Khadaji's Whatcha Readin' thread -- August 2018 Edition

Here we are, August, the western US is roasting, the eastern US is paddling down Main Street. I hope the rest of the world is hangin in…100 days until Halloween!

I’ve been reading just haven’t been sharing here. Naughty, I know. I finished the three books so far in SJ Himes’ series* The Beacon Hill Sorceror*. Magic, vampires and power suits in the old part of Boston.

Keeping with the magic and necromancy, I’m currently readingThe Hungry Dragon Cookie Company a collection of short stories by L G Estrella featuring their characters from The Unconventional Heroes series. It’s light potato chip reading with lots of snark.

So 'sup all?

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.

Last month: Halfway through the year!

I’m on a good streak right now. I read The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion By Jonathan Haidt. I found it fascinating; it talked about how Liberals base morality on one central principle (care/harm), as do Libertarians (liberty/oppression), but Conservatives base their morality on six different dichotomies. I know some people on these boards love to hate on Conservatives, so if you don’t like reading a book that treats the Conservative way of thinking with dignity and respect then you won’t like this. But I liked it.

In fiction, I read Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews, and I am so glad I did. I abandoned the book I had been reading before, because I just didn’t care about what happened next in the book. So I was looking for a book that had a bit more suspense in it, and this book delivered! I loved it, and will probably read the sequel at some point.

I’m about a quarter of the way through Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel. The story is told through interviews and journal updates, kind of like Dracula. So far I’m entertained. It’s about finding a giant robot (maybe?) buried in pieces around the world.

Rereading John Dies at the End. I dunno, I’m in a reading slump lately, where I can’t seem to make myself pick up and start something new. I keep rereading things I’ve read before.

Just finished In Farleigh Field this morning. I haven’t decided what to pick up yet:

WWII suspense–Jews and Christians trying to escape


Andrew Clements books I might want to recommend to my students.

I guess technically I have 2 days to decide :wink:

Me too, maybe it’s something in the water?

A quickie: just finished Interworld, a Neil Gaiman/Michael Reaves collaboration about a teenager who discovers he can walk between worlds. It’s yer standard YA fare–nothing amazing, but not terrible.

Recent reads

A Company of Swans, by Eva Ibbotson. Romance, YA-ish? Confusing mishmash of genres that didn’t feel like the author knew quite what to do with the characters.

The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary, by Simon Winchester. Really enjoyable non-fiction about, well, what the title says. I found it profoundly melancholy.

Bass Ackwards and Belly Up, by Elizabeth Craft. DNF. YA with characters I couldn’t tell apart at all.

Fool’s Gold, by Gillian Tett. Non-fiction about the 2008 banking meltdown from the POV of several J.P. Morgan bankers. Very readable and informative. I’m enjoying my reading in this little nf niche.

A Bespoke Murder, by Edward Marston. DNF. Historical mystery set during WWI. The author tells and tells and tells and never shows.

Clouds in My Coffee, by Julie Mulhern. Still love this historical mystery series set in the 70s. The voice is great.

Mayhem at the Orient Express, by Kylie Logan. Cozy mystery. Surprisingly good.

Pat of Silver Bush & Mistress Pat, by L.M. Montgomery. The first book is good but a little frustrating. The second ramps up the frustrating part, with a character I’d like to shake and an ending that’s all wrong.

You Say Potato: A Book About Accents, by Ben and David Crystal. Non-fiction about English-language accents. It’s okay. I didn’t feel like I learned anything.

Lethal Bayou Beauty, by Jana Deleon. Really funny cozy mystery.

Fourth Comings and Perfect Fifths, by Megan McCafferty. YA, I guess. Not good. Earlier books in the series were very enjoyable. Stop after 2.

The Thing About Love, by Julie James. A rather limp romance.

The Dark Days Club, by Alison Goodman. Historical urban fantasy, if that’s a thing. Not a lot of new ground, but things are handled well.

The Cater Street Hangman, by Anne Perry. Atmospheric, but with a weirdly abrupt ending.

It is.

I’ve read some really good books about magic during the Victorian Era. KJ Charles Magpie Series is one, it 's m/m romance tho…

Gail Carriger’s Parasol books would fit in that category due to the vampires, werewolves and ghosts.

I recently finished Naomi Novak’s Spinning Silver, which is essentially a fairy tale. It is wonderful.

While I’m here, I’ll answer Left Hand of Dorkness’s question from the July thread about The Power. I would recommend it. It is well written, has an interesting premise, and the characters are the right amount of flawed. I typically like things that examine the intersections between biology, culture, and gender, which this book does.

I have checked out 8 books in the last 3 weeks and finished none. This is a new low for me. I’m re reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire for about the 10th time.

I will try to do better job of staying current in this thread.

First, I need to share a book that was so bad that I still feel insulted. The Meg by Steve Alten. The voice is 70s male. The science is wrong in every regard about every creature, not just the shark. The tone is stilted. Continuity is a myth. Implausibility hasn’t just been raised to a new art form, it has left the atmosphere, passed the Oort cloud and headed for interstellar space. I’m still planning to the movie, confident in the knowledge that it is better than the book.

I’ve just re-read Radiance by Grace Draven. It’s a fantasy book about a dynastic marriage between two different races. I highly recommend it.

I also recommend Tsumiko and the Enslaved Fox. Also fantasy, with a Japanese flavor, set in modern times. The book is very different than other things I have read lately. It’s calm, almost measured. It felt relaxing to read it.

Coming up I have either Dreadful Company, which is the sequel to Strange Practice, an urban fantasy about a doctor who tends those other than human, or Arabella and the Battle of Venus, which is the sequel to Arabella of Mars, a steampunk adventure that features sailing ships in space.

Strange Practice is on my list! How was it? I’m guessing good if you’re interested in the sequel.

So, twice before I was reading a book, had unrelated nausea while reading said book, and then having the unshakeable connection between the book and the nausea that actually prevents me from finishing the book. It had happened twice before, with Memoirs of an Invisible Man and Book of the New Sun. I forced myself to go back and finish Memoirs, and it never got better. I’ve never tried to finish the Wolfe.

Now it has happened again, with The Curious World of Calpurnia Tate. I loved the first book, so this makes me sad, but the way my brain makes these connections leads me to assume I’ll never finish it. Bah and humbug.

All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai. A SF novel that got some good reviews. But at this point I’m not sure I’m sold on it.

One Minute to Midnight: Kennedy, Khrushchev, and Castro on the Brink of Nuclear War by Michael Dobbs. It’s pretty good. Dobbs devotes a lot of pages to the Russians and the Cubans, who often get sidelined in histories of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Update: **Got I Let You Go **by Clare Mackintosh yesterday and finished it last night. Was it good? Yeah, but I wouldn’t say you HAVE to read it. It’s a psychological thriller and I’ve decided I am so over those. Flapper: A Madcap Story of Sex, Style, Celebrity and the Women Who Made America Modern is in the mailbox as of last night. The library didn’t have it so I had to buy a used copy.

I liked it. It’s British, halfway between Ben Aaronovitch and Gail Carriger in tone. The medical aspects are interesting. I’d like to see that expanded.

Two of my favorites… dang I’m never going to get my TBR pile gone…

Just finished Sparrow Hill Road, by Seanan McGuire. It’s a collection of short stories about a hitchhiking ghost that’s the subject of a number of urban legends. It’s a stand alone, but I hope the author writes more books about this character, since this one is excellent.

Just started Empire Express: Building the First Transcontinental Railroad, by David Haward Bain.