Book Review: Mayan Civilization – a History From Beginning to End by Hourly History

My introduction to the Maya is a little different to most people’s as I learned of them while reading about the Native American tribes when my curiosity was piqued by playing a computer game called Colonization. 

I read some online articles at the time and learned a passing amount about many of the Native American tribes. That’s what reading this book feels like, finding out little amounts of information that don’t really satisfy. While it is a big improvement on the Celtic Mythology book in this series it’s still very dry and disjointed. There’s also a strangely meandering passage about present day Mayan descendants that just feels irrelevant while what I felt were more interesting aspects such as War, Spanish Conquistadors and Environmental damage caused by this ancient civilization were merely hinted at.


Progress Update

Admittedly I’ve set a lower target than I should, mostly due to my disastrous attempt last year, but I’m pretty happy with this considering how much time family takes at the moment.

I should probably raise the target though…
What are your average targets? Do you set realistic ones or find that you try for unobtainable results? Do you find the target inspirational or feel like it makes reading a chore that you have to do?

Windhaven by George R.R. Martin & Lisa Tuttle 

The planet of Windhaven was not originally a home to humans, but it became one following the crash of a colony starship. It is a world of small islands, harsh weather, and monster-infested seas. Communication among the scattered settlements was virtually impossible until the discovery that, thanks to light gravity and a dense atmosphere, humans were able to fly with the aid of metal wings made of bits of the cannibalized spaceship.

Many generations later, among the scattered islands that make up the water world of Windhaven, no one holds more prestige than the silver-winged flyers, who bring news, gossip, songs, and stories. They are romantic figures crossing treacherous oceans, braving shifting winds and sudden storms that could easily dash them from the sky to instant death. They are also members of an increasingly elite caste, for the wings—always in limited quantity—are growing gradually rarer as their bearers perish.

When possibly your favourite author has written a recommendation for a book you kind of have to read it! I could certainly see why Anne McCaffrey would feel that way about it as there are several ingredients of this book that resemble her excellent Dragonriders of Pern series. 

This was an interesting read with a unique world and a well developed lead character. Maris starts off young, naive and altruistic but over the course of her life becomes a strong, world changing figure.

This book is actually a collection of 3 separate volumes, charting different periods in Maris’ life and the switch in years can be a little jarring – I sometimes felt that I would have liked to read more about what happened in the time the authors skipped. This is especially true of the period leading up to Maris actually becoming a Flyer. 

Readers who come to this book because of A Song Of Ice and Fire should be warned that this tale has far less action and violence than that series – most of the ‘big moments’ of Windhaven are political maneuvering rather than battles. 


Celtic Mythology: A Concise Guide to the Gods, Sagas and Beliefs by Hourly History

I didn’t enjoy this at all unfortunately. The information is presented in what feels a haphazard fashion and is so lacking in detail that it feels more like being given a list of names to look on Wikipedia for. It’s extremely dry with none of the storytelling prowess for which Celts are famed.

It was also extremely disappointing to find that this book covers only Irish Celts – I would strongly suggest that the author change the title to reflect the lack of Welsh, Scottish, Manx… – as a proud Welshman I was actually angered at the use of Concise in the title while there is so much missing. 

Book Review: Brief Pose by Wesley McCraw

What if an advertising campaign was so effective it drove the public insane? 

An interesting story about a not totally unbelievable advertising campaign that causes mass obsession, riots and murders.
The character’s struggle with depression and loneliness is well portrayed and the ensemble of side characters are unique and develop along with the story. What I think was supposed to be a twist towards the end was a little obvious but it wasn’t annoying at all.


Sadness is something you go through. Grief is a concrete slab that pins you down. It doesn’t just disappear. Grief takes a black marker to any idea of hope. It crosses off anything that once made you happy. The ink is permanent. It stains every part of your day

Depression, the comforting water in which I swim, is a convenient excuse not to care about anything