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Old 06-30-2019, 05:00 PM
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Khadaji's Whatcha Reading Thread--July 2019 edition


July! Fireworks for the US.... books for the rest of us.


Currently I am reading:

Competence by Gail Carriger, the best so far of the Custard books, but stil not even visually up to the quality of the Parasol books.

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, much to my surprise, I am enjoying it a lot.

Killing Pretty by Richard Kadrey, someone tried to kill Death......

Shade Chaser by Sara COulson, the present tense narrative is fun, I'm not far into it but I enjoyed the first book in the series a lot.





^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Khadaji was one of the earlier members of 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, who started these threads way back in the Stone Age of 2013. Consequently when he suddenly and quite unexpectantly passed away, we decided to rename this thread in his honor and to keep his memory, if not his ghost, alive.
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Old 06-30-2019, 09:31 PM
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Yay summer vacation! I've finished three books over the past few days, all good:

Unholy Land, by Lavie Tidhar, is an alt-history in which a Jewish Homeland is established in eastern central Africa well before the Holocaust. Shades of City and the City, shades of Zelazny, shades of Phillip K. Dick, shades of Yiddish Policeman's Union, but also Tidhar's voice. Well worth reading. (And after writing that paragraph, I find this review, with a nearly identical paragraph in it. Heh.)

Storm of Locusts is the second in Rebecca Roanhorse's series about a post-apocalyptic world in which the Dine/Navajo have come out way better than most other folks, due to their help from Coyote and other morally ambiguous gods and monsters. It's not groundbreaking literature, but the setting is pretty great, and the action doesn't disappoint.

The Bird King, by G. Willow Wilson, begins in 1491 Grenada, with the Sultan under siege and his concubine (the point-of-view character) trying to figure out how to save her magical gay cartographer buddy from the Inquisition. It's a lot of fun. Some Goodreads reviews ding the book for being slow, but I definitely didn't think it was--not sure what they're talking about.

Last edited by Left Hand of Dorkness; 06-30-2019 at 09:35 PM.
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Old 06-30-2019, 10:10 PM
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Last month's thread: June is but a memory...
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Old 07-01-2019, 10:36 AM
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I'm in the middle of B. Traven's The Treasure of the Sierra Madre. It's good but pretty long-winded. I'm guessing that by the end I'll appreciate John Huston as a genius for his adaptation and condensation skills in creating the screenplay for the movie.

Next up: We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson.

Last edited by Rough Draft; 07-01-2019 at 10:37 AM.
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Old 07-01-2019, 11:35 AM
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Next up: We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson.
OOO! That's one of my favorites! It's creepy and very understated.
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Old 07-01-2019, 11:40 AM
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I'm about 40% of the way into Michael Chabon's The Yiddish Policemen's Union, and am enjoying it (thanks, zimaane!).
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Old 07-01-2019, 02:28 PM
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I'm almost done with Raising the Fleet by Ernest Arroyo and Stan Cohen, about the US Navy's ambitious and surprisingly successful salvage operations of its damaged and sunken warships after the 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Lots of pictures, reprinted detailed reports from ships' officers and other interesting stuff, but it's very poorly edited, with many typos.

Now about a quarter of the way through A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick, a novel about an arranged marriage in 1907 rural Wisconsin. The author is going on a tangent (a major character takes a trip to bustling St. Louis) that looks less and less like it's going to be a tangent; not sure where he's going with it, though.
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Old 07-03-2019, 09:00 AM
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Finished Applied Minds: How Engineers Think, by Guru Madhavan, which was interesting.

Just started Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie, which I'm enjoying so far.
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Old 07-03-2019, 03:22 PM
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Did not finish Rejoice, a Knife to the Heart, by Steve Erikson (author of the acclaimed Malazan series which I also did not finish).

The premise is fine: first contact with aliens comes from an AI sent to our solar system, which decides that humans are the equivalent of recalcitrant kindergarteners and put us in the equivalent of time-out, using force-fields to expel us from all sensitive earthly ecosystems and preventing every individual act of violence. Presumably their plan goes on from there.

However, it's the most obnoxious "author smarmily lectures the reader through characters that are thinly veiled mouthpieces" science fiction since Starship Troopers. In this case, I broadly agree with the author's point of view (humans are engaged in widespread and very serious ecological destruction, our tendency to violence is out of control, the rise of nationalism and fascism is really fucking awful), but he's just goddamned terrible at making the case.

Doctors literally refer to themselves as "being in the pocket of big Pharma." Murdo, a barely-changed parody of Rupert Murdoch, calls viewers of his TV network "rubes." The parody of Donald Trump is even more outrageous. Every point of view character either represents Erikson's beliefs, acts as a foil to characters spouting his POV, or are ridiculous stereotypes of what he imagines his political opponents to be like.

Meanwhile, the protagonist is--wait for it--a Canadian science fiction author, deemed by the aliens to be the best conduit for communicating the aliens' message to earthlings, since she's a leftist with an active blog who's already an expert at thinking about aliens (by virtue of being a SF author). Erikson even takes the time to tell us that, because she's a smoker, she's an expert at humility, because reasons reasons.

The only thing I can say in its favor is that now, when people think I hate Heinlein just because I disagree with his politics, I can hold this book up as a hypocrisy shield. Nope, I can say, I hate shitty polemics barely disguised as fiction.

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Old 07-03-2019, 08:21 PM
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<snip>

Now about a quarter of the way through A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick, a novel about an arranged marriage in 1907 rural Wisconsin. The author is going on a tangent (a major character takes a trip to bustling St. Louis) that looks less and less like it's going to be a tangent; not sure where he's going with it, though.
I'll be interested to see what you ultimately think of it. I read it a few months back (and believe I posted briefly about it), and though it has its moments I found it less than I had hoped for various reasons.

I read Alex Kotlowitz's newest book, An American Summer, mostly while in Chicago. Murder and violence in the inner city during one especially dangerous summer in Chicago, much but not all having to do with gang activity. Sobering, sad, and rather depressing; not the sort of book you turn to for answers in How to Stop the Shooting, in part because Kotlowitz recognizes that these are extraordinarily difficult problems to solve. But very well written and extremely insightful, and there are some people in the book you can't help but root for despite the things they've done. Glad I read it (I think).
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Old 07-03-2019, 11:07 PM
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Almost a quarter of the way through Misery, by Stephen King. Looking like one of his better ones.


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I'm in the middle of B. Traven's The Treasure of the Sierra Madre. It's good but pretty long-winded. I'm guessing that by the end I'll appreciate John Huston as a genius for his adaptation and condensation skills in creating the screenplay for the movie.
B. Traven was a shadowy figure. I saw a special on the movie version in which they said at one point a mysterious stranger visited the movie set, and later on they all figured that must have been him.
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Old 07-05-2019, 11:14 AM
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...Now about a quarter of the way through A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick, a novel about an arranged marriage in 1907 rural Wisconsin. The author is going on a tangent (a major character takes a trip to bustling St. Louis) that looks less and less like it's going to be a tangent; not sure where he's going with it, though.
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I'll be interested to see what you ultimately think of it. I read it a few months back (and believe I posted briefly about it), and though it has its moments I found it less than I had hoped for various reasons....
Just finished it, and was a bit disappointed. Overlong, and the three main characters did stupid things that seemed out of character just to keep the plot moving along. I started counting the times the author made dramatic declarative statements, especially using the word "never," and soon lost count. Great atmosphere, though, and I didn't see the key plot twist coming about halfway through. All in all, a mostly-interestingly dark retelling of the parable of the Prodigal Son, but probably not something I'd recommend to others.
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Old 07-05-2019, 11:27 AM
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On a two-week vacay on the Maine coast and decided to indulge in mystery fiction.

Just finished Black Wings Has My Angel, a 1953 noir by Elliot Chaze. Recently reprinted by New York Review Press, which does the most fascinating reprints. Highly recommended. Well-written story of an ex-con planning an armored car caper partnered only by a terrifying femme fatale.

Just finished Thereby Hangs a Tail, the second “Bernie and Chet” novel by Spencer Quinn (pseudonym for thriller writer Peter Abrahams), 2009. Bernie is a SoCal private eye, Chet is a hundred pound mongrel dog. Told from Chet’s POV. I normally hate this sort of thing, but Abrahams does a fine and witty take on life from a working dog’s mind. Not quite s good as the first, Dog On It, but good enough to eventually read #3.

Currently reading Dorothy L. Sayers’ The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club (1928), a top-notch Lord Peter Wimsey novel I hadn’t gotten around to yet. I read the first three Wimsey/Harriet Vane novels last year, which whipped up the appetite to finish off the Wimsey stand-alones, most of which I read in my teens. Might pick up a copy of Busman’s Holiday to complete all four Vanes.
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Old 07-05-2019, 01:53 PM
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Still working my way thru Battle: The Story of the Bulge and it is not disappointing. I mentioned the first chapters establishing the "it's quiet out there - too quiet" atmosphere. That atmosphere has given way to a horrifying mix of War with a Capital W. Mass confusion, nobody knows what is going on, there seems a realistic chance of disaster for the Allies, interspersed with moments of heroism and real tragedy - the general forced to abandon to destruction the division that holds his only son.

Toland excels in presenting both surrender, and "fight to the death", in relatable terms. The moral courage of a commander ordering another to stand his ground and fight, no matter what, and the physical courage of the commander receiving the order, who accepts that it will probably mean the deaths of his whole company - and probably himself as well. And the agony of the commander who has to surrender, because no object will be gained by sacrificing his men, and the derision he expects, and receives, from himself, his other officers, and even from some of his men.

As well as the juxtaposition of attitude among the soldiers. Some of them saying, "I am out of ammunition, I haven't slept in three days, I haven't eaten in two days, Panzers are killing us like flies - fuck this, I am going to the rear" and some others who are just as hungry, just as tired, just as scared - but saying "I joined this army to kill Germans and that's what I am going to do" and joining back up with companies heading back into the thick of things. And you can see yourself doing both.

And George Patton - as documented elsewhere, a jackass and a blowhard. But at least he's not a defeatist. Maybe even he is grossly over-confident, but Eisenhower seems to need someone who will take what he's got, put together a plan, and commit to victory. Is that going to get a lot of guys killed? Oh my yes. But a lot of them are going to be German.

Very good stuff.

On a totally un-related note, I found an audiobook of The Further Adventures of Doctor Syn and I am going to give it a shot. Maybe that will be more like the Disney Scarecrow of Romney Marsh I remember from my childhood - if not, let's see what the psychopath does next.

Regards,
Shodan
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Old 07-05-2019, 05:59 PM
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Very good stuff.

On a totally un-related note, I found an audiobook of The Further Adventures of Doctor Syn and I am going to give it a shot. Maybe that will be more like the Disney Scarecrow of Romney Marsh I remember from my childhood - if not, let's see what the psychopath does next.

Regards,
Shodan
SPOILER:
Nope
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Old 07-06-2019, 01:35 PM
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Finished Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie, which is very good.

Next up: Pleasures of Nature: A Literary Anthology, edited by Christina Hardyment. It begins with a quote from a Discworld novel, which I did not expect.
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Old 07-08-2019, 07:48 AM
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Picked up this book on a whim, though I'd never heard of the author: The Mausoleum, by David Mark. I'm only on page 29, but finding it interesting and well-written.
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Old 07-08-2019, 08:42 AM
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Started David McCulloch's The Pioneers .


I also have Steven Silverman's new book Amusement Parks. I corresponded with him recently, because I've been trying to get my own book on an amusement park published. Looksvery interesting.

I picked up a used copy of W.J. Humfreys' Physics of the Air, a book heavily cited by Jearl D. Walker and a good source on rainbows and the like. I'd heard about it for years, but only looked at a few copies in libraries.

I also picked up a used copy of E.E. Smith's The Skylark of Space, which I don't think I've read, despite having read the Lensman series. The first magazine installment of Skylark also contained the first "Buck Rogers" story.

and I still have that new copy of The Epic of Gilgamesh to read.
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Old 07-08-2019, 08:56 AM
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Took a long road trip this weekend and heard most but not all of Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin book of Napoleonic naval adventure, The Surgeon's Mate, which is great, including an exciting expedition to win over the Catalan garrison of a French fort. But still no explanation for the title of the book!
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Old 07-08-2019, 09:55 AM
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Oh, yeah. On audio I finished Preston and Child's White Fire. I was disappointed that I'd figured out the solution(s0 way in advance, although it wasn't clear to me which characters were responsible for what. they threw a Sherlock Holmes story into the middle of the book, which was diverting, but didn't feel Holmesian enough, and especially not like a "late" Holmes story, which this purported to be.

I'm now more than halfway through Clive Cussler's latest, The Oracle. This one feels different from his other Fargo stories. Robin Burcell, who has co-authored at least two of these with Cussler, also wrote this one, but maybe Cussler's letting her have more leash.
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Old 07-08-2019, 01:40 PM
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Finished Pleasures of Nature: A Literary Anthology, edited by Christina Hardyment. Uneven, but I enjoyed quite a few of the selections, especially an amusing description of a hedgehog.

Now I'm reading Deadlands: Boneyard, by Seanan McGuire.
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Old 07-10-2019, 01:33 PM
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Finished Killing PRetty by Richard Kadrey. I had just about given up on the series until the last page of the prior book when a man claiming to be Death asked Stark to find his stolen heart.... and here he is the sweetest Death since DEATH.
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Old 07-10-2019, 03:32 PM
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SPOILER:
Nope
I am about halfway thru, but so far, you appear to be correct. Still, I am enjoying it, in much the same spirit as I would a cross between Batman and Mike Hammer novels - he's a psychopath with a charmed life, all his enemies appear to have suffered significant brain injury if they can't figure out his secret identity, but I am being carried along enough that I am not inclined to quibble. As I feared and expected, no mention is made so far of his adoption of the daughter of his worst enemy of the first novel, but plot continuity is probably too much to expect.

For a country parson, he doesn't seem too conflicted by his oscillations between mercifully sparing, and then ruthlessly betraying and murdering, his enemies, but the author handles the irony of the secret identity entertainingly.

On paper I am reading The Folly of Fools: The Logic of Deceit and Self-Deception by Robert Trivers. Too soon to tell - so far it is mostly on the evolution of mimicry.

Regards,
Shodan
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Old 07-10-2019, 08:35 PM
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Took a long road trip this weekend and heard most but not all of Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin book of Napoleonic naval adventure, The Surgeon's Mate, which is great, including an exciting expedition to win over the Catalan garrison of a French fort. But still no explanation for the title of the book!
Finished it, and loved it. Turns out the title is a triple entendre that I didn't see coming.

I've now started Franklin and Winston: An Intimate Portrait of an Epic Friendship by Jon Meacham, a joint bio of the WWII leaders. A lot of familiar stuff here, but some that's new to me.
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Old 07-11-2019, 09:42 AM
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Finished Sayers’s Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club, which was in all ways an exemplary Classic British Aristocratic Mystery, including the denouement I’ve always hated:

Aristocratic Detective: “Here is a loaded revolver. Do the Gentleman Thing.”
Murderer: “........”
Aristocratic detective and Comrades repair to club bar; offstage BANG.
Aristocratic Detective: “What ho, chaps, whisky and soda all around...?”

Picked up and re-read a used copy of Ross Thomas’s 1983 political thriller Missionary Stew, which proved to be a fine palate cleanser. Shrewd characters, clever dialogue, plenty of sex and murdering.
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Old 07-11-2019, 02:29 PM
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Finished Deadlands: Boneyard, by Seanan McGuire. It was very good, for the most part.

Now I'm reading A Grand Success! The Aardman Journey, One Frame at a Time, by Peter Lord and David Sproxton.
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Old 07-12-2019, 12:18 AM
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Finished Misery, by Stephen King. A popular fiction author wrecks his car in rural Colorado and is saved by a batshit crazy lady who claims to be his number-one fan, holds him captive and forces him to write a new novel resurrecting a character he killed off. One of King's best works. I remember watching the film version when I lived in Albuquerque almost 30 years ago.

Have started The Black Dahlia, by James Ellroy. A fictionalized film-noir account of the infamous 1947 murder in Los Angeles. Ellroy's breakthrough novel, it is also the first installment in his LA Quartet series, the best-known book of which is LA Confidential. Very good so far.
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Old 07-12-2019, 07:40 AM
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One of King's best works.
Yes, I think it's right up there with The Shining. I very seriously considered naming my daughter Misery.


I finished The Mausoleum, and liked it very much. It was a murder mystery, however, I didn't much care about the mystery and was frankly confused about what had happened in the end. I just liked the two female characters and the setting so much I wanted to go on reading about them regardless.

Next up, another murder mystery, The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths.
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Old 07-13-2019, 08:31 AM
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Finished A Grand Success! The Aardman Journey, One Frame at a Time, by Peter Lord and David Sproxton. It was okay, and I was happy to find out about a bunch of one-minute Wallace and Grommit cartoons they made called "Cracking Contraptions". They're on YouTube.

Now I'm reading The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, by Alexander McCall Smith.
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Old 07-14-2019, 02:13 AM
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I very seriously considered naming my daughter Misery.
I thought I might name my son Pennywise, but then I never had one.
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Old 07-14-2019, 11:57 AM
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Just finished The Old Drift, a generations novel about Zambia past-present-future, written by a crackerjack Zambian author. It's intricate and beautiful and sharp and well-researched.

I wish I'd enjoyed it more.

Generations novels aren't really my jam, but that's a personal failing. Even if it took me a long time to make it through the book, I'm glad I read it.

Off to read some shit about spaceships or wizards or something next.
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Old 07-14-2019, 04:40 PM
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Finished The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, by Alexander McCall Smith, which I enjoyed.

Now I'm reading The Control of Nature, by John McPhee.
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Old 07-14-2019, 07:40 PM
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Aw, man. I got some rare time to just go hang out by myself, so I went to a riverside bar, got a beer, settled down on a bench by the river, and opened my new book, to see the two worst words I could see:

"Book Two."

Black Khan is gonna have to wait until I find the first book in the series.
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Old 07-14-2019, 08:33 PM
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Now working on Back to the Front by Stephen O’Shea. 1996.

A Canadian baby boomer is embarrassed by his lack of knowledge about the Great War, in which both of his grandfathers fought, and hikes the Western Front from the North Sea to the Swiss Border, dispensing history facts and anecdotes all the way.

Because it’s geographic, the time lines are tough to follow...he describes Passchendaele before the Somme, etc. But it’s a great, non-technical fun read. O’Shea includes all the great phony legends of the war, to his credit...the Angels of Mons, the Crucified Canadian, the tipped Virgin, etc.

I knew a lot of this stuff, but it would be a terrific first read for anyone who wanted to learn more about WWI, after we’ve passed the Centennial.
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Old 07-14-2019, 11:55 PM
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Just zipped through John Scalzi's Agent to the Stars, a funny sf novel about a hotshot Hollywood agent hired to represent an ugly, stinky alien race which wants to make a good first impression on humanity.

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Finished Misery, by Stephen King... One of King's best works....
Agreed. It's right up there with The Stand, 'Salem's Lot, 11/22/63 and The Dead Zone for me.

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Finished The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, by Alexander McCall Smith, which I enjoyed....
As did my book club and I, a few years back. Never read any of his other books, though.
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Old 07-15-2019, 11:16 PM
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I finished Bloodsucking Fiends by Christopher Moore for the second, third time? This was my book club's choice for June
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Old 07-16-2019, 08:45 AM
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I did two re-reads on audio book: What Every Body is Saying: An Ex-FBI Agent's Guide to Speed-Reading People by Joe Navarro and The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen.

I absolutely loved The Girl Who Chased the Moon, as much this time as I did the first time, eight years ago. It's a magical realism story about forbidden love and healing emotional wounds from the past.

Wouldn't say I "loved" What Every Body is Saying, but found it a useful primer/refresher on reading body language.

I read The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog: And Other Stories from a Child Psychiatrist's Notebook by Bruce D. Perry. It wasn't what I was expecting; it was heavier on the scientific research than I was expecting. But ... that's a good thing. It made the book better. It made it less of a simple experience reading stories, and more of me actually being able to learn psychological concepts and things about the way the brain develops that I could apply to my own experience and that of the people close to me. Even though this dealt with child psychology, I felt like a lot of the concepts could be applied to any sort of interpersonal interactions -- demonstrating how the desire to be touched and nurtured is more than simply an unnecessary pleasure, that it actually affects our physical health and ability to function in the world.

I read Kelly Link's collection of short stories, Pretty Monsters. She writes these surreal stories in dream-like settings. Having recently read and loved a collection of short stories by Karen Russell, I picked this book up, since I was in the mood for something similar. It scratched that itch, though (a) I definitely prefer Russell's stories, and (b) I did skip over some of the stories. Some stories were excellent, but not all of them.

Lastly, I just finished Attachments by Rainbow Rowell over the weekend, about a guy who is tasked with monitoring work emails for inappropriate content, and begins to fall for one of the women by reading what she writes. It's a cute story. The ending wasn't my favorite, but I kept turning the pages, wanting to know what happened next and thoroughly enjoying the story, so it was a win for me.
  #38  
Old 07-16-2019, 09:30 AM
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I'm still reading The Yiddish Policemen's Union; I think I'm about 70% through. I'm enjoying it, and I look forward to reading it each night, it's just taking me a while for some reason.

Quote:
Originally Posted by The wind of my soul View Post
Wouldn't say I "loved" What Every Body is Saying, but found it a useful primer/refresher on reading body language.
I read that about six years ago. Here's my Goodreads review:
Some interesting information, and I was glad to see the author repeatedly remind us that the behaviors he describes are merely indicators that something *could* be wrong, and not definitive markers of deception. However, I found myself distracted by the author's writing style: it's as though he was told that his target audience would be 8th-graders. Very repetitive, and every now and then he unnecessarily defines a word (like "pheremones" or "aperture") or concept. The style is why I give this book just three stars.
Did you notice any of the style issues that bugged me?
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Old 07-16-2019, 10:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Misnomer View Post

I read that about six years ago. Here's my Goodreads review:
Some interesting information, and I was glad to see the author repeatedly remind us that the behaviors he describes are merely indicators that something *could* be wrong, and not definitive markers of deception. However, I found myself distracted by the author's writing style: it's as though he was told that his target audience would be 8th-graders. Very repetitive, and every now and then he unnecessarily defines a word (like "pheremones" or "aperture") or concept. The style is why I give this book just three stars.
Did you notice any of the style issues that bugged me?
I've been staring at this comment for a few minutes, writing and erasing, because I did have some issues with his writing style, and I had trouble putting my finger on what my issues were, and I'm trying to decide if they're what you mentioned or not. I didn't really notice unnecessary definitions of words. I did notice that he seemed to unnecessarily belabor certain points, which might be what you're referring to when you say that it was repetitive and written for an 8th grader. I sometimes felt like he was really emphasizing the idea that you should pay attention to the people around you and other general concepts that were next to useless. Like at the beginning of the book, it felt like he took a while to get into the meat of the book and explain specific actions and concepts, rather than repeating generalities.
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Old 07-16-2019, 10:34 AM
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Just finished it, and was a bit disappointed. Overlong, and the three main characters did stupid things that seemed out of character just to keep the plot moving along. I started counting the times the author made dramatic declarative statements, especially using the word "never," and soon lost count. Great atmosphere, though, and I didn't see the key plot twist coming about halfway through. All in all, a mostly-interestingly dark retelling of the parable of the Prodigal Son, but probably not something I'd recommend to others.
Sounds about right! (This is in regard to A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick.) I didn;t notice the dramatic declarative statements so much, but the characters acting out of character--definitely. Agreed also about the atmosphere.

I started reading Valedictorian of Being Dead, by Heather B. Armstrong. Armstrong suffered from terrible depression and ultimately underwent a series of experimental treatments that essentially involved stopping brain activity for fifteen minutes at a time. She describes it as in effect a rebooting of the brain. At this point she's partway through the treatments and finding that, difficult as they are, they seem to be working. (It helps that she is getting enormous amounts of very useful help from her mother.) Much of the book thus far describes her depression and the circumstances of her life, in addition to detailing the experience of the treatments. As someone who also experiences depression, but not nearly as badly, it's interesting!

Armstrong's a good writer, a little reminiscent of Anne Lamott for those of you who are familiar with Lamott's works: the same sort of combination of introspection and humor, though I think Lamott is both more on target than Armstrong when it comes to knowing herself and funnier in the bargain. Anyway, I'll hope that the second half of the book continues in the same vein.

For fiction, I'm making my way through Dickens's Bleak House. Overly sentimental of course when viewed through a modern lens, and overly long--hey Charles, not everything has to be described in six paragraphs. But he is so good at characterization, and so good at dialogue, and so pointed in his satire... Exactly where the plot is going and which of the four hundred and fifty-eight characters he's introduced will end up being important remains to be seen, but for now I'm enjoying the ride. And does my Lady Dedlock have a skeleton or two in her closet, and an unacknowledged daughter associated with the Jarndyce case? Well, we shall see...
  #41  
Old 07-16-2019, 11:03 PM
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For fiction, I'm making my way through Dickens's Bleak House. Overly sentimental of course when viewed through a modern lens, and overly long--hey Charles, not everything has to be described in six paragraphs. But he is so good at characterization, and so good at dialogue, and so pointed in his satire... Exactly where the plot is going and which of the four hundred and fifty-eight characters he's introduced will end up being important remains to be seen, but for now I'm enjoying the ride. And does my Lady Dedlock have a skeleton or two in her closet, and an unacknowledged daughter associated with the Jarndyce case? Well, we shall see...
I remember seeing the PBS adaptation back in the 80s, I believe, it was in my parents place so before 86 and after Raiders came out because it had Deholm Elliot in it, which was the reason I watched it. I remember enjoying the satire and the end, which I won't spoil and feeling a great deal of satisfaction for the happiness of a couple characters... everything else is blank

Last edited by DZedNConfused; 07-16-2019 at 11:04 PM. Reason: Commas are a thing! Use them!
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Old 07-17-2019, 11:56 AM
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Not familiar with that actor, but thanks for the recommendation (and for not spoiling). If I ever make it through the novel (I'm thinking it may take me longer to read it than it took CD to write it) I may look into it! Appreciate it.
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Old 07-18-2019, 01:27 PM
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Finished The Control of Nature, by John McPhee. Fascinating stuff about how governments coped with Mississippi River floods, an eruption in Iceland, and landslides in California. One of the best books I've read this year.

Now I'm reading Good Enough to Eat, a novel by Stacey Ballis.
  #44  
Old 07-18-2019, 02:14 PM
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I am reading I Like to Watch a collection of essays by TV writer Emily Nussbaum. I discovered her on Twitter and like her and her writing so I bought her book. It is mostly republished essays but they are new to me mostly at least so far. Even the ones about shows do not watch are interesting.

Concurrently I am reading the Core Rule Book for Star Trek Adventures. I am a weirdo who reads RPG source books for games I will probably never play for fun (I have over a dozen GURPs rule books and have never once played it). It is not cheap but if you are a Star Trek fan it is a fun read. Lots of info about the setting.
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Old 07-18-2019, 02:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Dendarii Dame View Post
Finished The Control of Nature, by John McPhee. Fascinating stuff about how governments coped with Mississippi River floods, an eruption in Iceland, and landslides in California. One of the best books I've read this year.

.
I especially like the section where he goes into detail about how the earthquakes, forest fires, the characteristic California flora, and floods and mudslides are all connected in a web of causality that newcomers are completely unaware of. I'd always wondered why there always seemed to be such devastating wildfires in Southern California, and what those weird wide cement basins that the LA river and other watercourses were for (they show up in a lot of movies -- Grease, Buckaroo Banzai, Terminator 2, etc.). It's all the same cycle, which could arguably be much better managed than it is now.
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  #46  
Old 07-18-2019, 02:45 PM
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I finished McCulloch's the Pioneers, then read Amusement Park Rides by Martin Easdown.

I'm now reading Heinlein's Children, a commentary on and dissection of the Juvenile Novels of Robert Heinlein, written by Joseph T. Major.


On audio, I'm re-listening to James Loewen's Lies my Teacher Told Me. The section on how kids don't learn from the examples of Nixon's and Reagan's reaches (Watergate, Iran/Contra), and how that might lead to greater abuses of power in the future seems particularly relevant now.
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Who is the Calypso Singer that rides Pegasus?
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Last edited by CalMeacham; 07-18-2019 at 02:47 PM.
  #47  
Old 07-18-2019, 06:33 PM
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Found this article today, thought it might be interesting to some of you:

The Tao of Sir Terry: Pratchett and Political Philosophy
J.R.H. Lawless

https://www.tor.com/2019/07/15/the-t...6fc45ec2cdf345
  #48  
Old 07-22-2019, 07:29 AM
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This week I'm reading Lessons From Lucy: The Simple Joys of an Old Happy Dog, by Dave Barry. He can still surprise a laugh out of me. I enjoyed the chapter about the Rock Bottom Remainders; never knew that Warren Zevon had played with them!
  #49  
Old 07-22-2019, 07:40 AM
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Finished Heinlein's Children over the weekend, now on to Stephen Silverman's The Amusement Park: 900 Years of Thrills and Spills. I also have the copy of Gilgamesh I picked up several weeks ago as backup.

On audio, I finished re-reading Lies my Teacher Told Me and am now listening to a collection of the works of Mark Twain.
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Who is the Calypso Singer that rides Pegasus?
Harry Bellerophonte
  #50  
Old 07-22-2019, 09:41 AM
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I just finished Westside, a weird noir urban fantasy set in early-20th-century New York. The prose owes a lot to Raymond Chandler, the setting to The City and the City. Overall I enjoyed it, but I don't think it's gonna revolutionize the genre or anything.

Still, it's nice to read urban fantasy that isn't set in London.
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