The Black Count by Tom Reiss
In the wake of 9/11, growing up French-American in Georgia gave me a particular appetite for the bloodier annals of French history. When “freedom fries” were a thing and there was always that one guy in my history class who could not get enough of mocking France’s supposed pacifism, I could always be counted on to rant incoherently about the Terrors and Napoleon. I’ve since evolved into a less spiteful and more articulate human being, but the appetite for the history of revolutionary France remains. Combined with my love for Alexandre Dumas, that means The Black Count may as well be written for me. Thanks for the recommendation, Cass!
World War Z by Max Brooks
I’m terrified of zombies. I’m so terrified of zombies, in fact, that my subconscious can no longer muster any enthusiasm for the walking dead; my last zombie nightmare involved me staring out into a supermarket parking lot at the undead, reasoning that I could “totally make it” to my car. It kept me from watching Shaun of the Dead and reading World War Z when it came out in high school—I remember opening it to a bit about dogs dying horribly, and immediately shutting it. But I’ve been craving a bit of horror recently, to my utmost surprise, and Windows 95 Tips hasn’t updated in a month. At least World War Z ended more or less happily, right? (Wrong.)
Nefertiti by Michelle Moran
What’s more perfect for my one hundredth book review than going back to Ancient Egypt? I think it’s no secret that I love Ancient Egypt–Egyptian mythology was, quite honestly, my first story. (Explains so much, doesn’t it?) Nefertiti has been on my reading list for quite some time–other book bloggers have enjoyed it, and it was even featured on the ads section of Feministing for a while (and they’re quite picky about their ads). As I was shelving one afternoon at the library, I looked up at the next row of shelves over the books I was working on, and there it was. Naturally, I checked it out as soon as my volunteer shift was over.
The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson
As I was wading through blogs to get my Book Blogger Appreciation Week ballot in, I found a glowing review for Erik Larson’s The Devil in the White City. It sounded familiar, and I tried to remember where I’d heard of it. It turns out that it’s the favorite book of parents of a friend of mine, who had finally gotten around to reading herself. (She loved it.) I always need nonfiction to break up my increasingly steady consumption of fantasy, and so I put The Devil in the White City on hold.