Ratty (blinger) wrote in 50bookchallenge,

Books 35 & 36 - 2012

Book 35: Windsor Castle: Official Souvenir Guide by Jonathan Marsden – 72 pages

Description from bookdepository.co.uk:
The official guidebook to the Windsor Castle Illustrated with 130 color images including paintings, drawings, works of art, historic documents and beautiful photographs of the State Rooms These new, fully revised official souvenir guides, published in partnership with the Royal Collection to mark the Diamond Jubilee, include titles on the magnificent palaces and residences, on the finest working stables in existence, on the largest dolls house in the world and on the enthralling history of the royal line of succession. Written by specialist authors including the curators of the Royal Collection, beautifully illustrated and containing details of the works of art, the architecture, stories of occupants, photographs and plans, each book gives a fascinating insight into these famous sites, their history and contents. Windsor Castle, the largest and oldest occupied castle in the world, is one of the official residences of Her Majesty The Queen. The Castle's dramatic site encapsulates over 900 years of British history. It covers an area of 26 acres and contains, as well as a royal palace, the magnificent St George's Chapel and the homes and workplaces of a large number of people. This fully illustrated official souvenir guide details the history of the Castle from its founder, William the Conqueror, to the present day, including the fire of 1992 and the superb restoration of the damaged rooms, and presents a beautifully illustrated tour of the Castle, including the State Apartments and Semi-State Apartments and their treasures.

This was another tourist book I purchased, while I was touring Windsor Castle (i.e. where Queen Elizabeth lives). It’s a decent read, with some interesting information, particularly about the Royal Collection (so much stuff, not stuff anyone would necessarily want, but still so much!) and the various rooms of significance (so many rooms, why would one person require soooo many rooms!). It’s a nice enough place, Windsor Castle, and it’s in a cute little village in West London. I’d highly recommend a visit should you be in London. Sometimes the Queen is even in!

35 / 50 books. 70% done!

10190 / 15000 pages. 68% done!

Book 36: Ave Judas by Cassian Brown – 208 pages

Description from Goodreads:
Ave Judas: An SF Conspiracy Thriller. It is the year of our Lord 2449. The Pope believes he has just forty-four daysto avert a galactic Armageddon by discrediting anew the most reviled man in history ...Owen Stonehaven is leading the strangest of lives. As a child, his mother gives him to a huge and fierce rat kangaroo; as an adult, the Church has him shut into a derelict and lightless spaceship. Freed, he returns to his home planet, a surreal place that is roamed by lizards of barely imaginable size, towering thunderbirds and ferocious marsupial lions - for on New Yamba a master cloner has been at work re-creating the megafauna of Australia's past. Owen's plan is to find the mysterious coin his mother stole on the day she died, a well-worn piece of silver he hopes will help reveal his true identity, and to await a visit by the brother he loves, Henry, a priest. Extremists detonate a bomb and Henry is hurt. Owen realises he is the subject of a conspiracy engineered by an all-powerful and ruthless man. As he begins to understand his origins, he finds he cannot shake the darkness at his core. Is betrayal in his genes?

I won this book as a goodreads giveaway. I can’t quite remember why I put my name down for it, and it’s the last (and one of only two) Goodread giveaways I’ve won. It was a very odd story. I think its supposed to be a sort of modern day Judas story (hence the title) but set in Australia (I think!), with some sci-fi thrown in the mix. Whilst the writing itself is solid, and the story is paced reasonably well, I couldn’t really tell what the whole point was. Particularly in respect of the megafauna that seemed to inhabit the weird maybe-Australia place. There was some backstory, flashback business with Owen and Henry’s mother, and a rat kangaroo, and a sort of Jesus/Judas relationship between the story, but by the end I was left confused, and not really feeling it. I’m a pretty big fan of sci-fi, and maybe I was supposed to read more into the concepts and critical analysis behind the story, but I didn’t really get any drive to, nor were they obvious enough to me. Maybe I just prefer sci-fi that involves aliens or blowing up things. The books has some rave reviews on Goodreads, so if non-space related sci-fi is your thing, give it a go. I’ll stick to Star Trek and my own personal sci-fi ramblings.

36 / 50 books. 72% done!

10398 / 15000 pages. 69% done!

Currently reading:
-        American Gods by Neil Gaiman – 588 pages
-        The Sexual Paradox: Troubled Boys, Gifted Girls and the Real Difference between the Sexes by Susan Pinker – 308 pages
-        Mortal Remains by Kathy Reichs – 306 pages

And coming up:
-        The Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant: Volume 3: White Gold Wielder by Stephen Donaldson – 500 pages
-        The Odyssey by Homer – 324 pages
-        One for the Money by Janet Evanovich – 290 pages
Tags: british, dystopia, futuristic, religion, sci-fi, travel writing

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