1. I am thoroughly appreciating Douglas Preston’s non-fiction work, The Lost City of the Monkey God. It’s the true story of the search for Ciudad Blanca in the Honduran rainforest. Preston, you may know, has a fine career as a writer of page-turner adventure and thriller novels. You may not remember them when you are done, but you certainly *read* them quickly. He brings that forward momentum to the story of a series of archaeological expeditions, while occasionally veering off into biography, political science, science, and ethnography. The story takes you along in dramatic, if not melodramatic, fashion, and I am enjoying the ride.
2. I finally watched season 1 of The Good Place. I started this when it began airing, didn’t enjoy it, and wandered away. But the season is complete so I gave it another shot. I ended up really liking it. By about episode five the plots are working together, and at episode seven the wheels come off, revealing that what you thought was a bus is actually a rocketship going who-knows where. The cast does a great job with the roles they are given. And, to be honest, I cannot think of another sitcom that so neatly explores and explains classical ethics.
3. A Dead Djinn in Cairo, by P. Djeli Clark, is wonderful. Rich and richly imagined, it’s a detective story set in a world of vaguely steampunk-adjacent magic. More to the point, it’s set in a post-colonial Egypt, in a world where magic and demons have changed the course of nations. Yet the setting is only part of the delight. The characters are deftly portrayed and compelling, and I enjoyed my time with them. I did find the ending rather predictable, but that may only be because of other books I’ve read. I still clearly recommend this story!
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