Khadaji’s Whatcha Reading Thread - March 2023 edition

Dagblast it short month! I almost forgot the new thread!

So show of hands: Who got more snow in the last two weeks than in the prior three months? :wave: Checking in on SoCal, y’all okay down there? Need emergency warm socks? Book warmers? Those gloves that let you work touchscreens?

Currently I am playing my mobile game but theoretically I am reading:

Print - Kindred by Octavia E. Butler. It’s good but I really have a hard time picking the book up because of the subject matter.

Also in Print - Stiletto by Daniel O’Malley, big ole book is hard to hold but I’m getting creative in my old age at propping it on things.

Kindle - * Corsets and Codpieces: A History of Outrageous Fashion, from Roman Times to the Modern Era* by Karen Bowman. It’s a bit dry but has nice color pictures.

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: National Buy Chocolate Month has sadly come to an end.

More snow last night than all winter so far. I’m in NY state.

Reading Lawrence Block’s The Burglar Who Met Fredric Brown. the most recent of the Bernie Rhodenbarr series. You wake up and you’re in a (slightly) new universe. Getting to the Big Reveal. Enjoying it so far; we’ll see how it ends.

I’m also rereading E. L. Doctorow’s Ragtime, which I read initially as a college student not long after it came out (along with Kleist’s Michael Kohlhaas, the novella upon which part of the action is based). Enjoyed it then and am liking it so far today. It’s always nice when a book you enjoyed years ago continues to hold up after the passage of time. It doesn’t always work that way; hoping this will be one that does.

I recently finished Kate Atkinson’s Shrines of Gaiety, which was very Kate Atkinson-y, though it plays fewer games with time than many of her novels. But like the others I’ve read, full of run-on sentences, sly parenthetical asides, and a cast of mostly interesting characters. It takes place in 1920s London, and the primary focus is on a woman who runs a group of nightclubs operating mostly on the wrong side of the law, and her family and others who come into her orbit. On the whole I liked it, even though much of the ending seemed kind of mailed in.

Thanks for starting the thread.

In Ohio, the weatherpeeps have said this was the least snowy Feb since 1998.
I am a third of the way into They Want to Kill Americans by Malcolm Nance.

I came home from Winco Saturday night and told my husband “You’d think we were in Albany NY by the panic buying in the store tonight!”

I’m currently reading The Midnight Bargain by C.L. Polk. It’s about a woman who has to decide between cultivating her aptitude for magic, or marrying wealth to sustain her family. In this society, women are not allowed to make their own choices regarding the timing of childbearing :face_with_raised_eyebrow: and magic is a danger to pregnant women. There’s more romance in this story than I like, but also demon possession to balance it out. Pretty interesting so far.

Finished Flynn’s World, by Gregory McDonald, which I enjoyed.

Now I’m reading Novelist as a Vocation, by Haruki Murakami.

The Ignored - Bentley Little

Disappointing, to be honest. I’ve rarely read a book where I was so keenly aware the author had no road map for the plot while writing the novel. This book is episodic, but not in a beneficial way like Lord of the Rings. It just has things happen, then moves on to the next set of things happening. Its conclusion is forced and disappointing.

A real shame, since it has a great concept. Bob Jones is Ignored. Like, he is so average and normal, people don’t notice him. It gets worse(better?) and people genuinely don’t notice or see him. He realizes he doesn’t even need to do his job. No one cares or notices and he still gets paid.

It goes further than that, but the book is less deep and less interested in its premise than I would have expected.

Shame. I thought it would be quite a bit better.

Current state of the book pile augmented by a library run yesterday:

Another Country, James Baldwin: A jazz drummer hits the skids and commits suicide. That’s chapter one. The rest of the book is how his friends deal with his death and each other. I. Freaking. Love. This. Book.

Roots: The Saga of an American Family, Alex Haley: It is what it says on the label. So far I’m only 100 pages in. Kunta Kinte is still in Gamibia and has just completed his manhood ritual. I turn each page in dread because I know the slavers are coming.

Stranger at the Wedding, Barbara Hambly: A young wizard is getting ready for her final exam when she gets word that her baby sister is getting married. She rushes to the wedding, not because she was invited (she wasn’t) but because she’s been getting disturbing omens about the upcoming nuptials.

Diplomatic Immunity, Lois McMaster Bujold: My trek through the Vorkosigan saga continues to continue. In other words, I haven’t started this one yet.

The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, Edward FitzGerald: This edition contains all five editions published during FitzGerald’s lifetime. I’m only through the first and part of the second, but seeing the changes is interesting. The rest of you nerds understand.

Madame Bovary, Gustave Flaubert: Haven’t started this one either, but it’s been on Mt. TBR since it was only a small hill so it’s time to take it off.

I’m trying to decide on my next book between:

Replay by Ken Grimwood

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins

Anyone want to make a recommendation?

One of my co-workers was saying good things about The Night Circus today.

I’ve started all three; the only one I finished was Replay. I liked it very much.
The Library at Mount Char wasn’t bad, but it had a scene that was too disturbing for me.
The Night Circus seemed to be trying too hard and just got on my nerves.

Pretty certain I’ve read that one. I try to read everything by Barbara Hambly.

Finished Novelist as a Vocation, by Haruki Murakami, translated by Philip Gabriel and Ted Goossen. Meh.

Now I"m reading Everything Inside, a story collection by Edwidge Danticat.

Just finished River of Bones and started Pass of Fire, the 13th and 14th books in the Destroyermen series by Taylor Anderson.

Winds of Wrath, the 15th and final book in the series, is next. After that I might start rereading the Belisarius series by Eric Flint and David Drake (six books, of which I’ve only read the first three or four), or reread a few of the Witch World books by Andre Norton.

I’ll echo this recommendation. I haven’t actually read Replay, but I’ve read the other two books and wasn’t particularly impressed with either one. The Night Circus had some great imagery but lacked a strong plot, and The Library at Mount Char had a decent plot but wasn’t very well executed. Of the two, I preferred The Night Circus. However, I do have to give The Library of Mount Char credit for having one of the most beautiful covers I’ve ever seen.

I’m still reading a collection of Flannery O’Connor’s short stories, along w/ essays by Thoreau and Voltaire, along w/ The Long Goodbye by Chandler. The best selection of books I’ve had to read in a long time.

The common thread is they were all at the top of their game when these were written. So much so, that if you just type in “Henry David”, “Flannery” and “Raymond” on a book search it takes you straight to them.

Finished Everything Inside, a story collection by Edwidge Danticat. Powerful. I thought the best was “In the Old Days”.

Now I’m reading Teacher Man by Frank McCourt.

We got exactly the same amount of snow in the last two weeks that we got in the prior three months: Zero. Toasty warm today too.

Still on The Short Stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald: A New Collection.

I could go for toasty warm!