Khadaji's Whatcha Readin' thread - June 2016 edition

Summer! Has it finally stopped raining where you are? Provided you’re in the Northern Hemisphere, of course, our Aussie friends are getting ready for winter now…
I am currently doing absolutely nothi- err reading A Voyage Long and Strange by Tony Horowitz. My kind of history ie the stuff not found in the average textbook.

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.

May, you passed too quickly

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. I’m thinking it helps that I know the movie pretty well. It helps me put a picture to all the rambling, incoherent dialogue.

In any event, even just a few chapters into it, I’m really liking it.

This morning I finished Perfidia, by James Ellroy, the first installment of his Second LA Quartet. It and his First LA Quartet and Underworld USA Trilogy will span 31 years to “stand as one novelistic history,” as Ellroy himself puts it. The story takes place from December 5-29, 1941. On the eve of America’s entry into WWII, a Japanese family in Los Angeles is brutally slaughtered. The authorities know the internments are coming and feel being fastidious about solving this case could blunt some of the criticism of the roundups. They desperately need for the killer to be Japanese, but the evidence increasingly points to a white man. The title, which is Spanish for “perfidy,” is the same as that of a Mexican song about love and betrayal. Very good and I look forward to subsequent installments. In last month’s thread, I mentioned that Dudley Smith, who is played by James Cromwell in the film version of LA Confidential 19 years ago, is a major character in Perfidia. This would be a younger version of him of course, and I just could not imagine Cromwell while I read. Instead, I kept imagining him as the Irishman Tom – Dudley Smith is an Irish immigrant and ex-IRA killer – in Downton Abbey, probably because we’re watching that series now.

Next up is The Wind through the Keyhole, Stephen King’s return to his Dark Tower series. This one fits between Volumes 4 and 5, and King has dubbed it Volume 4.5. I’ll be taking it along with me upcountry in a couple of days for one last look at the Sin City of Pattaya. After seeing off the wife at the airport – she has some business to attend to in Myanmar – I’ll head to Pattaya alone, then she’ll return to spend the weekend there with me.

That book is a favorite of mine, but by all accounts the film sucked bilge water, so I passed that up. But this is one of the few books I’ve reread. I read it twice during my backpacking-Europe journey 30 years ago – once in Switzerland and once in Austria – and other times since then.

When you say ‘by all accounts’ do you mean that you saw the movie or you read the reviews? It’s one of those movies that got bad reviews (at least at first) but ended up a cult classic. Either way, I really like the movie, I still watch when I notice it’s on, but then, I’ve always liked ‘weird’ movies.

I read the reviews, and the movie critic who had virtually the exact same taste as I do trashed it completely. I love that book too much to see it damaged by a shoddy film version.

Anne Tyler’s “Ladder of Years”. I stayed last week at a condo that had a book shelf,and it was the only thing there that wasn’t a barfer. I got half way through and stole it, to bring it home and finish it.

A couple of decades ago, Tyler was my favorite author, but lately I’ve been disappointed by the dated work of authors-past. But she is still a delightful read, and I remember why I loved her.

I finished reading Jane Austen’s Emma. I liked that the main character wasn’t perfect, and that she didn’t spend most of the book agonizing over which guy to pick (which is pretty popular in 19th century literature). I have to admit I skimmed over some of the denouement, though.

Reviews were mixed. I loved the movie (and the book).

[quote=“DZedNConfused, post:1, topic:756045”]

Summer! Has it finally stopped raining where you are? Provided you’re in the Northern Hemisphere, of course, our Aussie friends are getting ready for winter now…
I am currently doing absolutely nothi- err reading A Voyage Long and Strange by Tony Horowitz. My kind of history ie the stuff not found in the average textbook.

I just put that book in the donation pile b/c I could not get into it! Urgh.

Sorry - I’m going to cross-post this review I just put in the May thread. I’m so blown away by this book, I can’t help but proselytize. I know I’m about 23 years late to the table here, but if you are too, this is an amazing read:

“Just finished Doomsday Book by Connie Willis. In future Oxford, Kivrin prepares to return to 1300s England to observe the culture for two weeks. When the drop goes awry, she gets considerably more than she bargained for. Back in Oxford, attempts to locate and retrieve her fall to a deadly influenza epidemic. These twin narratives immerse you in period detail with ever-increasing tension. Quite poignant at times too. While reading this on the porch swing yesterday, I looked up astonished to find myself in neither Oxford nor England. Masterful and stunning!”

I think I need to find this one now…

Yeah, this is one of the ones I’m going to read “someday”. Might as well mosey over to library site right now…:slight_smile:

Finished Joe Hill’s The Fireman this morning. It’s a pretty good book about the survivors of a plague that wipes out most of humanity. But not a great book. To me, there were too many remarkable coincidences, lucky breaks, deus ex machina, etc. I also had a little trouble at times picturing what was happening during action scenes.
However, the plot was interesting and fast-moving, and it was fun to pick out all the Easter eggs.

The City of Mirrors by Justin Cronin, final chapter of The Passage trilogy. These books are extremely well written, and it’s particularly interesting to read post-apocalyptic fiction set in the place you live (Central Texas in this case). This book opens in heartbreaking fashion detailing the damage wrought on the protagonists’ lives by the hard choices made in Book 2 before jumping into Zero’s backstory. Looking forward to seeing how Cronin wraps his story up, will be hard-pressed to live up to the first two chapters and he certainly took long enough to do it.

Thanks, Siam Sam, for the report on Perfidia. I have the audiobook from the library and will probably start it soon.

I just finished Thurston Clarke’s JFK’s Last Hundred Days, which has some good insights into Kennedy’s growth as a person (after the death of his infant son Patrick, and his rekindling of his relationship with his wife Jackie) and as a leader (Vietnam, civil rights, the Limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, etc.) in the months before he died. Recommended, despite some minor errors.

I’m about a third of the way through Catherine Drinker Bowen’s 1966 classic Miracle at Philadelphia, about the Constitutional Convention. Her style reminds me of David McCullough - maybe a little stodgier - but I like it. I’m also about halfway through The Battle for the Falklands by Max Hastings and Simon Jenkins. It’s a great study of the 1982 conflict, equally engrossing as to both the political and the military sides of things. The authors have a dry wit and a knack for elegant turns of phrase.

I started reading it the day it was released (5/17) and am only about halfway through! I only read a chapter or two each night, though, and every now and then there will be a night when I’m too tired to read. I wonder how far **iiandyiiii **has gotten? Anyway, so far I’m really enjoying it. It’s actually a bad “bedtime” book for me: I often stay up later than I should, just because I want to keep reading.

Lately I haven’t had the time for longer/daytime reading sessions, but I need to get cracking because End of Watch gets released on Tuesday! :wink:

While in Pattaya, I finished The Wind through the Keyhole, another Dark Tower novel by Stephen King. He has semi-jokingly called it Volume 4.5, as it fits between Volumes 4 and 5. At the end of Volume 4, our heroes are journeying to somewhere, at the beginning of Volume 5 they have reached the somewhere, and in this latest book they are holed up in a building during that journey, waiting for a major storm called a starkblast to blow over. To pass the time, Roland tells them a story. Two stories actually, because another story is told inside the one. So we have three layers at work here. I just finished the Dark Tower series recently, and I can see where this would be a welcome reunion among fans who finished the series much earlier than I did.

Next I have started Gray Mountain, by John Grisham. In the wake of the Lehman Brothers collapse in 2008, a young lady lawyer who had been on the fast track in the world’s largest law firm is one of those laid off amid the chaos. She ends up in a legal-aid firm in Appalachia. High jinks ensue, or they will. (Haven’t got that far yet.)

On FedEx vehicle for delivery by 8pm…:smiley:

It was delivered to my Kindle this morning. :slight_smile:

I still have the last 10-15% of The Fireman to finish first…hoping to knock that out tonight.