...I looked at the cracked high ceiling and really didn't know who I was for about fifteen strange seconds. I wasn't scared; I was just somebody else, some stranger, and my whole life was a haunted life, the life of a ghost. I was halfway across America, at the dividing line between the East of my youth and the West of my future.
'If Walls Could Talk', by Lucy Worsley. Why did the flushing toilet take two centuries to catch on? Why did Samuel Pepys never give his mistresses an orgasm? Why did medieval people sleep sitting up? When were the two "dirty centuries"? Why did gas lighting cause Victorian ladies to faint? Why, for centuries, did people fear fruit? All these questions will be answered in this juicy, smelly, and truly intimate history of home life.
In his new novel, China Mieville brings Moby-Dick to dry land. The world of Railsea consists of continents and islands linked by train tracks (these are the railsea), and populated by frightening creatures (enormous mole rats, "greatstoats," meat-eating earwigs). (From NPR review. Looking forward to this one.)