29. Edwards, Claudia J. Taming the Forest King (215 p.)
30. Adler, Irving. The New Mathematics (192 p.)
31. Kipling, Rudyard. The Man Who Would Be King, and Other Stories (211 p.)
(Contents: The Education of Otis Yeere; At the Pit's Mouth; A Wayside Comedy; The Hill of Illusion; A Second-Rate Woman; Only a Subaltern; The Phantom 'Rickshaw; My Own True Ghost Story; The Strange Ride of Morrowbie Jukes; The Man Who Would Be King; Wee Willie Winkie; Baa Baa, Black Sheep; His Majesty the King; The Drums of the Fore and Aft)
May total: 618 pages
2014 YTD total: 8,864 pages
Dense books and time spent on other projects means not as many pages & books getting finished this month.
Taming the Forest King started out so well, with a strong female protagonist who's an ultra-competent military officer, and includes some inventive twists on fantasy monsters--enough so that an RPGer could find monsters in here that he's never encountered before--in a frontier setting of sorts that's somewhat similar to Scandinavia in climate but only vaguely so at most in culture. Then it got to the point where I remarked "they got romance genre in my fantasy genre!", and more and more of the story got tied up in a love triangle, and eventually it completely takes over the plot and everything else gets relegated to the background. Romance is not my thing, and I was about ready to chuck the book against a wall at times, but I stuck through it and finished. Despite the elements I didn't like, it's a decent enough book with a lot of grist in the first half or so, but I suspect romance fans will often be too annoyed at the first half to keep going, and fantasy fans will often be too annoyed at the second half to finish, but fans of the romantic fantasy genre will probably love it.
The New Mathematics is one of the books that formed the foundation of the "New Math" movement in the 1960s, which Tom Lehrer parodied so well. I found most of it quite readable--for an adult who has had enough exposure to algebra & mathematical theory to be able to follow along, but it's not something you'd want to use to teach math to a neophyte, and especially not to kids.
Kipling generally writes short stories well, and there were few here I'd call flops and several I'd highly recommend. Most of these stories are unabashedly (and occasionally very depressingly) critical of human nature, so most of these aren't uplifting reads, but even in the depths, the writing is generally quite good & the stories enjoyable. Some of the dialect & jargon is hard to parse through, though, at least for someone not already familiar with 19th century British-Indian jargon. Highly recommended, regardless.
Feudalism: Serf & Turf