Khadaji’s Whatcha Reading Thread - August 2020 edition

Finally on the downside of 2020! Can’t say I’ll be sorry to see this year gone.

So Whatcha all reading?

  • 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 2005. Consequently when he suddenly and quite unexpectantly passed away, January of 2013 we decided to rename this thread in his honor and to keep his memory, if not his ghost, alive.*

Last month: July thread

I’m always impressed that you can come up with some original welcome to the thread every month. I would suck at it.
I hope you feel better, and know that we really appreciate what you do here!

Yeah, just a bit stressed over here, same as everyone else, and we’re probably better than a lot, but I really wasn’t looking forward to job hunting at 55 during a pandemic.

Finished Feathers, by Jacqueline Woodson. Uneven, but parts of it were good.

Now I’m reading The Tangled Tree: A Radical New History of Life, by David Quammen.

I’ve been reading chapters of Middlesex, by Jeffrey Eugenides aloud to my wife as a bedtime story. She sometimes falls asleep, not because she’s bored but because that’s what bedtime stories are for, and it’s okay since I just fill her in the next night about the parts she missed.

I read Middlesex awhile back and liked but didn’t love it.

Having recently seen and enjoyed the Netflix miniseries very loosely based on it, I just finished Unorthodox by Deborah Feldman. It’s got a lot more about the author’s childhood and adolescence, and her married life takes a much different course than it does on the show. The show is really based on, at most, about 5% of the book. I learned a lot about the author and about Satmar Orthodox Judaism, but can’t say it was a great book.

I’m also nearing the end of JFK: A Vision for America, edited by Stephen Kennedy Smith and Douglas Brinkley, a big, well-illustrated coffeetable book with interesting essays by an impressive array of people, including the Dalai Lama, Conan O’Brien, David McCullough, Norman Mailer, Kofi Annan, Elizabeth Warren, John McCain, Jimmy Carter, Henry Kissinger, John Lewis and Joseph Ellis, among others.

Next up: Nico Walker’s Cherry, a novel about an Army medic who returns from overseas to the social wreckage of the opioid epidemic and eventually, I gather, becomes a bank robber. It’s grungy and dark so far.

I have a big stack of new books. They are all so delicious that I hardly know where to start. Maybe the first in Becky Chambers’s trilogy.

Three fourths of the way through LA Requiem, by Robert Crais. Very good.

Finished: The Fifth Risk by Michael Lewis. It was sickening to read about how Trump just didn’t care about a transition, how qualifications didn’t matter for whom he appointed etc., but it not surprising. The takeaway for me was that for all the Trump stuff that shows up in the news, a tremendous number of things don’t.

I said to my bro, hey, we trust Mother Earth to right things when it gets wonky. The “Founding Fathers” built in checks and balances. And then this guy came along…

In another thread I mentioned that “The House of the Rising Sun” was one of my all time favorite songs and another doper posted that Chasing the Rising Sun by Ted Anthony explores the origins of the song.

Once upon a time I would go into amazon and find a good used copy for not too much money. Recently however Mrs. L and I purged a lot of that stuff and it was painful. So if it won’t go on my tablet, I’m against bringing a new book into the house. Wait, that place that loans book? What’s it called, again? Oh yeah, a library. COVID conditions made me wait about 10 days but I got it.

I’m 60 pages in but it’s interesting so far and I like the writing style for the most part. I had read the name “Alan Lomax” associated with the song before. It turns out he would lug this heavy recording equipment around the country and pay people to sing their songs. It reminded me of P.A. Grainger, an Australian who collected English folk songs. Among these was “Londonderry Air,” which many know today by the title from lyrics added later: Danny Boy, another absolute favorite. I don’t know if Grainger paid them—I seem to recall that he got some songs from people on their death bed, meaning that if they died the song would die with them. Or at least, the most authoritative version of it.

I don’t read nearly enough. So even if I’m decades late, I’m a little proud of myself here. I had actually found another title. Barbara Chase-Riboud’s The President’s Daughter is historical fiction I guess. I like having someone put together some what-ifs for me, but of course it’s important to remember that the historic people may not have actually said or done what the author writes. Still, it flows nicely and I like it.

But can I meet these deadlines?

I am reading The Priory of the Orange Tree. I’m enjoying it and would recommend it.

Been a bit lazy about updating, those of you that follow my Goodreads know I’m reading though …

I read The Enforcer Enigma by Gail Carriger, the third book in her San Andreas Shifters series. I love, love, love her characters and her humour. It has been so fantastic to watch Alec grow from scared and insecure to a solid leader and protector for his pack

I also finished Fallow by Jordan L Hawk. I had given up on her Whyborne & Griffin series a couple years ago, oversaturation of mystical pillars of flame and magic in pop culture syndrome. However, his new book Unhallowed looked interesting … so I read it. It takes place in the same fictional city of Widdershins Mass. though some 10 years after the conclusion of the Whyborne & Griffin series, which was heavily referenced in the book. Consequently, I found myself wondering what I’d missed and decided to try it again… (spoiler I bought the book after Fallow just minutes ago)

Finished The Tangled Tree: A Radical New History of Life , by David Quammen, which was very interesting. Recommended for those who enjoy books about biology. So much has discovered since I learned about evolution and microbiology in high school.

Now I’m reading a science fiction novel, Cyteen, by C.J. Cherryh.

Just got the new Eric Flint contribution to his 163X universe: 1636 - The Atlantic Encounter. More adventures with Commander Cantrell and group, I imagine.

Ohh Cyteen! It’s quite an epic and a bit of a gut punch in places. On of my favorites from my early 20s.

I finally slogged through to the end of King’s “The Stand”. I found it largely boring, and not even very well written in many instances, especially when compared to other work of his. I certainly don’t see why a lot of King fans think this is his greatest work.

I’ve read the first three chapters of Mary Trump’s book. It really is a fascinating insight into her uncle’s behavior and sociopathy. Most of that family was badly damaged by Fred, Sr.j

Aw, sorry!

Perhaps it was the addition of all the extra material that was edited out of the original release. I wanted to like it, and did enjoy some parts, but it really dragged for me.

I’m sorry too! :smile:
I always thought the edited version was better paced, though I did enjoy reading about The Kid, etc. My favorite “extra material” was the part about how some of the people died who didn’t catch the flu.

I spent way too long reading Cold Magic, the first in a series. It’s one of those 500-page big-but-not-enormous fantasy novels, and it’s full of characters who are all like, “HOW DARE YOU FORGET OUR SHARED NOBLE HERITAGE! I WILL NOW SPEND FIVE MINUTES LECTURING YOU ON THE HISTORY OF OUR WORLD THAT YOU OBVIOUSLY WOULD ALREADY KNOW!”

It was fine, but I’m glad I’m done, because I have a trio of great books waiting for me.