Monday, April 8, 2013

Doomsday Book

I just finished reading "Doomsday Book" by Connie Willis. I'd mentioned this book briefly in another post, but it really is worthy of its own.

I'd been looking for some fiction recommendations and had happened upon a vlog by John Green (as previously mentioned, one half of the awesome Vlogbrothers team). In this video, he presented a number of recommendations in the "If you like this... You might like that..." format. And wouldn't you know he had a recommendation for everyone. I'm not kidding. He covered everything from Sherlock Holmes to Harry Potter and Fifty Shades of Grey.

Anyway... He had recommended Connie Willis' "To Say Nothing of the Dogs" for Whovians and I went to seek it out at my local bookstore. While there, the employee handed me TSNotD, but also highly recommended a book called "Doomsday Book" by the same author. I will admit, I was skeptical at first. A new-to-me author, two books I've essentially never heard of and all because of a vlog? Ignoring my better judgement (and the boring and practical side of my brain that insists I shouldn't drop $35 on books all at once), I took both books, added another to my stack and headed home.

I need to declare two things right now:
Loganberry Books, I love you and your employees are phenomenal!
John Green, I'm sorry I ever doubted you.

I read Doomsday in two days. I could not put this book down. The story is set in the not-so-distant future in England (actually, likely closer to 2100 than 2013, but bear with me here). Kivrin is a historian, still in school and working under her mentor, Mr. Dunworthy. Granted, academia has changed and now instead of reading about history in text books, historians travel back in time to experience historical events for themselves. The tagline on the book: "Studying history had never been so easy."

As you would expect, some eras are more dangerous than others for time-traveling historians, so some time periods are expressly forbidden. And Kirvin wants nothing more than to travel to one of the most dangerous and forbidden times: the Middle Ages. Thanks to the conniving of another faculty member and the absence of the head of the history department, Kivrin gets her excursion into the 1300s but it is not at all what she expected. And thanks to a technical snafu, she may be there for awhile.

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