Martencat unearths more ROOT’s in 2021


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Martencat unearths more ROOT’s in 2021

Redigeret: jan 23, 4:02pm


Back for my fifth year of ROOTing, and whilst I may have unearthed all the ROOTS from my bookshelves (I think), I’m still buying books faster than I’m reading them, having suffered from a bad bout of tsundoku in December. The plan is to read 30 books, with an equal split between fiction and non-fiction, although it should be higher to halve the TBR pile.

If the book is on my bookshelves or Kindle at midnight on 31st December then it counts as a ROOT, even if I only got it for Christmas in December.

Here’s to a happy reading year!

Redigeret: maj 16, 4:08pm


#1 Sword of Fire by Katharine Kerr

#1 Kings of the the Yukon by Adam Weymouth
#2 History day by Day by Peter Furtado
#3 Outpost by Dan Richards
#4 Why we get the wrong politicians by Isabel Hardman
#5 To Hell and Back: Europe, 1914-1949 by Ian Kershaw
#6 The Sea Journal; Seafarer's Sketchbooks by Huw Lewis-Jones
#7 Origins; how the earth made us by Lewis Dartnell
#8 Woodland Flowers by Keith Kirby
#9 Trieste and the meaning of nowhere by Jan Morris
#10 Wilding by Isabella Tree

Redigeret: maj 16, 4:00pm

#1 How to be a Tudor by Ruth Goodman


dec 31, 2020, 4:37pm

Good to see you back again! Happy new year!

dec 31, 2020, 5:24pm

Good to see you for a new year. Happy ROOTing

dec 31, 2020, 11:10pm

Welcome back and good luck whittling down the TBR pile!

jan 2, 4:01pm

Glad you're back!

jan 5, 9:36am

Good luck with your ROOTing!

jan 5, 11:46am

No ticker this year?

jan 5, 12:54pm

>9 cyderry: There's one coming in >2 martencat: I think

jan 23, 4:06pm

>4 Jackie_K:,>5 connie53:, >6 rabbitprincess:, >7 cyderry:, >8 MissWatson:

Good to be back, but where's January gone?

>9 cyderry: Hopefully I've now fixed all my admin stuff and can now concentrate on reading

jan 23, 4:55pm

ROOT #1 Kings of the Yukon : An Alaskan river journey by Adam Weymouth

A great start to the reading year. This was an engaging travelogue, a beautifully written and observed journey down the Yukon by canoe over the course of one summer. As he paddles downstream the five types of salmon that breed in the Yukon are making their way up stream. He examines the life of the salmon and those who depend on their return each year. The Yukon River catchment covers a vast area and is sparsely populated, but the people have a long tradition of flocking to the river when the salmon are running. In many conversations Adam brings this way of life and the pressures, old and new, that threaten it.

However the salmon of the Yukon river, like many others are in trouble, with fewer and smaller fish returning each year. The causes are complex and there are conflicting priorities between the subsistence fishing communities, commercial fishing and conservationists and an international border, mean that that there is little consensus on the best actions to halt the salmon's decline but Adam Weymouth talks to many people and highlights the key facts.

Definitely a writer to watch out for in the future.

jan 24, 2:30am

Hi Martencat. Yes you covered all the admin stuff.

feb 21, 4:34pm

ROOT #2 Sword of Fire by Katharine Kerr

Not entirely certain how this one ended up as ROOT. Still it was good enjoyable read and the start of a new series.

ROOT # 3 History Day by Day:366 voices from the past by Peter Furtado

An selection of one piece of historical writing for each day of the year, with a short piece of commentary putting the event described into context. A mixture of well-known speeches and more obscure events.

feb 22, 2:28am

>14 martencat:. I have to remind myself to buy this Kerr book when its translated.

mar 10, 4:09pm

>15 connie53: I hope that you don't have too long to wait. Although we will both have to be patient for the complete series

mar 10, 4:45pm

ROOT # 4 Outpost: A Journey to the Wild Ends of the Earth by Dan Richards

Billed as an exploration of some of the wild places in our crowded planet and why people are drawn to remote locations, this was a frustrating read in places. Some of the locations were very much on the beaten path.

I'm not entirely clear what linked the locations picked by Dan Richards. It was a mix of the physically remote and not so remote and the spiritually or mentally distanced. Following in the footsteps of Jack Kerouac he travels to the fire watch post in the Cascades, but also to a writers retreat with WiFi in Switzerland.

The book is bookend by Svalbard. He was at his best in Svalbard, intrigued by a photo of his father by a hut in Svalbard, he attempted to trace his father's footsteps. He is unable to do so as it's now an ecological research centre, but does visit an eerie deserted mining town.

mar 10, 4:48pm

>17 martencat: This is on my TBR pile. I did a creative writing course tutored by Dan Richards a couple of years ago and really liked him as a tutor, so I was keen to try stuff he'd written, and this one seemed most up my street.

mar 10, 4:53pm

> 18 I'll be interested to hear what you think when the book gets picked from the jar. It was a bit uneven and didn't always hold my interest. Looking at the other books he's written he's co-authored a book with Robert MacFarlane whose writing I like.

mar 24, 5:37pm

ROOT#5 Why We Get the Wrong Politicians by Isabel Hardman

Certainly at least since the expenses scandal there has been a perception that politicians based in Westminster are out of touch and remote and that the decisions they take are bad.

Isabel Hardman starts with the selection process to become a candidate and follows the path of the individual through to their arrival and departure in the Palace of Westminster. Who decides who will represent the party in a general election, which is at least a 6 week unpaid job interview? It can be a very brutal process which impacts who chooses to become an MP. Then there are the pressures imposed by the need to be in Westminster and in their constituency and the impact on the MPs support network, leading simultaneously to isolation and the risk of group think.
There's no training or job description. The drama and theatre of Prime Minister's Questions or a major debate is a very minor part of the political and legislative process and yet this is the part of the job and process that the media focuses on.

Connecting the dots between the constituents who turn up in their surgery with a pile of paperwork and a problem caused by the legislation that the MP voted on is hard. Isabel goes through the decisions and legislative process that drives a disaster so big it can be seen from space.

What is an MP for? Are they there for their constituents who sent them to parliament, to resolve their issues or to draft, scrutinise and make laws or to govern as part of the executive. To be an effective constituent MP requires a different skillset to those required to legislate, she argues that the skills of a good legislative MP are undervalued with the focus on the MPs that form the executive, who have all the attention and a clear path to rise and showcase their abilities. The ambiguity of the role leads to unresolved conflicts at the start of the process of deciding who volunteers to put themselves through the process to become a MP.

The book highlights lots of places where the processes generate problems and create less than optimal outcomes. It would have been good to have a little more on the role of both the traditional media and social media on shaping both who chooses to be an MP and what they focus on. A book designed to make you think rather than offer up simple solutions.

mar 30, 4:36pm

ROOT#6 To Hell & Back: Europe, 1914-1949 by Ian Kershaw

Part of the Penguin history of Europe series. As with all books covering such a vast subject, there were areas that I would have liked a little more information on, such as the Spanish civil war, and some good coverage of the aftermath of the war.

ROOT#7 The Sea Journal: Seafarers Sketchbooks by Huw Lewis-Jones

Captains have always kept records and logs of their voyages. Some kept the bare minimum but many others wrote detailed diaries, charts and maps, navigational marks. There's plenty of extracts from the early and polar explorers but they were not the only record keepers. Naturalists and Astronomers. Ship's doctors and captain's wives. Fishermen, whalers earning a living and those who sail for pleasure.

There's brief biography and explanation of the journal keeper, but mostly the pages of the logs and journals are left to speak for themselves with the astonishing mix of aintings, sketches, cartoons of the ships, the boats, and the men and women who sailed in them, life at sea and landfall, the weather, the sea and birds, animals and fish that make the sea their home.

A beautiful book. One to dip into to admire the illustrations

apr 4, 5:23am

Just popping in to wish you and yours a Happy Easter.

apr 13, 4:38pm

Origins; how the earth made us by Lewis Dartnell

A vast sweeping book that aims to show how the underlying geology of the planet has shaped human life. Given the sweeping amount of geological time and processes it was in paces very generalised, but I learnt how and why the oil, gas and coal fields are where they are and how the ocean currents and trade winds combine to make certain routes round the planet easier.

apr 15, 5:12am

>23 martencat: Interesting subject!

maj 16, 4:05pm

Not sure where the last month went!

ROOT Prevention Reading

How to be a Tudor by Ruth Goodman

Structured as an account of a typical day in Tudor England this was written based on first hand experience and experimentation about day to day living. It also made good use of the written sources, such as wills, recipe books and prayer books. From the clothes and the food to some of the daily activities. A fascinating glimpse into the past.

maj 16, 4:10pm

Brief notes on April ROOTS

Woodland Flowers by Keith Kirby

An interesting book that covered much more than just the flowers, which after all are mostly at their best for a few short months in spring. Lots of illustrations.

Trieste and the meaning of nowhere by Jan Morris

maj 17, 6:32am

>25 martencat: How To Be a Tudor sounds really interesting. Something for the Time Travel Prep library