Khadaji’s Whatcha Reading Thread - November 2021 edition

Bill Clinton is apparently a fan. I once read somewhere that Connelly spotted Bill on the news as he was walking out of a bookstore with a copy of the then-recent The Concrete Blond under his arm. Connelly had his rep get in touch with Bill’s people, and they met.

Yay Thanksgiving break! Finished a few books recently:

About my dozenth reading of Holes, the perfect middle-grade mystery/puzzle book. It’s not a whodunit, but rather a set of strange and seemingly disconnected events whose underlying logic is slowly revealed through multiple interwoven storylines on different continents and in different centuries, coming to an incredibly satisfying conclusion. I freaking love reading this book aloud (as I just did for my third-grade daughter), because I get to viscerally experience the moments of astonished revelation all over again.

The Necromancer’s House is one of two books I just read by Christopher Buehlman. It’s like a grownup version of Harry Dresden: a modern wizard living near a lake who gets in fights with ancient evils. But he’s also a recovering alcoholic, and the book isn’t about how macho and wisecracking he is, so much as it’s about regret and coming to terms with past mistakes. The magic is terrifying and awesome, the characters are pretty richly written, and a legendary character who shows up is way more of a nightmare than I’ve ever seen that character before.

Those Across the River is the other book by Buehlman, and I was a little more iffy on it. It’s a great horror/monster novel set in 1930s Georgia, whose protagonist is an out-of-work history professor still trembling with nightmares from the Great War trenches. All well and good–but the protagonist’s wife is a sexpot just this side of unbelievable, and the author’s repeated use of the N-word (in the dialogue of Georgians both Black and White) is both historically accurate and somehow jarring. Other folks may not find either of these things upsetting, but they made the book a little less enjoyable for me.

Composite Creatures is one I struggle with. I’ve seen it showing up on “Best SF of 2021” lists, and it deals with some heady biotech dystopian stuff and is deeply disturbing; but I’m not sure it’s any more dystopian at its heart than yer average swine farm. Maybe it is. It’s a seriously slow burn of a book, and even though I like slow burns, I almost put it down.

Finally, I just reread Railsea as a readaloud for my 12-year-old daughter. It’s one of China Mieville’s works, an homage to Moby Dick set in a world where trains travel a near-infinite network of crisscrossing rail lines, hunting magnificent burrowing animals. When I first read it in 2012, I was moderately entertained by it. As a read-aloud, though, it was fabulous: Mieville’s joy in language really shines, and the book’s rhythm and wordplay and alliteration and onomatopoeia just spark off the page. I had so much fun with the book.

Finished Mysterion 2: Stories from the Online Magazine, 2018-2019 , edited by Donald S. Crankshaw and Kristin Janz, which I enjoyed. I think the best story was “The Chora Gate” by Stephen Case, which is science fiction.

Now I’m reading Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang, by Kate Wilhelm.

I finished Confederacy of Dunces and I did not hate it. I can’t say I loved it, but it was an enjoyable read. I especially liked the bit where the three lesbians kicked the crap out of Ignatius J. Reilly. By that point in the book I was hoping someone would pop him one and the plot delivered. I love a satisfying ending.

I find Gaiman quite hit or miss. I liked Ocean at the End of the Lane but I absolutely freaking loathe American Gods. I’ve had Trigger Warnings sitting on my currently reading list for literally years, I’m just that invested in it. :rofl:

I just finished One By One by Ruth Ware. I thought it was a better read than the book of hers that I read last month, The Lying Game. She made it rather clear who the killer was, but I had no clue as to means or motive.

Next up: The Judge’s List by John Grisham.