Wednesday, December 16, 2020

{I've Been Reading} Lots of Nonfiction


The cover copy promises sewers and caves and abandoned subway stations, which intrigued me, but I had no clue how absolutely fascinating the rest of this book was going to be. Did you know that there are miners in the present day that sacrifice llamas to statues for protection? Or that there was a photographer taking pictures of the catacombs and sewers under Paris in the 1860s? The author talks about lots of fascinating places and their history, but he also spends a lot of time exploring the relationship that people have with the dark spaces underground. I finished this book with a list of things I want to explore further, even through the author provided lots of information and photos. It's a great vicarious trip to places I'd never be able to visit in real life. 


Dark Archives: A Librarian's Investigation into the Science and History of Books Bound in Human Skin by Megan Rosenbloom

This one actually isn't as grim as the title implies. The author describes her work with the anthropodermic book project, which uses scientific testing to prove whether books supposedly bound in human skin are authentic. I don't know if I was more surprised by the number of confirmed examples or the fact that they look so much like any other old, leather bound book. The science and the reasons the authentic books were made in the first place intrigued me, but the short book also takes a lot of detours, including the author's plans for donating her own remains after her death. 

The Trial of Lizzie Borden by Cara Robertson 

Reading this one led me to the conclusion that I've probably read enough books about Lizzie Borden for one lifetime. Focusing heavily on the trial itself, the book doesn't provide much new information about the actual murders. I didn't know about the cow making noise outside the windows of the courthouse, or the outbuilding where reporters would retreat to finish their stories. There are a few interesting tidbits here and there, but it's a long dry read. 

Disclosure -- The publishers provided me with advance review copies. This post contains affiliate links. 

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