Khadaji's Whatcha Readin' Thread - March 2016 Edition

It’s looking like “in like a lamb” tomorrow out here at the base of the Wasatch Mountain Range, so April ought to be a treat…

I’m about a third of the way through Conspiracy in Death by JD Robb. Glorious potato chip reading that it is!

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.

February Thread: Valentine Hearts and pages galore

April is the most hellishly hot month over here, and the heat starts intensifying in March, often in February.

But anyway, I’m three-fourths through The March, by EL Doctorow, about Sherman’s march in Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina during the Civil War. Very good

Might as well repeat what I posted on the previous thread an hour ago…

Last finished: Ink and Bone, YA AH by Rachel Caine. Looking forward eagerly to the sequel, which comes out in July.

Now reading: Old Man’s War, military SF by John Scalzi. I’m also rereading Hot Rod, YA fiction (teens and cars) by Henry Gregor Felsen, which I first read around 50 years ago.

Next up: Death Lights a Candle, the second Asey Mayo mystery by Phoebe Atwood Taylor.

I had insomnia on the 28th, so my bad. But I binge reread Watership Down.

It’s in my top five of books. Ever.
Once I start reading it, I can’t stop.

(But…Hazel-rah! And going for silf! Thayli’s bravery! Bluebell. Blackberry. Hlaoroo. And the stories of El-ahrairah. The Black Rabbit of Inle as well.)

BrassyPhrase, *Watership Down’*s in my top three of books. Ever. :slight_smile:

I’m whittling down my TBR pile so far this week by starting things and not finishing them. This morning I read eighty-something pages of H.E.A.R. by Robin Epstein. Something about teenagers with ESP, but they just strike me as brats.

I think I’ll start on Bluescreen tomorrow…something about teenagers and virtual reality (hopefully nice likeable teenagers).

Just finished Silver on the Road by Laura Anne Gilman, which was wonderful, and I’m about to start The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison.

Wow, it’s March already!

I’ve taken an involuntary break (had to return the audiobook to the library, grrr) from Robert Harris’s Fatherland, a realistic and chilling alt-history thriller about a murder investigation in 1964 Nazi Germany. Just resumed Dan Balz’s Collision 2012, about Romney v. Obama; good behind-the-scenes political stuff. Also browsing through J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Peoples of Middle-earth, a posthumous 1996 selection of background material, drafts and essays edited by his son Christopher. Arcane but mostly interesting. Finally, I recently started Outies, an authorized sequel to Niven and Pournelle’s classic The Mote in God’s Eye, by the latter’s daughter, J.R. Twenty pages in, and it’s not very good, alas.

I’m still reading The Red Queen and will read the book which preceded it, The White Queen, when I’m finished.

I’m right in the middle of The Martian. I haven’t read a book this fast since Gone Girl. I totally understand why a lot of people don’t like it, what with all the technical stuff, but you can gloss over that if you want to. You don’t need to read and re-read all the chemistry and astrophysics to try and get them to make sense, just trust that they do and keep reading. The story (at least so far) is really good.

OTOH, part of the reason I didn’t watch the Oscars is because I knew I could get spoilered just by seeing a scene here or there from it.

Twilight of the Elites by Chris Hayes. Written in 2012 and only got more relevant.

In other words, it’s a typical Niven sequel. I have a soft spot for The Ringworld Engineers (even though its plot doesn’t make much sense), but more typically he comes up with crud like The Ringworld Throne, The Gripping Hand or the grand prize-winner, the truly terrible Escape From Hell.

I’ve got three things on the boil just now:

Last night before bed: Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson. I’ve been on a superhero / supervillain kick lately, and Sanderson crafts an interesting plot around the Epics, those who were gifted superpowers by a mysterious Calamity then use those powers for society-wide evil. David Charleston, a kid whose life was destroyed by uber-powerful Epic Steelheart, vows revenge and joins the Reckoners, an underground organization working to destroy the Epics. The action is better than the characterization as might be expected, but it’s still a page-turner in a compelling world.

During the daytime, I’m reading Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis. It is every bit as funny as advertised, this tale of a medieval lecturer scrabbling to hold on to his post at a provincial university filled with the most appalling bores, back-stabbers, and one refreshingly honest girl from outside academia. I’m about halfway through and wish I could pop home from work RIGHT NOW to finish it. :smiley:

In the car, I’m listening to the unabridged recording of H is for Hawk by Helen MacDonald. The plot can be described rather simply - a woman works through her grief at her father’s death whilst simultaneously training a goshawk, an hunting bird. This has gotten loads of acclaim, and rightfully so. Those bare narrative bones are clothed with a beautifully evocative flesh of description wherever MacDonald turns her gaze, whether she’s describing her goshawk, the landscape around her, or the strange phenomena innate to grieving.

I finished Tooth and Claw, by Jo Walton. This was a kick, it’s a book about dragons, and it’s a riff on a Jane Austen-type plot – there is a death, there is a family squabble over an inheritance, we have young girls who may or may not be eligible to marry, there is social intrigue and secret identities. And all the characters are dragons, so in the middle of all of this, they are laying eggs and breathing fire and eating livestock. Also wearing hats.

I thought it was adorable, although I think it helps if you go in with an understanding of how a Regency novel is set up to work.

God, I ate those up back in the day. Is it Street Rod that has the awesome and shocking downer ending?

I also enjoyed the Black Tiger series by Patrick O’Connor (actually Leonard Wibberley, i think).

I just finished Busman’s Honeymoon, by Dorothy Sayers, for the second time; this time I picke dup on a lot more of the comedy.

The Rapture of the Nerds by Cory Doctorow and Charles Stress.

Just started it but I can already tell that it is one of his more extreme flights of fancy.

I finished reading A Land So Strange: The Epic Journey of Cabeza de Vaca and A Pirate of Exquisite Mind (about explorer and privateer William Dampier). Both were very good accounts of explorers you don’t hear much about. Now I’m casting about for another good read in the exploration/survival genres; I admit to an addiction to stories of people surviving (or not) impossible odds and travails. Not easy, as I’ve read a lot of them. I’m also not averse to a well-written history or biography

I just began reading the first book that was recommended to me by a presidential candidate. (Though not to me personally.) During one of the undercard presidential debates, Rick Santorum recommended that viewers read Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis by Robert D. Putnam. In a nutshell, it’s about growing income inequality in America. I’ve only read the first chapter, but so far, it’s holding my interest and I’m eager to read more.

For my fiction pick, I’m re-reading Vampires in the Lemon Grove by Karen Russell, because I was in the mood for her writing but I’ve already read everything of hers that’s available on Amazon.

I know I’ve read a few others of that genre, but I can’t remember any of the titles - Hot Rod was the only one that really stuck with me. A bunch of characters get killed near the end of it, but the last chapter is pretty optimistic.

Finished The March, by EL Doctorow. A novel about Sherman’s march through Georgia and the Carolinas during the Civil War. I enjoyed it very much and recommend it for Civil War buffs. Unlike what I expected, it starts immediately after the burning of Atlanta and covers the march from there to the end of the war. A couple of oddities though. He seems to have borrowed from Cormac McCarthy in that he never uses quotation marks. (Or did McCarthy borrow from him?) There is also the vaguest notion that Lincoln may have suffered from Marfan syndrome, but wasn’t that discredited long before the book was published in 2005? Doctorow never says the name of the syndrome, and anyone who has never heard of that theory would not know what he was hinting at. He does eventually say maybe his appearance is due to the rigors of being a wartime president after all, but why hint at it? But those are minor quibbles, possibly the only ones I have. (And I don’t really mind the no-quotation marks style, it does have a certain cachet after a while, but I would never use that style myself.)

Next up is Blood’s a Rover, by James Ellroy. he third and final installment in his Underworld USA trilogy. I had to buy this, because whereas my library has the first two novels, it lacks the third. I’m going to donate this to them so they’ll have a full if mismatched set. (The first two they have are mismatched too.)

Parliament of Whoresby P. J. O’Rourke, 1991 A take down on the U. S. Government