Khadaji’s Whatcha Reading Thread - December 2021 edition

Can you believe it’s already December. I have a “I must have blinked and missed summer” feeling even though it was record heat here. On the up side, due to concerns about supply chains and availability of goods, most of my Christmas shopping was ordered weeks ago and is consequently done!

I am currently reading:

There There by Tommy Orange… and not getting into it at all. We are a third of the way into the story and he’s still introducing characters. And all of them are unpleasant people, I can’t get into a story with characters I don’t care about or for. sigh

Dreaming of the Bones by Debbie Crombie. Sadly not her best effort either. Took to the halfway point to really get the plot going. The last couple books have been women as the killers, I’m expecting the same here.

A friend in the Fire by Gregory Ashe & C.S. Poe M/M murder mystery; I like both authors but goddamn Ashe rips my heart out and stomps it to a bloody pulp in every book. … and I keep coming back for more!

King and Queen By Maz Maddox. I mean gay dinosaur shifters? Yes please, thank you and can I have MORE!

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 unexpectedly passed away in January 2013, we decided to rename this thread in his honor and to keep his memory, if not his ghost, alive.

Last month’s thread: Well November is gone, will we get snow?

Started the last book of The Expanse series today. I also picked up a classic I’ve somehow missed - Ender’s Game.

I was wondering about this thread yesterday, but I digress before I begin.
“One Damned Thing After Another”, a mildly sci fi novel, one of many, by Jodi Taylor. Midway through “Pale Blue”, the last of three more mildly Sci Fi novels about the planned but not used Blue Gemini Air Force program.

Oh nothing much… just me sudddenly realizing it was the end of the month and when the hell did that happen?!

I’ve read half of it, but I was warned not to get attached to any characters so…

Thanks for starting the new thread, DZNC, but is the month in the thread title purposefully misspelled?

I’m about two-thirds of the way through Hans Hellmut Kirst’s Officer Factory, a WWII satire set in a German military academy, in which the untimely death (and possible murder) of an instructor during an explosives class reveals some of the intrigue, cliques and rivalries among the faculty. It’s surprisingly funny in parts (as when the cadets, in an etiquette class, debate what to do if your monocle falls into the cleavage of the woman with whom you’re dancing - one suggests picking her up and shaking her vigorously upside-down).

I’m nearly done with Jeff Shesol’s Mercury Rising, nonfiction about JFK, John Glenn and the early NASA manned space program. It’s so-so except for the section on Glenn’s first orbital flight in 1962, which is very exciting and engaging, even knowing how the story ends.

Taking a break, for the moment, from Thomas Berger’s slightly-tongue-in-cheek Camelot novel Arthur Rex and John Scalzi’s excellent sf novel The Last Colony.

I’m halfway through a book called The Perfect Guests by Emma Rous which is another on my list of locked room mysteries I wanted to tick off.

Also got the The Fire Court which is the second book of Andrew Taylor’s historical fiction thriller series in Restoration England (1660s). I reviewed his first book The Ashes of London in October and enjoyed it a lot.

Aw jeez, the one bit I didn’t proofread twice. :rofl:

Reading Highly Irregular by Arika Okrent. It’s about why English is so weird vs other languages in its pronunciation and spelling. (Spoiler: for a lot you can blame the French and the timing of the Printing Press) Really enjoying it.

Still reading Moby Dick, but getting close to the end. On audio, I’m re-reading The Lord of the Rings. For bedside reading, I’ve picked up Mediaeval Latin Lyrics (yes, it’s spelled that way), a penguin book, at a thrift shop, and have been working my ways through it.

I’ve also just been given a copy of Koren Shadmi’s graphic novel biography Lugosi: The Rise and Fall of Hollywood’s Dracula . So far, it’s very good, telling the story of his life as flashbacks from the time Lugosi booked himself into the hospital to treat his addiction. I already knew that Lugosi was a bad businessman, and had been poorly treated by Holywood, but I hadn’t realized that he was an impressive philanderer and spendthrift, going through a series of marriages where his wives walked out on him after catching him at it. It would be wrong to say he deserved his fate, but it’s fair to observe that he brought on a lot of his grief himself.

I hadn’t realized that Lugosi was one of the founders of one of the first – possibly the very first – actor’s unions. Interesting guy.

The Book of Eels: Our Enduring Fascination with the Most Mysterious Creature in the Natural World Patrik Svensson

A short, poetic book on the long fascination humans have had with eels, and the mysteries surrounding their life cycle. We know they start their lives in the Atlantic, but no one has even seen eels mating, nor do we know how they navigate up rivers and then find their way back to the sea again.

The author intermingles the history of the scientific study of eels with recollections of his childhood fishing for eels in the Swedish countryside, and some philosophical musings.

Highly recommended

Does it say anything about their affinity for hovercrafts?

I guess Elmore Leonard will not be releasing any new work (he died 8 years ago). His son Peter Leonard is an author, though. I’m currently reading his novel Sweet Dreams which I’m enjoying, having already read Raylan Goes To Detroit.

In Sweet Dreams:

Kate McGraw, the lone female on the US Marshals fugitive task force, is on the trail of homicidal bank robber when she is shot by a drugged-up ex-con. While she is in the hospital recuperating, a mysterious stranger leaves a bouquet of flowers in her room.

I’m about halfway through The Fall of Babel, final book in a fantasy series by Josiah Bancroft, and I couldn’t be happier with it.

No worries. Mod note sent.

FTW! :laughing:

Ha ha ha, no, no reference to the MP sketch.

I should also clarify the book is not about electric eels, as I had thought originally, but about Atlantic eels.
It turns out electric eels aren’t even true eels, they are more akin to catfish.

Do they come with wafers?

Finished. Not sure I’d recommend it except to hardcore space buffs.

I’ve now begun an audiobook of Ken Follett’s Never, which is shaping up to be a near-future apocalyptic drama. So far it’s kind of meh, but I’ll stick with it for now.

I consider myself a hardcore space buff so I’ll have a look at that book. I remember reading a long time ago that Jimmy Carter had narrowed his choice of Vice President to Walter Mondale and John Glenn and ultimately went with Mondale who had experience in Washington to balance his lack of experience. Whereas Glenn had only recently been elected as a Senator. I liked Mondale but would have been an interesting alternate history if the decision went the other way and an astronaut became Vice President and possibly President later on.

Yes, indeed. Glenn was also mentioned as a possible running mate for Mike Dukakis in 1988, but didn’t make it as far in the vetting process that time.

Dukakis choosing Lloyd Bentsen gave us that legendary debate zinger to Dan Quayle. It made not an inch of difference to the outcome of the race but it was incredible watching live at the time.

Anyway I just finished The Perfect Guest by Emma Rous. Fantastic country house mystery with elements of family secrets, locked room atmospheric thrill and deception. I enjoyed it tremendously.