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View Full Version : Khadaji's What'cha Readin' thread - June 2014


Elendil's Heir
06-01-2014, 12:29 PM
Auntie Pam was the OP for these threads for awhile (as was Le Ministre de l'au-delà before her), but she recently asked me to take over. I'll do so for now, but if someone else would really like to, he or she is more than welcome to it.

Link to the May thread: http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=722346

I'm making slow progress through Andrew Solomon's Far From the Tree, about child development and parenting of kids from troubled backgrounds.

Khadaji was one of the earlier members of the SDMB, and he was well known as a kindly person who always had something encouraging to say, particularly in the self-improvement threads. He was also a voracious, omnivorous reader; and he started these monthly book threads. Sadly, he passed away in January 2013, and it was decided that we should rename these monthly threads in his honour.

chiroptera
06-01-2014, 03:03 PM
I just finished Augusten Burroughs Sellevision (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sellevision). Not nearly as good as his later autobiographical books, but quite amusing all the same.

hogarth
06-01-2014, 03:36 PM
I've been reading some of the stories and essays in Washington Irving's Sketch Book. Some of them I thought were rather good, but I've skipped past a few. At any rate, it hasn't really grabbed me so far.

Politzania
06-02-2014, 11:10 AM
I've gotten woefully behind on my reviews, so will try to turn over a new leaf this month.

Recently finished On Gold Mountain: The One-Hundred-Year Odyssey of My Chinese-American Family (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24468.On_Gold_Mountain) by Lisa See. I first spotted it as an Amazon Kindle sale item, but opted to check it out from the library instead.
I found this book to be a fairly engrossing look at a personalized history of the immigrant Chinese experience in California (specifically San Francisco, Sacramento and Los Angeles) from the 1870's onward. While I was aware of the big picture (men brought in to work on the railroads; the various Exclusion laws and regulations), being able to follow a single family provides a new perspective.

Fong See was a bit of an anomaly; his ambition led him to a merchant role; and his (common-law) marriage to an American woman afforded him more opportunity than a typical laborer of the time. His long life and success afforded him the chance to take additional wives back in China; bringing one to the States after his relationship with Ticie disintegrated. She was also a fairly remarkable woman, starting her own antique business and keeping her family afloat while Fong See started fresh with a traditional Chinese woman.

Unlike several GoodReads reviewers, I found the book very readable, and was not bothered by how See filled in the blanks in terms of what the individuals probably felt, thought and said over the years. See did include a Notes section citing her references; and the photo section was a nice addition. While I don't know if I'll return to this book in the future; I may have to look up some of Lisa See's fiction work as well.

Recommended as at least a library read to those with an interest in immigrant experiences.

Catamount
06-02-2014, 11:26 AM
I'm about 60 pages into the 1200-page doorstop that is Boswell's Life of Samuel Johnson, and to be honest it isn't that bad. I'd say this was written before chapters were invented, but I'm also reading Fielding's Tom Jones which was published about fifty years before the Life, so I know that's a lie. Hey Boswell, chapter breaks would help a great deal.

Siam Sam
06-02-2014, 11:29 AM
Almost halfway through A Time to Kill, by John Grisham.

DZedNConfused
06-02-2014, 11:38 AM
Still working on Angels Flight by Michael Connelly; not that the book is slow, I've just been busy for the first three days of my summer vacation. I need to shower, walk over to the convenience store, buy some sunflower seeds and curl up with the last 100 pages and git 'er done!

The wind of my soul
06-02-2014, 12:18 PM
Just started two books this weekend: The Big Picture: 11 Laws That Will Change Your Life (http://www.amazon.com/Big-Picture-Laws-That-Change-ebook/dp/B00DB3D35M/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1401725635&sr=8-1&keywords=11+laws+that+will+change+your+life) by Tony Horton, and the classic Fahrenheit 451 (http://www.amazon.com/Fahrenheit-451-Novel-Ray-Bradbury-ebook/dp/B0064CPN7I/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1401725678&sr=8-1&keywords=fahrenheit+451) by Ray Bradbury.

I've only gotten through Tony Horton's first law, but so far, I do not recommend the book one bit. I adore Horton's on-screen personality (he leads the P90X workouts, among other things), but he's not really a writer. If he had teamed up with a writer to write this book, I think it could have been much better. As is, I just don't think that he's armed with the rhetorical tools he needs to get his point across effectively.

As for Fahrenheit 451, I am so, so, so grateful that I never had to read this in school, because that would have taken all the fun out of it. Anytime you have to read a book and mark down important passages, look for central themes to write a thesis paper about, memorize things for reading quizzes, etc., it takes all the fun out of the book. This book is absolutely wonderful, chock full of deep thoughts and poetic language, and I am so glad that I can experience the book as a pleasure read rather than something for school.

DZedNConfused
06-02-2014, 12:37 PM
As for Fahrenheit 451, I am so, so, so grateful that I never had to read this in school, because that would have taken all the fun out of it. Anytime you have to read a book and mark down important passages, look for central themes to write a thesis paper about, memorize things for reading quizzes, etc., it takes all the fun out of the book. This book is absolutely wonderful, chock full of deep thoughts and poetic language, and I am so glad that I can experience the book as a pleasure read rather than something for school.

Especially since your teacher would emphasize the censorship aspect of the book, when I feel Bradbury's real message was what happens to people when they become truly isolated from each other. In so many ways, he predicted the explosion of reality TV and the internet. The main character's wife is so cut off from real life that the people in her "soaps" are more real to her than her husband; with her wireless ear buds in they talk directly to her any time and all the time. I took Bradbury's message about media and isolation far more to heart than censorship.

The wind of my soul
06-02-2014, 12:46 PM
Especially since your teacher would emphasize the censorship aspect of the book, when I feel Bradbury's real message was what happens to people when they become truly isolated from each other. In so many ways, he predicted the explosion of reality TV and the internet. The main character's wife is so cut off from real life that the people in her "soaps" are more real to her than her husband; with her wireless ear buds in they talk directly to her any time and all the time. I took Bradbury's message about media and isolation far more to heart than censorship.

Totally agree! (At least so far, I'm only about 50 pages in.) I had thought it was more about censorship just based on what I've heard about it, so the focus on isolation surprised me.

It also made me realize that entertainment technology actually encourages person-to-person interaction more than it used to, what with radio and television being largely replaced by computers and cell phones (in other words, switching from one-way communication to two-way communication).

DZedNConfused
06-02-2014, 03:15 PM
All righty, finished Angels Flight by Michael Connelly, and once more the twists at the end didn't really surprise me but they suited the story.

I need something fluffy to read now... oooo Terry Pratchett!

Athena
06-02-2014, 04:12 PM
Currently reading The Rathbones (http://www.amazon.com/Rathbones-Janice-Clark-ebook/dp/B00BE255W6/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1401739484&sr=8-1&keywords=rathbones). It gets middling reviews on Amazon, but I'm about 75% through it and really like it. It's the story of a New England whaling family told like a myth or fantasy. Very magical setting, story wanders around from generation to generation, back and forth in time. You have to like that sort of stuff to like the book, but if you do, highly recommended.

Misnomer
06-02-2014, 04:16 PM
I'm about 70% of the way through Lisa Scottoline's Final Appeal (http://www.amazon.com/Final-Appeal-Lisa-Scottoline/dp/0061042943/). It started off a bit rocky, but now I'm enjoying it. :)

Next up is the latest Dresden Files book from Jim Butcher, Skin Game (http://www.amazon.com/Skin-Game-Dresden-Files-Butcher/dp/0451464397/).

This morning I downloaded Supreme Justice (http://www.amazon.com/Supreme-Justice-Max-Allan-Collins/dp/1612185304/), by Max Allan Collins. I've never read anything by him before, but it was the most promising of this month's Kindle First (http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/ref=help_search_1-1?ie=UTF8&nodeId=201376210&qid=1401740013&sr=1-1) offerings. So far none of these free books has inspired me to read more by the same author, but I still love that Amazon has this program for Prime members!

Grrlbrarian
06-03-2014, 12:27 PM
Finished Christopher Moore's Fool. I really enjoyed the re-take on Shakespeare's Lear, complete with snarky humor and gory details. Yep, the language is definitely filthy and there's loads of debauchery, but it didn't really bother me.

Still reading the other items from last month (Graves, Woolfson, et al.) plus picked up Lyndsey Faye's Dust and Shadow. Thus far, a good Holmes pastiche that makes use of the suspects and details I got from Rumbelow's Complete Jack the Ripper.

Finally remembered where I got the recommendation for Red Country too: it came from the "Fantasy and SF novels since 2000 that Might Be Essentials One Day. (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=722481)"

Politzania
06-03-2014, 02:06 PM
Just finished up the audiobook version of Charlatan: America's Most Dangerous Huckster, the Man Who Pursued Him, and the Age of Flimflam (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1851568.Charlatan) written by Pope Brock & narrated by Johnny Heller. I've read several books on medical quackery, and was vaguely aware of the main character of this story.

The Charlatan of the title is "Doctor" John R. Brinkley - the "Goat Glands Man" whose charisma and confidence regarding his xeno-tranplantation virility treatments in the early decades of the 20th century turned the small towns of Milford Kansas and Del Rio, Texas into pseudo-medical powerhouses. Along the way, Brinkley pioneered the use of radio and modern public relations in both advertising and politics, created one of the first "border blaster" Mexican radio stations and through that station introduced America to both hillbilly/bluegrass music and the blues/country crossovers that became rock & roll.

Brock has definitely done his research in both historical and medical/sociological scope, and presents the material as a storyteller would. There is some with some mildly risque commentary along the way... I don't recall the quote exactly, but for example: " ever since man stood erect, he has been concerned about the erectness of his manhood". :D
I found the exploits of Brinkley both fascinating and repellent - for example, he nearly got himself elected as governor of Kansas mere weeks after having his medical license revoked. The man was pulling in millions of dollars in income during the depth of the Depression - and spending it lavishly. His exploits helped found laws against medical malpractice; and his example has been followed by many a quack and charlatan since.

I really enjoyed this book and may return to it, or more likely, Brock's other works, in the future. Recommended to those interested in human foibles, medical history and showmanship.

Elendil's Heir
06-03-2014, 04:30 PM
All righty, finished Angels Flight by Michael Connelly, and once more the twists at the end didn't really surprise me but they suited the story....
My book club read that some years ago and I found it meh. To each their own.

Catamount
06-03-2014, 05:34 PM
Just finished up the audiobook version of Charlatan: America's Most Dangerous Huckster, the Man Who Pursued Him, and the Age of Flimflam (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1851568.Charlatan) written by Pope Brock & narrated by Johnny Heller. I've read several books on medical quackery, and was vaguely aware of the main character of this story.

As if Mt. ToBeRead wasn't high enough, here you come with this.

DZedNConfused
06-03-2014, 05:37 PM
As if Mt. ToBeRead wasn't high enough, here you come with this.

More or less what I said as I added it to the list ... I can't even squint and see the end of that list.

susan
06-03-2014, 06:02 PM
I'm also reading Andrew Solomon's Far from the Tree. Interesting premise, and :dubious: several times in every chapter.

hogarth
06-03-2014, 08:43 PM
I'm about 60 pages into the 1200-page doorstop that is Boswell's Life of Samuel Johnson, and to be honest it isn't that bad. I'd say this was written before chapters were invented, but I'm also reading Fielding's Tom Jones which was published about fifty years before the Life, so I know that's a lie. Hey Boswell, chapter breaks would help a great deal.
Definitely; a good portion of it seems to be just a long stream of anecdotes placed in no particular order. I can't remember how much I read before I lost interest.

pohjonen
06-03-2014, 10:03 PM
I'm halfway through "Orange is the New Black" (http://www.amazon.com/Orange-New-Black-Womens-Prison-ebook/dp/B0036S4B6M/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1401847170&sr=8-1&keywords=orange+is+the+new+black) by Piper Kerman, which the Netflix series by the same name is (loosely) based upon. It's decent but not nearly as dramatic or racy as the series. However, it is holding my interest and I'll finish it, and these days that alone says something positive about a book. I don't force myself to finish boring books anymore.

Elendil's Heir
06-03-2014, 10:06 PM
I'm also reading Andrew Solomon's Far from the Tree. Interesting premise, and :dubious: several times in every chapter.

I mentioned that in the OP. Can't say it's grabbed me yet.

Politzania
06-04-2014, 02:36 PM
SpazCat & DZedNConfused -- Just returning the favor, folks - I know I've gotten reccos from you both over the years that have contributed to my personal Mount ToBeRead list. :D

I'm about 2/3 of the way thru Nick Harkaway's The Gone-Away World (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3007704-the-gone-away-world) and am really enjoying it.
Our main character is a mercenary of sorts, living in a world where reality exists most clearly in close proximity to the Jorgmund Pipe. We get plenty of backstory on him and his pals before returning to what may be their greatest adventure of all.

Harkaway has got a knack for writing situations both mundane and surreal with fantastic (in both senses of the world) world-building and then populates them with blokes that you come to know inside and out. Lots of shades of grey - it can be difficult to tell who is on the Side of Right, and that fits Harkaway's writing just fine.

VeronicaVanity
06-04-2014, 02:41 PM
Just finished Edvard Munch Behind The Scream by Sue Prideaux which I really enjoyed

Maserschmidt
06-04-2014, 07:20 PM
I'm reading the new Stephen King, Mr. Mercedes. Some of the writing is a little clichéd so far, but I'm enjoying the plot.

DZedNConfused
06-04-2014, 08:30 PM
I finally bailed on How Chance & Stupidity Altered the Course of Military History by Erik Durschmied. I just couldn't get into it. Two stars is being generous in all honesty, the book is written very amateurishly and as another reviewer, on Goodreads, pointed out, big sections feel like a high school theme paper. The version I purchased left off "Military" in the title so I was distressed to ffind that the author focuses only on battles and goes ad nauseum into detail on the movements of troops. The world of science, for which chance is an everyday occurence, is completely ignored.

The end of chapter "What If", and "Hinge Factors" serve no purpose and are actually rather insulting in their obviousness as if the author assumes the reader is too stupid to see it for him/herself.

Larry Borgia
06-04-2014, 09:12 PM
Just started re-reading The Dying Earth by Jack Vance. Holy crap I forgot how awesome it was. I can appreciate it a lot more now than I did when I was younger. And I'm getting a chuckle at how much D&D poached from him.


Also reading Measurement by Paul Lockhart. It's a pretty good pop math book. The math is very basic, but I like his talks about first principles and what math is. Lots of problems to think about, though it would be nice if he gave answers at the back of the book.

movingfinger
06-05-2014, 03:03 AM
I just finished End Game, 1945, by David Stafford. It covers the last month of the war in Europe and the first months of the, well, not peace exactly, as the war did not have a tidy, neat ending. Not every Nazi took the defeat of the Reich with equanimity, and partisans saw no reason to curtail their activities. Reprisals and paybacks were abundant, and the roads were thronged with civilians looking to get back to their homes. There were differing opinions about the future forms of government of liberated countries as Communists were beginning their seizure of power in the Eastern European countries. People were starving and winter was not far away, and the Yugoslavian army was working to seize Trieste from Italy and the US Army was ready to use force to keep them from doing so. In short, the place was a total mess, and British, Canadian and American soldiers knew the war was far from over in the far east.

Grrlbrarian
06-05-2014, 10:12 AM
Just popped in to note that I read Octavia Butler's Kindred last night. I'm really late to the table on this, but what an amazing book! Butler's account of Dana, a woman who gets pulled back into time to save slave-owning ancestor Rufus every time his life is in danger, kept me absorbed all evening. The period details of an antebellum 1814 (and forward) Maryland plantation seemed authentic and carefully written, cringe-inducing though they often were in their depictions of the horrors of slavery. And the central plot is interesting too, concerning Dana's enforced returns to the past and the choices she makes there that impact the period characters and her life in the 'present' (it's set in 1976). I thought Butler did a great job with Rufus, rendering him a man of his time and place with all the ugliness that implies. He makes truly awful choices, but Butler shows how those actions reflected the combined influences of his family and culture - yet were equally inexcusable in any time.

Wow. An evening well spent.

Elendil's Heir
06-05-2014, 10:14 AM
I just finished End Game, 1945, by David Stafford. It covers the last month of the war in Europe and the first months of the, well, not peace exactly, as the war did not have a tidy, neat ending.....

You might also like Noah Andre Trudeau's Out of the Storm, a great overview of the last days of the American Civil War and its immediate aftermath. Highly recommended.

The wind of my soul
06-05-2014, 10:48 AM
Also reading Measurement by Paul Lockhart. It's a pretty good pop math book. The math is very basic, but I like his talks about first principles and what math is. Lots of problems to think about, though it would be nice if he gave answers at the back of the book.

I started that book after reading and liking A Mathematician's Lament. But Measurement didn't quite work for me. I felt like the author could be a good math teacher, if he were dropping hints when I was stuck and encouraging me when I made an important connection. But absent that interaction, I just didn't feel the same sense of joy that I did reading his first offering, so I abandoned Measurement partway through. Hope you enjoy it more than I did!

Malthus
06-05-2014, 11:01 AM
I just finished End Game, 1945, by David Stafford. It covers the last month of the war in Europe and the first months of the, well, not peace exactly, as the war did not have a tidy, neat ending. Not every Nazi took the defeat of the Reich with equanimity, and partisans saw no reason to curtail their activities. Reprisals and paybacks were abundant, and the roads were thronged with civilians looking to get back to their homes. There were differing opinions about the future forms of government of liberated countries as Communists were beginning their seizure of power in the Eastern European countries. People were starving and winter was not far away, and the Yugoslavian army was working to seize Trieste from Italy and the US Army was ready to use force to keep them from doing so. In short, the place was a total mess, and British, Canadian and American soldiers knew the war was far from over in the far east.

I recently read Savage Continent, which you may find interesting. I thought it was a great, if very depressing, read about the chaos of post-WW2 Europe.

http://www.amazon.com/Savage-Continent-Europe-Aftermath-World/dp/1250000203/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top

Catamount
06-05-2014, 05:12 PM
I just tossed Globish: How the English Language Became the World's Language (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7954209-globish) back at the library's return bin. First of all, the title is a lie. I was halfway through it and wondered when the author, ADD McAnectoderepeater, would ever get to the damn point. According to various Goodreads reviewers, he doesn't do that until the last sixty pages of a 287-page book. Secondly, he kept on wandering from one anecdote to another without really tying anything together or putting it in some kind of cohesive order. And thirdly because I read this sentence which is real and appears upon a printed page:

"The significance of 1759 is perhaps reinforced, for the superstitious, by the reappearance of Halley's comet in March 1759."

DZedNConfused
06-05-2014, 09:50 PM
I finished Raising Steam by Terry Pratchett and I know several of you here didn't like it much, I enjoyed it a lot. I've flown through it snickering and grinning as usual. :D

Meurglys
06-06-2014, 07:46 AM
I read the first part of Jeff Vandermeer's Southern Reach trilogy, Annihilation. It's the story of the 12th expedition into a strange zone (Area X) which is somewhat like the Zone in the Strugatski's Roadside Picnic. Reminded me a bit of Lovecraft or Hodgson as well.
He's due to be at the Edinburgh Book Festival in August so I'll probably go see him if I can. I may even have read volume 2 by then as well...

Unwrapped Sky by Rjurik Davidson was a good first novel. It's an interesting blend of myth (it's got minotaurs!) and steampunk, with other fantasy tropes as well. Very enjoyable.
Defenders was a bit of a page-turner from Will McIntosh. What do you do when you're about to be destroyed by alien invaders? Why, hurridly create a race of giant three-legged fighters from human DNA. What could possibly go wrong!
Good fun but I probably preferred his earlier books, Soft Apocalypse and Hitchers.

And now I'm 100 pages into the latest Expanse book (v4) Cibola Burn by James S. A. Corey. It's shaping up to be as good as the earlier books...

This should make it six novels in a row without a dud. :)

Politzania
06-06-2014, 12:43 PM
Am working on Games Creatures Play (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18114043-games-creatures-play), a collection of short stories edited by Charlaine Harris & Toni L.P. Kelner. According to GoodReads, it's part of the InCryptid series, but I don't think it matters much. Spotted it on the New Books shelf at the local library & both the title and list of authors on the cover caught my attention. The hook (as you might guess from the title) is supernatural-type fiction with a game or sport as an element of the story.

I've only gotten thru 4 stories so far - but thought I'd share:
"In the Blue Hereafter" - Charlaine Harris. My first encounter with Sookie Stackhouse, tho she's not the main character - Manfred Bernardo is. Set at a softball game, so there's the game/sport connection. Felt a bit like filler between novels, but still enjoyable enough. Wondering if it's worth pursuing Harris/Sookie further..

"Hide and Seek" - William Kent Krueger. Darker than the first story by quite a bit; nicely creepy, in fact. The event of the title is the game/sport connection & while it's been done before ("The Most Dangerous Game") it's a decent read.

"Stepping into the Dead Zone" - Jan Burke. Only tangentially related to the sports/game portion of the theme (kids playing dodgeball as a pivot in the story) ; however, the story itself was worth reading - I may look for more by Burke.

"Dead on the Bones" - Joe R. Lansdale. I'm a Lansdale fan & this story is definitely typical of his work; brutal and not for the squeamish. The sporting event is fairly integral to the story and includes a minor callback to his novella "The Big Blow".

DZedNConfused
06-06-2014, 12:46 PM
A friend of mine, who isn't on Straight Dope, enjoys the Sookie Stackhouse books, though she has had some sharp criticisms of various portions of the books. I guess see if the library has one and take a peek?

astorian
06-06-2014, 02:40 PM
I just started A Judgement in Stone by Ruth Rendell.

astorian
06-06-2014, 02:42 PM
Especially since your teacher would emphasize the censorship aspect of the book, when I feel Bradbury's real message was what happens to people when they become truly isolated from each other. In so many ways, he predicted the explosion of reality TV and the internet. The main character's wife is so cut off from real life that the people in her "soaps" are more real to her than her husband; with her wireless ear buds in they talk directly to her any time and all the time. I took Bradbury's message about media and isolation far more to heart than censorship.

Exactly right- in the world Bradbury describes, it's hardly even necessary to burn books, because almost nobody WOULD read them even if they were freely and widely available.

Siam Sam
06-06-2014, 07:49 PM
Finished John Grisham's first novel, A Time to Kill. Very good.

Next up is another Grisham: The Associate.

EDIT: Say, not that this matters, but I noticed that "Whatcha" in the thread title has changed to "What'cha" these past couple of months.

DZedNConfused
06-08-2014, 02:09 PM
I started Sunstroke by Jesse Kellerman Friday. It's enjoyable and I'm pleased to see he's not trying to be either of his well known parents. So far his characters are interesting and while the book is a little slow, it's not a slog and I had to make myself put it down so I could get to my meeting on time :D

bobot
06-08-2014, 02:41 PM
I'm wrapping up the second Harry Potter book: ...And The Chamber Of Secrets. Another installment from my stepdaughter's bookshelf. The first book was last month. Looks like I'm going to read all of these, they're not bad at all for kid's stuff. (My stepdaughter asks me stuff like: Who's your favorite character; what house would you be in...)
:):)

chiroptera
06-08-2014, 02:50 PM
I started Sunstroke by Jesse Kellerman Friday. It's enjoyable and I'm pleased to see he's not trying to be either of his well known parents. So far his characters are interesting and while the book is a little slow, it's not a slog and I had to make myself put it down so I could get to my meeting on time :D

Huh, another writing dynasty, like Stephen/Tabitha King and their author son Joe Hill? I enjoy Johnathan Kellerman's books, although not his wife's so much. Will look for JK Jr.

I read NOS4A2 by Joe Hill (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joe_Hill_%28writer%29) a while back, without knowing he was Stephen King's son until after I finished it. Good, enjoyable and well-done book but I kept muttering to myself how the author was trying to write just like Stephen King.

DZedNConfused
06-08-2014, 06:58 PM
Huh, another writing dynasty, like Stephen/Tabitha King and their author son Joe Hill? I enjoy Johnathan Kellerman's books, although not his wife's so much. Will look for JK Jr.



I, too, do not like Faye much, I can't like any of her characters except Decker's oldest daughter and I feel like she's more interested in cramming being Jewish down my throat than in writing a mystery.

Elendil's Heir
06-08-2014, 08:53 PM
Just reread the last several chapters of Stephen King's 11/22/63 again, and liked it even better. I was racing too fast ("What happens next?!?!?!?") when I first read it.

chiroptera
06-08-2014, 09:42 PM
I, too, do not like Faye much, I can't like any of her characters except Decker's oldest daughter and I feel like she's more interested in cramming being Jewish down my throat than in writing a mystery.

It's been years since I've tried reading her but as I recall the aggressive Jewish Thing in her books was distracting and besides the point, and put me off.

Dung Beetle
06-09-2014, 03:40 PM
Recent reads:

Joe Hill’s short story By The Silver Water of Lake Champlain (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00IRCZIBY/ref=wms_ohs_product?ie=UTF8&psc=1). Joe still on his winning streak! This small gem reminded me of Bradbury’s story The Foghorn, as I’m sure it was meant to do.

Michael Koryta’s The Apex Predator (http://www.amazon.com/Apex-Predator-Kindle-Single-ebook/dp/B00GOGAHIE/ref=sr_1_4?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1402328821&sr=1-4&keywords=apex+predator). Another short tale. This one hints at violence against animals, but it’s not graphic. A well-written story by a writer I’m liking more all the time.

Nick Cutter’s The Troop (http://www.amazon.com/The-Troop-Nick-Cutter/dp/1476717710/ref=tmm_hrd_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1402328964&sr=1-1). I picked this up because Stephen King recommended it. It wasn’t terrible. I was reminded of Scott Smith’s The Ruins (Group of people in a bad situation, what order will they croak in?) However, there was a whole lot of grodiness and animals getting hurt in this one. If I hadn’t been stuck with it on a plane, I doubt I’d have finished it.

Sarah Lotz’s The Three (http://www.amazon.com/Three-Sarah-Lotz-ebook/dp/B00EXTQSE6/ref=sr_1_1_title_0_main?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1402329027&sr=1-1&keywords=sarah+lotz+the+three). I read this on a plane as well, though it was about strange circumstances surrounding several plane crashes. :) It had a pretty interesting premise, but bogged down in the middle. I fell asleep and had a hard time finding my place again when I woke up (these same people still dithering about the same issues?!) but it was okay. If several planes crashed on the same day and a single child survived each time, I bet this really is how the world would react.

Terry Pratchett’s Mort (http://www.amazon.com/Mort-Discworld-Novel-Novels-ebook/dp/B000W967UQ/ref=sr_1_1_title_0_main?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1402329075&sr=1-1&keywords=mort+terry+pratchett). Dependably fun and clever.

Currently I’m reading Stephen King’s Mr. Mercedes (http://www.amazon.com/Mr-Mercedes-Novel-Stephen-King/dp/1476754454/ref=tmm_hrd_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1402329126&sr=1-1). I generally take a day off work and gobble up a new King like Annie Wilkes gobbles up the new Misery installment, but since I just returned from vacation I guess I won’t do that. So far so good. A couple of tiny quibbles: Was “GUARENTEED” supposed to be misspelled on the job fair banner, or is there a typo in my book? I also see Mr. King trying to coin some new words (“deathcar, just like that, deathcar” and “widder-titter”). Nothing too egregious yet, but keep a smucking lid on it, okay Steve? Love ya!

I also recently read a free preview of Michael Koryta’s Those Who Wish Me Dead (http://www.amazon.com/Those-Wish-Preview-First-Chapters-ebook/dp/B00JJ86XZK/ref=sr_1_2?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1402328878&sr=1-2&keywords=those+who+wish+me+dead) and it was smashing. I’m looking forward to that one almost as much as King’s. It’s next! And then I have some other stuff that looks promising. Life as measured by the state of the TBR pile is groovy.

Elendil's Heir, thanks for taking on the thread!

Grrlbrarian
06-10-2014, 05:43 PM
Am working on Games Creatures Play (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18114043-games-creatures-play), a collection of short stories edited by Charlaine Harris & Toni L.P. Kelner. According to GoodReads, it's part of the InCryptid series, but I don't think it matters much. Spotted it on the New Books shelf at the local library & both the title and list of authors on the cover caught my attention. The hook (as you might guess from the title) is supernatural-type fiction with a game or sport as an element of the story.

I've only gotten thru 4 stories so far - but thought I'd share:
"In the Blue Hereafter" - Charlaine Harris. My first encounter with Sookie Stackhouse, tho she's not the main character - Manfred Bernardo is. Set at a softball game, so there's the game/sport connection. Felt a bit like filler between novels, but still enjoyable enough. Wondering if it's worth pursuing Harris/Sookie further..
<snipped>

I enjoyed the earlier Stackhouse books, but the latest ones were, well, really disappointing, IMHO. Jumped the shark around Dead and Gone if I remember correctly. I figure you may already have heard this, but this is the same series HBO's True Blood is based on (somewhat loosely).

DZedNConfused
06-10-2014, 07:03 PM
Taking another crack at Night Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko. I think I'm really reading this in the wrong language, but sadly I don't read Russian.

Elendil's Heir
06-10-2014, 11:29 PM
...Elendil's Heir, thanks for taking on the thread!
Glad to.

I know I should be getting back to Far from the Tree, but George R.R. Martin's short-story-and-essay collection Dreamsongs, Vol. II jumped off the library shelf and into my hands, so of course I had to start reading it. Best part so far: the complete series-premiere screenplay for an unproduced 1991 sf TV show, Doorways. It's pretty damn good.

susan
06-10-2014, 11:34 PM
^ Still slogging through Far from the Tree. Interesting but often overgeneralized, and sometimes simply incorrect. It doesn't help that he narrates the audiobook himself and keeps sounding like he's about to cry.

Elendil's Heir
06-11-2014, 11:50 AM
He obviously poured his heart and soul into the book. Could you tell me, say, three errors you've noticed?

Gordon Urquhart
06-11-2014, 01:55 PM
I'm nearly finished with Kent Haruf's Eventide. I'm enjoying it quite a lot; even moreso, I think, than Plainsong. Perhaps it's because a few of the characters were already established in Plainsong, but, having grown up in a very small town much like the fictional Holt, I can tell you that Haruf absolutely nails the conversations, mannerisms, and actions of rural Western Americans in Eventide.

jayrey
06-11-2014, 02:39 PM
I recently was invited to join a book group, and our first book, which we meet to discuss in a couple of weeks, is Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch. I got halfway through it (and had to really push myself to get that far) but now have given up. I apologize in advance to those of you who may have love it, but OMG, what drivel. This is Pulitzer prize worthy writing? If so, then the state of American literature is in dumpster. Tartt has a few beautiful, eloquent passages (just a few single sentences, really) but desperately needs an editor with a very sharp red pencil to cut back on her push-it-down-their-throats-then-repeat style. I'm looking forward to hearing what others in the book group think.

I have moved on (with the giddy enthusiasm of a newly released prisoner) to Eric Larson's Thunderstorm. I am completely absorbed in his description of, of all things, Marconi's experiments that lead to the development of radio. I've always wondered how scientists figured out those mysteries and Larson offers a very readable account of the subject. I also think Larson's style has improved since White City.

Also on the Kindle, Quiet, the Power of Introverts in a World That Won't Stop Talking. I think I read about it here. Will start that after Thunderstorm.

LavenderBlue
06-11-2014, 02:46 PM
I am reading Below Stairs: The Classic Kitchen Maid's Memoir That Inspired Upstairs, Downstairs and Downton Abbey by the deceased Margaret Powell. I am really enjoying it. She's a sharp writer with an eye for detail and well deserved contempt for the people she writes about. I finished reading Snobs by Julian Fellowes. It sucked. He images himself Wharton when he's really Danielle Fucking Steele.

LavenderBlue
06-11-2014, 02:51 PM
I'm halfway through "Orange is the New Black" (http://www.amazon.com/Orange-New-Black-Womens-Prison-ebook/dp/B0036S4B6M/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1401847170&sr=8-1&keywords=orange+is+the+new+black) by Piper Kerman, which the Netflix series by the same name is (loosely) based upon. It's decent but not nearly as dramatic or racy as the series. However, it is holding my interest and I'll finish it, and these days that alone says something positive about a book. I don't force myself to finish boring books anymore.

I hated that book. She's such a fucking sanctimonious pig. I happen to think our drug laws are sort of insane and punish people far too harshly for minor crimes. But she's so full of herself and how wonderful she and did she mention she's blond and has a Smith diploma cause I'd forgotten for two pages that she blond and has a Smith diploma. She utterly lost me with that sort of self back patting.

Elendil's Heir
06-11-2014, 03:02 PM
I am reading Below Stairs: The Classic Kitchen Maid's Memoir That Inspired Upstairs, Downstairs and Downton Abbey by the deceased Margaret Powell. I am really enjoying it. She's a sharp writer with an eye for detail and well deserved contempt for the people she writes about....
The aristos, the servants, or both?

LavenderBlue
06-11-2014, 03:15 PM
The aristos, the servants, or both?

The aristos largely. She has no ridiculous Julian Fellowes delusions about the glory and wonder of most of the English upper classes.

DZedNConfused
06-11-2014, 03:51 PM
I hated that book. She's such a fucking sanctimonious pig. I happen to think our drug laws are sort of insane and punish people far too harshly for minor crimes. But she's so full of herself and how wonderful she and did she mention she's blond and has a Smith diploma cause I'd forgotten for two pages that she blond and has a Smith diploma. She utterly lost me with that sort of self back patting.

Oh c'mon, don't hold back. Tell us how you REALLY feel :D

LavenderBlue
06-11-2014, 04:30 PM
"and how wonderful she is . . . that she's blond . . ."

What I really feel is that I should do a better job reading my own damned posts before submitting them. Damn it.

Malthus
06-11-2014, 04:33 PM
Oh c'mon, don't hold back. Tell us how you REALLY feel :D

Dazzled by the author's wonderous blondness? :D

LavenderBlue
06-11-2014, 04:40 PM
Dazzled by the author's wonderous blondness? :D

And her Smithness. Don't forget her Smithness!

DZedNConfused
06-11-2014, 04:42 PM
Apparently her general awesomeness is a light brighter than Colossus in the sun! :D

Malthus
06-11-2014, 04:50 PM
Apparently her general awesomeness is a light brighter than Colossus in the sun! :D

Evidently, her awesomeness is so blinding, it causes people to make typos. :cool:

Chefguy
06-11-2014, 10:15 PM
I'm about to start Fields of Fire: The Canadians in Normandy, by Terry Copp. This is in response to a thread in GQ about Normandy and Canada's contribution to the war effort. The book apparently vigorously disputes the "common knowledge" that the Canadian forces had poor leadership and performed less than adequately.

Chefguy
06-12-2014, 11:29 AM
I'm about to start Fields of Fire: The Canadians in Normandy, by Terry Copp. This is in response to a thread in GQ about Normandy and Canada's contribution to the war effort. The book apparently vigorously disputes the "common knowledge" that the Canadian forces had poor leadership and performed less than adequately.

Well, that was quick. Opened the book last night and the print is so tiny that I can't comfortably read it, even with my glasses. Why would anybody publish a book with print that small? To save paper? Also, it's written in giant paragraphs that nobody wants to wade through. Bummer.

NineToTheSky
06-12-2014, 12:49 PM
I am reading three books at the moment. That's a really bad sign. All three are not bad enough to stop reading, but not good enough to get very involved in.

Firstly there is Orange Is The New Black. As others have said she is just too good to be true. She's bestest friends with everyone. There is no sense of dread or dismay - because she's blonde and lovable. Just one question: why orange? She says several times that they wear khaki. (I'm only 50% of the way through.)

Next is Dear Leader by Jan Jin-Sun. He was someone quite important in North Korea and has escaped the country. Unlike most other books on North Korea he has first hand experience of life there. It's interesting, but not gripping.

And then there is Look Who's Back by Timor Vermes. It has a great concept: Hitler returns to Berlin in 2011 at the same age as he was in 1945. No-one - not surprisingly - realises that he is the real thing, and take him to be a comic impersonator. It's written in Hitler's words, and his intention is to restart his campaign to give the Volk the Aryan world he thinks they deserve. It's written as a comedy, but doesn't shirk from the tough issues, such as anti Semitism and brutality.

hogarth
06-12-2014, 09:06 PM
I gave up on Washington Irving and I read Edith Wharton's House of Mirth instead. I liked it, except for (a) the endless Jewish stereotypes and (b) the name "Mrs. Peniston". Peniston? Really?

susan
06-12-2014, 09:43 PM
She's from Vaginia.

DZedNConfused
06-12-2014, 09:49 PM
I finished Sunstroke By Jesse Kellerman and he is definitely not either of his parents. Overall the book has pacing issues and the ending was incredibly anti climatic, but it was a decent read for a debut book. Interestingly, none of the characters are very likeable but they are interesting and realistic.

Siam Sam
06-12-2014, 09:57 PM
Finished The Associate, by John Grisham. A bright Yale law-school graduate is blackmailed into accepting an offer from a major law firm so he can steal secrets from them regarding a military-contractor client. Very good.

Have started Get Shorty, by Elmore Leonard. We saw the film version when it played here in Bangkok, but that was 19 years ago, so while I remember much of the movie, the book still reads fresh.

NotherYinzer
06-12-2014, 10:53 PM
I'm in a book group hosted by one of my favorite authors. It just started this week. Unfortunately I can't get my hands on our first book, Fortune's Pawn by Rachel Bach. The nearest copy is over 100 miles away so I'll have to wait a few days for an interlibrary loan copy to get here.

I tried reading Dune last week but still can't get into it. I tried back in college and it's not my cup of tea. Meanwhile, I picked up a copy of How About Never? Is Never Good for You? (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/20/books/bob-mankoffs-how-about-never-is-never-good-for-you.html?_r=0) by Bob Mankoff. That one sparked my interest.

LavenderBlue
06-12-2014, 11:21 PM
I gave up on Washington Irving and I read Edith Wharton's House of Mirth instead. I liked it, except for (a) the endless Jewish stereotypes and (b) the name "Mrs. Peniston". Peniston? Really?

I thought that the most depressing of her books. At least of the ones I've read so far.

I am reading A World Lit Only by Fire: The Medieval Mind and the Renaissance Portrait of an Age by William Manchester. It's basically the story of Martin Luther and the sparking of the modern era after a great time of almost nothing at all in Europe. As someone who is not Christian I find that Manchester has a wonderful knack for making difficult Christian concepts clear to the non-specialist. His prose is very engaging with an eye for the thoughtful and insightful detail.

Elendil's Heir
06-12-2014, 11:28 PM
...Meanwhile, I picked up a copy of How About Never? Is Never Good for You? (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/20/books/bob-mankoffs-how-about-never-is-never-good-for-you.html?_r=0) by Bob Mankoff. That one sparked my interest.

Check out the Rejection Collection books and Blown Covers, about cartoons and covers that didn't make it (for various reasons) into The New Yorker. A lotta good stuff there, and funny essays by the cartoonists/artists, too.

hogarth
06-13-2014, 07:33 AM
I thought that the most depressing of her books. At least of the ones I've read so far.
It had a sad ending, but it was no An American Tragedy. Maybe I'm just hard-hearted, but I only have a limited amount of sympathy for someone whose main problem is that she doesn't want to live within her financial means and feels that she's getting sucked into marrying *gasp* a rich Jew.

Catamount
06-13-2014, 08:08 AM
I thought that the most depressing of her books. At least of the ones I've read so far.
Ethan Frome is much, much more depressing.

DZedNConfused
06-13-2014, 12:29 PM
Thanks to a recommendation on here, I am about 50 pages into The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker. So far it is quite interesting and I like the characters. My only fear is that the narrative style is going to get on my nerves before the end.

NotherYinzer
06-13-2014, 12:49 PM
"Check out the Rejection Collection books and Blown Covers, about cartoons and covers that didn't make it (for various reasons) into The New Yorker."

I'll look for those, thanks!

Ignatz
06-14-2014, 05:15 PM
Elizabeth Drew's Washington Journal-Reporting Watergate and Richard Nixon's Downfall

Bought it today after seeing her discuss it on Book Tv this a.m. A 2014 republication of the original 1974 pub, with new Introduction and Afterword. My first gripe is that it apparently makes no mention (at least in the index) of the HERO of the entire affair, security guard Frank Wills (2/4/48-9/27/00) who, on his midnight shift rounds, found a basement door's latch taped over. He removed the tape and later that night found it re-taped over. He reported it and they caught the "plumbers" that had been directed by RMN and his administration's henchmen to burgle the DNC HQ. See NYT story:

http://www.nytimes.com/2000/09/29/us/frank-wills-52-watchman-foiled-watergate-break-in.html

Eleanor of Aquitaine
06-15-2014, 12:43 PM
Thanks to a recommendation on here, I am about 50 pages into The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker. So far it is quite interesting and I like the characters. My only fear is that the narrative style is going to get on my nerves before the end.I thought there was a little too much exposition in the beginning, but it got better.

I seem to be caught up in series books this month. I'm reading more into C.J. Cherryh's Foreigner series and Ben Aaronovitch's urban fantasy series. I have the new book in Alexander McCall Smith's No. 1 Ladies' Detective series, The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon - these cozy mysteries are fun. I have the new Scott Lynch book, The Republic of Thieves, lined up to read next.

But right now I'm deep into the new Diana Gabaldon book, Written in My Own Heart's Blood. It won't be my favorite in this series, but I am excessively fond of Gabaldon's work. It only feels like a smutty melodramatic time travel historical soap opera when I try to describe the plot out loud.

movingfinger
06-16-2014, 02:50 AM
I just finished What If? (possibly not the most original title) subtitled Strategic Alternatives of WWII. Lots of interesting possibilities there, (The US fleet setting an ambush for the Japanese fleet at Pearl Harbor and fighting them to a draw; an allied invasion into Yugoslavia east of Venice with the goal of driving on to Vienna through the Ljubliana Pass to name a couple) and some chilling ones: Nuking Berlin or Munich. Recommended for WW Deuce buffs.

Dendarii Dame
06-16-2014, 01:38 PM
I'm about halfway through The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, by Catherynne M. Valente, and I think it's excellent.

Malthus
06-16-2014, 02:02 PM
Re-reading The Master and Margarita, after seeing a TV series based on Bulgakov's short stories (A Young Doctor's Notebook).

Bulgakov is in my opinion at least the greatest Russian writer of the Soviet era.

DZedNConfused
06-16-2014, 02:45 PM
Re-reading The Master and Margarita, after seeing a TV series based on Bulgakov's short stories (A Young Doctor's Notebook).

Bulgakov is in my opinion at least the greatest Russian writer of the Soviet era.

I should reread it, it kind of went in one ear and out the other, which may just be a reflection of my maturity/life experience at the time...

Malthus
06-16-2014, 03:58 PM
I should reread it, it kind of went in one ear and out the other, which may just be a reflection of my maturity/life experience at the time...

It is awesome. Get an annotated translation, or you will miss half the content ... essentially, the devil himself shows up in Stalin's Moscow, in the guise of a visiting performer of magic, and proceeds to wreak havoc - mostly on people who deserve it. This is all by way of black, black comedy based on the Stalin era - for example, Satan makes several people "dissapear" by means of Black Magic, which totally confuses the locals (the subtext is of course that the dissapearance of Muscovites under Stalin did not exactly require "black magic" as an explaination).

Dung Beetle
06-18-2014, 08:48 AM
Wow! Just finished Michael Koryta’s new suspense novel Those Who Wish Me Dead (http://www.amazon.com/Those-Who-Wish-Me-Dead/dp/0316122556/ref=la_B001IOFBB0_1_1/179-0191520-4518279?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1403094696&sr=1-1), and it was his best yet. I want to run around looking for bored people, put a copy in their hands, and say, “Read this, you’ll like it!”

Onward now to another book I’ve been looking forward to, Jeff Vandermeer’s Authority (http://www.amazon.com/Authority-Novel-Southern-Reach-Trilogy/dp/0374104107/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1403095205&sr=1-3&keywords=jeff+vandermeer). It’s the second book of a trilogy. Maybe it’s just suffering by proximity to the Koryta book, but I’m on page 119 and I’ve already fallen asleep twice while reading it. I want to know more about Area X, but this book is doling out the crumbs so slowly!

astorian
06-18-2014, 10:15 AM
Right now, I'm reading James Dickey's Deliverance, which I'm quite liking. Which is strange because I HATED the movie.

The movie was 95% boring and 5% unintentionally hilarious.

DZedNConfused
06-18-2014, 04:24 PM
I finished Night Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko...

I think the philosophy and soul searching were interesting but probably more powerful in the native language. I did NOT like the end, it felt flat and horribly anti climatic to me. I also didn't like his female characters, the only one of interest was stuck in a stuffed owl for the first story. After that she was wallpaper....

susan
06-18-2014, 10:14 PM
I just loved The Curse of Chalion. I enjoyed the pacing--steady, steady, steady, st--WHAT??!! Loved the character development. Loved all the plot points clicking together. Great fun.

Siam Sam
06-18-2014, 10:32 PM
Finished Get Shorty, by Elmore Leonard. In which a movie-loving mafia collector travels to LA to collect a debt and discovers the movie business is a lot like his own business. It's just about exactly like I remember the film version 19 years ago, with one exception. The character of Michael Weir had his name changed to Martin Weir for the movie. That was the Danny DeVito character, the Shorty of the title. All the other names remained the same. I wonder why they would change just the one name. Was there a Michael Weir somewhere out there waiting to sue? But the book is good. Typical Leonard, he never disappoints.

Next up: The Comedians, by Graham Greene. Centered on Papa Doc's Haiti.

Elendil's Heir
06-19-2014, 12:49 AM
Made some progress on Solomon's Far from the Tree over the weekend, learning quite a bit more about autism and strife within the so-called autism community, but it's very dense and I know I'll never finish it all.

susan
06-19-2014, 01:51 AM
Made some progress on Solomon's Far from the Tree over the weekend, learning quite a bit more about autism and strife within the so-called autism community, but it's very dense and I know I'll never finish it all.I'm up to his prodigy/gifted chapter, where again the focus is on how everybody's depressed, damaged, and lonely.

Les Espaces Du Sommeil
06-19-2014, 09:38 AM
Marguerite Yourcenar's Mémoires d'Hadrien (Memoirs of Hadrian)

It's a fictional autobiography of the great Roman Emperor in which he meditates at the end of his life on love, art, war, philosophy and politics.

I'd read Yourcenar's L'Œuvre au Noir (The Abyss) when I was in secondary school. It was actually one of the few books I was assigned that really liked: a fascinating central character in a fascinating place at a fascinating time (Flanders in the 16th century - the dawn of the Modern Era, a booming economy and major discoveries on a background of religious turmoil). I reread it 10 years ago and it held up very well. For some reason however, I wasn't interested in reading Mémoires d'Hadrien although I knew it was considered her magnum opus. Probably because of the time period - I've never been very interested in Roman history.

Then late last year I thought about again and decided that I had to read it. I liked it a lot but I still give L'Oeuvre au Noir the edge.

Shodan
06-19-2014, 11:11 AM
I just started A Judgement in Stone by Ruth Rendell.You will not be sorry.

I was on a Western kick for a while, and did Zane Gray's The Lone Star Ranger, which was fun but unevenly paced. Then came The Lone Ranger Rides by Fran Stryker, the book that won the West. Tonto, Trigger, silver bullets - the whole shebang. Great fun.

Then a slew of Asimov - The Caves of Steel and The Naked Sun, and I am currently about three-quarters thru The Return of the Black Widowers. TRotBW is uneven - Asimov was better at designing puzzles than drawing characters. Especially female characters - Asimov is not as bad as John Campbell in his misogyny/indifference to half the human race, but still jarring to a modern sensibility. And the characters in the Black Widowers are arrested adolescents like a lot of sci-fi characters. Still not a bad collection of stories, and Asimov hit on a formula that worked for a series.

Next, I am thinking of tackling Ivanhoe. I am hoping for another classic adventure. I read The Prisoner of Zenda a while back, and enjoyed it thoroughly. Hope Scott is as entertaining.

Regards,
Shodan

DZedNConfused
06-19-2014, 11:41 AM
Next, I am thinking of tackling Ivanhoe. I am hoping for another classic adventure. I read The Prisoner of Zenda a while back, and enjoyed it thoroughly. Hope Scott is as entertaining.

Regards,
Shodan

I liked it, especially the fact that one of the heroines was a Jewish woman. Rebecca was a strong woman- not modern by any stretch, but strong for her time and Scott's- and was far from being a doormat.

Malthus
06-19-2014, 12:03 PM
I liked it, especially the fact that one of the heroines was a Jewish woman. Rebecca was a strong woman- not modern by any stretch, but strong for her time and Scott's- and was far from being a doormat.

I'm a big fan of Ivanhoe.

Rebecca was indeed the heroine (and a lot more so than Rowena). Allegedly, Scott based his character on famous Jewish woman, Rebecca Gratz, whom he did not personally know but with whom he shared a mutual friend - Washington Irving.

http://blog.loa.org/2010/07/washington-irving-and-model-for-rebecca.html

The ironic thing is that Scott was seemingly aiming at addressing anti-Semitic prejudice by making Rebecca the possessor of every virtue - she is gorgeous, clever, courageous and generous - but, on the other hand, her father Issac of York is a living, walking stereotype - a miser and somewhat of a coward (though redeemed somewhat by his love for his daughter).

DZedNConfused
06-19-2014, 12:13 PM
I

The ironic thing is that Scott was seemingly aiming at addressing anti-Semitic prejudice by making Rebecca the possessor of every virtue - she is gorgeous, clever, courageous and generous - but, on the other hand, her father Issac of York is a living, walking stereotype - a miser and somewhat of a coward (though redeemed somewhat by his love for his daughter).

I wonder if that too is a product of the times? People would take a virtuous Jewish woman but would boo out a virtuous man?

Still it was a step forward.

delphica
06-19-2014, 12:47 PM
Finished The Imperfectionists, by Tom Rachman, which is really more of a collection of short stories about the various people connected with an American-owned, English language international newspaper based in Rome. I enjoyed this a lot, I thought it captured the expat experience (in Italy) nicely, and I liked that some of the stories had "blink and you miss it" twists and reveals.

I had to stop reading Next Life Might Be Kinder, by Howard Norman. It's very well written, about the emotional aftermath of a man who loses his wife to a terrible murder ... BUT there was a character that was so annoying, I just couldn't take it. If anyone reads this, I will ask for spoilers because if it turns out that Annoying Character dies in a fire or has some other satisfying comeuppance, I will happily return to the book. It's been getting strong reviews, so I realize this is a personal issue I have with it.

I'm now reading Stuff Matters: Exploring the Marvelous Materials That Shape Our Man-Made World, by Mark Miodownik, pop science non-fiction that gives the background, some basic science, and some cultural impact notes on common materials, like paper, steel, and concrete. I like the book so far, I think Miodownick is solid on the background and science facts part, and I get that when we talk about "cultural impact" we're making sweeping statements about a culture in general ... BUT ... he really has a habit of making observations about "all people," like all people in the present day, and he seems oblivious that these pronouncements are really tied to his own preferences and they're not nearly as universal as he assumes. It's a little annoying, but overall the book is fine.

astorian
06-19-2014, 02:32 PM
I finished Deliverance, and just started on the Swedish murder mystery The Laughing Policeman by Sjöwall and Wahlöö.

I seem to recall there was a not very successful movie version, re-located in America and starring Walter Matthau as detective Martin Beck.

Grrlbrarian
06-19-2014, 03:39 PM
Just popped in to give my recommendation for two books I finished in the last 48 hours.

First: The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons (http://www.amazon.com/The-Tale-Dueling-Neurosurgeons-Revealed/dp/0316182346/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1403206104&sr=8-1&keywords=tale+of+the+dueling+neurosurgeons) by Sam Kean. It's organized by brain system: cerebellum, limbic system, etc. - and illustrated with anecdotes of history-making injuries that illuminated the workings of the brain system under discussion. I was hooked from the first with the opening description of the 'dueling neurosurgeons' who treated Henry II's jousting accident. If you have any interest in laypersons' neuroscience, you won't be able to put down this book.

Second: Corvus, A Life with Birds (http://www.amazon.com/Corvus-Life-Birds-Esther-Woolfson/dp/1582434778/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1403206542&sr=8-1&keywords=corvid+esther+woolfson) by Esther Woolfson. No plain memoir this. Woolfson has cared for many members of the corvid family, including crows and magpies, and gone to admire many more. She recounts their fascinating behavior but also muses on their relationship to each other, the ethical burden of 'owning' or 'taming' a bird, and much more. This is a sipping, not a bingeing book, that leaves lots of thoughtful questions behind. If you've ever wished to have a raven for a pet (or to be the pet of a raven), you'll be entranced.

Malthus
06-19-2014, 04:02 PM
Just popped in to give my recommendation for two books I finished in the last 48 hours.

First: The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons (http://www.amazon.com/The-Tale-Dueling-Neurosurgeons-Revealed/dp/0316182346/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1403206104&sr=8-1&keywords=tale+of+the+dueling+neurosurgeons) by Sam Kean. It's organized by brain system: cerebellum, limbic system, etc. - and illustrated with anecdotes of history-making injuries that illuminated the workings of the brain system under discussion. I was hooked from the first with the opening description of the 'dueling neurosurgeons' who treated Henry II's jousting accident. If you have any interest in laypersons' neuroscience, you won't be able to put down this book.

Second: Corvus, A Life with Birds (http://www.amazon.com/Corvus-Life-Birds-Esther-Woolfson/dp/1582434778/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1403206542&sr=8-1&keywords=corvid+esther+woolfson) by Esther Woolfson. No plain memoir this. Woolfson has cared for many members of the corvid family, including crows and magpies, and gone to admire many more. She recounts their fascinating behavior but also muses on their relationship to each other, the ethical burden of 'owning' or 'taming' a bird, and much more. This is a sipping, not a bingeing book, that leaves lots of thoughtful questions behind. If you've ever wished to have a raven for a pet (or to be the pet of a raven), you'll be entranced.

Heh, I liked Kean's other two books. I think I'll pick this one up. Thanks! :)

Reno Nevada
06-19-2014, 04:35 PM
I am reading A World Lit Only by Fire: The Medieval Mind and the Renaissance Portrait of an Age by William Manchester. It's basically the story of Martin Luther and the sparking of the modern era after a great time of almost nothing at all in Europe. As someone who is not Christian I find that Manchester has a wonderful knack for making difficult Christian concepts clear to the non-specialist. His prose is very engaging with an eye for the thoughtful and insightful detail.

I read this recently and enjoyed it a lot; it is very well written. Unfortunately, I am not sure how well-researched it is. I get the feeling that Manchester swallowed every scurrilous Weekly World News level story whole without second thoughts.

I am currently reading Crown of Renewal , the last of the 5-book Paladin's Legacy series by Elizabeth Moon. I liked her Deed of Paksennarion a lot, and this series is a sequel to the previous series, but I don't like this one nearly as much. She has too many characters, too many things going on--I just can't keep straight who is doing what to whom.

I did read the Paksennarion trilogy all at one time, and this series as the books were published, so that might have made a difference, but I doubt if I will ever re-read this series.

Elendil's Heir
06-19-2014, 11:31 PM
Finished The Imperfectionists, by Tom Rachman, which is really more of a collection of short stories about the various people connected with an American-owned, English language international newspaper based in Rome. I enjoyed this a lot, I thought it captured the expat experience (in Italy) nicely, and I liked that some of the stories had "blink and you miss it" twists and reveals....
My book club read that a few years ago, and we all - myself included - raved about it. A tragicomic masterpiece.

astorian
06-20-2014, 10:49 AM
The Laughing Policeman was a very fast read (but not a partcularly good story), so back to classics. I just started The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter this morning.

Dung Beetle
06-23-2014, 09:01 AM
I just finished Jeff Vandermeer’s Authority, second of the Southern Reach trilogy. Bits of it were interesting, notably the very end, but for the most part it was just a slog. I guess since there’s just one more book to go and it’s coming out soon, I’ll read it, but ugh. This one almost finished me.

Currently reading Dismantled (http://www.amazon.com/Dismantled-A-Novel-Jennifer-McMahon/dp/B002SB8P8S/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1403527622&sr=8-1&keywords=the+dismantlers+jennifer) by Jennifer McMahon, who has so far been very dependable. This one is about something bad a bunch of dirty hippies did in college. :)

Meurglys
06-23-2014, 09:27 AM
I just finished Jeff Vandermeer’s Authority, second of the Southern Reach trilogy. Bits of it were interesting, notably the very end, but for the most part it was just a slog. I guess since there’s just one more book to go and it’s coming out soon, I’ll read it, but ugh. This one almost finished me. That's a shame as I liked the first volume.

Not been reading much this month - holidays! - but I've started Robert Reed's The Memory of Sky. It's 'a Great Ship Trilogy' in one volume and is the story of a strange little boy being brought up secretly by his parents on a generation starship. But all he knows is that he's being brought up inside one of the dozens of giant trees all of humanity live in... I'm about a third of the way through the first novel of the set.

Catamount
06-23-2014, 05:08 PM
I finished Vicious Circle, the second of Mike Carey's Felix Castor novels. Fix is hired to track down the kidnapped ghost of a little girl. But before that gets going, his demon-possessed friend Rafi has a bad episode (to put it lightly) in the mental institution he's confined in and the director has given Fix twenty-eight days to find another place to put him or else he'll be turned over to a research institution. Meanwhile Juliet, the succubus that Fix took on as an intern at the end of the first book, is dealing with a possessed church. Chaos happens in an entertaining fashion. I loved it as much as I did the first book. By the end, Fix has twenty-one days to find a place for Rafi, a nice cliffhanger for the next installment.

My local library only has the first two books.

I am most displeased with this development.

DZedNConfused
06-23-2014, 05:18 PM
*peers around shiftily*

I am reading manga this weekend:

Ouran High School Host Club 9,10, 11 (for my inner teenage girl) by Bisco Hatori

Blue Exorcist 6 Kazue Kato

Natsume's Book of Friends 16 by Yuki Midorikawa

And No 6 # 4 by Asuko Asano & Hinoki Kino

hogarth
06-23-2014, 07:28 PM
Next, I am thinking of tackling Ivanhoe. I am hoping for another classic adventure. I read The Prisoner of Zenda a while back, and enjoyed it thoroughly. Hope Scott is as entertaining.
I re-read Ivanhoe a couple of months ago. (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showpost.php?p=17253592&postcount=19) The adventure parts are pretty good, but I have to admit that the undercurrent of sexual slavery struck me as creepy the second time around.

Malthus
06-24-2014, 10:08 AM
I re-read Ivanhoe a couple of months ago. (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showpost.php?p=17253592&postcount=19) The adventure parts are pretty good, but I have to admit that the undercurrent of sexual slavery struck me as creepy the second time around.

It had tons of creepy stuff in it. Potential burning at the stake for one main character and torture in a medieval dungeon for another, for starters; and of course one of the bad guys was carrying on his family tradition of kidnapping and raping women.

In fact, the plot was largely composed of creepy stuff! :D That's what the heroes were for - to rescue the good guys from some extremely bad guys.

Then there was the conflicted bad guy, that Templer dude.

Grrlbrarian
06-24-2014, 10:31 AM
Reading a few new (to me) books at present.

Primary fiction read is Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children (http://www.amazon.com/Midnights-Children-Modern-Library-Novels/dp/0812976533/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1403618928&sr=8-1&keywords=midnight%27s+children). I've been working on this one for a while, and I still can't quite get into it. I don't know why. I love books set in or about India, and this magical realistic portrait of children (and one child in particular) born at the moment of Partition should captivate me. But somehow, it doesn't. I find myself longing for one of RK Narayan's Malgudi novels instead. Normally I love magic realism, too. Not sure what gives. Maybe I've got an unreasonable dislike of Saleem Sinai's 'cucumber-like' nose or something!

Secondary fiction read is Neil Gaiman's American Gods (http://www.amazon.com/American-Gods-Neil-Gaiman/dp/0380789035/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1403619092&sr=8-1&keywords=american+gods). It's been an interesting journey with Shadow and Mr. Wednesday as they summon the old gods of America to defeat the new ones. In a neat cultural conjunction, I just watched Supernatural's "Hammer of the Gods" episode last night to see many of the same personalities. Ultimate moral of either story: Never, ever mess with old gods.

Tertiary fiction reads are a couple of children's / YA books: Un Lun Dun (http://www.amazon.com/Un-Lun-Dun-China-Mieville/dp/0345458443/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1403619521&sr=8-1&keywords=un+lun+dun) by China Mieville and Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library (http://www.amazon.com/Escape-Lemoncellos-Library-Chris-Grabenstein/dp/0307931471/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1403619561&sr=8-1&keywords=mr.+limoncello%27s+library) by Chris Grabenstein. Neither one quite grabs me, and I really WANTED to like both. I might be reading Un Lun Dun at too advanced an age, but it feels overlong and scattered to me (but then I'm not done yet, either). Not that I have to, but I don't find most of the main characters likable either. Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library has some elements I'd normally love: cool libraries, puzzles, clever kids. This book feels derivative of Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Jumanji to me (with maybe some of The Game of Sunken Places thrown in). I also get an uncomfortable feeling, reading along, as though it was written to be more filmed than read. Sorry, Mr. Grabenstein, but I think you've got a better script here than a book, though many 4th through 6th graders might disagree.

Nonfiction remains Good-bye to All That (http://www.amazon.com/Good-Bye-All-That-An-Autobiography/dp/0385093306/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1403620021&sr=8-1&keywords=good-bye+to+all+that) by Robert Graves. The more I read, the more respect I have for the men and women who endured World War I. Graves conveys the utter horror of daily reality in the trenches in such a matter-of-fact way that I literally find myself gulping and flinching from time to time. His bare prose conjures up such images - and yet the combatants were expected to bear it all with stiff upper lip and make a good show. :eek:

DZedNConfused
06-24-2014, 11:24 AM
Secondary fiction read is Neil Gaiman's American Gods (http://www.amazon.com/American-Gods-Neil-Gaiman/dp/0380789035/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1403619092&sr=8-1&keywords=american+gods). It's been an interesting journey with Shadow and Mr. Wednesday as they summon the old gods of America to defeat the new ones. In a neat cultural conjunction, I just watched Supernatural's "Hammer of the Gods" episode last night to see many of the same personalities. Ultimate moral of either story: Never, ever mess with old gods.



I read that one a few years ago, it was okay but I felt the ending was flat. Maybe the point just flew over my head...

I would like Neil Gaiman to follow up and write more about some of the side characters, Mr Toth and his cohort(name escapes me Anubis?) and the afreet and Middle Eastern fellow, that chapter ended MUCH to soon for me.

Grrlbrarian
06-24-2014, 11:38 AM
I read that one a few years ago, it was okay but I felt the ending was flat. Maybe the point just flew over my head...

I would like Neil Gaiman to follow up and write more about some of the side characters, Mr Toth and his cohort(name escapes me Anubis?) and the afreet and Middle Eastern fellow, that chapter ended MUCH to soon for me.

Mr. Ibis and Mr. Jacquel! :D I'd like that too. He's prolific enough, he may do it, especially since we got a whole book of, well, Anansi's Boys.

I've got 35 or so pages to go. I do think I see the stinger in the tail (at last) and if so, it promises cleverness. I'll be disappointed if said cleverness is not delivered, particularly if I get flatness instead!

DZedNConfused
06-24-2014, 11:51 AM
Mr Ibis yes! They were so fabulous.

Anansi's Boys was one of his best in my opinion, I tore through it like a whirlwind! And loved every second of it.

astorian
06-24-2014, 03:49 PM
Reading a few new (to me) books at present.

Primary fiction read is Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children (http://www.amazon.com/Midnights-Children-Modern-Library-Novels/dp/0812976533/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1403618928&sr=8-1&keywords=midnight%27s+children). I've been working on this one for a while, and I still can't quite get into it. I don't know why. I love books set in or about India, and this magical realistic portrait of children (and one child in particular) born at the moment of Partition should captivate me. But somehow, it doesn't. I find myself longing for one of RK Narayan's Malgudi novels instead. Normally I love magic realism, too. Not sure what gives. Maybe I've got an unreasonable dislike of Saleem Sinai's 'cucumber-like' nose or something!




No accounting for tastes. Midnight's Children is NOT a book I expected to like as much as I did.

This is a strange comparison, but it reminded me a lot of Forrest Gump.

koeeoaddi
06-24-2014, 04:12 PM
I'm half way through Cinnamon and Gunpowder, by Eli Brown, about a master chef who is kidnapped by the pirate 'Mad Hannah Mabbot'. While the book is not as complex or ambitious, I don't think I've had as much fun on a 19th Century wooden vessel since English Passengers.

hogarth
06-24-2014, 07:44 PM
It had tons of creepy stuff in it. Potential burning at the stake for one main character and torture in a medieval dungeon for another, for starters; and of course one of the bad guys was carrying on his family tradition of kidnapping and raping women.

In fact, the plot was largely composed of creepy stuff! :D That's what the heroes were for - to rescue the good guys from some extremely bad guys.
Except it's way too late for poor Ulrica, who gets captured by Front-de-Boeuf's father and forced into being his sexual plaything for years until Front-de-Boeuf kills his father and uses her as his own sex toy until she gets too old and ugly. And then when she meets Cedric (one of the good guys), he's disgusted at her for not fighting back hard enough at her rapists. I thought that was horrifying.

I just finished reading "The Hunchback of Notre Dame". I liked it, but I'll definitely add it to the category "I Can't Believe I Thought This Was A Kid's Story!" along with Ivanhoe and The Three Musketeers, for instance.

Malthus
06-25-2014, 09:38 AM
Except it's way too late for poor Ulrica, who gets captured by Front-de-Boeuf's father and forced into being his sexual plaything for years until Front-de-Boeuf kills his father and uses her as his own sex toy until she gets too old and ugly. And then when she meets Cedric (one of the good guys), he's disgusted at her for not fighting back hard enough at her rapists. I thought that was horrifying.



It certainly was. My point is that there is much in that book that was horrifying - indeed, the majority of the plot, given that it centres around rape, murder and extortion by torture.

Ulrica shows what the stakes are, if the heroes fail. Cedric's judgment of Ulrica is meant to be horrifying - this is a guy who disinherits his own son for not falling in with his vision of the world, so his judgment in-universe is already considered more than questionable - he's generally speaking incredibly stubborn and judgmental.

astorian
06-25-2014, 11:43 AM
Finished The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, and am now relaxing with Earl Derr Biggers' Charlie Chan Carries On.

chiroptera
06-25-2014, 04:23 PM
I just splurged and bought both Stephen King's Mr Mercedes AND Greg Iles Natchez Burning. in hardcover. At the supermarket.

(Along with several other things that I don't need but looked good. Andouille sausage, organic radishes, orange cauliflower, coconut milk, sesame oil, a cute tea towel....note to self: make a shopping list and stick to it.)

But I've been looking forward to reading both! Will start Mr Mercedes this evening.

Dung Beetle
06-26-2014, 08:40 AM
Currently reading Dismantled (http://www.amazon.com/Dismantled-A-Novel-Jennifer-McMahon/dp/B002SB8P8S/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1403527622&sr=8-1&keywords=the+dismantlers+jennifer) by Jennifer McMahon, who has so far been very dependable. This one is about something bad a bunch of dirty hippies did in college. :)

Oh dear. My dependable Jennifer wrote a turd. And I read the whole thing!

The character Suz, who supposedly motivated all the other characters with her charisma, was just loathsome. Plus she called everyone “babycakes” all the time. That’s a shootin’ offense right there, if you ask me. Actually every character was loathsome, except possibly the little girl, who just needed to see a doctor ASAP. And when the plot twists started, things got less and less and less believable until the whole thing was just a big pile of NOOOOOOO.

I will read another Jennifer McMahon book. Someday.

-------------------------

On a recent trip to Alaska, I met a sweet doggie named Truce. His owner, a nice girl named Carrie, let me pet him for upwards of ten minutes because she was so engrossed in this book, literally laughing out loud from time to time. It is Caitlin Moran’s How to Be a Woman (http://www.amazon.com/How-Be-Woman-Caitlin-Moran/dp/0062124293/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1403785477&sr=1-1&keywords=caitlin+moran). I’m only a few pages in and it is veddy veddy British, which I consider a point in its favor.

Thanks, Carrie!

astorian
06-26-2014, 11:51 AM
Done with Charlie Chan.

I've never read much from the Beat set, so I'm only now reading Jack Kerouac's On the Road. About 10% of the way into it, I understand BOTH why so many people think it's brilliant AND why Truman Capote sneered, "This isn't writing, it's TYPING."

Macca26
06-26-2014, 01:32 PM
Just finished up Tarzan of the Apes and had a roaring good time of it. Usually I only read on my lunch breaks anymore but Tarzan had me reading at home too. Burroughs was really a businessman and it shows in how he finished the novel. It just leaves you slavering for the next one to find out what happens next. Sadly, the library system here does not have any other books in the series so I will have to hunt it out in a bookshop or online. There's no used bookstores nearby so it's a pain to travel far only to find yet again, it's a used bookstore that only stocks modern straight fiction....but I may have found one the next state over. We'll see.

In the meantime, I'm trying out The Far Side of the World by O'Brian. I wasn't too enthused by Master & Commander (he cut out all the fun ship battles but left in the dry dinner conversations!) but I'm giving it another whirl. If I don't like this one much I don't think I'll search out any more of the novels. Loved the Horatio Hornblower books so I thought I'd get more of the same here (just with more laydeeeees *bedroom eyes*) but...we'll see.

LavenderBlue
06-26-2014, 02:33 PM
I picked up American Crucifixion: The Murder of Joseph Smith and the Fate of the Mormon Church by Alex Beam at the local library. So far rather engaging.

Catamount
06-26-2014, 05:07 PM
I've never read much from the Beat set, so I'm only now reading Jack Kerouac's On the Road. About 10% of the way into it, I understand BOTH why so many people think it's brilliant AND why Truman Capote sneered, "This isn't writing, it's TYPING."

I read that recently. Never have I come across a more loathsomely manipulative set of people. To paraphrase one Mr. Michael J. Nelson, "If there was ever a book I wanted to put into a stump grinder..."

Ann Hedonia
06-26-2014, 06:25 PM
But right now I'm deep into the new Diana Gabaldon book, Written in My Own Heart's Blood. It won't be my favorite in this series, but I am excessively fond of Gabaldon's work. It only feels like a smutty melodramatic time travel historical soap opera when I try to describe the plot out loud.

Good to finally see this book mentioned. I read it right after it came out - I'll admit I scheduled my annual 4 day All By Myself Beach Getaway around its release, so I finished it less than a week after it came out. I kind of figured I may have been the first around here to finish it so I've been biding my time.

Not my favorite in the series either, but I liked it better than the last couple of books -- it was good to see some new twists in the time travel aspect of the story.

I'm not going to say too much more I don't feel like dealing with spoiler boxes at the moment. I'm looking forward to some discussion once more fans have finished it.

Elendil's Heir
06-27-2014, 12:06 AM
...I've never read much from the Beat set, so I'm only now reading Jack Kerouac's On the Road. About 10% of the way into it, I understand BOTH why so many people think it's brilliant AND why Truman Capote sneered, "This isn't writing, it's TYPING."
I had a similar mixed reaction. I was glad I'd read it, to get a sense of the Beat generation and simply to have experienced such an iconic work, but if I never read another word of it that'd be OK.

I've finished the section on prodigies in Solomon's Far from the Tree, and am now beginning the one on children of rape. Slow going, very sad, but interesting.

Eleanor of Aquitaine
06-27-2014, 01:18 PM
I finished Vicious Circle, the second of Mike Carey's Felix Castor novels...I liked those books. Carey has a new novel out, not part of that series, called The Girl With All the Gifts. I'm looking forward to it.

In the meantime, I'm trying out The Far Side of the World by O'Brian. I wasn't too enthused by Master & Commander (he cut out all the fun ship battles but left in the dry dinner conversations!) but I'm giving it another whirl. If I don't like this one much I don't think I'll search out any more of the novels. Loved the Horatio Hornblower books so I thought I'd get more of the same here (just with more laydeeeees *bedroom eyes*) but...we'll see.At the end of Master and Commander, I was unsure if I wanted to continue the series. After finishing the third book, I went out and bought the entire 20 volume set.

Good to finally see this book mentioned. I read it right after it came out - I'll admit I scheduled my annual 4 day All By Myself Beach Getaway around its release, so I finished it less than a week after it came out. I kind of figured I may have been the first around here to finish it so I've been biding my time.

Not my favorite in the series either, but I liked it better than the last couple of books -- it was good to see some new twists in the time travel aspect of the story.

I'm not going to say too much more I don't feel like dealing with spoiler boxes at the moment. I'm looking forward to some discussion once more fans have finished it.(Written in My Own Heart's Blood) I liked the second half of it much better than the first half. For the first few hundred pages I felt like everyone was wandering aimlessly around New England with the Revolutionary War as a backdrop. The book has a lovely ending, much better than the annoying cliffhangers in the last book.

Catamount
06-27-2014, 08:22 PM
I liked those books. Carey has a new novel out, not part of that series, called The Girl With All the Gifts. I'm looking forward to it.

Don't tell me things like that. Mt. ToBeRead is already getting out of control.

Catamount
06-30-2014, 09:48 AM
I finished John Scalzi's Redshirts (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13055592-redshirts)and I was highly disappointed. For one thing, I didn't expect it to get so meta so quickly. When the truth about the Narrative was revealed, I was intrigued but it got old quick. But I think I could have dealt with that if I had stopped reading at the end of the main story. Heck, I even laughed at the ending. Then I read the Codas.

If you ever read this book, close it at the end of chapter 24 and do not reopen it.

The main story is light-hearted and fond of poking fun at itself (except when Scalzi gets too fond of his own cleverness). The Codas are just depressing. Oh, they have happy endings, but this is happy in the way that a third-degree burn isn't as bad as being caught in a combine.

I'm willing to admit that part of my problem with this book is that I've always hated the time-travel episodes of Star Trek and that's what this book is based on.

Siam Sam
06-30-2014, 11:58 AM
Finished The Comedians, by Graham Greene. A British hotelier in Port-au-Prince, an American vegetarian couple and a mysterious Englishman with a shady past all have doings in Papa Doc's Haiti of the mid-1960s. Good but not one of his best. The message was something about comedy amid tragedy, but that was kind of forced. Still a decent read.

BTW: Greene fans, or at least fans of The Quiet American, may be interested to know that the Brodard Cafe, which Greene immortalized in the novel, is still open in Saigon. It's kept it name but is now actually a part of the Australian coffee-shop chain Gloria Jean's. There's a shot of it nowadays here (http://lettersfromtheporch.files.wordpress.com/2010/09/dsc0524.jpg); and as Greene knew it in the 1950s here (http://lettersfromtheporch.files.wordpress.com/2010/09/004.jpg). The wife and I have been inside for a snack.

Now it's back to John Grisham, this time The Rainmaker.

Finagle
06-30-2014, 12:14 PM
In the meantime, I'm trying out The Far Side of the World by O'Brian. I wasn't too enthused by Master & Commander (he cut out all the fun ship battles but left in the dry dinner conversations!) but I'm giving it another whirl. If I don't like this one much I don't think I'll search out any more of the novels.

This is definitely a series that improves on re-reading. You start seeing all the dry humor that you missed the first time out. I would suggest reading them in order, though.

DZedNConfused
07-01-2014, 10:06 PM
Do we have a July Thread? Would you like me to start it?

I finished Treachery in Death by J.D. Robb and Of the two books I have read of JD Robb's in Death series, this one is so superior that I have to conclude it was written by an entirely different person. Everything from the plot to the conversations to the characters was smoother, more realistic and a good deal more fun to read. Please keep this ghost writer, ma'am.

The story wasn't so much a whodunnit, since we already knew who, but it was an interesting and very readable path to proving that the criminals had dunnit. The dialog was smooth and informational with none of the previous banter. The situations were tense and towards the end cause to hold one's breath in anticipation. The lack of creepy, awkward sex fetishment in all characters was an intense improvement over Origin in Death.

Dung Beetle
07-02-2014, 01:31 PM
Do we have a July Thread? Would you like me to start it?

I know, right? I'm jonesin' for some recommendations here!

(Don't mind me, EH, I'm not volunteering for the job!) :D

Eleanor of Aquitaine
07-02-2014, 01:38 PM
I know, right? I'm jonesin' for some recommendations here!

(Don't mind me, EH, I'm not volunteering for the job!) :DWell, don't make me do it!

I'm halfway through Scott Lynch's long-awaited novel, The Republic of Thieves. It's great fun! It's the third book in this series, the first of which is called The Lies of Locke Lamora. These are caper novels with a fantasy setting - sort of like Ocean's Eleven meets Oliver Twist.

Grrlbrarian
07-02-2014, 02:14 PM
Do we have a July Thread? Would you like me to start it?

Oh, would you? That would be so lovely! :)

DZedNConfused
07-02-2014, 04:00 PM
All right here it is!

July Reading Thread (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?p=17514466#post17514466)

Elendil's Heir
07-04-2014, 12:23 AM
Thanks. Been on the road a lot lately.

DZedNConfused
07-04-2014, 12:43 AM
You're Welcome, I figured you were busy.

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