Timefulness by Marcia Bjornerud, a review

Timefulness by Marcia Bjornerud is a non-fiction on Geology that discusses how the Earth’s temporal rhythms are critical to humanities survival. This was gifted to me by the lovely Kari who is always here to encourage me to read more non-fiction and geological reads.

Timefulness: How thinking like a geologist can help save the world, by Marcia Bjornerud

I will start with something bad for this book, unfortunately. And frustratingly it comes from the third page from the end of the damn book. So annoying! The final paragraph for this section contains ableism directed towards autistic people. I’m going to include the quote beneath so you can see it.

As members of a technological society that can keep Nature at arm’s length most of the time, we have an almost autistic relationship with the Earth. We are rigid in our ways, savants when it comes to certain narrow obsession, but dysfunctional in other regards, because we wrongly view ourselves as separate from the rest of the natural world. Convinced that Nature is something outside us, a mute and immutable thing external to us, we are unable to empathise or communicate with it.

Timefulness by Marcia Bjornerud, end of Chapter 6, p179 in my paperback edition.

Thank you to Veronica and Bekka, two autistic bookish creators, who looked at this paragraph for me to confirm that it is icky from an own voices POV. Of course they are only two individuals out of a collective, but their voice is more meaningful than mine. Please check out their links and follow them as they’re wonderful people with great channels!

So. There’s that. Which immediately negated all the positives I had gained from this book. Personally? I can no longer recommend the book. But if you’d like to know my thoughts on the rest of the book, then the review continues below.

If you’re coming into this with minimal geological knowledge then don’t be concerned, as Bjornerud explains everything in the depth required to understand her points. However, it does use some more scientific terminology than I would expect from a base level book (not even geological, electrocariograms anyone?).

It does discuss the benefits of geology as a more mainstream discipline, along with mentioning the time timeline of geology itself. Something that seems to be common in quite a few geological non fictions but doesn’t seem to be all that pertinent to the authors intended thoughts here. However, if you’re wanting to know more about geology as a whole but don’t want to dive into a textbook? This could be a good shout!

This is very much a plead to humanity to recognise the speed at which alterations are happening to this planet. Faster than we’ve measured in prior geological timescales. And whilst the planet will endure long after we are gone, human bodies, and other living creatures on this floating rock, aren’t able to adapt to these conditions quickly enough and our lives with be snuffed out.

On CAWPILE I rated this: Research: 7, Uniqueness: 6, Readability: 5, Personal Impact: 5, Intrigue: 6, Informativeness: 6, and Enjoyment: 5, which gives an average of 5.71 and a 3* rating. But of course this is not inclusive of that very end section.

Highlight here for trigger warnings: ableism.

Unfortunately this is not a book I will be recommending. I think I’ll keep it on my shelves for a while, as it did have good points that I’d like to return to. But that ableism? Please, if you want a book like this yourself, look at picking a different one up.

August Reading Wrap Up

In August I had two readathons: the Mary Shelley AThon and the MiddleEarthAThon. Both were amazing and both inspired me to pick up books I wouldn’t have (at least this month) otherwise. It also meant that I read more than I would’ve so no complaints here!!

If you’d like to see how well I balanced my books out this month, then check out the video here!

The first book I finished in August was Fire by Kristin Cashore which is the second book in the Graceling series. This is an older YA series that has gotten a bit of a revival lately and it’s so much fun! Fire is our main character and I loved seeing her development throughout the book, as well as how the court changed around her. So excited to dive into Bitterblue next! This was my tbr jar pick and I’m glad this was forced into my hands!

Next up was Mathilda by Mary Shelley which I picked up for the Mary Shelley A Thon prompt of something written by Shelley. This is a super short read, around 100 pages, and a really interesting one. It’s essentially an unedited short story about a young woman who just wants a family and considering it’s unedited… wow is it written well. I just wish Shelley had been able to edit this one up into a fully fledged work!

The Final Strife by Saara El-Arifi was my next read, the Goldsboro GSFF book for last month, and WOW did I adore this book. Five stars, one of my favourites ever. This book is just amazing. I need the sequel like yesterday. This high fantasy is incredibly detailed, beautifully well developed, and I adored seeing the characters learn more about the world and each other. I love this book so much that I struggle to talk about it. That’s when you know I loved a read!

Then another great read was The River and the Book by Alison Croggon, my first reads from this author since The Pellinor Series (you know, that one that’s in my handle). This is not an own-voices book, but that is literally the only downside. It’s a beautifully written book that tackles white saviourism and it’s a real short read too. One I’d definitely recommend picking up!

Then I read the behemoth that is The Collected Poems of Robert Burns which clocks in at 600 pages. This was for a Mary Shelley A Thon prompt to read a poem/collection of poetry and this was the best choice because it was gifted to me by the readathon host Caitlyn! (from Mad Cheshire Rabbit) This is definitely not one I’d recommend generally to everyone, because there are some duds in this collection, but there are also some fantastic works and I think you should look Burns up and read a few.

The Drowned Woods by Emily Lloyd-Jones was the Illumicrate read for August and it was… fine? There wasn’t anything particularly wrong with this YA fantasy, but it also wasn’t a standout. Not one I’ll recommend or remember, but it’s fine. Read my full review linked above for more details.

Then I finished my non-fiction for the month, Timefulness by Marcia Bjornerud. This one was fantastic, having super interesting and unique discussions on geology, the physical makeup of our planet, and how we can learn to think more about timeframes past our existence. But. There’s ableism right at the end and I just can’t recommend a book after that. Check out my full review of this one coming in a few days (or available on my blog now if you’re reading this in mid September 22 onwards).

For my first MiddleEarthAThon read, a shiny book, I went for Demon Road by Derek Landy which is the first book in a YA Urban Fantasy trilogy. This is the same author of the Skulduggery Pleasant series and unfortunately it doesn’t quite live up to that high bar. It was enjoyable enough though and I’m curious, so I’ll be carrying on with the series.

All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr works for both readathons. For MiddleEarthAThon it’s (one of) the oldest book on my tbr, and for Mary Shelley A Thon it counts for both a book outside of your comfort zone and a tbr vet. This. This book was fantastic, amazing, and a 5* read! I had the smallest of issues with how travel was portrayed but other than that – perfection! Another favourite of the year.

And my final read was most of The Penguin Complete Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. This entire collection was 1122 pages so I didn’t manage to read it all before the month was up, but I did manage it in the one week of the MiddleEarthAThon, and in August I read a fair few of the short stories. I’ll mention this one more in my September wrap up but this was a 4* read and just as fun as I remember Sherlock stories being.

And that’s everything I managed to read last month! It totalled 3944 pages, and so much of that was during the MiddleEarthAThon!!

Did you get any five star reads last month? The Final Strife and All The Light We Cannot See are both amazing and I’m so glad that I picked them up!!