the myths spun by a harper – The Shaper – about him and the nature of the world.
The duality of fate and free will is what drives Grendel to do the things he does – violent things, terrible things, things The Shaper expects him to do. And while this happens, Heorot (the main target of Grendel’s rage) slays and… Read more
This is a truly splendid book, which is probably the best single introduction to the general biology of birds I have seen. I can’t claim to have read it from cover – its not that kind of book. But I have read the sections about my favourite groups of birds and dipped into many to the other parts in passing.
The book comes in three unequally sized parts – the first eight chapters are about broad aspects of bird biology, the 9th chapter is about “Birds and Humans” and the 10th chapter is an account of the bird families of the world. This final chapter makes up about ˝ of the book.
If chapter nine – ie the interactions between humans are birds is you key interest you… Read more
This book examines how a whole range of “social indicators” – such as life expectancy and GCSE results – vary as you travel along London’s central line.
This is a rail line that runs in an arc from West to East through London. Taken as a (presumably mythical) journey over a single day, the aspects of life that vary along the line – and often between stops are looked at in two ways!
Firstly they are illustrated by dialogues between people who live in the area of the relevant tube station and secondly by brief reference to actual statistics.
I had a small problem with both of these – in the dialogues I did loose track a couple of times (no pun intended!) and… Read more