Khadaji’s Whatcha Reading Thread - February 2023 edition

February: Days are getting longer in the Northern Hemisphere, snow is melting (maybe, I hear the east coast is getting ice this week) and I had to use the visor in my car today for the first time in months!

So what’re we all readin?

Kindle: A Touch of Fever by Nazri Noor. Pretty standard fantasy quest plot, so far the world building is the most interesting part. The hero is rather immature and the writing is frankly juvenile, but I’ll see it to the conclusion.

Print: Digging for Richard III by Mike Pitts. A bit dry in places but appeals to the history nerd and archeology nerd in me.

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: What is this white stuff? SNOW?! It never snows here anymore…

Thank you for taking this over! It’s a fine tribute to a fine Doper.

I just finished Everyone Brave Will Be Forgiven by Chris Cleave, which follows three Londoners from the early days of WWII through the Blitz. I’d read his Little Bee (published as The OtherHand in Great Britain) and Incendiary and loved his writing style; now I’m just waiting impatiently for him to finish the next book.

Just finished rereading Stephen King’s Later (someone else mentioned it last month, prodding me to reread it). An enjoyable story.

Now I’m going to read Cultural Practices of the Heartland by Andy Crawford. If you know, you know.

Finally starting on The Picnic and Suchlike Pandemonium by Gerald Durrell, after one of the stories was recommended by @Dead_Cat in a thread waaaaay back in November. Enjoying it so far.

Finished The Country of the Pointed Firs and Other Stories by Sarah Orne Jewett, which I enjoyed. It’s a series of fictional anecdotes, and reminded me of some of the later Anne books by L. M. Montomery.

Now I’m reading Muslims of the Heartland: How Syrian Immigrants Made a Home in the American Midwest, by Edward E. Curtis IV.

Finished The Picnic and Suchlike Pandemonium. Mostly it was humorous tales, but the last story was horror; of course, that’s what I read it for! I’m not sure I understood exactly what happened at the end, but couldn’t help but love a story in which a person is marooned for an extended period alone in a French chateau with wine, food, pets, and a shitload of books. Perhaps if he had kept the mirrors covered all would have been well…
Anyway, this was my first Gerald Durrell book and he’s a talented writer. I see he wrote a children’s fantasy book called The Talking Parcel which also seems like it would be up my alley; in fact, I’m not sure I didn’t read it when I was a kid. Looking out for that one next.

Empire of Ice and Stone by Buddy Levy. Levy writes excellent historical non-fiction books and this one is about the failed voyage of the Karluk on the Canadian Arctic Expedition in the early 1900s. (I recommend all of Levy’s books, but particularly like Conquistador about the Hernan Cortes of Mexico.

I’m also reading Madness at the End of the Earth by Julian Sancton. This is also about early exploration of the poles, but this time the Antarctic side. It features a young Roald Amundsen honing his polar exploration chops.

I liked Little Bee, which I read awhile back, although it was very, very sad. If you want to read more about the Blitz, I’d suggest Erik Larson’s history The Splendid and the Vile, which focuses on Churchill, his family and 10 Downing Street aides, but has a lot about ordinary Londoners’ experiences, too.

I’m about halfway through A Sea of Words: A Lexicon and Companion to the Complete Seafaring Tales of Patrick O’Brian by Dean King, with essays by John B. Hattendorf and J. Worth Estes. Just the thing for anyone who, like me, loves O’Brian’s Aubrey/Maturin novels.

Still making intermittent progress through Mark Z. Danielewski’s House of Leaves, a very weird, sometimes unnerving novel about a house that’s much bigger on the inside than it is on the outside, and Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky, a distant-future sf novel about a terraforming project gone badly, and dangerously, awry.

The library yanked back my audiobook copy of Ian Kershaw’s The End: The Defiance and Destruction of Hitler’s Germany, 1944-1945, which I’m about halfway through as well, so I’m taking an involuntary break from that book. Grrr. I just began Bonnie Garmus’s Lessons in Chemistry, my book club’s pick, a somewhat bittersweet romance focusing on a spunky, brainy, beautiful chemist trying to overcome sexism in the Fifties. It’s ok but not great, I’d say.

I finished Alice Payne Arrives by Kate Heartfield. The novella is a YA book masquerading as something else, but in terms of writing style, tropes, world building and dialog, it’s YA. It’s a time travel book with no explanation of time travel… all over it’s a half thought out short story that a more imaginitive writer could have done much better.

Today I read Galatea, a short story by Madeline Miller. This book’s only about the size of my phone, but it did well enough for a Friday since I don’t like starting anything new at the end of the week. The tale itself was just alright, however, I was amused to realize that the narrative voice put me in mind of @Beckdawrek.

Heh, I read some excerpts. Your observation cracks me up!

Finished Muslims of the Heartland: How Syrian Immigrants Made a Home in the American Midwest, by Edward E. Curtis IV, which was okay.

Now I’m reading Clean Air by Sarah Blake. It’s a science fiction mystery.

Hi! It’s been forever since I’ve stopped by the Whatcha Reading thread and I’m happy to see some familiar names here. I’ve recently discovered that I really like audiobooks–yes, I’m a little late to the party–and am reading more than ever. I’ll try to come by more often.

I am currently listening to Emily Giffin’s Meant to Be, a rom-com loosely based on JFK Jr and someone who is written to look a lot like Carolyn Bessette even if she doesn’t share her biography.

On paper, I am reading The Cat Who Saved Books, by Sosuke Natsukawa.

Finished Clean Air by Sarah Blake. Not recommended.

Now I’m reading Africa Is Not a Country: Notes on a Bright Continent, by Dipo Faloyin.

Finished The Thin Man, by Dashiell Hammett. Murder in New York City over the Christmas 1932 holidays. The first appearance of socialites Nick and Nora Charles and their dog Asta, who live the high life during the Depression while solving crimes. It is not widely known that the title does not refer to Nick Charles at all but rather to the main suspect in the book, who was described as being exceptionally tall and exceptionally thin. But somehow it became connected to Nick, especially after Hammett, who was rather slender, posed for a book-jacket photo and then William Powell, who was also slim himself, portrayed Nick in the movie franchise. I shall leave it up to you to learn if the Thin Man actually committed the crime. A quick read and a good one.

Now I am returning to my volume of short stories by F. Scott Fitzgerald that I set aside a few books ago. I’ve barely cracked it, it’s a large volume, and I shall be very busy in the coming weeks, so I don’t expect to finish it anytime soon.

Started today on How to Sell a Haunted House by Grady Hendrix.

I am reading The Power by Naomi Alderman. The premise is that women (specifically teenage women) gain the power to discharge electricity through their fingers and how that turns society upside down. It has a different writing style that took some getting used to but I am enjoying it so far. I think it’s going to be an Amazon series pretty soon. An ad for that series reminded me I had bought it for my Kindle but had not read it so now I am.

I started and read a quarter of Swordheart by T. Kingfisher yesterday. It’s quite funny and endearing and I am cheerfully along for the ride!

Eversion Alastair Reynolds

A sort of time loop sci-fi with the same group of explorers looking for a mysterious building in different periods of history. One of them begins to realize events are repeating themselves and tries to find the truth.

Pretty good.