Khadaji’s Whatcha Reading Thread - Sept. 2020 edition

Great literature sometimes requires different approaches from a willing reader.

Haven’t read that.

What made the footnotes work for me is the fictional author’s voice in them: they weren’t merely informative, they were catty and judgy and snippy. I would hate hanging out with that fictional author, but their snarky commentary added a hilarious layer to the story.

My kid is bugging me to read that one…

I really liked the footnotes, but as a separate book, they seemed less like additions to the main but rather another book she didn’t have enough material for, so shoehorned them in…

Re Strange and Norrell: I’m a footnote fan.

Finished I Work at the Public Library: A Collection of Crazy Stories from the Stacks , by Gina Sheridan. It’s like Not Always Right, if all the stories were from libraries. Many funny or poignant moments, like the little girl who chose a couple of board books meant for babies, thinking they “cost less”. (Her family hadn’t ever been to the library before.) When the librarian explained that they were free, she was dazzled at all the choices!

Now I’m reading Mr. Campion: Criminologist, a short story collection by Margery Allingham.

Dendarii, I hope you have or will read this, which any bibliophile or library-lover will enjoy.

Two good books about animals with wings:

The Genius of Birds - Jennifer Ackerman

A popular science book outlining the latest research on the amazing intelligence of birds - from navigating over long distances, to remembering food sites, and even using tools; birds are surprisingly bright.

Well-written and interesting book

The Language of Butterflies: How Thieves, Hoarders, Scientists, and Other Obsessives Unlocked the Secrets of the World’s Favorite Insect - Wendy Williams

In a similar vein, this work outlines all the latest research on the biology and ecology of butterflies and moths, especially the amazing monarch butterfly. (In a cool coincidence I saw a monarch recently).

I also enjoyed this book quite a bit.

I’m about a third of the way through Dying of the Light by George R.R. Martin, a well-written but downbeat sf novel set on a rogue planet moving away from a red supergiant star, growing colder and more desolate as it goes. It focuses on the handful of people there who have not yet left.

I also just began Prisoner of Trebekistan: A Decade in Jeopardy! by Bob Harris, an offbeat memoir by a Jeopardy! champ. Not far enough into it to have an opinion yet.

Finished Douglas Preston and Lincoln Childs’ Cabinet of Curiosities. I was disappointed. It keeps up a great sense of suspense and atmosphere through most of its over 600 pages (the book is a brick), but when it gets to the payoff the resolution consists of a series of outrageous contrivances. which would be acceptable in a Preston/Childs novel, which, like Clive Cussler’s collaborations are a collection of outrageous assumptions and contrivances (If any of these authors don’t make you say “Oh, come ON! I can’t believe you did that!” at some point in the book, then they aren’t doing their job.), except that what leads up to the denouement is already a series of outrageous contrivances. It feels as if they were playing a game of “Oh, you thought it was going to end this way? well, we’ll change things completely!” And the result makes even less sense than what had lead to that point.

I started on Mark Twain’s Notebooks, edited by Carlo Devito. The title is misleading – this isn’t really Twain’s notebooks, or even material drawn exclusively from his notebooks (which were published in multiple volumes back in 1975 by the University of California). This is a ramble through Twain’s writings from all over, including his published works, his autobiography, his notebooks, and elsewhere, profusely illustrated. It’s pleasant enough, which is why I picked it up.

I finished Piranesi over the weekend, and absolutely loved it. I expect it’ll be my best of the year. I don’t want to spoil anything so I’ll say only that although it isn’t about Narnia, I felt joyfully inspired to go on looking for forests in wardrobes.

I didn’t know where to go after that, so I decided to adhere strictly to reading my library books in the order of “most holds on them by other patrons”, which brought me to Solutions & Other Problems by Allie Brosh, of Hyperbole & a Half fame. It was mostly pictures, of course, and I zoomed right through it. It was…the opposite of a laff riot. I put it down once to cry a little bit. So, there were some okay parts…Allie Brosh is the greatest living animal artist in my opinion and any stories involving animals were worth it just to see those drawings. Then there were the heart-rending parts, if you’re in the mood for that…and then there were the WTF parts. Overall, I really didn’t enjoy this one. I added a star over at Goodreads to bring the status up to “it’s okay” just in case she looks at the ratings.

I wasted this morning on 50 pages of Even If We Break by Marieke Nijkamp, a rather tepid YA novel. I will gladly return it to the library now.

Thanks for this, DB! Definitely on my list.

I read The Library Book last year, and it was in my top ten, I believe.

Finished Mr. Campion: Criminologist , a short story collection by Margery Allingham. Meh.

Now I’m reading Aloha Rodeo: Three Hawaiian Cowboys, The World’s Greatest Rodeo, and a Hidden History of the American West, by David Wolman and Julian Smith.

:: steeples fingers ::

Excellent.

Started today on The Red Right Hand, a mystery novel by Joel Townsley Rogers. Never heard of it, but Joe R. Lansdale wrote the introduction and he thinks it’s the bee’s knees.

Finished Aloha Rodeo: Three Hawaiian Cowboys, The World’s Greatest Rodeo, and a Hidden History of the American West , by David Wolman and Julian Smith, which had some interesting history in it.

Now I’m reading Doubt, which is a play by John Patrick Shanley.

I didn’t see your thread before I made one …

https://boards.straightdope.com/t/khadaji-s-whatcha-reading-thread-october-2020-edition/921920

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