Khadaji’s Whatcha Reading Thread - July 2024 edition

New thread.

The only thing I have to say is that I am now listening to my 17th book by Phillip Margolin. Needless to say, I enjoy his stories.

Hang on…is @DZedNConfused okay?

Copying from the end of last month’s thread:

I finished re-reading Joe Haldeman’s Forever War – I hadn’t read it i n years, and hadn’t been aware that as originally published it had been altered from his original text. This is the first time I read it as intended. I also read one of its two sequels *well, the only sequel, arguably), Forever Free. This was pretty interesting up until an almost literal deus ex machina at the end made me want to “throw away the book with great violence”.

I was reading both because I had been scheduled to be on a panel discussing Forever War for its 50th anniversary, but I suddenly got yanked from that this week.

I’m finishing up Allen Stele’s anthology Takes of Time and Space, and re-reading the Richard Burton translation of The Book of a Thousand Nights and a Night. This time I’m gonna take notes. The damned thing is 17 volumes long, counting the “Supplemental Nights”.

For bedside reading, I finally read Robert A. Heinlein’s own novelization of Destination Moon. And my wife bought me a copy of George Stephanopoulos’ The Situation Room, which I’ve just barely started.

On audio I finished reading Douglas Brunt’s The Mysterious Case of Rudolf Diesel. I had no idea that there was anything odd about his death – I knew nothing about his life, for that matter. A very intriguing book. Now I;m near the end of Mark Twain’s Life on the Mississippi, which I haven’t read all the way in eons (although I frequently re-read parts of it). Well worth returning to.

I am! Sorry! I’ve been busy with life and forgot the new thread.

Thanks @Railer13 ! Life got away from me!

Well, all right then. People worry about you, young lady!

I’m currently reading The Endless Vessel by Charles Soule, a science fiction novel in which a debilitating disease has humanity on the brink, and a young scientist who discovers the Wonder Path. What she finds there could save us all! I really like this author. He mostly writes Star Wars stuff and comics in which I have no interest, but I’ve delighted in all his standalone books.

Thanks! It’s good to know!

We just rewatched Star Trek DS9 so I dug out the Star Trek Terok Nor trilogy that came out around 15 or 20 years ago. It was a trilogy set during the occupation of Bajor. I read it back then but barely remembered it. Reading the first book Night of the Vipers.

You expect an alien invasion story like Independence Day (but one where the home team loses) but it isn’t like that. It was more like the mini series V where the Aliens come in “peace” and slowly take over by ingratiating and manipulating the population until the next thing you know, they are in control.

Finished The Company Man by Edward M. Lerner which was an excellent SF mystery, with kind of a retro vibe–I could imagine it being serialized in the 1950’s.

Still reading The Stone of Destiny: Tales from Turkey, retold by Elspeth Tavaci.

Just started Around Distant Suns: Nine Stories Inspired by Research from the St Andrews Centre for Exoplanet Science, edited by Emma Johanna Puranen.

Finished both The Stone of Destiny: Tales from Turkey, retold by Elspeth Tavaci which was okay, and Around Distant Suns: Nine Stories Inspired by Research from the St Andrews Centre for Exoplanet Science, edited by Emma Johanna Puranen, of which the best was “Rise in Perfect Light” by Maeghan Klinker.

Now I’m reading Silk: A World History, by Aarathi Prasad.

Yikes, just realized I missed the entire June thread! So I’ve got some catching up to do.

Recently finished:

Eager by Ben Goldfarb, nonfiction about beavers’ amazing comeback from the devastation of the fur trade, and exploring all that they now have to offer a climate-changing world. Remarkable critters (and cute, too, unless they’re chewing down your favorite tree). Worth a read for anyone interested in biology and wildlife.

Last Night in Montreal by Emily St. John Mandel, a novel about a failed academic falling for an enigmatic young woman on the run for years. Meh. Probably my least favorite of the author’s books (I’ve been working my way through them all).

The Annotated Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler, ed. by Owen Hill, Pamela Jackson and Anthony Dean Rizzuto. Highly recommended for anyone who likes hardboiled detective stories, with very interesting commentary on Thirties gender roles, the ideals of chivalry, big-city corruption, comparisons of the book to the later movies based on it, and Chandler’s use of similes (trailblazing at first; later cliched and widely parodied).

A Higher Call by Adam Makos, nonfiction about a Luftwaffe fighter ace who risked his career and his life in deciding not to shoot down a badly-damaged USAAF bomber in the skies over Germany in Dec. 1943, sparing its crew. He and the pilot of the American bomber met many years later and became unlikely friends; the last few chapters of the book are quite heartwarming.

Just started:

Michael Chabon’s The Yiddish Policemen’s Union, a noir-esque detective novel about a world-weary homicide cop in an alternate-history Sitka, Alaska, which FDR set aside as a refuge for millions of Jews escaping the Holocaust. It’s weird but I’m enjoying it so far.

The Yiddish Policeman’s Union is a great read, in my opinion.

Finished Silk: A World History, by Aarathi Prasad, which is very interesting. The bombsites used in WWII (at least by the US) used spidersilk for the crosshairs.

Now I"m reading Lapidarium: The Secret Lives of Stones, by Hettie Judah.

Is grim as fuck though, but yes a great read.

The Golden Ratio Mario Livio

A short, charming book on the number phi ( 1 + sqrt(5) )/2, which crops in all kinds of interesting places in math and nature.

Enjoyable read, full of interesting historical and mathematical tidbits.

The War the Ended Peace Margaret Macmilliam

A loooong history of the run up to World War 1. Parts of it were a little dry, but all in all, I liked it.

Started today on They Never Learn, by Layne Fargo. It’s about a female college professor who is a serial killer targeting men.

Finished Lapidarium: The Secret Lives of Stones, by Hettie Judah, which was interesting.

Now I’m reading By Any Other Fame, edited by Mike Resnick and Martin H. Greenberg. It’s a collection of alternate history short stories in which people famous for one thing in reality did something else in another universe.

Finished They Never Learn. It was kind of a potato chip book, not much substance but easy to scarf down. I might try this author again.
This morning I read about 50 pages of the first Xanth novel by Piers Anthony. I had heard these books were kind of misogynist and icky, and wanted to see for myself. Yeah, I caught the vibe, and the story isn’t interesting to me so I’m done.

I do see the contrast in enjoying the book about the woman who hates men enough to kill them, and being creeped out by the book with the young boy being a bit of a perv. :woman_shrugging:

I liked his INcarnation of Immortality books… at least the first five or six but yeah, a lot of his stuff is really creepy and misogynistic.

I liked his Apprentice Adept books until they got weird and gross.

Silk: A World History Aarathi Prasad

An interesting look at the history of the fabric. One thing I learned is that silk can and has been made with the secreted threads of many animals, not just silkworm moths, including using threads that a large mollusk excretes to stick to the ocean floor. (Alas, the mollusk in question is now a threatened species, so this is not done anymore).

There has also been a lot done to make spider silk a viable fabric, none of it completely successful. One issue is that when packed together the spiders tend to eat one another. Recently, researchers tried genetically modifying goats to secrete spider silk in their milk. It worked, but not well enough to be commercial.

Recommended.