Khadaji's Whatcha Readin' - February 2014

I’m so sorry, bup. :frowning:

I’ve finished several books recently. First was “The Fate of Mercy Alban” by Wendy Webb. I was so excited about this one because it’s written by a Minnesota author and set on Lake Superior. It had “Glensheen Mansion” written all over it. Unfortunately, it was really disappointing. It wasn’t terribly well written, and the way that it was written made me suspect it was an unreliable narrator type of thing, which it wasn’t. There were several parts in the book where the narrator had the opportunity to find out the answer to the big secret and then was like, “But then I went and did something else.” Totally annoying. That said, I probably will pick up another book by this author, in the hopes that the next one will be better, because I love her ideas and the settings she uses.

I also finished “Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement” by Kathryn Joyce, and “Bossypants” by Tina Fey. The former was very informative and a little scary at times. The latter was by far the best comedy book I’ve ever read. I generally steer clear of them because I usually come away feeling like I wasted my time. “Bossypants” was pretty great.

bup, I’m so sorry for your loss.

I still have the last book that my grandmother was reading before she died. It was face down on her bed, open to the spot she left off.

I’m looking forward to The Abominable. It sounds similar to The Terror, which I absolutely loved, so that might not be a bad thing.

Practical Demon-Keeping is my least favorite Moore book. I’m glad I didn’t read it first, because I would have felt the same way. A Dirty Job is my favorite so far… but if you really disliked Stupidest Angel, then Moore’s writing probably just doesn’t work for you.

I re-read the whole series last year. Love those books! The new one comes out in June, and also Starz is doing a mini-series of *Outlander *that will probably be terrible, but from what I can tell so far the casting looks good.
I’m not a huge John Scalzi fan, but I just read *Redshirts *and I liked it a lot. I knew it was metafiction, but I’m glad I didn’t read about the direction of the plot because I might have rolled my eyes and passed on it. Scalzi pulls it off well, although I do think the book could have done without the sappy codas at the end.
I just finished another book in Phil Rickman’s Merrily Watkins series, The Smile of a Ghost. I continue to be enchanted by Rickman’s writing. These are ghostly murder mysteries, and I like the way they stay on the edge of the paranormal. Merrily is an Anglican priest who is the “Deliverance Consultant” (the modern term for exorcist) for the Diocese of Hereford, near the Welsh border in England. She is a believer, but she is constantly aware that others would interpret things differently than she does.

There seems to be an inundation of Scandinavian-based mystery novels in the new book section of my library recently. I guess we have “Girl With The Sea Dragon Tattoo” to thank for that. Some of them are quite good but it’s just kind of, ahem, mystifying to me that there are so many from that area of the world all of a sudden.

I haven’t read that one, but if you run across anything by Johan Theorin, grab it.

Finished The Long Ships by Frans Bengtsson, a Viking saga written in the 1940’s. Interesting writing style – subjects and verbs, straightforward and explicit – no inner thoughts or psychological stuff so it’s all on the page – but absolutely engrossing.

Started The Good Lord Bird, the John Brown novel by ? McBride. It’s okay so far, but I have a problem with novels that are supposed to be journals but are written like novels. Unless I misunderstood the premise, which is totally possible.

I am so sorry to hear about your wife, and send my sympathies. While trying not to seem as if I am trivializing your wife’s health condition, I hope I can add that having a year and half of reading with a beloved spouse sounds like a wonderful gift for both of you.

You might be interested to know that Elizabeth Goudge has a small, but weirdly active fan community to this day. I love Green Dolphin Street, it’s really a jewel of a novel.

In my reading, I finished Dr. Sleep by Stephen King, and I enjoyed it so much. I am saying this as a big Stephen King fan, and I have lost any ability to judge whether someone new to, or ambivalent about, Stephen King would like any particular book. The one thing that especially impressed me was that I completely believed that the main character was Danny Torrance as an adult.

I also read Her Smoke Rose Up Forever, a collection of short stories by James Tiptree, Jr. Reading it was fascinating, as I have the benefit of knowing that the author was a woman writing under a pseudonym. I confess I’m not very familiar with classic science fiction from this period, so I can’t really judge how she compares to her peers. Some of the themes were simply dated, other stories felt fresh and striking to me. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but overall, the tone was very bleak and pessimistic. It was definitely an intriguing experience, especially if interested in issues related to gender in literature and science fiction.

And a YA novel, The Universe Versus Alex Woods, which was cute. A British teenager who doesn’t quite fit in with his peers befriends an older neighbor, discovers a love of Kurt Vonnegut novels, and does a lot of thinking about free will and moral obligations.

Yeah, heh heh… except I never actually read any Blyton till I was over 40. I have absolutely no excuse for this bizarre middle-aged predilection for post-imperial juvenile wish fulfillment with lashings of hard-boiled eggs.

Although perhaps it has something to do with my attachment to Horatio Alger Jr. juvenile novels, which does actually go back to my childhood. I still reread those books too, and retain a persistent affection for the phrase “thirty-seven cents” on their account.

Hey, I’m over forty…maybe I should give these books a whirl then. :smiley:

bup so sorry, remember her with love and smiles for all the books you shared.

I read lots of YA books, I’m just a big kid anyway.

I read YA story **The Name of this Book is Secret **by Pseudonymous Boschon my flights back from Puerto Rico. I finished that book and started reading Apartment 16 by Adam Nevill when I looked up and saw the 9 year old boy in the row ahead of me reading Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight.

Thank GOODNESS for the Kindle which hides what I’m reading.

I’m halfway through Lolita and feeling like a dirty old man. I mentioned it to my sister, she said when she tried to read it (at 20 years old) and she couldn’t even make it through the book. I saw the movie years and years ago. I don’t remember much about it, but I do know that the book is considerably more graphic and goes into quite a bit more detail about HH’s life.
As I recall, in the movie he fell in love with Lolita and that was it while in the book he’s a pedophile. I mean, he can explain it how ever he wants, but in the book he’s going around boinking 12 year olds and that didn’t happen (IIRC) in the movie.

Anyways, I’m really liking how it’s written, the guy knows how to turn a phrase, and even if parts of it are in French and mean nothing to me, there’s more puns then you can throw a dick at.
I just wish so much of it didn’t go over my head. For example, he constantly refers to himself by a slightly different name, gotta mean something…doesn’t mean anything to me.
OTOH some of the puns/jokes are pretty in your face, such as calling the color of a dress ‘glans mauve’. That almost boarders on gross, considering the subject matter.

The only thing I don’t like is that he has a habit of making huge lists or rambling on and on. There was one chapter that between the lists, the rambling and myself being very tired, I think it may have just been random words strung together. Luckily, I don’t think it was an important chapter and I just sort of skimmed past it.

There’s also no Peter Sellers character in the book.

Claire Quilty? He’s in the book.

Sellers played Quilty in the James Mason version of the movie. He may not have been the same character as was in the book (high school drama coach) but there was a Claire Quilty in the book. I remember almost nothing of the first movie, what Sellers’ role was supposed to be, but his character was named Claire Quilty.

Anyways…(before anyone gets ahead of me). I’m halfway through the book which means I probably have about one and a half to two weeks left (yeah, I’m a slow reader) and trying to figure out what to start next. People are bugging me to do Gone Girl, but it’s not out on paperback for a while.
I was thinking In Cold Blood.

And this is probably as good as a place to ask as any…I’m looking for a good, nice looking complete set of Sherlock Holmes books. All the books I’ve read over the last two years or so, since I really started reading have been on the Kindle and I decided I’d really like to have the actual books to as well, something to show for it. I bought Lolita (that I’m reading now, for the first time). I picked up Dracula and Around The World in 80 Days and I’d like the get the SH books. I’ve read, I think, 3 of 4 books and handful of the short stories, but it seems like that would be a nice collection to have. Barns & Noble just has a a Two Volume paperback thing that has everything in it, I didn’t like it. The closest I could find to what I was looking for is this. It’s probably what I’ll end up getting, but I’ll either wait for the price to drop or I’ll put it off until next Christmas and see if anything else shows up. The other option, what I might still do is to just individually buy the four books as well as The Adventures and call it even.

He sort of was the high-school drama coach in the movie. First he was a national TV star, then he fell in love with Lolita and followed Humbert and Lolita all over the country with Lolita’s encouragement, then pretended to be a high-school drama coach to be closer to Lolita, then made off with Lolita, resulting in Humbert hunting him down and having his revenge. Which led to an ending that was definitely not in the book. (Think Jack Ruby after killing Lee Harvey Oswald.) I’d forgotten the character in the book, but he was bumped up to major-character status in the James Mason movie, on a par with Humbert himself.

Joey P, I have several editions of the Sherlock Holmes stories, but I would particularly recommend this, http://www.amazon.com/Original-Illustrated-Sherlock-Holmes/dp/0890090572/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1392417315&sr=1-1&keywords=complete+sherlock+holmes+paget, which has the stories just as they originally appeared incl. the Paget illustrations, or this, http://www.amazon.com/New-Annotated-Sherlock-Holmes-Non-slipcased-ebook/dp/B00EDFCWCC/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1392417414&sr=1-3&keywords=complete+sherlock+holmes+klinger, and its companion editions, which has lots of interesting and engaging annotations, supplemental articles and commentary.

Just finished an audiobook of Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris, about the decline and fall of a Chicago ad agency in the early 2000s. Told in a quirky first-person-plural narrative voice (“We liked staff meetings because…” “None of us could stand Bob with his loud shirts and annoying voice…” etc.), but overall the story was meh. Not serious enough to be a workplace drama; not funny enough to be a comedy.

I finished Stephen Booth’s “Blind to the Bones”. Meh - too long by at least a hundred pages. More procedural, less soap opera would have made it much better.

I started an interesting book by Ann Ireland - “The Blue Guitar”. I’m about thirty or forty pages into it, and it’s very good. However, I’ve set it aside until Monday. See, I have a big, important gig on Sunday afternoon, and the last thing I need to be doing right now is reading about a former hot-shot superstar guitarist who had a nervous breakdown in performance and who is playing for the first time in eleven years at an international guitar competition. The passage on the 40 year old mother who doesn’t get enough time to practice because of her family life wasn’t what I need to be reading right now, either.

Why do writers never talk about great musicians who have stable personalities?

I’m finishing “A Nervous Splendour” in the meantime…

The guitar book sounds interesting. Good luck on your gig!

I finished The Confessor by Daniel Silva yesterday. It was a good book, a bit slow to start but the action at the end was fast paced. I haven’t read enough in the espionage genre to know if shadowy Illuminati type agencies and massive planet wide conspiracies are a trope or a cliche but I’m hoping this isn’t standard operating procedure for the series. After two books, it feels more formulaic than vibrant.

I’m not certain where I heard of this series but “art restorer who solves mysteries” made me think something close to Murder She Wrote than Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy…
Anyway now i have dug into my mouldering pile and pulled out Billy Straight by Jonathon Kellerman. I got about a third of the way back in 1998 or so but the tension got to me and I had to put it down.:frowning:

i don’t know how there was ever any doubt about Tiptree, given the underlying theme of “Men suck” in many of her stories. That and the nihilism that was so popular in SF in the 70’s make her work pretty much unreadable for me.
Currently I’m reading “The Kindly Ones” in my quest to finish Gaiman’s Sandman series. And my question is, what the hell happened to the art in this volume? The art in the previous volumes was a bit inconsistent and impressionistic, but in this volume, they apparently sacked everyone and hired someone with a fetish for, I dunno, cubism? Just harsh, ugly, angular art with no fine details. It’s very jarring and it’s taking me out of the story.