black_queen (black_queen) wrote in 50bookchallenge,


#66 Linda Lafferty: The Bloodletter's Daughter (A Novel of Old Bohemia)

I started out really liking this book. There was the crazy bastard son of Rudolf ii, and a bathmaiden (an interesting profession) interested in medical science, who seemed to have attracted a young handsome doctor from Prague. It was well written and rather interestingly set up. And then... Another person would probably do well enough suspending disbelief, but I am too logical and the logic in this book simply disappeared at some point. Why would a doctor, who was basically being upstaged and blackmailed by a girl, suddenly feel it his duty to save her life? Why would the villagers ostracize her mother for wanting to sell her daughter to the highest bidder, when this is apparently what the bathmaidens are for? And those same villagers go to the bathes and enjoy their favours. How come the man who was last seen with a sword stuck in his back is unexplainedly alive and happy?

So... I don't know... It feels like the author ran out of patience or ideas halfway. I would probably still recommend it. There is potential there.

#67 Joshua Foer: Moonwalking with Einstein. The art and science of remembering everything
This is not a self-help book on improving your memory. Rather, it is a story of a journalist who got interested in memory improvement techniques and in 6 month trained himself to become the US Master in memorizing. In the book, he discusses techniques he came across and their history, describes the people with amazing memories he meets on the way, but also ponders whether the art of memory is relevant any more and in what form precisely is it relevant. I found this book very interesting and thought-provoking. I don't think I want to remember reams of random numbers, but getting better at learning languages, for example, would be a boon.
Tags: historical fiction, non-fiction

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