Title: The Legend of Devil's Creek
Author: D.C. Alexander
Number of pages: 372
Genre: thriller, mystery
Book Number/Goal: 34/52
My Rating: 4/5

The police is searching for a serial killer who appears to recreate the style of another, legendary serial killer operating in the same town many years ago. Meanwhile, a group of friends are busy with regular student activities: drinking, sports, dating, exchanging memories of family abuse, and studying philosophy.

Most of the book portrays mundane college life, interspersed with the occasional gruesome murder scenes and police investigation. The main character is shy, insecure, and spends a lot of time moping and worrying what people think of him. Somehow, it's not as annoying to read as it sounds. The philosophy lessons are as straightforward as popular science articles, split into "he said" and "she said" to appear fiction-like, but they discuss a fascinating problem: what is the cause of evil in the world, so they are interesting to follow. The police scenes are the weakest part. It's essentially a book about college, unexciting but surprisingly comfy, pleasant to read in bed on a rainy day.
Title: The Bells of Subsidence
Author: Michael John Grist
Number of pages: 121
Genre: sci-fi
Book Number/Goal: 35/52
My Rating: 5/5

This is a collection of short stories, every one a window into a strange, fascinating world. Alien terms and concepts are introduced without any explanations, so the reader has to work out what's going on, and some details still remain unclear, which is fine. The first story, which names the whole book, is the weirdest and the best. It merges mathematical concepts with the idea of undying love and hope, and it turns out meaningful and touching. But the best bit is the language. Here's an insight into the main character's job:

"As the torrent comes, I cannot help but seek order from the chaos; raveling and inverting Klein bottles, stacking and nestling them within each other like Matroska dolls, folding tesseracts upon themselves, helixing Mobius strips into Riemann planes. Around me the 100 do the same. Together, by the combined resonance of our efforts, we will planck the branes for the first time. We will build our own Brilliance. Through our efforts, the Bell will toll."
Title: My Name is Martha Brown
Author: Nicola Thorne
Number of pages: 416
Genre: drama, historical
Book Number/Goal: 36/52
My Rating: 4/5

Martha Brown was a real person, hanged in 1856 for the murder of her husband. The book is her biography, starting from childhood. As she was an ordinary woman from a poor family, not much is known about her, so the biography is mostly fictional, describing the life in a typical English rural community - hardships and pleasures, but mostly hardships.

It reads like a classic novel (in fact, Martha Brown was an inspiration for Tess of the d'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy), but unlike genuine classics, it doesn't feel heavy and old-fashioned, and is easy to read. The tragic ending is known in advance, causing the sensation of fatality and impending doom as the reader helplessly watches Martha making one unfortunate choice after another, even though each choice seems like a good idea at the time.


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