Alright, I got time for another update I suppose.
For non fiction I finished John Quincy Adams. The book was an interesting look at a guy who probably isn't one of the better known historical political figures of the US but I ended up liking him quite a bit.
He seems to have been a talented ambassador, then as a senator he was a sort of lone wolf who stuck to his own principles rather than fall in with any party lines, but that same tendency to not fall in with a party is one reason he was completely ineffectual as president, another reason being he was accused of making a corrupt bargain with Henry Clay to steal an election that otherwise probably would have gone to Andrew Jackson and this accusation doomed JQA's presidency before it even started. But after he was inevitably voted out of the presidency he was elected to the House of Representatives and oh boy did he then really seem to hit his stride.
He became an extremely outspoken abolitionist at a time where it seems most politicians would preferred to carry on pretending slavery wasn't an issue. He was so vocal the other members of the house slapped a gag rule on the topic. He then railed against that gag rule as a violation of free speech, and continued to find every excuse to still bring up the evils of slavery. He seems to have gained a national popularity that he completely lacked while president.
I have now started Unfamiliar Fishes by Sarah Vowell, it's about Hawaii, particularly the American influence in Hawaii leading up to the eventual annexation. I decided to read it after having gone on a family trip to Oahu for this past new years. I'm not very far into it yet.
It does not seem to be considered the author's best book but it's the first work I've read by her. She's got a bit of a scattershot approach to writing where she'll mix the history with personal anecdotes and deviate every so often to inform you of a fact she finds interesting or quirky, and she does all this haphazardly without warning and when it works it's fun but at other times I just sorta find it to be easy to zone out and lose the thread of things so when I snap back I wonder what the hell she is talking about.
As for fiction.
I finished Three Body Problem. I dug it. The setting and the context of that setting, plus some clever sci fi touches, made it seem like an interesting approach to a familiar trope.
Then I finished a book called She of the Mountains by Vivek Shraya. It was pretty cool.
The author is a trans woman (though the book appears to have been released before she revealed this as the about the author stuff in the version I read still uses male pronouns) and that's relevant as half of it is story about a character coming to terms with their sexuality and their body. But there's also another half that's based on Hindu mythology. It shifts back and forth between the two stories and both are quite interesting. It also had some nifty art mixed in (note: I actually thought it was going to be more along the lines of a graphic novel when I decided to check it out but was wrong about that it was a story with some art every so often to add to the tone and theme). I really enjoyed it and thoroughly recommend it.
Now I'm gonna start Battle Royale. All the talk about it with the Battlegrounds stuff has had me itching to start it for a while.
I also started Return of the King and intend to slowly read through that.