Jul. 14th, 2012

hawkwing_lb: (Helps if they think you're crazy)
Books 2012: 125-128

125. Ilona Andrews, Gunmetal Magic. Ace, 2012.

Review forthcoming from Tor.com. It is much like previous instalments, entertainly full of amusing violence.

126. Gwenda Bond, Blackwood. Strange Chemistry (Angry Robot Books), 2012.

Review also forthcoming from Tor.com. Debut novel, with flaws. In general, entertaining YA modern fantasy.


127. Wendy Moore, The Knife Man. Bantam Press, London, 2005.

An excellent biography of pioneering 18th-century surgeon and anatomist John Hunter, younger brother of anatomist and man-midwife William Hunter. Vivid, detailed, and comprehensive, Moore makes good use of her sources to draw a picture of John Hunter's life.

Most interestingly, it appears he used himself as a guinea-pig for experiments involving venereal disease, deliberately infecting himself with matter from gonorrhoeal sores to investigate whether or not gonorrhoea and syphilis were the same disease. (He came to the erroneous but understandable, and in medical opinion of the time, common conclusion that they were.)

Highly recommended, as long as you are moderately strong of stomach.

128. Rachel Holmes, The Secret Life of Dr. James Barry: Victorian England's Most Eminent Surgeon. Tempus, Gloucs., 2007. (First edition 2002.)

After the death of Dr. James Barry in 1865, the rumour began that during his laying-out, it had been discovered he was possessed of a woman's body. Holmes writes an interesting (if on the lightweight side) account of the life of Dr. Barry, and concludes persuasively that Barry was probably christened Margaret Bulkeley, who could well have been an intersex person who changed hir presentation after puberty.

It is an engaging biography, though Holmes is annoyingly prone to speculating on her subject's inner emotional state in excess of what the evidence supports - a flaw in many biographers, to be certain. And it could have used more examination of the people around Dr. Barry, and the social conditions of his medical service as an army surgeon in the colonies. But it remains interesting for what it does do, which is provide an argument against historical gender binary-ism.

Today I food-shopped and brought my book catalogue up to date. It turns out that I have exceeded the 2,000 item mark in books, all things considered. I don't suppose this counts as a vast collection, but it certainly impresses me. (And yes, more than three quarters thereof is SFF or related. Most of the rest being history.)

Next up, trying to do something else Useful. (It is beginning to annoy me, how sometimes I must interrupt things to act as Pair Of Hands for the household invalid. Suck it up, girl. Next time it might be you.)
hawkwing_lb: (Ned virtue)
Vive la revolution!


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