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Old 02-28-2020, 09:07 PM
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Khadaji's Whatcha Reading Thread - March 2020 edition


Is that spring I see? Not according to the National weather service which is predicting snow this weekend *sigh*
Okay, I'll stay in and read......

Currently, my list on Goodreads is... well, long. But I'm aiming to finish these soon (however the new Rivers of London book just arrived so all bets are off!):

Catch and Kill by Ronan Farrow

Devil's Star by Jo Nesbo

Cunning Devil by Chris Underwood

Rising Wolf by Theda Black

Two Necromancers, a Dwarf Kingdom and a Sky City by L.G. Estrella

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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 the early 2000s. Consequently when he suddenly and quite unexpectedly passed away in 2013, we decided to rename this thread in his honor and to keep his memory, if not his ghost, alive.
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Old 02-28-2020, 09:13 PM
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Old 02-29-2020, 10:04 AM
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I've been reading the Slough House series of spy novels by Mick Herron. They're about modern British spies who failed badly enough to get kicked out of MI5, but not badly enough to be fired. Very amusing and well-written.
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Old 02-29-2020, 11:31 AM
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I've been reading the Slough House series of spy novels by Mick Herron. They're about modern British spies who failed badly enough to get kicked out of MI5, but not badly enough to be fired. Very amusing and well-written.
Humor is a hard thing to quantify.... I HATED the first book and found it a slog. Probably just me though
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Old 03-01-2020, 01:13 AM
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Close to finishing Gettysburg, by Stephen W. Sears. I'm in the middle of Pickett's Charge. Spoiler Alert: That charge ain't gonna end well.
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Old 03-01-2020, 02:48 PM
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I finished Barbara Eden's Jeannie Out of the Bottle, which was a quick read. I then launched into a bunch of books I'd picked up at science fiction conventions and used book shops:

Earthman's Burden by Poul Anderson and Gordon Dickson. Ever since I saw the 1950s magazine with The Adventure of the Misplaced Hound I've wanted to read the earliest Hoka stories by Anderson and Dickson. The Hoka, in case you don't know, and teddy bear-shaped and sized- aliens who are highly imitative of Earth Culture. I suspect the Star Trek (OS) episode "A Piece of the Action" was inspired by the Hoka idea, only they played it with humans for the TV episode, of course. The Hoka might even have been an ninspiration for Lucas' Ewoks, since they're diminutive bear-like aliens who, in at least one story ("In Hoka Signo Vinces") they defeat a technologically superior alien foe. (Anderson appears to like that kind of story. That's basically the plot of his novel The High Crusade) The idea of the highly imitative culture that's THAT imitative makes for cute stories, but it's clearly unworkable. I ended up enjoying the the stories not very much, and thinking that several of them would probably be considered politically incorrect these days, right down to that book title.

Godel's Proof by Ernest Nagel and James R. Newman -- offers a sketch of Godel's proof, with none of the details. This suited me fine. I would've been put off by a rigorous explanation, and this book, which I've seen for years but never read, is a lot shorter and more direct than Godel, Escher, Bach

Norstrilia by Cordwainer Smith. -- I'd read the Ballantine/Del Rey version years ago, but the NESFA Press edition has a lengthy appendix that has the material taken away from or added to both the original magazine publication and the Pyramid Books paperback editions (which chopped the novel into two halves). I was surprised how much I'd forgotten.

A World Named Cleopatra -- I'd wanted to read this one, too. It's a "shared world" novel, in which POul Anderson (again) sets up the premise, and three other authors Michael Orgill, Jack Dann, and George Zebrowski -- wrote stories set on the world of "Cleopatra", to add to Anderson's original. Shared Worlds can be either very good or very bad. Medea: Harlan's World was an example of the latter. The authors in that case pretty much concentrated on their own idea, not necessarily close to the supposedly "shared" content. On the other hand, the apparently interminable Man-Kzin War series, based on Larry Niven's universe, is frequently excellent. I'm only halfway through, but this is looking more like the first kind.

On audio I've finished Clive Cussler;s The Final Option, his most recent of the Oregon Files novels. I have no doubt that he has at least one more plotted in his notes, if not more, and I am curious where hes going to go with it now that he made a major change in things.

Having finished that, I'm reading Anthony Horowitz' Moriarty. Horowitz wrote the two most recent James Bond entries, Trigger Mortis and Forever and a Day, both of them using some Fleming material. He has been, to my mind, one of the best of the post-Fleming Bond authors, along with Sebastian Faulks, whose Devil May Care started the latest round of new Bonds. In "Moriarty" he's obviously trying to do the same with Sherlock Holmes. It's an interesting book, but suffers from false pretenses. Moriarty is dead at the very start, Holmes has apparently been killed at Reichenbach Falls, and our main characters are the Scotland Yard detective Athelny Jones (coming of much better than he does in Doyle's stories) and a Pinkerton detective named Chase. It's the not-really-a-Sherlock-Holmes story approach I've seen others use, although set in the Holmes universe. Sort of another shared-world story. Not entirely satisfactory, but I'm only halfway through, so we'll see if it improves.
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Old 03-01-2020, 08:46 PM
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Finished Curious Toys by Elizabeth Hand. A killer is loose in Riverview amusement park in Chicago shortly after the outbreak of WWI. Pin, a girl who dresses as a boy, lives in the park with her mother, a professional dance partner and "gypsy" fortuneteller, and gets involved in the search for the murderer. She is helped in this by Henry Darger, later famous as a folk artist.

The book is kind of fun. Pin is interesting, and the mystery part is fine; the atmosphere of the park and the hundred-years-ago world is nicely done and often evocative. The Darger part doesn't really work, unfortunately. Feels like Hand decided to write a book with Darger as a character, whether or not he fit (hint: he doesn't, really)...might've been a stronger book without him. Oh well. It wasn't a waste of time by any means, but I can't say I recommend it exactly.
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Old 03-02-2020, 07:21 AM
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This morning I read Fox 8, a short story by George Saunders, who also wrote Lincoln in the Bardo.

This story is written in dialect, and is about a fox who learns to speak Yuman by listening outside of people's windows. He references Dickens at one point, but usually speaks like Bill & Ted.
Quote:
He woslike: I'll go with you, Fox 8.
I woslike: Dude.
So it's extremely cute, in a bad way. Also, animals get hurt in this story.


I did read one review of it over at Goodreads that I enjoyed more than the tale itself. [spoiler]
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Old 03-02-2020, 07:23 AM
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Hey, I wasn't finished! So anyway, that review:
SPOILER:
WHO HURT FOX 8 I JUST WANNA TALK

That just broke me up for some reason.
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Old 03-02-2020, 07:29 AM
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Montana Bigfoot Campfire Stories by Rusty Wilson. I love a good real life Bigfoot story and Rusty polishes up what people tell him to make them readable.

I'm also rereading the first 3 Witch World books.
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Old 03-02-2020, 08:06 AM
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Finished Naked Came the Florida Man, the latest Serge Storms novel by Tim Dorsey, which was okay.

Now I'm reading Mother Love: Poems, by Rita Dove.
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Old 03-02-2020, 09:22 AM
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I quit reading sci-fi wayyyyy back in high school, but recently I went to a talk by the author Daniel Wilson. He happens to be a member of the Cherokee Nation and was speaking to the local chapter. He is (or was) also one of the foremost experts on robotics, and wrote a book called Robopocalypse, which ended up a best seller.

Long story short: That's what I'm reading. I was a bit apprehensive that he had perhaps ripped off the Terminator story line, but it's standing on its own so far.
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Old 03-02-2020, 08:13 PM
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I just started An Ace and a Pair, the first book in a series by Bruce Banner. The series is a police procedural about an older cop who gets assigned to run a Cold Case team as a punishment for, as he says, being a dinosaur. He's also assigned to work with a woman everyone dislikes because she has a bad attitude. I'm only a few pages in but so far I like it quite a bit, and the good news is there are, I think, 20 or so in the series. All seem to be fairly short. Anyone else read Banner? He is extremely prolific and has several series; one is about a spy, I think.
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Old 03-02-2020, 10:50 PM
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I started The Witch Elm by Tana French yesterday. Good Lord that woman is in love with the sound of her "voice", I'm one hour into the audio book and nothing has happened... except the pretentious douche of a narrator going on and on about his awesomeness and why doesn't everyone else see it. *insert barf emoji here*

My book club is reading it so I'll keep at it at least for a little while longer.
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Old 03-02-2020, 10:51 PM
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I just started An Ace and a Pair, the first book in a series by Bruce Banner. The series is a police procedural about an older cop who gets assigned to run a Cold Case team as a punishment for, as he says, being a dinosaur. He's also assigned to work with a woman everyone dislikes because she has a bad attitude. I'm only a few pages in but so far I like it quite a bit, and the good news is there are, I think, 20 or so in the series. All seem to be fairly short. Anyone else read Banner? He is extremely prolific and has several series; one is about a spy, I think.
Sounds like something I would enjoy! Psst it's Blake Banner not the Hulk

Also this book is free for Kindle right now if anyone is interested.

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Old 03-03-2020, 06:20 AM
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Sounds like something I would enjoy! Psst it's Blake Banner not the Hulk

Also this book is free for Kindle right now if anyone is interested.
Thanks for the correction on Banner's name. Duh. Also the book is included in a four-novel book that's 99 cents on Nook (or was yesterday). I finished Ace and a Pair last night and found it very entertaining; looking forward to more. The plot gets a bit convoluted toward the end, but the evolving relationship between the two detectives is very interesting.
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Old 03-03-2020, 07:52 AM
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Finished Mother Love: Poems, by Rita Dove. It was interesting, with some striking imagery.

Now I'm reading Annihilation, a science fiction novel by Jeff VanderMeer.
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Old 03-03-2020, 08:50 AM
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I quit reading sci-fi wayyyyy back in high school, but recently I went to a talk by the author Daniel Wilson. He happens to be a member of the Cherokee Nation and was speaking to the local chapter. He is (or was) also one of the foremost experts on robotics, and wrote a book called Robopocalypse, which ended up a best seller.

Long story short: That's what I'm reading. I was a bit apprehensive that he had perhaps ripped off the Terminator story line, but it's standing on its own so far.

He wrote a sequel, Robogenesis, that was published in 2014. I haven't read either of them.

Steven Spielberg was going to film it, but it has been put on a series of holds. Word now is that Michael Bay will be the director, if it ever becomes a real thing.
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Old 03-03-2020, 09:06 AM
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He wrote a sequel, Robogenesis, that was published in 2014. I haven't read either of them.

Steven Spielberg was going to film it, but it has been put on a series of holds. Word now is that Michael Bay will be the director, if it ever becomes a real thing.
Yeah, he mentioned that. He's also written a sequel (with permission) to The Andromeda Strain, called The Andromeda Evolution. He did this in cooperation with Crichton's estate and family, who had approval rights. I may try that one next, as it got excellent reviews.
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Old 03-03-2020, 09:27 AM
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I'm nearing the end of Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou, about big money and even bigger scandal at Theranos. It's pretty good; can't wait to see the well-deserved collapse of the company.

I'm also, now and then, making my way through Stephen King's short-story collection Nightmares & Dreamscapes and Isaac Asimov's The Foundation Trilogy.

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Close to finishing Gettysburg, by Stephen W. Sears. I'm in the middle of Pickett's Charge. Spoiler Alert: That charge ain't gonna end well.
Huzzah for the gallant boys in blue!

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...[Daniel Wilson has] also written a sequel (with permission) to The Andromeda Strain, called The Andromeda Evolution. He did this in cooperation with Crichton's estate and family, who had approval rights. I may try that one next, as it got excellent reviews.
Interesting! Hadn't heard of that. I'm a fan of the original book and movie. I look forward to learning what you think of the sequel.

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Old 03-04-2020, 07:20 AM
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I'm currently reading Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang. I think I need to find and read all this guy's stuff.
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Old 03-04-2020, 10:50 AM
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I'm currently reading Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang. I think I need to find and read all this guy's stuff.
Yes, I read that collection too. Some very interesting stuff that stays with you for a long time. Have you seen the sf first-contact drama Arrival, based on the title story, yet?
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Old 03-04-2020, 12:13 PM
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Nope, but it looks like I've got a lot to look forward to.
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Old 03-04-2020, 12:36 PM
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I'm currently reading Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang. I think I need to find and read all this guy's stuff.
I strongly recommend Ted Chiang's "Seventy-two Letters".

Finished Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer, which was okay.

Now I'm reading Come Tumbling Down by Seanan McGuire. It's the latest in her Wayward Children series.
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Old 03-04-2020, 01:03 PM
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Nope, but it looks like I've got a lot to look forward to.
Excellent movie, I thought, but quite different from the short story. Here's the trailer (with at least one scene that didn't make it into the final cut): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tFMo3UJ4B4g

Here's our earlier thread (spoilers ahoy!) contrasting the story with the movie: https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb...d.php?t=810262

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Old 03-04-2020, 09:43 PM
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I'm nearing the end of Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou, about big money and even bigger scandal at Theranos. It's pretty good; can't wait to see the well-deserved collapse of the company....
Just finished it; felt a bit rushed at the end. Overall, though, an interesting and worthwhile look at corporate fraud and the difference (mostly for the worst, in this case) a charismatic CEO can make.

Next up: Raylan by Elmore Leonard, crime novel about a laconic deputy U.S. marshal (the main character in the show Justified) investigating the marijuana trade in Appalachian Kentucky.
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Old 03-05-2020, 05:59 PM
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Finished Come Tumbling Down by Seanan McGuire. It's the best novel (well, novella) I've read so far this year, and the second best book overall.

Now I'm reading Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder. It's about Dr. Paul Farmer, who traveled the world providing health care to the poor.
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Old 03-06-2020, 11:57 PM
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Finished Gettysburg, by Stephen W. Sears. Robert E. Lee gets a serious ass-whoopin' over three days in July 1863. Very good. Gettysburg is the only Civil War battle site the wife and I have toured, eight years ago. I found my direct ancestor's name on a plaque up on I think it was Little Round Top that listed everyone in his New York outfit. I think the pictures from that trip are all stored in Bangkok, but I plan to do some more research on him.

I read The Killer Angels, by Michael Shaara, a couple years ago, but this does feel like a good time for a re-read, so that one's up next.
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Old 03-07-2020, 02:34 PM
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A fine plan!

Voices of the Civil War: Gettysburg (Time-Life Books, Henry Woodhead, ed.) is a good illustrated guide to the battle, too. Then you might want to check out Gettysburg, a loose film adaptation of The Killer Angels (with Jeff Daniels as Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, in the role that should have won him an Oscar).
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Old 03-08-2020, 12:13 AM
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Then you might want to check out Gettysburg, a loose film adaptation of The Killer Angels (with Jeff Daniels as Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, in the role that should have won him an Oscar).
Is that the four-hour version from the mid-1990s? If so, we watched that on videotape in Bangkok back in he day. Martin Sheen as Robert E. Lee, yes? I recall the dialogue being rather stilted but the battle scenes excellent. And the Chamberlain scenes really good. I have an especial interest in Chamberlain. A fantastic individual.
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Old 03-08-2020, 01:23 AM
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Michael McDowell's Blackwater. It's excellent.
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Old 03-08-2020, 04:35 PM
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Finished Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder. It's one of the best books I've read this year.

Now I'm reading Briarpatch, a mystery by Ross Thomas.
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Old 03-08-2020, 04:56 PM
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After a run of ubergrim books, I read Turning Darkness Into Light. At first I thought it was gonna be too twee, too British-Upper-Crust-Comedy-of-Manners, but it soon got into much more complicated territory and was a delight.

I also read Dragons in a Bag to my first-grader. Very solid middle-grade chapter book fantasy, in which all the humans are people of color living in New York.
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Old 03-08-2020, 11:16 PM
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I finished Elmore Leonard's Raylan today and enjoyed it a lot. A laconic, badass deputy U.S. marshal takes on mining bosses, bank robbers, pot dealers and organ-nappers in his home state of Kentucky. Good stuff.

I just began Bill Bryson's Notes from a Small Island, about an expatriate American's thoughts on the U.K. It's not very funny so far, but I'll keep at it.

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Is [Gettysburg] the four-hour version from the mid-1990s? If so, we watched that on videotape in Bangkok back in he day. Martin Sheen as Robert E. Lee, yes? I recall the dialogue being rather stilted but the battle scenes excellent. And the Chamberlain scenes really good. I have an especial interest in Chamberlain. A fantastic individual.
That's the one. Sheen was miscast, I think; Robert Duvall makes a much better Lee in Gods & Generals but, alas, that's a terrible movie.

And yes, Chamberlain is a hero of mine - I have a framed photo of him in my office. A polymath citizen-soldier, educator, author and statesman. He'd have been a better President than most of those we had in the decades after the Civil War.
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Old 03-10-2020, 08:04 AM
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I finished the Brice Campbell autobio If Chins could Kill: confessions of a B-Grade Actor, a quick and interesting read by a guy who's a B-grade actor from a blue-collar background and knows and loves it. It's interesting to see that he admired Rocky Horror Picture Show at the midnight showings, then ended up co-starring with Tim Curry in Congo. ("Yeah," agreed Curry, "That movie kept a lot of theaters going.")

Now I'm reading Alan Dean Foster's For Love of Mother-Not, the fifth Flinx novel he wrote (although the first, chronologically. I picked up a copy for free, and I'd been mildly curious for years, so I'm finally reading it. It's an OK read, but on page 54 is a sentence that I think he thought was clever, but which doesn't belong in a book that isn't a comedy:

Quote:
Flinx stood there for what felt like an eternity, though surely it was not even half that long.
I suspect it's things like that which made James Cameron insist that someone else do the novelization of The Abyss. He hated what Foster came up with for Aliens.*

I'm almost through it. Next up is a copy of Rex Stout's Plot it Yourself


On audio I finished Horowitz' Moriarty. You could tell something else was going on, because things Didn't Add Up. And, although Moriarty's name was on the cover, he hadn't shown up in flashbacks or something, and you got the feeling he was pulling strings off-camera. Horowitz finally drew back the curtain practically at the end, and I found it unsatisfying.

Now I'm listening to Oliver Twist. Dickens is iffy. I loved A Christmas Carol, which I've re-read countless times. I read A Tale of Two Cities twice. But I loathed Hard Times. I read his other Christmas books, but disliked them all. And I couldn't get into The Pickwick Papers at all. So I was delighted to find that I really do enjoy Oliver Twist. It's not just that I'm familiar with the story. In fact, I think that I like it despite that familiarity, something I found with Stevenson's Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde -- in both cases the writing transcends the dullness of the adaptations of the work.


*Flinx always reminded me of Luke Skywalker -- essentially orphaned boy raised by others on a backwater planet in a star-spanning civilization who finds that he has psychic capabilities and has off-beat companions in a place where empires and powerful forces clash. I wasn't surprised when I learned that Foster was said to have ghosted the novelization of Star Wars, and when he wrote the first Star Wars novel, Splinter of the Mind's Eye. (And more recently wrote the novelization of The Force Awakens)
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Old 03-10-2020, 12:45 PM
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...I wasn't surprised when I learned that Foster was said to have ghosted the novelization of Star Wars, and when he wrote the first Star Wars novel, Splinter of the Mind's Eye. (And more recently wrote the novelization of The Force Awakens)
I read the first Flinx book and was underwhelmed, and haven't read any of the others. I enjoyed his novelization of the original Star Wars and thought Splinter was a very good sequel, too (although when I re-read it a few years ago I noticed that Luke and Leia were even more clearly on track to become lovers, before Lucas decided they'd be siblings instead). I read several of Foster's movie novelizations back in the day, including Dark Star, The Black Hole and Outland, and thought he did a good job.

His novelizations of the Star Trek animated series, several of which go well beyond what actually aired, are excellent - his book based on the episode "The Eye of the Beholder," in particular (found in Star Trek: Log Eight), is one of the best ST books I've ever read.

His Icerigger trilogy is also clever and a lot of fun.
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Old 03-10-2020, 01:33 PM
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My favorite works of Alan Dean Foster's (and I've read most of the Flinx series and a bunch of his other stuff) are his Mad Amos Weird Western stories. I got the complete edition of them for Christmas and I'll be reading it later this year.

Finished Briarpatch, a mystery by Ross Thomas, which I enjoyed.

Now I'm reading The Gifts of the Jews: How a Tribe of Desert Nomads Changed the Way Everyone Thinks and Feels, by Thomas Cahill.

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Old 03-10-2020, 04:29 PM
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I've set aside Bill Bryson's Notes from a Small Island, which just wasn't that funny and failed my 50-page rule, and have gone on to Out of Sight by Elmore Leonard, a very entertaining crime novel about the unlikely, star-crossed romance between a cop and a fugitive. Now I want to see the George Clooney/J-Lo movie based on it again, too.
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Old 03-11-2020, 07:37 AM
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Starting today on The Sun Down Motel, by Simone St. James. She writes ghost stories very well.
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Old 03-11-2020, 11:08 AM
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I started The Misbegotten by Katherine Webb, and was too disappointed to finish it. This book was as much of a "gimme" as there is -- it's in my favorite genre, and I've already read and enjoyed three other books by the author. But it never became more than words on a page to me, so I gave up on it.

I just finished What If? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe (of xkcd fame). I had this book on my to-read list for a solid 2.5 years, and kept not picking it up because it sounded like a bunch of short passages that had nothing to do with one another, and I wanted something cohesive. And I am so glad I waited, because the last few weeks have been outrageously busy, and if I ever found time to read, it was only for about 5 minutes at a time, so to have a book with short, disconnected passages that only took five minutes to read was a total godsend. The book was decent, but I would have liked to have seen more variety in terms of the questions posed than there was.

I'm about 2/3 of the way done with Neil Gaiman's Fragile Things: Short Fiction and Wonders, and I'm impressed with how little filler there is. I've read one of his previous short story collections, Smoke and Mirrors, and I've also read short story collections by enough other authors to know that even with a talented author, collections of short stories tend to be rather like a music album: some hits, some filler. And of course some stories are still better than others, but even the weaker stories in this book are pretty good.

Lastly, I started reading Finding Gobi: The True Story of a Little Dog and an Incredible Journey by Dion Leonard. I used to go trail running with a friend of mine, and I'd bring my dog along (who is a fabulous runner). My friend recommended this book to me; it's the story of an ultra-marathoner who comes across a stray dog during a race he's running and winds up adopting the dog (I think, I just started the book so I'm not sure). After reading the first bit, I find the narrator pretty hard to take: he takes every opportunity to tell you about how talented he is and how much he loves doing better than other people. But I get the impression from the synopsis that coming across the dog inspires some psychological changes in him, so I'm sticking with it in hopes that the narrator will become more bearable as the story goes on.
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Old 03-11-2020, 01:36 PM
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...I just finished What If? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe (of xkcd fame). I had this book on my to-read list for a solid 2.5 years, and kept not picking it up because it sounded like a bunch of short passages that had nothing to do with one another, and I wanted something cohesive. And I am so glad I waited, because the last few weeks have been outrageously busy, and if I ever found time to read, it was only for about 5 minutes at a time, so to have a book with short, disconnected passages that only took five minutes to read was a total godsend. The book was decent, but I would have liked to have seen more variety in terms of the questions posed than there was....
I read that a few years ago and really enjoyed it, despite the occasional authorial smugness that seemed to come through.
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Old 03-12-2020, 01:31 PM
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Finished The Gifts of the Jews: How a Tribe of Desert Nomads Changed the Way Everyone Thinks and Feels, by Thomas Cahill, which I thought was interesting.

Now I'm reading The Intuitionist, by Colson Whitehead.
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Old 03-14-2020, 06:15 PM
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Finished The Intuitionist, by Colson Whitehead. It was excellent. I'm going to recommend it to the SF book club I'm in.

Now I'm reading Ex Libris G. K. Chesterton, compiled by Dale Ahlquist.
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Old 03-14-2020, 06:16 PM
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Finished The Intuitionist, by Colson Whitehead. It was excellent. I'm going to recommend it to the SF book club I'm in.

Now I'm reading Ex Libris G. K. Chesterton, compiled by Dale Ahlquist.
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Old 03-14-2020, 11:27 PM
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Two of my favorite bio items about Chesterton. He traveled extensively, speaking to various audiences. From Wiki:He had a tendency to forget where he was supposed to be going and miss the train that was supposed to take him there. It is reported that on several occasions he sent a telegram to his wife Frances from an incorrect location, writing such things as "Am in Market Harborough. Where ought I to be?" to which she would reply, "Home."

He became quite large later in life. P. G. Wodehouse once described a very loud crash as "a sound like G. K. Chesterton falling onto a sheet of tin."
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Old 03-15-2020, 09:46 AM
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I finally went back and reengaged with "The Pioneers", which is about the settling of Ohio (primarily Marietta) and the path to statehood. A good history, well researched, but it took me a bit to get into it. Next up is The Children's Blizzard, by David Laskin. It's the story of the devastating blizzard of 1888. It was the worst in U.S. history, killing 400 people, dumping huge amounts of snow and delivering record below zero temps in places that never get that cold. 200 people died in NYC alone, most of them buried in drifts and dying of exposure.
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Old 03-15-2020, 07:04 PM
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Different blizzards, though the same winter. The one that hit NYC (and other places along the NE seaboard) was in March. The Children's Blizzard, which primarily hit the Dakotas, Nebraska, Minnesota, and Iowa, was in January. That's the one that's the subject of the Laskin book, which is grim but quite good.
  #48  
Old 03-16-2020, 07:58 AM
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Starting today on The Sun Down Motel, by Simone St. James. She writes ghost stories very well.
This is not going as well for me as I had hoped. The point-of-view switches between two characters each chapter. These two characters are working at the same job in the same place, dealing with a lot of the same people and issues, so I'm constantly getting confused. It's okay though.


Over the weekend, I read Project 333: the minimalist fashion challenge that proves less really is so much more by Courtney Carver. She blogs about simplifying life in many ways, but this book focuses on wardrobe, and the challenge is to wear only 33 items of clothing for three months. I don't know that I'm going along with her whole deal here, but reading the book did at least get me to purge some of my old clothes. I also picked out approximately 33 items to wear and put the rest away for now, so we'll see how that goes.
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Old 03-16-2020, 09:16 AM
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Finished Ex Libris G. K. Chesterton, compiled by Dale Ahlquist. I've read all of the Father Brown mysteries, and I liked this collection of quotes from his other books and writings as a journalist.

Now I'm reading Record of a Spaceborn Few, by Becky Chambers.
  #50  
Old 03-16-2020, 07:46 PM
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Dark Towers; Deutsche Bank, Donald Trump, and an Epic Trail of Destruction by David Enrich. I heard the author being interviewed on PBS and decided to pickup the book. It's not bad, but doesn't live up to it's title, IMHO. Mostly it's how Deutsche Bank got greedy, hired less than scrupulous traders and got caught.

Part of my problem is that sometimes the story moves too fast, it's hard understanding the complex economic hocus-pocus when after 10 pages or so we move on to a new story and a mostly new cast of characters. The author also decided to feature as a main character a young man who had a miserable childhood, is unable to commit to anything, uses drugs heavily, hacks his mom's computers and uses her credit cards illegally (albeit the family is a mess). And the info he provides is not all that critical, IMHO.

So...if you want an idea how a Mega-bank manages to screw up in this day and age, it's OK. But if you're looking to bust Trump or really understand how the mega-banks screw with us, maybe try something else.

IMHO as always. YMMV.
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