Every essay is a painstakingly, achingly beautiful construction of argument. From word choice to phrasing, he has a way of driving to the point, but also doing so with a biting simplicity.
Randi writes in a way that is accessible to the un-academic reader but is also like a cosy sweater for readers who have experience in academia and the sciences. Reading this book was a joy and a perfect meeting of my interest in the supernatural and my scholarly pursuits.
There’s nothing quite comparable to the experience of reading transcripts and re-printings of primary documents. To read a trial transcript from two hundred years ago and hear the echoes of words spoken so long ago by innocent women accused of crimes that are literally impossible to commit is something powerful and weighty.
Chernobyl Prayer is one of the most difficult books that I have ever read. It even took me a year to read it due to stopping and starting and the time I needed to take just to breathe through the amount of raw hurt and fear that she painstakingly documents.
The collection isn’t exactly Christmas-y per se, but all the same the holiday spirit is there in the sense that this book is truly meant to be shared. It’s meant to be read aloud or in tandem and laughed over. It’s meant to bring book people onto the same page, and bring them together.
What I really loved about this diary was the sheer number of random facts that I learned about the late 18th century. Things like when umbrellas first came into use, or the fact that sometimes visits and dinners were postponed due to the lack of a moon to illuminate the roads.