Khadaji’s Whatcha Reading Thread - May 2021 edition

My apologies for this late thread. My boss is out of town at a funeral and I’ve been covering his shift… and some of the other mouse’s too because you know what they say about mice when cats are not present.

Soooooo …

Guilt by Association by Gregory Ashe, the 4th in his Somerset and Hazard Series. Murder, southern prejudices and UST, I love this series!

Ps I Spook You by S E Harmon, I like the general concept of an FBI agent who sees ghosts, but the execution is lacking. And Danny is a borderline abusive rapist (Lack of consent is MORE than just the word No)

This Little Measure By Sara Woods, the 5th Antony Maitland book. Barely into it so I have no opinion yet.

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: Well that was anticlimatic

Thanks! (Damn those other mice…)

Just Finished: 1636: Commander Cantrell in the West Indies , by Eric Flint and Charles E Gannon (reread)

Now reading: 1636: The Cardinal Virtues , by Eric Flint and Walter H Hunt

Next up: 1636: The Vatican Sanction , by Eric Flint and Charles E Gannon

Reading The Zoologist’s Guide to the Galaxy which is a nonfiction book about how life on other planets might evolve. A third of the way through and it is really interesting not just about hypothetical life on other planets but also what it explains about life here on Earth.

Finished A Most Beautiful Thing: The True Story of America’s First All-Black High School Rowing Team , by Arshay Cooper, which was interesting.

Now I’m reading Alternate Presidents, edited by Mike Resnick, which is an anthology of how history might have differed if someone else had become President of the United States, from Benjamin Franklin to Michael Dukakis.

Added that to my rapidly growing TBR list. (Also want to reread Neil Shubin’s Your Inner Fish and read his new book, Some Assembly Required.)

The fifth book in the Murderbot Diaries just came out. It’s a novella so I finished it in two days. It was awesome.

When my wife recommended the first book I thought it sounded a bit gimmicky, but it is just so good. Here’s the opening paragraph and link to first chapter:

Chapter One

I could have become a mass murderer after I hacked my governor module, but then I realized I could access the combined feed of entertainment channels carried on the company satellites. It had been well over 35,000 hours or so since then, with still not much murdering, but probably, I don’t know, a little under 35,000 hours of movies, serials, books, plays, and music consumed. As a heartless killing machine, I was a terrible failure.
Meet Murderbot in Chapter One of Martha Wells’ All Systems Red | Tor.com

Yeah, I’m first in line for the new one at the library. :sunglasses:

Finished a history book called Centuries of Change: Which Century Saw The Most Change and Why It Matters by an esteemed British historian named Ian Mortimer.

I loved reading this book. A very easy to take in writing style whereby he detailed a lot of heavy historical material and supplemented it by his own probing interpretations which concluded with each chapter (century) having a closing mini-essay about the most fundamental aspect of change within that century and the principal agent of change within that century.

The key is within the century. Mortimer was very keen to establish early in that some of the biggest changes in our history started in one period but overlapped and really took hold on civilization later on. He was making the assessments of changes started within a period that had life-changing immediate impact for the people living in that period.

I finished A Libertarian Walks Into a Bear by Matthew Hongoltz-Hetling, who wants to be cleverer than he is. It’s about a libertarian takeover of a small New Hampshire town which pretty much makes everything there crappier. Interesting topic but a disappointing book.

Still plugging along in Ernest Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls. Not his best, I’d say, and the love scenes are almost embarrassingly silly.

I’ve also now begun How to Astronaut: An Insider’s Guide to Leaving Planet Earth by Terry Virts, an Air Force fighter pilot and then a NASA astronaut from 2000-2016, and I’m really enjoying it. Some key takeaways so far: it’s better to be lucky than good. If they offer you anti-nausea drugs before you go on the Vomit Comet, take them. Tough training leaves you better able to deal with later adversity. Learning the language of your coworkers (Russian, in his case) is not only polite, it’ll probably lead to a better working relationship. And there are few things better than being taught how to make pizza by an Italian astronaut during your survival training in the Alaska wilderness.

I finished P.S. I Spook You by S.E. Harmon and yeah, I’m firmly Meh about it.

So now I have started Smash & Grab by Maz Maddox. DIno shifter for the win!

Forgot to add, a few days ago I finished rereading a favorite of mine, Joe Haldeman’s trippy 1990 sf novel The Hemingway Hoax . A Hemingway scholar and a Key West con artist decide to try to create and then sell, as authentic, the elusive, long-sought stories lost or stolen from a train at the Gare de Lyon in December 1922. Things get seriously weird by the end, but it’s a fascinating book and would be appreciated by just about any Hemingway fan, I’d say. This was, I think, my third reading of it; I noticed several things I’d missed before and think I understand it even better now.

Just Finished: 1636: The Cardinal Virtues , by Eric Flint and Walter H Hunt

Now reading: 1636: The Vatican Sanction , by Eric Flint and Charles E Gannon

Next up: 1636: The Devil’s Opera, by Eric Flint and David Carrico

How long does it take for you to finish these books? I consider myself a quick reader but you seem to go through them at a clip! I’m going to have a look that this Eric Flint books soon.

IMHO, 1632 is very good, 1633 is ok, and the rest go downhill, never getting really bad, but reaching my treshold of “not really worth the time” about 1636 or so.
Also quality varies wildy depending on the author, anything by Eric Flint alone is better than anything were he collaborates with another author and miles better than those were he’s not involved.

Finished Alternate Presidents , edited by Mike Resnick. I thought the best stories were the two by Barry N. Malzberg: “Kingfish” (Huey Long defeats FDR in 1936) and “Heavy Metal” (Nixon beats JFK in 1960).

Now I’m reading Ticker: The Quest to Create an Artificial Heart, by Mimi Swartz.

Finished Clive Cussler’s Sacred Stone, which ends up being more ridiculous than most of his books (which is really saying something), but an enjoyable read nonetheless. It’s disappointing that this “from the Oregon Files” novel has so little of the spy ship Oregon in it.

Now moved on to another old Cussler collaboration that I picked up cheap – Serpent, written with Paul Kemprecos. It’s the first novel in the “NUMA Files” Series. His Kurt Austin and sidekick Joe Zuvala appear to be functionally indistinguishable from Dirk Pitt and his sidekick Al Giordino. I think he just decided that Dirk and Al were getting a bit long in the tooth, and needed to introduce some younger guys.

Two or three days, usually, but I’m retired and can sit around reading all day if I want to. :slight_smile: They run maybe 350-600 pages each. I’ve finished 29 so far since mid-February. (The library has most of the Baen books, but none of those published by Ring of Fire Press.)

Some of them are a little spotty, but so far the only serious problem I’ve had with them is that the book I’m reading now (The Vatican Sanction) very strongly contradicts the last one I finished (Cardinal Virtues), which was published two years earlier.

I do pretty much agree here, though.

Finished Alix Harrow’s The Once and Future Witches this morning. She really knows how to write evocative prose, and the themes of the book are all near and dear to my heart. I could have wished for a more upbeat ending though. Okay, I admit it…I’m still disappointed that Gideon’s dog wasn’t somehow rescued. :slight_smile:

Next up, Near the Bone by Christina Henry. It’s a story about a woman and her abusive husband who live isolated lives on a mountaintop, and what happens when a monstrous creature appears in the forest. (Oooh, I hope something really bad!)