Khadaji's Whatcha Readin' Thread - August 2015 Edition

Looks like no one started a new thread for August, so here goes.

Over the weekend I finished The West Point History of the Civil War, a big, coffee-table style book written Wiki-style by the U.S. Military Academy faculty and cadets. A good, well-illustrated overview of the war, with great maps, several incisive essays and some minor factual errors. Also more info on Reconstruction than I would have expected.

I’m about halfway through John Scalzi’s The Ghost Brigades, which is very, very good. The CDF troops have just pulled off a commando mission - both heartbreaking and coldly efficient - against an alien capital to avert a much larger war.

Also started Salman Rushdie’s Imaginary Homelands, a 1991 collection of essays on politics, literature and the arts. He’s quite critical of the Gandhi family for perverting Indian democracy into a weird kind of monarchy. Haven’t gotten to his writings on the Satanic Verses controversy yet.

Khadaji was one of the earlier members of the 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, and he started these monthly book threads. Sadly, he passed away in January 2013, and we decided to rename these monthly threads in his honor.

July’s thread:

My apologies, every one of my hobbies had a meeting or event this weekend; I was home to sleep only.

I am reading Cockroaches by Jo Nesbo. It’s not stellar but it is moving better than The Bat. Nesbo creates a lot of wonderful characters in his stories so I look forward to reading more.

Reading #2 in the “Longmire” mystery books. These are just really well written novels.

**Elendil’s Heir **must have known I was jonesing for the thread!

I finished up Ernest Cline’s new novel, Armada. I’m sorry to say it was nowhere near as good as Ready Player One. Imagine a teenage gamer…let’s just call him Marty Stu…supppose he was cheesed out of his gourd and wrote down his perfect wish-fulfilment fantasy…it might turn out something like this. It was hard to keep reading this book with my eyes rolling so frequently. Also, the blow-by-blow descriptions of battle were dullsville. I hope Mr. Cline writes a better one next time; I’ll still give it a try.

Next up, Disclaimer, by Renee Knight, a book about a woman who reads a mysterious novel and realizes that it’s really about her.

That sounds intriguing. Reminds me a bit of this: Stranger than Fiction (2006 film) - Wikipedia

I reread the first Hunger Games in about a day (although we were stuck at the tire repair shop for about two hours, so that gave me more time) and now I’m back to Colleen McCullough’s The October Horse (spoiler: Caesar has been murdered and Octavian is tasting his new-found power). Next up will be the last book in the series, Antony and Cleopatra, and then I have Stephen King’s newest, Finders Keepers and a book by a friend of mind (and fellow Doper, who shall remain nameless), The Bear’s Wife.

I find nothing so satisfying as a queue of books to read.

I finished Cockroaches by Jo Nesbo. Word of warning ladies of the world, if Harry Hole shows up do NOT fall in love with him!

Yeah, this was far better paced that The Bat with equally as colourful characters, but ultimately it was almost to formulaic with it’s conclusion for me; it followed very nearly the same path as the previous book…

I finished Cockroaches by Jo Nesbo. Word of warning ladies of the world, if Harry Hole shows up do NOT fall in love with him!

Yeah, this was far better paced that The Bat with equally as colourful characters, but ultimately it was almost to formulaic with it’s conclusion for me; it followed very nearly the same path as the previous book…

Hi everyone. I haven’t popped into these threads in a few months because I always forget they’re in Cafe Society rather than MPSIMS. It doesn’t seem to show up there very often though. :rolleyes: However, reading over July’s thread makes me want to stay connected with you guys now.

I’m finishing up The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman. It’s well written and with less than 20 pages to go, I still can’t guess whether the ending will be happy or not. That’s hard to do in today’s world of formulaic books, so I have to hand it to the author for keeping up the suspense.

Set after WW1, it’s about a lighthouse keeper and his wife, who desperately wants a baby but keeps miscarrying. Then a baby washes onto their remote island in a dory with a dead man. The wife wants to raise her as their own and against his better judgement, the husband agrees but keeps wondering if the child has family who are grieving for her. They give the girl a happy life but after several years they discover that she does have family, including a mother who has never stopping pining for her missing baby and husband.

A little over halfway through An Officer and a Spy, by Robert Harris. About the Dreyfus affair. A winner so far.

I’m about 100 pages into What Alice Forgot. I’m liking it so far, but it’s a 500 page book that I’m guessing could have been 350-400 pages. There’s a lot that could be trimmed out. Not parts of the plot, mind you, just entire scenes/scenarios/dialogues that are written out in almost mind numbing detail sometimes. I’m normally a ‘read every single word on every page’ person, but I’ve found myself skimming over a paragraph here and there just because some parts are a bit over detailed. In one section, for example, the author spent two pages explaining how she put on her makeup and got dressed. Now, I understand what she [the author] was doing, but surely there was a more elegant way to do it. If not there, in all the other places where she spent two pages explaining something that could have been explained in one paragraph. We get it, she lost her memory, this is like doing for the first time, I understand. She’s probably explained the whole "I don’t remember my kids) thing at least three times.
20% into the book and I feel like I haven’t gotten anywhere yet. I think there’s a movie coming out. My WAG, this 20% of the book will be the first 7-10 minutes of the movie.

But, having said that, I still do like it and it’s a helluva a lot better than Don Quixote. I still don’t regret giving up on that.

I just finished Speaking in Bones by Kathy Reichs. It’s good brain candy, but the books are somewhat formulaic in that the climax generally involves Temperance Brennan figuring out whodunit, getting the shit beaten out of her, and her winding up in the hospital for a week or so, followed by the final resolution over dinner. But they’re not mentally challenging, and that’s all I ask of a book these days.

That seems to be the dissenting opinion on Goodreads too. People either LOVE it or think she needed to find a dam editor, DAMN FAST! :smiley: I’m always intrigued when a book polarizes the reviewers.

I’m always glad when I’m not alone (FTR, I didn’t read any reviews and I don’t read Goodreads), it means I’m doing a good job of reading the book.
I mentioned this same thing to my sister (what I said above) and she agreed as well. But, again, it seems to be a good book, it’s just a bit wordy. It’s not that I’m going to put it down because of that.

I am re-reading The Blue Train by Agatha Christie for the first time in three decades.

I remember being put off it originally by the very dated melodramatic opening chapter and the sub-plot about M. Le Marquis, but I’m taking that in stride by essentially ignoring it and focussing on the Poirot main plot. It is early Christie, but a good read.

I finished the 5th Expanse novel, Nemesis Games, by James S. A. Corey. The plot seemed to be all over the place with the crew of the Roci dispersed across the Solar System attending to their individual back stories but it all came together neatly at the end!
Now I’m switching between The Dinosaur Lords by Victor Milan (pretty standard fantasy except it has loads of dinosaurs in it - a bit like a medieval Dinotopia!) and Off the Map by Alastair Bonnett about hidden or forgotten odd little corners of the world. I’m only on place #4 of 47 but it’s fascinating stuff.

Several people in previous WR threads had mentioned reading and enjoying Gillian Flynn’s Dark Places. A movie based on it will be released in the U.S. on Friday:

I’m reading The Last American Man by Elizabeth Gilbert, and I’m still making up my mind how I feel about it. It’s basically a true story about a guy who lives off of the land in the woods. I bought it because I love Elizabeth Gilbert’s writing style, but what I wasn’t counting in is, well, even though she’s writing this story, it’s about someone else. And while I still like her voice, the man she portrays comes across as rather self-righteous. But it’s not enough to ruin the book for me, and overall, I enjoy the story so far (I think I’m about 50 pages in).

You might also like Into the Wild: Into the Wild (book) - Wikipedia

Ooh that does look intriguing.