Still Life with Crows and Brimstone, Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
I'm not as wild about these two as I was the first three Pendergast books... Still Life with Crows actively annoyed me for the duration, and Brimstone, while better in many respects, was way too fucking long and changed gears too often and what was that sideplot with that smug douchebag preacher even there for? It was not relevant to anything! Yo, if you're going to include something totally fucking infuriating in a book, it should be there for a reason. I mean, I guess it showed that Hayward is cool? But we already knew Hayward's cool, and she had nothing to do with the main plot past the halfway point. Come on.
Preston and Child write kickass suspense and action scenes. But in these two books, a lot of the other stuff didn't work for me so much. I'm getting too genre savvy for this. And at some point, Pendergast's Complete Awesomeness At Everything flipped a switch, from its original position at "I want to BE THIS GUY" to "OH COME THE FUCK ON THAT'S JUST CHEAP"
Weird thing is, as pissy as I probably sound right now, I did basically enjoy reading Brimstone while I was doing it. It was only when I put it down for any length of time that I was like "HOLD ON A SECOND HERE." I'll give it another book or two to see whether the series gets back to the level of Relic or Cabinet of Curiosities...
Faust: Part One, Johann William von Goethe, trans. Bayard Taylor
I really like Faustian bargains, you guys. So I was bored and trawling around Kindle's free classics and decided to actually freaking read Faust. And I was... not really impressed one way or the other? (Well, the translator's notes were endearingly earnest in that nerdy Victorian guys have, but) There are some lovely turns of phrase, but also some exceptionally awkward bits. I didn't give a damn about Faust or his love interest or their respective fates. Mephistopheles struck me as a snarky bastard and I liked the cut of his jib, but on the whole, perhaps this wasn't the book I was looking for.
Katya's World, Jonathan L. Howard
I think I should be exempt from trying to formulate a coherent response to anything Jonathan L. Howard writes. I ought to just be able to keyboardsmash and say "this fucking book" and have everyone immediately understand that it was brilliant and what was so brilliant about it. The world! The characters! THE CHARACTERS. Katya is definitely at or near the top of my list for excellent protagonists who happen to be teenage girls. And that's about as much detail as you're getting, because now I have to go resume staring vacantly into space and failing to wrap my head around what a cool book this is.
The Life of Birds, David Attenborough
I watched the documentary series for my bird class last year, and yoinked this off my stepmother last week because I've read everything I own. It is generally... not as good as the documentaries? Attenborough has a charming way of describing things, because he's David Attenborough, but the book's a bit disorganized, indifferently proofread, and rather fluffy. (The photos are gorgeous, though. Holy shit, the photos.) I don't know what it'd be like for someone who doesn't already know all the material covered in it; for my own part I remember thinking at several locations "oh man you're not going to elaborate on that? Missed opportunity."